Another photo tour of one of the beautiful resorts Little Miss and I stayed in during out last trip to Walt Disney World. As it was my birthday in March we stayed in the Royal Rooms at Port Orleans Riverside, I’ve already shared a tour of the room and all the amazing Disney Princess details that made it possibly one of the best places I’ve ever slept. I think Little Miss would have had me take everything home with us and recreate it in her bedroom. Today I’m going to share some photos I took of the resort itself along with a review of our stay as a whole. We only had two nights but we got up early so we could explore the resort extensively before we moved on. I even took time to take photos of Little Miss as Charlotte La Bouff as it was quintessentially Princess and the Frog-esq.
The resort is one of the newer ones of Disney property, it didn’t exist when I visited as a child as it was Dixie Landings and you can really tell that it’s one of the more recently refurbished ones. However, I always feel like all Disney resorts are spotless and well cared for, the only difference is that Port Orleans Riverside is still very shiny.
On arrival you’ll see the beautiful white and terracotta buildings, it reminded me of an old mill and not what I was expecting at all given I’d seen what the Royal Rooms looked like on the internet. However the main lobby where you check it was just breath taking. Exactly how I’d imagine the inside of a Sugar Barons stately home would look. I don’t think I’ve been in anywhere so fancy since I stayed at The Melrose in DC. The chandelier was my favourite thing, along with the cast member costumes, I would 100% wear that shirt! Like all receptions a Walt Disney World there was a little children’s corner with a tv to keep LM occupied while I checked in. The checking was smooth, the CMs were great and despite the grand decor I felt incredibly welcomed despite coming from a 9 hour flight a few hours previously.
As it was late there was no time for exploring so we just heading to our room. But the next morning we got up and walked around the resort to really take in the sites. All Disney resorts are an experience in themselves and each time I visit I really appreciate them more. I cannot ever imagine not staying on site these days. Although I don’t feel Port Orleans Riverside is a particularly good choice of hotel for Little Miss, I could never go pass the princess rooms if I had the money! The atmosphere of Riverside is laid back, neutral colour scheme and a real escape from reality. I imagine it’s perfect for honeymooners or couples of all ages rather than my two year old who needs bright colours to feel like she’s at Disney.
Riverside, so aptly name as a river splits the main buildings from the rooms reminds me of places in the UK like Centre Parks but much more upmarket. The beautiful greenery and trees made it feel like it wasn’t even in Florida. I loved the sign posts and footpaths that made the place feel hidden away. It’s honestly nothing like I’ve ever experienced in Orlando. The swimming pools were small and intimate, you could hire a bike and go cycling or even take a horse and carriage ride. They also offered a boat service to Disney Springs which had we had more time we would have taken as it looks like quite a scenic route.
A lot of the buildings that house the rooms look like a mansion on the old sugar plantations from the deep south and it’s a bit of a contrast in comparison to the main buildings but the whole resort does seem to fit seamlessly together. We stayed in Parterre which definitely one of the grandest out of the buildings. On the other side of the resort that LM and I only briefly got lost in it felt a lot more similar style to the main buildings over in the Bayou.
Over at the main buildings you have Fultons General Store that stocks resort related merchandise, general Disney parks merchandise along with snacks and drinks. Then there is a site down restaurant where you can make advance dining reservations for called Boatwrights and the Riverside Mill Foodcourt. We used the food court for breakfast and it was incredibly busy but priced similar to all quick service options at Walt Disney World. There was a great selection and service was fast. Little Miss loved picking a table by the water wheel pictured above. The whole place was very Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn esq, I loved it.
So to round up, the pros of staying at Port Orleans Riverside Resort are the fact it’s a moderate resort but it feels very luxe due to the decor and stylings, I liked it much more than Caribbean Beach and Coronado Springs. The Royal Rooms are something special and these 100% feel like the kind of rooms you’d expect from an upmarket hotel but ooze with Disney. The resort is beautiful, everything is within walking distance and offers great transport to Disney Springs as well as a walk way to Port Orleans French Quarter. It’s quiet and has a very grown up feel to it. The amenities are second to none with two places to eat, one being sit down and one quick service. There is also a pool bar and a main bar. There is plenty of parking around the outskirts and the resort is 20 minutes max from all the parks.
Now the cons, as it’s a big resort despite everything being centralised there are four bus stops meaning the buses get filled up fast and it does often take a long time to get picked up or dropped off. Not only that, during off peak season at certain times of day you may need to share the bus with Port Orleans French Quarter! I was caught short one day when trying to get to a reservation because the bus went by the second resort. It’s a lot quieter than other resorts and I definite feel like it’s one of the resorts more suited to families with older children or couples. As there is a restaurant the food court feels a lot smaller than some of the others I’ve been in which means breakfast is incredibly busy and queues can be long, thankfully the staff are very efficient.
Over all though, we loved our stay at Port Orleans Riverside, and although I would always chose to stay at French Quarter in the future, should I have the money to upgrade to the Royal Rooms I would do so in a heartbeat!