Port Orleans French Quarter Review

by josh on March 15, 2013

Address:

2201 Orleans Drive

Lake Buena Vista, Florida 32830-1000

Phone: 407-934-5000, Fax: 407-934-5353, General Reservations: 1-407-WDISNEY (1-407-934-7639)

Resort Class:

French Quarter is a Moderate Resort with similar pricing to neighboring Riverside.  Unlike Riverside, which offers ten room types, French Quarter offers just five.  Standard Rooms ($162 – $253/night) are the exact same price as you’ll find at Riverside and Caribbean Beach Resorts.  From there, you have Garden View ($172 – $263), Water View ($187 – $283), King Bed ($187 – $283), and River View ($192 – $288).  Because no rooms have private balconies and your “view” would be through your window through a railing, I don’t usually recommend paying extra.

A map to view and print is available here.

Location:

The Port Orleans French Quarter is officially a Downtown Disney Resort.

Its sister resort, the Port Orleans Riverside, is a 5-10 minute walk or two minute drive away.  The French Quarter is within 20 minutes of all Disney Parks by bus.

Size:

French Quarter is the smallest, most compact Moderate on property with only 1,008 rooms.  There are seven buildings with guestrooms, each three stories tall with elevator access.  Because of its small footprint, there are no preferred location rooms.  Even the furthest rooms from the food court and bus stop are about five minutes away, compared to 15 or more at the other Moderates.  Each room can sleep up to four and there is an additional $15 fee for the third and fourth adult in each room.

Room Amenities and Quality:





Each room at the French Quarter is the standard size for Moderate resorts, 314 (25.5 x 12.5) square feet.  The French Quarter was extensively refurbished in early 2011 and all rooms have been updated with new furniture, two queen-size beds, and flat-screen televisions.   The usual Moderate level furnishings are also included – a small table, two desk chairs, two bed-side tables, luggage seat, dresser, mirror, hair dryer, small safe, 4-cup coffeemaker, small  21” x 16” refrigerator, iron, and ironing board.  There is a curtain separating the sleeping area from the vanity area which has two sinks and a connected bathroom with toilet, bathtub, and overhead shower.  Shampoo, conditioner, and bar soap are also provided.

Theme:

Officially, the French Quarter “is inspired by the romance and pageantry of the historic French Quarter in New Orleans, and where every day is a celebration. Step through a wrought-iron portal into an alluring world of delicious Cajun food, jazz music and dazzling parades.”  You’ll find cobblestone streets, mini wrought iron fences, fountains, and bougainvillea flowering plants.

The grounds are immaculately maintained and the theme is tastefully executed, if not a bit creepy at times.

Pool:








There is one large heated pool that features a sea serpent water slide and water spouting alligator band and one hot tub with a maximum occupancy of about eight.  As a bonus, French Quarter guests may also use Port Orleans Riverside pools.  There are no quiet pools at the French Quarter.  For many guests that enjoy pool areas, the French Quarter leaves something to be desired.  While adequately large, the pool does not feature the same level of detail and fun theming that you find at the other Moderate resorts.  And the lack of convenient quiet pools makes it hard to get away from the furor that is a Disney resort feature pool.

Like other resorts, the pool offers a range of activities for the kids along with nightly movies.

Near the pool sits a small playground area for kids.

Perhaps more importantly, Mardi Grog’s sits next to the pool:







Plenty of outdoor seating.

Transportation:

Bus service is shared with Port Orleans Riverside, which means many buses that stop at French Quarter will also stop at Riverside.  The good news is French Quarter is picked up and dropped off first for the theme parks, giving French Quarter guests a better chance at seating on bus rides to the Parks.  The bad news is that it may add an additional 10 minutes or so to transportation time due to the additional Riverside stops.  There is only one bus stop at the French Quarter, near the entrance to the main building. Disney seems to be running more and more buses for Riverside and French Quarter independently, particularly to Magic Kingdom at peak times.

There is also a unique boat ride available that takes guests to Downtown Disney.  The ride is about 20 minutes long and boats leave the dock every 30 minutes or so.

All bus transportation times are approximate and begin only after the bus has departed its last stop on the way to the Park.

Bus transportation times:

Hollywood Studios: less than 10 minutes
Epcot: about 10 minutes
Animal Kingdom: about 20 Minutes
Magic Kingdom: about 10 minutes

Best Rooms:

Buildings 2 and 5 are closest to the pool.  Building 4 is closest to the bus stop and food court.  Buildings 1 and 7 are further out and may be quieter.  The resort is small and all rooms are within a few minutes walk of any destination.

On-Site Dining Options: Port Orleans French Quarter is the only Moderate resort without an on-site table service restaurant.  French Quarter’s sister property, Riverside, features Boatwright’s Dining Hall, which has improved over time, but isn’t necessarily worth making a special trip over.  It’s quite easy to walk up to without a reservation and their cornbread is amazing.  The Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory is the resort’s counter service and it offers a variety of adequate options.  The resort also features Scat Cat’s, a full-service bar, as well as a pool bar.

Scat Cat’s Lounge.

There’s plenty of seating out front.  Particularly in the morning, you may want to bring your food over here instead of dining in the noisy quick service seating section.  The Float Works is right around the corner.

Sassagoula Floatworks is one of the smallest quick services at any Disney resort with a more limited menu than most:

Bakery:


Note the beignets (order six).

The usual refrigerated items.

Sandwiches and salads, some with Cajun flair:

The Chicken Quesadilla is a large, filling portion.

