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Visiting Port Orleans Resort at Walt Disney World: French Quarter + Riverside

Visiting Port Orleans Resort at Walt Disney World: French Quarter + Riverside | CosmosMariners.com

Way back when I was a wee traveler, my parents would load up my sister and I in our grandparents' motorhome for a week at Walt Disney World. Our love of WDW started with pony rides at Fort Wilderness and splashing in the Mardi Gras pool at Port Orleans.

Those two places were the staples of our early Disney trips. But then, in the 90s, two things happened to change all of that: 

1) Port Orleans was refurbished and upgraded to a moderate resort, and

2) The motorhome finally found a new home (after 25 years in service to my grandparents and our extended family, it was probably time).

Around that same time, the new (at the time) value resorts open, and we started our tour of All-Star Music, All-Star Movies, All-Star Sports, and Pop Century. 

Port Orleans became a thing of the past, and I'd hardly given it another thought until this past trip to Disney. 

Yet, on this fine June day, I had a lot of time on my hands and direct access to the Sassagoula River Cruise from the Downtown Disney dock. After grabbing lunch at Wolfgang Puck one afternoon, I decided to venture over to the Disney resort of my childhood. I didn't have to wait long at the Pleasure Island dock before my boat came a-callin'. 

Visiting Port Orleans Resort at Walt Disney World: French Quarter + Riverside | CosmosMariners.com


The cruise to Port Orleans was a brand new experience for me, as the last time that I'd stayed at the hotel, Downtown Disney didn't even exist. I don't even know if the Sassagoula River Cruises even existed either back in the 90s. At any rate, I have no recollection of ever going on those boats before. 

I cruised past Saratoga Springs Resort and waved at the people playing golf.

Visiting Port Orleans Resort at Walt Disney World: French Quarter + Riverside | CosmosMariners.com
Why, thank you, Disney World. I do feel as if I am home!

Port Orleans: French Quarter

Then, we puttered past the dock for the Old Key West Resort before turning the bend and docking at Port Orleans French Quarter. 

Visiting Port Orleans Resort at Walt Disney World: French Quarter + Riverside | CosmosMariners.com

It's amazing how much I remembered about this resort even though I hadn't set foot on the property in over 15 years. It looks exactly the same (at least on the outside; the insides of the rooms have been refurbished at least twice), and I loved seeing the larger than life Mardi Gras floats in the food court, the bricked walkways, and the colorful pool decorations (complete with my favorite watery musician friends--if you've been there, you know which ones I'm talking about!). 

Visiting Port Orleans Resort at Walt Disney World: French Quarter + Riverside | CosmosMariners.comVisiting Port Orleans Resort at Walt Disney World: French Quarter + Riverside | CosmosMariners.com


I regretted my macaroni and cheese lunch for a half of a second when I discovered that the French Quarter food court had beignets and muffalettas--my two favorite NOLA foods! I was still too stuffed from my giant plate of pastas to eat any more, so I sadly left the food behind. 

Orlando Discounted Theme Parks and Attractions - Florida Ticket Station

Port Orleans: Riverside

Next, I headed over to the other half of Port Orleans, Riverside. It's a quick walk along the river that's mostly in the shade. 

Visiting Port Orleans Resort at Walt Disney World: French Quarter + Riverside | CosmosMariners.com

While the French Quarter side of the resort looks like (duh) the French Quarter with dark metal scrollwork and brick sidewalks, the Riverside part pays homage to the plantations along the Mississippi River just outside of Port Orleans. 

Visiting Port Orleans Resort at Walt Disney World: French Quarter + Riverside | CosmosMariners.com

Visiting Port Orleans Resort at Walt Disney World: French Quarter + Riverside | CosmosMariners.com

I looked in the lobby, the gift shop, and the food court (no muffalettas to tempt me there!) before heading back to the boat pickup. 

While I'm still very attached to the value resorts at Disney, going back to Port Orleans made me seriously consider staying at my childhood standby again. 

Have you ever stayed at Port Orleans? Which side is your favorite?

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