Picking the perfect property to call home while visiting the Walt Disney World Resort is no easy task with so many to choose from but if you are looking for something that will transport you to a time gone by with sprawling grounds, stately mansions along with the backwoods cottages and engulf you with the gracious hospitality of the Bayou, look no further than Port Orleans Riverside.
Out of all of the resorts I have stayed at when visiting Walt Disney World, there’s a reason I keep returning here. From the charm that you find around every corner, to the peaceful Sassagoula River to the royal feel of the rooms to some of the best family friendly pools that Disney has to offer and of course the nightly antics of that world class showman and entertainer, YeHaa Bob, it’s hard to believe that this is considered a moderate resort as it feels deluxe in every way. Not convinced yet? Here are 7 reasons why we love staying at Port Orleans Riverside and why I couldn’t be more thrilled that this was chosen as our host resort for the 2017 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration Disney Land and Sea.
The Peaceful Louisiana Bayou Feeling
Stepping onto Port Orleans property is like to take a step back in time. You are surrounded in down home southern hospitality and the laid back feeling makes all of your cares melt away. From the immersive, southern theming, the stately white-column mansions of Magnolia Bend to the quaint backwoods cottages of Alligator Bayou along the Sassagoula River, the picturesque and expansive Port Orleans Riverside evokes the romance and tranquility of the rural Louisiana Bayou.
TIP: This is a resort to where you might want to think about upgrading to a preferred room. The property itself encompasses a larger area and it is worth it to only b a short walk away to Riverside Mill Food Court and the pools. There is nothing quite like waking up and opening your window to the view of the river.
The Royal Rooms
Port Orleans Riverside recently gave all their rooms a royal facelift and it’s all those little touches that you’ve come to love about staying at a Walt Disney World Resort and the best part, many of the rooms are designed for 5 The pull down bed quickly became the girl’s very favorite thing and each of the rooms boasts regal touches from Tiana and friends.
The rooms were spacious enough for our entire family and come complete with free Wi-Fi, a refrigerator and coffee maker, entertainment system and all of the other amenities you’ve come to expect from a Walt Disney Resort Hotel.
TIP: One of the best parts about the moderate resorts is that the in-room toiletries have a Mickey head on the bottle which of course you’ll want to take home and make the magic last just a little bit longer.
Riverside Mill Food Court & Boatwright’s Dining Hall
Looking for southern hospitality in a casual but creative setting overlooking the Sassagoula River? Get a taste of New Orleans at this food court by the big mill wheel that powers a working cotton press. Six stations satisfy any craving: bakery, grill, pizza & pasta, specialties, salads and a carving station. Or get some Grab ’n’ go items and keep them in your room to satisfy those late at night cravings.
If it’s a sit-down meal your looking for, look no further than Boatwright’s Dining Hall located right next to the Riverside Mill Food Court. Featuring such New Orleans favorites like gumbo and jambalaya, Boatwright’s offers a tantalizing taste of the Louisiana Bayou. And if that weren’t enough, the menu also offers such perennial favorites as voodoo chicken, sweet tea-brined pork chops, prime rib or Andouille-crusted catfish. Save room for dessert-from the crème Brule, bread pudding and pecan pie weave you’re going to try at least two if not all of them. A cavalcade of carnival-worthy cocktails is available to revelers 21 years of age and older, as is a kids’ menu for little one.
Tip: Try to schedule your dining times at off-hours. By eating at the Riverside Dining Hall a little later in the morning, or in the middle of the afternoon I avoided many of the crowds of the early morning park goer. Better yet, make an early reservation to have breakfast in one of the Parks and get a head start on the day.
There is no way to adequately explain the multi-faceted entertainment of Yehaa Bob for Yehaa Bob must be experienced for yourself. He is reason alone to stay at Port Orleans Riverside, and once you’ve seen him, you’ll b coming back for more. Bob calls home in the River Roost Lounge, located just off the main lobby and next to Boatwright’s. It is here that you’ll find all of the southern comforts of live entertainment by the one and only popular cabaret performer Yehaa Bob. While you’re there feel free to sip on one of the southern-style libations like a Southern Hurricane. A full bar is available at this charming old-fashioned watering hole, as are light snacks while the kitchen is open.
