by Jackie Perrin
One of two Moderate Category properties making up Disney’s 325-acre Port Orleans Resort, the 1,008-room Port Orleans French Quarter Resort is just a short boat ride from Downtown Disney, but seemingly worlds away from the hustle and bustle of the theme parks.
Half the size of its sprawling sister, Port Orleans Riverside, and providing access to activities and facilities at both properties, the lushly landscaped New Orleans-themed resort opened in 1991 as Port Orleans Resort, and is a favorite among couples seeking a romantic retreat; it’s also a haven for families in search of a peaceful getaway.
A Mardi Gras-themed pool with a sea serpent slide is a favorite among kids of all ages, and in addition to an onsite playground and a game room, guests have access to bikes, boats, cane pole fishing and even carriage rides at the neighboring Port Orleans Riverside Resort.
After sampling regional foods like jambalaya, beignets and barbecue at Sassagoula Floatworks & Food Factory, your crew can listen to jazz at Scat Cats Club, take a leisurely stroll along cobblestone streets, or board a flat bottom boat and enjoy a scenic ride to Downtown Disney.
Our Editor Loves
- New Orleans cuisine
- Mardi Gras-themed pool with water slide
- Boat transportation to Downtown Disney
- All Inclusive Rates
- Theme Park
- Water Parks
- Water Sports
- Connecting Rooms
- Free Wi-Fi
- Game Room
- Kids' Pool
- Meal Plan
- Onsite Dining
Rooms & Rates
Slightly more spacious than accommodations at Disney Value Resorts, but with less elbowroom than you'd enjoy at a Deluxe Category property, rooms at Port Orleans French Quarter Resort contain all the amenities you'd expect in a mid-range chain hotel, plus a few extras thrown in with trademark Disney flair. While rooms themselves lack luxury, many guests feel that the property's lush landscaping, expertly created New Orleans ambiance, convenient boat service to downtown Disney and access to an abundance of activities provide significant value and are adequate compensation for an absence of upscale comforts.
Standard Rooms, last refurbished in 2012, are 314 square feet and are located in a village of seven, three-story buildings, designed to project the ambiance of the New Orleans French Quarter and Garden District. Ornate wrought iron railings line room entries and along with neatly manicured hedges, fragrant blooms and "cobblestone" streets transport guests to the Big Easy. Linens and furniture reflect the regional Southern theme, including dark cherry furnishings and Mardi Gras print bedcoverings, with numerous "Hidden Mickeys" to be found.
All guestrooms contain a king bed or two queen beds and sleep up to four, plus one crib sleeper under the age of three. Complimentary Pack 'N Plays and bed rails are delivered upon request, and connecting rooms are available. Families can choose from Garden, Pool and River views, too.
Besides a dresser and a TV, each room is equipped with a table with two chairs and a bench, a coffeepot and complimentary Wi-Fi. A small refrigerator is housed in a low-lying, non-locking cabinet -- this may be an issue if you're traveling with little ones. A vanity area contains two sinks, as opposed to the one available at Value Resorts, and a privacy curtain separates it from the bedroom, meaning part of your party can shower early while others sleep in (assuming they're not light sleepers).
We stayed at the French quarter for two weeks meeting up with American relatives. Firstly the resort amenities were fantastic, pool, park etc. The kids loved loved loved the pool area (which was the safest pool area I have ever seen) the life guards were superb, always vigilant.
Food- the food court was chaotic at best. Breakfast more so. Food going cold when waiting for orders that are ready but no communication to plate it up. Staff in the food hall were very busy which meant they weren’t very happy. Would have loved more vegetarian options for my 10 year old daughter as she had limited choices.
Best bits- scat bar food was delicious and the staff even better. I have to name Nate and Lolanda who went above and beyond for our party of 6. We will miss them lots.
Buses are pretty regular to resorts although expect a long wait for typhoon lagoon.
All in all a great holiday
This is my favourite Disney resort! The theming is so authentic. It’s a small resort so any building is a good choice and it’s easy to navigate. They have separate buses from POR so it’s always easy to get to/from the parks and I never found them to be overly crowded, and unlike other resorts, they were frequent enough. You can also take a boat to Disney Springs/POR which is quite relaxing.
