Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – 1251 Riverside Drive, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
The Walt Disney World Resort is famously celebrated for its themed accommodations. While a guest at one of The World’s fabulous Resorts, you may find yourself on safari in Africa, roughing it in the wilderness at a rustic 20th century lodge, or sunning yourself on the nautical shores of an East Coast yacht club. However, these massive resorts can be overwhelming to some who may have mobility issues or just prefer the intimate accommodations of a boutique style hotel. Disney’s Port Orleans Resort combines the best of Disney’s theming with the style of a boutique all-inclusive resort.
Disney’s Port Orleans Resort is about as relaxed as you can get in a place where park hours, fast passes, character meet-n-greets, parade times, and dinner reservations dictate your every move. Since it’s opening, Disney’s Port Orleans Resort has been a fan favorite, and it is perhaps Walt Disney World’s best kept secret – until now!
Disney’s Port Orleans Resort is a Walt Disney World Moderate Resort encompassed of two mini-resorts: Port Orleans Resort – Riverside and Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter (similar to the dual resort style of Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resort). The Resort is located along the Sassagoula River in the Disney Springs Resort Area. Originally known as “Disney’s Port Orleans” and “Disney’s Dixie Landings” which opened in 1991 and 1992 respectively, this 2 for 1 resort pays a nod to the Deep South with a throwback to the grandiose plantations and the low-lying bayous of Louisiana, the Big Easy, and the rustic banks of the Mississippi River.
Welcome to the shores of the Sassagoula River where the Resort’s overall theme radiates with a picturesque landscape filled with crepe myrtles, bald cypruses, and magnolia trees officially welcoming you to the South (well, Disney’s version of the South). From the minute you set foot on the grounds of Disney’s Port Orleans Resort, you immediately realize this Resort is different than any other accommodation on Walt Disney World Property, and if you’re anything like us – you will find yourself intrigued by the immaculate details, the unseen, and the attention and detail that went into the backstory of this unique Resort. In an essence, the layout of the Resort makes you work for its reveal. Unlike other Disney Resorts whose entire theming is revealed almost immediately upon arrival, at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort there are no massive icons or structures towering over the property, and you never know what lies around the next river bend.
Disney’s Port Orleans Resort, with all of its amenities, is the perfect Resort to take a break from the park hopping.
Bike Rental – Port Orleans Resort’s shared recreation kiosk, The Levee, offers bicycle and surrey bike rental.
- Bicycles can be rented for $9.00 per hour or $18.00 per day.
- Surrey Bikes are rented in half hour increments at $20.00 for a two seater and $22.00 for a four seater.
Payment is collected upon return via Magic Band/Room Charge. The entire resort can easily be done in under one hour. However, if you stop to take photographs, eat, and grab a few beverages along the way you may want to go for the daily rate. There is a large main pathway that follows the Sassagoula River from French Quarter to Riverside which Surrey Bikes are restricted to, but for us the best part of this Resort is wheeling through the Resort’s winding pathways on your bicycle and exploring all Port Orleans has to offer.
Carriage Rides – The Levee also offers private horse-drawn carriage rides which provide a very relaxing and romantic tour of the Resort’s grounds. If you’re looking for Disney Date Night ideas, we highly recommend adding a sunset Carriage Ride through Disney’s Port Orleans Resort (or Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground) to your itinerary.
Carriage Rides through Disney’s Port Orleans Resort are offered nightly from 6:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. The cost is $45.00, and each carriage seats four adults. The ride takes guests on a peaceful journey along the Sassagoula River between the two resorts. Rides are just under thirty minutes in length, and if you ask us – this is the perfect way to end your evening or celebrate a very special occasion at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort!
Run Disney – Another fantastic feature of Disney’s Port Orleans Resort is the Resort’s picturesque New Balance Running Trail that circles the Sassagoula river banks. The run-ability of this Resort, in our opinion, is unrivaled and you can learn more about our runs on the bayou here. In our opinion, there’s nothing we love more than taking a scenic sunrise run (Disney) on the New Balance Running Trail at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort before heading into the Parks!
