Port Orleans Riverside
Royal Guest Room At Port Orleans Riverside
We recently stayed in a Royal Guest room at Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside. The Disney details in the Royal Guest hotel room are perfect for any Disney fan. The excellent theming throughout the resort makes Port Orleans Riverside one of our favorite Disney resorts. This post covers all of the reasons we love Port Orleans while also detailing some of the downsides of staying at this resort.
What are the benefits of this hotel?
For us, the main benefits of Port Orleans Riverside are: the theming, the price, and the entertainment.
From the quick service restaurant to the gift shop, the theming at Port Orleans Riverside is amazing. We really appreciate the little details that this resort has throughout. When looking at the theming, we think Port Orleans Riverside has three connected themes throughout the resort.
First is the hotel reception and food buildings. This area feels like an old mill town to us. Disney describes it as “styled as a steamship ticket station.” Second, there is the bayou themed areas which include the island where the pool is, the pool bar, and the bayou hotel rooms. Lastly, there are the mansion hotel rooms which have a much more elegant feel.
We truly think that the theming at Port Orleans is the best of any moderate Disney resort. We even prefer the theming here over some of the deluxe resorts such as Saratoga Springs.
Port Orleans Riverside is a moderate Disney resort. This means it falls in the middle tier of Disney pricing. According to Disney’s website, moderate hotels start at $198/night. However, if there is a special offer the price per night could be less. (Disney often has discounts, click here for the current ones here).
We booked a Royal Guest room which is a specific category of rooms at Port Orleans Riverside. The Royal Guest rooms are typically a higher price. At the time of booking, the Royal Guest room was about $20 more than the other rooms available. For us, it was worth it.
One benefit with staying at any Disney resort is that you can take the Magical Express to and from the Orlando International Airport (MCO). This saves on the cost of an Uber or taxi if you are flying in. If you are driving or have a rental car, be aware that Disney currently charges for parking at the hotels.
The entertainment at Port Orleans Riverside is really impressive. The pool area is on an island and has hammocks to relax in. The island also has a small playground. At night, the smaller pools around the resort may have swim in movies where you can watch a Disney movie from the pool or the seats nearby. Also, there are horse drawn carriage rides available at the resort ($55). The horse drawn carriages can be reserved ahead of time by calling (407) 939-7529 or walk ups may be available.
Yehaa Bob Jackson is a nightly singer, piano player, and comedian at Port Orleans Riverside. His show takes place at River Roost, which is the bar/lounge located in the main building. The show is kid friendly and often involves sing-alongs and audience participation. The night we went for the show, it was very busy. (We were there on a Wednesday night in June). If you want a good seat, we recommend getting to the lounge early and grabbing some food or drinks before the show. The night we went, to have a good seat you would have had to be there at least 30-40 minutes early.
You can come see Yehaa Bob Jackson, take a horse-drawn carriage ride, or walk throughout the resort without having a room at the hotel. If you would rather save the money and stay at a value resort, do it. You can always take a bus to Port Orleans from any Disney park or Disney Springs and explore everything that Port Orleans has to offer.
Port Orleans Riverside vs Other Disney World Hotels
Port Orleans has great theming for a decent price. Honestly, we like staying at Port Orleans more than some of the deluxe Disney resort hotels. Specifically, we would pick Port Orleans Riverside over Saratoga Springs. Of the moderate resorts, we think that Port Orleans Riverside is the best option. However, the updated Coronado Springs Resort with the new tower looks pretty amazing. We are staying in the new Coronado tower in August, so there is a chance the newness of that resort may beat out the charm of Port Orleans Riverside for us.
When accounting for price, we would still typically pick Pop Century over Port Orleans Riverside. While the theming is better at Port Orleans Riverside, we don’t know if it is enough to make us prefer Port Orleans over Pop Century when factoring in the price difference. Also, Pop Century has the new Skyliner which provides an additional way to travel to the theme parks.
If money is no object, we easily recommend almost all of the deluxe resorts over Port Orleans Riverside. We especially recommend the Boardwalk, Yacht Club, and Beach Club because it is an easy walk to Epcot and a slightly longer walk to Hollywood Studios. If you want spectacular theming, then we recommend Animal Kingdom Lodge.
We were really impressed with all of the hidden and not so hidden Disney details in the Royal Guest room. One detail that is harder to see from the photos is that the headboard of each bed lights up with fireworks. This is a really fun detail. There is also a note from Tiana on the table welcoming you.
As for some of the more hidden Disney details, the boarders along the ceiling in the bedroom and bathroom have a lot of hidden Disney characters. Also the faucet is in the shape of Genie’s lap. I am sure there are a lot of other Disney details that we missed.
The standard guest rooms at Port Orleans Riverside will not have any of these additional Disney details. So if you want all of the extra touches, be sure to book the Royal Guest room option. When we booked, the royal guest room was about $20 more than the standard room (we only stayed at the hotel for one night).
The main downside about the moderate and value resorts is that none of them are within walking distance of the theme parks. This means that you will have to take a bus to get to all of the theme parks. There are two main benefits to the location of Port Orleans Riverside. The first is that you can take a boat from the hotel to Disney Springs. The boat ride is really enjoyable and gives guests something different to experience.
The second benefit about the location of Port Orleans Riverside is that you can walk from Port Orleans Riverside to Port Orleans French Quarter. This provides a nice walk or run in the morning. It also gives additional bars and food to explore. One of the food options that is very popular at Port Orleans French Quarter are the beignets.
Port Orleans French Quarter vs Port Orleans Riverside
Port Orleans French Quarter is themed after the French Quarter of New Orleans. While it is fun to explore Port Orleans French Quarter, we much prefer the overall feel and theming at Port Orleans Riverside. While Port Orleans French Quarter has beignets, we were not a huge fan of them (though many people love them). The quick service location has Mickey shaped beignets and the bar has alcoholic beignets. Of the two, we preferred the nonalcoholic version.
We prefer the quick service theming and food options at Port Orleans Riverside. We also enjoy the bars more at Port Orleans Riverside. Lastly, we like the overall feel and theming more at Port Orleans Riverside. However, just because this is our preference, it does not mean it will be yours. We encourage you to check out the photos on both hotel websites to see which speaks to you. Worst case, if you want to enjoy either hotel, it is just a 10-20 minute walk between the resorts.
What are the downsides of this hotel?
The main downside of this hotel is the transportation to the theme parks. Since most of our stays are at Disney World’s Swan and Dolphin, we have gotten used to walking to Epcot and Hollywood Studios.
We are not fans of Disney buses and unfortunately they are your primary means of transportation at Port Orleans Riverside. Not only do you have to take a bus, but there are multiple bus stops at this resort. This means that once you get on the bus, the ride will take longer because there are more stops to make.
While the price is less than the deluxe resorts, the rooms are still more than the value resorts. The Royal Guest room is even more money. When accounting for the cost, we would typically pick Pop Century over this resort.
Our Overall Recommendation
Port Orleans Riverside has a lot going for it. The Royal Guest rooms have great theming. The hotel restaurants, gift shop, and bars also have a ton of fun Disney details. While Disney Springs is an enjoyable boat ride away, the biggest downside of this resort is that you have to take a bus to all of the theme parks. Additionally, there are multiple bus stops at Port Orleans Riverside which can make the process of getting to the parks longer. In the end, we still recommend Port Orleans if you are looking for a reasonable priced Disney hotel with a really great theme. If you have a comment or any questions about this resort, please leave them below!
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