Disney’s Port Orleans – Riverside Resort Review

Rides may be the first thing that come to mind when most people think of Walt Disney World, but in our opinion, where you choose to lay your head at night can make or break your Disney vacation just as much as your experience in the parks.

Fortunately, Disney World has several incredible resorts to choose from – with theming, price points, and amenities to suit a range of needs and budgets. With its southern-inspired allure and mid-range room rates, Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside is an excellent choice for families, couples, and more. 

So, how does Port Orleans Riverside compare to Disney World’s other resorts? Read on as we go over everything you need to know. 

Due to COVID-19, Disney’s Port Orleans – Riverside Resort is currently closed, with no reopening date yet announced. As things continue to change quickly, we recommend referring to the Walt Disney World website for the most up-to-date information. 

Overview

Grassy null to Port Orleans building

Disney Port Orleans Riverside is a moderate resort which evokes the old-fashioned charm of the antebellum South. This sprawling property is part of the Disney Springs Resort Area and just a short drive or bus ride from Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Magic Kingdom. As a moderate Disney hotel, Riverside is home to a generous mix of amenities and recreational offerings, all at a price that’s easy on your wallet. 

With so many different Disney World hotels to choose from, deciding which one you’d like to stay at for your family vacation is no easy task. Room rates, occupancy, dining options, distance from the parks, theming, and amenities are all things to consider, and Disney resorts truly run the gamut. 

While those with small children may want a resort filled with Disney characters and pixie dust, couples traveling alone may prefer something more romantic and character-free (at least of the animated variety). As a moderate resort, Riverside sits in the sweet spot.

Its lushly wooded grounds dotted with plantation-like estates and rustic bayous make it grown-up enough for adults, while a sprinkling of Princess and the Frog-inspired details means even the youngest guests will feel right at home. Add in some budget-friendly rates and its Disney Springs Resort Area location and you’ve got a resort that’s ideal for families and couples alike. 

Disney Port Orleans Resort – Riverside Rooms

Guest room with one king bed

Port Orleans Riverside takes its inspiration from the swampy bayous and grand plantations that once dotted the Mississippi River delta. Riverside is divided into two different sections: Alligator Bayou and Magnolia Bend. Alligator Bayou is the more rustic of the two, while Magnolia Bend feels like stepping into a scene from Gone With the Wind

Currently, Riverside touts a 4.0 on TripAdvisor and has received the coveted Travelers’ Choice Award in recent years. Should you choose to stay at Disney’s Riverside Resort, there are a few things you’ll need to consider when booking your stay including how much bed space you need, how much you’d like to spend, and what you’d like to see when you look outside your window. 

Standard Guest Rooms

Standard rooms (in terms of theming, not view or amenities) at Port Orleans Riverside are split into two distinctive styles, each with unique touches based on The Princess and the Frog

Over in Magnolia Bend, rooms are inspired by the stately furnishings of the antebellum South and feature classic silhouettes in warm woods, art of riverboats floating down the mighty Mississippi River, and headboards and a dividing curtain with scenes from Princess and the Frog. In Alligator Bayou, rooms are decidedly more rustic, hinting at their humble inspirations. Light woods and simpler silhouettes feature here, with nods to Princess and the Frog in the dividing curtain, frog footprint details in the dusky blue headboards, and in the inside of the pull-down beds. 

Standard View Room

  • Looks out over parking area
  • Available with 2 queen beds (sleeps 4 adults) or 2 queen beds and a child-size pull-down bed (sleeps 4 adults and 1 child)

Woods View Room

  • Looks out over bayou, landscaping or courtyard
  • Available with 2 queen beds (sleeps 4 adults) or 2 queen beds and a child-size pull-down bed (sleeps 4 adults and 1 child)

River View Room

  • Looks out over riverfront
  • Available with 2 queen beds (sleeps 4 adults) or 2 queen beds and a child-size pull-down bed (sleeps 4 adults and 1 child)

Pool View Room

  • Looks out over courtyard pool
  • Available with 2 queen beds (sleeps 4 adults) or 2 queen beds and a child-size pull-down bed (sleeps 4 adults and 1 child)

