Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Disney Reviews Resort Edition #8 - Port Orleans Riverside

It's been a while since I worked on my review series and I figure it's time to pick it back up again (something else to distract me from obsessing over Disneyland). At least with Disney World I know my way around! So let's start back in with the resort edition. This past trip saw us staying at two new resorts, which means I've now almost stayed in half of the resorts at Disney World! If it wasn't for multiple Wilderness Lodge stays, I'd probably be close to staying in all of them. I had never even seen either one of these two before (a rarity as far as Disney resorts go, especially since I've been extremely close to both), but let's jump right in with the shortest of the two stays, Port Orleans Riverside.

I touched briefly on Riverside in my photo highlights, but it's time for the full-court press review of the resort. This resort has never appealed to me which is why I've never really wanted to stay here. I'm Southern born and bred (as much as I try to fight it). I live in a town where Southern mansions abound in certain areas. A Southern mansion-themed resort holds no appeal to me whatsoever, but this past trip wasn't about me. We needed a one-night only add-on resort and I left the decision up to Kate. Luckily (and not-so-luckily it turned out), the entire resort isn't all Southern Mansion themed, part of it is Louisiana Bayou themed, so I figured this was our best option...giving Kate the chance to stay where she wanted and me the chance to not feel like I'm still at home.

Let's go through the basics first...Port Orleans Riverside is a moderate resort, which, if you remember, means it's a motel-type setup like a value resort, but has the added bonus of a bit nicer amenities and at least one sit-down restaurant (or table service, I flop those two terms a lot). I do consider Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter separate resorts, even though they are sister resorts and connected. I'm not really sure why people consider them one big resort. If you would like to compare and contrast the two, my review of French Quarter is HERE.

Riverside's main building, Sassagoula Steamboat Company, is where the main check-in lobby, Fulton's General Store, Boatwright's Dining Hall, Riverside Mill, and The River Roost Lounge resides.
Although the inside flows nicely:
The outside is a bit of a smorgasbord of varying themes from the front:
all the way through to the back:
The water wheel did actually work (a working water feature at Disney is about as rare as a nice CM on the TTA)

In the middle of the property is Ol' Man Island reachable by bridge:
where you'll find the pool
Muddy Rivers Pool Bar
and The Fishin' Hole
as well as numerous places to just "chill" (but all I could see was potential snake holes):
Back to Sassagoula for a moment, I do have to admit that Fulton's General Store is really amazing resort gift shop. It's getting harder and harder to enjoy the resort shops anymore now that the merchandise has gone so generalized. It was still generalized here as well, but the theming is what made it great with animatronic Disney figurines everywhere:
I didn't venture too far into Riverside Mill, aka the food court, but it looked like a typical Disney resort-themed food court:
On to the rooms. Like I mentioned, I opted for Alligator Bayou, the non-Southern Mansion themed section. We didn't venture anywhere near the mansion section, so I have no pictures of them. But if Caribbean Beach were painted with neutral colors, you'd have Alligator Bayou...the design was very similar:
But I was really impressed with the inside and it's quite possibly my favorite moderate interior!
and the Princess and the Frog theme was strong as well:
On to the negatives. It had no elevator, at least not in the Alligator Bayou section. Traveling with a disabled person and not having an elevator was tantamount to borderline ruin, especially since they saw fit to put us on the second floor a million miles from the stairway. So not only was there a lot of luggage lugging up and down stairs, but round and round buildings as well. I couldn't park no where near enough to make it easier for Kate and the best I could do was carry all the bags myself, which was fine the first two trips, but I'm not what you would call fit, so that got old really fast too.

Granted, we were only there for one night, so a full opinion shouldn't be truly formed, but I don't work that way...I knew pretty much from moment one that it is not the resort for me. Would I stay there again? Maybe, but as of now it's at the bottom of the moderate resort totem pole. There is still one moderate left we haven't tried...Coronado Springs, and we will stay there one day. As of now, French Quarter is still my favorite (for it's small size), and Caribbean Beach is second because it has great theming. If Coronado Springs is remotely tolerable, it will probably still rank higher than Riverside (although Alligator Bayou would still be my section of choice). Everyone has different taste, and Port Orleans Riverside just doesn't appeal to mine. But hey, another Disney resort can now be marked off my checklist!!


Heather said...

Have you stayed in the royal rooms there? They're my fave of all the WDW hotels. They have elevators as well.

Vickie said...

We stayed in the mansion section and they rooms were nice. I thought the property was too big for my tastes. I actually prefer smaller resorts.

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