Thursday, January 13, 2011

Disney's Port Orleans Riverside Resort ~ A Review of Our Favorite Moderate Resort in Walt Disney World

Port Orleans Riverside is one of my favorite of the Disney moderate resorts.  My husband and I first stayed there in 1997 for our friends' Disney wedding.  We had always stayed at Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort, but for this trip, our first ever trip to Disney just the two of us, we decided to try a new resort and loved it as soon as we arrived.  At the time, it was called Dixie Landings.

The resort is split into two sections - Magnolia Bend and Alligator Bayous.  Over the years we have stayed in both sections.  Magnolia Bend is lined with plantation style mansions along the Sassagoula River.  The landscaping is just gorgeous.  The year we visited in May, the Magnolia trees were in bloom and there were bunnies everywhere!  Though we have stayed in several of the mansions, Magnolia Terrace is our favorite.  It is convenient to the food court, the pool and a bus stop.  Plus, there is a beautiful gazebo along the walkway, which a couple was using for the vow renewal service one day during our stay.  I would highly recommend requesting Magnolia Terrace if you are planning to stay at Port Orleans Riverside. 

The second section is the bayou section.  The landscaping changes over from the mansions and magnolia trees to a more rural and rustic look and feel.  The Alligator Bayou buildings actually circle around Ol' Man Island, the main swimming area for POR.  The paths through the bayous are much more winding through plenty of greenery, than the walkways surrounding the mansions.  The night we checked in, we actually kept making a circle while trying to find our building.  Normally, I wouldn't admit that, I mean who can't find their room in Disney, right?  But since there was another family we kept passing, I knew it wasn't just us!  It became comical to the point that the father finally said to us, as we passed for at least the third time, I'm glad it's not just me!  We knew exactly what he was talking about! 

Port Orleans Riverside has so many wonderful ammenities, which is I why we keep going back.  First, Fulton's General Store has a wide range of merchandise and for some reason I find it to be much better than other resort gift shops.  The food court, which food-wise is typical of other Disney food courts, is split into sections with burgers, pizza, the broiler, deli and bakery.  We love being able to eat our meal while watching the working water wheel right outside.  We always try to get seats at the window right beside it.  Like other moderate resorts, POR also offers quiet pools throughout the resort, as well as the main pool and kiddie pool on Ol' Man Island.  But unlike other resorts, you can "pool hop" over to Port Orleans French Quarter and take a dip in the Doubloon Lagoon, which includes a sea serpent slide. 

Our most favorite thing at POR is River Roost.  It is an indoor lounge with very comfortable seating, delicious drinks and food.  But these aren't why it is our favorite thing, Bob Jackson is.  Yee-Haw Bob is an amazing piano player and comedian who gets the room singing and moving.  It is very family oriented (there is seating for families to enjoy the show without sitting in the bar area) and even better, it's completely free!  Our first night seeing Bob, we happened to have a terrible travel day with the airline we chose and went straight to River Roost after depositing our luggage in our room.  We must have looked worn down because Bob was taking a break soon after we arrived and came right over to our table and we had a really nice chat.  He doesn't play every night at River Roost, but we make sure our plans include seeing him at least once per trip.  
Joey on the boat to
Downtown Disney

One more unique ammenity about Port Orleans Riverside that makes it stand out from other moderate resorts is the boat to Downtown Disney.  Being able to float down the Sassagoula River past Port Orleans French Quarter, Old Key West and Saratoga Springs to reach Downtown Disney is so relaxing and a nice change of pace from the busses.  

As you can probably tell, POR is a favorite of ours.  We have already booked our 2011 WDW trip and will be staying at POR.  Only 290 more days!


Hedy said...

I love POR too-it was the resort I stayed at my first several Disney trips, so it says "home" to me like nothing else.

Disney_Casey said...

So many people talk about this resort and I have never stayed there. I really need to give a try and stay there

Beth Doda ~ disneymom2jhe said...

Casey - I would definitely say give POR a try. We just love it. In addition to what I listed, they also offer carriage rides, boat rentals (same as other resorts' marinias) and bike rentals. Well worth the stay!

Hedy - We have an emotional attachment to POR too. Our first trip alone before kids and also we stayed her for my son's very first trip.

Days In The Park said...

Sounds like an awesome resort! :)

Beth Doda ~ disneymom2jhe said...

Here is a great video from All Ears about POR:

Motherhood Magic said...

We stayed there many times when I was younger. I have some great memories there! Awwww. I miss it so.

Beth Doda ~ disneymom2jhe said...

We love the Caribbean, but it just feels so peaceful at POR. I can't wait to go back! We haven't been in a few trips, so I am really looking forward to it! Fingers crossed for Magnolia Terrace! :-)

Kimberly Hill said...

I didn't think I would like POR because I'm girly and Alligator Bayou did NOT appeal to me but we stayed there in November after our Wonder cruise and I loved it! We're staying at POFQ and the Poly this time - we'll be back to POR though.

Beth Doda ~ disneymom2jhe said...

We love this resort, though the kids have told me how disappointed they are we won't be staying at the "Pirate Pool." They love the Caribbean, but I like to change things up each trip. We haven't stayed at POFQ, but that is only because we are a family of 5 and they don't accommodate families of 5. :-(