The charm and appeal of this resort is obvious from your first arrival at this moderate Disney location. The theme of the resort is a Louisiana Bayou, with its plantation style and rustic style guest rooms. The mansion type rooms are part of the Magnolia Bend section of the resort, while the rustic lodge type rooms are in the Alligator Bayou area.
With over 2000 rooms in this resort, the size of this Disney property is quite overwhelming. The resort includes a registration area, gift shop, food court, sit down style restaurant, small lounge area and marina. The main swimming area is called Ol’ Man Island, which includes a large pool with a slide, a hot tub, and a kiddie pool area. There are also five other pools throughout the resort. These are usually the more “quiet” pool areas, but do not have lifeguards in attendance.
Other forms of recreation at the resort include renting surrey bikes (up to four persons can ride at once), or paddleboats. Rates are posted at the Riverside Levee area of the resort. They also have a catch and release fishing hole at the resort, which is great for children. It is open 7:00am to 3:00pm and is located in the Ol’ Man Island area. Carriage Rides can also be arranged at this resort – details are in the lobby area.
The food court area is located near the registration area – which is quite a walk from most resort rooms. The food court offers a variety of food options and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. It works well for guests looking for a quick meal before hitting the theme parks or a quick bite anytime during the day. For a more relaxed restaurant style meal, visit Boatwright’s, located next to the food court. Here you can enjoy a more varied menu of choices for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
The gift shop is called Fulton’s General Store and is quite large for a resort gift shop. They sell the standard souvenirs in addition to a good selection of food and convenience store items (toiletries, magazines, books).
Port Orleans Riverside has a sister resort – Port Orleans French Quarter – you can visit and use the amenities of either resort if you are staying at a Port Orleans resort. You can travel by a Disney bus or take a boat from one resort to the other.
The best feature of this resort is the landscaping – the details used to create a realistic southern bayou are truly magical – as you walk the pathways of the resort you really feel you have traveled to the Old South. This resort is great for families and first time visitors to Disney World.
Trip Review – May 2008
This Disney trip was taken the week before Memorial Day in 2008. In the past we have stayed at all other moderate resorts on Disney property, so we wanted to give Port Orleans a try. From the descriptions of the Port Orleans properties, we chose the Riverside, as it seems to have Southern charm about it. We definitely did see that appeal – the grounds were meticulously maintained and our room in the Alligator Bayou section did really bring to mind a Louisiana type bayou right outside our room.
We enjoyed the main pool area – although it was extremely crowded. The slide was a hit with the kids. The bar area located next to the main pool was convenient, as was the pool’s location to the food court area. We did visit one of the quiet pool areas but the pool had not been cleaned so we moved on to the main pool for that day. We ate in both the food court (more than once) and the restaurant (breakfast) – both were good.
We visited the gift shop – which was great – they stocked everything you might need (toothpaste, razors, etc), food items for snacking and a ton of souvenir items.
We did not use any other recreation areas, but we did see people renting the bikes and the carriage rides.
Rooms at the resort are adequate – not what you would consider roomy – but they do work for families with small children.
The only negative aspect of the resort is its huge size. Walking anywhere from our room was FAR. The main pool is centrally located, but unless your room is right next to it, you have quite a walk ahead of you. Also the signage on the paths is poor, we got lost several times when going to pool, or food court. We also saw many other guests wandering aimlessly around saying – “do you know how to get to …..”.
Overall, the resort is beautiful, with great detail on the landscaping and theme. It works well with families with children – I would not recommend to older adults unless a lot of walking is not an issue. It is not the type of resort you can run down from your room to grab something from the food court – it is quite a haul. We wound up driving our rental car from parking lot near room to lobby/food court area – walking took way too long.
photo credit: Flickr/p_a_h