By Soarin’ Diva
It’s not a secret that my family’s favorite resort is Walt Disney World’s Port Orleans French Quarter. You can read about our obsession with the resort here, as well as read other glowing reviews from JollyFrogger Diva here and Dopey Diva here. We love the beautiful grounds that depict the southern charm of New Orleans. We adore the small size of the resort itself, making the resort a cozy home away from home. This particular review isn’t about Port Orleans French Quarter though. This review is about Port Orleans Riverside. Port Orleans Riverside is the much larger sister resort to French Quarter.
My husband and I never had any intentions in booking a stay at Riverside, we were honestly too intimidated by how spread-out and large it was in comparison to French Quarter. It just so happened, however, that as we were attempting to book a great bounce-back offer (free dining) from Walt Disney World during a previous stay there, that we were told French Quarter was not included in the bounce-back, but Riverside was. Who am I to turn down free dining, that’s free food for an entire week for a family of four. We bit the bullet, put our fear of a large resort aside, and booked a stay for Port Orleans Riverside.
We spent months and months planning our vacation, while secretly worrying over how crowded the resort was going to feel when compared to French Quarter. Then dawned the day of our arrival. We had previously taken advantage of Walt Disney World’s online check in, but we always love going to the main building to check in the day we arrive as well, just to experience that first magical moment of a personal interaction with a Disney Cast Member. After visiting the front desk, we decided to take time to explore the grounds of the resort, just to get a better feel for it since we had never been there.
We immediately fell in love. Port Orleans Riverside is simply and stunningly beautiful. From the Sassagoula River, gently flowing by, to every minute detail on the grounds of the resort itself, every single thing is beautiful. The more we explored, the more we fell in love. To our surprise, the resort did not give off a crowded feel at all. It was extremely quiet and peaceful as we strolled and explored. Even more surprising, the walk from the main building and dining hall to our building, Magnolia Terrace, wasn’t a long walk at all. This was especially great news for us as we love to take advantage of the resort refillable mugs, but don’t want a lot of walking after a twelve hour day at the parks to go grab a drink. I believe the average time to walk from our room to grab a drink was about three minutes, not too shabby. I would also like to point out that the walk from our room to the bus stop was also a quick three minute walk, which was really nice when our feet were sopping wet from the huge rain showers we were hit with.
As we waited for our room to become available, we decided to catch a ferry and take a short trip over to Disney Springs to grab a bite to eat. Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter both conveniently offer a relaxing boat ride over to Disney Springs, which is much more enjoyable than taking a bus over, so we love to take advantage of that delightful mode of transportation when we can.
After a delicious meal and a little Disney Springs exploring, we headed back to our room. We were in the Magnolia Terrace building of Magnolia Bend. The rooms were the typical size of a moderate resort, decorated in that same southern charm that the grounds held. From the artwork detailed into the headboards, to the fabric of the chairs, the décor screamed old southern style. The linens on the bed have been updated within the last few years to a crisp white, which I personally favor over the old bedspreads. The bathroom is also typical of a moderate resort with dual sinks, but where some resorts have been updated with sliding doors to separate the bathroom from the bedroom, our room still had the large privacy curtain to pull across the doorway. Having the curtain instead of the door doesn’t bother me, but I know some people do prefer the door for added privacy.
I am very pleased to report that our family really did enjoy our stay at Walt Disney World’s Port Orleans Riverside. I’m so glad we didn’t let our fears deny us the opportunity to stay at Riverside, because we found it to be extremely beautiful and relaxing. French Quarter will always be our favorite moderate resort, I can’t deny that, but we were thrilled that Riverside still gave off a calm, relaxing feel instead of the crowded, busy feel we expected. We will probably stay here again in the future, and I highly recommend this resort to anyone.
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