Craig Hood is back from a brief hiatus with a look at the Port Orleans French Quarter Resort. See the rest of his handiwork over in the Photography section. I think you’ll agree that it was worth the wait. These are the best photos I’ve ever seen of the Port Orleans French Quarter.
Here in Florida, we have something special we never enjoyed at Disneyland…the blessing of size. There’s enough land here to hold all the ideas and plans we can possibly imagine.” – Walt Disney
Of all the things I enjoy while in Disney World, I think simply experiencing the resorts is at the top of my list of favorites. The time we have at the resort is when I really feel like I’m somewhere far away from the real world, and sometimes, where there is no one else there but me and my family. These are the times I really lose myself in the Disney experience. I sometimes get out of the room early in the morning to enjoy the quiet sunrise and photo opportunities before the peace and tranquility give way to the chatter of excited families – this is my time.
Click on any image for the full size version
My family and I have stayed in all of the moderate resorts and our favorite by far is Port Orleans French Quarter in the Downtown Disney Resort area. Opened in 1991 as Disney’s Port Orleans Resort, it is a relatively small property by comparison. Situated on the banks of the Sassagoula River, French Quarter is comprised of 7 buildings of 144 guest rooms each, for a grand total of 1008 guest rooms. All of these rooms were refurbished throughout early 2011 and you’ll now find two queen-size beds, all new furnishings, and flat-screen televisions. The theming is just as the name implies and reflects the “French Quarter” district of New Orleans with lots of wrought iron, cobblestone, and Mardis Gras references. The small size of French Quarter is one of the most appealing attributes to me. The internal pathways are laid out in squares with “streets” and sidewalks that are very easy to navigate. All of the pathways are straight with left and right turns and direct routes to the main building, no winding pathways here.
We’ve found that buildings 1 and 7 tend to be the most peaceful and quiet. They are each on the outskirts of the property and the furthest from the main building, but still not so far away that you need a canteen and sack lunch to walk to the food court, gift shop or the pool. Also, staying in building 7 puts you in very close proximity to the Riverside Resort.
All amenities between French Quarter and Riverside are shared, so feel free to pool hop without persecution!
The only dining option at French Quarter is counter service at the Sassagoula Float Works and Food Factory. Libations are available at Scat Cats Lounge right next door. If you want table service, you can head over to Riverside and enjoy Boatwrights.
Main lobby facing main entrance- check-in to your left, food and drinks to your right.
You’ll swear you’re in the “Big Easy.” All the touches that make Disney, Disney.
Looking towards the swimming pool from the lobby. Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory is to the left with Jackson Square Gifts and Desires to the right.
A few of the local characters around French Quarter’s only swimming pool. You can enjoy a cold drink of the alcoholic and non-alcoholic variety from Mardis Grogs pool bar from 11:30am to 9:45pm.
A mostly unique amenity to the French Quarter is the boat transportation to and from Downtown Disney – so much nicer than a bus. Saratoga Springs and Old Key West also offer boat service to Downtown Disney, but rooms at either of those Villa-level resort would cost much more. For us, the boat ride is like an attraction in itself. You can enjoy a very relaxing 20 minute, 2.5 mile ride to Downtown Disney via the Sassagoula River aboard a ferry boat. You will most likely see an abundance of water fowl and an occasional river otter as you pass by the Tree House Villas and Saratoga Springs Resort. The Downtown Disney ferry also services the Port Orleans Riverside Resort. Boat service starts around 10 AM, with boats arriving approximately every 20 minutes until late afternoon and then about every 10 minutes until 11:30 PM.
No boats yet, still too early.
A very lonely check-in queue…
The bus stops are very easy to figure out – there’s one. It’s to the left of the front entrance to the lobby.
The gardens and courtyards of Port Orleans are beautiful.
We’ll finish up with a look at the refurbished rooms. We found the new décor to be quite an upgrade, especially the queen size beds. Also, the air conditioner has been outfitted with a decorative cabinet enclosure that is actually very useful as a window seat or a place to stack whatever you need to stack. The addition of a “real” vanity in the bath area is also a welcome change.
Not very creative photographically, but an idea of what to expect in the new and improved rooms, right?
If you’re on the fence about a moderate resort, you won’t be disappointed in French Quarter or Riverside for that matter. I just feel that French Quarter has more of a cozy, warm, and fuzzy feeling due to it’s smaller size and ease of navigation. But don’t go by me, I get that warm fuzzy feeling just driving under the “Walt Disney World” sign.
Have a Magical Day!