RIVERSIDE - From Start to Finish

How was your stay at Riverside? Leave your comments or full trip reports here. Photos welcome.
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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!
The_Walking_Dead_1
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RIVERSIDE - From Start to Finish

Unread post by The_Walking_Dead_1 » September 15th, 2014, 12:05 pm

I've wanted to do an article like this for awhile to share with fellow Disney fans so now its time!!!

You will hear this from all Disney veterans but plan, plan & plan is the best advice from all of us. SO if possible try to plan a year out, we start the conversation a year out and naturally the 1st question is when to go. This year we are pulling our son out of school and going in November the week prior to Thanksgiving. Next we always try to get our accommodations somewhere in between a year to 180 days out. Since we are military family, we normally stay at Shades of Green, but we have always wanted to give a Disney Resort a shot, so this year we are very excited to be staying at Port Orleans Riverside :D !!!!

We called Disney and we were lucky enough to get the military rate for our chosen dates and with the discount we decided to select the Royal Guest Room with a Riverview. I've read a lot of Pro's & Con's regarding whether it's worth have the view with no balcony or not, so I will continue to update the post as we continue with and throughout our vacation.

For those who might be 1st timers, log on to MY DISNEY EXPERIENCE and download the app to your smartphones. This site will allow you to manage almost everything in regards to your Disney Vacation. Our Riverside Resort reservations, park tickets, Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party tickets, dining reservations and flight info is all in there. There is so much more you can do, but that will wait for a different post.

Several posts including the Disney Mom's Panel always has several questions about how long should someone plan their vacation, for our family its 8 days, 7 nights. Its fits our vacation days and budget. This allows us 2 days for travel, 4 days in the parks, 1 resorts day and in this case 1 day for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party.
This week (week of 15-22 Sep) we will choose our Fast Passes and I will update this when we have successfully completed this part of our planning!!!!

Nicola74
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Re: RIVERSIDE - From Start to Finish

Unread post by Nicola74 » September 15th, 2014, 2:55 pm

Thank you. I look forward to following this. We're 210 days to go at the moment.

The_Walking_Dead_1
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Re: RIVERSIDE - From Start to Finish

Unread post by The_Walking_Dead_1 » September 15th, 2014, 7:12 pm

So today we received our FAST PASS+ brochure
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from Disney informing us that starting tomorrow we can start selecting our choices. Since this is my 1st time, I gave Disney a call (only 4 min wait) for my questions:

1. Since this is my first time I didn't know if at your 60 day mark you could select for the whole week or was it a day by day thing. ANSWER - Disney stated that if you have Disney Resort reservations you will be able to select the whole week at the 60 day mark. If you just have tickets or staying off Disney properties (this includes Shaded of Green) you can select 30 days out and its a day by day thing.

2. Disney World operates off of EST, so starting 1200a you can select your Fast pasees.

I'll post tomorrow morning so you will know if I succeeded or failed :o

The_Walking_Dead_1
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Re: RIVERSIDE - From Start to Finish

Unread post by The_Walking_Dead_1 » September 16th, 2014, 6:45 pm

FAST PASSES BOOKED!!!! Last night I booked our Fast Passes for our entire stay!!!! So there is no misunderstanding, if you are staying at a Disney Resort you can select your Fast Passes for your entire stay at the 60 day mark. This process was more complicated than it should be. Remember, you will be able to start selecting your Attractions/Entertainment etc etc at Midnight EST (which means everyone else in the country can start also in their perspective time zones.

I'm assuming that the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is the hottest ticket right now since I logged on at 1200A and by 1210A the 1st available time slot was 400pm!!!!!!!! So lesson learned, hit the hottest rides first!!! I selected my tickets by date in order (our vacation lines up like this.....AK, EPCOT, a day off at the resort, MK and DS).

My #1 piece of advice is to get really familiar with the MY DISNEY EXPERIENCE web-site, this will save you some time.

My #2 suggestion - if you are traveling with additional parties and you plan on touring the parks together, ask them to accept your invitation so one person can select the Fast Passes and everyone will have the same times for Fast Passes. I didnt think about this and had to navigate between to Log on's while selecting Fast Passes.

