Over the last several months, all of the rooms at Port Orleans Riverside have been refurbished and slightly redecorated. Last week I spend a couple of days here so I could film and photograph the new Alligator Bayou and Mansion rooms. While I was there, I was also given access to a Mansion Accessible room which I will also cover today. The new Royal rooms were discussed in another blog so these will not be discussed at this time.
This blog is strictly about the new room designs. If you'd like to know more about the resort and its amenities, check out the article I wrote two years ago by clicking here.
The Alligator Bayou rooms are located in 16 two-story lodge buildings. They are nestled in groves of pine and oak trees which create the feeling of backwoods wilderness. The exterior of the lodges have not changed with the refurbishment.
Inside the room, we'll look first at the two queen beds. The headboards have not been altered from the previous design. They appear to be made out of small logs and branches. However, the bedspreads have been updated. They now sport scenes from around the resort.
The decorative pillow features Louis from the Disney animated film, “The Princess and the Frog.”
Two lantern-styled lamps can be found above the beds. Each is operated by a separate switch located over the nightstand.
The nightstand resembles a shipping crate that might have traveled along the Mississippi in another era. On it are a telephone and clock radio.
The picture on the side wall is that of the Blue Bayou Restaurant at Disneyland. It was painted by Disney Legend Herb Ryman.
All rooms have at least one, large window. Corner rooms have two. Besides blackout curtains, Venetian blinds allow guests to adjust the amount of outside light that enters the room.
Beneath the window is a reasonably disguised air conditioner. In the past, the controls were on the unit itself. Now, a wall-mounted thermostat operates the device. This is a nice improvement.
Like the headboard, the room's table appears to be made out of logs and branches. The chairs have slat backs and are painted dark brown. The carpet continues this wood theme and looks like peg-and-groove construction.
The biggest change to the Alligator Bayou room comes in the way a fifth person is accommodated here. In the past, inconvenient trundle beds were located under one of the primary beds. These have been done away with and replaced by an easy-to-use foldout bed. Resembling more shipping crates, this single bed opens and closes with ease. When the bed is open, we see Louis again, dreaming an alligator dream.
FYI: This bed is intended for children and young teenagers. An adult would be a little tight on space.
When not in use as a bed, this structure offers bench seating. Beneath the bench are three drawers. On one of the drawers we see a stenciled silhouette of a steamboat. The lettering says Willie Inc. Est. 1928. This is in reference to Mickey Mouse's debut in the animated short “Steamboat Willie.”
On top of the “crates” is a shelf, perfect for the storing of wallets, jewelry, room cards, and park tickets. You'll also find convenient audio-visual outlets for connecting your video camera to the TV.
Next to the foldout bed is a cupboard that houses a small refrigerator and two shelves. On top of this cabinet is the coffee maker and ice bucket. The hammered tin door is especially appealing with its scene of water lilies and cattails.
Above this cupboard is a coat-rack adorned with Mickey. However, the close proximity to the coffee maker below makes this coat-rack almost useless except for very small items.
All of the walls have been given a texture treatment. I don't know if this is wallpaper or plaster, but either way, it adds a nice, rustic touch. Rough-hewn wood planks circle the ceiling.
The vanity area of the bathroom is separated from the bedroom by a curtain.
The old bathroom design featured two pedestal sinks. This was attractive, but offered very little counter space. These have been replaced by a vanity unit with two sinks. Beneath the counter are shelves and a decorative washboard. The two mirrors are framed with “branches” that match the headboard and table. The number 92 on the washboard represents the year the resort opened. The hairdryer on the wall has a small light on the bottom of the unit. This makes a perfect nightlight.
Next to the sink is an open closet. There is plenty of space here to hang your clothes. Also in this area are extra bedding, an iron, ironing board, and key-locking safe.
The toilet and tub/shower are located in a separate room. The shower walls are covered in a material that resembles wood planks. The shower curtain features a non-Disney design of fish.
I liked this new design of the Alligator Bayou room very much. It was rustic, but didn't reek “outdoors.” It still retains some sophistication. I was comfortable here and suspect most others would be too. If you have five people, or a son and daughter that require separate beds, I would highly recommend one of these units.
To see a three minute film of an Alligator Bayou room, check out my video below.
Whereas the Alligator Bayou section of the resort offers backwoods charm, the Mansion section of Port Orleans suggests stately elegance. Four massive buildings, each with a different Southern Plantation design, house the rooms here.
The two queen-sized beds are draped in a non-Disney blue bedspread. A dust ruffle covers the lower mattress.
