Our Opinion Of Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort:
There is a lot to love about Disney’s Port Orleans Resort. The sights and sounds of the Disney theme parks can be overwhelming so it is nice to have a calm and leisurely feel to your resort. This Disney moderate hotel offers plenty of activities and amenities and the rooms are comfortable. The banquette bed rooms at Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside and Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resorts are the least expensive Disney hotel option for a family of five and we appreciate the fact that larger families are not just limited to the more expensive deluxe resorts. We absolutely love Bob Jackson, who performs several nights a week at the River Roost Lounge. His sing-along show is family friendly and lots of fun. Because the rooms do not have balconies, we don’t feel it is generally worth the cost for most people to upgrade to a water view room. Because the resort is so large, the upgrade to a preferred location room may be worth the cost for families with small children or anyone just wanting to be closer to the feature pool and food court areas. It is a good idea to put in a building location request, which Disney doesn’t guarantee but does try to honor. Those depending on Disney transportation may want to request “close to bus stop”.
Note: Port Orleans Riverside Resort was formerly known as Dixie Landings.
Port Orleans Riverside Overview
Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside is themed around the antebellum South along the Mississippi River. The resort opened in 1992 as Disney’s Dixie Landings Resort. In 2001, Disney changed the name to Port Orleans Riverside. This massive resort is divided into two distinct sections: Magnolia Bend and Alligator Bayou. Magnolia Bend consists of 4 two and three story plantation-style mansions. Alligator Bayou is comprised of 16 two story rustic, cajun-style buildings. In all, the resort has 2,048 rooms spread over nearly 200 acres of land. The grounds are lined with oak and magnolia trees, along with azalea, camellia and rose bushes creating an atmosphere of relaxed southern charm. The Sassagoula River runs through the resort and provides transportation to Port Orleans French Quarter, as well as the Disney Springs Marketplace and West Side.The food court here is called Riverside Mill, and is similar to what is offered at Port Orleans French Quarter. This resort also has a full service restaurant called Boatwrights. In contrast however, we found the rooms at Port Orleans Riverside the best of any of Disney’s moderate resorts. The decor and style convey a relaxed, comfortable elegance that fits in perfectly with the overall feel of the resort. Even though the resort is large, it manages to keep a feeling of intamacy and charm, and is arguably the best of Disney’s moderate resort category and certainly among the best of any Disney resort in Orlando.
Port Orleans Riverside Rooms
Enjoy The Port Orleans Perks
We all know that aside from vague promises of “magic” or rapidly-deteriorating perks with actual, tangible value, one of the things that makes stayin on-property so unique is that way that Disney hotels are hotels-in-disguise.
If you squint, it’s easy to imagine French Quarter and Riverside as parts of a theme park themselves easy to pretend you’ve traveled back in time easy to forget that you’re staying on the same two queen-sized beds you’d find at Caribbean Beach or Coronado Springs, just dressed differently.
Port Orleans has plenty of that “magic” to make you feel like it’s more-than-a-hotel. For example, while Disney’s choice of sprawling resorts made of lots of small buildings has largely fallen out of favor , miles of running and walking paths through the resort make it a beautiful, charming place to get your workout in.
That carriage path also has another use actual carriages! You can pay for a 25-minute carriage ride along the water at Riverside, and it’s a wonderful little “plus” that Disney doesn’t need to offer, but actually does!
The resorts also offer surrey bike rentals, playgrounds, fishing, “Campfire on de’ Bayou” and “Cajun Campfire” events nightly, and Movies Under the Stars each in the kind of “Vacation Kingdom” spirit that can make your hotel stay as memorable as your theme park visits if you choose to take advantage of them.
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Disney Merges Port Orleans Dixie Landings Into 1 Resort
Walt Disney World is combining the Port Orleans and Dixie Landings hotels into a single resort.
“The two properties are close together,” Walt Disney World spokeswoman Diane Ledder said Friday. “By doing this, we feel we’ll be able to operate them more efficiently.”
The adjacent hotels are located between Epcot and Downtown Disney.
Port Orleans, which opened in 1991, has 1,008 rooms Dixie Landings, which opened in 1992, has 2,048 rooms.
The consolidation will occur over nine months and result in the closing of a restaurant and a marina.
A dozen hotel employees will be moved to other jobs at Walt Disney World, Ledder said. The combined hotel will be called Port Orleans Resort.
Disney World has 17 resorts.
Baby boomers travel most
Baby boomers rule the travel industry, a new survey says.
Baby boomers traveled more than any other age group in the United States last year, with more than 259 million trips, the Travel Industry Association of America reports.
Boomers also have an annual household income of $50,000 or more, higher than any other age group, the TIA’s Domestic Travel Market Report revealed. Not surprisingly, baby boomers spend more on their trips than other age groups — averaging $460 a trip, excluding transportation to their destination. Overall, Americans took 1.0 billion person-trips in 1999, stable from 1998. A person-trip is one person traveling on a trip, 50 miles or more, one-way, away from home.
