So, you’ve decided to spend a fortune and go to Disney instead of buying a small car. We did too, at the beginning of December with our two kiddos. It was a trip I had dreamed about and planned for several years – and a trip I’m still dreaming about since we’ve returned. It took a lot of saving because I’m not a millionaire…yet – but it was worth every penny. I’m hopeful that some of our experiences will help you dream, plan and have an unforgettable vacation. Keep in mind – I am by no means a travel agent. And yet still – prepare yourself to be bombarded with Disney posts over the next couple weeks – starting with accommodations.
The accommodations were a tough one for us. We debated renting a house for a week – but that meant more work while on vacation – pass. We debated staying at a hotel off of Disney property to save a few dollars – but that meant less conveniences – pass. We decided staying on Disney property was best so we could take advantage of Disney transportation, the dining plan, earlier dining reservations and fast passes and it ended up being a great decision for us. Disney has over 25 hotels – the competition was fierce but the winner was Port Orleans Riverside. We knew a few friends who had stayed at Port Orleans and it also came highly recommended by our travel agent and online reviews…and I read a lot of reviews.
The property for Port Orleans Riverside is very large – Disney spares no detail when trying to immerse you into an experience. Although I’ve never been to New Orleans – it sure felt like I was transported there for a week. We chose an upgraded Royal Room and our room was located in the Magnolia Bend section of the resort. Our location was pretty ideal, we were one building down from the “quiet pool” and the main building (front desk, dining etc.) and main pool was just across the bridge.
Here is what our building looked like – we were on the second floor – it felt like we were in a room inside of a mansion.
Our room itself was a traditional hotel room – with some fun added royal theming. The picture on the headboard had a button that when pushed would light up fireworks on the scene. Our kids gave that button a workout – I don’t blame them though – it was really neat. The kids also both received letters from Princess Tiana – a nice extra touch. The room was clean, comfortable and really all the space we needed for our stay.
There really aren’t words to describe the grounds, I could try but I wouldn’t do it justice, so I will just share some pictures instead and let you add the words.
One of our favourite features was the boat transportation that you could take via the river to Disney Springs – we used the boat quite a few times and it never once disappointed – it was also a nice alternative to always taking the bus. If you stay here – make sure you take advantage of the boat!
The river really added to the ambiance of Riverside and we enjoyed many walks along it. The quiet pool and main pool were never too busy during our stay – we were told by some Americans that it was because it was too cold to swim – but I promise you it felt like a Canadian summer most days and we were most definitely not doing a polar bear dip. I suspect that most people spend the majority of their time at the parks which is why the pools were mostly deserted but that was okay by us. The main pool had a great water slide which our children enjoyed non stop and the quiet pool had laundry facilities which also came in handy.
The quick service dining location at our resort was the Riverside Mill Food Court. We had dinner here twice and also grabbed breakfast once and some snacks here and there. The food is pretty standard but we had no complaints. The children enjoyed the pizza and my husband loved the pasta. My favourite was the gluten free mickey waffles they made for me (I will have an entire post about food coming soon). This is also where we were able to get our refillable Disney resort cups (which I filled with coffee every single day – a necessity).
The cast members at our resort were truly exceptional. They went above and beyond with their customer service and ensured that every thing ran smoothly and if it wasn’t they would correct it immediately. The Disney staff blew us away wherever we went and I thank them for their part in making our vacation so magical.
Lastly….Christmas! We went to Disney during their Christmas season – the decorations were gorgeous and have set my expectations extremely high for how I would like my house to look next year – think National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and then some.
I would definitely recommend this moderate resort to anyone planning a Disney vacation and would love to stay there again one day….one can always dream, right?
Port Orleans Riverside was more than just a resort – it was our home for a week that we will always remember.