Resorts: Port Orleans Riverside
The Resorts series will feature each of the resorts I’ve stayed at on Disney property! First up is Port Orleans Riverside, one of 5 Moderate Resorts on Disney property. The Moderate Resorts are roughly at the midpoint as far as pricing goes. I think the general theming of them is more adult than the Value Resorts but still not quite as high-end feeling as the Deluxe Resorts (which makes sense). You’ll still feel like you’re staying at a really nice resort but won’t break the bank as much as for those Deluxe places.
I’ve had the privilege of staying here 3 (but sort-of 4) times and it’s actually the only Moderate Resort I’ve ever been to. On our very first family trip to Disney World in 1994, we stayed at Dixie Landings resort, which is now the southern-style mansions side of Port Orleans Riverside!
Arriving at Port Orleans Riverside and seeing the main building for the first time doesn’t do the resort justice. The theming is good and everything looks nice from the outside, but you don’t get hit with that wonderful New Orleans charm until you walk in.
When we returned to Port Orleans Riverside in 2009, we stayed in the same area that had been Dixie Landings 15 years prior – Magnolia Terrace.
The bus setup at Port Orleans Riverside is nice. It’s such a large resort that there are 4 bus stops, and I feel like they’re well placed so you never feel like you’re too far from a stop. At the end of the night, though, I think some folks didn’t like having to be on the bus for longer if theirs was the last stop. I have noticed that the order of the stops isn’t always exactly the same – sometimes the South Depot (the main building) is the first stop and sometimes it’s the last. They will always go in the same order of South, West, North, East, so even if the first stop is different, you’ll still know where yours falls on the list.
The standard room was pretty basic, with two beds, two pedestal sinks, and bathroom with shower and toilet. Not a big fan of that quilt print, but hey, we barely spend time in the room, anyway. The look and feel of the big southern mansions was such a cute concept and (in my opinion) very well executed.
The mansions buildings are all 2 or 3 stories and some do have elevators, which was a must for my mom who has difficulty on stairs. Plus, let’s be honest, even for those of us who don’t struggle with stairs, hauling yourself up at the end of a long day in the parks is no fun.
I’m just going to go ahead and stay it: Port Orleans Riverside has the prettiest grounds on Disney Property. I know this is quite the statement to make, especially since I haven’t even come close to staying at all the Disney Resorts, but I ask you to hear me out.
I rest my case. Port Orleans Riverside is one of the most peaceful places I’ve ever had the opportunity to visit.
While I stand on the bridge, overlooking the calm water, it’s so hard to fathom what a busy place this is and just how many other guests are at this resort at the same moment I am.
The main building at Port Orleans Riverside is home to the check-in area, hotel souvenir shop, as well as lounge, restaurant, and food court. The very same food court I fell asleep in on our trip to Dixie Landings so many years ago. The side of the food court features a water wheel and you can see the mechanism working while you’re eating.
Outside the building (to the left of the view below) there are several rocking chairs overlooking the river and it is so peaceful early in the mornings on my coffee walk that I often have to stop and enjoy one for a few moments before we enter the craziness of the parks.
One of my favorite features of Port Orleans Riverside is the ability to hop on a boat to Disney Springs! Buses are great and all, but there’s something about the wind in your hair and getting to see the sights along the Sassagoula River on the way to dinner and shopping that I just love.
My husband and I have visited Disney World together twice and have stayed at POR on both trips. Our first trip was also in the Magnolia Terrance neighborhood, only we got to stay in one of the newly created Royal Guest Rooms! These Royal Guest Rooms are themed after The Princess and the Frog. And the headboards light up!!
My 3rd stint at POR (2nd with my husband) finally brought us over to the Alligator Bayou side of the property. This area has a much more tropical, rustic feel than the Magnolia Crescent area and we loved it. I actually liked the Alligator Bayou room best of the three, but the style is right up our alley.
The walk from the main building/South Depot bus stop was pretty similar when we stayed in the Magnolia Crescent area vs. Alligator Bayou, but our building both times in Magnolia Crescent was much closer to the East Depot than our Alligator Bayou building was to the West or South Depots. We often switched up where we got on or off on the Alligator Bayou stay, depending on if we wanted to stop by the food court to refill our mugs or if we had to pick anything up in the gift shop.
(This trip also happens to be the one my husband proposed on, but look for that in another post sometime in the spring)..
All-in-all, I think Port Orleans Riverside is an absolutely fantastic resort. If, after all the walking in the parks, you don’t want to do too much more once you get back to your resort each night, I’d suggest checking out a resort map and requesting a specific building when you make your reservation. Disney can’t guarantee guests will get what they request, but my experience has been that folks usually do. While there are 4 bus stops, my suggestion is to aim to be as close to the South Depot and main building as possible. Close to any bus stop is great, but if you also don’t want to do too much back-and-forth when getting food and souvenirs, that’s where you’ll want to be.
What is your favorite Disney resort? I’m always looking for where we’ll stay next time!