Resort Review: Port Orleans Riverside
Updated: Apr 16
I've stayed at nearly every resort at Walt Disney World but still had a few to check off my list. One of these was Port Orleans Riverside. I've stayed at French Quarter quite a few times, but prior to October 2022 I hadn't stayed at Riverside. So what did I think as a solo traveler? Would I stay there again?
So first, let's start out positive and talk about the Pros of Port Orleans Riverside. When I did my check-in on the app (which I would highly recommend), I requested to be in a corner room. Those requests aren't at all guaranteed, but I was delighted that once I arrived to Alligator Bayou section 34, I found that in fact I DID have a corner room which was awesome. I like having the extra light during the day, and having that 2nd window just makes the room seem larger and more open. I feel like some of these rooms, depending on the decor, can feel very dark so having that 2nd window to let it more light was a big plus for me.
The rooms were refurbished between 2019 and 2021 and although there are still some "older" touches (it doesn't look as fresh and modern as some of the other rooms on Disney property), it was super clean which is very important to me. That's one of the reasons that even though I likely could save money staying off-property near Disney, I choose to stay in their resorts. I know in the unlikely event a room is not well cleaned or taken care of, I can request another and it'll be taken care of.
There are touches of a more down-home and country feel in these rooms, such as the lamps above the beds and the washboard style facing on the bathroom counter. I did appreciate they've gone to the white duvets here as they have in other resorts on property. I know that some Disney fans loved the themed comforters, but the white bedding can be cleaned much easier, and is more aesthetically pleasing.
Another pro is as you can (hopefully) see in the pictures, even though I checked in after dark, the buildings and common areas were very well-lit. As a solo traveler, that safety aspect is huge for me and something I really appreciated.
The bed was very comfortable, and I slept well. The shower/tub combo had good water pressure and the air conditioning was robust which I appreciate as someone who keeps her house at a crispy 68 degrees in the evening!
Regrettably, I didn't get any pictures of my food (I know, I know! Bad content creator!) but I was really pleased with the food quality at Riverside. I ate at the quick service / cafeteria area, the Riverside Mill Food Court, for dinner two nights and both times were very good. I had a burger one evening, and the shrimp and grits. That shrimp and grits was SO good, a little spicy but tons of flavor and a large portion. I felt like there was a good variety of options to choose from, and the price points were decent.
So now that we've talked about the positives...were there any Cons for me?
I'll start with what was a light Con for me, and is something a lot of people talk about with Riverside. The resort is VERY spread out and large, and so if you are placed as I was in one of the further buildings, you could be quite a trek from the main lobby area, the shopping and the dining. We all need more exercise, but especially after long days in the parks, you might not feel like making that trek to the main building to get a snack or browse the gift shop. As I live in Southwest Florida, I drove up to Disney so I had my car but if I didn't, I don't know that I would have loved being so far from the hub of the resort. Personally, while I really enjoyed Riverside and am glad I stayed there, had I not had a car I likely would have chosen Port Orleans French Quarter. It's also a Moderate level resort, but is much smaller so even if you choose not to pay extra for a prime location (aka, close to the main building), you're never that far away from the action.
If I'm being picky, I'd say the decor was a Con for me. As I said above, the room was super clean and comfortable, so I had zero complaints there but the vibe and decor wasn't my favorite. I know it's on theme and fit the Alligator Bayou look, but the colors and heavy furniture isn't my cup of tea. That being said, that's a very small thing and if Riverside was my only option, I'd have no hesitation about staying there. I would like to stay in the Magnolia Bend section just to get a different experience and to see if I liked that decor better.
All in all, I would stay at Riverside again. The room was clean and comfortable, the food court had good offerings and it was a well-lit, safe resort. I still rank Coronado Spring's Gran Destino Tower as my favorite moderate resort on property, but I was glad to check Riverside off my list and get to experience it for myself.
If you've stayed at Riverside, what are your pros and cons? Would you stay there again?