I had the opportunity to tour Disney’s Port Orleans Resort-French Quarter during an Agent Education Program, and the moment I saw the resort, I said “This is the next resort where I want to stay.” When planning a last minute trip to Walt Disney World for October 2011 there was no discussion of what resort we were staying at. As the official vacation planner of the family, I decided we would be staying at Port Orleans-French Quarter and the topic was not up for discussion.
Themed after the French Quarter Section of New Orleans, the resort makes you feel like you are staying there rather than a resort in Florida. As you enter the main entrance you are greeted by a cast member decked out in Mardi Gras attire handing out beads or doubloon “coins” to be tossed into the fountain in the lobby. The lobby area itself is not large and everything is very easy to find. The food court and the lounge (Scat Cat’s Club) are on one side with registration, the arcade and Jackson Square Gifts on the other. There are 7 buildings in this resort which has a total of approximately 1000 rooms. The buildings are close together while being close to the main building and bus stop so there are no preferred room locations since every building is in a great location. The buildings are located along “streets” lined with wrought iron fences, gas lamplights and tiles embedded in the sidewalks with the names. There are numerous gardens and sitting areas among all the buildings.
All of the resort rooms recently underwent renovation and now house new queen sized beds, flat screen TVs and renovated bathrooms. Rooms also include a mini fridge and coffee maker as well as free WiFi service. Also in the room is vanity area with double sinks, iron and ironing board, a large shelf and closet area as well as a shelf with hooks in the sleeping area. The vanity area is separated from the sleeping area by a curtain which allows for privacy when family members are still sleeping.
There is only one bus stop area at the resort and it is less than a 4 minute walk from any building. We stayed in building 7 in room 302 which is the building and room farthest away from the main building and the bus stop, but to me was closer than several other resorts I have stayed at (including some deluxe resorts). The bus ride to EPCOT is 9 minutes, 12 minutes to Magic Kingdom, around 8 for Hollywood Studios and about 5 minutes to Downtown Disney. Yes, I timed them!
French Quarter usually has its own bus to and from the parks. The only time we had to share a bus with neighboring Port Orleans Riverside was to Downtown Disney. You can take a resort riverboat up to Riverside or to the Downtown Disney area. Boat runs every 10-20 minutes depending on the time of day and run from 10 am – 11pm. The boat drops you off at the marketplace entrance at Downtown by Rainforest Café.
The resort has one main pool area centrally located and has spa areas, children areas with some cool slides and a pool bar called Mardi Grogs Pool Bar. Towels are available poolside and the laundry facilities are located here as well.
There are a ton of recreation and activities at this resort. There are fishing excursions, Bayou Pirate Adventure Cruises, Boat rentals, bicycle rentals, plain ole pole fishing and scenic evening horse drawn carriage rides. Some activities are at the neighboring Riverside resort and are a short walk or you can take a riverboat up to the resort. There are movies shown outside on a big screen every night (weather permitting) and every night behind building 5 you will find a campfire with the makings for smores.
There isn’t a table service restaurant at French Quarter but there is still plenty of food. The Sassagoula Food Court has a lot to offer. There are 4 food areas, plus a bakery. You can choose from pizza, burgers, steak sandwiches (I recommend these) and some traditional southern food. There is plenty of seating inside and outside. The hours are 6 am – midnight. Some food selections are limited after 10 pm.
Next to the food court is Scat Cat’s Club which is open from 4pm – midnight and features live entertainment Wednesday – Saturday. You can get cocktails here and either enjoy a quiet moment while the kids are at the arcade or bring the drink poolside.
Room service is not available at this resort but you can order pizza from Sassagoula Pizza Express and they will deliver to your room. Service is available 4 pm to midnight.
French Quarter to me is one of the best kept Disney resort secrets. I truly enjoyed the intimate layout of the resort, the overall theme and the fact that everything is so close. No one wants to get off a bus from a park at the end of a very long day and then have to walk a distance to their room. The resort itself was quiet and you felt like you were on vacation, on your vacation. I have recommended this resort to several of my clients and I hope they enjoy it as much as I did. I would definitely stay here again and would have to say that it definitely moved up to one of my top favorite Disney resorts that I have stayed at...and I’ve stayed at a lot of them.
I would suggest this resort to anyone who is looking for a moderate category resort and wants a quiet, homey setting.