Port Orleans Riverside and French Quarter are Moderate resorts

Disney’s Port Orleans Resort Overview

Riverside and French Quarter are two separate resorts, though like Beach and Yacht Club they share amenities and are walking distance from each other.  Riverside is the larger of the two resorts and has more facilities whilst French Quarter is quieter and smaller with quick service as the only eating option.  Both resorts have great swimming pools with water slides.  The two resorts are located in the Disney Springs area.

In addition to the Disney buses, which take guests to the parks, a boat runs to Disney Springs.  It isn’t quicker to catch the boat to Disney Springs but it’s an alternative which many people enjoy.

Disney's port Orleans riverside
Port Orleans Riverside
Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside

Riverside is the larger of the two resorts with 2048 rooms in two distinct areas Magnolia Bend and Alligator Bayou.

Magnolia Bend

Magnolia Bend is made up of four Mansion Houses. These Mansions are elegantly themed, styled to look like grand southern villas. They are surrounded by fountains and beautiful landscaping of azaleas and magnolias.   It’s all about restrained elegance here, with a laid back vibe.  Located along the Sassagoula river Magnolia Bend is also home to the Riverside Princess rooms.  These rooms have Royal decor in blue and gold and little design touches from various Disney Princesses.  Here you’ll find a gold tap shaped like Aladdin’s lamp, a flying carpet and most charming a fibre optic firework display in the headboard.   These rooms are an extra cost but for a special Disney treat they are hard to beat.

Port Orleans riverside
Royal Rooms at Riverside
Alligator Bayou

Alligator Bayou is the other resort area, here the style is more rustic.  The Louisiana swamp is the theme with two storey villas located within meandering paths and lush landscaping.  The Bayou rooms have a more paired back design scheme with artisan styling touches and packing crates as furniture.  This area has preferred category rooms. For guests who want to be located close to the resort amenities, preferred rooms will guarantee closer proximity, but they don’t necessarily mean you’ll be closer to the bus stops.  Bayou rooms also have a truckle bed which means that they can accommodate a family of 5 in one room.

The room size in both areas of the Riverside resort is small, though larger than in the value category.  One thing  to note is that, in common with other moderate resorts, the bathroom is split into a small room with bath/shower and WC and a separate area with a double sink.  This outer sink area is separated from the main room only by a curtain.  A hanging rail for clothes is also located in this ‘sink’ area.  As with most of the moderate resorts the rooms are accessed from an external corridor.   The room’s window looks out onto the external corridor, therefore the view from the room will have other guests walking in front.  This also means if you want to sit on the balcony you have to accommodate the corridor traffic.

Port Orleans Riverside
photo credit: CL Photographs Wait…just a little longer… via photopin (license)

Riverside has 6 pools, of these 5 are small pools dotted around the clusters of villas and mansions. The large pool is located on Ol Man Island alongside a children’s play area and hot tub.  The feature pool is styled around an old saw mill with a 195ft. water slide and water fountains running off the saw mills construction.

Port Orleans riverside
Saw Mill pool on Ol Man Island at Riverside

Restaurants

Riverside has excellent dining choices for a moderate resort, it covers table, quick and bar options and all review well with diners staying at the resort.  Don’t get me wrong none of them you would journey to if not staying at the resort but for Port Orleans guests they provide a variety of dining so you don’t need to leave the resort if you don’t want to.

Quick service here is in the form of a mall type food court hence the name Riverside Food Court.  This place can get very busy indeed so it’s best to time your visit here away from peak times.  Boatwrights Dining Hall is the table service offer and there’s a bar River Roost Lounge.  The entertainment at River Roost is provided by Yehaa Bob, who has performed here since 1997, he’s a Disney legend.   Bob plays at the Lounge Wednesday through Saturday, get there in plenty of time to be sure of a seat.

French Quarter

Further down the Sassagoula river is Port Orleans’ second resort, French Quarter.  This resort is much smaller than Riverside and the theme here is New Orleans.   Design elements are wrought iron filigree, shuttered windows and iron lamp posts, the whole New Orleans Mardi Gras vibe is done really well.

There are fewer facilities here than at Riverside but that needn’t be an issue.  If you are planning on dining away from the resort then the lack of food options isn’t a negative.  Also having Disney Springs a boat ride away means there are plenty of great dining choices a short distance away. French Quarter ranks well with Disney resort guests, it’s hard to find  such a compact moderate resort where you don’t have to walk extensively or stop at numerous bus stops when leaving the resort.

Port Orleans French quarter
photo credit: Express Monorail Tranquil via photopin (license)

Rooms at French Quarter are similar in size and layout to Riverside but with a different colour scheme and cherry wood headboard and furniture.

The pool is Doubloon Lagoon, here the water slide is a giant serpent, Scales, with Neptune atop complete with Trident.  You will also find a children’s splash area and a play park.

Disney French quarter
Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter Doubloon Lagoon pool
Restaurant

The only food option at French Quarter is a quick service eatery Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.  As it’s New Orleans themed Floatworks serves delicious beignet and gumbo on its menu.  An additional benefit, Coke Freestyle machines were also added recently!

Which resort should I choose?

That’s a difficult question and like anything really depends on personal preferences.   If having lots of amenities on hand are important to you and you like being at a busy, buzzy resort, then choose Riverside.  Alternatively if big crowds are not your thing and you are planning on eating away from your resort, particularly if you’re on the DDP, then you’ll enjoy French Quarter.  Both are great for kids.

The Port Orleans resort gets great reviews from previous guests and they are great value over the deluxe resorts if you are on more of a budget.  The only downside is the transportation.  For those planning on staying at one park all day rather than park hopping, then it won’t be such a problem.  Always remember don’t let any issues with the busses dominate your holiday.

All in all these hotels are a pretty safe bet and would be a great base for your Disney Vacation.