Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort-A Secret Oasis

WDW Info.com eloquently provides an exhaustive tour of Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside is themed around the antebellum south along the Missisippi river. The resort started life in 1992 as “Dixie Landings”. In 2001 Disney changed the name to Port Orleans Riverside. This massive resort is divided into two distinct sections – Magnolia Bend and Aligator Bayou. Magnolia Bend consists of four – two and three story plantation-style mansions. Aligator Bayou is comprised of 16 two story rustic, cajun-style buildings. In all, the resort has 2048 rooms spread over nearly 200 acres of land. The grounds are lined with oak and magnolia trees, along with azalea, camellia and rose bushes creating an atmosphere of relaxed southern charm. The Sassagoula river runs through the resort and provides transportation to Port Orleans French Quarter, as well as Downtown Disney marketplace and West Side. The food court here is called Riverside Mill, and while similar to what is offered at Port Orleans French Quarter, the food wasn’t quite as good. This resort also has a full service restaurant, Boatwrights – which in our estimation is among the worst on property. In contrast however, we found the rooms at Port Orleans Riverside the best of any of Disney’s moderates. The decor and style convey a relaxed, comfortable elegance that fits in perfectly with the overall feel of the resort. Even though the resort is large, it manages to keep a feeling of intamacy and charm and is arguably the best of Disney’s moderate resort category and certainly among the best of any Disney resort in Orlando.

Port Orleans Riverside Rooms

Of all of Disney’s moderate resorts, Port Orleans Riverside feel the most comfortable and the most elegant. Muted tones of moss green and wedgewood blue sit in excellent contrast to the dark wood headboards which depict scenes from around the resort. Each room has two queen size beds (Mattresses are Sealy Posturepedic Monogram series 400 plush) and make for a comfortable nights sleep – especially after a long day in the parks.  Rooms in all Disney moderate resorts feature H20 bath products (shampoo, conditioner and soaps).  An upgraded version of the H20 product is avaialble in the gift shop. Rooms have flat screen televisions with convenient access to HDMI ports as well as audio and video inputs.  This is convenient if you bring along video game systems for the kids or if you like to plug in your camcorder to review your video footage from the trip. Rooms here also have a small mini-fridge, wall safe (not large enough to hold a laptop though), coffee maker, iron and ironing board, and hair dryer.

All rooms sleep a maximum of 4 (plus one child in a crib), except King rooms which sleep 2. Room categories include Standard view, Garden View, Preferred Room, Water View and King Bed room. There is an additional charge for more than two adults in a room ($15 per person, per night)

Disney’s published rack rate for a standard room at Port Orleans Riverside ranges from $162 per night in value season to $253 per night in the peak holiday season. Generally speaking, an upgrade to a Garden view room is an additional $10 per night over the price of a standard and an upgrade to a Preferred, Water View or King Bed room is $25 per night more than the cost of a standard room. Those rates fluctuate throughout the year, and this is a general outline of pricing. For published rates, go to http://www.wdwinfo.com/wdwinfo/disney-rates.htm

Port Orleans Riverside Dining Options

Disney Dining Plan: Food purchased at the Riverside Mill uses counter services credits from the Disney Dining Plan. Most bakery items are considered snack credits . There are a few bakery items that are not available as snack credits, including specialty coffees. Meals at Boatwrights Dining Hall use one table service credit per meal. You can add the Disney Dining plan to a Magic Your Way package.

Riverside Mill: Themed after a cotton mill, the Riverside Mill serves as the resorts food court. Five seperate stations offer everything from fresh baked goods to chicken, hamburgers, pizza, a carving station and more. There is also a grab-and-go area for pre-wrapped sandwiches, snacks, bottled water, soda and desserts.

Fun Fact: The old Southern cotton mill in the food court has working gears powered by an authentic reproduction of a 35 foot water wheel.

NOTE: Room service is limited to pizza, salads, soft drinks and beer which are available from 4 p.m. to midnight.

Boatwrights Dining Hall is a full service restaurant offering cajun-style cuisine. Menu items include Chicken and Andouille Gumbo, Blackened fish, Jambalaya as well as more traditional dishes like grilled pork chops, grilled tenderloin medallions and slow roasted prime rib. Boatwrights has been a consistent disappointment in our recent visits . The seafood dishes seem to be better received than the non-seafood dishes, which seemed to be of low quality and poor preperation.

Fun Fact – Boatwright’s Dining Hall is themed around shipbuilding and has a large boat hull, in the process of being built, that hangs from the ceiling. The partially built sailboat is a reproduction of a flat bottom “New Orleans Lugger” that sailed the Mississippi River in the 1820s.

The River Roost Lounge offers appetizers such as beef nachos and buffalo chicken nuggets.  The lounge features live entertainment by Bob Jackson Wednesday through Saturday evenings.  It is a piano sing-a-long comedy routine. Bob has the energy of 10 eight year old children and does not take a break until an hour and a half into his show.  It’s quite lively and extremely entertaining for the whole family with tons of audience participation. The place fills up quick, so get there before the show starts at 8:30pm. He’s been doing this at Port Orleans Riverside since 1997 and you can find his schedule on his website. http://www.yehaabob.com.

