Top Twenty Tips for Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort
Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort (POR) sits alongside the Sassagoula River in Walt Disney World. As a moderately priced hotel, Port Orleans Riverside is a popular lodging choice with WDW visitors.
Here are my top twenty tips for guests staying at this gorgeous resort:
Splurge on a Royal Room
In March 2012, Oak Manor and Parterre Place mansion buildings debuted Royal Guest rooms. Underneath the royal themeing, guests will notice that the amenities are similar to standard rooms at the moderate resorts.
Yes, these rooms may be a bit too princesss-y for some guests. However, the headboards that burst with a fireworks display add a touch of whimsy that will likely appeal to the whole family. See how many princess mentions your family can find. The beautiful Tiana definitely holds court here.
Princesses will feel right at home.
Take a Carriage Ride
The rustic ambiance of Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside can be viewed from a horse-drawn carriage ride. For $45 ($55 starting October 1, 2017), you’ll receive a 25-minute ride for up to 4 adults or 2 adults and 3 small children.
Make reservations up to 180 days in advance by calling (407) WDW-PLAY.
Horse-Drawn Carriage Ride
Hang at the Muddy Rivers Pool Bar
Muddy Rivers is a serene watering spot near the Ol’ Man Island pool. Refreshments are served up by an attentive bartender. Seating is shaded!
Sip a beverage at this relaxing bar.
Visit Disney Springs via the Riverboat
The leisurely boat ride from Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside to Disney Springs takes about 20-25 minutes with a brief stop at French Quarter. Operated by the Sassagoula Steamboat Co., the boats along this route sail under a yellow flag. Plus, this ferry service is complimentary!
Float down the river on a ferry boat.
Walk to Port Orleans French Quarter
For additional shopping and dining, take a leisurely stroll around the riverbend to Port Orleans French Quarter.
Of course, you’ll want to get some beignets while you’re there.
Messy but good!
Take Breakfast to Boatwright’s
In the morning, diners can take their quick service breakfast from the Riverside Mill food court to the dining room in Boatwright’s. It’s a quieter, less chaotic location.
Eat your quick service breakfast in Boatwright’s.
Look for Hidden Mickeys
I love looking for Hidden Mickeys!
Look closely at the mansion railings.
Look up high for Hidden Mickeys.
Alligator Bayou Room’s Murphy Bed
Families with young children will appreciate the pull-down Murphy bed.
Pull down child-size murphy bed.
Stop by River Roost
For musical entertainment, stop by River Roost in the evenings. During the day, this is a quiet place to wait for your Disney’s Magical Express return bus to the Orlando International Airport. For charging your electronics before your departure, look for electric outlets along the wall.
Recommendation: Order an Albita Purple Haze on tap.
Fishing excursions include fun amenities, including an experienced guide, rod and reel, tackle, artificial and/or live bait, non-alcoholic beverages, and one year BASS (Bass Anglers Sportsman Society) membership, which includes 11 issues of Bassmaster Magazine (one membership per excursion).
Reservations can be made up to 180 days in advance by calling 407-WDW-BASS. Choose between 2 and 4 hour trips!
Fish for largemouth bass.
Look for seasonal events
The Beignet Dash Fun Run takes place Sundays at 8AM at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter. Check-In begins at 7:30AM with a cost of $15 plus tax. You’ll receive a race bib, finisher’s medallion, a small goody bag, and a certificate for an order of three beignets at the Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory.
Join in a Fun Run.
Fulton’s General Store
Fulton’s carries necessities such as sundries, rain ponchos, and beverages. It’s also a relaxing spot to browse through the latest Disney merchandise. We love finding resort-specific goodies.
Stop by Fulton’s General Store.
Compare prices! A bottle of Dasani Water was $3.19 in the Riverside Mill food court compared to $3.00 in the General Store.
Online Check In
If you check-in online (and have a MagicBand) before your WDW arrival, you’ll be able to skip the Registration Desk. Watch for a text indicating that your room is ready; I love getting this text!
Your Resort Room is Ready.
On our most recent trip (August 2017), we arrived Riverside at 11:30AM. By the time we had lunch and walked around the resort for a bit, we had already received the “Your Resort Room is Ready” text at 10:07AM.
Riverside Mill Food Court
During prime dining hours, it gets crazy in here. Dine early or late for a less chaotic meal.
