Disney Port Orleans Resort
The Disney Port Orleans resort is rather interesting, seeing as it's a "two in one". The two halves that make the whole are called French Quarter and Riverside. Nope, it's not exactly a split personality, but it is two different views of the Deep South!
The first thing to know -- Port Orleans falls into the Moderate class of Disney World resorts. This means that it's a little more upscale than the Value class, but not quite as fancy as the Deluxe resorts. The Moderates are a great combination of amenities and price.
Staying at Port Orleans
Your first decision will be if you should stay at French Quarter or Riverside! Both of them are wonderful, but they do have very different "flavors" to their themes.
French Quarter is the snazzy side, with wrought iron, jazz music and rooms that are decorated to fit the theme. French QUarter is, interestingly, the smallest of all the Disney Moderate resorts -- only 1,008 rooms (and yes, that is small when it comes to Disney World).
On the other hand, Riverside is the "Old South" -- think southern plantations, mint juleps and lazy summer afternoons by the river. Riverside is definitely the larger of the two, with 2,024 rooms to choose from.
The beds in the rooms have either two double beds or one king bed. However, the king beds are limited to first-come first-served, so don't necessarily count on getting one.
As far as room to spread out, expect in the neighborhood of 314 square feet. I've stayed at French Quarter, and the rooms are comfy. There's plenty of drawer space, but the space for hanging clothes is a little small. It should be OK, though, unless you have a lot of clothes that need to be on hangers.
One thing I particularly liked was the abundance of pillows and the how comfortable the bed was. In addition to what was on the bed, there were extra pillows and blankets in the room as well.
If you can swing it, it's worth a the few extra dollars to stay on the "river". Running through the resort is the "Sassgagoula River", which has water taxis that run between the resorts and Downtown Disney. River-front rooms are a tiny bit larger and are also quieter.
Eating Out -- Restaurants
There is one main restaurant that serves both sides of Port Orleans. It's called Boatwights, and it's located in the Riverside area. Do make reservations if you want to eat here, or you will be facing a long wait time.
However, the food is "good Southern cooking" and it is yummy! You also get a lot on your plate, so you may just want to come hungry. You'll find homestyle breakfasts, lunches and dinners,although more mainstream entrees are available. When it comes to desserts, they are large enough to share.
There are some quick food/ snack stands in both resort areas, which are great for grabbing something on the run. But if you want a sit-down meal, make a reservation at Boatwights.
(Your other option...eat in one of the parks, or at one of the other resorts.)
Activities and Amenities
There are two themed pools, one at each resort. The pool at French Quarter is reminiscent of Mardi Gras time. However, the pool at Riverside is more like a ol' swimming hole (not in size, just in theme).
You can take a horse-drawn carriage ride along the river, or rent a bicycle built for four (you read that right) and meander the paths. If you're feeling adventurous, you can rent a boat at the docks, maybe do some catch-and-release fishing!
I mentioned it in passing before, but there is a water taxi that runs between the two resorts and Downtown Disney. It's about a 20 minute ride, and your "taxi driver" tells you all about what you're passing along the banks of the river. So it's a nice relaxing ride.
High-speed interned access is available for an extra fee, which can be a bit on the steep side. But if you don't have 4G and you need to get connected, you can do so in your room.
The Moderate class resorts are popular, so you will want to book as much in advance as you can -- three months out isn't too soon, and you'll want to make your reservation even farther in advance during Summer or around Christmas.
If you're looking for the best prices, from just after Labor Day to the end of September has good rates, as does right after the New Year, up through the end of January to maybe the first week in February.
Having stayed here, I can recommend this resort to anyone who wants one of the Moderate class. It's well-planned out, comfortable and just plain fun!
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