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Never a dull moment for kids at Disney's Port Orleans Resort

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Disney's Port Orleans Resort might feature a design of stately mansions and refined landscaping, yet it offers plenty of fun amenities and activities for kids. My family and I happily discovered this when we stayed at Riverside in one of the new Royal Guest Rooms.

These Disney story rooms are designed to appeal to those who love Disney Princesses. (You can read about all the incredible details in my AllEars post: http://land.allears.net/blogs/guestblog/2012/03/disney_worlds_royal_guest_room.html.) But whether you stay in a Royal Guest Room or a New Orleans style room, there are so many fun options to fill a day at the resort that you probably won't spend all day in the rooms.

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The Sassagoula River winds between the Riverside rooms and another themed set of buildings called French Quarter, creating a beautiful setting for paths that are used by runners, walkers, bike riders and horse-drawn carriages. Along the way, guests will be immersed in award-winning landscaping and gardens reminiscent of the old South.

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There are seven swimming pools interspersed throughout the grounds, and Riverside and French Quarter each have a main pool with a slide and hot tub. There are even spigots for "jumping water." I think my kids could have played all day at the Riverside pool, which also features an afternoon party with games and music for kids.

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Adjacent is a small playground and an area for the nightly campfire, where families can toast marshmallows and make s'mores. After the fire, movies are shown on a large, inflatable screen on one of the mansion's lawns.

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The hub of activity for the resort, which houses the registration area, gift shop, restaurant and food court, looks like a riverboat dock. Its centerpiece is a large, water-powered mill at one end of the food court. At the opposite end of the dock, guests can rent kayaks, two-seat speedboats, pontoon boats, Surrey bikes and quadricycles.


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My husband and son went out exploring on the Sassagoula River in a Sea Racer, which only goes about 5 miles per hour, the cast member on duty reassured my speed-averse son. They meandered past the French Quarter, Old Key West Resort and eventually into the lake that borders Downtown Disney. It's a great way to see some of Disney's resorts -- and golf fairways -- from a unique perspective not otherwise seen by guests.

Another boating excursion is offered just for kids ages 4 to 10, the Bayou Pirate Adventure Cruise. According to the description, "Legend has it that a pirate captain lost his treasure somewhere along the Sassagoula River. Join in this two-hour adventure that includes a boat excursion and a snack." It costs $34 per child. Reservations can be made by calling 407-WDW-PLAY.

Kids might also be interested in catch-and-release fishing on Ol' Man Island, getting their hair wrapped at a dockside stand or taking a turn in one of the largest video arcades at Disney World.

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For a snack or a meal, families can visit the Riverside Mill Food Court, which has various stations open from 6 a.m. to midnight. There are so many choices -- from carving stations and a speciality shop to fresh tossed salads and a bakery -- that it's an eatery that will appeal to a wide variety of tastes. Plus, who can resist sitting near the giant waterwheel that turns constantly?

Next door is Boatwright's Dining Hall, a table-service restaurant that features many traditional Creole dishes, such as jambalaya, crawfish and gumbo. It's a comfortable atmosphere made even cozier by a fireplace in the center. We all enjoyed a delicious dinner there. The highlight for both of my children was the make-your-own-sundae that topped off the meal. (See menus and pricing for Boatwright's Dining Hall and Riverside Mill Food Court at http://allears.net/menu/menus.htm#res)

Too tired to get cleaned up for dinner? Sassagoula Pizza Express will deliver to your room from 4 p.m. to midnight.

You can find even more information about Port Orleans Resort at AllEars resource pages http://allears.net/acc/faq_dxl.htm and http://allears.net/acc/faq_po.htm.

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The previous post in this blog was Disney World's Royal Guest Rooms designed for princesses.

The next post in this blog is Disney World's Storybook Circus improves area for kids.

Comments (25)

Wendy Crober:

Hi Kristin,

This is our favourite resort because it has so much to offer and it's great value for your money! We just spent 9 nights in February (11 of us) and we'll go back again in December and can't wait.

We especially love to see Bob Jackson.

Wendy

Jo :

POR is our 'Disney home' - staying at Disney's Old Key West in July, but all of us are a little bit sad we won't be going 'home' - we will definitely find time to grab a bite at Riverside Mill - we LOVE POR!!

Tracey:

Thank you so much for this information! My family will be spending a few days there and April, and I am thrilled to read about all the activities available for children. I never knew about the movies, party at the pool or the campfire!

Beverly Martino:

My son and daughter in law are planning a trip for me, my grandchildren, their aunts and uncles and themselves in the near future. She forwarded this information to me and I am just getting more excited. Disney IS the most wonderful place on earth for fun and families. Thanks.

Jennifer:

My family and I love, love, love the POR, we have stayed at many others and this so far is our favorite. We love the pool, and the boat ride down to downtown disney. We also love the surroundings and how pretty, and cozy it is coming back to our room after a long day at the parks. We are going back in about a year, and POR is the only place we will stay!!! To me it is right up there with the deluxe resorts without the deluxe price!!

Mary Redmond:

Thanks for the information, we're going in Decemeber and my youngest was thrilled to hear about the fishing!! So excited to go, truly can't wait, all I love reading all the info we get from this site!

David Midddleton:

Our kids went on the Pirate cruise last summer and loved it. They visited several different resorts. They always talk about Captain Mike and his friend " Eddie". Eddie was their pirate flag that had a shrunken skull at the tip. Probably not as much fun for kids over ten.

Chip Wilson:

Disney POR is our favorite place to be. I have been visiting since I was six years of age and my first visit was 1971. Know, we are traveling as a group (my family, my parents, my mother-in-law, my sister and her family). We normally average a group of 12-15. What fun. My twin boys are now four and we will travel for our third trip this December 2012. What a wonderful place to stay and enjoy the magic of the park while at the resort.

