Of all of the Disney moderate resorts, Port Orleans French Quarter is hands down our favorite – in fact, we even prefer it to some of the deluxe resorts! We just spent a few days staying at the resort and I wanted to give a review and an overview of why we love the resort so much, as well as everything you will need to know if you have a stay there coming up.
Why Port Orleans French Quarter is our favorite of the Disney moderate resorts
General information on Port Orleans French Quarter
Disney’s Port Orleans Resort French Quarter is one of two Port Orleans Resorts (the other one being Riverside); the two resorts are within walking distance of each other but have totally separate facilities and individual bus transportation. With just over 1000 rooms, Port Orleans French Quarter is the smallest of the Disney moderate resorts (which is a huge plus!) and has a fantastic immersive New Orleans style atmosphere.
How to get around Port Orleans French Quarter
Port Orleans French Quarter has it’s own bus system, which is a huge deal! This means that the buses go from the resort to the parks without stopping at any other resorts, and French Quarter only has one bus stop. If you’ve stayed at the other Disney moderate resorts you’ll know that they often have multiple bus stops which makes getting to and from the parks a bit more of an ordeal, so this is a huge plus. The bus stop is out the front of the resort and can be easily accessed from the lobby, and there are times boards that will give you an approximate idea of when the next bus to each of the parks is expected (this information is also available on the My Disney Experience app). We only used the bus to get to and from Epcot, and the journey was very quick.
You can take the boat from Port Orleans French Quarter both to Port Orleans Riverside and to Disney Springs. The walk to Riverside is very short so we never took the boat between resorts, but we did use it to go to Disney Springs one evening for dinner. The boats ran from 9am to 11pm during our trip (we were told that hours vary based on the time of year so this is something to double check) and we never had too long of a wait. The trip itself took about 15-20 minutes and was very pleasant, passing by the Treehouse Villas and Saratoga Springs.
Port Orleans French Quarter rooms (and where you want to stay!)
The rooms at Port Orleans French Quarter are all very similar. They all have two double beds with a small table, a chest of drawers and a TV as well as a small refrigerator. The bathroom area is separated from the main bedroom by a curtain and the toilet/shower area is separate from the sink, giving plenty of space for privacy and multiple people to get ready at once. As with all moderate resorts, the walkways are outside so there are no balconies, something I will say is a real shame at this resort given how pretty it is and how lovely the views are.
The complimentary toiletries at this resort come in the form of large containers attached to the wall instead of individual bottles (for the shampoo, conditioner and body wash – we had individual bottles for body lotion). I know a lot of people were upset when Disney switched to this (they haven’t yet changed this at all resorts, but they are slowly working through them) but I actually much prefer it; my hair is very thick and I would have to go through several of those little bottles to get enough shampoo and conditioner! I also like that there is less plastic waste, and if you really want those little bottles to take home as a souvenir you can ask housekeeping and they’ll have them for you.
Because the resort is so small, I don’t think there is a great advantage here of requesting that your room be in a particular location, and asking for a particular view is pretty much redundant since you’ll only see it when you go in and out of your room. If you really want to be close to the main building and the pool, request a room in buildings 2,3 or 5 (buildings 1 and 4 are also close) – buildings 6 and 7 are the furthest but we were in building 6 and it was a very short walk to the main building. Building 7 is the closest to Port Orleans Riverside so if you want to be a short walk from that resort, that’s the building to request, and building 4 is the closest to the bus stop.
Port Orleans French Quarter dining
Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory
The main dining area at Port Orleans French Quarter is the food court, Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory. This was recently refurbished and is now one of the nicest food courts on property. The food court serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and is open from 6am to midnight (we found it was very crowded around 8-9am and then again at 8-10pm in the evenings when people were coming back from the parks). There are multiple stations to get food, with everything from the usual burgers and fries to Cajun inspired food like shrimp and grits and jambalaya, as well as grab and go stations to get drinks and snacks. I never expect too much from the Disney food courts, but I thought the food here was fantastic; we had chocolate chip pancakes every morning and they were always hot and fresh, and the shrimp and grits were fantastic. Our favorite were the beignets, which were made to order and always had a line of people waiting for them!
The food court also has the Coke Freestyle machines, which was the sole reason we bought refillable mugs. We wouldn’t normally buy these, especially for a shorter trip, since they cost $20 and none of us really drink soda (and the kids meals always come with a drink). But the freestyle machines have things like ginger ale, Vitamin Water, and Powerade that give you more options when it comes to refilling your mug. We walked over to Port Orleans Riverside one day to have lunch in their food court and we took our mugs since you can use your refillable mug at any resort; we were disappointed to find they had regular soda machines over there and no other options.
