First POR Visit November 1 - 7

How was your stay at Riverside? Leave your comments or full trip reports here. Photos welcome.
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Jchuges7
Posts: 9
Joined: March 17th, 2015, 12:20 pm

First POR Visit November 1 - 7

Unread post by Jchuges7 » November 12th, 2015, 4:02 pm

Experienced our first visit to Port Orleans Riverside from Sunday November 1 to Saturday November 7. I’ll attempt to break down our visit to the resort point by point.

Room:
We completed online check in and faxed in our room request 5 days prior to our arrival. We had booked a Royal Room with a Standard View for the length of our stay but we had requested a move to a Standard Room if it was possible. The POR staff was able to fulfill our request for all nights except the first one. Our Royal Room (9029) was very nice but we actually preferred the Standard Room that we were moved to (8590). For two adults with no children the extra theming of the Royal Room wasn’t worth the extra money. Our Standard Room felt a bit larger and had a ceiling fan which, given the very hot and humid temperatures during our stay, was much appreciated. We lost nothing in terms of amenities in the room just a little less theming. We gained a ceiling fan and our new room (8590) was much closer to the East Depot bus stop! The folks at POR gave us rooms that were exactly what I had requested, and thanks to the folks on this site I was able to really do my homework and understand what I believed would work best for us. Best of all was a nice refund we got for our room downgrade at the end of our stay.

Transportation:
We never waited more than 10 minutes or so for a bus which was a concern of ours. Originally I thought we would be walking to the South Depot most mornings but our room was so ridiculously close to the East Depot we took full advantage of it. East Depot was usually the last stop when coming back to the resort in the evenings other than coming back from Magic Kingdom which went on the outside loop then South Depot last.

Took Uber to go to and from POR to Animal Kingdom Lodge for dinner one night and it couldn’t have been easier. Driver picked us up right from the parking lot near our room and I’m sure would have done the same on the return trip. Both our drivers said that WDW really is friendly to Uber riders and drivers so if you need to go from resort to resort or just need something a bit off property consider using Uber.

Make time for the boat ride to/from Disney Springs! It offered some great views of the Treehouse Villas that are available at Saratoga Springs and was a nice way to see some different areas of the Disney property. Disney Springs is still heavily under construction but it’s worth checking out if you have the time.

Housekeeping: Our housekeeping was excellent. Didn’t get any towel designs but we did get fresh shampoo, conditioner and soaps every day. Room was cleaned and straightened daily plus fresh linens.

Riverside Mill Food Court Breakfast:
Everyone said this place gets insanely busy after 8 AM, I'd say after 7:30 the food court was very busy. They provide a decent breakfast relatively quickly so you can get on with your day. I'd say stick to the Mickey waffles with the bounty platter; I forgot how great those taste! The scrambled eggs left a lot to be desired as they are made in large batches. Bacon was usually pretty limp, not crispy how we prefer it, but the sausages were very tasty. Plenty of options here just be ready for a huge rush. Wish they opened at 6 or 6:30 to help early risers avoid the madness. Coffee wasn't always available at the drink area which led to some other guests being vocal about their dissatisfaction. Ice for soft drinks was unavailable at times also.
I know there are better options for breakfast out there (Chef Mickey's, Tusker House) but if you need something quick and don't want to settle for in-room coffee and a granola bar that you brought from home, this will get the job done.

Riverside Mill Food Court Lunch/Dinner:
Had a couple of quick dinners here. I had fish and chips one night, cajun chicken sandwich the other. Fish that was pictured on the menu board looked like fresh catfish pieces but was just standard white fish. Tasty and a good portion size. Cajun chicken sandwich was juicy and flavorful but could have used a bit more spice. Fiancée had the create your own pasta which she really enjoyed and the pulled pork sandwich which she said was just alright. We both appreciated the variety of choices besides the standard burgers and chicken nuggets. Get the apple blossom for dessert! The crust was tender and flaky while the apple filling had good texture and wasn't too sweet. Had we eaten here more we probably would have continued to pick that as our DDP dessert every time.

Many guests appeared to get the large pizzas to go but we heard from some of our neighbors that it was just mediocre and should be avoided. I would tend to agree since Giordano’s Chicago-style pizza is able to deliver to the resort.

Be prepared for some craziness, we had a huge crowd to deal with even when we arrived after 8:30 pm. Wasn't too long of a wait, just be aware after a long day in the parks when you may be short on patience. Had a couple of quick dinners here. I had fish and chips one night, cajun chicken sandwich the other. Fish that was pictured on the menu board looked like fresh catfish pieces but was just standard white fish. Tasty and a good portion size. Cajun chicken sandwich was juicy and flavorful but could have used a bit more spice.

No matter what meal you are getting remember your Rapid Refill mugs, if you have them, so you can grab a Powerade or other bottled drink for your DDP drink credit.

