Meticulously kept grounds resemble New Orleans’ French Quarter
Simple rooms with flat screen TVs, coffeemakers, and mini fridges
Kid-friendly pool with imaginative decor and a themed water slide
Appealing leisure amenities like a hot tub, playground, and arcade
Mardi Gras-themed restaurant with authentic New Orleans fare
Scat Cat’s Club features live jazz performances and a full-service bar
Boat transportation to neighboring Port Orleans Riverside and Disney Springs
Perks like Extra Magic Hours and Magical Express luggage transport
Free parking and Wi-Fi, plus on-site laundry
No full-service restaurant (Port Orleans Riverside has one)
No fitness center (Deluxe Resort Hotels have gyms)
Only on pool (other Moderate Resort Hotels have multiple)
Long lines at the front desk (typical for Disney hotels)
Strolling around Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter, it’s easy to forget you’re in central Florida. Pastel hued buildings with wrought-iron lattice work line the brick-paved walkways of this 1,008-room upper-middle-range property, where manicured gardens and trickling fountains evoke the breezy atmosphere of New Orleans. In true Disney fashion, the theme is meticulously carried out across the property. The pool alludes to the mystical quality of the Louisiana bayou with a giant sea serpent that criss-crosses the water, while the quick-service restaurant serves jambalaya, po’boys, and etouffee. Steamboat style water taxis can transport guests to Disney Springs and the neighboring Port Orleans Riverside. Another one of Disney’s Moderate Resort Hotels, Riverside can be a good alternative with similar rooms, but it offers more amenities, like multiple pools, a full-service restaurant, and a pet-friendly policy.
A New Orleans themed property with a family-friendly atmosphere
While it isn’t as grand as Disney’s Deluxe Resort Hotels, the mid-range Port Orleans French Quarter still feels high-end. The atrium-style lobby looks like a New Orleans park, with wrought-iron benches, a central fountain, and forest green gas lamps. The lobby’s hustle and bustle juxtaposes nicely with the sultry sound of Sidney Bechet’s saxophone -- the entryway’s constant background music. The front desk area is adjacent to the atrium, and looks like a 1920’s train station -- both in terms of the decor and the crowds. Like all Disney hotels, long lines are common around the front desk.
Outside, the long, narrow property stretches in all directions. Brick-lined walkways run alongside pastel colored buildings that look like they were plucked from the French Quarter. Even the foliage has antebellum charm -- Spanish moss offers quintessential romanticism, tall southern oaks provide shade along the Sassagoula River, and magnolia trees bloom pink in the spring time. While Port Orleans isn’t as elegant as the Grand Floridian, or as exotic as the Animal Kingdom Lodge, we’d argue that it’s one of Disney’s prettiest properties. Despite the hotel’s heavy-handed Mardi Gras theme, the property is family-friendly, not rowdy. Kids are mainstays here and families make up the majority of guests. However, as far as Disney hotels are concerned, this isn’t a bad option for couples.
A riverfront property close to Epcot, Typhoon Lagoon, and Disney Springs
Port Orleans is located on the western side of Disney World, close to Epcot, Typhoon Lagoon, and Disney Springs (less than 10-minutes driving). The hotel has water taxi service to Disney Springs (and neighboring Port Orleans Riverside), but otherwise guests must rely on Disney shuttle buses if they do not have a car. Most Disney attractions are within a 10- to 15-minute drive, including Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and Blizzard Beach. Off the Disney compound, Sea World is a 12-minute drive, Universal Studios is a 20-minute drive, and Orlando International Airport is a 25-minute drive.
