A nightmare arrival experience

How was your stay at Riverside? Leave your comments or full trip reports here. Photos welcome.
Forum rules
This forum is for Port Orleans RIVERSIDE Trip Reports, not for general questions. Please try to keep your reviews relevant, informative and useful to other visiting families. Thanks!
Posts: 96
Joined: March 26th, 2012, 5:04 pm

A nightmare arrival experience

Unread post by royhan » November 21st, 2013, 4:00 pm

I apologise if this TR becomes rather long but I hope the lessons learned from my experiences will benefit future visitors to Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside.
We planned a family vacation to POR for seven adults and three grandchildren some 18 months ago and on the booking form I requested the Magnolia Bend mansion building. Five days before we arrived at the resort I sent a fax and followed it up with a phone call to repeat my request, pointing out that my wife and I were there to celebrate our 45th wedding anniversary. We had stayed in the Magnolia Bend area at POR on previous occasions, so knew what to expect.
After spending three hours in Manchester Airport UK before our flight and then a flight of over nine hours it was quite pleasing to discover that the lines in immigration were fairly small and we were all through in about 20 minutes.
At the time of the booking – (we were not planning to hire cars but on making use of Disney and Lynx transport) – there was an option available to Disney guests travelling to their resort on the Disney Magical Express to leave their cases outside immigration and have them delivered to theirs rooms. This facility subsequently changed and I believe it is now only available to US guests.
We opted to put our cases on the belt outside Customs and have them transferred to the main terminal building rather than haul them with us on the monorail. That was our first mistake. The cases were transferred to Terminal A baggage claim and then we had to lug them a long away across the airport to Terminal B and the Disney Magical Express Welcome Centre. It would have been a much shorter journey if we had taken the cases on the monorail in the first place. I assumed, wrongly, that the cases would then be taken from us at the Welcome Centre and delivered to our rooms, but we had to wait in line for the DME and then take our cases to the motor coach.
We stopped en-route at Old Key West, Saratoga Springs and Port Orleans French Quarter to let guests disembark before arriving in darkness at POR. Our three family groups checked in separately to save time and I was horrified to discover that, despite our meticulous planning, we were all allocated rooms in Alligator Bayou. Despite my attempts to change these in line with my previous requests I was told that there were no rooms available in Magnolia Bend and so we trudged in darkness to look for our rooms, only to discover that they were not even in the same AB block, but one was some distance away.
When we finally found out precisely where we were staying we had to carry our bags up a flight of steep steps as there was no elevators available, (remembering that two of us were seniors and three were small boys) and we were by now extremely tired and hungry after a long and exhausting day’s travel. When we saw the rooms we were really disappointed and didn’t like the rustic ambience at all. In our view they lack the true Disney feel.
I was now fuming and headed off to seek the manager. I tried to keep a calm exterior and was somewhat relieved when the duty manager, Maria, came to see me with a warm greeting and a clear determination to try to do something to help. She spent some time on the computer in front of her but repeated what the earlier check in receptionist had told me – there were no rooms available in the Mansion buildings because of the Half Marathon that was taking place a couple of days later. Maria must have seen how frustrated and distressed I was and disappeared into the office behind the reception desk to speak to a colleague. About 10 minutes later she returned with another broad smile to say that she had found us three rooms in Magnolia Bend. I was delighted and so were the others in my party. We went for something to eat while Maria sorted out the room key and MagicBand changes and arranged for our cases to be collected from AB and transferred to Magnolia Bend. By this time it was 3am (UK time) and we were all totally shattered.
It was a very stressful start to our much looked forward to vacation, but things did get a lot better, as I will explain in Part 2 of my TR.
Incidentally, I later discovered that the rooms we were allocated in Magnolia Bend had been upgraded to a Garden View. As each room has thick Venetian Blinds and drapes and therefore little view I fail to see the advantage of paying for an upgraded garden or water view. There may be some benefit, particularly for the less mobile, in paying extra for a Preferred Room and, of course, for those wishing to stay in the Royal Rooms. By pure coincidence we all had fridges in the Magnolia Bend rooms, but there weren’t any in the Alligator Bayou rooms.

User avatar
Posts: 290
Joined: August 11th, 2013, 10:30 am
Location: North Florida

Re: A nightmare arrival experience

Unread post by MardiGroggy » November 23rd, 2013, 8:29 am

Ouch!!! Sounds like they got you back on track, though. Hope the rest of your visit is more magical.

Thanks for the info on Magnolia fridges. We'll be heading there in a few days.

Just a suggestion, but maybe this will be seen more if it is put in the "Trip Report" section.
Last edited by MardiGroggy on November 23rd, 2013, 10:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
Aka: Steve

"Laissez les bons temps rouler!"

Posts: 23
Joined: May 22nd, 2013, 8:55 am

Re: A nightmare arrival experience

Unread post by shoemakers4 » November 23rd, 2013, 10:05 am

Royhan... good job! There was a problem and you brought it up with management! Too many people just try to "resolve" the problem by complaining and stating how horrible Disney is because they "refused" to grant your request. We had almost the exact opposite of your experience the beginning of October. We asked for the AB but ended up in Magnolia Bend. We're happy-go-lucky travelers and just took it all in stride, especially since we ended up with a fridge. We will surely be back in Port Orleans!

Posts: 171
Joined: February 10th, 2013, 1:06 pm

Re: A nightmare arrival experience

Unread post by Thorpy » November 24th, 2013, 8:59 am

When we first went to Riverside in 2009, we asked for a mansion room, and they allocated us a Bayou room. They opened that particular conversation with "we see you requested that, but we feel you'd be better off with this, which would you like.

I think it was because we were a party of 5, but the little one went in a pack and play, or foldaway cot and we were just fine in the mansions. We went in the mansions, and loved it enough to go back another 3 times. We never did know where they would have put us, we might have turned down block 14 as it wasn't preferred back then, but we enjoyed ourselves anyway.

Post Reply