There are plenty of options for food at the food court, and beignets are included as a snack/dessert with dinner. 😍
I would really advise against opting out of housekeeping for stays longer than a week. The CMs we dealt with were so unhelpful and quite rude when it came to trying to get new towels etc and coming home to a clean room at the end of a long day makes for a better sleep.
Every day's a party at Doubloon Lagoon, the resort's Mardi Gras-themed feature pool featuring Scales, a 51-foot sea serpent slide that's practically legendary, as well as a musical band of squirting reptile statues.
Beyond its amusing theme, once noteworthy feature of this pool is that it tends to be less crowded than the main pool at the adjacent Riverside Resort. Unlike the Pirate Pool at Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort, there's no zero entry, but in the vicinity, there's a shallow kiddie pool that's nicely shaded and surrounded by lounge chairs. Nearby, a secluded hot tub beckons adults, and for those who want to soak while the wash is spinning, there's Laundry-on-the-Levee, a credit or debit-card only laundry room (open 24 hours with a Magic Band or resort keycard).
Towels and swim vests are complimentary, and swim diapers are required for non-potty trained children while using resort pools. You can purchase these and other baby and toddler supplies at Jackson Square Gifts & Desires (open 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.), along with swim gear, sunscreen, souvenirs and limited groceries.
A poolside restroom contains space for changing. Pool (lifeguards on duty during operating hours) and Jacuzzi hours fluctuate with the season.
Near the feature pool complex, a small modern playground offers low-to-the-ground slides that are just right for little ones, a cushioned surface for safe landings and a couple of shaded benches.
South Quarter Games
Located off the main lobby, this medium-sized (by Disney standards) arcade contains around 50 games, from classic to modern. It's open 24 hours (but don't tell the kids)!
Movies Under the Stars
Every night, a kid-friendly Disney movie is screened on the lawn between Buildings 5 and 6. Timing varies according to season. Check the Resort Activities schedule for details.
Behind Building 6, roast marshmallows with the kids at this nightly campfire and sing songs or tell stories.
In the main lobby a Caricature Artist creates playful renditions of parents and kids enjoying their favorite sport, hobby or occupation. Choices range from black-and-white face portraits to full-body color pictures. Hours are 7 to 10 p.m. daily.
Port Orleans Riverside Activities
In addition to swimming at the Ol' Man Island Pool Complex, guests of Port Orleans French Quarter can take advantage of the many activities available at the adjacent Port Orleans Riverside Resort, like the Medicine Show Arcade, playgrounds, cane pole fishing, horse and carriage rides, bike and boat rentals and a Pirate Adventure Cruise for kids ages 4 to 12.
Sassagoula Floatworks & Food Factory
A carnival of Mardi Gras props adorns this open-air food court, featuring four take-and-eat stations (Broiler/Grill, Bakery, Sandwiches & Salads and Italian/Pizza), as well as a Take-Out Pizza Window and a Grab-and-Go section with healthy items like fresh fruit and salads. Don't pass up the chance to sample some tasty regional specialties -- standouts include the barbecue chicken and rib combo and hot beignets (available in quantities of three or six).
Beyond the requisite chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese, the kids' menu includes Mickey Mouse waffles for breakfast, and pasta with marinara Sauce or Barbecued Ribs for lunch or dinner. Kids' meals (ages 9 and under) come with 1-percent milk, apple juice or water and a choice of grapes, carrot sticks or applesauce. Hours are 6 a.m. to midnight; specific hours vary by station, and high chairs and booster seats are available.
Disney Quick Service Dining Plan credits are accepted. For a one-time fee, you can purchase a refillable mug, which entitles you to unlimited hot and cold beverages at the food court drink station for the length of your stay.
A Kids Corner, complete with a chalkboard guest art gallery, contains a tot-sized table with coloring sheets and crayons for creating.
At this poolside watering hole, you can order up a spirited frozen drink or a non-alcoholic smoothie, then sip and enjoy the scenery. It's open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 6 pm., weather permitting and hours sometime fluctuate with the season.
Scat Cat's Club
Featuring live entertainment Friday to Monday and Hurricane drinks in a number of varieties from "Classic" to "Swamp Water," this cozy jazz-themed lounge is chock full of jazz memorabilia. It's open daily from 4 p.m. to midnight, and best suited for mom and dad only.
Sassagoula Pizza Express
If you're too tired to trek to the food court (where you'll save 18 percent, plus a delivery charge by ordering from the Take-Out Pizza Window), Sassagoula Pizza Express will bring pizza, salad, beer, wine and dessert to your resort room. Hours are 4 p.m. to midnight.
