The Best (and Worst!) Parts of Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside

by | May 14, 2024 | Walt Disney World Resorts, WDW Blog

Wondering whether you should stay at Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside? We’ll be sharing the major pros and cons of this Moderate Resort at Walt Disney World!

At Walt Disney World, you have four major options for choosing an on-site hotel: Value Resorts, Moderate Resorts, Deluxe Resorts, and Deluxe Villa Resorts. As you may have guessed, the prices range from least to most expensive, with each category offering a different number of amenities to match the pricing. Moderate Resorts at Disney are popular choices, offering more dining and transportation options than the Value Resorts, but at a less expensive price tag than the Deluxe and Deluxe Villa Resorts. And one of the biggest fan-favorite resorts in the category is Disney’s Port Orleans – Riverside.

One-half of the Port Orleans options (the other is the French Quarter), Riverside is themed to the Louisiana Bayou. Located on the same property as Disney’s Port Orleans – French Quarter, you get use of the amenities for both resorts, including dining and pool options. We’ll be sharing all of the pros and cons you can get staying at Riverside!

The Best Parts of Port Orleans Riverside

There are quite a few great parts of staying at Riverside to consider when booking your Walt Disney World Resort. We’ll be sharing the major pros you’ll want to know about if you do end up staying at Port Orleans Riverside.

5th Sleeper Rooms

Many of the Alligator Bayou section rooms have two queen beds, along with a fold-down twin bed– the 5th sleeper! This room type is the least expensive option on Disney property for families of five! These rooms are perfect for larger families who need extra sleeping space but still want to stay within a moderate budget.

The rooms are themed to reflect the rustic charm of the bayou, with wooden accents and earthy tones, making your stay feel both cozy and immersive. The fold-down bed is cleverly designed with playful artwork, ensuring that even the youngest family members have a touch of magic in their sleeping arrangements.

Close to Disney Springs

Located on the Sassagoula River, you have the option to take a leisurely boat ride to Disney Springs. Bus service is also available, but boating down the Sassagoula River is the more relaxing option. The boat ride itself is an enjoyable part of the experience, offering picturesque views of the waterfront and lush landscapes.

Disney Springs is a vibrant destination with a variety of dining options ranging from quick bites to gourmet meals, as well as unique shopping experiences and live entertainment. The convenience of having such an exciting venue so close by adds tremendous value to your stay at Port Orleans Riverside, providing easy access to nighttime entertainment and world-class cuisine.

Right Next to French Quarter

Port Orleans Riverside is a “sister” resort to Port Orleans French Quarters. Within walking distance of each other, guests can visit either resort to enjoy food and recreational activities such as horse-drawn carriage rides or surrey bike rentals! This unique relationship doubles your amenities and dining options, giving you access to two themed environments for the price of one.

You can enjoy the tranquil, sprawling landscapes of Riverside and the compact, charming ambiance of French Quarter. Activities like the shared pool areas, including the Doubloon Lagoon with its fun water slide, or riverside jogging trails, enhance your stay with diverse recreational choices. This dual access ensures that there is always something new and exciting to explore just a short stroll away.

Royal Rooms

Port Orleans Riverside offers an enchanting experience with its Royal Rooms, which are themed to The Princess and the Frog. These rooms are designed to make you feel like royalty, with opulent decor and magical touches that bring the story to life. The rooms feature rich fabrics, ornate furniture, and beautiful artwork of your favorite Disney princesses. The headboards even have special effects that create a magical fireworks display with the touch of a button.

The Worst Parts of Port Orleans Riverside

Just like with any hotel, there are some parts of it that are not as convenient as others. When booking your Disney World hotel, these are the factors you may want to consider when it comes to knowing whether Riverside is the right choice for you.

Bus Service

There are four bus stops around the resort. If you’re boarding during a less busy time of the day, your bus may even visit the Port Orleans French Quarter bus stop too. As always, give yourself a bit of extra time to get to where you’re going.

The bus service can be a bit of a hassle, especially during peak times when buses can fill up quickly, leading to longer wait times. Additionally, the multiple stops within the resort can make the journey feel longer, particularly if your stop is last on the route. This can be frustrating when you’re eager to get to the parks or return to your room after a long day.

Spread Out

With four bus stops, you likely figured out this resort is spread out. Be prepared to walk! On the plus side, being spread out allows the resort grounds to be mostly quiet. However, the large size of the resort can be daunting, especially after a day of walking around the parks.

It can take a considerable amount of time to get from one end of the resort to the other, and if your room is located far from the main amenities like the food court or main pool, it can feel like quite a trek. This can be particularly challenging for families with young children or guests with mobility issues.

Crowding can Occur

The main pool and the main food court can get pretty busy and feel congested at times. Thankfully, there are five leisure pools located around the resort so that you can escape the hustle and bustle of the main pool. However, during peak seasons or busy times of the day, these areas can become overcrowded, making it difficult to find seating or enjoy the amenities comfortably. The hustle and bustle can detract from the otherwise relaxing atmosphere of the resort, and you might find yourself spending more time navigating through crowds than enjoying the facilities.

Should You Stay at Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort?

Port Orleans Riverside is an excellent choice for families, especially those with up to five members. The 5th sleeper rooms in the Alligator Bayou section provide a budget-friendly option for larger families without sacrificing comfort. Fans of The Princess and the Frog will also adore the Royal Rooms, which offer a unique and enchanting experience.

The proximity to Disney Springs is also a huge plus, especially for those who want to enjoy the shopping and dining complex. The more spread out resort makes this a more leisurely and relaxing option, taking you away from teh general hustle and bustle of the theme parks.

Now, for those who may want to look elsewhere, Port Orleans Riverside might not be the best choice for guests who prefer more compact and easily navigable resorts. The spread-out nature of the resort means a fair amount of walking, which can be a drawback for families with young children, guests with mobility issues, or those who simply prefer less walking.

The bus transportation system, with multiple stops within the resort, can be time-consuming and less convenient, particularly during peak times. Guests who prioritize quick and direct transportation to the parks might find this aspect frustrating and may want to consider a more centrally located resort.

Posts by Morgan Flaherty

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Morgan is the Staff Editor for WDW Magazine. A lifelong Disney fan, her dream day involves just about anything to do with Animal Kingdom. Along with several years of experience writing about Disney, Morgan has also written as a contributing writer for Well + Good, Scary Mommy, Brit + Co, and Baby Chick.
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Authored by
Morgan Flaherty

Morgan is the Staff Editor for WDW Magazine. A lifelong Disney fan, her dream day involves just about anything to do with Animal Kingdom. Along with several years of experience writing about Disney, Morgan has also written as a contributing writer for Well + Good, Scary Mommy, Brit + Co, and Baby Chick.
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