The website occasionally visits Riverside for one reason or another. Back in October, we had dinner at Boatwright’s and drinks/appetizers at The River Roost. All the way back in May 2012, the website visited to check out lobby construction and embarked on some menu reconnaissance and pictures around the resort. Today, we’ll stay a night in a Royal Guest Room and compare it with the accommodations in the Alligator Bayou section.
Riverside is richly themed and much greener than the other Moderates.
Trees, grass, and a river flowing through are favored over the white sand beaches, hammocks, and palm trees of Coronado Springs and Caribbean Beach.
Different people find relaxation and solace in different environments. At least that’s what my white noise machines says in the instruction manual. Each of the Moderates are relaxing in their own way. Upgrading from a Value to a Moderate buys subtler theming in addition to a larger room, a second sink, queen beds (except Caribbean Beach), a sit-down restaurant (except French Quarter), and lounge (except Caribbean Beach). The Moderate resorts tend to be more serene with open spaces, lakes and rivers, greenery, etc. There’s much less of that Motel 6 feel, even if the rooms open up to outdoor courtyards instead of a ritzy indoor hallway. Older kids and adults may appreciate the civility a bit more than kids, who tend to love the oversized statues of Mickey and Friends at the Values. But most kids also prefer swimming at the resort and playing gymnasium on the monorail to actually visiting the theme parks.
At Caribbean Beach Resort, Disney re-themed the rooms furthest from the main building to pirates. Here at Riverside, the Magnolia Bend rooms furthest from the main building were re-themed to “Royal Guest Rooms” back in March of 2012. All 256 rooms in Oak Manor and all 256 rooms in Parterre Place are Royal Guest rooms. Not only are they the least convenient to the resort’s major amenities, but a Royal room will run you between $39 and $45 extra per night, or $270 over the course of a six-night stay. A family of four could add Park Hopper to their tickets for $251.36 with tax. In fact, $270 would be enough to cover a seventh night in a Standard room and a seventh day of theme park admission, so we’re not talking about chump change here.
Disney is careful not to refer to these as “Princess rooms,” even though that’s probably how most people refer to them.
Disney was also careful not to go too girly with the decor, which features a lot more gold and royal blue than pink and glitter.
The substance is the same as other Moderate level resort rooms, even if the style is potentially elevated. You’ll find the same two queen beds, table, two chairs, 32″ LCD tv, coffee maker, ice bucket, four glasses, fridge (theoretically), curtain separating the vanity/sleep areas, bathroom with shower/tub and toilet, two sinks, ironing board, iron, hair dryer, etc.
Everything in the room is themed, though it’s potentially more tasteful/less-in-ur-face than the suites and standard rooms over at Art of Animation.
Wood tones still dominate, giving the room an elegant feel.
Look for the button on the side of the headboards for a “surprise” (digital) firefly show. This is Tia-inspired after all.
The genie lamp faucets might be my favorite detail:
View “upgrades” at the Moderates have always struck me as ridiculous. I think this is the Standard View, but there could be just about anything out there. There is no private balcony with chairs outside – just an exterior walkway often cluttered with housekeeping carts and children convinced that all narrow walkways are actually an invitation to try out for the Jamaican sprint team. A pool view often features views of things/people that are best left unseen. Not only would a Royal Room run you a minimum of an extra $39 per night, but a “River View” upgrade is an additional $28 to $39 on top of that. On a weekday during Regular Season, a Standard Room, Standard View costs $211. A River View Royal Guest Room on the same night costs $289, or a whopping $78 more. With four people in the room, that’s $19.50 per person per night. That’s enough to cover the difference between a food court hamburger and a table service steak, for every person, every night. And the only way to enjoy that view is to stand there at the window staring outside. As a creepy person, I do this occasionally, but I wouldn’t pay 30 bucks to have the pleasure of staring out at trees over say, grass.
Finishing up with the room, Riverside features the same pod-style coffee makers as the other resorts. It produces a decent cup of coffee, particularly with the lack of hot dog residue from last night’s DISboards’ resort potluck. You can also run one or both sides without a pod to produce a cup of hot water. You may want to run it a couple times to get most of the coffee/hot dog flavor out. Twinings Earl Gray Black and Green bags are also in-room.
The fridge situation is inexcusable. Somebody’s fridge somewhere caught on fire or something, so Disney elected to replace them all. A potentially noble decision, but fridges went missing from guestrooms for months. And months. No fridge means no milk, no cold beer!!!!!!(or chardonnay or whatever), no safe way to keep leftover food, etc. They don’t have a fridge if you call and ask for one. They may refund you $15/night if you fight them for it. I don’t think there’s another hotel chain in the world that could get away without the fridges it advertises in its rooms for months. But Disney can. So they did. I’m not sure what the current situation is – most or all resorts should now have their fridges replaced.
