Disney Tips,  Hotels,  Reviews

Review – Disney’s Port Orleans – French Quarter

Continuing my personal mission to stay at each Walt Disney World resort at least once, I recently had the pleasure of staying at Disney’s moderate level Port Orleans French Quarter for 5 nights/6 days. While the majority of my days and nights were spent in the parks, I had plenty of time to explore this fabulous hotel.

There were many expectations for this resort, as it’s beloved by so many. I will say, it did not disappoint!


The Basics (History & Style)


Port Orleans French Quarter is one half of the Port Orleans Resorts – Riverside makes up the other half. Both resorts are located in the Disney Springs area, connected by the Sassagoula River. They are jointly the largest resort on Walt Disney property by room total, with over 3000 rooms between them. Riverside makes up the majority of the rooms, French Quarter has 1008 rooms in total, so it is about 1/3 the size and much smaller in scale.

The hotel was designed to reflect the architecture and style of the French Quarter in New Orleans. It opened in May 1991 as Port Orleans Resort and has expanded over the years to now include 7 three-story Guest buildings containing 144 rooms each.

The main lobby is beautiful. It was grand considering this is a moderate hotel, complete with a fountain, Mardi Gras decorations and a cobblestone inspired floor. Everything you need is located in the main lobby area. To the right you’ll find the Front Desk and Concierge (also where you will pick up packages shipped to the hotel such as Amazon Prime), along with the merchandise store, Jackson Square (here is where you’ll also pick up your packages if you have them shipped from the parks to your hotel). To the left as you enter the lobby, you’ll find Scat Cat’s Club and Sassagoula’s Floatworks and Food Factory. Everything you need is in one location.

The hotel is set up similar to a motel. Each building containing 144 rooms, you enter each room from the outdoors. But don’t let this discourage you in any way. The theming is so spot on, it does not feel cold or cookie cutter in any way. As you walk to and from your room, you feel as if you are walking down quiet city streets. Your surroundings really do whisk you away to another place.

Overall, the resort is quaint, charming and quiet. Complete with wrought-iron railings and balconies, gas lamps and cobblestone streets, you actually feel as if you are in the heart of New Orleans. Scattered around the resort are colorful Mardi Gras characters and heard overhead are the sounds of jazz music, bringing the essence of this enchanting hotel to life.


Accommodations


There are several options when booking a room at French Quarter. As of October 2019, the pricing is as follows:

  • Standard View (starting from $219 per night)
  • Garden View (starting from $225 per night)
  • River View (starting from $238 per night)
  • Pool View (starting from $238 per night)
  • King Bed (starting from $247 per night)

I originally booked a Garden View room with a promotional discount that Disney was offering. I arrived to the resort via Disney’s Magical Express after 3:00 PM (the typical check-in time) without yet being notified that my room was ready. I visited the front desk, and was assigned a room. Building 5, room 5109 (first floor room). This room ended up being a Pool View room, rather than Garden View. It was extremely close to the main lobby, dining, store and bus stop.  As a matter of fact, the French Quarter hotel is rather small in scale, so truthfully no matter what building you are assigned, you are close to the main areas.  Unlike its counterpart, Riverside is massive, and you will need to request a preferred room to be close to the amenities and to save yourself a few steps. French Quarter is not like that. As a matter of fact, French Quarter doesn’t even offer Preferred Room options because it just isn’t necessary.

And even though it was a Pool View room and the pool was just outside our window, I have to say that we didn’t hear anything while in the room. It was very quiet, so having the pool right there did not affect the noise level.

The rooms recently underwent a soft renovation, meaning they weren’t gutted and overhauled, rather upgraded with new bathroom mirrors, elevated beds, décor and laminate floors (replacing the old haggard carpeting).  They are generous in size, slightly larger than a Value Resort, but smaller than a Deluxe. Each room (unless you request a King), offers 2 Queen beds, double sinks, a bathtub with a rain shower head, a small table and chairs and a bench. The room also had a nice flat screen tv, small mini fridge, coffee pot and plenty of outlets/USB plugs for all of your electronics.

I would say that the room would comfortably fit a family of 4. I think it would be tight with 4 adults. The beds were large, so if you had small children, you may be able to squeeze 3 in the bed. But I personally think 4 would be your max to be comfortable. I was traveling with my best friend, so the 2 of us and all of our paraphernalia took up most of the space. The room was just the right size for us. We don’t travel light, or at least I don’t!

