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Opening Magic Kingdom

Opening Magic Kingdom

Monday, August 25, 2014

Our Stay At Port Orleans French Quarter--A Walt Disney World Resort

Let me begin with some background. . . We have stayed at Walt Disney World Resorts twelve times:  twice at Caribbean Beach resort, five times at Port Orleans Riverside, three times at Coronado Springs, and our trip in July was our second stay at Port Orleans French Quarter.  Let’s talk about our stay.

Our stay at French Quarter was 6 nights/7 days.  We arrived around 10:00 am on Saturday after disembarking the ship and were very pleased that our room was ready as check-in typically is not until 3:00 pm. 

When the DCL bus dropped us off, the husband stayed with our luggage near the port-cochere as I checked us into the resort.  Reason being that if luggage services took our luggage and held it and our room was ready, we would immediately have to get our luggage out of luggage services—which is what happened last time. 

Once we had our room number—no Key to the World cards as all info was in our Magic Bands—I headed back outside and asked Bell Services to assist us in getting to our room.  They also retrieved our Garden Grocer order which was being held in Luggage Services.  Soon our bags were being placed on the large cart and we were off to our room.  I so appreciate Bell Services doing this as it can be a winding maze to find your room in the sprawling Disney resorts.

We were in building 4 on the third/top floor with a garden view.  Our room was neat, clean, and cool!  It was an easy walk to get to the bus stop through the “back sidewalk.”  We changed our clothes and headed to Blizzard Beach for the afternoon.

Throughout our stay we took advantage of the pool, hot tub, playground, evening campfire with roasted marshmallows—no smores though, the nightly movie shown in the garden (the boy watched one night), the food court along with drink refills, the arcade, resort shop, and boat launch to Downtown Disney.

As for bus transportation—it took us until the last day of our stay to get the timing down for the buses in the morning.  We typically walk out the door at 7:50 am to catch a bus to a park opening at 9:00 am.  This gives us time to walk to the bus stop, ride the bus, and arrive at the park prior to opening.  What kept happening was that we would have to wait until 15 or 20 after the hour for the bus.  One the last day of our trip, we left the room 5 minutes earlier and it made all the difference in the world.  The buses were arriving at 10 minutes ‘til the hour and we were just missing them!

The boat launch was a different story.  After spending the first part of the day at Typhoon Lagoon, we returned to our resort to clean up and go to Downtown Disney.  I knew that some of the piers at Downtown Disney may not be available due to all of the construction, so I phoned the front desk to ask where we would be dropped off if we took the boat launch.  I was told that the boat would stop at the Marketplace and the West Side.  We headed to the loading area for the boat launch.  A boat arrived from Downtown Disney heading to Port Orleans Riverside and was unloading passengers.  We asked if we could board and ride to Riverside and make the return trip.  We were told by the boat Captain that we could, but all passengers would have to exit at Riverside and line up again to board.  He suggested that we wait for the next boat to take us to Downtown Disney.  When we boarded the next boat that arrived a few minutes later, I asked the Captain if we would be dropped off at the Marketplace, which was our destination.  I was told no as that pier was not open yet.  I told him I had asked the front desk for specific information and he told me they were wrong.  He then went on to say that the boat launches had repeatedly communicated with the resort and that I should have asked for a manager.  At this point, I was wishing we had taken the air conditioned bus, especially after the teenage boy with the family in front of us dropped his chocolate ice cream on the floor and splattered the husband’s white shoes with chocolate not to mention making a mess on the boat. 

We did arrive at Downtown Disney via the Pleasure Island boat pier and then walked to the Marketplace.  The good news was that it was easy for the guys to take the boat back to the resort after leaving DisneyQuest later in the evening.  (I didn’t take the boat—I took a bus back to the resort.  And, I called the front desk when I returned to give them accurate information about the boat launch.)

Like a flash, soon it was time to go home.  I phoned Bell Services the night before we checked out and asked for assistance to arrive at 7:00 am as we wanted to use Resort Airline Check-in and have breakfast prior to our Disney’s Magical Express pick-up for return service to Orlando International Airport at 8:10 am.  I was instructed to make sure our luggage was ready to go prior to 7:00 am.  Really?  They have to tell guests that?  Of course our luggage was ready.  It was actually waiting for them outside our resort room door. 

7:00 am arrived and no Bell Services.  I phoned.  The Cast Member who answered said she had no way of radioing someone to come and did not know if someone was on their way or not.  I stayed on the phone with her while she tried to find out and in the meantime, a representative from Bell Services arrived.

Resort Airline Check-in is an amenity we have grown accustomed to and would definitely miss if it weren’t available.  We delivered our checked bags and our boarding passes were printed and our checked luggage whisked away—no having to check it in at the airport or having to stop at the airline counter at the airport! 

There was some confusion though as the phone message we received about Resort Airline Check-in told us that all members of the traveling party had to be present.  But both Bell Services and the Cast Member at Resort Airline Check-in said that if all members of the traveling party have the same last name, only one person needs to be present.  I explained that was not what the pre-recorded message left on our resort room voicemail said.  They were going to do some checking.  (I really think that Cast Members need to know what it feels like/looks like from the guests’ perspective at least once.)

After the luggage was taken care of we enjoyed breakfast in the food court and took the bus back to the airport for our return trip home.

All-in-all, our stay at Port Orleans French Quarter was just fine.  The husband tried to get his mug refilled at the pool bar—with soda--only to be scoffed at and rebuked by the bar tender.  You see, at Coronado Springs, there is an area next to the pool bar that DOES refill the resort refillable mugs. 

I will also say that French Quarter was not our first choice—Coronado Springs was—for this trip, but it was available and part of the summer special being offered.  Coronado Springs was undergoing a refurbishment and had no availability for standard rooms during the dates of our vacation.

Would we stay at French Quarter again?  Yes. . . if our preferred resort was not available.

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