Park expands bus service
Dixie Landings And Port Orleans Riverside
By Jim Korkis
What we now know as Port Orleans Riverside opened as Disneys Dixie Landings Resort on February 2, 1992, themed to the Antebellum South of steamboat travel, formal garden parties, mint juleps on the front porch and more.
It was inspired by rural Louisiana and nestled alongside the picturesque Sassagoula River .
In 2001, to try to eliminate the negative connotations associated with the Old South, including a cotton mill that suggested the slavery of the pre-Civil War era as well as the word Dixie itself, the resort was formally merged into Disneys Port Orleans resort to become Port Orleans Riverside.
Riverside is divided into two distinctly themed parishes: the stately white-columned Magnolia Bend mansions reminiscent of the Old South and the quaint backwoods cottages of Alligator Bayou themed after Cajun Country.
When it first opened, Disneys Port Orleans Resort had a faux newspaper called The Sassagoula Sentinel referring to the man-made river that flowed outside. When Dixie Landings opened about a year later, it also had a newspaper, The Sassagoula Times .
These newspapers detailed guest information but were also filled with stories that were a mixture of authentic history mixed with fanciful but logical additions from Walt Disney Imagineering.
Today, resort guests receive a generic Directory of Services and Resort Map, a small pocket sized pamphlet containing just the basic service information but no background story or fun facts.
* * * * *
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# 3 A Walk Along The Sassagoula River
Walking around Riverside, with its wooden bridges and gorgeous foliage, is wonderful in and of itself, but the highlight is being able to take peaceful walks by the Sassagoula River. The calm water and the abundant pine groves provide the perfect atmosphere for a morning, afternoon, or evening stroll. It is also one of the best places outside of the theme parks to see how WDW tells a story without you even realizing it. The Sassagoula connects Riverside to French Quarter, and the walkway between both is separated by large bridge. The entire landscape changes once you exit either side, and is the resort equivalent of what guests receive when they walk under the train station to enter Main Street USA at the Magic Kingdom and the subtle transitions in-between each land.
Also be sure to check out THIS ARTICLE on the running trails at Port Orleans.
A Walt Disney World Retrospective: Ten Magical Milestones Of The 1990s
The sound of applause echoed through the Los Angeles conference hall as Disney CEO Michael Eisner stepped off the stage at the conclusion of the Disney Shareholders meeting on February 6, 1990. The executive had just finished outlining his vision for the Walt Disney Company over the next ten years, something he called The Disney Decade. After coming off five-and-a-half years of earning the trust and respect of Disneys various shareholders and stakeholders, Eisner was prepared to bring the company into a period of unprecedented expansion, including new partnerships, great successes in the animated film department, and several added experiences to the Disney parks that would change vacationing at the Walt Disney World Resort forever. Learn more about ten magical milestones in the 1990s below.
10- The Wedding Pavilion at Disneys Grand Floridian Resort and Spa
While most guests of the Walt Disney World Resort are merely casual visitors, there has always been a subgroup of super fans who love all things Disney. It had been the dream of many brides to add an additional touch of magic to their special day, inspiring Disney to build The Wedding Pavilion as an official venue for wedding ceremonies to take place at the Walt Disney World Resort. The first wedding at the all-white Victorian-themed pavilion took place in 1995, and would go on to inspire thousands to pine for the opportunity to wed at the Most Magical Place on Earth.
8- Downtown Disney
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Disney’s Port Orleans Resort
Error:Disney Resort hotels will begin a phased reopening. As we open these hotels, a number of health-and-safety measures will be in place. Additionally, some experiences such as housekeeping services and resort activities have been modified or may be unavailable. Learn more. Disney Resort hotels will begin a phased reopening. As we open these hotels, a number of health-and-safety measures will be in place. Additionally, some experiences such as housekeeping services and resort activities have been modified or may be unavailable. Learn more.
Let Us Help You Make A Reservation And Great Memories At Disney’s Beautiful Port Orleans Riverside Resort
Build A Better Mouse Trip always books directly with Walt Disney World and you will never pay any more than if you booked yourself. Our clients are very important to us and we offer some special services designed to make your trip the best that it can be:
We help you with a “Best Days” itinerary designed to put you in the least crowded park and/or in the park with the best entertainment each day of your trip.
We make dining reservations on your behalf – subject to availability.
We provide Disney Theme Park touring plans that are designed to let you do all the things you want to do in a way that keeps you ahead of the crowds and out of the long lines.
We’re available to answer your questions about Disney resorts, restaurants, rides, shows, and attractions.
These services are our thank you to you when you book your Walt Disney World vacation through Build A Better Mouse Trip – you don’t pay any extra for all this extra planning help.
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Port Orleans / Dixie Landings Resort History
In an interview in 1982, Walt Disney World Executive Vice President Dick Nunis proposed a new development near to the Empress Lilly steamboat-inspired restaurant in the Lake Buena Vista Shopping Village area now better known, after several expansions and name changes, as Disney Springs.
