Claudia enjoys traveling and bringing her travel tips to readers.
In past visits to Disney World in Orlando, Florida, we always stayed off property at one of the local hotels. However, for our vacation this year we decided to splurge and stay at one of their resorts.
After hours of research, we decided that the moderately priced Port Orleans French Quarter was the one for us, and it turned out to be almost everything we'd hoped for. It was a quiet resort in a shaded setting that had easy access to the parks. We had a marvelous time.
Now that we are back to reality and some of the pixie dust has worn off, we've realized that there were a few things that we wish we had done differently. Granted, they weren't mistakes that made a huge difference in our experience, but had we not made them, our stay would have been that much better.
If you are considering a visit to this relaxing resort, then here are five things to avoid to make your stay that much more magical.
Note: We took our trip in mid-August, 2018 and these suggestions are based on our experiences at that time. Amenities and procedures are subject to change.
Mistake 1: Not Requesting a Room Close to the Main Building
If there is one suggestion above all else when staying at this resort, it's this one: request a room close to the main building.
We had no idea how large this resort was (and this is considered the smallest Disney resort). Our flight arrived in the evening and we didn't get to the lobby until about 10:30 pm. We were tired, ready to go to sleep, and excited to see our room.
Unfortunately, it was in the building that was farthest away from the main building. That meant that whenever we wanted to get food, take advantage of the refillable drink cups, catch the bus, or anything else, we had to walk a fair distance.
After walking all day at the parks, the last thing we wanted to do was take that long march back to our room. Find a map of the property and request a room close to the main building. If you are able to get one, your feet and family will thank you.
Mistake 2: Missing Out On a Photo With the Iconic Doorman
Go on Pinterest or Instagram, search on Port Orleans French Quarter, and I can pretty much guarantee that you'll come across photos of the famous greeters at this resort. These gentlemen are colorfully dressed in Mardi Gras finery, with bright plumes coming out of their top hats.
I was in the lobby and had a lovely chat with one of them. I only wish I had thought to take a photo. Practically everyone else that passed through the front entrance did, and I really regret not doing it. I didn't see them every day, and by the time we were ending our vacation, the chance was gone.
Mistake 3: Not Exploring All of the Amenities
We stayed at the resort for six full days, most of which were packed full with park visits. However, we did have some downtime where we slept in and hung out at the pool.
Unfortunately, we didn't do as much exploring as we should have for one reason or another. It wasn't until the morning we were waiting for the bus to take us to the airport that we noticed that there was an arcade. That would have been a fun way to spend a little bit of time.
We did review the schedule of resort activities when we first arrived, but quickly forgot about it in our excitement. There were craft activities, pool events, and even outdoor movies, none of which we participated in.
Don't get me wrong, we had an awesome stay, but I wish we'd taken more advantage of some of these things.
Mistake 4: Paying Extra for a Garden View
The rooms in this resort are off of a walkway that everyone on the floor uses, so the windows look out on that before getting to the view beyond. We thought it would be nice to have a view of the gardens, so we paid a bit extra for that.
Don't bother wasting your money. We weren't in the room enough to enjoy the view, and most of the time we kept the shades drawn because we didn't want everyone walking by looking in.
The resort is full of mature trees, so it looked like the lower-priced parking lot view rooms were just fine, but I didn't actually look out of one of those windows.
Mistake 5: Not Exploring Port Orleans Riverside
The Port Orleans resort is broken into two distinct resorts. The smaller one is French Quarter and the other one is Riverside. If you stay at either one, you can take advantage of the amenities, like the pools, at the other one. There is a peaceful path along the river that connects the two resorts so they are easy to get to.
We walked over to Riverside for dinner one night, but other than eating and checking out their awesome gift shop, we didn't do any exploring. I wish we had, as it sounds like there are some nice pools and interesting corners that we would have enjoyed seeing.
Our Pros and Cons of Port Orleans French Quarter
Lack of a table-service restaurant
Limited menu at quick-service eatery
River transportation to Disney Springs
Calling all Disney Fans!
© 2018 Claudia Mitchell
Claudia Mitchell (author) on May 17, 2019:
Great tips. Thanks. We walked over to Riverside along the river and it was lovely. I like the idea of checking in early. Our flight arrived really late at night so we got a goods nights sleep and hit the parks the next day.
Kathy Rooks on May 16, 2019:
I love Port Orleans, my favorite is Riverside. We just stayed at French Quarter in September and Riverside last week. We paid extra at Riverside for the preferred room and it was well worth it. Our room was close to the food court and buses. We also had a corner room that over looked the river. Another plus was the quiet pool was at the back of the building we were in. Plus it was shaded and there were never over 3or 4 other people there when we were. Love these resorts and a tip we started doing a few years Ago was on the day we check in we always go with a value resort for the night and switch over the next morning. Since the day we travel takes up most of the day I don't feel like I waste my first day. I've had my room ready as early as 10:00am. If it's not ready they will text you but you can already begin enjoying your vacation.
Claudia Mitchell (author) on August 22, 2018:
Thank you. I hope they help people when they are planning their trip.
Liz Westwood from UK on August 22, 2018:
It's a very good idea to pass on these tips so that others can make informed choices based on them.
Claudia Mitchell (author) on August 22, 2018:
We were considering the Dolphin too. It looked beautiful, but then all of the hotels there are lovely.
FlourishAnyway from USA on August 21, 2018:
We’ve stayed at the Dolphin and Grand Floridian and I enjoyed the Dolphin more. It’s been awhile since we last went but I hope to go again soon. I don’t recall the Port Orleans hotel.