Summer is that wonderful time of year when everyone goes on vacation. While everyone else is heading out for their first hoorah of the summer, I just got back from our May pilgrimage to Walt Disney World and am hunkered down until school starts back… maybe. This time May we did a split stay, something we haven’t done since September 2014 because we said it was too much for us. This time went much smoother thankfully and we had two great resort stays before heading out on the 3-night cruise on the Disney Dream. My mom, sister, and I stayed three nights at Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside resort first. It was our first experience with a moderate and we were pleasantly surprised with what we found and I’m going to share some knowledge we found useful for our stay there.
Here are five tips for your best stay at Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort::
Tips are based off a stay at Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort in May 2016
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eat something new for lunch or dinner
Riverside Mill food court is awesome! It’s the quick service restaurant for the resort. There were several unique choices that I had not seen at other resort quick services for lunch and dinner. Options like a shrimp salad po boy, muffaleta, cajun turkey club, fish and chips, and southern fire fried chicken sandwich are on the menu. We never had to fight for a seat either. There are plenty of tables and options for large and small parties. We especially appreciated the dedicated ice and water machines available. It kept the refillable drink stations free and the line moving. It was the “good” ice too. Not too hard and not too soft. Great for crunching on while laying by the pool.
take a walk/bus/boat ride to French Quarter
They’re both part of Port Orleans for a reason! We were in Alligator Bayou building 37 in the North part of the Riverside section– essentially the furthest away from French Quarter that you could get, and we didn’t find the walk that bad at all. I think at a slow pace it took us 15 minutes to walk to the main building at French Quarter. French Quarter is much smaller and has a very different and unmistakably New Orleans feel to it. The buildings are so cute and the resort is laid out in a grid pattern, just like old cities. The pool here is cute and has a pod like design and appeared to be deeper in spots than other pools I’ve experienced at Disney World.
The boat is also available to take to Disney Springs! It’s a relaxing and peaceful way to get there. While the boats don’t have the same operation hours that buses do, take one if it’s available to you. With all the new options at Disney Springs, you may want to look for a resort that has alternate transportation options to get there.
find a quiet pool
Try to convince your children to enjoy a quiet pool for a day. The main pool may have the slide and splash pad area, but you may find that you have a quiet pool all to yourself! I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a resort with so many quiet pools! If pools are important for your family– and if you have a child usually the pool is more important that going to the parks 😉 — this is a great resort to choose. The French Quarter has one large main pool. The Riverside part of the Port Orleans resort has a main pool and FIVE quiet pools! How crazy is that? The pool in the North area of Alligator Bayou (where we stayed) was smaller, but the two in Magnolia bend are quite large and the half dozen times we passed them, there weren’t many children in the pool. During the day, one pool in the Magnolia Bend section only had five people around it and no one in it.
bring bug spray
Mosquitoes are definitely not a year round issue, but if you’re going when it’s warmer, take precautions and bring some bug spray and anti-itch cream. The staff was treating for mosquitoes while we were there, but I think it may have been hatching time because we had a difficult time avoiding them. Some friends of ours stayed at Riverside in October 2015 and didn’t have a problem at all. This is definitely not reason enough to avoid this picturesque resort, but prepare accordingly.
While there are several guided excursions for fishing in the waters on property (check those out here), Port Orleans Riverside has a neat place to fish catch and release style called the Fishing Hole. It’s only open in the mornings and you can rent poles in 30 minute increments, but it looked like so much fun! The area where you fish is stocked and I saw a few fish pulled out of there when we passed and people were fishing. It’s an experience unique to this resort.
Overall, Port Orleans Riverside is great for families with children, especially families with three children looking to fit in one room. Check out how much space is in a room that sleeps five in my three minute video tour below. It’s also great for couples since this is one of the resorts where you can get a dedicated king size room. With all the pools, restaurants–table service and quick service, and gorgeous grounds, you’re sure to be sold on Port Orleans Riverside too!