Scat Cat’s Club and Mardi Grogs Bar
Scat’s Cat Club is the lobby bar at Port Orleans French Quarter and has a very laid back atmosphere. We only stopped by once around 9pm and didn’t find too many guests in there and plenty of tables available. Being a New Orleans themed resort, naturally the Hurricane is the featured drink and the bartenders make it very well! This is a great place to come for a quiet break to grab a drink and listen to some jazz music.
Mardi Grogs Bar is the pool bar serving both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks as well as light snacks. The bar is actually a pretty big space and offers a full bar menu as well as the specialty drinks. My recommendation is the Gator Melon Juice (which has a refreshing tropical taste perfect for a hot day) or the non-alcoholic Lava Smoothie (a blend of pina colada mix and raspberry puree).
Port Orleans French Quarter doesn’t offer a full in room dining menu, however they do offer a pizza delivery service. As well as pizza, you can order things like breadsticks, wings, salads, and even dessert. There is an 18% gratuity charge for the order as well as a $3.00 delivery charge and a $15 minimum order. Honestly, with the resort being as small as it is, I would recommend just walking down to the food court to pick up a family size pizza from there instead; we saw plenty of people doing this in the evenings and it’ll save time and money!
Port Orleans French Quarter activities
Dubloon Lagoon Pool and Splash Pad
My kids could have spent their entire vacation here, never going to the parks, and had the absolute best time ever! If you’re visiting Walt Disney World pretty much any time between April and November, you will want to choose a resort with a great pool since you’ll need it to cool off! The Port Orleans French Quarter pool is one of the best Walt Disney World pools and is perfect for kids of all ages. Older kids will love the sea serpent themed slide and younger kids will adore the splash pad with smaller slides, fountains, and a huge bucket that upends water everywhere every few minutes. There are complimentary life vests available for kids and lifeguards on duty.
The pool deck is a decent size and we never had to fight for pool chairs. I did notice that there wasn’t too much shade so it might get a little warm in the middle of the day, and some of the chairs didn’t have a great view of the pool so keep that in mind if you’re trying to keep an eye on your kids.
Guests at Port Orleans French Quarter are welcome to use the pools at both French Quarter and Riverside Resorts, which gives you seven pools to choose from! As well as the main pools at both resorts, there are five quiet pools at Riverside (which should give you some idea of the size of that resort!) although honestly, we thought that the pool and splash pad at French Quarter were the best.
I’ve said it before, but Walt Disney World should have way more playgrounds! The Port Orleans French Quarter playground is small, but the perfect place to let kids run off some energy (and since it’s right outside the lobby, we let the kids play there with one of the adults while the other one went through the check in process, which was great!) The play structure isn’t shaded so once the summer temperatures hit, it does get very hot very quickly, so I’d recommend letting kids play on it early on in the day or in the evening once temperatures go down. Port Orleans Riverside also has a playground that my kids really enjoyed.
Horse drawn carriage ride
This is something we didn’t get to do on this trip but definitely plan to at a later date because it looks like so much fun! We saw numerous people taking horse drawn carriage rides around the beautiful grounds of Port Orleans French Quarter and Riverside, and it looked so relaxing! Your carriage ride begins and ends at Port Orleans Riverside just a few steps from the boat dock, and it takes about 25 minutes to complete the journey along the banks of the Sassagoula River and around the grounds. Prices and availability can be found by calling 407-WDW-PLAY and I’d recommend making reservations in advance.
Campfire and outdoor movie
If you’ve ever been to the Chip and Dale Campfire and Singalong at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort, then this is like a smaller version of that just without the characters or the singing (I guess you can sing if you want to!) The campfire and outdoor movie doesn’t occur every day so check the times guide to see when you can catch one during your stay, and start times vary based on the time of year. The campfire and movie are held in Beignet Square, which is sandwiched between buildings 5 and 6, and is obviously weather dependent. The marshmallows for the campfire are free (as are the sticks to toast them on) but if you want a s’mores kit you’ll need to purchase one (or just bring your own graham crackers and chocolate with you).
Beignet Dash family fun run
The Beignet Dash is a family fun run offered on Sundays that takes you on a 1.5 mile course throughout Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter. This race is available to people of all ages and abilities, so you by no means need to be a runner, and at the end of the race not only do you get a beaded necklace with a commemorative charm but you get a voucher for three complimentary beignets from the food court! You can learn more about the Beignet Dash in this post from Smart Mouse Travel.
Port Orleans French Quarter will always be our top recommendation for moderate resorts at Disney World and we absolutely loved our stay there. If you have any other questions about staying at the resort please feel free to reach out to me and I’ll help in any way I can!