Disney with Little Ones: Considering Port Orleans Riverside

Photo via https://flic.kr/p/bhBVgT

If you’ve been following along, you know that I’ve been researching moderate Walt Disney World Resorts. Last time, I took a closer look at Caribbean Beach Resort. This week my research takes me to Port Orleans Riverside. Port Orleans Riverside is adjacent to its sister resort, Port Orleans French Quarter, and is considered a Disney Springs area resort. Riverside is separated into 2 distinct sections – Alligator Bayou and Magnolia Bend – and you’re probably getting some imagery from these names already. The resort is themed after a marshy southern Louisiana town with crepe myrtles, azaleas, the Sassagoula River winding through the property, a history of alligator sightings, and plantation style architecture, just to name a few.

I haven’t been there myself (yet) but this has always been a place my husband has hoped to return to (he went with his family when it was Dixie Landings – the name changed in 2001). While I haven’t had the experience for myself, I have read enough Disney fan boards and pages to know that Riverside is highly regarded in the moderate category and, from what I can tell, the clear fan favorite. 

So what does everyone love so much about Port Orleans Riverside? For one, the food options offer something for everyone. There are both quick service and table service venues to meet all guests needs, tastes, and time constraints. Boatwrights is the sit-down choice and Riverside Mill Food Court would be your option if you wanted to grab something to go. There are also two lounge areas where adults can grab a drink or appetizer – one inside and one near the main pool. Fun fact: there is a 35 foot working water wheel on the building where the food court is located. I know my kids would love to see this!

Speaking of pools – those are way more interesting to my kids than food options, which I take more of an interest in. The main pool at Riverside is themed after an old waterin’ hole and located centrally on Ol’ Man Island; this pool features a 95 foot long slide. At Muddy Rivers nearby, guests can grab an alcoholic or non-alcoholic drink and a snack. There are also 5 additional quiet pools spread throughout the property. 

One thing unique to Riverside is the recreation available. You can pay to fish, rent bicycles, take a horse drawn carriage ride, or rent a boat at the marina. Each night there is a campfire and a movie under the stars. There’s no shortage of fun and entertainment without ever leaving the resort. By staying at Riverside you also gain access to water transportation over to Disney Springs.

The only really negative thing I have heard about Riverside is in regards to the bus transportation. There are four bus stops on Riverside’s property and buses are shared with Port Orleans French Quarter. During Disney’s busier times, guests can expect longer waits for bus service. In my family, long waits at the end of long days are hard on short little legs and we end up holding our heavy little kids. Transportation might be a pretty big factor, but I think if we loved everything else about a resort, it wouldn’t be a deal breaker? 

Do you have an experience at Riverside with little ones? We’d love to hear about it!

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Candice was raised in east Tennessee. While in college, her best friend dragged her to a Walt Disney World College Program recruiting session at the University of Tennessee and the rest is Disney history. In the Fall of 1999, Candice became a quick service food hostess for Sunset Ranch Market and Fantasmic at Disney-MGM Studios – or what is now known as Disney’s Hollywood Studios. While soaking up her time as a cast member, she met Ryan, a neighbor and a fellow college programmer who worked as a custodial host at Epcot. Four years later, Candice moved to the Midwest and married that boy from across the hall. They now live in Greenwood, Indiana with their two little boys. The Disney-loving foursome took their first family trip to The Happiest Place on Earth in 2013 and Candice is eagerly planning their return. Candice also works full-time at a community mental health center and enjoys taking photographs and blogging at Mommy in the Midwest.

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