Port Orleans Riverside Resort Review – Are the Royal Princess Rooms Worth It?

Port Orleans- Riverside is one of the moderate-level hotels at Walt Disney World. Port Orleans- Riverside is adjacent to Port Orleans- French Quarter making the amenities at both these large moderate resorts accessible to guests at both resorts. Port Orleans takes inspiration from New Orleans and both the resorts embody the atmosphere wonderfully. Port Orleans- Riverside is also home to the Royal Rooms which are upgraded rooms featuring a Princess theme with Princess and the Frog light-up headboards. Our Port Orleans-Riverside Review will cover all the amenities, room details, and transportation options at this moderate resort.

We recently stayed at Port Orleans- Riverside at the Royal Rooms during our annual trip to Walt Disney World Christmas. We visit Walt Disney World multiple times a year and have become experts in how to pick the best Walt Disney World hotel! Keep reading for our thoughts on how this resort compares to other moderate-level resorts at Walt Disney World and if the Royal Rooms are worth the price.

Walt Disney World Resort PerksPort Orleans Riverside Review

Staying at a Walt Disney World hotel comes with on-site guest perks like Early Theme Park Entry which allows resort guests an extra 30 minutes in the theme park before other guests arrive. This jumpstart on the attractions is a great perk to start crossing rides off your to-do list.

Walt Disney World resort guests also get early access to Lightning Lane reservations and purchases using Genie+. You can begin making your ride reservations at 7AM each day which gives on-property guests a big advantage over off-site guests. This is especially crucial for most popular attractions like Slinky Dog Dash (always the first to run out of Lightning Lane return times!) and Individual Lightning Lane reservations like TRON at Magic Kingdom.

Port Orleans- Riverside is a moderate resort which means that guests staying at these resorts typically have more options for on-site dining and pools with waterslides and/or hottubs. They're a step above the value resorts in amenities but not quite as upscale as the deluxe resorts.

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Port Orleans- Riverside OverviewPort Orleans Riverside Review

The theming of Port Orleans- Riverside focuses on the romance of rural Louisiana with resort buildings styled like backwoods cottages and stately white-column mansions. Port Orleans- Riverside is also one of the few resorts that is pet friendly and guests can have up to two dogs in their room for a nightly fee. We saw plenty of guests walking the grounds with their dogs which definitely improved the atmosphere, in my opinion!

Port Orleans Riverside Review

The grounds for Port Orleans- Riverside are massive which is pretty on par with most moderate resorts which are known for their large sizes. So even though we had a preferred room, we still had a long walk to the main building and the bus stop. This didn't feel like a big deal at first but as our stay progressed I found it to be much more of an inconvenience.

This is also something to consider if you decide to purchase one of the Walt Disney World refillable mugs. I ended up purchasing a mug on our first stay and then only refilled it once after that since the walk was so far. If we were closer to the main building I would have used it more. This is one thing I love about the value resort Pop Century, due to its small size everything is a short walk!

Port Orleans Riverside Review

The grounds of Port Orleans are beautiful with the waterways and bridges that wind through the resort. The theme of this resort really shines in the grounds with the attention to detail in landscaping and foliage.

Port Orleans- Riverside Royal Room ReviewPort Orleans Riverside Review

Port Orleans- Riverside also includes the option for upgraded Royal Rooms. These are the rooms we stayed in during our stay and they were a big part of the appeal of booking this resort for our vacation.

Port Orleans Riverside Review Royal Rooms

The Royal Rooms are also located in buildings that are closest to the main lobby with all the dining options and transportation to Disney Springs.

Port Orleans Riverside Review

The light-up headboards were the big draw for these rooms. Both headboards have a small button on each side and then it lights up with fireworks and twinkling lights.

Port Orleans Riverside Review

These reminded me so much of the famous light-up Disneyland Hotel headboards!

Port Orleans Riverside Review

The room was full of portraits of the Disney Princesses including this large assortment next to the beds.

Port Orleans Riverside Review

The Disney Princes are also featured with silhouette images.

Port Orleans Riverside Review

The table and chairs in the room feature a note from Princess Tiana as part of the table's design.

Port Orleans Riverside Review

There is also a large 3D style portrait of Princess Tiana next to the television.