The beds were comfortable and the pillows were much nicer than those you have at the Value Resorts. I have definitely noticed after staying in all 3 categories of hotels (deluxe, moderate and value), that the higher you go, the better quality your bed and pillows are! If that’s important to you, keep that in mind.


Transportation


When staying at the Port Orleans French Quarter resort, the bus is the main form of transportation to get you to and from the parks. You can always opt for a Minnie Van, Uber or Lyft, but if you are looking to use free Disney transportation, then you’ll be using the bus.

Because the resort is smaller in scale, there is only one bus stop outside the main lobby of the hotel, making bus transportation very efficient and effective. Unlike Riverside, which has 4 bus stops throughout the property (the North Depot, East Depot, West Depot, and South Depot). I would have to agree with others that having one bust stop is one of the great benefits of staying at this hotel.

The buses run similar to other resorts, about every 20 minutes. And in my experience using them for 5-6 days, I can say that pick-ups to and from the parks were timely and were direct to and from French Quarter, we did not make stops at Riverside. I understand that during slower times, the buses will make stops at both resorts, so be prepared for that. I did not experience that during my stay. I guess it was busy enough for French Quarter to have its own bus.

This resort also offers a beautiful boat ride down the Sassagoula River to Disney Springs. I took this boat ride on a beautiful sunny morning and I highly recommend it. It’s quiet, peaceful and an all-around great experience. The ride itself is about 20 minutes to Disney Springs and will drop you off in the Marketplace area, near the Disney Days of Christmas store. Head back to the same location when you are ready to travel back to the hotel.


Dining


There is really only one main dining option at Port Orleans French Quarter; the Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory. This quick service dining hall offers American, Cajun and Creole cuisine and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, generally from 6:00 AM to 12:00 AM (times may vary depending on the time of year).  Mobile ordering is also available here, so you can take advantage of that to save time.

I suppose if you are looking for a downside, it’s that this hotel does not offer a table service option. I am personally OK with that, I sometimes prefer quick service over table service. The food was delicious, and there are plenty of food choices. I don’t think you’ll miss not having a table service option at this resort.

If you are looking for a cocktail and appetizers, and something a little more chill, the French Quarter offers two options. Mardi Grogs bar is located outside near the pool area; celebrate Fat Tuesday every day at this lively location! Scat Cat’s Club offers a more sophisticated jazzy vibe. Dine in or hang out at in the lounge and enjoy live jazz music nightly. 

While visiting I dined a few times in Sassagoula’s Floatworks and Food Factory for breakfast – try the Western omelet, it was really good ($10.99)! And on my first night, I dined in Scat Cat’s; I enjoyed a Hurricane ($18), Crawfish Etouffee, ($14) and Bayou Brisket Sliders ($12). I capped off the night with two Baton Rouge Beignets with Baileys ($14.99)!

For the full dining menus, click here.

If you stay at French Quarter, just be sure you get yourself some beignets (with or without alcohol), they are delicious!


Resort Recreation


I will admit, I did not partake in any of the recreational activities while staying at French Quarter. I will however list out a few of the more popular option while staying there.

Port Orleans French Quarter has a really nice, fairly large pool that is great for the whole family. Doubloon Lagoon has a 51-foot slide, water play area, a whirlpool spa and Mardi Gras pool bar (mentioned above) sits right outside all the fun!

Painting on de’ Bayou is offered every Wednesday in the Scat Cat’s Club.

Movies Under the Stars is offered on select nights between buildings 5 and 6 on the French Quarter Green. See the front desk for the schedule.

Horse-Drawn Carriage Rides take you along the scenic Sassagoula River. This 25-min ride is great for families and couples alike. Cost is $55 and reservations are recommended.

Bike Rentals and Surrey Bike Rentals are a great option to get some exercise and tour this fabulous resort!

Beignet Fun Run, Fishing, Jogging and so much more are offered throughout the resort. If you decide to not visit a park one day, you’ll find there are plenty of options to keep you entertained at the resort.


Final Thoughts


I thought this resort lived up to all its’ expectations.  I most enjoyed not only the theme, but the size of the resort. It kind of hit that Goldilocks moment. It was not too big and not too small, just the perfect size to get around and not feel overwhelmed. It was also extraordinarily quiet, all the time. Which I personally loved. After a long day in the parks of screaming, yelling, chatting, it’s nice to come back to the charm and quiet of this perfect resort.

I highly recommend Port Orleans French Quarter to anyone who is thinking about booking a stay at Walt Disney World. I can now see the allure and obsession Guests have with this hotel and why they keep coming back.

Do yourself a favor and stay at Port Orleans French Quarter. You will not regret the choice.

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