Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort Review
A beautiful riverside setting, fantastic attention to detail and tons of fun activities make . Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside a great Disney Vacation choice.
Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort Overview
Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort is a Disney World moderate resort. This is a large resort with over 2,000 rooms spread out across 325 acres.
Using your My Disney Experience account, you can check in to the resort even before you arrive. If you already have your Magic Band, you can proceed straight to your room when it is ready. They’ll send you a notice when your room is ready. If you need to check in in person, you can head to the Riverside Lobby. If you do arrive by Magic Express or by car, there is a drop off area at the front of the resort.
After passing through the lobby, you’ll find the resort’s restaurants and a large gift shop. This area of the resort is called the Sassagoula Steamboat Company and it provides a nice area to just relax. Take some time to stroll around the area. There is a lot to see. Find a rocking chair and watch the crowd.
Port Orleans Riverside is a beautiful place to take a walk. Take in the views from the path along the river.
As you walk around the Port Orleans resort, you’ll discover many fun activities. You might not have expected it, but you can visit the fishing hole to see if you can catch a whopper. Four person bicycles are available for rent. And, Port Orleans has a really nice playground.
In the evenings, you can take a horse drawn carriage ride around the resort starting from the Sassagoula Steamboat Company.
Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort Rooms
There are two main resort lodging sections; Alligator Bayou and Magnolia Bend. The resort buildings are centered around the Sassagoula River. Resort buildings reflect the essence of Louisiana with Magnolia Bend buildings resembling Southern plantations and Alligator Bayou being more like rustic lodges.
Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Guest Room
Rooms in Port Orleans Riverside Resort are comfortable and nicely themed. Each room has either two Queen beds or one King bed. Some rooms are available with a King bed and a child-size pull-down bed. Rooms are motel style with each having an outside door. You don’t have the opportunity to sit outside your room as no patio or deck is provided. There are outside stairs and an elevator for each building.
I had the chance to stay in a room with two Queen beds. The bed was comfortable. Theming in the room was great. Each bed had a wooden headboard with a bayou painting. Lighting was built into the top of the headboard. One nightstand with a phone and two power outlets was provided between the beds. Note that there isn’t a themed bedding element like a runner, just white sheets. Based on my recent stays, Disney no longer uses decorative bedding. A spare blanket and pillow was provided.
Artwork of princes and princesses is found on all of the room’s walls. A large portrait of Tiana is on one wall.
In addition to the beds, there is a table with two chairs; a nice place to eat breakfast or a snack. Note how the chairs are cloth covered. There is an image of a welcome letter from Tiana on the table top.
The TV has a nice feature that lets you connect devices to it. A small refrigerator is available to keep your snacks or beverages cold. A coffee maker is provided. along with several Joffrey’s coffee pods so you can enjoy a tasty cup of coffee before you launch into your fun day at Disney.
Conveniently placed Just inside the door, you’ll find a nice set of three coat hooks. This is a great place to hang up hats, jackets, or ponchos.
While there is no closet in the room there is a place to hang clothes. In the bathroom area, you’ll find an area to hang clothes and a smaller room safe, just large enough for things like a tablet or portable game console. For privacy, the bathroom area can be separated from the rest of the room by a curtain.
The bathroom vanity has two sinks and mirrors. A bar of H2O soap is provided. Note how there aren’t mini bottles of shampoo. Shampoo, conditioner and body was are now provided using large shower-mounted bottles.
All things considered, this moderate room at the Port Orleans Riverside was comfortable, well themed and nicely appointed. I would be happy to stay at this resort again.
Dining at Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort
There are two main restaurants at Port Orleans Riverside. The quick serve Riverside Mill Food Court offers a variety of food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There are multiple stations, each with its own menu. For breakfast, the restaurant features many of the same items you might find at other Disney resorts, Mickey waffles, pastries, and pancakes. If you are looking for something different, you may want to head over to the Port Orleans French Quarter restaurant where you can get some tasty Beignets, New Orleans style square donuts.
Food presentation at the Riverside Mill Food Court isn’t fancy. Your meal will be served on a paper plate with plastic silverware. Pancake syrup wasn’t provided – I had to ask for it. My pancakes with a fruit topping were tasty. But, compared to breakfast at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort which uses real plates and metal silverware, I was a bit disappointed.
At peak dining times, the lines at the Riverside Mill Food Court are long and seating is limited. Staff did suggest that people head to the adjacent Boatwright’s Dining Hall for additional seating.
