Port Orleans Resort – Riverside Review

Port Orleans – Riverside is a sprawling moderate resort at Walt Disney World.  Riverside is half of what makes up the Port Orleans Resort, the other half being French Quarter.  The whole resort is themed to an idealized New Orleans with Riverside being more outside of the city and along the (you guessed it!) river.  Melissa and I recently stayed at Port Orleans – Riverside and this review will cover that stay.

Walt Disney World isn’t lacking for size and that is never more apparent than at some of their resorts.  Port Orleans – Riverside certainly fits that bill.  Stepping on the resort grounds will take you back about a hundred years with southern-style mansions, beautiful lawns and gardens, and romantic pathways.  While the size of the resort can be a slight negative (more on that later), it also is what makes Port Orleans shine bright.  The beauty, back story and diverse theming throughout the grounds are unmatched in the moderate and value resort categories in Walt Disney World.

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As you can see from the map (via the official Disney World website) there are quite a few buildings along the river.  Most of these buildings are mansions filled with hotel rooms.  They are beautiful and grand.  To match the mansions are sprawling lawns and intricate gardens.  I love the detail around the area.  I also liked the little gazebos around that offered places to sit.

Port Orleans gazebo

As you can see, this is a beautiful place to walk around.  We were unfortunately here only one night so I didn’t get a chance to walk around as much as I’d like.  If staying here I’d definitely set aside a few hours to take a stroll in the evening or early morning.

Port Orleans does offer carriage rides.  On the river, there is a boat that takes guests between Port Orleans and Disney Springs, with a few stops along the way.

Port Orleans greenery

If you look at the map above, you can see the river loops around the pool.  We didn’t enjoy any pool time but there wasn’t much that stood out about the area other than more beautiful greenery and theming.  The pool had a slide although it wasn’t one of the more exciting ones.

Port Orleans bridge

As you can see above, there’s a bridge that connects the pool area back to the hotel’s lobby and food areas.  The hotel has a quick-service option called the Riverside Mill Foodcourt.  There were a decent amount of choices at the food court (menu here).  There is a table service restaurant, as well, called Boatwright’s Dining Hall.  Boatwright’s serves cajun-inspired fare.  There is also the River Roost Lounge where the Disney-famous Yehaa Bob performs.

I should mention that there’s also another counter-service option and themed pool down the river at the French Quarter section of the resort.  Both are well thought of.  French Quarter is only a five to ten minute walk from Riverside and guests are free to use either pool.

While the tangible amenities are only slightly above average relative to all Disney World hotels, the intangibles are where Port Orleans really shines.  Of the Disney Resorts I’ve stayed in, the grounds at Riverside are the most beautiful to walk around.

There is only a slight negative when it comes to the size of Port Orleans – Riverside and that is the bus system.  There are several stops around the resort and that makes the transportation slightly (a very small difference) slower to the parks.  It can also be a longer walk to the buses just due to the nature of the sprawling area.  For a few days I don’t think a little extra walking to get your room is much of a hassle.  If I was staying here for a week, the walk to the room on the 5th or 6th night after long park days may be a bit tedious.  I’m kind of picking at nits there though.

While that is a slight negative, the boat to Disney Springs is a wonderful mode of transportation.  That ride on the river is really beautiful.

Room Port Orleans

Getting to the room, the theming here is understated but also excellent.  I love the color choice as the green felt like a continuation of the plants we saw outside.  The painting you see at the end of the room is of Tiana’s Riverboat from the Disney movie Princess and the Frog.  I thought this was a nice Disney tie-in without being over the top.  The light fixtures on the wall also fit the theme really well and are a nice alternative to the usual bedside lamp.  Bonus points to them because they look like something that could fit in the Haunted Mansion.  Like I said, they are thematically correct.

Outside of the decor, the room is your standard Disney hotel room.  It’s spacious enough at 314 square feet.  The queen beds were comfortable but not overly so.  I’d give them a solid B as far as mattress comfort goes.  I’m not sure I’ve ever given mattress comfort a letter grade before but now my life is complete.

Port Orleans sink and bathroom

The sink is outside of the bathroom.  I do like the mirrors and the soft colors in this section of the room.  Otherwise I have no other comment.

Bathroom Port Orleans

That’s a toilet and a shower.

This was your basic hotel bathroom.  It was clean and decidingly average.  Overall, the room was nice but nothing that will keep me coming back to Port Orleans.

As far as value goes, Port Orleans (both Riverside and French Quarter) is typically the most expensive moderate resort.  I think that’s justifiable, as I would put Port Orleans on top of the moderate resort rankings.  Depending on when you go, the price for Port Orleans – Riverside is anywhere from $170-$250.  I think this hotel is worth that price range.  I personally wouldn’t pay much over $215 for a room here but I do think the hotel is as beautiful as some Deluxe Resorts.

Port Orleans Water Wheel

Port Orleans – Riverside is a wonderful resort that offers a lot, especially to those that enjoy wandering around and taking in the details.  The resort aptly takes advantage of its large footprint.  I do recommend staying here if the resort fits your budget.  While the rooms are nothing out of the ordinary, Port Orleans – Riverside makes up for that in several other areas.  As far as the moderate resorts go, Port Orleans – Riverside is on the top of my list.

Overall Rating – 9/10

Have you stayed at Port Orleans – Riverside? Do you have any questions about Walt Disney World hotels? Let us know in the comments. Thank you for reading!

– Andrew

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