With two distinct “neighborhoods” of its own, plus a sister resort just down the river, Port Orleans Riverside has a lot to offer. On one side of the Sassagoula River, you’ll find Southern-style mansions with sweeping staircases, elegant fountains, and Royal Guest Rooms fit for a princess (the headboards have their own private fireworks “display” at the flip of a switch). On the other side of the river, a bayou vibe prevails, and the rooms have a unique advantage for larger families: a trundle bed for a third child. This is the only non-suite room at a Disney value or moderate resort that can be booked for a family of five (plus a child under three in a crib).
Recreation abounds on the 3.5 acre Ol’ Man Island, the feature pool and Fishing Hole (catch and release) area, accessed via one of three rustic wooden bridges. The theme here is an abandoned sawmill, and the pool includes a 95-foot water slide. Adjacent are the Muddy Rivers pool bar and for the younger set, a playground with a mini water wheel. In addition, Port Orleans Riverside boasts five quiet pools. When the sun goes down, Ol’ Man Island is the scene of a complimentary Cajun Campfire complete with marshmallow roasting and Disney movies shown under the stars.
The Sassagoula River sets a relaxed tone for the resort, with the clipclop of horses’ hooves taking guests on carriage rides and the quiet bustle of boats plying up and down the river taking guests to and from Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney). The lamplights twinkle in the water as you stroll along in the twilight, perhaps adjourning briefly to Port Orleans French Quarter to score some beignets. On the other hand, no one leaves the Riverside Mill hungry – it’s one of Disney’s largest and most varied foodcourts. The resort also offers table service dining at Boatwright’s Dining Hall and refreshing cocktails at the River Roost.
Golden tip: request a corner room! Having windows both front and side makes the room seem larger.