Port Orleans French Quarter FAQs - LOOK HERE FIRST
Posted: March 18th, 2012, 8:00 am
Resort: Disney's Port Orleans French Quarter
Address: 2201 Orleans Drive, Lake Buena Vista, Florida, 32830-1000
Tel: (407) 934-5000
Fax: (407) 934-5353
Official Website: disneyworld.disney.go.com/resorts/port-orleans-resort-french-quarter
Reservations: (407) 934-7639 or www.disneyworld.com, or your favourite travel agent
Opening Date: 17 May 1991 (first three buildings, originally named as simply "Port Orleans")
Location: Downtown Disney area
Rooms: 1,008 in 7 buildings
Closest Theme Park: Epcot
Closest Water Park: Typhoon Lagoon
Closest Entertainment/Shopping: Downtown Disney
Port Orleans French Quarter is the smaller section of the 3,056 room Port Orleans Resort complex which is situated about two miles north of the Downtown Disney area along the banks of the Disney-created Sassagoula River. The other section is Port Orleans Riverside and the entire complex was formed by the merger of the old Dixie Landings Resort and the Port Orleans Resort in March 2001.
Each section is treated as a separate hotel by Disney's Central Reservations, and each has its own check-in area and facilities. However, guests staying at French Quarter may use all the amenities at Riverside and vice versa -including sharing all seven swimming pools. It's just a short ten-minute riverbank walk between the two locations, or you can use the free ferry boats.
What is the layout of the resort?
Port Orleans French Quarter is a pleasantly compact resort - the smallest of Disney's Moderate Resorts - comprising a main facilities and pool area plus seven three-story accommodation buildings of 144 rooms each (all of which have elevators). It is themed to resemble the French Quarter area of New Orleans and the buildings are all set along quaint cobblestoned streets and feature ornate railings and other New Orleans / Mardi Gras touches. French Quarter is where (as the publicity information tells us) you'll find pear trees, oaks, myrtles and magnolias bloom, and the spirit of jazz lives on.
Port Orleans Square is main facilities building and it provides the resort's main lobby and front desk facilities, shop, food court and bar, and the bus stop. The registration lobby has recently been refurbished, and was reopened over the weekend of 15 July 2013.
Doubloon Lagoon is the main feature swimming pool with a fabulous sea-serpent themed slide, hot tub and pool bar, with a nearby children's playground. Past the pool is the boat dock where you can catch a free ferryboat to Downtown Disney or up to the Riverside resort.
To give you a comparative idea of how small this resort really is - in fact it's just 500 yards from one end to the other - if you dropped the whole of French Quarter onto the Magic Kingdom it would only stretch from the entrance to Adventureland over to Space Mountain:
What types of room are available?
There are currently five room categories: Standard, Garden View, King Bed, Pool View and River View. Each room category has its own pricing level. There are no 'preferred' locations at this resort as it is so compact that it does not really need them.
- Standard View rooms almost all face the parking lots, while Garden View guarantees that you won't be looking out over a parking lot and you should get a more pleasant view of gardens, courtyards, fountains, etc.
- Pool View gives you an upper floor room overlooking the main swimming pool, while River View will be overlooking the Sassagoula River.
- King Bed rooms contain just one King-size bed instead of two queens and can be located anywhere in the resort. Some have Pool or River views, but they still need to be booked using the King Bed category.
- Disability Accessible rooms can also be booked, mostly featuring two queen beds although a few King Bed options are available. Some have roll-in showers while others feature bathtubs with easy wheelchair access.
How much does it cost?
Room prices vary by weekday/weekend, season and room type, starting from a basic $182 per night for weekdays in Value season up to $285 for the Christmas Holiday week (Standard View rooms, 2015 prices). These prices include the local 12.5% tax. For full seasonal pricing details for all room types, see www.portorleans.org/roomrates.php.
Note: There is a $15 per person surcharge for having a third or fourth adult (aged 18 or over) occupying one room.
If you book room-only with Disney you will pay a one room/night deposit in advance and the balance upon arrival. Cancellation with a full refund is possible up until six days before arrival, or 45 days for package bookings.
Some discounts, such as AAA and WDW Annual Passholder apply, but these are limited and often sell out very quickly once the rates have been released.
Can I request a particular location or room type?
Some people prefer to request particular room locations, although it is such a small resort that everywhere is within easy walking distance. If you do want to make any special requests always do so along with your initial booking. You can also try faxing the resort a few days before you arrive (no more than five days) as a reminder, but please be aware that Disney will not guarantee any locations apart from on specific medical grounds.
