Port Orleans Riverside Review

Like an old river port town with a relaxed southern theme Port Orleans Riverside is an enjoyable family Disney resort or hotel.

This is a moderate resort with reasonable pricing and rooms that can hold five guests.

Rotunda, tower and steam boat themed buildings at Disney's Port Orleans Riverside resort

Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort Review

As if on the banks of the Mississippi River like Mark Twain might be there guests enjoy a large pool with a slide, fishing, boat rides, horse drawn carriages, boat themed restaurants with southern cuisine like gumbo and much more.

Our family enjoyed our 5 day, 4 night stay and our review of Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside is very good. We would recommend giving it a try if it fits your budget and you want to try something new.

The atmosphere is very relaxed with calm natural colors as opposed to the busy Disney theming at All-Stars Movies and bright Pop Century and Caribbean Beach Resort

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Situated on the Sassagoula River that allows access to Disney Springs. There is a boat that is more fun and relaxing to ride than a bus to go shopping or have dinner. 

Laid back and easy going with color themes that are peaceful and blend in with nature. Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside resort is large and would easily take 20 to 30 minutes to walk straight across.  

Sassagoula River running through the Port Orleans Riverside resort

Featuring lodging with a variety of styles from stately white Magnolia buildings to Alligator Bayou, with a Princess and the Frog theme, Riverside is more serene than the neighboring French Quarter that is brightly colored. 

The large pool has several features that are fun to explore while swimming and hanging out. 

An elevated wooden aqua duct that “breaks” apart into a “mud slide” water slide that is very popular!  The aqua duct has leaks as it crosses the pool to a small island and then dumps into the far edge of the pool. 

With rooms and buildings that have a similar layout to Caribbean Beach, this option seems calmer and more peaceful than the Art of Animation Resort

What Does POR Mean at Disney

POR is the abbreviation for Port Orleans Riverside resort hotel which is one of the many Disney lodging options.

Often in Facebook groups and other places in social media guest will use the shortened code POR to save time when typing.

Stately rooms in the Magnolia bend section of Port Orleans Riverside resort sitting right on the river nestled in trees and nature

Reasons To Stay At Port Orleans Riverside

  • Some rooms can hold up to 5 people with a fold out bed
  • You enjoy a calm and quiet place to relax and escape the hustle and bustle of the busy parks
  • Being a moderate resort there are two queen beds (as opposed to full sized at the value resorts like All-Star Movies)
  • This was the cheapest moderate or mid-level hotel available when we booked in February of 2023
  • Larger shaded swimming pool with daily recreation 
  • Nicer than a common food court, yet affordable (on the Disney pricing scale) is a restaurant called Boatwrights
  • Easy, relaxing boat ride to Disney Springs near the Rainforest Cafe
  • Unique activities like a horse drawn carriage ride or catch and release fishing 
  • Food options inspired by New Orleans.
Port Orleans Riverside Entry from the main bus stop

Is Port Orleans Riverside Worth The Money?

We wanted queen beds with more space than the double beds at the value resorts. The fifth sleeper bed is a nice bonus.

We were willing to pay a bit more for bigger beds and more rest. We also wanted to try a new resort and this was the most reasonably priced in the moderate category with availability during our trip.

To maximize a budget the value resorts are also great options that we truly enjoy.

Southern style two story hotel resort rooms in Alligator Bayou with a southern theme

Things To Know Before Your Visit 

  • Be on the lookout for a surprise visiting princess outside between the lobby and river
  • May be able to request a princess themed room called a royal room where the headboard lights up for no additional charge 
  • There are four bus stops. You may need to walk to one of the first couple stops if you’re visiting a park for early entry on a super busy day as the bus can fill up before stop 4 by the lobby. 
  • You will likely have to request room service and more towels, so plan ahead
Southern style lobby with white posts and decor in the lobby of Port Orleans Riverside Hotel

Rooms at Disney’s Riverside Hotel 

There is a small table with two chairs that is a great place to eat, work or drop your stuff on the way in and out of the room.

