Review: Disney’s Port Orleans Resort Riverside at Walt Disney World

Disney’s Port Orleans Resort Riverside is widely considered to be a great Walt Disney World resort by the Disney community. After seeing all of the praise the resort regularly receives, we wanted to experience this moderate hotel for ourselves. What we found was an enjoyable and quiet resort that should be an option for any Disney World visitor who wants something a bit nicer than the values, but more affordable than the deluxe resorts.

Upon arrival, we found the staff to be extremely helpful and friendly. Despite a long line at check-in, we were assisted promptly and met with some southern charm which fit perfectly with the theming of the resort.

Our room was on the first level of one of the buildings in Alligator Bayou, a location that has more rustic theming compared to the plantation themed Magnolia Bend. We ended up staying in one of the Preferred Locations, though we didn’t book one prior to our arrival. This meant that we were closer to the lobby and quick service areas compared to other rooms. A welcome surprise!

Let’s take a look at the resort’s layout.

Size and Layout

As you can see on the map below, Port Orleans Riverside is a large resort. Big thanks to PortOrleans.org for this incredible map.

Depending on what building you’re staying in, the walk to the main lobby or to the food court can be a lengthy one. However, long walks are a staple of many rooms at moderate and value Walt Disney World resorts. The lush landscaping and water views help make the journeys more enjoyable.

Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside has four bus stations around the property, which can be a bit confusing if you don’t remember which station is the closest to your room. We ran into this issue personally after a late night at the Magic Kingdom, which admittedly was our own fault. We returned at the North bus stop when we should have gotten off at the South or West station. This led to a long and confusing walk back in the dark.

Knowing the resort layout, or taking a picture of the resort map on your phone, could solve any navigation problems you might encounter.

Rooms

We failed to take pictures of the room in our rush to get to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. Forgive us! That being said, the room was spacious, clean and had some fun rustic theming. The bathroom has two sinks and a separate room with the toilet and shower. Everything was fairly nice though the shower head probably needed to be replaced.

Our room had two queen beds and an additional pull-out bed that featured the theming from The Princess and the Frog. The room could sleep up to five, which meant we had more than enough space for all of our luggage for just the two of us.

We found our room to be very quiet and noise from other guests wasn’t an issue. It’s possible there weren’t any guest staying directly next to us, but we thought the room did a nice job of softening outdoor noise. Port Orleans Riverside is billed as a relaxing and quiet resort, and we think it lived up to the bill. The same can’t be said for Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort (Read that full review here).

Our biggest complaint was the fire alarm that kept going off shortly after our arrival. We called the front desk, who explained a contractor was doing testing after about five minutes on hold and more alarms sounding. Totally understandable, but a note in the room or a message at the front desk at check-in would have been appreciated.

Dining

Let’s get to one of the most important parts of any resort – the food. There’s Boatwright’s Dining Hall, a table-service option, and Riverside Mill, which is more of a food court.

Riverside Mill is about what you’d expect from a Disney food court, with different sections serving up baked goods, sandwiches, salads, chicken fingers, burgers and a handful of items that are unique to the resort (Bayou Lasagna). Everything we ordered was hot, fresh and fi

The space itself was very large with amble seating at any time of day. We expected the breakfast rush to feel very crowded, but we found that there wasn’t an issue finding a table even during peak hours.

Transportation

One fun feature of Port Orleans Riverside is the ability to take a boat to Disney Springs. Disney Springs has some outstanding dining and shopping options, and it’s just more enjoyable arriving by boat. However, the water journey can take around 20 minutes, so make sure you plan accordingly.

Buses provide transportation to all of the theme parks and water parks. As with many Disney value and moderate hotels, brace for some very full buses due to the multiple pick-up and drop-off points around the resort. Try and build extra time into your schedule to account for long waits and full buses.

Pools and Amenities

The main pool is located on Ol’ Man Island, and while we didn’t have any time to swim, it looked like a lot of fun. The pool isn’t enormous, but it had some fun theming and water features that made it far better than an average pool. Other more “quiet” pools are located around the resort.

Beyond swimming, there’s also Surrey Bike Rentals, playgrounds, jogging paths, fishing, movies under the stars, campfires and much more. If you’re not planning on spending a full day or night at the parks, you’ll find plenty to do back at the resort.

Overall Thoughts

We enjoyed our brief stay at Port Orleans Riverside. The resort is big, but it doesn’t feel too big. The food options were good, albeit a bit expected, but they were convenient. Transportation has a fun alternative for Disney Springs, though the usual issues with the larger resorts and crowded buses were present.

So, would we stay there again? Yes!

Port Orleans Riverside provides a tranquil and peaceful atmosphere that makes you feel like you’re staying in a unique and special place. It lacks some amenities found at other resorts, such as access to the Disney Skyliner, but the beauty and pace of the resort is quite nice.

Factoring in a price that’s more appealing than other options, we recommend checking out this resort when you’re planning your next Disney World vacation.

Related: Review of Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort

David
David has been writing about Disney since 2018. He founded Notes from Neverland as an outlet to express his love for Walt Disney World, Disney Cruise Line and more.

Notes from Neverland is an Amazon Associate and may earn from qualifying purchases.

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