Disney’s Port Orleans Resort first opened to the public at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida on 17th May 1991, with the original ground-breaking during the fall of 1989. Originally featuring just 432 guest rooms in three buildings, the room count was soon increased to 1,008 as construction on the remaining four buildings was completed.
Dixie LandingsDisney’s Dixie Landings Resort first opened to the public on 2nd February 1992 featuring the rustic styled Alligator Bayou Lodge buildings. Shortly after that, phase two of the resort opened with the more elegant sophistication of the Magnolia Bend mansion buildings bringing the total number of guest rooms up to 2,048.
Dixie Landings was linked to the Port Orleans Resort, and then onward all the way to the Disney Village Marketplace area, by the Sassagoula River, a man-made waterway named after the Native American word for the Mississippi.
At Port Orleans, Bonfamille’s Cafe, the full-service restaurant adjacent to the main lobby, closed its doors for the last time at the end of service on 5th August 2000. Boatwright’s Dining Hall, the remaining full-service restaurant at Dixie Landings, continued to serve both sections of the resort.
On 1st March 2001, the transformation of Dixie Landings and Port Orleans into one large resort began with changes to road signage around the two resorts.
On 1st April 2001, Port Orleans and Dixie Landings officially merged to form one large resort. In fact, the two sections had always shared the same management team but this process completely removed all vestiges of the old Dixie Landings terminology. The reason for the merger has never been made completely clear, but many think it was largely due to the inferred racial and slavery undertones of the Dixie Landings cotton plantation backstory.
The combined resort is now to be called Disney’s Port Orleans Resort, with the area formerly known just as Port Orleans changing its name to Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter and the area formerly known as Dixie Landings changing its name to Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside. The combined resort now spans some 325 acres and features a total of 3,056 guest rooms, making it the largest in Walt Disney World.
After the terrible events in New York in September 2001, the subsequent drop in tourist demand meant that Disney needed to reduce some of its resort capacity. From late November 2001, French Quarter was completely closed and Riverside’s capacity was severely curtailed to around 350 rooms. Guests who had bookings were contacted and offered alternative resort choices. The Sassagoula River Cruise was also taken out of service for several months. As demand picked up again, French Quarter was reopened for new bookings starting from 31 May 2002. Disney apparently used the six month downtime to undertake renovation work on the food court.
A year later, French Quarter was once again closed for more extensive update and renovation work to all guest rooms from 4 May 2003 until 21 March 2004, see the Local News 6 website for details. The freshly renovated rooms had new furniture, new carpeting, new wall coverings and remodeled bathrooms. 200 new or rehired staff were recruited to reopen the resort.
Subsequent year-long renovation work at the larger Port Orleans Riverside resort was undertaken by Friedrich Watkins Company of Orlando, FL on a building-by-building basis. Work started with the Magnolia Bend mansions (March 2004 — August 2004) and then continued to the Alligator Bayou Lodges (August 2004 — February 2005), progressing at a rate of about 64 rooms per week. It did not require the closure of the whole resort.
On 1 June 2007, all Walt Disney World resort hotels became completely non-smoking, with just a few designated outdoor smoking areas defined for those who still feel the need to light-up. Smoking is no longer allowed in guest rooms, on balconies, in corridors or in any other public areas. Prior to 2007, smoking was permitted at Riverside in Lodges 17, 27, 28, 34 and 36, Acadian House and Oak Manor, and at French Quarter in buildings 2, 4 and the upper floors of 6.
2010-2012 Refurbishment Program: Brand new decor, Queen Beds and Flat-screen TVs
Work commenced on refurbishing the Port Orleans French Quarter guest rooms on Monday 1 November 2010, starting with building 7 which three weeks later was complete and ready to accept guests. On Friday 15 April 2011 the final building (number 3) was completed and rededicated, meaning that the whole of French Quarter had newly renovated rooms.
Work then started on the Port Orleans Riverside area on 26 June 2011, starting with the rooms in Acadian House. By September 2011 both Acadian House and Magnolia Terrace had been reopened with newly refurbished rooms, and then Alligator Bayou lodges 14, 36, 37 and 38 were completed just prior to Christmas 2011.
During the first four months of 2012, all 512 rooms in Oak Manor and Parterre Place were refitted to the new “Royal Guest Room” theme. Oak Manor reopened on 9 March (slightly delayed from 17 February, see our news pages) and Parterre Place reopened on 13 April.
Finally, the remainder of the Alligator Bayou lodges were completed, starting with building 24 which closed for refurbishment on 15 April. The last building to be completed was 26, which reopened to guests on 1 August 2012.
