Disclosure: Affiliate links within. Purchasing and/or clicking on some of the links in this post may result in a commission paid to us at no extra cost to you. We stayed at the Disney Port Orleans Riverside as part of the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration. While I paid for attendance, I did receive discounted rates and special perks. All opinions are my own.
I’ve written extensively about some of the value resorts and deluxe resorts at Walt Disney World. But did you know that there’s also a moderate resort category? The moderate category is a great option for families who don’t want to spend the money on a deluxe resort, but want something a little more upscale than the value resorts.
My favorite moderate resort at Walt Disney World is the Port Orleans Resort, which has two separate and distinct areas – Port Orleans French Quarter and Port Orleans Riverside. We first stayed at the French Quarter years ago when my kids were babies, and I just returned to stay at Riverside during the recent Disney Social Media Moms Celebration.
Disney Port Orleans Riverside Review
The Difference Between Port Orleans Riverside and French Quarter
Although these Disney resort hotels share the same name, they do feel like different resorts. The French Quarter side is New Orleans themed, with buildings that resemble those that you would see in the French Quarter. That side is significantly smaller, although there are still many different buildings that you can stay in. Some rooms have Sassagoula river and pool views, while others have a garden or standard view. You’ll pay a little more for a better view – it’s usually only worth it if you plan to spend a lot of time in the room.
Port Orleans Resort Riverside is definitely larger, and has a more relaxed theme that will transport you to the bayou. There are two sections – Alligator Bayou, which is more rustic, and Magnolia Bend, which has buildings that resemble large historic mansions. In addition to river view, pool view, and garden view rooms, you can also upgrade to a princess-themed royal guest room. These are so fun for those with princess lovers, but if you aren’t in the room much, it may not be worth the added expense.
Wondering what the best side is – Port Orleans or Riverside? It really depends on your family and what you plan to do at the resort. I really enjoyed Port Orleans French Quarter when the kids were younger, because it’s a smaller resort and there is less walking to the different amenities.
Now that my kids are older, I prefer the Riverside section, because there are more activities right there. I think the specific decor/theme should be less of a factor in choosing a resort – look more at what you will do there.
Location of Port Orleans Disney
Port Orleans is in the Disney Springs section of the Walt Disney World Resort. As a result it’s closest to Disney Springs, rather than any of the particular theme parks. You’ll need to take a bus to the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
Rooms at Port Orleans Riverside and French Quarter
The rooms at the Port Orleans Riverside and French Quarter sections are exterior entry (similar to a motel, rather than a hotel), and do not offer balconies. The French Quarter is a significantly smaller resort, while Riverside is a sprawling resort. The rooms sizes are the same, however.
In your room, you’ll find an iron, hairdryer, coffee maker, coffee, and mini refrigerator. Rooms also have a curtain across the bathroom section, so you can get ready while your kids are still sleeping. There’s a small table with two chairs, but no desk.
Room types include the following:
Port Orleans Riverside Rooms
Garden view rooms include a view of the courtyard, bayou, or other garden-type area and have two queen beds. You can also choose a garden view room with a pull down bed that will accommodate a 5th person.
Pool view rooms have a view of the pool and two queen beds – I usually don’t choose these rooms because I don’t care about overlooking the pool. These are also available to accommodate a 5th person.
Standard rooms have two queen beds, and a parking lot view. I often book these when I know I’m not going to spend much time in the rooms. Like the other room types, you can also book a room that can accommodate a 5th person.
River view rooms are also available with views of the river. If I do choose to get a room with a view, this is typically what I choose.
Preferred rooms are available as well. These are preferred locations, close to the main building. There are also King Bed rooms offered with the various view types. These rooms just have one king bed.
There are also Royal Guest Rooms with a fun decor and fireworks headboards on the beds. These would be fun to book for a special occasion, but really think about whether you plan to be in the room for very long. The Royal Guest Rooms are available with the various views listed above.
