Our first ever stay at a Walt Disney World Resort was here, at Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside. Our stay here was spurred on by work commitments I had presenting at an international conference in Orlando. The conference was the first week of January, which worked out great. We took advantage of this, and managed to make a week’s break for work into a 3 week holiday over Christmas and New Year.
We’d flown out from Dublin using Delta, flying via Atlanta, Georgia to Orlando MCO. We grabbed our car – a Chevrolet Cobalt – and went down to our resort.
The resort is split into two areas; the large white mansions of the old deep-south estates at Magnolia Bends, and the quaint bayou homes at Alligator Bayou. Our room was on Magnolia Bends, in the Parterre Place mansion, on the ground floor. We had easy access to parking, evening during the busy period between Christmas and New Years.
Our room was decorated in the ornate furnishing you would expect of the stately homes. We had 2 queen beds, a tv and drawer unit, some chairs and a table. The utilities offered a double sink with shower and toilet to the side.
I found the location very ideal, as it was quite close to the main building, but not so far that you felt you were completely detached. It took about 5 minutes to walk over each night to refill our drinks cups, or pick up a pizza!
Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside offers 6 pools to guests. The main one is located on Ol’ Man Island. The other 5 are satellite pools located nearer each of the accommodation blocks. Our nearest was between Parterre Park and Oak Manor. We used the pool a few times, although never used the pool on the island.
The resort offers a variety of other activities for guests. There is fishing available on the island. You can also hire Surrey Bikes and ride around the resort. Because the resort is quite large, we hired the Surrey Bikes, and toured around. We also availed of the many walking opportunities to enjoy a much more leisurely pace.
As we were staying for 3 weeks, we used the local washing facilities. These were located at each of the satellite pools. It was ideal – we could put the washing on, and have a lay by the pool or go for a walk, then return.
The dining options here are excellent. As a moderate resort, there is a restaurant on offer, as well as the quick service option.
Boat Wrights is the dining option, available only for dinner. The Quick Service in the food hall was fantastic. There were plenty of seats around, and plenty of space. The food hall is themed as the inside of a large water mill. You can see the internal workings of the mill in the middle of the hall, and through the window, the large water wheel.
The reception area is a good size which easily accommodates the bus loads of people arriving and departing each day. One side has check in, and the other concierge.
Across the hall, there is a large shop, bigger than some of the deluxe resort shops we’ve seen at other resorts. The funniest part of our holiday came in the shop when we were talking to a cashier. We had been eagerly trying to collect the 50 state quarters, and had asked the cashier if she had any. The lady was very accommodating and helpful, however, she picked up on our accent, asking whereabouts we were from? She pinned Vikki’s accent to north Down. Close! It turned out she had friends or family who lived in Comber, and owned the bike shop there! We found it quite amusing!
This resort as a whole is very well sited. It is a short ferry ride to Downtown Disney Springs. It’s also a walk to the sister resort, Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter, which is themed on New Orleans. We did venture here for some ice cream! Locally, it is a short drive to Epcot, much like Disney’s Saratoga Springs and Disney’s Old Key West.
I really enjoyed the stay here. Its chilled out atmosphere and large space really made it an enjoyable holiday. Although we’ve stayed at a number of other Disney Resorts, I find it hard to not keep longing back to here. It was our first resort in Disney, but although it’s listed as a moderate resort, it is always a resort I recommend to friends and family.
Vikki’s still working on her thoughts about Port Orleans Riverside. Check back soon to see what she thinks about this Resort