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Head on down to the bayou at Port Orleans Riverside

Katie Nix

Welcome home! This classic cast member greeting takes on a whole new meaning when staying at Port Orleans Riverside, one of Walt Disney World’s moderate resorts, because its downhome feel and antebellum style feels just like that – home.

Riverside is one of our go-to resorts to stay at, in addition to its sister resort French Quarter, because the rack rates are relatively low (in the neighborhood of $250 a night but Disney is almost always running discounts) for a moderate. It’s definitely on the larger side so there are some pros and cons that come with that – larger, more spacious food court seating but longer bus lines.

We’ve stayed here a couple of times in the last two years – once in Magnolia Bend (the mansion section of the resort) and once in Alligator Bayou (the, well, bayou section of the resort). Both were had plenty of room with the standard amenities you’d find in a moderate room – refrigerator, safe, double sink, large shower, etc.

The theming in both sections is fantastic but it makes getting through the Alligator Bayou section a bit difficult because the paths twist and turn like you’re in a bayou. The Magnolia Bend section is a little bit easier to navigate.

Figuring out the four bus stops at Riverside can be a bit tricky. Most people stop for their breakfast in the morning and then head to the main (south) stop – but that’s not always the best option.

Typically, the buses run in the following order… theme park --> west --> north --> east --> south --> theme park.

Sometimes the buses can be running a combined service with Port Orleans French Quarter and in those instances, FQ is the stop BEFORE the west depot so the bus could already have people on it before it even crosses onto Riverside property. 

There is a bus that runs from the resort to Disney Springs, but we could recommend taking the boats that runs along the Sassagoula River, the body of water connecting Riverside, French Quarter, Disney Springs and several other resorts. 

Our best bus tip at Riverside is if you’re at a park and notice the line to go back to the resort is VERY long and French Quarter’s is significantly shorter? Hop in the other line. It’s a five-minute walk between the two resorts from end to end. Your feet might hurt but after spending all day in the park what’s an extra little walking to get home that much sooner? 

When it comes to drinking and dining at Port Orleans Riverside, there’s no shortage of options, especially for drinks. Hang out poolside at Muddy Rivers, situated next to the main pool Ol’Man Island (there are other, smaller, “quiet” pools scattered throughout the resort). Most of the drinks are ones you could find elsewhere on property and can run a little high – $17 for a hurricane – but are still pretty strong. Check out the menu here.

Same goes with River Roost – the indoor bar at Port Orleans Riverside. But this bar, which is open from 5 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., also comes with live entertainment. The lounge is pretty spacious and has a feel going with the rest of the resort of a bygone era along the banks of the Mississippi. 

When it comes to eating, River Roost has small plate options (check out the drink and food menu here) but your two big places for food will be the Riverside Mill Food Court, which is, you guessed it, a food court. There are plenty of options and the seating area is pretty spacious but where you order food can get pretty crowded, especially during breakfast. The theming isn’t out of this world but the actual water mill on the outside of the building is interesting! Check out the food court menu here.

We haven’t eaten at Boatwright’s, the resort’s only table service restaurant, in probably close to ten years. But there’s just so many other options on property as far as food goes and with Boatwright’s only being open for dinner, it’s hard to justify leaving the parks at that time of the day for dinner at the resort. You can check out their menu here.

What’s your favorite part about Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside?


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