Ambiance, ambiance, ambiance – that is the word that comes to mind when I think of our family’s recent stay at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside. From the oak trees dripping with Spanish moss to the large, turning water wheel to the tranquil waterway to the stately, white buildings, this resort is beautiful. Years ago, we stayed at Riverside’s sister resort, Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter, and I thought it would always be my favorite moderate resort at Walt Disney World, but my mind has been changed. While I still love the French Quarter, Riverside is even more lovely and in a more natural setting.
The trees are my favorite! Everywhere you look, there are a variety of trees providing lots of shade, covered in Spanish moss, and lining the walkways. My favorite is the Live Oak that was planted by the pool area on Earth Day in 1991. While the resort is themed to New Orleans, much of the grounds with all the trees made me feel like I was walking through Savannah, Georgia.
The beauty is not the only reason to stay at Riverside; the resort also provides comfortable, subtlety-themed, elegant rooms. We stayed in a standard, two-queen room. The headboards have picturesque riverside scenes. The furniture matches the feel of the room and provides lots of storage space. The room is big enough to accommodate a table and two chairs. We used the chairs as luggage holders.
The bathrooms are also large with double sinks for more than one person to get ready at once. It would be preferable if the toilets were sectioned off from the rest of the bathroom, but the open space is nice.
The waterway with ferry boat transportation is another major reason to stay at Riverside. You can take a slow, peaceful boat ride to Disney Springs for shopping and lunch or dinner. One of the captains even provided trivia and interesting facts along the way. Enjoy the beautiful scenery one way and a short nap going back the other way. The breeze is perfect for a quick doze!
Two Resorts in One
The last reason I would recommend Riverside is that you get two resorts in one. Port Orleans Resort – Riverside and Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter are technically considered one large resort according to our ferry boat captain. She told us that together they make up the largest resort on Disney property with over 3,000 rooms. They sit right next to one another on the waterway, and a pretty walking path connects them. You can also take the ferry boat back and forth.
Guests are invited to enjoy both pool and resort areas, so you have lots of options for family fun. Most importantly, you can walk to The Scat Cat’s Club – Café at French Quarter for some fresh, Mickey-shaped beignets and dipping sauces. The sauce choices include strawberry, salted caramel, or chicory chocolate ganache. I loved to put the salted caramel and ganache toppings together on my beignet!
A Few Complaints
There is little to complain about Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside. Aggravatingly, our room attendant did wake us up on the morning of our departure. We had been at the Halloween party the night before, so we were trying to sleep in a bit before leaving. We did not think to put up the do not disturb sign on our door, but we did not expect anyone to be knocking that early.
While we enjoyed the pool and hot tub, which are conveniently located next to each other, we were disappointed in the slide. It is too slow, and my husband cut his arm on it. The slides at the other moderate resorts are much more fun.
We also had mixed reviews on the resort dining. We all enjoyed our breakfast and Mickey waffles at the Riverside Mill Food Court, but we found our dinner there to be just satisfactory. We did enjoy eating the resort’s pizza to go by the pool! The mobile ordering process was easy. Just be sure to indicate that you are here as soon as you are walking to the food court or you may have a short wait once you are there. We did not get to eat at the resort’s table-service restaurant, Boatwright’s Dining Hall, this time.