Episode 34 – Port Orleans Riverside & French Quarter: Tips and Impressions

Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside and French Quarter resorts are two moderate resorts at Disney World near Disney Springs. The Port Orleans resorts have fairly central locations, middle-of-the-road pricing, and ample amenities, making them a popular choice for many families. In this week’s episode, Leslie and Joe explore the features of the two resorts and share pros and cons (and a few tips!) for stays at Riverside and French Quarter.

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Disney's Port Orleans Riverside and French Quarter Resorts - what to know before a stay at these moderate resort hotels at Walt Disney World. Room types, amenities and activities, restaurants, and tips and tricks for a stay. #disney #portorleans

Port Orleans Basics

The Port Orleans resorts can be a source of some confusion to Walt Disney World newbies. The Port Orleans name is given to what are technically two different moderate resorts – Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter. They are both located along the same river with boat service between them. Walking between the two is entirely possible as well, although it’s not exactly a quick stroll. Riverside and French Quarter share a few common amenities but also maintain distinct identities.

These two resorts are within the Disney Springs area of Walt Disney World. The aforementioned ferry boat is available to whisk guests on to Disney Springs.

Disney World Transportation Boats
Boats connect Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter to Disney Springs.

The closest Disney theme park is Epcot. While neither resort is in the immediate vicinity or walking distance of a park, they also don’t feel remote like some Disney resort hotels (particularly Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge) might. Transportation times to most parks seems reasonable. Of course, other than the Disney Springs boat, expect all transportation to be by bus.

Port Orleans French Quarter & Riverside Theming

The theming of both resorts exudes a distinctly Southern vibe but with totally different interpretations of the region. Port Orleans French Quarter feels more urban – the New Orleans and Mardi Gras element is strongly prevalent throughout. The buildings with hotel rooms give off the vibe of a Bourbon Street balcony where you just might expect beads to rain down upon you. The resort is the smaller of the two and feels quite compact compared to the usually more sprawling moderate Disney World resorts.

Port Orleans French Quarter and Riverside Resort Review and Tips - French Quarter Lobby
Back entrance to French Quarter’s Lobby.

With its larger and more spread out footprint, Port Orleans Riverside embraces more rural Southern theming. The buildings are two different styles – Alligator Bayou and Magnolia Bend. As one might imagine, the suggestion is vaguely plantation-like, but Disney walks that very fine line fairly well from the resort’s earlier days (when it was known as Disney’s “Dixie Landings”).

Port Orleans French Quarter and Riverside Resort Review and Tips - Magnolia Bend Building
Magnolia Bend building at Port Orleans Riverside.

Port Orleans Rooms

Standard rooms at the two resorts have nearly identical layouts and very similar decor. Most rooms are two queens in both resorts and sleep 4. King rooms are available as well.

Port Orleans French Quarter and Riverside Resort Review and Tips - French Quarter Two Queen Room
Two queen room at Port Orleans French Quarter.

Port Orleans Riverside does have some rooms that sleep 5 – two queens with a pull out couch Murphy bed. These rooms are entirely within the Alligator Bayou section of the resort. Port Orleans Riverside is also home to several princess themed Royal rooms.

The bathroom of Port Orleans rooms features two sinks in the vanity area. The sink area opens to a large hanging rack that functions as the room’s closet. A door on the other side of the vanity opens into a small room with the toilet and a shower over tub.

The bathroom vanity area is behind a heavy curtain, which may or may not be sufficient to block out light and sound from the sleeping area depending on the sensitivity of the rest of your family. For what it’s worth for families of easily disturbed babies and toddlers with nap times and early bedtimes, a moderate resort like Coronado Springs with doors that close off the entire bathroom area may be preferable.

Port Orleans French Quarter and Riverside Resort Review and Tips - French Quarter Bedroom and Bathroom
French Quarter room and bathroom with the curtain visible separating the two.

Families with kids of stroller age should strongly consider requesting a first floor room at Riverside. Elevators are few and far between, and in fact are non-existent in the Alligator Bayou section of the resort.

Port Orleans Restaurants

Both Port Orleans resorts have quick service food courts, but Riverside also features a casual dining restaurant, Boatwright’s Dining Hall.  Food is nothing to write home about, so these might not be resorts that would appeal to foodies (unless you are content to take the boat to Disney Springs for all the fine dining available there).

Port Orleans Amenities

A standout amenity at Port Orleans French Quarter is its themed pool. The waterslide is in the shape of a sea serpent and the pool area also has a brightly colored splash pad and water playground ideal for younger kids.

Port Orleans French Quarter and Riverside Resort Review and Tips - French Quarter Slide Pool
French Quarter’s sea serpent waterslide and pool.

The Riverside pool is more low key but still quite high quality. It also has a waterslide but not as prominently themed as the one at French Quarter. The pool is located in the center of the resort on a central island near a bar area and playground.

A highlight for the cooler weather months is the surrey bikes that are available for rent at Riverside.

Episode Description

Leslie and Joe share their experiences at the two moderate Port Orleans resorts: Riverside and French Quarter. We chat about the differences between the two, which one we prefer, and why you should or should not stay at Port Orleans. Also, tips on transportation and some heated elevator debates!

If you like what you hear, please share the podcast with others you think might enjoy it. Also, we’d appreciate if you subscribed on iTunesStitcherSpotify, TuneIn, PlayerFM, or Google Play (please leave a positive review if you’re enjoying the show), liked our Facebook page, or followed us on Twitter!

You can also e-mail us at disneydeciphered AT gmail DOT com. Connect with Leslie @TripswithTykes on social media and Joe @asthejoeflies.

Episode Notes

2:03 – Port Orleans overview

4:55 – Location, theming, differences between the two resorts

10:01 – Rooms, room types, and tips

14:32 – Resort amenities

19:30 – Disney dos and don’ts


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