The expansion was to include an intricately-themed resort hotel complex designed to evoke the relaxing laid-back feel of the city of New Orleans, very reminiscent of Disneylands New Orleans Square. Surrounding the recently docked steamboat would be a variety of themed buildings, with affordably priced guest rooms on the upper levels and restaurants and retail outlets on the ground floor.
Sadly this plan never materialised during the turbulent early eighties, with the soaring costs and lower attendance figures of the early EPCOT Center and subsequent hostile corporate takeover attempts which would eventually be fought off and result in Micheal Eisner, Frank Wells and Jeffrey Katzenberg taking the helm of the Disney corporation in 1984. However in the world of Imagineering, good ideas never really die and the two-level resort hotel and shopping/dining concept eventually reappeared in the mid-1990s as Disneys Boardwalk Resort.
So it was that Disneys Port Orleans Resort first opened its doors to the public on 17th May 1991. Originally featuring just 432 guest rooms in three buildings, the room count was soon increased to 1,008 as construction on the remaining four buildings was completed.
Port Orleans Riverside Resort Room Options
This resort is divided into two sections: Magnolia Bend and Alligator Bayou. The Magnolia Bend buildings look like plantation manors while the Alligator Bayou rooms are more rustic, with twig style furniture and quilt-print bedspreads. If you prefer one style, be sure to add a request to your reservation.
Some of the Alligator Bayou rooms include a pull-down “banquette” bed and can accommodate a family of five. The trundle beds are shorter than a regular bed and are recommended for children age 9 or younger.
Magnolia Bend has Royal Guest Rooms with prince & princess themed art and a very royal feel.
Standard View Rooms
Garden View Rooms
Note: the Royal Guest Rooms are sometimes called Princess Rooms.
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Childhood Dream Come True For This Walt Disney World Resort Cast Member
Im fortunate to meet many different Walt Disney World Resort cast members while writing stories for our internal magazine, Eyes & Ears. Recently, I spent a lot of time at Disneys Port Orleans Resort Riverside, which will mark its 20th anniversary Feb. 2.
During my research, I learned that Kyle Raser, the resorts current manager of Guest Service Operations, had stayed there years ago when it was known as Disneys Dixie Landings Resort.
When I was 14 years old, I lived in Pennsylvania, Kyle told me. We were actually supposed to stay at a different resort but because we got so much snow up north we had to change our vacation and the only place available at the time was Dixie Landings. So we came here and fell in love with the place.
As he explained, We always say, By chance we stayed here but by choice we stayed here every other year after that. My mom and the rest of the family still call it home.
Like many of our cast members who chased childhood dreams or pursued adult ambitions, Kyle joined the company in 1997 when he moved to Florida and went to work at The Disney Store. In 1999, he became a Walt Disney World Resort cast member. He joined the Port Orleans team in April 2010, making it a kind of homecoming.
Each night when I walk out of the resort and look back at the entrance, I cant help but fondly remember my first visit to this place and how lucky I am to have come home again, Kyle said.
Full Guide: Disneys Port Orleans Captures The Essence Of Louisiana Pageantry And Romance
Disneys Port Orleans is made up of French Quarter and Riverside. Both perfectly capture the essence of Louisiana pageantry and romance. There is so much to see and do, so lets take a look at these resorts. Hopefully this guide will help you decide which one to stay at on your next Disney World vacation.
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# 6 The Southern Charm Of Riversides Theming
While French Quarter focuses on the city feeling of New Orleans, Riverside takes a step back and puts a spotlight on the rural areas of antebellum Louisiana. The overall level of theming is much closer to what you will find at deluxe Disneys hotels like the Polynesian Village Resort or Wilderness Lodge than a fellow moderate like Coronado Springs. The Riverside Mills 32 foot working water wheel is a standout feature, but it is all the little details which will pull you into the resort.
There are over 2,000 rooms at the resort, yet it never feels crowded when you are walking the property. And while taking a stroll you will see perfectly manicured gardens mixed in with an outdoorsy wilderness that seems like you stepped into another time and place.
Honorable Mention: Take A Sassagoula Water Taxi To Disney Springs
While boat rides are always our favorite form of Walt Disney World transportation the water taxi from Riverside to Downtown Disney is hands down the best way to get to the shopping and dining district during its transition to Disney Springs. Let everyone else deal with road rage as you serenely sail down the Sassagoula, passing French Quarter, Old Key West, and Saratoga Springs. And while you are at the Port Orleans Levee to get on your water taxi, consider renting a bicycle for another fun way to traverse Riverside.
So there you have it: Six Reasons We Love Disneys Port Orleans Riverside. See you next weekend for the latest installment of the SATURDAY SIX, where well look at something fun from the world of Disney and Universal. If you enjoyed yourself, be sure to check out The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! articles, or, for your listening pleasure, check out the Pardon the Pixie Dust podcast. You can also follow Your Humble Author on Twitter
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Special Thanks to crack staff photographer Brandon Glover, photo wunderkind Mike Sperduto, Disney photography icon Tom Bricker, and Megan Stump for their invaluable assistance with this article. Be sure to also check out Brandon on The Park Blogger podcast with co-hosts Aengus Mackenzie and Brian Carey.
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