Port Orleans is big. It’s really big. Despite the fact that its sheer size can be somewhat confusing, it’s my favorite Disney resort thus far. The lush landscaping and relaxed vibe make me feel as if I’m in a different (and far more serene) world than when I’m in the parks. It’s a lovely spot to return to after a busy day. If you’re not familiar with Port Orleans, here’s a brief rundown.
Port Orleans is divided into two separate resorts, Riverside and French Quarter. The two resorts are a 5 minute walk from each other (or you can take a boat). If you’re staying at one Port Orleans resort, you can use the amenities (i.e. pool) at the other.
Riverside, furthermore, is divided into two sections: Magnolia Bend and Alligator Bayou. Magnolia Bend is also referred to as “the mansions,” and features Royal Guest Rooms (not all of their rooms fall into this category; you have to book one specifically). Alligator Bayou, or “the cottages,” is where we typically stay.
Alligator Bayou is the least expensive way to fit five people into one room while staying on Disney property. In the past, these rooms featured two double beds plus a “trundle bed” (basically just a small mattress) that pulled out from under one of the doubles. Now, the recently renovated rooms feature two queen beds (which feels sooo much bigger than a double) and a bench that transforms into a murphy bed (which feels more civilized than sleeping on a mattress on the floor). Seeing as it’s smaller than a twin bed, our almost-12-year-old was just barely able to fit onto the murphy bed.
The other nice thing about these newly refurbished rooms (other than the fact that everything is so fresh and clean and, well, new) is that the theming has been enhanced. Before, they had a folksy/woodsy feel. You know, like a cottage on the bayou. Now, there’s a touch of The Princess and the Frog to the theming. For example, the murphy bed pulls down to reveal a mural of Louis the alligator, and each of the queen beds had a cute Louis pillow. (Hmmm…. only two Louis pillows, and three boys in our family…. A quick call to the front desk, and a housekeeping cast member delivered a third Louis pillow to our room mere minutes later!) Also, the bathroom and vanity area are much more in line with the theming.
Sadly, I think this may have been our last stay at Riverside. Our boys seem to be growing by the day, and a standard room feels so small for the five of us now. For our next trip, I’ll be looking into a family suite at All-Star Music. (Yes, Art of Animation is much newer and themier, but All-Star Music has three separate sleeping spaces in the living room – one for each boy!) If anyone has All-Star Music advice for me, I’d love to hear it!