Saturday, August 2, 2014

Disney Reviews: Resort Edition #5 - Port Orleans French Quarter

Thus ends my deluxe reviews. I haven't stayed in any other deluxes myself (although my Sister has), at least not yet...chalk it up to too many stays at Wilderness Lodge! I probably could have hit almost all the deluxes if it wasn't for that. In 2009, instead of our usual moderate, Caribbean Beach, we tried something new and were pleasantly surprised!

Port Orleans French Quarter is a moderate resort (and my favorite of the mods). I'm not against the moderates at all (like I am the values), I just prefer the deluxes. On the plus side, the moderates are easier on your pocketbook, have good-sized food courts, and are very nicely themed in more of an adult way than that of the values. But, on the negative, they are also motels instead of hotels, tend to be farther from the parks so there is longer bus rides, don't really have a decent sit-down restaurant, and you don't get as many perks like toiletries, nicer bedding, or private balconies. But you are still in Disney World, so you can put up with the lacks.

Port Orleans is actually two resorts, Riverside and the French Quarter. I've seen Riverside, but never wanted to stay there since it's too much like home. Guess someone from Hawaii wouldn't want to stay in the Poly or someone from Latin America wouldn't want to stay in Coronado Springs. Since I have such issue with New Orleans (the vibe is too dark and "haunted"), I don't like actually visiting the city (I've only managed it once and have NEVER wanted to again), but I like the "idea" of it and that makes French Quarter ideal!

FQ and Riverside share bus service, but they do have separate food courts (FQ doesn't have a sit-down, but Riverside does), pools, and boat and bus docks, so they are technically separate resorts even if they are together. They actually even used to be two separate resorts...Port Orleans Riverside used to be called Dixie Landings and Port Orleans French Quarter was just Port Orleans, but they merged sometime in the early 2000's I think (I just looked it up, 2001 to be precise).

Here is a Google Maps shot of what the two look like together:
Riverside is at the top and French Quarter is at the bottom (and they look more like two separate resorts when you see them from this view).

They are both considered Downtown Disney area resorts, even though they are right across the street from Epcot (although the ride to Epcot takes a bit more time for some reason). You can get to Downtown via boat service which runs down the Sassagoula River (you can see it on the map), Downtown is lower and to the right and makes for a pleasant boat ride, but we'll get to that later. How about we look around the resort, shall we? What better place to start than the room itself. Here is where you'll notice a bit of quality difference (and size as well) to those of the deluxes I have shown, just take into consideration that these are cheaper stays and they have since refurbed the rooms so they no longer look this way:

it was obviously 2009 because they hadn't upgraded the TV yet:

I didn't like these single sinks instead of a countertop double sink...there was no place to put all that stuff that we females tend to carry (but that was fixed in the rehab):

The actual bathroom is very tiny compared to deluxes...don't think I remembered that until re-looking at this picture:

But there were still plenty of Hidden Mickeys around the room:

It's when you step outside of the room that the real theming actually starts!
some rather unsightly cleaning carts (and my butt):
and yes, you can get a carriage ride around the resort:

We only went to the food court twice, the first time after wandering the resort after arrival. I think it was the giant masks that kept me away...they were just downright CREEPY!


But the food wasn't bad (if a bit greasy)...
but look out, Hidden Mickey alert (and the best I've ever gotten!)

The walk to the boat dock is pretty nice. We wandered down there and then decided to go back to the food court for breakfast and ended up taking the trail back through the pool area, so these pictures may seem weirdly out of order (but I'm too lazy to switch them around):
now we can see Am's butt:


of course Dixieland music plays all around the resort, obviously not by these guys (although it is Disney, so they might when there are no "humans" around!)

The main building where the lobby,

gift shop (which I failed to get pictures inside of but was still memorable because it's where I had my first Minnie's Bake Shop Cookie at!

and food court all live:
and if your interested in our breakfast that day (because I probably won't be reviewing the food here as it was non-descript food court food, although I do have a weakness for Disney World sausage, I'm not sure why), here it is:

Then back to the boat dock to go to Downtown Disney and my favorite Disney pastime...SHOPPING (and I always like an enjoyable boat ride)!
and we caught a glimpse of the old tree house villas that were getting refurbed at the time after being left abandoned for so many years:

Downtown Disney looks so different to this now and will look even more different once it's completed its transformation to Disney Springs:

And that's it! On the negative side, even though the layout was pretty even, I still kept getting lost (a bad habit of mine) from the bus stop to the room and back again. All the buildings (although different colors and on different streets) still all LOOK essentially the same. Because of the motel-ness of it, people (and not all kids) kept running up and down the walkways at all hours of the night and day. Plus, never once on the multi-level deluxes did I have to worry about hearing footsteps above me or people down below like we did on the second floor at POFQ. It was more like living in an apartment for a week than staying in a resort. I've already mentioned the issues with the food court, but I didn't mention the large quantity of either non-caring or borderline rude CM's that worked there in 2009, especially the one at the concierge desk who was FREAKED by us trying to ship packages home and was really rude about how long it was taking (that is NEVER a fast process, even if you fill out the paperwork ahead of time). I didn't like him. He didn't like me. It was a mutual non-like society. But he did eventually get it all straightened out.

But, there were more positives than just the price...I did enjoy the resort and thought it was really beautiful (on the outside). The room was fine. The convenience of transportation options is always pleasant and at least it typically had its own buses after park close. All in all, I would definitely stay there again (if funds required it) and, since they've altered several rooms at Riverside to a Princess theme, I would be willing to stay in one of those as well!

1 comment:

Linda said...

Wonderful review and pictures.