King Bed Room

  • Looks out over landscaping, courtyard, garden, bayou, riverfront, or courtyard pool
  • Available with 1 king bed (sleeps 2 adults) or 1 king and a child-size pull-down bed (sleeps 2 adults and 1 child)

Preferred Room

  • Looks out over landscaping, courtyard, garden, or bayou
  • Close to Sassagoula Steamboat Company, dining, shopping, and transportation
  • Available with 2 queen beds (sleeps 4 adults) or 2 queen beds and a child-size pull-down bed (sleeps 4 adults and 1 child)

Royal Guest Rooms

The Royal Guest Rooms at Port Orleans Riverside are specially themed rooms perfect for fans of the Disney princesses (and princes, too!), as well as for anyone who has ever dreamed of spending the night in the Cinderella Castle Suite. Sure, there are no sweeping views of the Magic Kingdom and you won’t find a TV in the bathroom, but there are still tons of magical touches inspired by beloved Disney characters. 

Princess Tiana has been playing hostess-with-the-mostest for all her royal friends, and they’ve left behind some special treasures as a thank you for her hospitality. Now, you get to enjoy them too! Aside from elegant finishes, ornate furniture, and portraits of Tiana and her fellow Disney princesses, you’ll also find special mementoes from such animated classics as the magic carpet from Aladdin, the dog-like bench from Beauty and the Beast, and more. You even get your own private fireworks display – on the fiber optic headboard. 

Royal Guest Room – Standard View

  • Looks out over parking areas
  • Available with 2 queen beds (sleeps 4)

Royal Guest Room – River View Room

  • Looks out over riverfront
  • Available with 2 queen beds (sleeps 4)

Royal Guest Room – Woods View Room

  • Looks out over bayou, landscaping or courtyard
  • Available with 2 queen beds (sleeps 4)

Royal Guest Room – Pool View Room

  • Looks out over courtyard pool
  • Available with 2 queen beds (sleeps 4)

No matter whether you are staying in a regular or Royal Room, each guestroom at Port Orleans Riverside includes: a hairdryer, coffee maker, telephone with voicemail, in-room safe, iron, ironing board, mini-refrigerator, and free Wi-Fi.

Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside Rates

As we mentioned previously, Riverside is a moderate Disney resort. As the category name suggests, that makes this charming resort squarely in the middle tier in terms of room rates when compared to other Disney resorts. Disney Port Orleans Resort – Riverside prices vary depending on what kind of view you want, how many beds you need, and when you choose to visit. High season rates (for example, during the summer months, marathon weekends, and over holidays) are when you can expect rates to hit their peak. 

In general, rooms start out at $256 in the off season for a standard view room with two queen beds and top out at $502 for a Royal Guest Room with a River View over Christmas and New Year’s. 

Standard-view rooms with two queen beds are the most affordable, running between the mid-$200s up to the low-$400s. Woods and pool-view rooms, also with two queen beds, are comparably priced, with rates starting out around $270 to $280 in the low season and reaching around $430 in the high season. King Bed, Preferred, and Royal Guest Rooms are a bit more expensive, with rates hitting the low-to-mid $300s in the low season and topping out in the mid-$400s to around $500 over the holidays. 

Disney’s Port Orleans – Riverside Resort Amenities

We love staying at Disney World moderate resorts. Not only are the room rates easy on the pocketbook (that means more room in the vacation budget for delicious Disney eats), but there are also more amenities and recreation offerings than what you’ll find at Disney’s value resorts. Luckily, Port Orleans Riverside is no exception, with a range of dining options, indoor and outdoor activities, and more. Here’s everything you can take advantage of during a stay at Riverside:  

Disney Riverside Restaurants

Unlike its sister property, Port Orleans French Quarter, which only has a quick-service restaurant, lounge, and pool bar, Riverside also adds a table-service restaurant into the mix. While French Quarter offers Cajun and Creole dishes that would be right at home in The Big Easy (as well as one of the best Disney World snacks: beignets), the Riverside end of Port Orleans serves up a whole host of Southern-inspired comfort food favorites.   