Generally speaking, the best locations for access to the main building and pool are buildings 2 and 5, which a Pool View booking will guarantee for you. Buildings 4 and 5 are closest to the bus stop and the food court. Some areas, such as buildings 1, 6 and 7 are a little further out and are thus the quietest sections - but all rooms are within a few minutes' walk of the main facilities.
For lots more information on the best room locations and how to make special requests, please see here, but here are a few tips:
- First, ALWAYS make sure that any requests are noted in your original reservation as this is the official method to log room requests for WDW hotels. This can be done by calling your travel agent or the Disney Reservation Center on (407) 934-7639.
- Online checkin can be done up to 60 days in advance, but the requests section which you can fill in is very limited. It would be best to do online checkin BEFORE sending any faxed requests, so any more detailed choices are not overridden.
- Send a FAX directly to the resort on 1-407-934-5353 about 3-5 days before your arrival date. If you don't have access to a fax machine you can send a free fax online via www.gotfreefax.com.
- Provide your full details (name, address, phone number, email address and reservation number/arrival date). They may contact you about your requests, but don't worry if you don't get any confirmation back.
- Be polite but personable, and let them know how much you are looking forward to your stay at Port Orleans and how getting your requests fulfilled would make your stay extra-magical.
- Very specific requests (e.g. for one particular room number) can be hard to accommodate, although it might help to use room numbers to narrow down an area you are trying to describe.
- Try to explain the reasons for your requests, as that helps the room assignment team find other options in case your first choice may not be available.
- If you have multiple requests, try to prioritise them in order of your preferences.
- Do your homework first so you don't make requests that cannot be fulfilled (e.g. don't ask for a ground floor room if you have booked Pool View).
- You can ask if an upgraded room category might be available for your stay (e.g. a River View if you were only able to book Pool View) but obviously not all such requests can be granted. It certainly can't hurt to ask though.
- DISboards member Venomhatch has created a useful template which you can use as a base to help you construct a faxed request, see his thread for details.
All rooms are approximately 314 square feet and feature two queen size beds. Rooms containing one King bed are available for an extra charge.
Connecting doorway rooms are available, but again these are not guaranteed unless there are unaccompanied minors occupying the second room. Another often-requested option is an external corner room, as these have two windows rather than one and thus tend to be lighter.
All rooms include: phone, TV, clock, small fridge (no freezer compartment), bathtub/shower, toilet, two wash basins, table & two chairs, air conditioning & ceiling fan, small wall-safe, coffee maker (new Cuisinart dual-cup type, supplied with free Joffrey's coffee pods), hair dryer, iron & ironing board, clothes hanging rail. H20-branded product is supplied, including bar soap and separate shampoo & conditioner. In mid-December 2011, FREE in-room wi-fi internet access was introduced throughout the Port Orleans resorts.
Note: In Summer 2013 a potential fault was discovered with some of the refrigerators in Disney hotel rooms, but by 19 October 2013 this situation had been completely resolved for all Port Orleans French Quarter rooms.
Some disabled-accessible rooms are available with slightly more floor space which mostly feature a roll-in shower and wheel-chair height accessible facilities such as safe, single wash basin, etc.
Is smoking allowed in any of the buildings?
No, smoking is no longer permitted in any part of Walt Disney World apart from specially designated smoking areas which are clearly marked on the resort maps.
What time can I check in and can the resort store my bags?
Rooms are officially available from 3pm but you can check in at the front desk as early as you like. You may get lucky and find that a room happens to be ready earlier, or otherwise Bell Services can store your bags while you head off to enjoy the hotel facilities or the theme parks. Online check-in can be completed up to 60 days before arrival, and guests who have already received their 'Magic Bands' in advance are being offered the opportunity to have their room number sent to them via text message just before arrival, allowing them to bypass the front desk process completely if they prefer.
Check-out is by 11am, although you can request a free later check-out time (up to 1pm) as long as the room is not need urgently for other guests. Again, Bell Services will store your bags until you are ready to depart, and they also have a fridge for items which need to be kept chilled. Note: the main pool has showers, lockers and changing rooms if you want to take a dip after you have checked out.
What options are there for eating and drinking?
The Sassagoula Floatworks & Food Factory is the resort's food court, resplendent with giant Mardi Gras decorations. It contains several serving stations offering various items from bakery goods to burger/chicken meals, plus a grab-and-go area for quick fresh snack items. This is where you can buy the resort's signature "beignets", a doughnut-like treat. "Rapid Fill" refillable mugs are available for a one-off fee (currently ranging from $8.99 for one day up to $17.99 for length of stay) which can be topped up at the beverage station for free.
