1991: Disney’s Port Orleans Resort
Editor’s Note: This post is part 21 in a forty-part blog series in celebration of Walt Disney World Resort’s upcoming 40th Anniversary. Please welcome to The Window Seat Amanda Allen, Walt Disney World Moms Panel Guest Author.
On May 17, 1991, Disney’s Port Orleans (French Quarter) Resort opened. Designed to reflect the architecture of New Orleans, take a virtual tour of the two Disney Resort hotels.
Even before Princess Tiana sang “Dreams do come true down in New Orleans,” guests at Walt Disney World Resort could experience a dreamy version of the Bayou at the Disney’s Port Orleans Resort. At this moderate resort, guests can choose to stay in the French Quarter, where the rooms offer charming luxury at moderate prices, or at Riverside, which offers Old South elegance in the Magnolia Bend mansions or rustic tranquility in the Alligator Bayou buildings.
Beginning in the Spring 2012, Port Orleans – Riverside guests can also stay in the new Royal Guest Rooms that feature regally-themed furnishings, including headboards with fiber-optic lights, and other touches of Disney royalty! Port Orleans Resort is a great choice for families of five whose budget doesn’t allow for a deluxe resort – the Riverside section offers rooms with a trundle bed suitable for children under 9.
Both the French Quarter and Riverside have a sprawling pool with a water slide, and Riverside also has several smaller pools dotted throughout the resort. Guests of French Quarter and Riverside may use the pools at both resorts, but swimming is just one of the activities found at Port Orleans. The resort is conveniently situated a short, scenic boat ride away from the restaurants, shops, and nightlife of Downtown Disney. The resorts prime location on the Sassagoula River means guests can rent pedal boats, canoes, pontoon boats and my family’s favorite: Sea Raycers. Those who wish to remain on dry land can tour the resorts on bicycles or horse-drawn carriage rides, or visit the Fishin’ Hole to try their luck at cane pole fishing. Children ages 4 to 12 can set sail on a Bayou Pirate Adventure where they’ll have lunch and search for pirates’ booty (This cruise for little buccaneers sails Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday at 9:30 a.m. and can be reserved by calling 1-407-WDW-PLAY).
No trip to the French Quarter is complete without sampling the Beignets! At the Sassagoula Floatworks Food Factory these fried dough creations liberally coated with powdered sugar are served hot (I bet you can’t eat just one!). In the evenings, be sure to stop by the River Roost at Port Orleans – Riverside where “Ye Haa Bob” performs a comedic piano sing-a-long that’s entertaining for the whole family! (You’ll usually find “Ye Haa Bob” there Wednesday through Saturday from 8:30 p.m. to midnight.)
I think we receive more questions at the Walt Disney World Moms Panel about Port Orleans than any of the other moderate resorts. It’s easy to see why it’s so popular – the resort offers something to please everyone! Families with little princesses will love the Royal Guest Rooms. Guests looking for luxury at a moderate price will appreciate the rooms at the French Quarter, which have been recently refurbished and now feature flat-panel televisions and queen-size beds. Those looking for a secluded, peaceful place to rest after a day in the bustling parks will find relaxation in the wooded Alligator Bayou section of Port Orleans – Riverside. However, some buildings there can be a long walk from the restaurants and rooms on the upper floors are accessible only by stairs. Guests seeking a less remote and rustic room will appreciate the elegant Magnolia Bend section where the buildings have elevators and are closer to the main areas of the resort. No matter which section your family chooses, I hope you’ll find that dreams do come true at Port Orleans!
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