Cane Pole Fishing – This is one of the Resort’s most popular activities, and it is offered at the Fishin’ Hole located on Port Orleans Riverside’s Ol’ Man Island which sits adjacent to the Muddy Rivers Pool Bar. The Fishin’ Hole opens daily at 7:00 a.m. The cane poles are rented in thirty minute intervals at $6.39 per person or $15.98 for a family of up to six members. The Fishin’ Hole provides hot dogs and worms as bait, and the hole is stocked with a few varieties of fish including catfish. Although this is a catch and release experience, it is a great opportunity to snap a souvenir photo with your prize catch!
Fishing Excursions – Fishing charters can be arranged at the Riverside Marina which offers a private two or four hour guided bass fishing tour down the Sassagoula River aboard a pontoon boat. The tour includes up to five guests and costs range from $235.00 to $455.00 depending on the time of day and length of the tour.
Pirate Adventure – The Bayou Pirate Adventure is offered to children between the ages of four to twelve years old. This two hour tour is priced at $39.00 per child, and it begins at 9:30 a.m. every Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday, weather permitting. We can happily say that this Adventure appeals to both young boys and girls. The price of the tour includes a few snacks, and a whole lot of treasure hunting fun!
Travel Note: As with most Walt Disney World Resort recreational activities, Annual Passholders and Disney Vacation Club Members receive a 10% discount on rentals. Don’t forget to show your Passholder/Membership card.
Pools – When it comes to swimming, Port Orleans has plenty of ways to keep you cool by the pool! With a total of seven swimming pools and two Jacuzzi hot tubs sprinkled throughout both Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter, you will have plenty of opportunities to perfect your cannonball! Pool Parties take place daily at both resorts and include fun for all ages such as games, a dance party, and more. On sunny afternoons, you may find us playing a few rounds of Disney trivia with fellow guests at the afternoon’s pool party.
With so many activities onsite, you’ll find it hard to leave this charming Resort!
Campfire – The Resort’s Campfire is a popular event for families and guests of all ages. This event is one of our favorite things to do year round at both resorts. Sing along to your favorite Disney songs, or even those you don’t know yet, as you roast marshmallows and listen to Resort themed stories by the Campfire. The Campfire is organized by the Resort’s staff, and characters do not attend. Each resort offers its own respective Campfire nightly (around dusk) which is free for all resort guests, however, s’mores kits are available for purchase at $7.00 each.
Movies Under the Stars – Each night, weather permitting, the Resorts offer a Movie Under the Stars in their respective courtyards beginning between 8:30-9:00 p.m. If you make it back from the parks in time, this is the perfect way to unwind. This event is complimentary to all Resort guests, so grab a pool towel and a spot on the lawn for some of your favorite Disney movies both old and new.
Nightlife – Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter also feature fantastic indoor bars with nightly entertainment. The River Roost Lounge, home to Yehaa Bob Jackson, can be found at Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort. This is a “must do” on each of our visits. At Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter Resort, spend the evening at Scat Cat’s Club where guests can sing along with bands of Disney Theme Parks past. On Saturday, Sunday, Monday & Tuesday nights you’ll find Jason Thomas and Billy Varnes, two members of the infamous Off Kilter. Jason and Billy, along with their Off Kilter band mates, performed nightly at the Canadian Pavilion in Epcot for many years, and as many guests will remember Off Kilter was the most popular band EVER to perform at Epcot. On occasion, you may also catch Greg Hayworth of Mulch, Sweat & Shears. This longtime “landscape company” turned landscape-themed rock band was a popular Disney’s Hollywood Studios attraction until their recent departure.
Pool Bars – Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter each feature their own fantastically themed outdoor pool bars. Both pool bars open daily beginning at 11:30 a.m. and typically close around 10:00 p.m. depending on the time of year. Typically between 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. you will find the pool bars at their busiest, but our favorite time to hang with a few of Disney’s friendliest bartenders would be between 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. when the crowds are at their lowest. Poolside servers are also available at both locations to take your order if you’d prefer not to fight the crowds.
