I admit I’m a sucker for the Disney Deluxe resorts, and it had been a little while since I’ve stayed in a Moderate.
But earlier this year I traveled to Orlando on business and needed a 1-night hotel stay outside of our convention hotel that still fit within corporate price guidelines. So rather than staying near the Orange County Convention Center, I decided to soak up a little magic and stay at WDW. I had never stayed at Port Orleans Riverside, so that was a natural choice.
I was very pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed my stay. The Mississippi River Delta theme is incredibly charming, with the river winding its way through the resort and Spanish moss hanging from the trees over the shady walks.
The Mill at Disney's Port Orleans Riverside Resort
There are two styles of lodging at the resort – the Alligator Bayou which is themed to look like you’re in a giant fishing lodge in Cajun country, and Magnolia Bend, with plantation mansion – style buildings. Two of the Magnolia Bend buildings have recently been renovated into Royal Guest Rooms with a princess theme.
I stayed in Alligator Bayou in a river-view room. Lodge 14 to be exact, which is a short walk from the main lobby buildings, yet seems quiet and secluded. It’s also right next to a parking lot (that you can’t see from the building, but that is a very quick walk), which was incredibly convenient.
Alligator Bayou at Disney's Port Orleans Riverside
While the rooms in this section haven’t been recently redone, I found them totally comfortable and of the quality I expected at a moderately priced resort.
My room featured two double beds and a fold-down trundle bed. Did it have the same luxurious resort feel of my favorite Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge? No. But did I feel like I was part of the Disney Magic? You betcha! The resort grounds were beautiful, peaceful, and fun.
Ol' Man Island - See I was working!
One of several Quiet Pools - See, still working!
And how was the food? It was a mixed bag at the Riverside Mill Food Court. (I didn’t have time to try Boatwrights.)
Best lunch options:
Apple pie and ice cream
What not to get for lunch? The wide array of fried foods.
Fried lunch options
Best breakfast option:
The cinnamon rolls are only $3.19! And they’re good. As opposed to the…
Breakfast Bounty Platter
Breakfast bounty platter, which is really awful. Unless you like institutional eggs and hard-as-rock biscuits for $8.29.
As for convenience as a home-base for your WDW vacation? Well, the Sassagoula ferry shuttles you back and forth from the resort to Downtown Disney, which is fantastic. And bus service is quick to Epcot and Hollywood Studios. Parking is plentiful for those with a car, and easy to get to from many of the accommodations.
So would I rather stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge? Yes, of course. But for the money, you can’t beat the charm of Port Orleans Riverside.