Get ready to celebrate! Next year, 2021, will mark the 50th Anniversary of Walt Disney World Resort!! Package bookings for 2021 should open up in mid-June. From now until then, we will be revisiting our 5 Reasons to Love series about WDW resorts to help you decide where to stay next year.
from, the Walking Down Main Street team
1. The slow, peaceful, laid-back feeling of the Old South
Once called Dixie Landings, Port Orleans Riverside brings you a feeling of relaxation mixed with whole lotta Southern Charm. This resort is nestled along the “mighty” Sassagoula River, and it is an absolute dream for those looking for a slow-paced Resort to enjoy while visiting Walt Disney World. With the busyness of the Parks, it is nice to spend your resort time being refreshed, and it’s hard to believe that something so serene sits a mere minutes away. There are two different “neighborhoods” at this resort- the quaint woodsy cottages of Alligator Bayou, and the grand white-columned mansions in Magnolia Bend.
The beautiful Sassagoula Steamboat lobby is themed after a riverboat, and you can see the ports of call listed around the lobby, along with some Hidden Mickeys - so look up! The details are stunning. The Riverside Mill Food Court is themed after an old Southern cotton mill - complete with a working water wheel!
White rocking chairs line the covered porches of Riverside, so you can just sit back and people watch - one of my favorite things to do at Disney.
2. Themed Rooms fit for Royalty
In those beautiful big white mansions, you will find the Royal Rooms. These rooms are loved by Princesses (and Princes) both young and young-at-heart! From the moment you walk in to your room, you are surrounded by decor that allude to many of the Disney Princesses, and happily greeted with a note from Princess Tiana herself!
My girls and I did a hunt around the room of all of the fun “hidden Princess” items that we could find, and which movie they were from. Of our favorites - Aladdin’s Magic Carpet, Genie’s lamp, and Sultan; the dog-turned-footstool from Beauty and the Beast!
And for some extra Magic --- make sure you check out the headboards --- with the push of a button, they give you a fireworks show!
Expert tip - If you choose to stay in a Royal Room, request building 90, as it is (in my humble opinion!) the best one! - Close to the walking bridge that connects you to the Sassagoula Steamboat Co (lobby)/ busses to the Theme Parks,, and the walking path to Port Orleans French Quarter. If you book a Garden or River view, you will be on the inside of the building, which means less walking for you, and a beautiful view!
3. It’s next door to its sister resort - Port Orleans French Quarter
Just a quick 10 minute walk down the Sassagoula sits Riverside’s Sister Resort - French Quarter. Because they are “sister” resorts, guests are able to enjoy the amenities at both of them! French Quarter is a quaint little resort, and the theming is true to its name; it’s a Mardi Gras party in the French Quarter of New Orleans!
Besides the fact that this is where you can get your Mickey-shaped beignets (reason enough to visit!), French Quarter features some larger-than-life statues of jazz-playing alligators and mask-wearing Jesters, which make for some fun photo ops.
At Doubloon Lagoon, POFQ’s pool area, you can slide down the tongue of Scales, the sea serpent, who is being ridden by King Neptune himself! French Quarter also has one of the newest and most fun water aquatic areas for the littles. With its bright colors and whimsical water sprayers, it’s sure to delight all of the littles of the family who are 48” or under!
You can channel your inner Princess and the Frog characters and sing’ “Goin’ Down the Bayou!” - all the way to Disney Springs!
4. Boat Transportation to Disney Springs!
Port Orleans has a boat service that will take you on a beautiful 2.5 mile ride down the Sassagoula, all the way to Disney Springs (formerly known as Downtown Disney). This is sure to bring a smile to your face when you see all of the amazing food and shopping that is offered in this district! The ride itself is about 20 minutes long, and it meanders gently through the woodland, and gives you a different view of not only the Port Orleans Resort, but both Saratoga Springs and Old Key West Resorts as well! You can also catch a glimpse of Disney’s Lake Buena Vista Golf Course - which makes Port Orleans a convenient place to stay if you have a golfer in your family!
5. There is plenty to do without even leaving your Resort!
The recreation that is offered at Port Orleans will make sure that there is never an uneventful moment in your vacation - unless of course you want one - then you can relax in the whirlpool or in a poolside hammock!
Other no-cost activities are nightly campfires (with marshmallow roasting!), Movies Under the Stars (held at the Magnolia South quiet pool), a fun playground for the kids, and one of my favorites that we experienced last trip; a lesson in Animation! Dockside Drawing was led by a Cast Member who taught you some basics of Disney Animation, held right in the
You can head down to the Riverside Levee Marina and hop on a 25 minute horse-drawn carriage ride in the evening. This is one of the most picturesque scenes at Port Orleans, and I love to see and hear the klip-klopping of the horses trotting down the streets.
If you head to the Fishin’ Hole at Ol’ Man Island - you can do some ol’ fashioned cane pole fishin’!
But the real gem of entertainment at Port Orleans Riverside would be a visit to the River Roost Lounge, where you will find the witty and unforgettable Yehaa Bob Jackson, performing Disney classics with his wacky piano! The River Roost has some delectable bar bites as well - those Bayou wings!!!
Have you stayed at Port Orleans Riverside? If you have, what are some of your favorite things about the Resort? Would love to hear in the comments!
Whitney Mattox is a Senior Vacation Specialist with Coasters & Castles Travel. She loves to plan perfect vacations for her clients and bring her own princesses to Disney and beyond! Email her at email@example.com.