Small table or desk area near bench that folds out to provide a 5th sleeper bed on the way to the restroom

The crate looking bench below the tv fold down into a 5th sleeper which is really helpful with little kids. It is a youth sized bed, it would be tricky for our adult sized teenage son to sleep here, but it’s perfect for elementary aged kids.

Fold down 5th sleeper bed showing the alligator from Princess and the Frog on the back with a shelf and tv above the bed

We absolutely love the queen sized beds.

The Disney touch of towels folded to look like Mickey add a touch of fun too.

Two queen beds with antique style southern lanterns overhead and towels folded into a Mickey Mouse shaped head on the edge of the bed

There’s a curtain that separates the tv and sleeping area from the sinks.

Port Orleans Riverside room with a Princess and the Frog bayou themed curtain separating beds from sinks and changing area

The double sinks make getting ready quickly in the morning so much easier!

There are some small shelves and space to hang clothes along with another big shelf above the closet area.

Double sinks separated by washboard decor with a small closet area, shelves and curtain to allow privacy from the rest of the room

The rooms felt very clean and recently remodeled.

With a door on the bathroom that has a toilet, bathtub and shower combo there is plenty of space for multiple people to efficiently get ready.

Bathroom and Princess and the Frog themed shower curtain in Port Orleans hotel room

Riverside at Port Orleans Refrigerators

There is a refrigerator in every room that will hold a few days of snacks and drinks.

There is not a freezer and the mini fridge will keep stuff chilled more than really cold.

Small refrigerator with open door in Port Orleans hotel rooms with some food in it and spots for drink bottles

Preferred Rooms at Port Orleans

Preferred rooms mean that you will be closer to the bus stop or pool and cost us about $200 extra for a 4 night stay in February.

I appreciate being close to the bus stop on a long park day and closer to the lobby and food court when you need something.

Disney’s Riverside Recreation Schedule 

We absolutely love the daily pool games and pool party. 

It’s fun to participate when you want or keep swimming and using the slide if you prefer. 

Relaxed, yet a nice option to have the games change daily and are inclusive to as many guests that would like to participate.

Recreation calender for the Port Orleans resort with list of activities

Fishing

Opening at 7 am with the last poles out at 1:15 pm each day there is a fishing hole. 

As a family from the eastern time zone that wakes up early I love that this is an options for non-park days. 

The Fishin hole signs at Port Orleans

Surprises at Port Orleans 

We were very pleasantly surprised to find princesses meeting guests in early February 2023. 

Just outside the lobby and food court Belle greeted people the day we arrived and we saw Aurora and Prince Philip the day we departed. 

These are unscheduled visits with very short wait times that just make the stay feel so special and magical. 

Belle visiting guests in the courtyard at Port Orleans resort

I think of these unexpected bonuses as Pixie Dust that enhance our trip. It was so nice to meet them and not have to wait in long lines at the parks when there’s so many other things to do!

How Often Does the Boat Run From Riverside to Port Orleans?

Depending on the season a boat leaves from Riverside to Disney Springs every 15 to 30 minutes. 

The ride takes about 25 to 30 minutes. 

Sometimes the boat will stop At French Quarter to pick up guests which is right along the route. 

Even at slow times there is a line to board the boat so be sure to leave the resort at least an hour ahead of your dinner reservations to allow for waiting in line and potentially long walks to the restaurant. 

Docks for ferry boat on the river through Disney's Riverside resort at Port Orleans

Boatwrights Restaurant

While reservations are suggested we were able to walk up and be seated at a busy time within 15 minutes after being told it would be a 45 minute wait. 

With the bones of a boat hanging from the ceiling the theming is very on point with Disney details everywhere.

Wooden frame work of a boat hanging from the ceiling along with other building and ship tools on the wall of Port Orleans restaurant

There is a bar next to the restaurant where you can get drinks and appetizers while you wait. Check the schedule for live entertainment.

Both locations are only open in the evening. 

The corn bread with Mickey Mouse shaped honey butter is a special treat!

Corn bread on a cutting board with whipped honey butter in the shape of Mickey Mouse ears

We shared soup and salad off the starter menu and absolutely loved both of them.