Muddy Rivers Pool Bar is located at Port Orleans Riverside on Ol’ Man Island while Port Orleans French Quarter guests can enjoy a few refreshing beverages just steps away from the feature pool at Mardi Grogs Pool Bar. When it comes to the drink menu both bars offer everything from assorted beer, wine and sangria to specialty cocktails with names like All That Jazz, Hurricane, Nola Cola, Front Porch Freeze, as well as popular pool side margaritas and non-alcoholic beverages. Alcoholic beverages currently range in price (before tax and tip) from $10.00 for a Captain’s Mai Tai to $13.25 for specialty cocktails like the fan favorite All That Jazz. Again, both bars offer the same food and drink menu so if you find something you like, rest assured you’ll find it at both locations!
Quick Service – Each Resort features its own respectively themed quick-service dining options – The Riverside Mill and the Sassgoula Floatworks & Food Factory. Both feature standard quick service fare, and they are open to resort guests beginning at 6:00 a.m. through midnight daily.
Table Service – The only table service restaurant presently being offered to guests is Boatwright’s Dining Hall which can be found at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside.
Travel Note: Boatwright’s Dining Hall at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside is one of the few places left on Walt Disney World Property that still serves Prime Rib regularly on its menu.
Pool Bars – Aside from drinks, guests can also dine on a selection of sandwiches and snacks at both pool bars.
Guests choosing to dine at either Resort’s Pool Bar will find items such as a Turkey Club, a Ham and Cheese Croissant, and a Salad with Grilled Chicken. These tasty bites range in price (before tax and tip) from $4.69 for a Mickey-shaped Pretzel to $10.49 for both the Turkey Club and Tuna Croissant. Both Port Orleans French Quarter and Port Orleans Riverside offer the same menu items when it comes to their pool bars.
Sassagoula Pizza Express – For in room dining, a pizza delivery service similar to offerings at other Moderate and Value Resorts is available to guests from 4:00 p.m. to midnight. The menu includes a selection of pizzas, salads, soft drinks, and beer. Orders can be placed from your guestroom via room phone, from the phone located at both feature pool bars, or via concierge. There is a minimum order requirement of $15.00, and all orders will include a mandatory $3.00 delivery fee as well as 18% gratuity. The Disney Dining Plan is accepted, however, dining credits will be deducted accordingly. For example, two dining plan credits will be redeemed for those ordering a large pizza pie. We have used this service in the past during periods of inclement weather and illness (the flu once had us bedridden our entire stay), and the service certainly has come in handy. However, with so many incredible food offerings throughout Disney’s Port Orleans Resort, as well as at the nearby Disney Springs, we recommend (if you’re able) you venture outside of your guestroom and sample some of the Resort’s other fantastic food offerings.
Walt Disney World Bus System – Disney’s Port Orleans Resort participates in the Walt Disney World Bus System which includes complimentary transportation to and from the Walt Disney World Theme Parks, Water Parks, and various entertainment complexes.
Each Resort offers its own respective bus station located just outside the resort lobby. The Resort Buses hours of operation coincide with the various theme park’s hours of operation, and they can vary depending on special events or times of the year. Buses generally begin servicing guests at Port Orleans Resort around 7:00 a.m. with the last bus of the day being between 1 1/2 or 2 hours after the respective theme park has closed. This is very important to consider when planning your day.
Walt Disney World Resorts recently installed monitors at each bus station which display the approximate “bus wait time.” This has been a huge help in our planning, and we tend to find it to be reasonably accurate. However, be sure to take into account when planning a trip during peak times (the Thanksgiving – New Years season) for longer wait times and crowded buses.
Overall, we find the bus transportation at both Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter to be less of a headache than some other Walt Disney World Resorts. Again, depending on the time of year/day your looking for transportation, your experience will vary. However, in recent years we feel our experience with Port Orleans’ bus transportation overall has been a pleasant one.
Sassagoula River Cruise – Guests of Disney’s Port Orleans Resort have a unique transportation opportunity afforded to them with the Resort’s Sassagoula River Cruise. There’s nothing more relaxing to us than an afternoon cruise on the gentle Sassagoula River for a lunch or dinner date.
