With Walt Disney World being so close to Orlando where I live, it’s easy to drive down to the theme parks just for the day. But sometimes, it’s nice to get away for a short Disney vacation and stay over for a night…or two.
One of the nicest, of the modestly priced resorts at Walt Disney World, is Port Orleans, nestled along the banks of the Sassagoula River. The resort is made up of two distinct sections or parishes: Riverside and The French Quarter. For both of our visits, we stayed in the Riverside section. Riverside consists of the Southern plantation style mansions of Magnolia Bend (where we stayed in 2010) and the rustic cottages of Alligator Bayou (where we stayed in 2011). The architecture of the French Quarter is, of course, inspired by the famous area in New Orleans.
This picturesque waterfront resort is a wonderfully quiet change from some of the other busier Disney resort hotels. It really feels like you’ve stepped back in time or at least away from the hectic life you left behind.
There are a couple of restaurants and shops on property and plenty of things to do if you want to take a break from the theme parks. The Riverside Mill Food Court serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Depending on what building your room is in, it can be a bit of a walk to Riverside Mill Food Court, but it is a nice quiet walk through the property. We had breakfast there every morning where I enjoyed a Mickey Mouse waffle! For a sit down dinner, there’s Boatwright’s which serves steaks, prime rib and seafood. Fulton’s General Store carries Disney merchandise, snacks, beverages and sundries.
For recreation you can swim in one of the many pools around the property, rent bicycles or boats, take a guided fishing excursion or board a horse-drawn carriage for a romantic ride through the resort.
Port Orleans is on Disney property, but not directly connected by boat or monorail to any of the theme parks. However, bus service is easily available to take you to all theme parks and water parks.
There is also a riverboat that can take you to the Downtown Disney Marketplace and West End. This tranquil, scenic ride is quite lovely and relaxing and stops at both Riverside and The French Quarter. If you get a chance to take the boat back at night, you might see rows of herons lined up on the banks of the river. They wait for the riverboats to churn up the water and bring fish to the surface. It’s a pretty interesting sight to see all these white birds waiting to catch their dinner!
There’s no question that the next time we plan a Disney World getaway, we’ll book a stay at Port Orleans. For the money, it’s the best deal going.
Dates of Visit: June 2010 & March 2011