Port Orleans Riverside Resort Dining
At French Quarter's sister resort next door, you can expand your palate and your pleasure with a sit-down restaurant (Boatwright's Dining Hall -- dinner only), two additional bars (Muddy Rivers Pool Bar and River Roost Lounge) and Riverside Mill, a food court with multiple stations, including a bakery serving praise-worthy apple dumplings.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
Here's a resort that exudes New Orleans charm and hospitality for kids as well as adults. From complimentary beads and touring tips doled out by lobby greeters to an ever-present soundtrack of jazz and the wafting aroma of spicy jambalaya, you'll feel like you've arrived in the Big Easy. During Mardi Gras, the property goes all out with an onsite parade featuring cast-decorated floats and special kids tables, and cartoons can be found in the check-in area and in the food court. Every day at the pool, recreation staff appoint an honorary "Junior Lifeguard" of the day. The special VIP's announce the official opening, and get the honor of being the first guests down the waterslide that day.
Overnight guests enjoy a number of special perks, like early entry and late stay theme park privileges (Extra Magic Hours), free onsite transportation, free parking, the ability to make FASTPASS+ reservations 60 days in advance and the opportunity to participate in a Disney Dining Plan with a Magic Your Way Package. Additional privileges include online room check-in (up to 10 days in advance), resort airline check-in and airport transportation service via Disney's Magical Express.
A 0.7-mile paved jogging trail runs parallel to the Sassagoula River, between Port Orleans Riverside and French Quarter Resorts. Saratoga Springs Resort offers a full spa, as well as an onsite Health Club. Gym access is free to Port Orleans Riverside guests ages 14 and up (Key to the World Card required). Guests ages 14 to 17 must be accompanied by an adult.
Kids Nite Out, an independent agency, provides in-room resort childcare. Rates are $16 per hour for the first child, with a four-hour minimum and a $10 caregiver transportation fee.
If you're visiting with kids under three, you'll need to bring, rent or buy a stroller. Jackson Square Gifts & Desires sells a reclining umbrella model. Local services that deliver include All About Kids, Orlando Crib Rental, Orlando Stroller Rental and Owner's Locker.
The Art of Smart Timing
When traveling to Walt Disney World Resort, it's best to avoid peak travel periods. Generally, these times include holidays and the summer months -- in other words, any time schools are out of session. If you do opt to visit in summertime, pack sunscreen, hydrate frequently and, unless you want to squander your souvenir money on ponchos at the parks, don't forget your raingear.
Fortunately for travelers on a budget, the least expensive times to visit Walt Disney World theme parks (Value Season) tend to coordinate with dates when crowds are the lightest. If your kids aren't in school yet, September is a great time to visit. Another prime time is after Thanksgiving through early December, when parks and resorts are decked out in holiday splendor.
Free roundtrip airport transportation via motorcoach is available to guests (advance reservation required; limited hours) from Orlando International Airport (MCO) via Disney's Magical Express.
To reach the resort by car, take the South Exit Road from Orlando International Airport to SR 417 Toll Road (GreeneWay) West and follow signs to Walt Disney World/Port Orleans French Quarter Resort.
Free transportation to and from Walt Disney World theme parks and water parks is provided by bus. A single bus stop is located outside French Quarter Landing, near the food court. Complimentary daily boat service is provided to and from Port Orleans Riverside and Downtown Disney. Hours are 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Boats depart every 20 minutes from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and every 10 minutes from 4 to 11 p.m. The last return launch of the day departs Downtown Disney at 11.30 p.m.
Parking is free to resort guests and parking lots are located adjacent to lodgings -- a major advantage over some Value or Deluxe properties, where access tends to be less convenient. Those planning to rely on resort transportation can reduce transit time by requesting a room near the resort center, close to both the food court and the lone bus stop, but the walk isn't a great distance from any lodging on property, and all buildings have elevators.
For Mom and Dad
Take a romantic horse-drawn carriage ride at Port Orleans Riverside or enjoy a spicy evening of jazz and jambalaya at Scat Cat's Club and Sassagoula Food Factory. If you prefer natural scenery, consider a peaceful (and free) river cruise to Downtown Disney. The last return launch of the day departs Downtown Disney at 11:30 pm.