Disney Port Orleans Riverside Resort

Disney World 2013: BEST HOLIDAY EVER!

I’ve said it, I stand by it and part of the reason it was so great was down to the hotel that we stayed in.  Ladies and gentleman, the rave train has firmly stopped at the Riverside!!  We chose Port Orleans Riverside for a couple of reasons but the three reasons that swung it for us were:

1) How pretty it looked in the pictures

2) We got the Disney Quick Serve Dining Plan thrown in for free

3) Cost; it WAS the cheapest moderate resort in the Virgin holidays brochure (I believe it is now one of the more expensive moderates).

One thing that Disney really pride themselves on is the theming of their hotels and it is evident that they are meticulous about giving their guests a magical experience.  At Port Orleans Riverside you feel like you’ve been thrown from Florida into a Deep South plantation.  Port Orleans Riverside is absolutely huge and is split into two separate parts; Alligator Bayou and The Mansion Buildings.  We stayed in The Mansion Buildings as they had more of a romantic feel to them and as there was just the two of us it was supposed to be a romantic holiday too! The Mansion buildings looked a bit more luxurious in the pictures and they also had two quieter pools where we could go and relax without lots of children running around and screaming.

Our room was lovely.  It was big and spacious and had everything that we needed including a hairdryer, fridge, safe and an iron.  The beds were comfortable and our maid kept the room exceptionally clean.  She also left us towel animals/Mickey’s every few days, which was a lovely touch.  Wall thickness can sometimes be an issue in hotels but we went undisturbed by neighbours and the people above us for the entire holiday.  Our room was on the ground floor, which was perfect because, who wants to climb stairs after a long day at Magic Kingdom?  A little tip for anybody who is thinking about staying at Port Orleans; you can actually fax/telephone the room assignment team five days before you go and tell them which part of the resort you want to stay in.  They can’t always accommodate your requests but we asked to stay in the Mansion Rooms by the East bus stop and they granted our wish and confirmed they’d received our fax when we checked in.

Port Orleans has two areas on site where you can grab a bite to eat.  They have Boatwright’s Dining Hall, which is the sit down, table service restaurant and then the main food court.  Now we didn’t eat at Boatwright’s (heard great things about it though) but we ate at the food court a lot!  There is so much variety at every meal.  For breakfast you could have waffles (shaped like Mickey,) pancakes, eggs, meat, bagels; you name it you could have it.  It was the same for the lunch and evening menus; burgers, pizza, made to order pasta (which I would highly recommend,) huge sandwiches… I could go on.  Of course the food court is all fast food so there is not a lot of veg but they still had a few options for non-meat eaters.  If you have the dining plan you also get a refillable mug on your first visit that you can fill up with lots of different non alcoholic drinks as much as you want during your visit.  Besides the made to order pasta my other favourite thing about the food court is they do huge takeaway pizzas (in cute boxes with Chef Mickey and Minnie on!!)

One thing I would absolutely recommend is getting the Disney Dining Plan.  We had the quick service version but will absolutely upgrade to the full dining plan when we return to Disney next year.  If you work it right you can save so much money and really get a lot of food out of it.  A lot of tour operators and Disney themselves throw in the quick service dining plan when you stay at Port Orleans so shop around for a deal that includes it.  Easily meals for the two of us were coming to around $33.  Times that by three over fourteen days and you get the idea!

One of our favourite things to do was grab a big pizza, fill up our mugs, grab a dessert from the bakery and head over to ‘Movie Under the Stars’.  For those that don’t know, Movie under the stars is where Disney put up a huge screen and show a different film each night.  We watched ‘Wreak it Ralph’ and ‘The Princess and the Frog’ while we were there.  You can grab towels, make yourself comfortable and watch one of your favourite Disney films whilst lying (or sitting) outside, under the stars.  This is fairly popular each night but never overcrowded. It was nice that we could come back from the parks early to relax and get some rest but not be confined to our room.  Port Orleans Riverside do this over at the courtyard at 9pm each night.  I’m fairly certain that most the other Disney resorts offer this activity also.

Speaking of activities, Port Orleans has loads from fishing to speed boating and even a pirate cruise for younger children.  We went canoeing on the river, which I recommend, but our favourite on site activity was using the surrey bike (a bike which 2/4 people can ride) to see the resort.  As I said earlier, Riverside is quite big and the surrey bike went around the entire outskirt of the resort.  We got to explore so much more of the resort than we would have had we been on foot.

One thing I will say about Riverside is that the buses can get a little crazy.  Being the biggest ‘moderate’ resort on Disney property you can probably imagine that there is a lot of people wanting to use the Disney transportation system to get to and from the parks.  My only tips are to arrive at the bus stop with plenty of time before reservations, avoid the main bus stop as that is the final pick up/drop off and if all else fails at the end of a long day at the parks, hop onto the French Quarter bus and take a short stroll down the river back to Riverside.

Wow I actually wasn’t planning on writing this much but I’ve gotten so carried away while reminiscing that this has turned into a full blown review.  Would I recommend Riverside? Absolutely!  I’ve stayed at a few Disney hotels now and Riverside is by far my favourite!  I’d love to go back but as one of my goals in life is to stay at every Disney World hotel, it might be a few years before I get to go back!  If you’d like to see a walking tour of Port Orleans then check out my YouTube video below 🙂 I also have lots of Disney World vlogs over on my YouTube channel so go check them out!!!