Edit: I accidentally put French Quarter’s activities schedule up rather than Riverside’s. The Riverside offers both movies and a campfire.
Continuing from Part 1, we’ll see if we can start an even bigger fight in the comments section. Actually, I would appreciate it if you wouldn’t point out anything “funny” going on with other guests in the photos. I would prefer for there to be no one in any of them, but as you can probably imagine, that isn’t the reality of Walt Disney World. With the Florida heat and inherent “candid” nature of the hundreds of pictures I take on any given day, something weird is inevitably going to creep in occasionally. Lord knows if you run into me on a July afternoon, I’ll most likely be pouring sweat with food hanging out of my mouth and I wouldn’t want that picture ending up on the Internet with thousands of people gawking at me. I’m sure you wouldn’t either.
Bigger: http://www.easywdw.com/reports3/pormap.jpg. This will give you an idea about the immense size of the resort. We spent most/all of Part 1 indoors. This time, we’ll take a walk around outside. And then we’ll take the boat over to check out French Quarter.
Stepping outside of the main building, we have the marina to our right. That’s where you’ll board the boat to French Quarter/Downtown Disney or rent a watercraft/bicycle/surrey bike. The water taxi is parked there on the water.
And hair wrapping to our left. That’s the bridge over to the Ol’ Man Island, the resort’s feature pool, behind it.
A very tall entrance/exit into the main building right behind us. Boatwright’s, River Roost, Riverside Mill, Concierge, main bus stop, etc. would be located in or through there.
The pool activities circa April 2012. PortOrleans.org has May’s activities here: http://portorleans.org/recreation-activites-schedule.php. If you’re interested in staying at the Port Orleans, you absolutely want to bookmark that site.
Ol’ Man Island is one of the better pool complexes on Disney property.
It’s nice and big, making overcrowding less of a problem than it is at the Caribbean Beach Resort.
Off to the right.
And a short picture to the left.
And a taller shower.
Muddy Rivers is the resort’s main pool bar. It’s off to the side of the pool, but still offers a nice view of it if that’s your preference. They also have a few televisions and some tables away from the pool as well as stools up at the bar.
The menu should look familiar:
Maybe we can fight about pool hopping or something?
A small playground for children with energy.
Dueling slides. I bet that goes over well with Princess Snowflake and Prince Dapper!
Feels like we’re in Innoventions or something. I don’t want to learn! Stupid Disney!
Better though, since it’s just a tree instead of a walkthrough of a house sponsored by BOSCH BOSCH BOSCH. BOSCH BOSCH BOSCH BOSCH. BOSCH BOSCH. Instead of BOSCH saying “Mine, mine,” it wouldn’t BOSCH surprise me to see some pelicans in Finding Nemo BOSCH 2 that just say, “Bosch, Bosch, Bosch” in the same voice.
We’ll cross the bridge, take a right, and continue all the way down to Parterre Place, the furthest buildings away from the main building in the Magnolia Bend section.
And here we are. It’s about 10 minutes away from Ol’ Man Island.
On the plus side, it’s also a beautiful part of the resort that’s more secluded than any other Magnolia Bend section. You won’t have random people walking by like you’ll find at the other sections. All of these rooms have been converted to “Royal Guest Rooms” as explained here. They come with a $30/night upcharge similar to the Pirate rooms over at the Caribbean Beach Resort. The Royal Guest Room River View are the most expensive at the Riverside, running between $219 and $319 a night depending on season. Also like the Pirate rooms, the Royal Guest Rooms are the least convenient to the main building/main pool. The last time I booked the Caribbean Resort, I was “upgraded” to a Pirate room. If you can put up with the walk, they are certainly nice rooms.
Sorry, button slipped.
Pretty buildings and landscaping.
To the left of Parterre Place is Oak Manor.
The architecture and layout look similar to Parterre down the road. All of these rooms have also been converted to Royal Rooms. The good news is that if you book a standard view room, you won’t be assigned one of these further buildings unless you get “upgraded.”
It does have a distinct “plantation-y” feeling, for better or worse.
The river view rooms here are particularly nice because they overlook the boat dock and main building rather than just trees.
The pool in between Parterre Place and Oak Manor. Another nice thing about the layout of the Riverside is that the quiet pools usually are quiet. We only have a few people hanging out around here.
You may remember my whining about not being invited to any of the various “VIP” media events a few weeks ago. My answer was a nice walk around the Port Orleans complex, since Disney won’t let me near Art of Animation. As it turned out, there was a media event scheduled at the same time. Go figure. This was Princess Tiana’s Tea Party. I heard the food was really good.
A look at the architecture around here.
And the trees. It really is a beautiful area, particularly around this time of year.
Walking into Magnolia Terrace, this section would be particularly pretty at night.