Salad and French onion soup with tea

Then three of us shared the meat sampler platter which was more than enough food after having been to a sit down lunch at the park.

This platter is typically all you can eat meat when enjoyed by one person. But it was plenty for three of us without any refills.

BBQ meat sampler with sides of corn, green beans, mac and cheese and mashed potatoes at Boatwrights restaurant

I love how the sides were similar to our Velveeta Shells and Cheese and Red Skin Mashed Potatoes.

Since we shared the dishes shown we let our daughter order a special Disney 50th anniversary celebration lemonade.

It comes with one of three character heads that fizzes like a bath bomb and dissolves to add more flavoring to the basic lemonade.

Special Disney 50th anniversary celebration lemonade

The cost is $10, so we only do one special treat like this per trip as it is expensive for what you get.

Food Court 

The food court offers very basic pizza, pasta, chicken strips, burgers and fries. This is average food that is expensive for what you get, but one of the cheaper options on Disney property. While it’s not bad food, I personally would rather pack or order groceries than eat here regularly. 

Food court with wood decor style inside the food court at Disney's Riverside resort

There are a few special, more southern themed meals that are a better quality. My husband really enjoyed the fried chicken bowl with collard greens, mac and cheese, potatoes and. Another evening he got the gumbo and loved it too. 

Large slice of cheese pizza, Mickey waffles with bacon and southern fried chicken bowl with mac and cheese, potatoes, collard greens and a biscuit on a food court wooden table

We were surprised not to find beignets, but hear they are available at the French Quarter which is accessible via boat or a walking path. 

There are several mini restaurant type serving locations including the bakery with dessert and cappuccinos.

Bakery with dessert inside riverside food court

In the back corner just inside the window from the big wheel is a coloring area and TV for kids to chill while you eat.

Kids corner with coloring pages and tv in the corner of port orleans food court

Riverside Pools 

With lots of shade over seating around the pool and even over the pool itself it’s nice for especially hot weather. In February we caught a couple warm days to swim and were looking for the sunniest spots in the center to soak up some extra heat.

With heated pools this one felt like warm bath water in February and was a wonderful escape from the Midwest. 

Main pool with recreation pool games and water slide

Kids especially enjoy the water slide and pool party and games hosted by the Disney recreation staff daily. 

There are smaller pools at the different neighborhoods around the resort that are quieter and make a quick dip after a hot day at the park much easier. 

Smaller pool at Alligator Bayou themed section of Port Orleans resort

Bus Stops 

There are four bus stops at Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside. Each stop has a screen telling when to expect the next bus. 

The screens and times were pretty accurate during our visit. 

The stop in front of the lobby is the last stop and a couple days we did see buses for Magic Kingdom early entry that were too full to hold guests from this stop. 

On the flip side we walked to another bus stop one morning that is the first for buses and it did take about 15 minutes to get there and some extra energy before even getting to the park. 

*pro tip – go to the closest stop and if the bus is full just call an Uber or Lyft. 

Horse Drawn Carriage Ride

Special and elegant are horse drawn carriage rides at Disney. 

With only 5 days we did not make this a priority, but it would be fun to try at some point.

Black horse with a white carriage along the river at Disney's Port Orleans Riverside resort

Port Orleans Review Summary

Our Port Orleans Riverside Review is positive and we would recommend staying at this Disney resort to others with more than 4 in their family, people looking for a new Disney experience and those who enjoy the outdoorsy atmosphere.

More of Disney Resort Experiences

Another step up from this resort is Disney’s Wilderness Lodge which we also enjoyed for two days that we only stayed at the resort as opposed to maximizing the day at the parks.

With younger kids it’s always fun to visit Chef Mickeys Restaurant on a non-park day or go to Be Our Guest while at Magic Kingdom.

The most extravagant Disney vacation we have enjoyed was an inaugural sailing on the Disney Wish Cruise Ship.

We had the opportunity to visit Disneyland and eat at Goofy’s Kitchen in California and it was a wonderful trip.

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