Note: the food court now serves Joffrey's coffee, not Nescafe.
Scat Cat's Club offers specialty drinks, appetizers, and live musical entertainment from Tom Casey four evenings a week (Friday-Monday, starting at 8.30pm).
Light snacks and drinks are also available from the Mardi Grogs pool bar.
Jackson Square Gifts and Desires is the resort's gift shop, and apart from all the usual Disney and resort merchandise they also carry a selection of essentials plus snack items and bottled drinks, newspapers & magazines, medicines, etc. Note: While you can buy milk and some other essentials here, remember that this is a hotel shop so expect to pay a premium price. If you want to buy a bit cheaper but don't have transportation, try the Hess gas station just over the road from Planet Hollywood at Downtown Disney.
French Quarter does not have its own table-service restaurant but just a short walk down the river you'll find Boatwright's Dining Hall at its sister resort of Riverside. As with all of Walt Disney World these days, advanced dining reservations are strong recommended - call (407) WDW-DINE to book up to 180 days in advance of the first day of your stay.
What about recreation facilities?
Doubloon Lagoon is French Quarter's only swimming pool. It is decked out with colourful Mardi Gras characters such as jazz-playing alligators (which are also water features) and a fabulous sea-serpent themed 51 ft slide where you slide right down the serpent's tongue. There's a separate kiddies pool, hot tub and the neighbouring Mardi Grogs pool bar if you just want to sit and have a drink. The pool is open from 9am until 11pm (with reduced hours of around 10am-8pm during the winter months) and the closing time is now enforced due to life guard availability. The rules are more relaxed regarding the hot tub's operating hours. Towels and children's floatation jackets are provided free of charge, and there is a towel-return bin next to the pool.
Daily recreational activities are held around the pool area, and there is also a children's play area. While the kids are playing, guest-operated pay laundry facilities are provided near to Mardi Grogs ($2 per load, plus $2 for drying - credit/debit cards only, there is no cash or Magic Band payment facility.
At night there are outdoor movie screenings in Beignet Square (the turfed courtyard between buildings 4, 5 and 6) and an early-evening campfire where you can relax and roast marshmallows.
The South Quarter Games Arcade is located just off the main lobby.
Note: Port Orleans Riverside, just a short walk alongside the Sassagoula River, has its own feature pool and five smaller 'quiet' pools which may all be used by French Quarter guests. Riverside's marina also rents out various types of powered watercraft and pedal boats/canoes, plus pedal cycles and four-wheeled 'Surrey Bikes'. Other activities available at Riverside include fishing and a pirate riverboat excursion for the kids. Horse-drawn carriage rides are offered in the evenings (weather permitting) from 6pm to 9:30pm. Cost is $45 per 25-minute ride and you can make reservations at the Riverside marina, or in advance via (407) WDW PLAY.
What transportation options are there?
Port Orleans French Quarter features a single bus stop right outside the main lobby area with free Disney bus transportation to all of the Disney theme parks, water parks and the Downtown Disney area. Buses run at least every 10-20 minutes from one hour before park opening until 1.5 hours after each park closes. Note: you cannot get to the other resort hotels very easily and will need to plan enough time to change at a theme park or at Downtown Disney.
The bus service is sometimes shared with Riverside, but the French Quarter stop is normally the first pick-up and the first drop-off, which makes for great bus access with less chance of having to stand. Separate services for the two resorts usually run at peak times, and the Magic Kingdom almost always has separate buses.
If you're travelling to Downtown Disney, a much more relaxing and romantic option is the 15-minute free water taxi service which runs along the Sassagoula River every 10-20 minutes from 10:10am to 11pm. Outside of these hours you'll need to take the bus to get to or from Downtown Disney, and during the day that bus also serves Typhoon Lagoon.
Room Refurbishments, 2010/2011
A resort-wide room refurbishment program commenced on 1 November 2010 and was completed on 15 April 2011. The newly refitted rooms include Queen size beds instead of the old doubles, flat-screen TVs, and completely updated furnishings, fittings, carpets and tiles, with a tastefully regal yellow, gold and purple colour scheme.
Where can I find more detailed information, see photos, etc?
For further details, please refer to the Port Orleans Unofficial Guide website at www.portorleans.org, which tries to answer just about any Port Orleans questions you may have - and has over 3,400 photos too.
Port Orleans French Quarter FAQ text and photos (c) portorleans.org 2015. Used here by permission.