This is an honest review of a two night stay at Disney World’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort. I’m sharing with you all the details about what to expect at this moderate-level hotel at Walt Disney World and my review of whether it’s worth it (and how to avoid overpaying).
Port Orleans Riverside Resort is located in Disney World in Orlando, Florida. It is labeled as a moderate-level resort, which is sandwiched in-between the higher-end deluxe resorts and the value resorts. If you love the thought of a New Orleans or Mardi Gras theme, this is a resort that you may want to consider on your trip. I’m going to go through my honest review and first reactions of this hotel so that you can get excited (or prevent any disappointment) from staying at this resort.
My review is based on knowing what to expect when you stay at a deluxe resort on Disney property. I will definitely say that my review may be slightly biased because if I can summarize my review, I was a bit disappointed.
Often, it Port Orleans Riverside Resort is called POR for short. We stayed at Port Orleans Riverside in November of 2019 for a quick weekend getaway (post-conference vacation).
We absolutely fell in love with the entire Disney World experience back in February of 2019, so we wanted to follow up our trip so we could experience some of the attractions we missed the first go ’round. Our goal was to stay on property so we had quick access to transportation as well as early and later entry to the parks.
In general, if I had to summarize our experience at Port Orleans Riverside in the Alligator Bayou (specifically room 2639), I would say that the rooms definitely needed an update. In addition, I was surprised that there was a curtain separating the sink area and a very small bathroom for the bathtub and toilet area. It honestly felt like a motel. The building that we stayed at also seemed set back really far away from the parking lot as well as the main food court.
What I also realized was I may have overpaid by double the amount because of our last minute reservation (two weeks prior to the stay), but was happily surprised when I found out it included the Quick Service Meal plan.
To give you a synopsis of my review, I don’t think I’d be staying here again. If I did and had to stay in the Port Orleans area, I would gear my stay towards the Port Orleans French Quarter because that area seems to be more updated and lively.
History of Port Orleans Riverside
In order for you to appreciate and understand the basis of my review, I just wanted to give you some history on this resort.
It’s grand opening was in 1992 when it was called Disney’s Landing Resort. Eleven years later, it was renamed in 2001 as Port Orleans Riverside Resort which has been what it’s been called ever sense.
Theme of Port Orleans Riverside
The grounds of Port Orleans Riverside roots displays southern culture at it’s finest. The resort sprawls over 325 acres and has a little over 2,000 rooms on property. The architecture and lush grounds takes you back to the deepth south and makes you feel like you’ve been transported back in time.
Port Orleans Riverside theme brings back the feeling of the deep South. There is beautiful, green landscaping with magnolia trees everywhere. The architecture of the area is absolutely stunning from the outside, reminiscent of plantation homes in the deep South. This is a lush resort that resides against the Sassagoula River with generally reasonable prices year round.
There are two main areas of Disney’s Riverside Resort which includes Magnolia Bend and Alligator Bayou.
Alligator Bayou was the area that we were in. It included rooms that have a small cottage feel. I honestly felt like it was a level above a motel. The linens and furniture are dark and seem rustic in nature.
Magnolia Bend includes gorgeous manor homes which appears definitely a level up from the Alligator Bayou areas. The Magnolia Bend has beautifully manicured landscaping which provides a more grand experience because it conveys the sense of being a mansion.
General Resort Pricing
Port Orleans Riverside Resort is rated by Disney as a moderate level resort. The pricing for this type of resort is reflective of allowing you to have a little more room than that of Disney Value resorts and a little less amenities, luxury and character in the rooms than that of deluxe resorts. It reminds me of a little more upscale room than a regular Motel 6 if I am being quite honest.
You’ll definitely pay more during high season. If Port Orleans is a last resort for you in order to stay at on property at a Disney Resort, it’s not a bad resort. I’m just saying that if you had an option, I would typically go for another option, especially for those who have kids.
How to Make a Decision on What Room to Choose for Port Orleans Riverside
Here’s what you’ll need to think about when choosing a room at Port Orleans Riverside.
2. Room Location
3. Room Type
4. Room view
My Experience in Pricing
When I was getting quoted room only pricing in November 2019 from Magical Vacations (typically someone who has some of the lowest deals), Port Orleans cost about $215 a night.
I had to cancel my reservation due to some circumstances for work, but those were fixed and I had to rebook. When I tried to rebook two weeks out, it was hard pressed finding a travel agent or a room on the Disney World website where I can stay on property.
After researching a few other places online, I was able to book on trip.com and paid about $358 a night. Initially, I knew I was overpaying by about $143 a night, which I thought would be my penalty for trying to book so last minute. To my suprise, I found out that my stay included the Quick Service Dining Plan, which meant we got 2 counter service meals and 2 snack credits for each day.
Don’t discount last minute deals on these sites. I will say when I booked it, I did not see anywhere in the description that there was a meal plan tied to it, so that was very much a happy surprise staying at Port Orleans Riverside!
What is a good deal for Port Orleans Riverside?
If you are paying anywhere between $125 to $215 a night for Port Orleans, that would be an INCREDIBLE deal.
Port Orleans Riverside Room Types
POR has two types of rooms: Standard Rooms and Royal Guest Rooms. You’ll find online that they generally also list out the type of view that your room will have. Generally, after picking the room type, you’ll probably want to choose a room that has a view of a river it it is in your budget.
Considering that if your plans have you staying in the theme parks most of the day, this honestly might not be a big deal for you, so it may be wise to save some of that money so you can spend it inside the parks.
Port Orleans Riverside Standard Rooms
The standard rooms are a little over 300 square feet, and I felt like it was tiny for even both my husband and I staying there. You can choose a room with a king bed which will be a little more expensive or two queen beds with a fold down bed. If you don’t mind being in close quarters with your family, this space might be for you.