40 bucks a night is too rich for my blood, particularly when we aren’t talking about additional utility for the money. If anything, our utility is reduced with a Royal room guaranteeing a longer walk to the major amenities. But I also don’t have kids. And I’m cheap. You are certainly welcome to air your opinion in the comments section. The rooms are definitely more precious than most and even with the additional cost, you may find that they’re a better fit than a Deluxe for less money.
The Alligator Bayou section, with its woodsy, weathered lodge buildings, is the polar opposite of Magnolia Bend and the Royal Guest rooms.
Magnolia Bend is made up of four large, three-story buildings with 256 rooms each. Each has an elevator. Alligator Bayou on the other hand, is made up of 16 two-story lodges, each with 64 rooms. Both sections have a total of 1,024 rooms. No elevators in the Bayou.
These rooms were refurbished throughout 2012:
The 63″ Murphy/fold down bed sleeps a fifth person.
Rooms here are nicely themed in a completely different style than the Royal rooms. We’re missing a few of the details. If Disney was going to charge an extra 40 bucks for these rooms, the faucet handles would probably be themed or something. But the room amenities are exactly the same, including the same two queen beds, two chairs, table, 32″ LCD television, etc.
Could be a good view if you want to stand on top of the air-conditioner and peer out.
Overall comfort is similar. It “feels” like there’s a bit more room in the Bayou rooms because the major fixtures, like the dresser and table, have a smaller footprint. The beds are probably the same – perfectly comfortable, but you’re probably not going to be calling the front desk to find out the make and model.
In case you’re wondering what pricing looks like on laundry/dry cleaning:
Riverside pizza delivery:
Bonus points if you don’t fall asleep before it’s delivered.
One wonders if there’s an expiration date on the resort arcades.
Riverside’s is huge and barely used.
It’s not poorly stocked either.
Doodle Jump Arcade runs a cool eight grand and is only about a year old.
Avengers pinball would run you $5,700. I’d be surprised if this machine pulls in $500 a year at the resort.
Watercraft rental is available should you wish to risk your life in a head to head battle with the SS Josh. It wouldn’t surprise me to see bloggers start renting boats and heading down to Disney Sprung once construction really ramps up. Just wait until you see me in the Characters in Flight balloon hollering for everyone to move to the left so it swings just far enough for me to get that shot that will finally put this website on the map.
Or we could just get our hair wrapped and look pretty.
Boatwright’s new menu with a few changes since we visited back in October.
New drinks released shortly after the website poo-poo’d a couple of the previous ones.
A few new themed items at the Mill, including the Muffuletta Flatbread.
Clam Chowder so new they didn’t have a pic for your consumption.
Southern Fire Chicken Sandwich.
I gave the Muffuletta Flatbread a shot. Within 30 seconds of posting a pic on Twitter, I was inundated with the south informing me that this was not, in fact, muffuletta. Which I guess is news to me since that’s what I was expecting from a Disney World fast food pizza. Anyway, Disney has more or less figured out the flatbread, which is more than you can say about the hamburger and french fry. The crust was appropriately thin and crusty. The olive spread underneaf was unique and it was topped with generous layers of provolone, ham, and salami. You may have (not) noticed in the menu picture that the tomatoes are sliced rather than diced. These diced tomatoes slipped right off, which was fine with me as I’m not a big tomato person. Anyway, this is not Central Grocery (where the New Orleans Muffuletta was invented), but I thought it was a nice take on the popular sandwich.
And easily shareable if you want to order one along with the popular create-your-own salad.
Not my finest picture, but these salads are always fresh and come with a ton of options.
Themed Rapid-Fill. They’re trying.
The Joffrey’s coffee machine holder things are pretty ridiculous looking. Coffee and hot chocolate are not regulated like the precious Coke Zero, so you can bring your own bucket from home if you want to really stick it to the Rat.
Disney continues testing GPS tracking or whatever they’re up to with bus tracking. The screen at the main Riverside bus stop estimated when the next bus would arrive. It was accurate to the minute for the three buses that arrived before our Epcot bus. It’s a lot easier to wait 15 minutes if you know it’s going to be 15 minutes I think. I think there’s a saying about not knowing is the worst thing.
That may or may not be much of a review of the Royal and Alligator Bayou rooms. As always, PortOrleans.org is your best resource if you’re looking for information on the resort.