Next post should be receiving our Magic Bands and Disney Magical Express Luggage Tags.

disneyseniors
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Re: RIVERSIDE - From Start to Finish

Unread post by disneyseniors » September 18th, 2014, 4:18 pm

We are staying at Riverside the week before Thanksgiving and leaving the day before Thanksgiving also:) We love Riverside and have stayed there many times. It is our home away from home. Just love the atmosphere, rooms, food court, boat to dtd, everything, and yes, even the buses have never been a problem for us. I am able to do our fast passes tomorrow, 11/19. However, I will not be getting up at midnight to do them. I will take my chances and book what I can after a good nights sleep and a cup of coffee in me! I think that's kinda crazy just to get fp's. We always go at opening of each park, and have always walked onto the most popular rides once or twice doing this. I will just book our fp's for later in the day. That'll work for us, I think. I'm kinda apprehensive at booking the fp's with all the threads saying how difficult it is! My daughterinlaw booked theirs this past spring, and she had no trouble at all. My husband and I usually go alone, as we are seniors, but this year my daughter, soninlaw, grandsons age 18,16, and granddaughter age 10 are going at the same time. They are staying at the poly since there are 5 of them. I don't know if I am going to try and book their fp's at the same time, or not. Don't know what the older boys will want to do? So, that's up in the air. It sounds like you will be going through the same steps as us, just a few days apart. I hope you and your family have a great time at Disney! Who knows, if you see an older couple strolling the pathways of Riverside holding hands, it just might be us :P

disneyseniors
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Re: RIVERSIDE - From Start to Finish

Unread post by disneyseniors » September 18th, 2014, 4:21 pm

Oh, I almost for got to ask you, what is a fast pass plus brochure? I haven't received anything like that and didn't know there was one? Will it come in the mail or by email? thanks a bunch!

The_Walking_Dead_1
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Re: RIVERSIDE - From Start to Finish

Unread post by The_Walking_Dead_1 » September 18th, 2014, 7:53 pm

Hello Disney Seniors!!!! Are you able to see the picture in the thread above? Its something Disney mails to you before your actual Fast Pass Selection date.

We totally agree about getting to the park before it opens. Its so much easier to get some of the most popular rides out of the way before the parks get busy. Our son is 7 so we still try to leave the parks by 2-3, go back to the resort for a swim or just relax then return to the parks around 6-7.

Thank you for your thoughts on Riverside since this will be our 1st time staying there. We hope you have a great vacation with your family and if you see a father and son with Miami Dolphin jersey stop and say hi!!!!!!

disneyseniors
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Re: RIVERSIDE - From Start to Finish

Unread post by disneyseniors » September 30th, 2014, 3:17 pm

I'll be looking for the tshirts!lol If you see an "older" couple holding hands, strolling around alligator bayou with Mn Vikings and Green Bay Packers shirts, that'll be us! You never know, might see you there too:)

The_Walking_Dead_1
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Re: RIVERSIDE - From Start to Finish

Unread post by The_Walking_Dead_1 » October 2nd, 2014, 10:44 am

OK, so we are 45 days out and we have received our email from Disney letting us know that timing is running out if we want to make any changes to our Magic Bands. The cutoff date is 30 days out and then Disney will ship our Magic Bands along with our luggage tags for Disney's Magical Express.

I will update once we receive our Magic Bands and Luggage Tags.

The_Walking_Dead_1
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Re: RIVERSIDE - From Start to Finish

Unread post by The_Walking_Dead_1 » October 17th, 2014, 7:45 pm

Alright, our luggage tags came today.
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Just double check that your flight information is correct!!!!!!!

The_Walking_Dead_1
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Re: RIVERSIDE - From Start to Finish

Unread post by The_Walking_Dead_1 » October 17th, 2014, 7:49 pm

Bus passes also come in the packet so make sure you read through entire packet!!!!! I didn't realize that these were coming so make sure you keep them for your trip To and From the resort.
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The_Walking_Dead_1
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Re: RIVERSIDE - From Start to Finish

Unread post by The_Walking_Dead_1 » October 21st, 2014, 6:53 pm

MAGIC BANDS arrived today!!!!!!!!
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The_Walking_Dead_1
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Re: RIVERSIDE - From Start to Finish

Unread post by The_Walking_Dead_1 » October 21st, 2014, 6:55 pm

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Re: RIVERSIDE - From Start to Finish

Unread post by Admin » October 22nd, 2014, 4:09 am

It definitely starts getting real when your Magic Bands arrive.

It's harder when you go home though, for a few days you'll find yourself trying to tap your wrist on the card readers in supermarkets... :)

Andre
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- The Unofficial Visitor's Guide to the Port Orleans Resorts in Orlando, Florida -

The_Walking_Dead_1
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Re: RIVERSIDE - From Start to Finish

Unread post by The_Walking_Dead_1 » October 23rd, 2014, 8:03 pm

Hello Andre,

You are so right!!!!! 3 weeks from this Saturday!!!!!!

disneyseniors
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Re: RIVERSIDE - From Start to Finish

Unread post by disneyseniors » October 27th, 2014, 3:23 pm

Hi Riverside start to finish! Just checking in with you. I see you got your magic bands, luggage tags, etc. We got our magic bands on 10-25-14 even though we had an email that said we could pick them up at the resort???? Oh Well, we got them. Now just have to not lose them before we go:) We leave 3 weeks from tomorrow (10-28-14) and can't wait. We love the AB section with their tropical setting, quaint bridges, winding paths, just the whole tropical "lost on an island" feel. We will get the rest of our package next week from our travel agent; can't wait. Hope all is going well for you and your family:) Will look for that Dolphin shirt :)

The_Walking_Dead_1
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Re: RIVERSIDE - From Start to Finish

Unread post by The_Walking_Dead_1 » October 30th, 2014, 8:17 pm

Good Evening Disney Seniors~!!!!!!!!