Port Orleans Riverside Review

The room is filled with Disney touches including the rug from Aladdin as part of the carpet in front of the television.

Port Orleans Riverside Review

The bathroom area can be separated with a curtain for more privacy and offers plenty of storage space for clothes.

The bathroom was fairly spacious including royal blue countertops and wallpaper featuring images from the Disney Princess films.

Port Orleans Riverside Review

Notice the design of the Aladdin lamp as the faucet!

Port Orleans Riverside Review

The shower includes a bathtub which is a plus for families with smaller children. The shower itself was pretty lackluster and this area in the room showed the most age. We had many difficulties with water pressure and a lack of hot water during our stay. I noticed this problem was most persistent in the mornings when likely many guests were also showering. Definitely an area that needs refurbishment as this was a pretty consistent problem for us.

Overall, I loved the Royal Room for its theme which was most impressive in the light-up headboards. They were pretty magical! I am a big fan of over-the-top Disney theming so for me this room was pretty appealing. I personally detest the shift we have seen in recent Disney designs to move towards a contemporary, bland approach so I am so happy these rooms still exist.

The biggest downside is the age of these rooms which was most notable in the water pressure/lack of hot water in the bathroom and the small television. There was also a lack of USB outlets which can easily be found in the newer hotel rooms. These rooms are in serious need of updates but I also worry that if this happens, we might lose this over-the-top theming and it will be replaced with the bland, sterile designs that we've seen lately that are more reminiscent of corporate America than a Disney Resort. This is a strong personal opinion of my own that others may not share but if you are looking for that strong Disney theming, it is still alive and well at the Royal Rooms at Port Orleans-Riverside Resort! If you want to stay at a more recently refurbished room, the regular rooms at Port Orleans recently finished their refurbishments in 2021 so you can opt for a regular room to get more up-to-date room amenities. 

The location of these rooms is also convenient as they are the closest to the dining and Disney Springs transportation which gives them another plus. So based on the strong theme and the location, I felt that the Royal Rooms were worth it. Perhaps the issue with hot water was isolated to our room and not one that impacts all the rooms in this section.

Port Orleans- Riverside TransportationRiverside Disney Springs boats

Port Orleans, Riverside and French Quarter, both have access to Disney Springs boat transportation. The boat ride to Disney Springs takes about ten minutes and is a fun transportation option especially if you plan on dining at Disney Springs often during your stay.

Boats were coming and going pretty frequently so we didn't have to wait long for a boat and arrived at Disney Springs within 15 minutes. You could take the boat back to Port Orleans or you also had the option of a bus.

As for getting to/from the theme parks the only option is the bus transportation for Port Orleans which is a bit of a lackluster option, especially with many other resorts, like the Caribbean Resort, offering multiple options like the Disney Skyliner.

Disney World bus

However, I feel that the bus transportation at Walt Disney World is extremely efficient and often gets more negative feedback than deserves.

We never found ourselves waiting long for a bus whether we were leaving the resort or taking a bus back from the theme parks. But if you've stayed at Skyliner Resort before it's hard not to look longingly at this efficient form of transportation at the end of the night as you walk to the bus stop!

Port Orleans- Riverside DiningPort Orleans Riverside Review

Port Orleans- Riverside offers multiple dining options including a table service option which is fairly common at most moderate-level resorts. There is also the benefit of the close proximity of the French Quarter which allows for easy access to their dining options as well essentially doubling your options.

Port Orleans Riverside Review

Port Orleans-Riverside dining options include:

  • Boatwright's Dining Hall- table service, dinner only
  • River Roost- bar service
  • Muddy Rivers- bar service by the pool
  • Riverside Mill Food Court- breakfast, lunch, and dinner quick service option with mobile ordering available

Port Orleans Riverside Review

During our stay, we only dined at the Riverside Mill Food Court using both dine-in and mobile ordering. The service was always quick and easy!

Port Orleans- Riverside ShoppingPort Orleans Riverside Review

The Port Orleans-Riverside merchandise store includes all the current seasonal Disney World merchandise along with resort-specific merchandise.

Port Orleans Riverside Review

You can find Port Orleans-specific Minnie Ears, t-shirts, ornaments, and pins.

Port Orleans Riverside Review

Plus all the necessities and small grocery items you might need at the last minute including medicine and more.

