Nine Things We Love about Disney’s Port Orleans – French Quarter
Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
If anyone ever doubted this, recent events have proven that Disney fans lament all that they’ve lost at the parks.
To wit, I just spent several nights at two of Walt Disney World’s nicest resorts, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort and Disney’s Contemporary Resort.
While we were there, my wife and I lamented that a Moderate Tier hotel remained unavailable. We view it as an equal to monorail resorts.
Here are nine things we love about Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter.
When you stay at the French Quarter, let’s be clear. You’re going to N’awlins!
Well, you’re going to a Disney-fied version of New Orleans, one where Fleur-de-lis symbols and jester hats are seemingly everywhere.
Disney has encapsulated the Big Easy’s unique style at this resort, somehow making every day here feel like Mardi Gras!
We’ve stayed here a comical number of times over the years, and I always admire the homey atmosphere that belies the location.
You’re not really in Louisiana, but the immersive theming will convince you otherwise.
Even the buildings mimic the Creole/French Colonial architectural style prevalent in the greater New Orleans area.
These short buildings go against the cavernous style of many other Orlando resorts, even a few at Walt Disney World. They’re whimsical and stylish.
The N’awlins touches spill into the lobby, which celebrates classic Cajun décor with some distinctive Disney touches.
I should mention that you cannot miss this resort’s lobby, as all roads seemingly lead to it.
Imagineers structured the property such that the main restaurant resides on one side of the lobby, while the general store hosts guests on the other.
So, you’ll feel drawn to the lobby, which is quite small by Disney standards. Perhaps that’s why cast members do such a phenomenal job in decorating it.
Depending on the time of year you visit, you may find display tables celebrating the holidays.
I love the Halloween decorations here, as an example. And the Christmas tree is always lovely.
Most of the time, you’ll feel like you’re walking through the French Quarter as you wander the lobby.
I strongly advise that you sit on one of the benches and drink it all in, as the ambiance here is arguably the best at Walt Disney World.
The Food Factory
Anyone who has ever visited New Orleans knows about the exquisite cuisine.
Over the years, the Cajun and Creole cuisine married with French and Spanish influences to create the world’s perfect flavor.
There’s a reason why so many New Orleans chefs like Emeril Lagasse became world-famous.
Lagasse leveraged his rôle as head chef at Commander’s Palace into a claim as one of America’s greatest living food icons.
I mention this because Commander’s Palace’s influence is unmistakable at Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory, the Quick Service restaurant here.
Here, you’ll enjoy a choice of classic Louisiana staples like Jambalaya, grits, and gumbo. And yes, southern fried chicken is on the menu, too!
Of course, the N’awlins dish that you should try is a Po’Boy. You’ll find both Creole cheesesteak and shrimp as options at Sassagoula.
While this restaurant isn’t currently open due to the pandemic, it does offer one of the deepest menus of any Disney resort. There’s even pizza!
Also, Sassagoula was one of the first places to offer Mobile Ordering, which comes with a benefit we’ll discuss later.
The Mardi Grog
You know what else New Orleans has a reputation for happening?
People get super-duper-drunk! I mean, that’s the whole point of Mardi Gras, right? You drink and then engage in bead transactions.
Well, this is Disney. So, there won’t be any beads trading hands here.
However, the whiskey still works, especially at the pool bar.
The delightfully named Mardi Grog includes about 10 chairs for guests to sit and watch the game on the HDTV behind the counter.
More importantly, this bar serves liquor to everyone hanging out at the pool for the day. It’s probably the most crowded pool bar I’ve noticed at Disney.
By the way, the place also serves some light entrees…but you’re there for the sangria, Hurricanes, and Nola Cola, right?
Speaking of the pool, I haven’t mentioned the other part of the theming.
The Doubloon Lagoon Pool features some weird aesthetic choices. They tie into Louisiana culture, though.
