****First off I want to point out that you will NEED a dining plan of some sort - if you are sticking to the Disney parks then you will save SO much money doing this. If I ever go back to Disney (which I am) I would refuse to go unless I had a dining plan****
Okay so me and my other half flew over from the UK and stayed here for two weeks in September through to October before moving on to Animal Kingdom Lodge for the third week. I will try to leave my review based on my experience here, and not include things like the weather which is obviously not the fault of the hotel.
We arrived here on a lovely warm day, and were checked in without a problem. It was our first time in America together so the whole experience of DisneyWorld was fantastically overwhelming and excitement gripped us after a very long flight. We walked through the lobby and down towards a beautiful river with boats sailing by full of happy friendly people on their way to Downtown Disney. Our block was the third one to the right of the pool whilst facing the river, and we got a great room overlooking the garden with the river just to our right. The room itself was really nice, with a purple and gold theme and two large comfy beds.
Little would we know that one of the beds would be a dumping ground for all of our Disney gear! We spent the first day exploring the grounds - the food court was nice, and what we expected after reading reviews.
The food itself was the same as what we could get in the parks give or take a couple of items. The only real issues we had, which I think are the same anywhere in Disney is that the staff working at the food counters aren't quick to accomodate.
If you read my review you will know I am not a petty complainer - I am an Englishman and will therefore quietly get on with things, and this problem would probably not exist was it not that my other half is a fairly fussy eater.
I found that if you wanted something making (No bacon on a bacon cheeseburger, or a mac n cheese as a side (they only usually allow kids to eat it!)), then they will look at you like you have just dropped your mickey mouse pants in the middle of the food court!
I mean, is it hard to allow an adult to eat macaroni cheese? If you ask enough people around there, eventually you will find one who will allow such a heinous crime!
The pool was nice - not too noisy (unless you are grumpy and complain that there shouldn't be children allowed in a Disney resort - get over yourself and go and stay somewhere else if that's the case).
The boats were fantastic and a nice way of getting to Downtown Disney which I couldn't recommend enough!
The entertainment at night was pretty samey, but the cocktails and beer at the bar are fantastic and I could sit there all night. Other than that I saw a lot of people sitting in the jacuzzi chatting away or by the pool bar. I wouldn't recommend staying here if you wanted lively entertainment at the hotel itself, but this is easily remedied by taking a 15 minute boat ride to Downtown Disney.
This brings me on to my next 'issue' so to speak. Riverside. I only went to Riverside twice - once by myself walking (20 mins) and once for tea by boat. When you see it for the first time, especially when going along the river, you feel short changed. It costs the same to stay here than it does in French Quarter, and it seems like this is the main hub of the place.
Gardens are grander and contain colour changing fountains, the buildings are beautiful - everything about the place looks like it is a step above French Quarter. The shop is larger and sells more items, the entertainment looked great as we walked past - FQ entertainment consisted of the same guy night in night out, where this guy had a huge room full of holiday makers watching him tell jokes and sing etc.
The food court was similar if not slightly bigger, but the decorations, the pool, the layout etc was just on such a grand scale compared to humble FQ.
Now obviously it's a lot busier, and we were kind of glad to get back to French Quarter to sleep, as I think there would be more noise issues at Riverside.
If I was to stay here again I think I would definitely stay at Riverside for the same price, although if I had to stay at French Quarter then I would visit Riverside more often or spend the day there if we were having a day around the pool.
Please DON'T let me put you off French Quarter if you have already booked, as it is a great place to stay and we certainly do not regret staying there, but I do regret not going over to Riverside until the end of our stay, as I feel we had missed out on the nicer pool, foodhall and hotel entertainment.
Also to any UK visitors, try not to take to heart 90% of negative reviews by some of the people on here - complaining about a 5 minute walk to somewhere in the hotel is ridiculous when people walk 6 miles a day around a Disney park!! Also people often leave negative reviews on the HOTEL when the WEATHER is bad! Get a grip and don't bring down the reputation of a hotel due to rain, this will be happening at all the 5 star hotels too!!! Us English are usually quietly grateful to be somewhere remotely warmer than the UK so the weather in America is a godsend.
My advice would be stay in French Quarter if you want a quieter experience.
Try and request a River view - They are often very helpful in reception
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.