Hot entrees, particularly good on the Dining Plan:

Burgers, Nuggets, and More Sandwiches:

Pizza and “Italian:”

Cereal and Snacks:



It’s very important that you purchase the beignets at some point. They’re amazing.

Seating is usually adequate, though breakfast is often crowded.  Rainy nights also tend to be busier as more people head back to their resort or stick around.  With most rooms close, it’s easier to transport your food back to your room than most resorts.

The usual beverages are also available:





With Nescafe prior to the arrival of Joffrey’s.

Lobby and Check-in:

Like most other things French Quarter, the lobby is small, but gets the job done.

The resort concierge is available across the walkway.

Looking out from check-in, you’ll see Scat Cat’s a minute away and then the Floatworks on the right.  The pool is a two minute walk out the doors on the left.

That’s the caricature area to the right.

The Jackson Square store is located on the other side of the lobby.

It’s modestly themed and includes most of the generic Disney merchandise found in most resort gift shops.

Like the other Moderates, there is no resort specific merchandise.

Best For: Those looking for a smaller, quieter, more relaxing resort.  People who enjoy visiting Downtown Disney.

Worst For: Those looking for a variety of dining options at the resort.  People who prefer an overt “Disney” theme or prefer large resorts where a lot is going on.  Guests that are looking to spend a lot of time enjoying the pool facilities.

Summary of Key Points: Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter is the most recommended Moderate Resort.  Its small size makes it easy to get to the food court, bus stop, and boat dock from any room.  The theme is executed well and the grounds are beautiful and well maintained.  The pool, while not particularly large, is laid out well and the water slide is popular with children.  French Quarter guests may also use the pool facilities and amenities at the Port Orleans Riverside and of course everyone is welcome at the Riverside restaurants.

The boat service to Downtown Disney is fun is a fun way to visit Downtown Disney.  Bus transportation is generally above average as well.  Since the buses stop at French Quarter before Riverside, there is usually ample seating.  Bus rides back from the parks may be busy, but it is unlikely buses will fill up.  If it’s a particularly busy time, the French Quarter and Riverside will have dedicated bus service.  This is common during the evening at the Magic Kingdom.  Somewhat centrally located, it is not a particularly long drive to any Disney destination.  Detractions include a lack of choices in the food court and no sit-down restaurant.

The recent refurbishment of every room at the resort has improved the quality of the beds, televisions, and furnishings immensely.  Overall room quality is virtually identical to Riverside.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Rick March 16, 2013 at 10:18 am

We stayed at POFQ last october, I requested a quiet room and was put in building 7 which is furthest away from the food court. As the resort is small this was no problem. Building 7 is nearest to PO riverside and we would walk or drive to their nearest quiet pool. Generally we would have the pool to ourselves which was perfect as we were teaching our 2 kids to swim. We were on the dining plan so would eat breakfast in the resort using a counter service credit and use our table credits to eat at other hotels, in the parks or Downtown Disney. Note the food hall at riverside was far busier than french quarter due to the size of that resort. Overall French Quarter had a cosier feel which we preferred, in fact we loved it.

Ronni March 16, 2013 at 5:50 pm

My favorite place to stay. Although the bus service sometimes leaves a lot to be desired. It has so many other things going for it though. Just bring an extra dose of patience. :)

dusty cheatham March 17, 2013 at 5:57 am

P O FRENCH QUARTER IS THE BEST MOD BTW ROOM 7101 THE BEST IF DRIVING A CAR.

Sarah March 17, 2013 at 7:12 pm

It’s also worth to note that the Tables in Wonderland card is accepted at Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory, as well as Scat Cat’s. Bonus!

Traci March 18, 2013 at 10:33 pm

We stayed at POFQ in 2011 and will be spending 11 days there in August. We love the size of the resort, My son loves the slide. Everything is in close proximity and the bus to DTD cannot be beat!

Lee March 21, 2013 at 8:56 pm

I wanted to go over from Riverside just to try the beignets and we never made it there. Did you really have to say they are amazing? Hopefully next time.

CB October 20, 2013 at 6:04 pm

We’ve stayed at both French Quarter and Riverside several times and enjoyed both. When our daughter was stroller-sized, French Quarter was nice and compact. Even better on the days it rained. But we prefer Riverside now (going again in March ’14) mostly because the eating options offer a little more elbow room and selection. When we stay at Riverside we always make a point of going to FQ at least one morning for the beignets.

Tardisblue January 24, 2014 at 8:18 am

Stayed here in May of 2013 and are returning this May. Kids love the place and it’s perfectly sized for us. I’ve got to disagree on the beignets, however. I ordered them and they tasted like they had been cooked in old oil. If you have had them to Cafe du Monde, there is no comparison. I’ll give them another shot this year and see if I just had a bad batch.

Great size, easy to get around, only one bus stop. I highly recommend this resort.

Kara January 28, 2014 at 10:41 am

We stayed here in May 2013, the resort is the perfect size! We were in building 1, one of the furthest away from the main building, pool etc…. but never noticed because of how small the resort is, the walk was so short, I couldn’t believe we were in one of the further away buildings. The grounds and walkaways are beautiful, I love the theming and the size of the resort. I do have to agree, some of the decorations, or at least just the ones in the food court are a little cheesy and weird, but that’s the only complaint I have, which really isn’t even a big deal. The beignets were very good as well. We walked over to riverside to eat there and the walk is so nice and peaceful. We stayed at riverside in 1999, and I liked that one as well. I like the FQ a little more because of the size.
We were thinking of trying pop for next year but I just couldn’t give up FQ lol. It really is a great resort and my favorite!

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