First trip to Disney, and stayed at Port Orleans Riverside October 20-25th with my husband and 2 boys (ages 5 & 7). Originally booked a Garden View room in a Non-Royal Mansion, but In order to get the free dining plan promo during our visit, we had to upgrade to a Royal Room (Standard View). (Interesting that we had to 'upgrade' to get something 'free'...but whatever.) Requested the Oak Manor building during booking, and our request was granted. We were placed on the 1st floor, corner room... at the very 'back' of the building...just off the parking lot. This would have been very convenient if we had a car during our stay, however since we were using the Disney transportation system... it was quite a hike to the food court for drink refills & snacks, and the main pool areas. Not that we didn't expect to spend our days doing a lot of walking, but it's just kind of strange... Disney goes out of their way to make so many things so convenient for you. From the Magical Express, to the luggage delivery, online check-in, the new magic bands, etc... having a 10 minute walk just to fill up drink mugs & grab a snack seemed just a little...well, Inconvenient. There should definitely be more drink refill stations placed around this resort...since it is so large.
OK... so the good stuff.... The Magical Express was pretty easy to navigate, although the lines at the Orlando Airport were a little intimidating. The good news is...they move pretty quickly, as there are buses running constantly...and they hold a lot of people. The Resort itself is lovely. From the moment you pull up to Port Orleans Riverside...it's just breathtaking. Everything is very clean, and the staff is friendly. Online check-in is MUST. Before you leave home, get online & create that My Disney Experience profile and DO THE ONLINE CHECK-IN before you go! The regular check-in line was just plain ridiculous! Now, I did the online check-in, so I was able to go through the online check-in line. Unfortunately, not everything went through when I did the online check-in at home (they said there have been some 'glitches' with their system lately). Anyway, it took me longer than I expected...but nothing terribly inconvenient. Left the check-in desk with everything I needed, however our room was NOT ready at 1 PM. So we left our bags out front with Bell Services...and hopped the boat to Downtown Disney for the afternoon.
We got the text around 2:30 PM with our room number...letting us know it was ready for us. Upon our return from Downtown Disney...we went directly to our room...called Bell Services & asked them to deliver our luggage. Super easy!
The Magic Bands worked PERFECTLY for us during our entire stay. They are super convenient for the guests...although we did encounter a few staff (mostly at restaurants) that indicated they have been a little difficult for them at times. Aside from allowing you to access your room, they have your reservations, park tickets, and even a credit card linked to them for purchases (protected with a PIN code you have to type in). Being able to get drinks at the pool bar, pay for meal gratuities, Disney store purchases, etc... all just by tapping your Magic Band (and entering your PIN) could not have been easier. In my opinion...this is the BEST feature of the new Magic Band system.
Our Royal Room was a good size, clean, and very comfortable beds. The boys even enjoyed the little touches throughout...especially the fiber-optic fireworks in the headboard (although the novelty wore off those a little by day 3 of our trip :o) In-room Wi-fi worked great...and was a nice convenience to have. In-room safe... also handy. Mousekeeping... very adequate...always clean. She left a towel character for us on Day 1...but not again for the remainder of our stay. (Not a big deal, but we tipped WELL daily!)
The ONE rather significant downside to our room was the lack of refrigerator. I had read there were resort-wide recalls of the fridges going on...but from what I've read...this started early last SUMMER. It was mid-October...quite surprise that Disney has not been able to come up with a way to remedy this problem in 5 months! While I wasn't completely surprised that our room did not have a fridge (due to what I had been reading)... it was definitely the biggest inconvenience of our stay. From the few snacks we brought with us...to keeping drinks cold...and even having a place to save leftovers from meals... we were definitely missing that fridge. I did make a stop at the concierge desk the 1st afternoon of our stay...to ask about getting a fridge...they then directed me to call Housekeeping and request one. Housekeeping, while nice about it, claimed they have no idea why the front desk would tell me to call them...when they said they don't have one to give us. So we just let it go at that point. Truthfully though...for the price you pay to stay here... you'd expect that a small fridge be included, or some sort of discount really should be issued.
