Port Orleans Riverside is an on-property moderate resort at Walt Disney World. Riverside is separated into two themed areas based on bucolic riverside Louisiana. Magnolia Bend contains large plantation style mansions and Alligator Bayou has the smaller rustic wooden buildings. This review looks at the entire resort but focuses on the Royal Guest rooms located in Magnolia Bend.
Port Orleans Riverside is a 2,000-plus room moderate resort, with 512 of these rooms themed as Royal Guest rooms. Room rates at Port Orleans Riverside begin at $189 per night for a standard room and can be up to $350 for a Royal Guest pool view in peak season. With an annual passholder discount, our Royal Guest room was just over $200 a night in the summer season.
As mentioned above, this review focuses on the Royal Guest rooms. In a short summary, we were really impressed with the rooms.
The Port Orleans Royal Guest rooms are majestically decorated with various Disney royalty. From Aladdin’s magic carpet to unique Princess Tiana artwork, nearly every area of the room has a fun Disney Easter egg. The Royal Guest rooms are all two bed rooms and are all located in the Magnolia Bend area of the resort. Disney does many things with a special touch, but the fiber-optic lighting on the headboards in the rooms is one of the most fun things we’ve experienced at Disney. On a not-so-positive note, our room had a pretty terrible smell when we checked in. We returned later that evening to find the smell still lingering. We called the front desk and they quickly sent housekeeping out to “freshen up” the room and noted for housekeeping to do a “deep clean” the next morning. We’re not sure how deep the clean really was, but the smell did go away.
The Port Orleans grounds are nothing short of beautiful. They put you right in the middle of rural riverside Louisiana just as intended. The hotel’s 2,000 rooms are fairly well spread out so there are some long walks to cover the entire grounds. Our location was excellent, with a bus stop less than three minutes away and the main lobby and food court only six minutes away.
Riverside has one main pool, Ol’ Man Island, and five “quiet pools” located throughout the resort. Ol’ Man Island is a large pool themed as an old fashioned swimming hole/saw mill (dangerous combination?).
Our favorite part of the hotel grounds was the main building, Sassagoula Steamboat Company. This main building is themed as an old riverboat cruise boarding area. The lobby was large and impressive and the food court had tons of details themed as a cotton mill.
Port Orleans Riverside offers a food court, full table-service restaurant, indoor lounge, and pool bar. The food court, Riverside Mill, was your typical food court. We didn’t eat a full meal here but did stop by for snacks a few times and it was crowded up to its midnight closing time. The full table-service restaurant is Boatwright’s Dining Hall. We didn’t eat there, but have heard good things about the Cajun food options. The lounge, River Roost Lounge, is the home of Yee Ha Bob Jackson. The lounge was fairly full on the nights that he was there. Riverside offers a ton of dining options without ever having to leave the resort.
Riverside’s location worked out very well for bus service on our trip. The resort is only a ten to fifteen minute drive from Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and Hollywood Studios. The resort has four stops so every room should be relatively close to a stop. Our personal experience with the bus was great. Considering it was a busy(ish) week, they kept the buses running full force and we never had a long wait to or from the parks. Often, the bus service was shared with French Quarter so this did add to some commute times. We also took the 15 minute boat ride from Riverside to Disney Springs one evening, so that is a good option with all the new Disney Springs offerings.
We loved our stay at Riverside. Having also stayed at Port Orleans French Quarter and Caribbean Beach, this is our favorite of the moderates thus far. We’ll definitely return to Riverside in the future to stay in an Alligator Bayou room and spend more time hanging out at the resort.
What is your favorite moderate resort? Let us know!
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