TIP: Cannot get a seat right away-no worries, there is plenty of standing room available and comfortable couches and chairs in the open lounge area located right there.
Good Old Fashioned Family Fun
Cross the bridge to a 3-plus acre hideaway with an old-fashioned swimmin’ hole and sawmill slide. Inspired by the story of Tom Sawyer, Ol’ Man Island even features a catch-and-release fishing hole and stories told around an evening campfire. The nearby Muddy Rivers pool bar and a hot tub provide fun for grown folks. Port Orleans Riverside boasts five leisure pools—3 in Alligator Bayou and 2 in Magnolia Bend—throughout the Resort. Or wander down to Port Orleans French Quarter and enjoy the Doubloon Lagoon with its festive decorations, an all-alligator band and a blue sea serpent waterslide immerse you in the magic of New Orleans or how about taking the family on a Horse-Drawn Carriage Rides.
Take in a beautiful scenic landscape on a timeless journey along the banks of the Sassagoula River or Embark on a leisurely bicycle outing along the Resort’s scenic waterfront promenade. For more fun, try the Surrey Bike built for 2 or 4.
At Port Orleans Riverside, you’ll also find jogging trails which are some of the most scenic of any of the Disney resorts, playgrounds for the kids, Movies Under the Stars or even better the Campfire on de’ Bayou where you can gather ‘round as the sun goes down for old-fashioned family fun as you roast marshmallows by a crackling fire.
Or how about treating your family to a morning or afternoon of fishing where they can experience bass fishing at its finest with a guided catch-and-release excursion from the Riverside Levee Marina. Old-fashioned cane pole fishing is also available at the Fishin’ Hole on Ol’ Man Island. Fishing at Walt Disney World Resort is catch and release only.
TIP: Make sure you schedule at least one non-park day during your Walt Disney World vacation or better yet, schedule a few hours each day just to relax and recharge at your resort.
Transportation By Water Taxi
One of my favorite parts about staying at Port Orleans Riverside is that it is one of the few places where you can travel by boat to get to Disney Springs. There is nothing quite like enjoying a leisurely cruise to Disney Springs on a complimentary water taxi. From there you can grab a bite to eat, explore the shops, bowl a few lanes or catch a bus to any to the other Disney properties or Parks. Of course one of the hugs advantages of staying at a Walt Disney World Resort Property is the free Disney Bus transportations that will whisk you to any of the theme parks as well as the Disney Magical Express, a complimentary transportation and luggage delivery service to and from Orlando International Airport.
TIP: The water taxis are the perfect way just to sit back, relax and enjoy the peace and calm being on the water can bring. It gives you that much needed respite you sometimes need.
Port Orleans French Quarter
For those looking for something a little bit smaller than the expansive Port Orleans Riverside, located within the same property and just a quick boat ride away is Port Orleans French Quarter. It is here that you will revel in the romance and pageantry of New Orleans’s historic French Quarter where cobblestone streets, gas lamps, wrought-iron balconies and fragrant magnolia blossoms evoke the Antebellum era and colorful Mardi Gras characters and jazz keep things lively.
TIP: We love using the pool at French Quarter and consider it to be among our top 5 favorite pools of any of the Walt Disney Resort Properties. Or try the Beignets –need I say more?
Whether you’re looking for the peace and charm and all the charm that goes hand in hand with southern hospitality, or you’re looking for that perfect Moderate resort with the feel of a Deluxe, look no further than Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort, located in the Disney Springs area of the Walt Disney World Resort.
Looking for a Deluxe Resort? Look no further than Disney’s Polynesian Resort or Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and stay tuned for our upcoming reviews of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Resort and Disney’s Contemporary Resort.
And if it’s Value that seems to be the perfect fit for your family, then why not try Disney’s All Star Music or Disney’s Pop Century or Disney’s Art of Animation? It’s all the magic of Walt Disney World Resort yet at an affordable price for any budget.
Make sure you’re following along with the entire celebration that is the Disney Social Media Moms which begins Tuesday, February 7 for the first ever Disney Land and Seas. Follow the special #DisneySMMC hashtag across social media or our own social media channels on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or right here as we come to you live from the Walt Disney World Resort and then from onboard The Disney Wonder.