At lunch and dinner, selections include items like burgers, pizza, pasta and chicken nuggets. For updated dining information, I recommend checking the Port Orleans Riverside Mill Food Court site.
Similar to other Disney moderate resorts, Port Orleans Riverside has a sit down dining option for dinner, Boatwright’s Dining Hall. I enjoyed trying the All You Care to Eat Chef’s Platter. They’ll bring you a generous portion of ribs, chicken, sausages and brisket served with mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, corn and green beans. If you are still hungry, they’ll bring you another serving of whatever you would like. I really enjoyed the corn bread that was served along with the platter. Other entrees including Jambalaya, shrimp & grits and other Southern specialties. You can find the full menu on their site. One note, if you are planning to eat at Boatwright’s, remember to get a reservation in advance or you may find that you aren’t able to get a table.
The River Roost is a bar adjacent to the Port Orleans lobby. In the evening, you may get lucky and catch a performance of Yehaa Bob Jackson playing the piano and singing. The night I stopped by, the crowd was loving the performance.
On Ol’ Man Island, next to the resort’s main pool, you’ll find the Muddy Rivers Pool Bar which offers a variety of beverages such as Hurricanes and Margaritas.
Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort Pools
There are multiple swimming pools spread throughout Disney’s Port Orleans Resort. Each cluster of resort lodging buildings has its own pool. That makes it easy to get from your room to one of the pools.
In the evening, the pool area becomes the place to be for movies under the stars. There is a great selection of G, PG, and sometimes PG-13 movies shown on an outdoor screen near the pool area. You’ll get a movie schedule when you check in.
The main themed pool is located on Ol’ Man Island.
Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort Transportation and Parking
Resort check in is at the Riverside Lobby. Whether arriving by Disney’s Magical Express or by your car, you’ll stop here first. With the online check-in, you might be able to avoid this step. You can get a text with your room number when it is ready. If you already have a magic band, you can go straight to your room.
If you have your own car, short term parking is available in front of the Riverside Lobby building during check-in. There are parking lots available for each of the resort sections. Though you can park near the building with your room, you may still need to walk a bit. If you are driving, note that Disney now charges a daily parking fee.
Once parked, you may find it easier to use the resort bus transportation to get to the theme parks. Buses are the main transportation provided to the theme and water parks from Port Orleans. The bus stop is a sheltered area just outside the front of the Riverside Lobby. A shaded area with some seating is provided. Expected wait times for buses are provided on a monitor in the bus stop area.
Port Orleans is located in a central area relatively near the Disney Springs shopping and entertainment area, EPCOT and the Magic Kingdom.
An additional form of transportation at Port Orleans is the Sassagoula River Cruise. Boats stop at Port Orleans Riverside, Port Orleans French Quarter and Disney Springs.
Comparing This Disney World Value Resort to Moderate and Deluxe Resorts
A Disney World moderate resort can be a great vacation option. Rooms are comfortable. The cost is relatively affordable and is competitive with many nearby hotels. You have access to Disney transportation making your stay convenient.
Overall, the moderate resort rooms feel very nice. Most are well decorated following a theme. Furnishings are upgraded over value resorts. For example, chairs are cloth covered and wood rather than plastic. The lighting, curtains, and bedding are a bit nicer than what you find in a value resort.
Moderate rooms have two sinks in the bathroom area which may make it easier for a larger group to get ready. Rooms have an in-room coffee maker.
Disney Moderate and Disney Deluxe Resorts have a few amenities that some find important. If you are looking for things like a table service restaurant, you’ll need to upgrade to a moderate. However, keep in mind that restaurants are often fully booked. Unless you reserve in advance, you might not get to enjoy that feature of the resort.
Moderate and Deluxe resorts also offer amenities like bicycle rentals and craft activities. Pools are more deluxe and often feature poolside activities that you might enjoy.
If you are looking to enjoy your morning coffee on a private balcony, you’ll need to upgrade to a Disney Deluxe Resort like the Grand Floridian or Animal Kingdom Lodge. Deluxe resorts also offer additional dining choices. At the Polynesian, you have multiple options from quick service Capt. Cook’s, to the moderate table service Kona Cafe, to dining and entertainment venues like Ohana and The Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show.
Overall, a moderate resort like Port Orleans Riverside is a great choice. If you are looking for a moderate with more of an island feel, a great moderate choice is Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. However, if you are considering a Disney World vacation on a lower budget, you might consider a value resort. If so, check out our reviews of Disney’s Art of Animation Resort and Disney’s All Star Music Resort.
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