Port Orleans Riverside is one of the moderate Walt Disney World Resorts

Walt Disney World Port Orleans Riverside Review

Port Orleans Riverside Review

When it comes to a place to lay your head after a hard day at the theme parks Walt Disney World has a lot of choices. Those choices range from value resorts (the cheapest) to deluxe villas (the most expensive.) In the middle you find the moderate resorts. One of those moderates is Port Orleans Riverside.

Resort Overview

All Disney resort hotels are themed but some are themed better than others. Port Orleans Riverside is definitely one of the better themed resorts.¬†Designed to resemble a riverside town during the early 1800’s, Port Orleans Riverside is so well done that it easy to forget you are only minutes away from the world’s busiest theme parks.

Guests enter the resort through the¬†Sassagoula Steamboat Company or Fulton’s General store, both of which are in the same building. The check-in is designed to resemble a ticket counter for the fictional steamboat company. Also in the main building are the River Roost Lounge, the Boatwright Dining Hall and the Riverside Mill (the resorts food court.) There is an arcade also in the main building but you have to exit the building to access it.

As you exit from the back of the main building you find yourself on the banks of the¬†Sassagoula River. This river runs all the way to Downtown Disney and there are water taxis that will take you either there or to Riverside’s sister resort, Port Orleans French Quarter. From this point guests can go left the Alligator Bayou section of the resort, right to the Magnolia Bend section of the resort or almost straight across a bridge to Ol’ Man Island.

In the middle of the River is Ol’ Man Island. To reach it from the Sassagoula ¬†Steamboat Company guests walk across a bridge. Ol’ Man Island is pretty much in the middle of the two halves of Port Orleans ¬†Riverside (Alligator Bayou and Magnolia Bend.) The resort feature pool is on¬†Ol’ Man Island and resembles an abandoned saw mill. ¬†Other activities on the island are a Jacuzzi hot tub, fishing, and a camp fire area. There is also a lounge on the Island, Muddy Rivers.

Alligator Bayou is the more rustic side of Port Orleans Riverside.
Alligator Bayou is the more rustic side of Port Orleans Riverside.

Port Orleans Riverside has two distinct sections, Alligator Bayou and Magnolia Bend. Alligator Bayou is rustic south. Magnolia Bend is elegant south. Both areas are beautifully laid out. Each section also has “quiet pools” (Alligator Bayou has three and Magnolia Bend has two.) These pools do not have the theming nor the lifeguards like the feature pool on Ol’ Man Island.

Port Orleans Riverside Review Magnolia Bend
Magnolia Bend is the majestic side of the old South featuring mansions much like the old plantations.
The Grumpy Review

In the interest of disclosure Grumpy has only stayed at three resorts (Port Orleans Riverside, Coronado Springs and the Animal Kingdom Lodge.) That being said this one is Grumpy’s favorite. Grumpy is not alone. This resort consistently ranks as the best of the moderate resorts. In fact some people would say Port Orleans Riverside is better than some of the deluxe resorts. If you haven’t given Port Orleans Riverside a try, Grumpy highly recommends it.

What Grumpy Likes

The theme is so well done here you can almost imagine you are in another time and place. There is plenty to see and do just walking around this resort. The water taxi to Downtown Disney is a great experience at night. The food court is the best Grumpy has tried and the Boatwright serves¬†an excellent meal! The prime rib is Grumpy’s favorite. The pecan pie is also excellent.

When it comes to the two sections of the resort, both are nice but Grumpy prefers Alligator Bayou. Rooms in Alligator Bayou somehow give the impression of isolation. Grumpy also loves the bed frames which look like branches cut out of trees.

What Grumpy Doesn’t Like

The resort is big! Maybe not as big as Coronado or Caribbean Beach but big enough. This can mean quite a walk to the food court to fill your mug in the morning. And if you happen to be staying in Alligator Bayou it can be kind of tricky to learn your way through the paths.

When it comes to the Disney buses it seems like Port Orleans ¬†always has fewer than the other resorts and they always come last. ¬†But this is probably just more of Grumpy’s impatience than anything else. Port Orleans Riverside and French Quarter often share a bus, which does not help.

It also seems like a very long ride to the Animal Kingdom Park and the Magic Kingdom.

Beyond that, there really isn’t much Grumpy doesn’t like about Port Orleans Riverside. For more information on Port Orleans Riverside or French Quarter PortOrleans.org is the place to. Click here to take a look.


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3 thoughts on “Walt Disney World Port Orleans Riverside Review”

  1. We always stay at Port Orleans Riverside because we are a family of 5 and it’s one of the only resorts that will accommodate our family size. We LOVE it there. My daughter and I will be trying Animal Kingdom Lodge next week – it will be interesting to compare a deluxe resort to our “home away from home.”

    1. Grumpy has stayed at both Port Orleans Riverside and Animal Kingdom Lodge. The Animal Kingdom Lodge is great but Grumpy was just as happy, if not happier, with Port Orleans Riverside.

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