The pools were clean and fabulous. We used the quiet pool by our building, the Old Man Island pool, and even spent 2 days over at the French Quarter pool. The kids LOVED the water slides at both Riverside & French Quarter main pools. With the boys being young, they had such a great time on the resort slides...we were able to skip the water parks and just hang at the pools at the Resort. Pool bar was super convenient and we enjoyed a couple drinks one day while the boys took part in the afternoon pool party activities. We always have an eye on our boys around the water (and are usually with them in the water)...but the lifeguards at both Riverside and French Quarter main pools are SUPER attentive. Definitely comforting to know when they're using the water slides and bouncing from place to place all day...you have that 2nd set of eyes on them.
The quick service food court was fine... typical quick-service food. If you ate every single meal here for 10 days...I can see how it would get monotonous. However, it was fine to grab something quick. Quick Notes: The Riverside food court does NOT include Grilled Cheese on its Kids' menu (but the French Quarter does)... however, it you ask...they will make it for you (although sometimes the cook will give you the stink eye :o). The Create-Your-Own-Salad was my favorite (and I don't even eat salad that often).
Riverside food court was CRAZY in the morning...even just for getting coffee (which the dispensers were often empty). The lines were a little nuts too... separate lines for all stations...and then a separate line to pay. Not bad if it isn't crowded...but at peak times... plan on an hour+ for your "quick" service meal.
Transportaion. We tried out all forms of Disney transportation on this trip. Had no issues with the buses. We used the main/South depot for pick-up in the morning (usually because we didn't know how often they were picking up at the other bus stops)...and then got dropped off at the stop closest to our room upon return. Even if there were lines for the buses...there was usually a bus right behind it for loading more. No issues leaving the parks on buses either.
**Quick Tip: Our 'Plan B' if we encountered long lines to Riverside leaving the parks were to jump on a French Quarter bus...and just walk over to Riverside. Since we were staying in the mansion section, it wouldn't have been a far walk at all. We never did end up having to do that though...since we rarely waited more than 10 min for a bus. However, it is definitely an option rather than waiting in line at the parks.**
Now... we had dining reservations at several other resorts during our stay...the only issue we had with transportation was the evening we ate at the Wilderness Lodge...and took the boat. We bussed from POR to the Magic Kingdom...then took the boat over to the Wilderness Lodge. No problem. However, returning from the Wilderness Lodge to the Magic Kingdom via boat...we waited 45 minutes for a boat... which then took us to the Fort Wilderness Campground...then BACK to the Lodge...before finally dropping us at the Magic Kingdom. There were many frustrated passengers on the boat that evening...as it was almost an hour & a half to return to the Magic Kingdom from the Lodge!
Overall, we had a wonderful vacation, and the Port Orleans Riverside was a beautiful resort, centrally located with lots of fantastic amenities...that really does give you a break from the madness, I mean, MAGIC of the parks :o). (In my opinion...the Riverside is more modern & definitely more picturesque than the French Quarter. However, the French Quarter is smaller, quieter, & more convenient to navigate.)
A couple little things detracted from our trip a little... mainly the missing fridge! However, the good definitely outweighed the bad... so while I would stay here again...we may try another resort for our next visit.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Discover a place where simple pleasures flourish and Southern hospitality abounds. From the stately white-column mansions of Magnolia Bend to the quaint backwoods cottages of Alligator Bayou, delight in this picturesque Resort hotel that evokes the romance and tranquility of the rural Louisiana Bayou. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Port Orleans Riverside Resort
- Port Orleans Disney Resort
- Orlando Port Orleans Resort
- Riverside Disney
- Disney Port Orleans Riverside Resort
- Port Orleans Hotel Disney
- Port Orleans Resort Riverside
- Port Orleans Resort Disney
- Disney Port Orleans Hotel
- Disneys Port Orleans Resort Riverside