If you don’t feel like a day at the theme parks, there’s plenty to do right on your own doorstep around the Port Orleans resorts. Of course there’s always swimming and poolside activities, but how about horse-drawn carriage rides, fishing, kids pirate adventures or maybe just an early-morning jog? Later in the day, the resort lounges feature some excellent live musical entertainment on selected evenings, plus there are daily outdoor movie screenings and fun campfires which now run all year round.
Outdoor activities are subject to change, and can be cancelled due to poor weather, but the current schedules are posted in the resort lobbies and also provided in printed form in your welcome pack. You can also downlolad current and archive schedules from our Recreation Activities Schedule page.
Bayou Pirate Adventure
Young adventurers, resplendent with pirate bandanas on their heads, will board a “pirate” vessel at Port Orleans Riverside. Onboard they will learn about Captain John Lafitte, the greatest pirate to ever sail the waters of New Orleans — legend has it that his boat was sunk on a reef off the coast of Key West. During their adventure they will find a treasure map left behind by the infamous Captain Lafitte. Once they set sail, the young adventurers will use the map and find clues to help them track down the hidden treasure, some of which will be theirs to keep.
- The two-hour Bayou Pirate Adventure starts at 9:30am on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.
- The price is $34 ($36.21 inc tax) for children aged 4-12, with a 10% discount for DVC members.
- Reservations are recommended on 1-407-WDW-PLAY (1-407-939-7529). A credit card is required to confirm but this will only be charged for no-shows or cancellations at less than 24-hours notice.
- Check in at the Port Orleans Riverside Marina. Please arrive 15-30 minutes early.
- A safety waiver form must be signed by a parent or guardian, and the same person signing the child in must sign them out again at the end of the excursion.
- Lunch is provided during the excursion — peanut butter & jelly snack (“Uncrustables”), rice crispy treat and a juice box.
- Life vests are supplied and are required when aboard the boat.
- Two cast members accompany the group.
Horse-drawn Carriage Rides
Take a relaxing, old-fashioned horse & carriage ride through the beautiful and serene woodlands and pathways of the Port Orleans resorts. Your private ride commences at the Port Orleans Riverside marina dockside (just behind the lobby building) and takes you on a slow and romantic journey along the banks of the Sassagoula River to Port Orleans French Quarter, where you will turn around in its quaint New Orleans-style streets for your return journey back to Riverside.
The cost is $45 including tax for the 25-minute ride and the carriage can hold up to four adults, or three adults and two small children (children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult). You should arrive at the marina area no later than 15 minutes before your scheduled departure time and wait for the carriage to collect you. The service may be cancelled in cases of inclement weather.
- Departures are every 30 minutes during scheduled operating hours, which are normally 6pm — 9:30pm. There is usually a short rest break for the horses at 7:30pm so that time slot will probably not be available.
- Reservations are recommended and can be made up to 180 days in advance on 1-407-WDW-PLAY (1-407-939-7529). A credit card is required to confirm but this will only be charged for no-shows or cancellations at less than 24-hours notice.
- Guests wishing to check on same-day availability may call 1-407-824-2832, and walk-up guests will be accepted at the departure location if there is no pre-booked reservation for that time slot.
- Final payment should be made directly to the carriage driver in cash. Credit Cards are not accepted, but you may charge the ride directly to your room.
- Due to the nature of the carriages they are not wheelchair accessible. Guests must be able to exit from wheelchairs and step up into the carriage.
Bicycle and Surrey Bike Rentals
Wheel around the resort and enjoy the winding paths, waterfront walkways and meandering scenic trails for fun, fitness and relaxation. Whether you want to continue your workout regime or just want a vacation jaunt, riders can absorb the sights and choose paths catering to their skill levels and areas of interest.
Surrey Bikes are restricted to the main pathway which runs around the river banks surrounding Ol’ Man Island and the footpaths between the two resorts. A 30-minute rental should be sufficient time for two complete laps around the resort. Surrey Bikes are not permitted on Ol’ Man Island or on the smaller trails which run between the accommodation buildings. Note: Although the resort pathways all look very flat, many first-time riders of Surrey Bikes find out that there are indeed hills up to bridges, and they can be hard work!
The Riverside Levee hours vary by season, and could be around 9am—5pm daily for cycle rentals during off-season months, 9am—8pm during the summer.
Note: Guest Boat Rentals used to be available from the marina at Port Orleans Riverside, but sadly this much-enjoyed amenity was withdrawn as from 2 March 2014.