Boatwright’s Dining Hall

Looking for a spot to grab some dinner after a long day in the parks? Boatwright’s Dining Hall dishes up soul food and southern hospitality – all housed in a space inspired by the shipbuilding yards that once dotted the shores of the Mississippi River. Stop here for Louisiana classics like Crawfish Bisque, Boatwright’s Jambalaya, and Deep South Shrimp and Grits. Or, opt for other favorites from south of the Mason-Dixon Line such as Fried Green Tomatoes or the All-You-Care-to-Enjoy Chef’s Platter for endless plates of Nashville Hot Chicken, Smoked Sausage, and Barbecued Beef Brisket. And be sure to save some room for the Lemon Chess Bar or a slice of Pecan Pie Cheesecake. 

Keep in mind that Boatwright’s Dining Hall is only open for dinner, so be sure to plan accordingly. 

Muddy Rivers

Located at Ol’ Man Island, Muddy Rivers is Riverside’s pool bar. With plentiful seating overlooking the pool area, this is a great place to get out of the sun for a bit and enjoy a drink while the kiddos are having fun in the water. While there isn’t any food available here, you will find a range of both non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages. For something boozy, go for a glass of beer, wine, sangria, or a southern-inspired cocktail. Or, for something on the milder side, have a smoothie, a refreshing glass of lemonade, or a mocktail like the Bull Frog Brew.  

 

River Roost

In the mood for some libations of the alcoholic persuasion? Then mosey on up to the bar at River Roost for a rejuvenating, southern-style tonic with a side of live entertainment. With its gas lamp-reminiscent chandeliers and old-fashioned bar, this quaint watering hole feels like stepping into the past. No need to go over to Scat Cat’s Club at French Quarter for NOLA-inspired drinks – River Roost pours an array of classic Louisiana favorites including the Sazerac, Southern Hurricane, a Rum-a-Rita made with Bayou Rum, and Abita beer. Wash it all down with bar bites like Southern Fish and Chips starring cornmeal-battered catfish, Mardi Gras Fritters made with pimiento cheese, and Hummingbird Cake. 

Like Scat Cat’s Club, River Roost also features live entertainment. Yehaa Bob Jackson is a Port Orleans institution. His 90-minute show is a hoot and a half, with his laugh-out-loud musical stylings on the piano playing everything from Disney movie classics to kid-friendly tunes. Once you’ve had a cup or two of liquid courage, you may even be called up on stage for some audience participation. 

Riverside Mill Food Court

Looking to fuel up before heading out to the parks? Just head on down to the ole mill – the Riverside Mill Food Court, that is! Set inside an old-fashioned mill, this quick-service restaurant serves up a range of American-style eats for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. With six different stations available, there’s something for everyone here. Go for classics like pizzas, burgers, and chicken strips, or opt for homespun favorites with southern flair instead such as Bayou Lasagna – Pasticcio made with Cajun Bolognese or the Pimiento BLT. 

Disney’s Riverside Resort Pools

Looking for a place to cool off during those hot Orlando days? Port Orleans Riverside has 6 different swimming pools to choose from: 5 leisure pools and the feature pool, Ol’ Man Island. For a more serene, secluded swim, 3 leisure pools in Alligator Bayou and 2 in Magnolia Bend are perfect for lounging the day away.  Or, cross one of 3 bridges to reach Ol’ Man River and 3.5 acres of water-filled fun. Designed to look like an abandoned sawmill, this swimmin’ hole features a 95-foot-long waterslide through the millworks, kiddie pool, hot tub, and even a fishing hole. Ol’ Man Island also plays host to a daily pool party. 

Of course, with Port Orleans French Quarter just a short walk away along the Sassagoula River, you can also visit the pool at Riverside’s sister resort: Doubloon Lagoon. 

Other Recreation Offerings at the Port Orleans – Riverside Disney Resort

Swimming not your thing? No worries! There are plenty of other recreational activities available for Port Orleans Riverside guests. 

The resort’s youngest guests (and kids at heart, too!) will get a kick out of the Campfire on de’ Bayou and Movies Under the Stars. Start your night at the Campfire on de’ Bayou behind Muddy Waters at Ol’ Man Island for stories, singalongs, and s’mores. Then, grab a blanket (or just use one of the pool towels that are on-hand) and make your way to the pool deck between Oak Manor and Parterre Place for Disney classics al fresco (typically Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday). Or, for fun of a different kind, stop into the Medicine Show Arcade or visit the playground at Ol’ Man Island. 