Services for Kids: – These vary by season, but this is really one place where Disney shines.  If you have a day where you just want to hang out by the pool, rest assured there will be games and activities throughout the day to entertain the kids.  Some of the poolside activities that take place at Port Orleans Riverside are Close Counts, Disney Trivia, Notable Quotables, and more.  The Ol’ Man Island Pool Party takes place daily as well as the Best on the Bayo Dance Off.  There is also the “Campfire on de’Bayou’ adjacent to the childrens playground on Ol’ Man Island near the main pool. Movies under the Stars are offered each night (weather permitting) in the courtyard at Building 90 / Oak Manor. The Bayou Pirate Adventure is also available from Port Orleans Riverside for an additional charge.

The Medicine Show Arcade is located in the main building and offers a wide range of games suitable to all age groups.

– Babysitting is available through Kids Nite Out, Inc. – which is not owned or operated by Disney. Caregivers provide in-room services which include playing games, reading, and generally entertaining your kids. Services are also available through Kids Nite Out to plan parties and special events. Advanced reservations are required and services are available 24 hours per day. There is a 4 hour minimum for children 6 months to 12 years old. Cancellations must be made 24 hours in advance to avoid the 4 hour minimum cancellation fee. Reservations can be made by calling 407-828-0920.

Port Orleans Riverside Pools / Recreation

There are a total of 6 pools at Port Orleans Riverside, with the main pool located on Ol’ Man Island. The pools main feature is the 95 foot water slide. The main pool is themed to resemble an old fashioned swimming hole – with water falling from various ‘old’ wooden structures. There is a seperate kiddie pool and a hot tub located here as well. The Muddy Rivers pool bar serves light snacks and alcoholic beverages.

The remaining 5 quiet pools’ are located throughout the property (two pools located in the Magnolia Bend section and three located in the Alligator Bayou section). These pools are open 24 hours a day and do not have lifeguards on duty. There are changing rooms, restrooms, and laundry facilities at each of the 5 pools.

Ol’ Man Island Fun Fact– Legend has it that the island was settled in 1835 by a young man who made the island his home. It was a quiet country bayou, but eventually the island was settled and it was discovered by the children in the town. The bayou became their playground where they explored the beautiful world that had been created.

The huge Live Oak tree on Ol’ Man Island was relocated from the current site of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park. It is the largest living Live Oak tree ever to be transplanted.

Fishing excursions – 2 hour guided fishing excursions are available along the Sassagoula River. Fishing equipment is provided and 24 hour advanced reservations are strongly recommended. You can reserve a fishing excursion by asking your Dreams Unlimited Travel agent or by calling 407-WDW-PLAY. For current information and pricing on fishing excursions around Walt Disney World, click here.

The Fishing Hole – You can fish for bluegill and perch at the Ol’ Man Island Fishin’ Hole (a fully stocked catch and release pond). You can rent individual cane poles or you can choose the Family cane pole fishing adventure, for up to 6 people that costs around $13 per half hour.

Bike Rentals – Bicycles and Surrey bikes (which seat 4 people) are available for rent by the half hour and can be rented directly at the marina or by calling recreation from your in-room phone. Advance reservations are not required.

Boat Rentals – Sun tracker pontoon boats, Boston Whaler Montauk boats and Sea Raycer water sprites are available for rent by the half hour at the marina. Certain age restrictions apply. Rentals can be arranged at the marina, which is located just behind the main building. You can pilot boats up the Sassagoula river, which will take you to Port Orleans French Quarter, Old Key West, and the Downtown Disney area. You can not dock your boat at any of these other locations, but its an incredibly scenic ride to take.

Horse Drawn Carriage Rides – The Horse Drawn Carriage ride is a great way to see the property at night. 25 minute horse drawn carriage rides around the resort are available nightly from 6:00pm to 9:30pm (weather permitting). Carriages can seat up to four adults, or two adults and three children. Tickets are sold directly by the carriage drivers and only cash or Disney room charge is accepted (no credit cards). For advanced reservations call 407-WDW-PLAY and for same day reservations call 407-824-2832 (walk-ups may be available).

Port Orleans Riverside Transportation

Water launch service is available to Downtown Disney Marketplace/West Side from the marina. There are four bus stops at Port Orleans Riverside, the North, South, East and West depots. The East depot is located behind building 85, the North depot behind buidling 80, the west depot behind building 25, the south depot outside the main building. Bus service is shared with Port Orleans French Quarter and there are times when the wait for a bus can be lengthy, especially during busier times of the year.

Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside address:
1251 Riverside Drive
Lake Buena Vista, FL, 32830
Phone: 407-934-6000 | Fax: 407-934-5777
Check In: 3PM | Check Out: 11AM

Maximum persons per room: 4 (plus child in crib)
Category: Moderate
Maximum persons per room: 4 (2 if booking a King room)
Number of rooms:  2048
Room size:  314 Sq Ft.
Charge for 3rd and 4th guest: $15 per night / per guest
Credit Cards accepted: Disney Gift Card, Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, JCB

Reserve today for a lovely Autumn stay!

via WDW Info.com