You mention PO has events for kids. I'm just wondering are those all year around events or just during the busy season. WE are coming in November to PO Riverside.

AllEars: Times and activities are always seasonal depending on resort capacity.

Kelley:

Hi Kristin
THanks for the information! We will be there in 32 days! How much does it cost to rent the Sea Racers?

Thanks

Kristin:
Hi, Kelley: The Sea Racers currently are $32 for 30 minutes. I believe there is a discount for an hour. (It's not $64.)

Abby:

We LOVE LOVE LOVE POR. I spent summers at Dixie Landings as a teenager, and now my husband and I travel back annually with our kids. We have stayed at almost all deluxe resorts and still prefer POR.

gena yates:

Well, I certainly hope I win this AllEars survey thing so I can stay here ( yea right, I never win nottin...but one can stil hope )!!! I know it it convient to get to Downtown Disney but what about everything else (busses ) ?? The campfire sounds fun. How do you like the rooms and layout of property ( to and from bus stations etc..)?? Thanks for the blog !! Gena

Jenn:

There's nothing like Port Orleans for ambiance! We prefer to stay at POFQ for convenience, but have also enjoyed our stay in the Alligator Bayou section at POR. We always head over to Riverside as well, to use the pool and have a change of pace at the restaurants (POFQ is lacking in dining variety, and it would be fabulous if they would either expand the food court or add a table service option there). Great article! Makes me excited for November and our next trip!!

Joe:

I've stayed at both Riverside and French Quarter and enjoyed both. For kids, Riverside is probably the best resort at Disney, certainly among the moderates. Great pools, lots of fun stuff to do. It's also more centrally located than some, making travel faster to most of the parks.

Bob Jackson does an evening piano bar show at Riverside that is a ton of fun. It's one of those little things that is almost a secret, lost in the shadows of all the major attractions at Disney World, but take his show anywhere else and it'd be on everybody's must see list.

Rivh Ruby:

We've stayed at Port Orleans Riverside 5 of the past 6 years and always had a great time! The quiet pools are the best!! Now that Disney added the afernoon party at the Ol' Man River pool, campfire and night time movie, it makes staying at POR even better! Can't wait for this year's trip.

We go to Disney every year and this year will be our first trip to POR. We are so excited to experience all that it has to offer!!! Thanks for the 411!

Carly:

My family is a Disney family. We haven't stayed at this resort since I was a child and it was called "Dixie Landings." We have stayed at many resorts but usually fall back on the Caribbean Beach. Riverside will now become our Disney "home." My family just returned on Saturday from our trip (my own daughter now included) and I can't say enough about how impressed I was with how well kept the grounds were, the overall feel of the resort and the activities offered (because Disney doesn't alreay have enough to offer :) ) I highly recommend Riverside!

Bobbie:

Our family was there just two weeks ago and we LOVED it (first trip for kids, first stay at Port Orleans Riverside). Port Orleans Riverside will always be our choice.

Jenn:

POR is our home away from home. We've thought about staying at a different resort for a little variety but we always end up staying with POR & never had any regrets. Can't wait to get back soon!!

John:

Heading to the Port this week for 7 days, can't wait. We really enjoy Riverside, stay here the past 4 years.I agree with a previous blogger Bob Jackson is one of the best kept secrets at Disney, really has a great show and interacts well with the children and adults.

Mary:

My husband and two small children stayed at POR in November. I was concerned since our last trip 2 yrs prior was fabulous at Coronado Springs. I am not a rustic girl at all and thought i wouldn't like the theme. I loved it!!!

The rooms were just redone!! Very homey and comfortable, We chose this hotel because it was the most cost effective with two children (we didn't want them to share a bed). POR has a pull down bed, ideal for a toddler in a Princess and a Frog theme. It was great. The hotel was more kid friendly than the Coronado. The boat to Downtown Disney was the biggest perk for us. So much to do at this hotel, boat ride, carriage rides, boat rentals, movies, fishing,playground area, quiet pools are delightful hardly anyone in them!! Fabulous time. I would highly recommend this hotel for anyone families with children of all ages including teens!! You will not be disappointed!

Rebekah Stupakewicz:

Going to stay in Port Orleans Riverside this September with my husband and two boys. It will be our first visit to Disney and we're so excited.

Looking forward to the atmosphere and fishing with the boys at Riverside.

Thanks allears.net for sharing with us "inside" tips to make our visit more comfortable...with a special needs child it is so good to "plan" as much as you can. Thanks for making that even more possible.

Blessings!!

Duane:

POR is also our "Disney Home". But, the review forgot to mention Bob Jackson!! He is an AMAZING pianist and entertainer who performs Wednesday-Sunday nights at the River Roost Lounge, next to Boatwrights! He starts at 8:30 PM, but if you are not there by 7:45, there is no seats left! He is hillarious, adults love him and kids love him!

Oh, and who else can get middle-aged men to dance and sing "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes?" ha!

Sandra Knight:

Was wondering if the pools at Port Orleans Riverside are heated? My granddaughter is a water baby. She loves to swim and is already asking about going swimming, at Disney. We are coming the week of December 13 thru 19. Also, how much is it to do the horse and surrey ride?

Susan:

We are staying in the new royal guest rooms in September. I was wondering if its going to be too princess like for my grandson, hes four. Also I seen a post about a pirate cruise , where is this at? Thanks

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 17, 2012 7:34 AM.

The previous post in this blog was Disney World's Royal Guest Rooms designed for princesses.

The next post in this blog is Disney World's Storybook Circus improves area for kids.

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