Port Orleans French Quarter is a slice of romantic Disney-style Louisiana set down on the Sassagoula River just north of Disney Springs. This moderate resort has captured some of the flavor of historic New Orleans, and you’ll feel the evocative Antebellum atmosphere from the moment you arrive. You may be offered Mardi Gras beads at the curb, and you’ll surely hear some lively jazz music playing, including the soulful stylings of jazz great Lionel Hampton. (One of the collections played at French Quarter is “New Orleans – Vol. I” by the Preservation Hall Jazz Band – which you can pick up inexpensively on Amazon to start setting the mood in the weeks before your trip!) As you emerge from the lofty glass foyer, you see narrow cobblestone streets with hitching posts and gas lamps. Don’t miss the clever word play on the street signs. Watch for Rue D’Baga, Cake Walk, and Cafe Au Lait Way!
Near the playground and pool, you’ll encounter a family of instrument wielding alligators – a popular photo spot. It’s Mardi Gras all year long here. Your welcome to the pool area begins with the replica of the Canal Street Ferry Jester in New Orleans. (You’ll find a similar one inside the resort food court.) Who could resist a bright blue sea serpent waterslide? The French Quarter themed pool is Doubloon Lagoon, ruled by King Neptune who sits atop a giant sea serpent named “Scales.” Kids and adults both love to slide down his long curving tongue to land with a splash in the pool below. When you want to get the kids out of the water, ask them if they can find the tip of Scales’s tail. You’ll find his coils writhing up from the pavement (in one section, acting as a bridge from one section of the pool to another). Follow the frilled blue coils until you find the tip of his tail!
A sister resort just up the river, Port Orleans Riverside, has its own themed pool called ‘Ol Man Island. It’s a pleasant stroll if you have the energy to pool hop. Port Orleans Riverside is the jumping off point for the Bayou Pirate Adventure which takes children 4 to 12, rigged in pirate bandanas, on a two-hour onboard treasure hunt across the “seas” of the Sassagoula River. They’ll discover a treasure map lost by the infamous Captain Lafitte, the greatest pirate to ever sail the waters of New Orleans. Clues will lead to a treasure chest, and the adventure will wind up with a small snack and drink.
After the noisy pirate vessel has passed, the Sassagoula River sets a relaxed tone for the resort, with the clip clop 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 the many restaurants and shops at Disney Springs. Lamplights twinkle in the water as you amble along in the twilight, perhaps adjourning briefly to Sassagoula Float Works to score some beignets while the kids are on their pirate adventure. Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory is a cavernous food court that evokes a New Orleans parade assembly warehouse. Newly refurbished (after a fairly long closure) it reopens fall 2016.
Scat Cat’s Club, located just off the Port Orleans French Quarter main lobby, is a relaxing Southern-style jazz lounge with a full bar serving specialty cocktails and tasty appetizers, notably Mardi Gras Fritters (pimiento cheese with pepper jelly) and Bayou Buffalo Wings. The Scat Cat Club is famous for its Southern Hurricane (Myers’s Platinum and Original Dark Rums with Tropical Juices and Southern Comfort) – served in a souvenir hurricane lamp glass! Here you can also get a Sazerac, invented in 1838 by New Orleans apothecary Antoine Amedie Peychaud. The historic drink consists of Bulleit Rye Small Batch American Whiskey, Agave Nectar, and Peychaud Bitters with a splash of Pernod. What guests really come for is Scat Cat’s live music. Fans of the popular Off Kilter rock band (which formerly performed at Epcot’s Canada pavilion and has a large following) will be delighted to find two of Off Kilter’s members leading the crowd in sing-alongs at Scat Cat’s. Jason and Billy have a Facebook page so that guests can check their performance schedule at Port Orleans French Quarter (most Saturdays, Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays).
Scat Cat Club’s souvenir hurricane glass can also be found at the pool bar, Mardi Grogs, filled with an All That Jazz (a layered blend of the Front Porch Freeze, Gata Melon Juice and the Nola Cola). You can also kick back with an Abita Turbodog (brown ale with chocolate malts) while the kids delight in Bull Frog Brew served in a souvenir light-up mason jar (Odwalla Lemonade with Monin Green Apple and Kiwi).
Guest rooms at Port Orleans French Quarter sleep four guests (while some Alligator Bayou Rooms at Port Orleans Riverside have a small trundle bed for a fifth person). The vast majority of the rooms have two queen beds, while a small number of king bedded rooms are available. There are three different room views. Standard view will face the parking lots, though generally through a buffer of charming landscaping. Garden view rooms face the little French Quarter streets of the resort, while water view rooms will face either Doubloon Lagoon or the Sassagoula River.
Mouseketrips tip: request a corner room! Having windows both front and side makes the room seem larger and brighter.