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Hotel Review: Port Orleans Resort Riverside at Walt Disney World

One of several white columned mansions and the lush green courtyard in front of it at Walt Disney World Orlando Port Orleans Resort Riverside

Inspired by Disney’s The Princess and the Frog, 4-Star Port Orleans Resort Riverside is the perfect place to stay for anyone planning a Walt Disney World vacation with a Princess Tiana fan. My granddaughter, the self-proclaimed biggest Princess Tiana fan, and I stayed there from June 27th to July 1st, 2024. The resort is elegant and relaxed, full of southern charm and gracious Disney service at its finest. I didn’t even make it all the way to the reservation desk before being welcomed and assisted by a woman with a tablet in hand, hotel room keycards, and a resort map at the ready. She answered my transportation questions and put me at immediate ease. 

It takes about 30 minutes to drive from Orlando International Airport to Port Orleans Resort Riverside. I’ve heard that Mears Transportation is a popular choice for those traveling from the airport to Disney’s resorts. I’m hooked on the Jayride app and the Elife Limo service. The service is fantastic.

My granddaughter and me in front of a photo op of Tiana's Bayou Adventure in the Walt Disney World Port Orleans Resort Riverside
My granddaughter and me in front of a Tiana's Bayou Adventure photo op at the resort. She lives in the Orlando area. Her parents drop her off to me each year for what's becoming our annual Girls' Weekend.

Our Royal Guest Room - Standard View

There is nothing standard about the Royal Guest Room situated in a white-column mansion along the Sassagoula River that we stayed in, not even the view. According to Disney’s website, rooms with Standard Views look onto parking lots and the like. The view out our window looked like a courtyard to me. Besides, with headboards painted to look like the bayou at night and light up with a fireworks display, framed pictures of Disney princesses – including a large one of Tiana, faucets that look like Genie’s Lamp, and decor fit for a princess, my Tiana-adoring granddaughter and I didn’t have time to give the view out our window any attention. 

My granddaughter loved the magical headboards. We pressed the button to start the brief light show on one before going to bed each night. I loved how quiet our room was. Two doors down from us, there was a room with birthday decorations on the window and door. When I first saw it, I prepared myself for some loudness. Since we were on the first floor, I also expected to hear some noise above us. We heard nothing. It was spectacular.   

You can choose between rooms with a Woods View, River View, Pool View, Standard View, or Royal Guest Rooms with similar view options. Most rooms sleep up to four adults, though there are fifth-sleeper rooms available. King rooms sleep just two adults. 

Drinking + Dining at Port Orleans Resort Riverside

Row Row Oar Your Boat Ice Cream Sundae (Vanilla Ice Cream with Sprinkles, Chocolate Sauce, and Butter Cookies shaped to honor Mickey Mouse at Walt Disney World Port Orleans Resort Riverside's Boatwright's Dining Hall.

On our first evening together, my granddaughter, her parents, and I dined on Louisiana-style fare at Boatwright’s Dining Hall. Set in an ex-boat warehouse, no advance reservations are accepted or needed in this large, casual sit-down restaurant. When you arrive, you scan a QR code to check your party in. After a short wait, you’ll be seated. The place is huge and far enough from the parks that I don’t believe the wait is ever too long. 

My daughter and her partner ordered seafood. I ordered the Crispy Cajun Chicken served with Red Beans and Rice and Collard Greens with House-made Pickles. For her meal, my granddaughter ate a cheeseburger, fruit, and a  Row Row Oar Your Boat Ice Cream Sundae (Vanilla Ice Cream with Sprinkles, Chocolate Sauce, and a Butter Cookie). It was a lovely way to kick off our fun-filled Disney weekend. 

The Riverside Mill Food Court is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It’s a great spot to grab a quick bite before boarding a bus to one of the parks. I started most of my days with a double shot of espresso and croissant, and my granddaughter started hers with Mickey Waffles and bacon. 

There are two bar options at the resort: River Roost and Muddy Rivers. River Roost has live entertainment, and from what I heard as we passed on our way to the gift shop one night, it sounded like a great time. One evening, I ordered a margarita from Muddy Rivers and enjoyed it poolside as I watched the various ways my granddaughter could go down a waterslide.

Amenities at Port Orleans Resort Riverside

The Sassagoula River and path along it at Walt Disney World Orlando Port Orleans Resort Riverside.
  • As it is with all Disney Resort hotels and some hotels associated with Disney, you get early theme park entry when you stay at Port Orleans Resort Riverside. Taking advantage of early entry is a game changer. For the past three years, I’ve visited the Walt Disney World parks with my granddaughter and sometimes more of the family. This was our first time taking advantage of early entry. We made it onto multiple rides within the first 30 minutes of our visit. Ride lines felt short for our first full hour at each park. 
  • There are buses that go to all of the Disney Theme Parks. Rides are complimentary. They are such an easy and convenient option, though they can get pretty full at busy times. There is also a complimentary water taxi service that takes guests to Disney Springs. 
  • There are several pools throughout the resort. We spent our pool time at the resort’s main one, the 3.5-acre Ol’ Man Island. I was impressed by the number of lifeguards and the attention they paid to those in the pool, and my granddaughter was impressed by the 95-foot-long waterslide. 
  • For $65, you can reserve a 25-minute horse-drawn carriage ride along the riverside. Horse-drawn carriage rides are only available for a couple of hours each evening, and advanced reservations are strongly recommended. I considered booking a ride, but given the heat and the stormy forecast, I chose not to. Maybe next time. 
  • Fulton’s General Store is a great gift shop, filled with items you might need and a nice selection of Disney merchandise. Our favorite purchase there was Disney Princess Tiana’s Cookbook.  

Hotel Room Rates:

Walt Disney World Resorts offers Deluxe, Moderate, and Value stays. Port Orleans Resort Riverside is considered one of its Moderate options. When I looked, prices can be as low as $305-$400 in July or as high as $431-$530 at Christmastime. Chances are that when you book your Port Orleans Resort Riverside room, you’ll do it as part of a theme park ticket package, which means you’ll pay less for the room.

Would We Stay Again?

Yes! My granddaughter and I were both charmed by the place. There are more Walt Disney World Resort Hotels to research, so we might find ourselves somewhere else, like Port Orleans Resort French Quarter, on our next Walt Disney World Girls’ Weekend. 

Last year, we stayed at and loved Swan Reserve at Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort. They do have the early theme park entry benefit as well. We were not able to take advantage of it when we stayed, because I could not get my granddaughter and her hair ready in time on that trip.

Hotel Contact Information

Port Orleans Resort Riverside
1251 Riverside Dr
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

Phone: (407) 939-5277

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