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{travel} Disney Hotels - Port Orleans French Quarter and Riverside

  Thursday, February 16, 2023 at 7:30 AM   |    Post a Comment     Tagged:,,,, 

Happy Throwback Thursday! Today we'll be traveling back to two separate Disney World trips to visit Port Orleans Resort - Riverside and Port Orleans Resort - French Quarter. Since they are sister resorts you can use the amenities at both as long as you're staying at one - aka the pools! It's also easy to walk between the resorts to enjoy different dining options. They are both "Moderate" resorts meaning they are slightly fancier than the cheapest options but still fairly affordable if you are able to use an offer or split the cost with a group (of up to 4 people for normal rooms)

Royal Guest Room

Riverside was actually the first Walt Disney World resort I stayed at! Previously, my friends and I would stay at Universal and Uber over to Disney but for this trip my best friend, sister and I decided to "splurge" on a Royal Guest Room. We paid around $420 each, $1,326 total with Passholder discount, for 5 nights in December 2017. Christian and I stayed at French Quarter for two nights in May 2020 for $630 with Passholder discount.


Let's talk similarities first.  If you couldn't guess by their names, both resorts are inspired by Louisiana and New Orleans. Riverside is more "country" and French Quarter feels more like the big city, but still quaint. Both also have a boat that will take you over to Disney Springs, Disney's outdoor mall/shopping area. This is super convenient if you plan on doing some after park shopping or dining.  Both hotels also have access to Horse-Drawn Carriage Rides (departing from Riverside,) bike rentals, surrey bike rentals, arcades, fishing, jogging areas and more. They also host Movies Under the Stars like other resorts on property.

Boat to Disney Springs from French Quarter

Bus Stop at Port Orleans French Quarter

Riverside has 2048 rooms, two sections (Magnolia Bend and Alligator Bayou) and four bus stops while French Quarter has one bus stop and 1008 rooms.  In total there are seven pools. Five leisure pools at Riverside—3 in Alligator Bayou and 2 in Magnolia Bend as well as Ol’ Man Island, a 3.5-acre area with pool, water slide, hot tubs, kiddie pool and more. French Quarter has one, Doubloon Lagoon which also has a water play area, a whirlpool spa and poolside bar.


Of the two resorts I prefer French Quarter since it is smaller, this means it feels less busy and you have a shorter walk to the bus. Riverside is very large and if you don't have a Royal Guest Room you could be walking a long way to get to your room at the end of a long day at the parks.

Revel in the romance and pageantry of New Orleans’s historic French Quarter at this Moderate Resort hotel. Discover cobblestone streets, gas lamps, wrought-iron balconies and fragrant magnolia blossoms, along with colorful Mardi Gras characters and the sounds of jazz. Then stroll along the lushly landscaped Sassagoula River to Disney's Port Orleans Resort – Riverside, where the bayou beckons, as do Cajun and Creole specialties.
From the stately white-column mansions of Magnolia Bend to Alligator Bayou’s quaint backwoods cottages, delight in a picturesque setting that evokes the romance of rural Louisiana. Take a short walk along the Sassagoula River to Disney's Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter, known for Southern specialties like gumbo, jambalaya and beignets.


Now let's really separate them out for my experiences at the hotels.


French Quarter 

Let's start with my favorite overall resort, shall we? While our room wasn't necessarily amazing, just a basic room with all you need to sleep and freshen up, I much prefer the atmosphere at French Quarter. It feels quieter and more isolated because of its smaller size. I only have a few room photos because there aren't too many stand out details so let's share those first.

I love a good hidden Mickey!

Very simple decor in the rooms

The rest of the room

One of the main reasons to visit French Quarter - even if you aren't staying there - is for the Mickey Beignets! Scat Cat's Club is the only place on Walt Disney World property where you can get Mickey shaped beignets. EPCOT in France has some but they are square and filled with nutella. You can get them normal (dusted in powdered sugar,) a beignet sundae, beignets with pipettes full of your choice of alcohol or even a Beignet Po'Boy. Scat Cat's Club also has live music to enjoy.


French Quarter has a Quick Service restaurant, Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Everyone in our group loved the Jambalaya, soooo good!  There is also a bar called Mardi Grogs that has cocktails, non-alcoholic beverages and some light snacks.

We got to see a pretty empty lobby when we arrived at the hotel, but the reason isn't very happy. To make a long story short, Christian and I drove to Disney for this trip and we were a half hour from Disney around 3am but didn't think the hotel would let us park and hang out/sleep in our car until check-in so we stopped at a rest area to get some shut eye. Unfortunately not even 10 minutes after we got set up to sleep we were jolted awake by something hitting the car. Turns out it was a truck and it side-swiped us. After calling the police and getting our report written up we decided to just drive the rest of the way to Disney and see if they would let us in the hotel early. We arrived around 5am and after checking with the manager the lovely Cast Member at the front desk was able to find an open room for us. We had to downgrade from a Garden View room but I just wanted to sleep so we were totally okay with that (although I never got my refund for having a cheaper room, but I overlook that since they let us in so early!) At least after all that craziness I have some nice, empty, lobby photos to share, ha ha.

Artwork in the French Quarter lobby

Even the ceilings are beautiful

I always appreciate a fancy check-in desk

An empty interior entrance (that looks like it's outside)

Sitting area in the lobby across the way (through the windows) you can see Scat Cat's Club

You can actually send letters from here!

The grounds of the hotel are also very serene and made to look like you're walking along a cobblestone street. We also enjoyed saying "Hello!" to the alligator band whenever we walked past the pool area.

I love the details on the outside hallways for the rooms

The entrance to the lobby from within the resort grounds


Now on to Riverside! When I stayed here it was Christmas time so the hotel was decked out for the holidays and super pretty. I don't have too many photos of the resort grounds because we were trying to get a LOT done and didn't explore too much during the day when it would be light enough for photos. But the lobby of the hotel feels so grand and is really beautiful.

Who doesn't love a gorgeous tree?

Entrance to Riverside Lobby

The beautiful lobby! Spot my friend and I on the left of the photo, ha ha

I don't have any photos of the restaurant options here, but we did have breakfast one morning at the Riverside Mill Food Court, their Quick Service location. In addition to the food court there are 2 bars, River Roost and Muddy Rivers. But one of the main draws of this hotel is Boatwright's Dining Hall for dinner. They have all types of comfort food, everything from jambalaya and cajun chicken to shrimp and grits or a seafood broil. I haven't dined here yet but it's on my list!


On to the Royal Guest Room! This is one of my favorite themed rooms in all of Walt Disney World (so far!) The attention to detail is amazing and I love all the tiny (and not so tiny) references to various Disney Princess films.

I spy a Magic Carpet!

How beautiful is this?

Princess details are even on the coat rack

Maybe the coolest sink I've ever seen

Another hidden Mickey!

Gotta have a little love for the Princes in the room

Princess portraits and the beautiful headboard artwork

A note from Princess Tiana welcoming you to the hotel

A beautiful portrait of Tiana

I don't think I've ever seen a more beautiful TV enclosure


The best part of the room is the headboards. Do I sense some confusion? It's not just the beautiful artwork that makes this headboard amazing. They include a fireworks show at the press of a button! So much fun for kids and adults alike! We were so excited.

About Closet Fashionista

Loves to get bargains on clothes and is obsessed with Harry Potter and Disney. By day she is a freelance graphic and web designer. She also has a slight obsession with movies.

You can also find her on the web at her Harry Potter and Matthew Lewis fan sites.

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