Each headboard features a beautiful painting inspired by real places at Port Orleans Riverside.
Above each bed is a simple, but elegant light fixture. Once again, they are operated by switches above the nightstand.
The nightstand is of an unassuming design which features a shelf and a drawer. A phone and a clock radio sit on top.
The window is draped in a rich fabric of elegant design. Venetian blinds add additional lighting options.
A round table and two chairs offer a nice spot to set up your laptop. I was especially impressed with the chair coverings. Additional fabric hangs below the seat cushions. In the scheme of things, this extra material is completely unnecessary, but adds a stylish touch worthy of the Grand Floridian.
The chest has three drawers and a cabinet that houses a mini-refrigerator. The flat-screen TV and coffee maker sit on top.
I must use this opportunity to complain. I see this time and time again in EVERY Disney resort. It is a minor inconvenience, but it annoys me.
Many small refrigerators have reversible doors. Why is it that Disney doesn't match the way the refrigerator door opens with the way the cabinet door opens? When one door opens to the left and the other to the right, it makes accessing the unit difficult. They should both open in the same direction.
Next to the chest is a cushioned bench. Above this is a Mickey coat rack. The arrangement here works better than at the Alligator Bayou rooms as there is space beneath the coat-rack, allowing you to hang longer pieces of apparel.
The picture on the wall is of Disneyland's Mark Twain riverboat.
Like the Alligator Bayou rooms, the controls for the air conditioner have been moved to a wall unit.
The bathroom vanity is located behind a hand-drawn curtain.
The vanity has a large counter-top with two sinks. Above this is a shelf and two mirrors and the room has more than adequate lighting. A hairdryer hangs on the wall.
The open closet has plenty of hanging space, an iron, ironing board, and a small safe. I have the same complaint with the safe as I do with the refrigerators. Why can't the safe door open toward the wall? By opening away from the wall, it becomes more cumbersome to use.
The toilet and tub/shower is located in a separate room. The shower walls are covered in a plastic material that hints at tile work.
I like the Mansion Rooms. They are nice. Very nice. But I didn't feel that the theming was anything out of the ordinary. Remove the picture of the Mark Twain and a few other Disney references, and I could be in any nice motor lodge around the country. On the other hand, the Alligator Bayou rooms are loaded with character. You will not find rooms like these at your local motel. Disney has taken the decorating of their rooms to a new level. The Alligator Bayou rooms are a good example of this. The Mansion rooms are nice, but nothing to write home about.
To be fair, I'm not sure what Disney could do to “plus” the Mansion rooms any more than they already have. But when you stay in an Alligator Bayou room one night and a Mansion room the next, the differences become more obvious.
To see a two and a half minute movie of a Mansion room, check out my video below.
While on my most recent trip, I also visited an Accessible Mansion room. Since the overall décor is identical to a standard Mansion room, I will only highlight what has been changed to make this room “accessible.”
You may have noticed, at all of the moderate resorts, the doors are placed within an alcove. (First picture.) In order to give the Accessible rooms a little more square footage, these alcoves have been eliminated. (Second picture.)
The doors of Accessible rooms have two peepholes -- one at a standard height and a second at a level convenient for someone sitting in a wheelchair.
The beds are several inches lower than in standard rooms for easier access.
The switch plate above the nightstand also has an electrical outlet so you don't have to go searching for it along the baseboard.
Between the beds and the room door is a full-length mirror.
Standard rooms have a round table. Accessible rooms have a square table designed for those using a wheelchair.
In making the bathroom larger and more convenient, the closet in the vanity was eliminated. In its place, a large wardrobe was placed in the bedroom area. In it are shelving, hanging space, the iron, and ironing board.
Unlike standard rooms that use a curtain to separate the vanity area from the bedroom, Accessible rooms use a solid, pocket door.
The bathroom has been radically redesigned from the Standard room. First, it's one large room rather than two. This allows the toilet area more space. Handrails have also been added for support.
There is only one sink with no cabinetry below. This frees up this lower space for those riding in a wheelchair. To make up for the lack of counter space, additional shelving has been added nearby.
The shower is designed to be “rolled” into. Dual height controls and a shower head on a flexible hose provide easy access. A fold-down chair is attached to the wall.
To see a two and a half minute movie of an Accessible Mansion room, check out my video below.
That's it for my coverage of the new room decors at Port Orleans Riverside. This is a great resort and I highly recommend giving it a try sometime.
The previous post in this blog was Common Bonds Quiz - Answers.
The next post in this blog is BoardWalk Inn & Villas - Part 1 of 3.