- Advanced reservations are not required, just book at the Riverside Levee — or touch 57 on your room phone for information
- For off-road use only, you cannot ride bicycles on the Walt Disney World road system
- Helmets are provided free of charge with bicycle rentals, and Florida law requires bicycle riders under 16 years old to wear helmets
- All bicycle rentals require a signature of a guest 18 years of age or older
- Valid Driver’s License or comparable ID showing proof of age is required
- Main drivers of Surrey Bikes must be at least 18 years of age
- Children must be at least 4½ feet tall to pedal Surrey Bikes
- Children’s bikes are available, and a limited number of children’s bikes have training wheels
- Child carriers are available at no additional charge and are mounted on the back of the bicycle
- DVC members receive a 10% discount on most rentals
Bicycles and Surrey Bikes
|Rental Class||Period||Price||Inc Tax|
|2-seater Surrey Bike||30 mins||$20||$21.30|
|4-seater Surrey Bike||30 mins||$22||$23.43|
Movie Under the Stars
Starting in Summer 2011, Port Orleans French Quarter began hosting three outdoor “Movie Under the Stars” screenings each week at 8:30pm on Weds, Fri and Sat. As from August 2011, this was extended to provide movies every night of the year and there is also now a similar offering over at Riverside.
The French Quarter movies are shown in Beignet Square — the turfed area between buildings 4, 5 and 6 — while Riverside guests need to head over to the courtyard in front of Oak Manor (building 90). Screenings generally start shortly after dusk, for example at 9pm in the peak summer months but much earlier during other seasons. For the current movie lists and screening times, please see the Recreation Activities Schedule page.
As the movies are shown in the open air on grassy lawns, do bear in mind that they are somewhat weather dependent. Cast members are on-hand to provide plenty of pool towels for you to sit on, so there’s no need to bring towels or blankets from your room (if fact, they don’t allow it).
Movie Night at Port Orleans French Quarter
Campfire on de’ Bayou / Cajun Campfire
Enjoy stories and family sing-a-longs while making your own s’mores around an evening campfire. There are two campfire locations, Riverside’s “Campfire on de’ Bayou” is behind the Muddy Rivers pool bar on Ol’ Man Island, just next to the children’s playground while French Quarter’s “Cajun Campfire” overlooks the Sassagoula River from the courtyard just behind building 6. The events are free, and you’ll find plenty of marshmallows and sticks to roast them on. There also used to be optional s’mores kits (including Graham crackers, marshmallows, chocolate and sticks) for $7, but recent visitors report these are no longer available. The campfires are lit around dusk — at 7:30pm during the summer months and as early as 5:30pm in the winter months, please see the Recreation Activities Schedule page for current times.
This is a relatively new activity which was created to utilise the space freed up on Ol’ Man Island when the original wooden children’s play area was removed, initially on Sunday and Thursday evenings only between Halloween and the start of Daylight Saving Time. However in Summer 2011 the event was expanded to include a new location at French Quarter, and both events now run daily throughout the year.
There are seven swimming pools located at the Port Orleans resorts: one large feature pool at French Quarter called “Doubloon Lagoon”, one large feature pool on Ol’ Man Island, and five smaller “quiet pools” dotted around Riverside. All of these pools are available for use by guests staying at either of the two hotels as this is one of the few locations within Walt Disney World where pool-hopping is permitted.
Poolside activities are organised at both feature pools (weather permitting) and the full schedule should be provided in your welcome pack, or see the Recreation Activities Schedules page for current details.
Both resorts feature children’s play areas — located near to the main swimming pools but far enough away to avoid younger children wandering off near the water. Benches are provided for adults to sit, and the climbing areas feature soft rubberised floors. French Quarter’s playground has recently been upgraded (Summer 2011) and now features soft artificial grass instead. The Riverside playground has recently added a tetherball game area.
Regular Riverside/Dixie Landings visitors may lament the demise of the resort’s original themed playground area on Ol’ Man Island, which featured an extensive wooden fort-like structure with a sandy base, climbing areas and slides. It was replaced several years ago with the current generic tubular metal and plastic construction, presumably to comply with newer safety regulations. Sadly, change doesn’t always mean progress.
The lounge bars in both of the Port Orleans resorts feature free live entertainment on selected evenings — currently Tuesday is the only night with no live music at either of the Lounges. The shows are always lively and fun, and are well worth a visit for all ages (Bob Jackson’s show at Riverside is especially family-friendly) but please remember the local 21+ drinking age restrictions when ordering adult beverages!
- Playing at the River Roost Lounge at Port Orleans Riverside is the famed “Ye Haa” Bob Jackson. Bob performs a very popular piano sing-along comedy show with lots of audience participation. Bob’s shows are Wednesday through Saturday, from 8:30pm until shortly before midnight, with a short break around 10pm. I’d suggest getting there a bit early to grab the best seats — Bob will usually be hanging around before the show getting to know the evening’s audience, so do let him know if you’re celebrating something, on your honeymoon, or just want to request a song.
Bob has been performing at the River Roost Lounge since May 1997 and you can check out his website for more information at www.yehaabob.com or leave him a message on Facebook.
- Tom Casey became the resident musician at Port Orleans French Quarter’s Scat Cat’s Club on 19 July 2013, performing a dynamic blend of piano and jazz vocals. Tom has previously performed at a variety of venues across Walt Disney World, including providing vacation cover for French Quarter’s previous resident musician, the multi-talented Elliot Dyson who was let go by Disney due to the recent lobby refurbishment work.
Tom’s performances take place four days a week on Friday through Monday at 8:30pm, 9:30pm and 10:30pm. There are no performances on Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays.