Both Port Orleans French Quarter and Port Orleans Riverside offer their own respective boat launch. This water-taxi service, complimentary to Resort guests, offers transportation between Disney Springs and both Port Orleans Resort Riverside and Port Orleans Resort French Quarter. Boats arrive in approximately twenty minute intervals between 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 p.m. daily.
If you’re looking to arrive to Disney Springs in a hurry, the Sassagoula River Cruise may not be for you. The River Cruise is first a means of transportation, but it is most importantly a relaxing one. For those nights when your running late for your Disney Springs dinner reservation, you may want to consider a resort bus or even a taxi service.
Mears Taxi Service – Taxi service is available for an additional fee at both Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter. Guests can request a taxi personally with concierge both in advance or on the spot. Personally, we prefer to use a third-party service such as Uber or Lyft because their prices are far more affordable than Mears.
Laundry – Laundry facilities are located near each of the Resort’s pools. A nice feature of the laundry rooms is that they accept credit cards (unfortunately no Magic Bands at this time). Although you can purchase individual wash and dry cycles at each laundry room kiosk, the Resort’s Main Lobby offers a prepaid laundry card for $7.00 which offers one wash cycle and one dry cycle and guests are notified via text message on their cell phone when each cycle is complete. We often take advantage of this feature during the summer months and since they are conveniently located near the resort’s pools, it’s no trouble to spend some down time in the sun.
2 for the price of 1 – One of the best benefits of being a guest at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort is that you have the ability to take advantage of the features of both resorts! As a guest of either resort you can pool hop, restaurant hop, and bar hop seamlessly between the two. At Port Orleans Resort, there are a variety of different room, dining, and pool opportunities available to guests of both Riverside and French Quarter.
Location – An additional reason guests prefer Disney’s Port Orleans Resort is for its centralized location within The Walt Disney World Resort. When it comes to Resort Bus Transportation, Port Orleans can have you to most places (on a good day) within Walt Disney World Property in under twenty minutes door-to-door. Port Orleans Resort is also conveniently located just a short boat ride away from Disney Springs where you will find some of the best shopping, dining, and entertainment in The World. For us, this Resort is a perfect home base for guests who spend their days in the parks and their nights at Disney Springs, and who doesn’t want to spend every night at Disney Springs?
- Similar to other Moderate Resorts as well as all Value Resorts, the motel-style guest room buildings of both Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter open to outside corridors leaving guests exposed to the elements as they come and go from their rooms. This is something to be expected when staying at any Value or Moderate Resort at Walt Disney World. During periods of inclement weather, you may find that trip to and from the bus stop/food court a be
wetdifficult one. Depending on the time of year you visit, or if you prefer enclosed corridors overall, a Deluxe Resort may be a better option for your stay.
- Unlike most Moderate Resorts, Disney’s Port Orleans Resort does not feature an on site Fitness Center. Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort is the only Moderate Resort to offer a Fitness Center on site. Unfortunately, at this time, there is no reciprocity for resort guests to use other Walt Disney World Resort Fitness Centers. This is a huge point of contention for us, however, most Walt Disney World guests will not take issue with this.
- The motel-style layout of Riverside also lends itself to the Resort’s sprawling layout which might be perceived negatively by some guests who prefer to save their walking for the Parks or those with mobility issues. Port Orleans Riverside guests should be prepared to do a bit of walking based on your room’s location. In contrast, we personally believe Port Orleans French Quarter is the better choice of the two for anyone with mobility concerns due to the Resort’s more intimate layout. With that being said, this was never a problem for us, but we prefer to be active on our trips to The World, and we love long walks through the Resort day and night.
We hope you will consider Disney’s Port Orleans Resort on your first or next trip to the Walt Disney World Resort. We honestly can’t think of a more relaxing place to spend our time in between the Parks. Whether you chose Port Orleans Resort Riverside or Port Orleans Resort French Quarter, we hope you will take advantage of all the amazing amenities that make this Resort such a fan favorite.
For a more detailed look at Port Orleans Resort – Riverside, please click here to read our guide.
Have you stayed at or are you planning an upcoming stay at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort? If so, we’d love to hear about your stay!fbike