The pasta dishes here are satisfying. For dessert, get the chocolate cake. When you’re craving a snack or light meal, nosh on the breadsticks with marinara sauce.
Buses can be a tad bit aggravating at this resort. Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside often shares bus transportation with nearby French Quarter resort. Depending on what stop is nearest your building, you may find that exiting the bus at French Quarter and walking to Riverside is quicker. (I’m not kidding.) You’ll also want to line up near the blue line where the motor coach stops for a better chance of finding space on the next bus. This is a large resort and buses can be packed full during theme park rush hours.
Bus Transportation Arrival Times.
Fashioned after a Bayou swimming hole, Ol’ Man Island’s pool is a refreshing oasis for adults and kids of all ages.
Cool off at Ol’ Man Island.
Don’t miss the Recreation Calendar filled with fun activities. Some of your choices include bike rentals, evening campfires, and outdoor movies.
Go pedaling around the resort.
Note that the two-story Alligator Bayou lodge buildings do not have elevators. If this is an issue for your family, request a first floor room or lodging in the Mansion section of the resort.
Stairway at an Alligator Bayou building.
Disney’s Magical Express
Disney’s Magical Express took about 90 minutes from stepping off the Southwest airplane to arrival at Port Orleans Riverside. We made stops at Old Key West and French Quarter first. The longest wait that we endured was waiting for the bus to depart the airport once we were seated on board. It was about 9:30AM and since we were among the first passengers to board, it took time to fill up the bus. At least we were sitting down!
Bus Queues at MCO.
Our luggage arrived our room 2 hours and 50 minutes after our plane landed. We know because we were just settling in to take a nap; it was perfect timing.
Resort Airline Check-In and Luggage Storage
Resort Airline Check-In was well organized at Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort. We dropped off our luggage in the morning prior to heading to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Boarding passes were delivered to our room the day prior so we only needed to have our luggage weighed and tagged.
Open 5AM until Noon.
After, we headed to the Luggage Room to store a carry-on bag. Again, service was exemplary.
Why Stay at Port Orleans Riverside?
Stay here for the choice of lodgings — Alligator Bayou or Mansion buildings — giving families two themed options. Also, Port Orleans Riverside boasts prime real estate along the Sassagoula River with the opportunity to take a boat to Disney Springs. With French Quarter around the river bend, Riverside guests get two resorts filled with fun activities within easy walking distance of each other. Book your stay at this WDW moderate resort!
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Disney Springs Tips for Parents: Taking the Kids
Whether you’re visiting Walt Disney World for a week-long stay or passing through Orlando on a jaunt to the Space Coast, Disney Springs deserves a spot in your itinerary! Yes, even with little kids in tow. Let’s look at some Disney Springs tips for parents…
For starters, you’ll want to visit at a less busy time and since those little ones are known to be early risers, I would suggest getting to Disney Springs by the 10am opening time. Visit some of our suggested stops, then choose a place to dine for lunch.
What’s the attraction? Well, there are LEGOS to build, boats to transport tired feet, a carousel to ride, splash fountains for cooling off, and Mr. Potato Head figures to create! And you’ve barely opened your wallet for those activities.
Ride the Marketplace Carousel
Tip: If you know your child won’t be satisfied playing with the LEGOS without buying a new set that isn’t in your budget this time, then skip it and continue to a less stressful activity. You know your little one best!
I always want to write amphibicar for this attraction. But no, it’s an amphicar. Everyone loves to stop and watch these totally adorable vehicles make their way from dry land to splashdown in Lake Buena Vista.
Actual rides are pricey but it’s free fun to watch. Boat tours run 10am to 10pm, weather permitting. For $150, you’ll get a 20-minute voyage. Sorry, a captain drives the boat; you’re just along for the ride. Ask about the $25 off special for those lunching between 11am and 3pm. Lunch and launch!
Don’t you want an amphicar? I do!
Grab a nearby Gelato at Vivoli il Gelato and enjoy the view!
Why choose only one flavor of gelato?
Disney’s Pin Traders
If you have a freshly-minted pin collector, a die-hard trader, or a little one that likes browsing shiny things, Disney’s Pin Traders is a stop the whole family can enjoy.
Mecca of shiny pins
Pin collecting can be fun for the whole family.
Find your favorite pins
Build Your Own Lightsaber
Star Wars Galactic Outpost and Once Upon A Toy offer a fun diversion for padawans.