Cane Pole Fishing
Port Orleans Riverside features an old-fashioned Fishin’ Hole that’s fun for the whole family, located on Ol’ Man Island just behind the Muddy Rivers pool bar. The fishing hole is open from 7:00am until 1:45pm (last poles hired out at 1:15pm) and is stocked with catfish, blue gill and bass. Children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult. All fishing at Walt Disney World Resort property is “catch and release” only, but you’re welcome to take pictures to prevent those “one that got away” stories later.
The Fishin’ Hole is now sponsored by lets-go-fishing.org.
Cane Pole Fishing
|Family (up to 6 people)||30 mins||$12.50||$13.32|
|Price includes cane poles, bait (hot dogs and worms) and dock time|
Guided Bass Fishing Excursion
You can also book a private two-hour Guided Bass Fishing Excursion along the Sassagoula River for up to five people on a 21ft Sun Tracker pontoon boat. These are normally run from the Cap’n Jack Marina at Downtown Disney. Please arrive at the marina approximately 15 minutes prior to departure time, and remember that fishing excursions are weather-dependent.
- For reservations, call 1-407-WDW-BASS (1-407-939-2277) or 1-407-WDW-PLAY (1-407-939-7529). A credit card is required, and you will be charged for no-shows or cancellations at less than 24-hours notice.
- Fee includes the boat hire, your guide and rod/reel/tackle/bait/shiners/etc. You also get a souvenir photo and a one-year membership of B.A.S.S. (Bass Anglers Sportsman Society). There is no discount for bringing your own equipment.
- Soft drinks are included in the price, but you are not allowed to bring your own food or drinks.
- Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.
Guided Bass Fishing Excursions, max 5 guests per boat
|Time||Period||Price (tax exempt)|
|$100 per additional hour. This can be requested (if available) at the marina upon arrival but cannot be pre-booked.|
The Medicine Show Arcade at Port Orleans Riverside, located just off the main Lobby area beside the Concierge Services Desks, is one of the largest at WDW with a selection of 70+ video games and pinball machines to help you use up all those spare dollars. The games are generally of a child-friendly, non-violent nature.
Port Orleans French Quarter has a slightly smaller facility called South Quarter Games containing approximately 51 games, also located off their main Lobby area.
To use the games you need to purchase a “Play Card” from a kiosk in the arcade using cash, credit card or your Magic Band. These cards are rechargeable and can also be used at any other Walt Disney World Resort arcades equipped with the cashless system.
Both Games Arcades are now open 24 hours (as from May 2009).
Hair Wrap / Braiding
Hair braiding is available on the marina dockside at Port Orleans Riverside from 10:00am — 5:00pm, and seasonally at French Quarter (outside the Jackson Square gift shop) from 10:00am — 7:00pm. The cost is $2 per inch, with beads charged extra.
Caricature Connection (Portrait Artist)
An artist in the Lobby area of either resort will paint your caricature between 6:00pm and 11:00pm. Prices start at $15 for an unframed picture, and you can choose from a variety of options from pencil sketches to full-colour portraits. For more information, visit the company’s website at www.caricatureconnection.com.
Caricature Connection (per person)
|Face only, Black & White||$15.00|
|Face only, Colour||$20.00|
|Face and Body, Black & White||$20.00|
|Face and Body, Colour||$30.00|
The winding pathways and riverbank trails around the Port Orleans resort provide excellent opportunities for jogging, especially early in the morning before the heat of the Florida sunshine sets in. There are two recommended routes, a one-mile trail along the banks of the Sassagoula River around the Riverside resort, and an extended 1.7 mile version which also incorporates French Quarter. For a detailed map of the trails, you can download the Jogging Trail Map (PDF format, 221Kb) or pick up a copy at Guest Services.
Just about everywhere you go in Walt Disney World you will come across pressed penny machines, and Port Orleans is no exception. Children love to watch as their shiny bright one cent coins are crushed, elongated and embossed with fancy character designs. Meanwhile, adults are perhaps slightly less entranced as they watch 50 cents of less-than-shiny quarters getting swallowed up by the machines to pay for each pressed penny... each machine features three designs so the cost of a collection can quickly build up.
There are also machines that will press quarter coins, but these only offer one design each and they cost a full dollar to operate. Naturally, collector’s folders are available from the gift shops.
Pressed Penny Machines located at Port Orleans
|Location||Coin Type||Design #1||Design #2||Design #3|
|Riverside Food Court||Penny||Pluto Face||Princess (#4 of 6) Jasmine||Steamboat Willie|
|Riverside Food Court||Penny||Classic Mickey Mouse||Dwarf (#2 of 7) Sleepy||Tubing Goofy|
|Riverside Food Court||Quarter||Donald Playing Banjo|
|Riverside, Fulton’s General Store||Penny||Tigger||Winnie the Pooh||Eeyore|
|Riverside Lobby||Penny||Dwarf (#5 of 7) Grumpy||Three Park Logo||Villain (#4 of 7) Queen|
|Riverside Lobby||Penny||Mickey with Trumpet||Donald with Trombone||Goofy Juggler|
|French Quarter Lobby||Quarter||Pinocchio|
(Prices last verified 7 August 2013.