Pool/Laundry:
We didn’t do the best job of planning time to hit up the pools but we did finally make a short trip to the feature pool on Ol’ Man Island on Friday evening. The pool was still crowded even as it closed at 10:00pm but there was still plenty of room for people to move about comfortably. The water slide was a bit longer than I imagined for a resort pool and was a lot of fun. Regrettably we did not have time for the hot tub or Muddy Waters bar. We did not make it to the quiet pool in between Buildings 80 and 85 but we did use the laundry facility over there. It was a little inconvenient from room 8590 but it got the job done and the pool did look well maintained and spacious. If it was closer to our room I’m sure I would have gone often but we were so exhausted after long days at the parks we just wanted to sleep.

Entertainment:
If you are going ANYWHERE at WDW for more than a couple days, you MUST go see Bob Jackson’s show at the River Roost! I cannot state this enough. Bob has a gift for putting on a show that gets young and old, men and women, boys and girls of every demographic out of their chairs, singing and clapping along to a wide variety of music. It wasn’t just Disney songs, although many were peppered throughout the set list, but it was non-stop fun! At least until he needed to take a break where he takes pictures for his Facebook page and signs autographs for anyone who wants one. Bob’s passion for making people feel good is incredibly evident and it makes its way into every part of his shows. I can’t imagine returning to WDW and not going to see Yehaa Bob at least once (we went twice this time). Seriously, go see Bob!

We also took the time to take a horse drawn carriage ride but that was not nearly as fun. There were two carriages going at a time and we just got in the one closest to us. The route ours took went across Ol’ Man Island, down the main walking path for Magnolia Bend near the river, around the end of Building 95, then turned around and came back. We were disappointed because we had been staying in Magnolia Bend for the length of our stay and this route was nothing special to us because we were walking it daily. The other carriage, we came to find out later, went down to French Quarter which we would have enjoyed quite a bit more. Just bad luck on that one but you may wish to ask the driver which route you are going on if you have a preference. However, on our return to the main building a service vehicle began following our carriage pretty closely which totally spoiled our mood with the bright headlights and noisy engine. We were followed until we crossed the bridge to Ol’ Man Island and then took the opposite fork in the road. It was very annoying and I finally spoke to a manager as we checked out and she refunded half of the price of our ride. I would not totally discourage you from attempting a horse drawn carriage ride, just be cautious since there is an additional cost for a ride that was just over 20 minutes.

Fulton’s General Store:
Fulton’s was much larger than I anticipated and had plenty of souvenirs and small grocery items to keep you satisfied while at the resort. There wasn’t a great selection of resort-specific merchandise but that may have been due to holiday-themed merchandise and ornaments taking up a large area of the store during the holiday season. This is also where you pick up packages that have been sent back from the parks. They definitely have plenty of choices for a last minute purchase or to pick something up if you are just visiting the resort.

Landscaping:
All areas of the resort were very well maintained and beautifully landscaped. We didn’t venture outside of the main building, Ol’ Man Island or Magnolia Bend but it looked great as we passed on our bus trips around the resort.

Staff:
As you would come to expect from Disney the staff was courteous, pleasant and did everything possible to make sure we had a magical stay. Everyone from the front desk, housekeeping, food court and anyone in between was so friendly. We truly felt like we were at home! Even the CM from bell services who came to pick up our bags as we left gave us a ride on his golf cart over to the main building. Talk about first class service!

Overall, the value that you receive at Port Orleans Riverside cannot be beat. Having previously stayed at Caribbean Beach I can say that POR is light years ahead of the experience I had at CB. POR will definitely be at the top of my list for future WDW visits (unless we can find an incredible deal for Wilderness Lodge or Animal Kingdom Lodge). All things considered, POR far exceeded our high expectations and we would strongly recommend anyone stay here for their next WDW vacation!

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MardiGroggy
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Joined: August 11th, 2013, 10:30 am
Location: North Florida

Re: First POR Visit November 1 - 7

Unread post by MardiGroggy » November 17th, 2015, 8:34 am

Thanks for that great report! Glad to hear that you had such a good time and that Riverside was an important part of it. We, too, like the boat transport access to DS and are looking forward to when the construction there is completed.
MardiGroggy
Aka: Steve

"Laissez les bons temps rouler!"

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Jchuges7
Posts: 9
Joined: March 17th, 2015, 12:20 pm

Re: First POR Visit November 1 - 7

Unread post by Jchuges7 » November 23rd, 2015, 1:56 pm

swd wrote:Thanks for that great report! Glad to hear that you had such a good time and that Riverside was an important part of it. We, too, like the boat transport access to DS and are looking forward to when the construction there is completed.
Thanks! So many sites, such as this one, had great, honest reviews from other guests and I felt like I could help others in their planning process. Can't wait to get back to POR or to check out POFQ!

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