Stop by and build your own lightsaber
Both locations boast create your own lightsabers at kid-friendly stations.
Play time for padawans
Most of the time, I see kids playing here for a bit and then leaving. I’m not sure real little ones even know they are available for purchase. This could be a budget-friendly stop if the “this is just a play station approach” works for your family.
Characters in Flight
I’m not fond of heights but if you are a-okay at 400 feet up in the air, this ride on a tethered helium balloon affords tremendous views of the area (or so I’ve been told).
Ascend 400 feet
Current prices are $20 for adults and $15 for kids. Kids under age 9 must be accompanied by an adult 18 or over.
You can ride the elevator if you have small kids in strollers, otherwise I recommend taking the ramp walkway to the top. Tire out those kids; that’s what I’m thinking. Up top, you’ll have a fantastic view of Disney Springs.
View from the rooftop at Coca-Cola store
It’s free. And it’ll save you some steps from one end of Disney Springs to the other. Three docks are available: Marketplace, The Landing, and West Side. Plus, a soothing boat ride could result in a pleasantly sleepy child. 😉
Sassagoula River Boats
Tip: For a longer voyage, take the Sassagoula River Cruise over to Port Orleans French Quarter. We recommend stopping by the Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory for a shareable treat of beignets.
Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique
Make an appointment 180 days in advance for the very popular Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique for your royal offspring ages 3-12. Girls love the glittery princess makeovers and boys enjoy showing off their knight or pirate transformations.
Magical transformations take place inside
When I see a little princess shimmering, I can’t help but tell her how beautiful she looks. Say “Hi Princess” and enjoy the smile you’ll get in return.
Save a bundle by packing a princess-like dress or other costume from home. Packages begin at $59.95 for princesses and rise to $199.95 if you purchase one of their gowns. Knights run $19.95.
Music Concerts and Dance Parties
Look to the Fountain Stage for musical entertainment.
Musical groups perform at Disney Springs
Grab a nearby snack and take in some music by school-age performers. I’ve seen many little ones dancing at the Marketplace and Fountain stages; it’s a great place to burn off some wiggles before heading back to your resort for a mid-day rest.
Get up and dance
For YEARS, this store was a must stop for our family.
Playing at LEGO table
From life-size LEGO figures to build your own creations, this store is pure eye candy for LEGO lovers.
Indoor and outdoor fun at the Lego Store
Stop by for great photo ops.
World of Disney Store
Toys, stuffed animals, character crayons, and more pull the weariest of shoppers into the World of Disney store. And that’s just the merchandise. The décor is also amazing in this world’s largest Disney character shop! Go early; it gets insanely crowded.
Fun with birthday funds
Once Upon A Toy Store
Yes, this toy store is fun to explore.
It’s fun exploring Once Upon A Toy
Plus, you’ll find hands-on activities (build your own lightsabers, droids, and Mr. Potato Heads); purchasing these creations is optional.
Build your own Mr. Potato Head
Don’t forget to pose with Buzz Lightyear in front of the store.
Buzz is so cool
Food is Fun
You’ll want to have a pretty good idea before you arrive Disney Springs as to what you want to spend for snacks and dining.
Mickey Dome Cake at Amorette’s Patisserie
Once there, you’ll be inundated with tasty temptations.
Food trucks are fun
One of our favorite hang-outs is Goofy’s Candy Co.
Look for fun and tasty treats at Goofy’s Candy Co.
Here, the bakery case is filled with delightful treats. Wander in a bit further and you’ll find some make your own creations available.
If it’s a rainy day, we recommend catching a movie at AMC Disney Springs 24. For extra points with the kids, choose one of the Dine-In Theatres.
See a movie on a rainy day
Whether you venture inside to rent a lane or find an outdoor seat to sip beverages out of a souvenir bowling pin, Splitsville is an entertaining venue.
Splitsville offers indoor and outdoor entertainment
Plus… there’s so much more at Disney Springs! Keep an eye out for the T-Rex Cafe, Rainforest Cafe, Sprinkles Cupcakes, a small train ride, splash fountains, a Marvel Super Hero Headquarters store, gorgeous lake vistas, and the list goes on.
Note: All prices are subject to change. Tax is usually additional.
What does your family enjoy at Disney Springs? Share in the comments below.