Subtle Mardi Gras stylings and nice bathrooms, but otherwise a bit generic
Rooms at Port Orleans have some French Quarter flair, but they’re not as impressive as the hotel’s exterior spaces. Subtle purple, green, and gold accent colors are reminiscent of Mardi Gras beads, but the look isn’t overbearing, thanks to white bedding and dark wood furniture. Dressers and headboards feature parquet inlays and scalloped detailing, but otherwise, rooms feel a bit generic. In-room amenities include flat screen TVs, single-cup coffeemakers, and mini fridges. There’s also a table and chair set that can accommodate two people. Bathrooms feature the classic Disney layout -- sinks and vanities in one room, shower/tub combos and toilets in another. The vanity area is open to the bedroom, but there’s a curtain for privacy. Port Orleans’ bathrooms are some of the nicest we’ve seen in the moderate category. Forest green bead board and slate-like floors add character, while vanities’ fleur-de-lis carvings and gold-framed mirrors maintain the New Orleans theme. Marble shelves (okay, marble-effect) provide extra storage space above the vanities, and open closets hold ironing equipment and key-operated safes. In the shower/toilet area, white subway tiles are accented nicely by blue paisley shower curtains. Port Orleans has outdoor corridors, so rooms do not have private balconies (typical for Disney’s moderate hotels).
There are only two major room types at Port Orleans French Quarter -- rooms with one king bed or rooms with two queen beds. Guests can upgrade to different view-types, which include Standard View Rooms (parking lot view), Garden View Rooms (grounds view), or River View Rooms (overlooking the river, naturally). Considering rooms do not have private balconies, we’re not sure the upgrades are worth the extra money.
Port Orleans - French Quarter has a handful of nice amenities, including boat transportation to Disney Springs, a souvenir shop with Disney paraphernalia and sundries, on-site coin-operated laundry, and a signature Disney arcade-style game room. Wi-Fi and standard parking are free, and guests are entitled to Disney hotel benefits, like Extra Magic Hours and the Magical Express luggage transportation service. It should be noted that Port Orleans does not have monorail service, a fitness center, or a full-service restaurant.
Only one pool, with a mythical theme and a kid-dominated atmosphere
The pool at Port Orleans is a property highlight, and it has a fun bayou-inspired theme. The freeform pool is brought to life by a giant sea serpent. Its tail criss crosses above the water, while its mouth opens to form a waterslide against its slithering tongue. Neptune reigns victoriously above the sea dragon, while a trio of alligators plays jazz instruments in a shell-shaped bandstand. It’s wacky, and over-the-top in way only Disney can be, but the creatures allude to the mythical nature of the Louisiana Bayou. The pool is completely kid-centric, so adults and romantics may feel a bit out of place here. The atmosphere isn’t exactly relaxing, but it’s great for families with young kids who want to splash around. Throughout the day, Disney “cast members” host different poolside activities like Disney trivia and sidewalk chalk drawing contests. For even more fun, the adjacent kiddie splash zone has fountains, mini waterslides, and a suspended bucket that overflows periodically. Port Orleans only has one pool, which might be a disappointment for adults looking for their own quiet place to unwind. There’s a tiny hot tub that tends to be quieter, but this doesn’t compare with Port Orleans Riverside, which has five pools, or Coronado Springs, which has four.
No full-service restaurant, but an excellent cafeteria and a jazz club
Port Orleans - French Quarter only has one main dining venue, a cafeteria-style quick-service restaurant called Sassagoula Floatworks & Food Factory. The quick-service concept is incredibly popular across the Disney brand, and it's known for its varied options, tasty food, and unbelievable cleanliness -- and Sassagoula Floatworks doesn’t disappoint. This large eatery has a lively Mardi Gras theme, with colorful beads hanging from its tall ceilings, statues of jokers, and gold mask wall decor. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and sells snacks and drinks throughout the day. One area of the cafeteria is dedicated to serving New Orleans cuisine, so guests can expect offerings like jambalaya, etouffee, po’boys, muffulettas, maque choux, and beignets.
Besides Sassagoula Floatworks, Mardi Grogs (the poolside bar), serves drinks and light meals during pool hours. Scat Cat’s Club is the hotel’s old time-y jazz bar. With tin ceilings, wood paneling, and black-and-white photographs hanging on the walls, Scat Cat’s feels like a speakeasy. Regular live jazz performances are a highlight -- and they represent the totality of the hotel’s nightlife. The bar serves speciality cocktails and draft beer, along with a handful of appetizers.
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