With acre after glorious acre of lushly wooded outdoor space, Port Orleans Riverside also boasts a number of family-friendly activities. The Fishin’ Hole at Ol’ Man Island lets guests reel in a good time with some cane pole fishing (catch and release only). 

Or pedal your way around the property with a bicycle or covered surrey bike rental. Of course, if you’d rather just sit back and watch the Sassagoula River flow on by, you can also embark on a horse-drawn carriage ride ($55 each, fits up to 4 adults or 2 adults and 3 children) around the property. At 25 minutes long, they’re the perfect way to experience this sprawling, charming resort. 

Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Merchandise Locations

Need a place to grab some snacks, a special souvenir, or something you forgot at home? Fulton’s General Store, next to River Roost and Boatwright’s Dining Hall, stocks all manner of sundries and mementos. Pop in for everything from Disney plushies and apparel to resort logo merch and refrigerated beverages.  

Port Orleans Resort Transportation

In addition to the bus transportation that is available at all Disney resorts, guests staying at Port Orleans also have the option of taking a water taxi. This leisurely boat ride is an especially pleasant way to get to Disney Springs (the only destination along Port Orleans’s water transportation route). 

Disney World Riverside FAQs

Want to know more about Disney’s Port Orleans – Riverside? Read on for answers to some commonly asked questions. 

Which is better – Port Orleans Riverside or French Quarter?

Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder. Riverside is a massive resort with more dining options, several pools, and a wide array of room types (including some with a pull-down bed for even more space). However, all that space comes at a price. Depending on where your room is, it can be quite a walk to the resort’s dining and transportation offerings.

 In contrast, French Quarter is the smallest moderate Disney resort with no table-service restaurant, only one pool, and fewer room categories (no pull-down bed options or specially themed rooms like Riverside’s Royal Guest Rooms).  But, such a compact resort means that all the amenities are just a short walk away and you’ll be able to get to the parks quicker as there is only one bus stop for the whole property. 

That being said, these two resorts are right next door to each other, with several shared amenities, meaning that you’re just a short walk along the Sassagoula River from what each has to offer. 

Which park is Port Orleans Riverside closest to? 

The closest theme park to Port Orleans Riverside is Epcot. If you plan on driving, the resort is just less than 10 minutes away from the park entrance, while taking the bus will take roughly 30 minutes. Port Orleans is also part of the Disney Springs Resort Area, so you’re never far from the entertainment district’s can’t-miss shopping and delicious restaurants. 

Can you walk from Port Orleans to Epcot?

Unfortunately not. Even though Port Orleans is just a few minutes’ drive from Epcot, it’s impossible to get there on foot. In fact, it’s not possible to walk to any Disney World destination from Riverside or French Quarter. To reach the Disney theme parks or Disney Springs, you must take either a bus or water taxi, respectively.  

Can you see fireworks from Port Orleans Resort?

Kind of, although we wouldn’t recommend it. Unless you’re talking about those fiber optic “fireworks” on Royal Guest Room headboards, anyway. Depending on where you are in the resort, it is possible to see parts of the theme park fireworks. However, the majority of the show will be blocked by trees. If you must see the fireworks but you don’t want to go into the parks, we recommend watching the Magic Kingdom fireworks from the beach at the Polynesian Village Resort and the Epcot fireworks from Disney’s BoardWalk near Jellyrolls and the Atlantic Dance Hall or just past the ESPN Club from the bridge that connects the BoardWalk to the Beach Club. 

Well ya’ll, that concludes our review of Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside. Overall, we love this sprawling resort for its charming design, delicious dining outlets, great outdoor recreational activities, and, of course, budget-friendly room rates. 

Looking to make the most of your Disney World vacation? Our one-day plans for Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Epcot, and Hollywood Studios will give you all the tips and tricks you need to accomplish everything on your list. Wanting to maximize your budget instead? Save some cash with our discounted Walt Disney World tickets

Have you stayed at or visited Disney Port Orleans Riverside? If you have, we want to know about it! Do you prefer Alligator Bayou or Magnolia Bend? Have you tried the Royal Guest Rooms? Any tips or tricks we forgot? Let us know in the comments.

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