The first time we went to the World was before we cruised for the first time, so by random association, we selected Caribbean Beach Resort. We enjoyed our first stay there. We had a ground level room in the "island" next to Old Martinique or the center of the resort--pool, restaurant, shops, etc. Checking in and out of the resort was at a completely different building and you had to utilize an internal bus to get to that building. No luggage on the internal bus, etc. As first timers, it was a bit overwhelming.
We stayed at Caribbean Beach Resort during our second stay. This time in a building on an "island" far away from the resort center. We didn't like it all and realized that "location, location, location" makes all the difference in a quality resort stay. We also learned that Caribbean Beach was Disney's first attempt at a moderate resort and learned from their mistakes when building Port Orleans.
Port Orleans used to be Dixie Landing and has since been renamed and divided into two "sister" resorts: Riverside and French Quarter. Both are aptly named and themed. Because they are sister resorts guests staying at either resort can use the amenities of the other resort such as restaurants, food courts, shops, pools, etc. French Quarter is bit more compact and has one bus stop. Riverside is a bit more spread out and has 4 bus stops. Click here to read about Bus Stops at Disney.
So why has Port Orleans--Riverside been our favorite resort for 4 of our 6 stays at the Walt Disney World Resort?
- Riverside, while a bit spread out, still has everything within close proximity--shops, pools, food court, etc., are short stroll from your room. AND, with 4 bus stops, a bus stop is just steps away, too. Due to the central location of the resort, the bus ride to/from any of the theme parks is just minutes.
- Who can resist the Southern hospitality shown as you step off the Magical Express bus from the airport? We have found cast members to be helpful and friendly. OK, maybe this is at any resort, but we are biased. Even the guys who come in their golf cart early in the morning to get us and our luggage are friendly.
- The grounds are lush and immaculate. The husband feels the need for a mint julep the moment we step into Magnolia Bend, our preferred portion of the resort.
- Port Orleans Riverside has more pools than any other resort. Ol' Man Island has the resort's theme poo with water slide and there are 7 other "quiet" pools sprinkled between the areas of the resort. Combine that with the pool at French Quarter and you have a whopping 9 pools in total.
- You can take a boat to/from Downtown Disney and French Quarter. After riding buses most of the time, taking a boat is relaxing and quaint.
- Port Orleans is the first stop on Disney's Magical Express from the airport! Anyone using Magical Express knows about the multiple lines at the airport. Each line is to a bus route that makes multiple stops. And the route has Port Orleans Riverside as its first stop. Take that Yacht and Beach Club and Boardwalk!
Maybe someday we will try a value or deluxe resort. In the meantime, we are happy with our moderate resort having just enough space in our room and includes a refrigerator. We know of some folks who have stayed in deluxe resorts, even in the villas of the deluxe resort, and discovered French Quarter on their last stay. That's where they will stay next time.