Yes are are 14 days out on Saturday!!!!!! Our son is very excited and we cant wait either. Very excited to see how the experience will be staying with Disney since we normally stay with Shades of Green.

Safe travels and hope to see you there!!!!!

The_Walking_Dead_1
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Re: RIVERSIDE - From Start to Finish

Unread post by The_Walking_Dead_1 » November 10th, 2014, 5:14 pm

Alright, alright, alright!!!

Tomorrow we are 4 days out from arriving at PORR!!!!!

Here is our itinerary and I will do my best to update within 24 hours of each day!!!!!

Sat - Arrival Day (Will post about DME, Check in, Royal Guest Rooms and general thoughts about the resort.
Sun - More thoughts about PORR, Downtown Disney by boat and Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party and initial bus transportation.
Mon - Bus transportation and Animal Kingdom.
Tues - Bus Transportation and Epcot and Illuminations.
Weds - All day resort day!!!
Thurs - Transportation and Magic Kingdom.
Fri - Transportation and Disney Studios.
Sat - Check out, DME and final thoughts!!!!!

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Re: RIVERSIDE - From Start to Finish

Unread post by Admin » November 10th, 2014, 7:09 pm

Can't wait to hear all about it, sounds like a great plan!

Andre
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The_Walking_Dead_1
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Re: RIVERSIDE - From Start to Finish

Unread post by The_Walking_Dead_1 » November 12th, 2014, 6:30 pm

Thanks Andre!!!!!

In case anyone is wondering, we fly Southwest from our hometown because its a direct flight. Additionally, since we book it at the 180 day window, we get the I WANNA GET AWAY fare and its around $300 round trip!!!!!!

Tomorrow is 2 days to go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The_Walking_Dead_1
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Re: RIVERSIDE - From Start to Finish

Unread post by The_Walking_Dead_1 » November 15th, 2014, 6:56 pm

Day 1!!!!!!! We had a great flight from SOUTHWEST and arrived in Orlando 15 mins early!!!

Disney Magical Express - I'm going to start with I have read a lot of posts, blogs and Disney sites and NOT ONE of them mention that if you pick up baggage in Baggage Claim A that you needed to go back up to the 3rd floor to cross over to the B side to get to the check in counter for DME.

Having said that, this was a breeze. We had or Magic Bands in our carry-on and went right through the 2 check points with no problem whats so ever. The wait was about 30 mins to board our bus (here is one minor complaint, we didn't get a Disney bus but a MEYERS bus that was obviously contracted out by Disney). The driver was great and fired everyone up about being at Disney and starting our vacations!!!!!

Port Orleans Riverside Check In - This is our 13th Wedding Anniversary and our neighbor's son's 4th birthday, which I conveyed during our reservations and PORR had a Cast Member (Callie) waiting for us with a sign in hand when we got off the bus. This made our neighbors day since its their first time ever at WDW!!!!!! Callie did an awesome job and check in took less than 5 mins for both parties!!!!! Great beginning to our vacations!!!!

PORR Boats to Downtown Disney - Since our rooms werent ready (we arrived at PORR before 11am) we gave our carry-ons to the Bell Desk and jump on the boat for DD. This was a great experience for all of us. We all love the water and boats and even though they kept saying 20 mins, it took less than 16 mins each way. We hope to visit DD again while we are here to ride another boat!!!

Royal Guest Rooms - These are pretty cool rooms, the LED headboards were a hit with our kids and the search for hidden Mickeys is underway!!!!!!! For those who are military and want a comparison with The Shades of Green rooms here are my thoughts: the rooms at SOG are definitely larger, more dresser space and a larger bathroom and balconies (we knew going on that PORR didn't have balconies and are outside entry rooms. Additionally SOG has microwaves stationed in several places throughout their resort and we only found one at PORR in the Food Court. This is totally nitpicking but might be important to other Disney Guests. Otherwise these room are nice, clean and ours still looks new.

The Food Court - We had dinner in the food court and ended up choosing the Make Your Own Pasta Dish and I can honestly say its one of the best dishes we have had at all of Disney.

Fultons General Store - What a great little store!!!! Has lots of Theme Park merchandise and a good selection of food and snack items.

