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Port Orleans Riverside Disney Resort

Reviewing: Disney Orlando  |  Rating:
verbiosa By verbiosa on
Badge: Author | Level: 3 | Destinations Expertise:
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For our second trip at Walt Disney World, we couldn't find the same kind of room discounts we did the first time around, and wound up staying at a moderate resort. A base-room here is roughly $150. With the Annual Pass discount, we paid $99 a night plus $15 for a trundle bed and another $10 for internet service. (I know, you would expect wifi to be free at the Disney resorts, but it's not ... and it's not even wi-fi. If you don't have a ethernet port at this resort, you're out of luck.)

We've stayed at all the biggies at WDW in Orlando, but no off-site hotels. Please take that into consideration as you read this review.

As far as theming goes, the POR reminds me of a little bit lesser quality Grand Floridian. Because we had five people, we stayed in Alligator Bayou, and used the maps available at WDWInfo and Allears to find a room close to the main building, restaurants and bus stop. Building 14 was perfect, though - if you have mobility issues - know there isn't an elevator.

The rooms have large picture windows with a heater/ac unit in front, two queen beds, a trundle (child-sized, for sure) a desk, bench, small fridge, armoir for tv and clothing and bathroom area with two sinks and a curtain to separate vanity area from the sleeping area. The bathroom itself was a little small, but still very nice, with a shower/tub combo. There's also a hair dryer, ice bucket, iron and ironing board and coffee pot with free coffee. An ice and vending area can be found on the 2nd floor (and possibly the first, as well).

Views from the outside of your room look over an old-fashioned wooden railing into a beautifully landscaped area thick with ferns and palms and flowering trees. We didn't get a water view room. Some of the views overlook the Sassagoula (read: Mississippi recreated) River or one of several pools -- which you have to bring your own towels for. Guests should know that checking in, but it's a fact that gets missed. If you're at one of the smaller pools, you'll either have to bring towels from your room (you can request extra at the desk) or go to the big pool - excellently themed Ol' Man Island - and pick some up for your room.

The theming behind POR hankers back to Louisiana in the 1800's, winding back through N.O. (at Port Orleans French Quarter) past the old mansions and finally into the backwoods. You can get bus service to the parks or take a boat to POFQ or Downtown Disney). There is convenient parking on-site which is free for guests.

POR has two quality dining options - Boatrwrights, where you can enjoy a sit-down meal, or River Mill, more like a cafeteria with nice selections. We ate at River Mill, also picked up refillable mugs there (good for pop, tea and hot chocolate at the resort ... they cannot be taken into the parks). Outside there is a large water wheel that turns a millwork inside the restaurant. It's very cool to sit and watch. The food is good too. Pasta, burgers, sliced turkey and beef, pizza, specialty sandwiches, a small bakery. There is fruit and other beverages, as well. There is no room service at POR, but you can load up a tray and take things back to your room.

One disadvantage of moderate resorts is there isn't as much to do, unlike deluxe resorts that have an inexhaustable list of activities. At Port Orleans Riverside, you can rent a bike, surry bike or a number of water crafts. You can swim at Ol' Man Island or a number of smaller pools OR hitch a ride to Port Orleans French Quarter and use their outstanding pool. (Currently being rehabbed.) You can go on a fishing excursion or catch-and-release at the dock. There are a few other activities, carriage rides and hair wraps, and a bar that was very active while we were there which features a piano player or comedian act.

There is also a small general store offering everything from Disney clothing to toys to allergy medicine (at a premium rate).

The only blight on our experience here was an accident in the parking lot that wasn't reported. Security came and was very hesitant to have us say it happened on property. However, the desk clerk the handled it - as well as the woman who checked us in, and Mousekeeping (who left wonderful towel animals everyday) were all very accommodating.

Overall, we enjoyed our stay at the Port Orleans Riverside but because our children didn't enjoy the trundle bed, and it was uncomfortable to crunch all 5 of us into the beds, we probably wouldn't stay here again. It seems like a great choice for a family of 4.