As you approach the play area, you can’t help but notice the all-alligator band of pool statues. They’re a crocodile jazz band!
Once you start swimming, you’ll realize that they’re not the scariest critters in the area, either! A sea serpent stretches across the pool.
This intimidating creature harbors a secret. It’s hiding a water slide on its spine!
Kids love climbing the serpent and then splashing down out of its mouth.
Doubloon Lagoon also features a giant aquatic playground with plenty of interactive elements for kids. So, it’s a family favorite at Disney.
I’ve previously ranked Doubloon Lagoon as one of the best pools at Walt Disney World, and I stand behind that!
The Pool View
Like most Disney hotels, French Quarter groups its reservations into room types.
The current choices are Standard, Garden, River, and Pool View. Obviously, you’ll pay more for a better view.
Even the Standard View, ostensibly of the parking lot, will provide a scenic backdrop thanks to the hotel’s lush vegetation.
New Orleans famously includes a Garden District, which means you can safely expect a lovely Garden View, too.
The River View reflects that a waterway runs behind French Quarter, connecting it to the nearby Disney’s Port Orleans – Riverside.
However, one view towers above the rest for me, at least figuratively.
I’m speaking of Pool View, which generally guarantees that you’ll stay in one of the buildings closest to the pool.
Conveniently, they’re also a short walking distance away from the hotel lobby, Sassagoula, and general store.
So, you’re buying two things at once when you splurge. The Pool View is exquisite, but you’re also close to the hotel’s hub. It’s win/win!
Remember how I mentioned the importance of Mobile Ordering?
Well, the signature dessert at this hotel – and all of Louisiana, really – is the beignet, the sugar-soaked pastry of your dreams.
Sassagoula’s menu includes several beignet options, including – I kid you not – a Beignet Cheeseburger!
The beignet is the bun. The creator of this dish deserves a Nobel Prize.
You probably just want to order standard beignets, though. The restaurant displays a sense of humor with its offerings. They’re Mickey-shaped!
You can order half a dozen Mickey Beignets for $8.49, immediately becoming the hero of your traveling party.
Yes, there are dipping sauces, too! The current flavors are caramel, strawberry, and Chicory Coffee Ganache.
That third one tastes like evil to me, but I’m not a coffee person.
Yes, I know I may have just made you angry. I’m about to get you back, though.
You can use Mobile Ordering to pick up Beignets throughout the day! The hotel even offers Late Night Dining to make sure you can get your Beignet fix!
You’ll find a boat launch behind one of the hotel buildings. And you should learn its location relative to where your hotel room is!
This boat won’t take you to any of the parks. It’s even better than that.
You can ride a water taxi to and from Disney Springs. The boat system maintains a schedule that supposedly guarantees a ride every 20 minutes.
I’ll be honest that this hasn’t been my experience, but I rarely care about a few minutes here or there.
I don’t even care about the Disney Springs shopping much compared to the journey.
This boat ride provides one of the most relaxing experiences at Walt Disney World.
You’ll also pass by the Treehouse Villas at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort, which is something I always love. They’re remarkable buildings.
Look, I think my tone here demonstrates how much I love Port Orleans – French Quarter.
However, I haven’t discussed the thing that matters most.
This resort feels like the most intimate one at Walt Disney World. It’s smaller in scope, and the short buildings guarantee that only a few dozen people are staying near you.
I’ve stayed in the overwhelming majority of official resorts at Walt Disney World.
The only one that approaches the French Quarter in terms of seclusion is the Polynesian, which usually costs at least twice as much.
When you’re at the French Quarter, you enjoy more isolation than you’ll find at All-Star properties or even the monorail resorts.
When my wife and I want a couples getaway, this is the hotel we target, even over the Polynesian, my favorite at Disney.
We can visit the parks as much as we want. When we leave them and go “home” to the hotel, we’re off on our own, away from Disney’s commotion.
Feature Image: DisneyFanatic.com