We are spending the rest of the evening and night in our rooms resting and getting ready for the pool, breakfast at the Polynesian and Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party tomorrow!!!!

Stephen
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Re: RIVERSIDE - From Start to Finish

Unread post by Stephen » November 16th, 2014, 8:24 am

So good to read about your trip! Thanks for sharing. Have never thought about having breakfast at the Polynesian. Can't wait to hear about it...
(We're still 154 Days To Go)

The_Walking_Dead_1
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Re: RIVERSIDE - From Start to Finish

Unread post by The_Walking_Dead_1 » November 16th, 2014, 10:31 pm

Day 2 - We started out at the Polynesian for breakfast and the White Egg Omelet was awesome, roasted red peppers and goats cheese, would get it again anytime. Kids pancakes were well received and you can never tell by a 7 yrs old but it was all gone!!!!

Spent the morning with friends that live down here but took my kid to Ol' Man Island. This a a nice pool with water coming off the "old beams" into the pool and the slide was a huge hit with all the kids at the pool. I didnt ask but it felt like it was heated and the Jacuzzi was nice and warm to relax the feet from walking around. The hammocks are an awesome touch around the outer portion of the pool and the kids loved the playground there also. Drinks at Muddy Rivers were worth the prices and the bartenders were great to chat with and as all the PORR Cast members always friendly and polite.

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party - IN MY OPINION is wasnt worth the money...again in my opinion. It was nice that the Cast Members let us in at 345pm and we knock out 4 rides so we can cross them off the list when we visit MK on Thursday this week. But in order to have a good view of the Frozen Show, Parade and Fireworks you have to be in "your spot" where ever that is (I would say Main Street to see everything) by 715 at the latest which means if you have a 7 yrs old boy like me, thats a lot to ask to sit in one spot to take it all in and knowing that all the rides are still out there. Dont get me wrong it was awesome to see snow on Main Street, the entertainment was awesome, but just not worth it to leave right after the fireworks so my son would not be grumpy tomorrow. If or when we do it again it will be just adults or use the MVMCP as an excuse to hit multiple rides while everyone is on main Street. When I looked at My Disney Experience during the end of the 1st parade, every ride was about a 5 min wait, even the new Dwarfs Mine Train was 15 mins. So once more this was just my opinion.

Disney Transportation - Going to MVMCP was very easy, we left PORR at 315 and were #2 going thru our gate to get in. Coming home we were the last stop at PORR since we utilize the South Depot. We were on the 1st bus after the fireworks and didnt dilly dally on the way out of the park.

Tomorrow we cant wait for Animal Kingdom!!!!!!

The_Walking_Dead_1
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Re: RIVERSIDE - From Start to Finish

Unread post by The_Walking_Dead_1 » November 17th, 2014, 4:08 pm

Day 3 - Animal Kingdom!!!! We took advantage of the EMH here and knocked out Kilimanjaro Safari (1st time we saw a lion active and the giraffes were playing) and the Mickey/Minnie meet and greet at Adventure Outpost within the 1st hour. Then used our Fast Pass selection for Dinosaur by 945 and cruised the rest of the day with a focus of letting our son collect stickers for his Wilderness Explorer Book. This made for a nice and relaxing stroll around the park and he collected 12 Wilderness Explorer stickers.

PORR Service - We bought some light up CROC's on Sat and bad on us when we checked out we didnt see if they light up or not, well you guessed it on Sunday they didnt work. When we came back today, we swung threw Fulton's Country Store and they traded them right out, that surprised us and will definitely mention that great service upon check out and or survey.

Thunderstorms are blowing threw right now so looks like a night in at the PORR tonight.

The_Walking_Dead_1
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Re: RIVERSIDE - From Start to Finish

Unread post by The_Walking_Dead_1 » November 18th, 2014, 7:14 pm

Day 4- Well following the front that blew through the high today never topped 55. Having said that we hit Epcot and knocked out the front side of the park and didn't worry about the World Showcase. With the wind chill it felt like the mid-40's and we just weren't in the mood. Additionally we aren't going to freeze for Illuminations tonight so no fireworks :-(

Transportation - Again Is have read a bunch of reports about how guests continuously complained about the PORR transportation to and from the parks. We haven't had one problem at all!!!! Since we utilize the South Deport (the one nearest Fulton's Country Store) both A & B are clearly marked and A even has a monitor showing when the next bus is arriving for which ever park you intend to visit. I'm assuming its updates by GPS because I watched the times change both ways.

Food Court - I want to give a shout out to Chef Ron who continues to make my son excellent food for such a choosy eater!!!!!!

Hopefully I can take some pics and post more about PORR since tomorrow is strictly our resort day!!!!!

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