Port Orleans- Riverside Review RecreationActivities board

Like all Walt Disney World resorts, there are multiple recreation options to take advantage of at Port Orleans- Riverside.

Port Orleans Riverside Review

Port Orleans Feature Pool

The main feature pool is themed after an abandoned sawmill, called Ol' Man Island, is a 3.5 acre swimming area with a “swimmin' hole and a fishin' hole” located in the middle of the resort so it's pretty close to all the buildings. This pool area is accessible by three wooden bridges and includes a 95 foot-long rustic waterslide.

This pool is shared with French Quarter and guests at Riverside can head over to French Quarter to enjoy the Mardi Gras themed water area with their little ones under 48 inches. Since the main feature pool is located on Riverside's property, this gives it a bit of an edge over French Quarter.

We did not enjoy the pool area during our stay since we were visiting during Walt Disney World Christmas in December and the temperatures were unseasonably cold. But we did see some guests swimming despite the temperatures- Disney World does keep their pools heated!

Port Orleans Riverside Review Arcade

Port Orleans Aracade

Port Orleans includes a large arcade inside the main building.

Port Orleans Riverside Review fishing

Port Orleans Fishing Hole

One of the most unique options at Port Orleans- Riverside is the option to try cane fishing! This is a great recreation opportunity for guests who enjoy fishing or want to try it out during their trip.

Port Orleans- Riverside Bike Rentals

You can also find the option of a variety of bike rentals near the Disney Springs boat transportation. My son was pretty interested in doing this since the grounds are so large!

Port Orleans- Riverside Review Final ThoughtsLobby Disney World

Port Orleans- Riverside was a great moderate resort and we loved the Royal Rooms. The theming of these rooms was the biggest perk of our stay. Is it worth it to stay if you do not use the Royal Rooms? I think so especially if you like the amenities and atmosphere of Port Orleans which does have the nice advantage of sharing many of the recreation and dining options with French Quarter. It's just a short walk to get some Mickey beignets!

Check In Riverside

While I did love the theming of the resort, the large size became inconvenient pretty quickly. The long walk to and from the transportation and main building became a bigger deal as we got more tired (you do a lot of walking at Walt Disney World!) even though our rooms were closer than most. I couldn't imagine being in a room at the back of the resort!

This is one of those large moderate resorts where paying for a preferred room is a must if you do not want to do a lot of walking to the main lobby. Fortunately, the bus stops are spread out evenly throughout the resort so you will find a bus stop near your room regardless.

I would stay at the Port Orleans- Riverside Resort again due to the beautiful and immersive theme of the resort. It was something that was consistently commented on during our morning walk to the bus stop and it was a big factor in our enjoyment at this resort. However, I may still be a Pop Century value resort loyalist at heart since I always find myself comparing the long walk at other resorts to the much shorter one available at that favorite value resort.

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Are all the rooms at Port Orleans- Riverside refurbished?

All of the rooms at Port Orleans- Riverside have been refurbished except for the Royal Rooms. So if you are worried about the age the Royal Rooms show, you can opt for a regular room for better upgraded quality.

How long is the walk from Riverside to French Quarter?

The walk between the two resorts is about 1/2 mile or 15-20 minutes depending on your walking speed and where you are located on the resort.

What type of resort is Port Orleans Riverside?

Port Orleans-Riverside is a moderate level resort which places it in the middle category

Is a preferred room worth it at Port Orleans Riverside?

Preferred rooms at Walt Disney World can be worth it to be at a closer walking distance to the main lobby, dining, and transportation.

Disclosure: We have used all the products recommended on Mickey Visit. We may receive compensation when you click on links to some products featured.

About Lindsay Brookshier

Lindsay is a college English instructor and has years of writing experience through various nonprofits, charities, newspapers, and online magazines. As the content director of Mickey Visit, she oversees article content and leads our fantastic team of writers to meet guest vacation needs. You can still find her writing weekly content to help make your Disney Parks trip fantastic here on Mickey Visit and Disney Dose- you can also view her recently featured posts on Disney Parks travel on Visit Anaheim, Nerd Wallet and SFGate. Lindsay comes from a dedicated Disney family and enjoys taking her son to the Disney parks as often as possible.

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