Top Ten Reasons for Choosing to Stay at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been asked for my opinions as to what sets the Port Orleans resorts apart from the myriad of other places to stay within the Walt Disney World area, and what keeps people coming back year after year. There are so many reasons to choose from, as a brief browse around this website will quickly confirm, but what follows — for what it’s worth — is my own personal Top Ten list of why I consider Port Orleans as my Walt Disney World home.
1. Peaceful, Laid-back “Old South” Atmosphere
From the moment you walk into the spacious lobbies and see the level of detail all around, you are transported to a different world, and to a more gentle and relaxed time. It’s hard to believe that the Walt Disney World theme parks are just a brief bus ride away as you enjoy the serene peace and quiet offered by the Port Orleans resorts. Indeed, guests often remark on just how remarkably tranquil and crowd-free this resort can appear, especially given the fact that it actually comprises more than 3,000 guest rooms across its various sections.
So leave the frantic pace of modern life behind and explore the riverbank pathways, or take a leisurely stroll through the wooded grounds between the Alligator Bayou lodges, to lose yourself in a bygone era.
2. Beautiful and Diverse LandscapingIn some ways, this continues on from the first item. Disney’s famed Imagineers surpassed even themselves when designing this elaborate recreation of the antebellum deep South along the banks of Mark Twain’s beloved Mississippi — or in this case, Sassagoula — River. From the rustic woodsy theme of the Alligator Bayou lodges to the ornately manicured gardens of the mansion buildings in Magnolia Bend, to French Quarter’s architecture inspired by distinctive New Orleans streets, every inch of Port Orleans just ooze with fantastic attention detail.
The story didn’t stop with the resort’s construction either. A full-time landscaping and gardening team are at work seven days week keeping the beautiful, award-winning, landscape of lawns, flowers and trees in perfect condition whatever time of year you happen to arrive.
3. Rooms Fit For a King (or a Princess)
In Spring 2012, the rooms in two of the Magnolia Bend mansion buildings were rethemed to create a brand new Royal Guest Room experience. The storyline concept is that Princess Tiana invited all of her royal friends from the other Disney animated feature films to stay with her, and they each left gifts and surprises which now adorn the Royal Rooms — admittedly somewhat glossing over the fact that the phone system at Tiana’s Place must indeed have been magical for her to be able to get through to the likes of Belle in 19th Century France and Cinderella in Renaissance Italy...
Anachronisms notwithstanding, some fabulous extra details and flourishes abounded in these 512 remodeled rooms: the faucet taps echo the genie’s lamp from Aladdin and his flying carpet can be found on the floor; the bed heads feature fabulous fibre-optic illuminated firework displays, trigged at the touch of a button; and the walls are adorned with pictures of royalty from the Disney films (admittedly mostly princesses, but that certainly doesn’t exclude boys from enjoying these rooms).
4. “Ye Haa” Bob Jackson
Musician and entertainer “Ye Haa” Bob Jackson has become so much of a Disney institution in his nearly twenty years of playing at the River Roost Lounge that it won’t come as any surprise to his legion of devotees that I’m including him in this list. Bob is the consummate family-friendly entertainer, and even apart from his energetic audience-participation show, he’s also an accomplished musician and composer in his own right. He plays several sets throughout the evening (Wednesday to Saturday only) starting at 8:30pm and finishing just before midnight. The shows are very popular and the lounge can get pretty packed, so it’s worth getting there early if you want a table.
As one of his catchphrases goes, no one has more fun than Bob’s audiences. A favourite of many Disney park veterans, fans regularly plan an evening with Bob even if they are not staying at Port Orleans. And when you can count the likes of Disney/Pixar head honcho John Lassetter among your fans, what more is there to say?
5. Sassagoula River Cruise to Disney Springs
While Port Orleans is not on the monorail loop, nor is it within walking distance of Epcot, it does have its own direct Sassagoula River Cruise ferry service to the Disney Springs shopping and dining zone (the new name for the old Downtown Disney area). The Sassagoula River is a 2½ mile waterway snaking its way through lush Florida woodland, linking the Port Orleans resorts to the Saratoga Springs and Old Key West DVC Resorts and then onward to Disney Springs.
A peaceful and relaxing 20-minute boat ride along this secluded waterway is the perfect antidote to being packed onto crowded buses or the aggravations of self-parking.