In July of 2009 we took our second WDW trip of that year. We had originally booked into one of the value resorts and then invited my niece to come with us which resulted in changing to Port Orleans Riverside due to the fact that POR is one of the resorts which can accommodate 5 people in a room.
Located in the Downtown Disney resort area, POR is modeled to reflect the old Mississippi-like charm of the Old South. This is evident by the lush, green landscaping throughout the grounds and the Sassagoula River runs through the resort leading down to the Port Orleans French Quarter resort and eventually to Downtown Disney.
As usual, we drove from TX to WDW and upon arrival were surrounded by the expected Disney magic as we pulled up to the main check in building.
I had taken advantage of the online check in service and was able to retrieve our keys and welcome packet in less than 5 minutes. We took some time looking around the gift shop Fulton’s General Store. I always love Disney gift shops….this one in particular was fun because of the Disney character anmatronic displays throughout. Adjacent to the gift shop is the River Roost Lounge.
Our building was in the back of the resort in the Alligator Bayou area on the 2nd floor. When we visited in 2009, these rooms had 2 double beds and a trundle bed to accommodate 5 guests. The resort has recently celebrated it’s 20th anniversary and has undergone room renovations which has transformed these trundle beds into murphy beds that pull down from the ceiling and rest above the floor.
What was perfect about our building location was that it was incredibly quiet and was a very short walk to the Alligator Bayou bus stop. One of the smaller “quiet” pools was around the corner from and was hardly ever as crowded as the large main pool area, Ol’ Man Island. The only drawback to staying in this building was the walk to the food court, Riverside Mill at Sassagoula Steamboat Company, the restaurant — Boatwright’s Dining Hall, gift shop, arcade (Medicine Show Arcade, one of the largest in WDW) and other main building areas. It was quite a long walk!
Since my husband cannot go a week without washing clothes, thankfully there is a self-laundry facility located within each “quiet” pool area which made it easy to do laundry while the kids went for a swim.
Ol’Man Island, the main pool area has one large pool with a waterslide, a wading pool, a kiddie pool and a hot tub. There is a poolside bar, Muddy Rivers Bar connected to the main area as well.
There are several other recreational activities to experience at POR even though we didn’t take advantage of any of them on this visit. There is catch and release fishing, bike rentals, carriage rides, a playground and sometimes even poolside crafts for kids and families.
We did, however take the boat down Sassagoula River to Downtown Disney on our first day. It was a beautiful and relaxing ride. There is one stop at Port Orleans French Quarter but other than that, it is a straight shot. As you ride down the river, your boat captain will point out several little-known facts about the area on the way there. Down the river, we could see views of the other POR resort buildings within the Magnolia Bend area….Oak Manor and Magnolia Terrace. Recently, some of these rooms have been renovated and are now called “Royal Rooms”. Magnolia Bend buildings are modeled after plantation style mansion homes and the rooms only accommodate up to 4 guests each. We also passed the newly constructed Treehouse Villas along the way, which my kids loved and we swore someday we would stay in one!
Looking back on it, Port Orleans Riverside was a perfect Disney resort to stay at for the week. The theming of the resort couldn’t have been better and even though we went during peak summer season, it was quiet and not crowded which made staying there very comfortable. We would definitely stay there again!
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