5 Spectacular Reasons to Stay at Port Orleans Riverside
The Moderate Tier of Walt Disney World resorts includes twins. Both properties share the same name and a generally similar theme. One of them is smaller and more intimate. The other one is where you’re twice as likely to stay simply as a matter of odds. It offers 2,048 rooms while its smaller sibling has only 1,008. Both resorts are terrific, and choosing the better one is a matter of preference. Today, we’re going to highlight one while acknowledging you can’t go wrong with either one. Here are five reasons why you should stay at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside.
The antebellum south isn’t necessarily the proudest time in American history, but the architecture from this era has stood the test of time. Located only a few hundred miles away from several of the most famous structures, Walt Disney World pays tribute to these buildings and their décor at Port Orleans – Riverside. It’s like strolling back in time to the years when the south wasn’t overly developed. The buildings were spaced out, and the landscaping was pristine.
Perhaps the best analogy for Riverside is that it’s like entering a Mark Twain novel, complete with picturesque settings and a tranquil ambience. Guests who stay here will feel like they’re living on the river in rural Louisiana, a place that has historical significance to Disney.
The Louisiana setting plays a part in two of the most famous attractions, Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean, too. This footnote is the likeliest explanation for why Disney created twin resorts with 3,000 rooms predicated on this theme. When you’re a guest at Riverside, you’ll feel like you’re on the bayou, even though you’re only a few miles away from all major Disney attractions.
The Special Rooms
Over the years, Riverside has undergone countless changes, the most notable one being its identity change. The hotel was originally Disney’s Dixie Landings Resort, but the start of the new millennium presented Disney with an opportunity to update the style of this campus. They split it into Riverside and French Quarter, the latter of which is the most intimate of the Moderate Tier resorts.
Riverside will never be described as intimate due to its size and scope. The one thing it does have is style, though. The corporate executives in charge of Riverside over the years have attempted to elevate it in a shrewd way. They’ve built special rooms that provide unforgettable guest experiences, particularly for children.
These special offerings are the Royal Rooms at Riverside. You can book them as a special room type. When you arrive at the resort, you’ll be whisked away to regal facilities with an unmistakable Disney Princess theme. They are the equivalent of the pirate rooms at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, which is also in the Moderate Tier. If your son or daughter prefers pirates, you should stay there. If they’re bigger fans of princesses, Riverside is the clear choice.
When you enter the special Royal Room, you’ll be blown away by the opulent décor. Disney offsets wood with gold trim to make the visuals pop, and the lush paintings on the headboards above the beds are simply breathtaking. Best of all, pictures of Disney Princesses adorn the walls, giving your children a constant view of their favorite heroines from animated movie classics.
The Royal Rooms cost a bit more than standard rooms at Riverside. Your best bet is to contact a travel specialist at Mickey Travels to book the room for you. They know the ways to narrow the difference in price or make up the financial gap in other ways, and their services are free to you.
Cajun cuisine is a thing. I mean that it’s so famous that creole cooking classes are taught in China. And you know that Disney wouldn’t build a bayou-themed resort unless they could deliver the kind of Cajun food that has made Emeril Lagasse a household name.
The Table Service restaurant here, Boatwright’s Dining Hall, is one of the finest of any Walt Disney World resort. It’s certainly on the shortlist for best of Value and Moderate Tier restaurants. The catch is that it’s only open for dinner. Disney does this because they want meals here to feel special. The strategy works.
At Boatwright’s, you’ll have more crawfish options than any human could possibly need. Several of the appetizers have crawfish, and several of the entrees have crawfish, too. I’m kind of surprised that the resort hasn’t invented a crawfish-based dessert yet. Realistically, you’ll dial in on a few Louisiana staples such as Jambalaya and Étouffée, and after your meal has concluded, you’ll spend the rest of the evening licking your fingers happily.
The hotel features a couple of counter service eateries and lounges, too. The Muddy Rivers pool bar is more than just a humorous, thematic name. It’s also a wonderful place to sip sangria or throw caution to the wind by chugging some hurricanes. The secret star is the Nola Cola, which packs a wallop. River Roost is a lounge that sells a few classics like Mardi Gras Fritters and Hummingbird Cake, too.
Oddly, the Rivers Grill Quick Service restaurant is only marginally Cajun. It primarily sells burgers and hot dogs, albeit ones with creole spices and other ingredients to add some heat. Boatwright’s is the preferred choice, all other things being equal.
Here’s the thing about Port Orleans Riverside. It’s huuuuge. Due to the sheer size of the place, talking about a single pool kind of misses the point. Yes, there’s a primary one, and it’s spectacular. You may not ever take a swim in it, though. That’s because you could find pools closer to your hotel room that you enjoy almost as much.
At Riverside, there are five different leisure pools. That’s Disney terminology that indicates a more basic pool, one whose theme isn’t quite as comprehensive. Oddly, some of my favorite pools at Walt Disney World fall into this category. You’ll find two of these leisure pools in the Magnolia Bend section while the other three are at Alligator Bayou.
The primary pool at Riverside is the humorously named Ol’ Man Island. It’s a 3.5-acre facility that Disney calls a “swimmin’ hole” in tongue-in-cheek fashion. The setting here is that the pool is a waterway by an abandoned sawmill, and it’s a great place simply to walk around. The nearby bridges provide great views and a serene setting. Plus, the aforementioned Muddy Rivers bar serves the guests at Ol’ Man Island.
The Disney Springs Boat
Disney Springs is one of the five major destinations at Walt Disney World, along with the four theme parks. When you stay at Riverside, You’ll receive special transportation to and from the entertainment district.
The Sassagoula River Cruise is a boat that takes guests at both Port Orleans resorts to and from Disney Springs. It’s better than a bus ride due to the scenery. When you ride the boat, you’ll get to see different parts of the Walt Disney World campus including close-up views of the Treehouse Villas at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa and Lake Buena Vista Golf Course.
PS: Guests who don’t like to leave their furry friends behind will love staying at Port Orleans – Riverside. It’s one of Disney’s new dog-friendly resorts. For a small additional fee (for cleanup), you can bring your puppy with you when you travel to Walt Disney World. In fact, you can bring two if you have two furry best friends. That’s the limit, though.