Port Orleans French Quarter Rooms
Because it’s a smaller resort, there are less room options available. None of the rooms have the 5th person option, although there are several different view types – standard, pool, river, and garden. There are also king bed rooms available, but no preferred rooms. You won’t need one because the walk to the main building isn’t too long.
Port Orleans Riverside Pools
Although as a larger resort, Port Orleans Riverside does have more amenities, everything is available to guests at both resorts. It’s actually a pretty quick walk from one side to the other, so definitely take the time to explore. You may even consider spending a full day at the resort so that you can fully explore both sides.
The pool at Port Orleans Riverside is Ol’ Man Island, which is 3.5-acres and also offers a 95 foot long water slide. There are also five additional pools, including two in Magnolia Bend and three in Alligator Bayou. These are smaller pools, and much more low key than the main pool.
Pool at Port Orleans Resort French Quarter
On the French Quarter side, you’ll find the Mardi Gras themed Doubloon Lagoon, which includes a 51-foot-long sea serpent slide. There’s also a water play area. My kids loved this pool when we visited years ago. It’s great for younger kids.
Activities at Port Orleans
In addition to the pools, there are so many fun activities at Port Orleans. On select nights, you’ll be able to enjoy outdoor movies right at the resort. Movies are shown at one of the two resort areas – so check the schedule before making your plans.
The resort also offers a fun campfire where you can make s’mores, poolside activities, riverboat rides, surrey bike rentals, playgrounds, arcades (one at each resort), and catch and release fishing (additional fee applies to some of these activities). When you check in, you’ll receive a schedule with all of the activities that are going on during your stay.
Food at Port Orleans
Port Orleans offers two different food courts – one at each resort. You’ll find different food at each one, so it’s worth walking over to the other side to try something different. Be sure to try the delicious beignets at the French Quarter food court. These food courts are casual, so you don’t need reservations to eat there.
You’ll find one table service restaurant at Port Orleans – Boatwright’s on the Riverside side. It’s part of the Disney Dining Plan, so make Advance Dining Reservations if you want to eat there. We’ve eaten there during our family vacations and enjoyed it. I probably wouldn’t travel to Port Orleans just for Boatwright’s, but if you are already staying on site it’s worth eating there.
There are also several bars, including pool bars and two lounges (Scat Cat’s Club at French Quarter, and River Roost Lounge at Riverside). If you prefer to stay in your room, pizza delivery is also available, right from the resort.
Transportation to the Parks
If you are staying at either Port Orleans locations, you’ll need to take bus transportation to the parks. While schedules vary, you’ll sometimes find that two areas share a bus route. There’s one bus stop at the French Quarter, and four stops at Riverside. There’s also a boat that takes you to Disney Springs.
If you are looking for a fun resort with lots to do at a good price, either side of the Port Orleans resort could be a great option for your family. See all of our Walt Disney World tips here.
Frequently Asked Questions about Disney Port Orleans Resort French Quarter and Riverside
Are there any suites at Port Orleans French Quarter or Riverside?
There aren’t any suites. Some rooms at the Riverside resort do accommodate five people, but you’ll need to book those rooms specifically.
Is Port Orleans dog friendly?
Port Orleans Riverside is dog friendly (up to 2 dogs). You’ll need to call (407) 939-7539 to book accommodations with your dog.
Does Port Orleans Riverside or French Quarter have microwaves?
The rooms do not have microwaves, although the food courts do.
Can you walk from Port Orleans to the parks? Which park is Port Orleans Riverside closest to?
Port Orleans is closest to Disney Springs. You can’t walk to any of the parks, but complimentary bus transportation is offered.
Does Port Orleans Riverside or French Quarter have a fitness center?
Unfortunately, they do not have a fitness center.
I stayed at Port Orleans Riverside as part of my participation at the Disney Social Media Mom Celebration. I paid a nominal fee as an attendee, and was not required to post about any part of the celebration. My stay at Port Orleans French Quarter was part of a regular family vacation.