I’d give it a 7/10 for scotch drinking. A little girly perhaps, but that’s part of the charm. I would have preferred a rocking chair. You’ll care less about that if this is your sixth or seventh testing spot for the morning.
One of these days every picture is going to be obnoxiously in black and white. Or metallic. Or instagram.
Another quiet pool in between Magnolia Terrace and Acadian House. These two buildings are closest to the Ol’ Man Island pool complex.
Similar to Magnolia Terrace both on the inside and outside.
Magnolia Bend/Mansion rooms have a few advantages. First, they are generally closer to Ol’ Man Island and the main building. A few of the Alligator Bayou rooms are closer, but they cost extra with their preferred status. Arguably, the walk is more scenic with the Sassagoula River running alongside all of the Mansion buildings. Mansion buildings are also equipped with elevators in each, something you won’t find in the Bayou buildings. On the other hand, Bayou buildings are only two stories.
Which way to Alligator Bayou?
The architecture and landscaping in the Bayou are decidedly different than the Bend in this section. Instead of the four larger buildings we saw over in Magnolia Bend, the Bayou is made of one million (read: 16) smaller, two story buildings. Each building is comprised of 64 rooms, so you have a total of 1,024 rooms in both the Bayou and Bend, for a total of 2,048 rooms.
One of the neat things about the Bayou is that there are actually three different architectural styles here. These buildings (34 – 38) are closest to the Sassagoula River and Magnolia Bend. Thus, it was easier to transport supplies, which is why we see the brick work and tiled roofs. Further away from the river, where it was harder for the settlers to transport supplies, we’re going to see buildings built with sparser materials.
Especially as you get further away from Ol’ Man Island and the main building, you’re going to run into few people. If you prefer a little privacy, then buildings 24 and 25 are going to be among the most secluded of any Disney resort.
This is the first of three quiet pools in the Bayou section. It’s 4:42pm and the weather’s great, so it isn’t like we’re checking in at 9:30am or something.
Looking up at building 34.
Now compare that to Building 26, where we don’t see brick work whatsoever and the roof is made of “sheet metal.”
Disney is still continuing to refurbish some of the buildings in the Bayou. At the time, building 24 was being refurbished, as pictured. Disney completed the refurbishment of that building on May 11th. The entire refurbishment should be completed by the end of July.
If you are visiting between now and the end of July, scope out the quiet pool nearest to the buildings being refurbished. There will be even fewer people around.
It could just be covering the world’s largest RFID sensor, but I’m pretty sure there’s a building under there. Buildings 15 and 28 are being refurbished right now.
The roof is much nicer looking on buildings 14-18, but the brick work still remains absent. Most people’s brains won’t necessarily put together the specific differences, but it definitely adds to the overall ambiance, even if you can’t quite put your finger on why.
Looking down at the buildings that make up the 14 – 18 section. It’s a little eerie around here, even during the day.
With the pool they share.
And a final look at Building 18.
Now we’re going to readjust a bit and return to the main building with the Riverside Mill quick service to our right.
The water wheel really works and it’s used to power the entire resort! Just kidding. This isn’t a recorded spiel on Living with the Land.
Looking back at the boat dock across the water. A pretty sight with the trees in the background and clever theming.
The backside of the main building.
I know I know, I’m sorry.
A few outdoor tables to sit at. I wouldn’t recommend them from just about ummmmmmm…April to November.
I have admittedly never been on a Horsedrawn Carriage ride here. If anyone wants to pay and make out a little bit, I could probably be conned into joining you.
The attractive exterior of the River Roost.
Heading to the right in the opposite direction of Ol’ Man Island.
The arcade is through these doors.
You can rent watercraft, bicycles, or death machines here. Or hula hoop. Or just chat up one of several babes.
Said death machines and bicycles.
It would probably be more fun to rent one at the BoardWalk. The route around the resort didn’t seem too awesome, but I might be missing something. Let’s fight about it!
They run about $40/hour along with some other choices.
The entrance to the boat dock that transports guests to the French Quarter and Downtown Disney is also here.
The ride to the French Quarter is just about five minutes. Add another 15 or so to the Riverside. We’ll take the boat in the French Quarter in the next post about this.
One last look from the dock.
If you’re willing to pay the extra $30/night for the preferred room location in Alligator Bayou or don’t otherwise mind the walk, then the Riverside is a beautiful resort that may be the perfect fit. You can also cram five people into the Bayou rooms if you’re insane or really get along well with people. Or don’t talk and at least one of you sleeps standing up. Riverside is particularly good if you’re driving and don’t have much use for the main building’s quick service. That way you wouldn’t have to deal with the potential hassle of being picked up and dropped off last on the buses. While the French Quarter is less attractive and offers fewer amenities, I prefer it due to its compact size and priority bus pickup. But we can certainly argue about it. Just pretend the url for this website is DISboards.com/easywdw. That’s what I do!