Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside, formerly known as Dixie Landings, is one of five moderate resorts at Walt Disney World Resort. This resort transports you to the bajou south of the U.S. with nods to Cajun country and the great mansion of the South. As with the other moderates, this is a large property holding over 2,000 rooms with two distinct areas, Alligator Bayou and Magnolia Bend. This resort along with sister property, French Quarter, are fan favorites. In fact, there is even a fan operated website for the Port Orleans Resorts offering tons of information that will help you plan your visit.
We booked a river view for a party of three. Upon online check in we requested a room with close proximity to public transportation in order to maximize our short time at Disney World.
Arrival & Amenities
Nowadays Disney will email you or message you when your room is assigned, so there is no need to check in at the front desk. We arrived after 6pm at the resort and went straight to our room to drop off our carry-on luggage and head over to Contemporary DVC lounge for the fireworks.
As we entered the lobby of the resort known as Sassagoula Steamboat Company, you are transported to a beautiful and simplistic feel of the classic era of steamboat travel along the mighty MIssissippi River. The building provides all the amenities you will need for your voyage including Fulton’s General Store for all your gifts and goods, Boatwright’s Dining Hall for a nice dinner, Riverside Mill for all your meals and River Roost Lounge for some nightly entertainment. As we exited to head towards our room, we were greeted by the offer of horse-drawn carriage rides and bike rentals.
Walking through Ol’ Man Island, you find the main pool area with some wonderful jazz music playing. It’s a very calm and serene area with some playful water features for the kids to enjoy and also the Muddy Rivers Pool Bar for a snack or drink. The island also provides a fishing hole, playground and campfire area. If you seek a quieter area, the resort also has 5 large quiet pools throughout the resort.
Reaching the second bridge, crossing over Sassagoula River, we reach Magnolia Bend and our room for this trip.
It’s important to note that this property has two distinct areas with slightly different theming and layout. Alligator Bayou occupies roughly half of the rooms on the property with sixteen 2-story non-elevator buildings. The rooms provide the feel of being in a rural cottage in the south with lots of wood and cargo transport theme incorporated in the design. If you are a larger party with five guests, these rooms offer the addition of a pull down Murphy bed in addition to the two queen beds.
The other section is Magnolia Bend where you will also find the Royal Guests Rooms. These rooms provide two queen beds, with a few king bed rooms, and a very different design and feel. Rooms are setup in Mansion Buildings with three and four-levels buildings and provide elevators. Mansion buildings are pretty much that. It is what one often thinks of in Southern mansions with these charming buildings of white and pastel accents and beautiful tall trees surrounding the area.
Our room was located at Acadian House on the third floor. The room reflects the exterior of the building with the accents of southern charm and finesse. The room is fitted with wood accents and green walls making it quite calm and simple. Artwork is displayed on the headboards and one art piece depicting southern manors and the classic riverboats. However, the basic amenities expected in the room are here and are practically place and setup. There is no Disney character theming in here so some guests may find it a bit plain.
The room has a small round table and two chairs at the entrance next to the A/C unit which is nicely decorated with a wood panel cover to make it less of an eye sore. Next to the table you have the dresser with mini fridge, TV and coffee maker. Next to this is the Luggage seat. I found this very convenient to place a suitcase for unpacking and later laying out items needed for the day out at the park. Above the seat is a coat rack with a ledge to hook your jacket or place any important items you made need. Again, a great place to leave things you will need for everyday.
Next is the bathroom area. The only negative to the moderates is the entryway to the bathroom areas. At Port Orleans, they provide a privacy curtain which does not provide any sound proofing or light blocking as family members get ready in the morning. Nonetheless, I really like the layout of the bathroom area. There is a double vanity which is helpful when getting ready in the morning and plenty of open storage below the sink and above on the marble ledge.
To the right of the sink is one of the nicer storage areas I’ve seen. It’s basically an open space with a wall-to-wall coat rack, but you can easily store a few large suitcases. The coat rack also has a large enough ledge above to place any additional items. The iron and board is also stored here and the very tiny safe which still uses the old key method. The shower/tub combination and toilet is your standard Disney setup, but the little white tile work is a nice touch to the mansion theme and the accented green wall.
Bus transportation is the main source to getting to the parks. The bus system is very large at this resort and although we had no issues getting a bus, it always took a over 45 minutes door-to-door. There are four bus stops at Riverside: West Depot, North Depot, East Depot and South Depot which is located outside the lobby building. We found that from our building, it was just as easy to go to the South Depot than North or East. South Depot is the first pickup point and we could guarantee to get on a bus. The only annoyance then is having to sit on the bus longer as it goes to all the other stops. On our return from the parks, they often dropped you off from West-North-East, but we had one night where the driver asked if we were all okay with going to the South Depot first and everyone agreed. We only noticed the sharing of bus services with French Quarter for Disney Springs going from South Depot to French Quarter before heading out.
Another transportation option from Port Orleans are the ferry boats. You can board the Sassagoula River Cruise from the Riverside Marina and take the Disney Springs Marketplace. Along the way you will pass through the Treehouse Villas at Saratoga Springs.
Final Thoughts on Disney’s Port Orleans Resort Riverside
Port Orleans may not be for everyone, but as a group of three adults, we enjoyed the spread out property with the beautiful views of the river and overall quiet setting. The room albeit simple and no Disney theming, was large and also bright.
Amenities for the resort are good. The General Store is large and has a great selection of merchandise. I was also surprised to see the amount of groceries and beverages available to purchase which I have only seen at DVC resorts in the past. We were equally impressed by the size of the food court and the offerings. Late night food is your typical pizza and pasta, but there was still a good variety and the area is nicely setup.
The River Roost bar was a must-do for us because we had heard of the infamous Yehaa Bob. Let’s just say we ended every evening with Bob serenading us while we enjoyed a specialty drink and snack. We wish the area was a bit larger and service a little more top notch, but Bob will make sure you leave with a smile on your face.
Port Orleans provides enough for both children and adults alike. The resort has different room types that can be tailored to your group. For children, the Royal Rooms will provide a magical touch, themed with royal princesses and gold finishes. For adults, the royal simplicity of Magnolia Bend might be your choice or Alligator Bayou. For those who enjoy the style and have a little more Disney feel in the room where you will find Louis from Princess and the Frog.
Bus service is a must at this resort so plan accordingly where you want to go or if you take a car. Port Orleans provides a sanctuary from all the hustle and bustle of the parks. It also offers you a unique place for adventures and family time without paying the Deluxe cost.