Disney’s Port Orleans Resort is actually not one, but two resorts: Port Orleans Resort: Riverside, and Port Orleans Resort: French Quarter. They’re located next to one another, and they’re both moderate level resorts. We’ve stayed at both resorts, and enjoyed them immensely! There are important differences that may make you partial to one over the other, however. So we’ve assembled a list of pros and cons that touches on both resorts, so you can make the choice for yourself!
1. Boat Transportation
Boat transportation is always one of our favorite ways to travel in Walt Disney World, so when we find a resort with a water taxi, it’s a definite pro! You can hop on a water taxi from either Disney’s Port Orleans Resort: Riverside or Port Orleans Resort: French Quarter, and take a relaxing 20-minute cruise down the lovely Sassagoula River to Disney Springs. Keep an eye out for the cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort along the way!
There’s a lot to be said for the pools at both Riverside and French Quarter. Doubloon Lagoon, the main pool at French Quarter, is home to a huge sea serpent waterslide named Scales (ridden, of course, by Neptune himself). At Riverside, ‘Ol Man Island is the main pool complex, and it’s 3.5 acres of fun for all. And don’t forget the smaller leisure pools scattered about Port Orleans: Riverside! They’re beautiful, rarely crowded, and often flanked by picturesque arches and columns, making them a perfectly peaceful escape.
Disney Imagineers outdid themselves with the theming for both Port Orleans resorts. French Quarter is modelled after the historic French Quarter of New Orleans. Here, you’ll enjoy details like wrought-iron balconies and cobblestone streets, along with larger-than-life Mardi Gras characters. Port Orleans: Riverside brings to life rural Louisiana, with beautifully landscaped grounds and gorgeous architecture. Both resorts are located on the Sassagoula River, which provides a serene backdrop, no matter which resort you choose!
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4. Royal Rooms
If you have a young prince or princess in your party, then Port Orleans: Riverside’s royal rooms are for you! These rooms are a cut above the other rooms at the resort. They feature Princess Tiana, but there’s nothing exclusively girly (and certainly nothing pink!) about these extravagantly royal rooms! You’ll find wood, rich textures, luxurious fabric, fibre-optic headboards, and a ton of amazing detail in each room. There’s also plenty of nods to Disney princes. Your whole family will feel like royalty!
5. Horse-Drawn Carriage Rides
What could be more idyllic than your own horse-drawn carriage ride along the beautiful paths lining the banks of the Sassagoula River? This is a great way to take a break from the chaos of the parks while still enjoying family time together. Of course, it’s also a wonderfully romantic excursion for two! The horse-drawn carriage rides are 25 minutes long, and depart from the marina at Port Orleans: Riverside, and the carriages fit up to 4 adults, or 2 adults and 3 children.
There aren’t many Walt Disney World resorts that are this close to one another! Port Orleans Resort: French Quarter is just a short, pleasant walk or boat ride from Port Orleans Resort: Riverside. You’re free to wander around the grounds of both resorts, or check out the dining options. And because these are sister resorts, guests are welcome to visit the pools at one resort while staying at the other. There’s a lot to be said for paying for one resort, and getting two!
1. Size (Riverside)
With over 2000 rooms, Disney’s Port Orleans Resort: Riverside is a sprawling resort. We loved this about it, as the walk to our room, though not short, was very pleasant, and allowed us to enjoy the scenery along the river and the different types of architecture in the various accommodation buildings. But for some guests, the size of Riverside could be a con, especially if your room happens to be located a fair jaunt away from the lobby. If you have very small children or aren’t comfortable with a bit of a trek to your room after a long day in the parks, Disney’s Port Orleans Resort: French Quarter is a better option, as it’s a much smaller resort.
2. No Table Service Restaurant (French Quarter)
If it’s important to you to have a table service restaurant at your resort, you should know that Port Orleans Resort: French Quarter doesn’t have one. It still has plenty of food options, and even a couple of jazz lounge/bar areas, so you certainly won’t go hungry! But for a table service restaurant, you’ll have to head to a different resort, Disney Springs or one of the parks. We didn’t find this con especially off-putting, especially since Disney’s Port Orleans Resort: Riverside and its table service restaurant is just a short walk away.