Also in 2012, the Port Orleans Riverside main registration hall was refurbished to include all new floor tiles and carpeting, plus elegant dark-wood registration desks. Work commenced on 23 April 2012 and the first half was completed by 17 May (a week behind the original schedule). The second half of the lobby was reopened on 26 June, with various details such as the sumptuous new carpet/rugs added over the next couple of days. Over the next few months more furniture was added — such as custom-made child-sized chairs next to the TV — and a newly carpeted seating area completed the whole program on 5 September 2012.
The antebellum South along the old Mississippi is the theme of Disney's Port Orleans Resort-Riverside. Steamboats were a big part of the old South and the theming of the registration area reflects that as guests check-in to the Sassagoula Steamboat Company which is themed after the inside of an actual riverboat.
Disney's Port Orleans Resort Riverside has a combination of the classic grand plantation mansions and country bayou villages. There are four mansion style buildings and 16 bayou, all connected by bridges to the Ol' Man Island pool and fishing area. The Sassagoula River winds through the resort.
It's Southern mansions and bayou accommodations line a picturesque, Mississippi-style waterway and have Award-winning, spectacular gardens and fountains. The smell of the magnolia blossoms as you walk along the riverside walkways, is divine. Magnolia Bend is home to the majestic mansions reminiscent of the classic elegance of the rural South, some of the details of these elegant mansions include majestic columns, grand staircases and ornate white railings.
In the Alligator Bayou, you'll find 2-story, Cajun-style brick or stucco lodges with tin roofs, wide front porches and rough hewn railings similar to those found in the rural bayou regions of southern Louisiana. These are set amidst dense moss-hung pine forests and creeks.
Alligator Bayou (“cajun country”) resembles the small cottages or villages found in the rural bayou regions of Southern Louisiana, featuring rustic, weathered-wood buildings (or Lodges) with quaint tin or tiled roofs landscaped with pines and iris. The bed-heads located in each room were hand-carved from hickory by a North Carolina woodworker hired by Disney specifically for the resort project.
Sixteen two-story Lodges, each containing 64 rooms, provide a total of 1,024 rooms in this section of the resort. 54 of the rooms feature one King Size bed instead of the normal two queen bed layout, and 17 of the ground-floor rooms have been specially adapted to accommodate guests requiring wheelchair access.
All of the Alligator Bayou rooms (except for the wheelchair accessible ones) feature an additional fold-down ‘Murphy’ bed located above a banquette bench seat. This is suitable for children and smaller adults up to around 5' 2" tall (the bed is 63" long) and allows the Alligator Bayou rooms to accommodate up to five people (or three in the King Bed rooms).
The four Alligator Bayou Lodges located closest to the main building and the South Depot bus stop — 14, 15, 18 and 27 — have been designated as “Preferred Locations”, meaning that all of the standard and garden view rooms within these buildings can be specifically booked (at a slight extra charge of course) so you are guaranteed relatively short walking distances. If you don’t want to pay the extra, it’s worth considering making a Garden View booking and requesting buildings 16 or 17, which are also very conveniently located.
Due to their smaller size, there are no elevators in any of the Alligator Bayou Lodges so if you experience any difficulties with stairs you should request a room on the ground floor
If you look closely, there are three styles of architecture in the Alligator Bayou Lodges. Apparently, as legend has it, when the settlers first moved out from the town of Port Orleans, their earliest constructions were the four comfortable and opulent mansion buildings. However, the further upstream along the Sassagoula River they got, the harder it became to transport the necessary building supplies and so the constructions became smaller and more rudimentary. That’s why the closest group of buildings to the mansions (Lodges 34-39) have brick-built columns and neatly tiled roofs, while another group (Lodges 14-18) have much plainer wooden columns, and the final section (Lodges 24-28) features plain wood columns and simple sheet-metal roofing.
Oh, and that ’gator infested swampland along the Bayou was so prone to flooding during heavy rains that the ingenious settlers built their lodgings upraised about a foot-and-a-half above ground level, which is why the Alligator Bayou Lodges we see today are still upraised — even though the ’gators have (mostly) gone...
Come home to a splendid guest room in a sprawling Garden District mansion. Escape to an elegant retreat, brimming with unique decorative touches and Southern charm, all set amidst stately trees and fragrant blossoms. Magnolia Bend resembles the grand manor homes of southern plantations with their grand staircases and stately white columns surrounded by azaleas and magnolias.
Four three-story individually-styled mansion buildings — Acadian House, Magnolia Terrace, Oak Manor and Parterre Place — each contain 256 rooms, giving a total of 1,024 rooms in this section of the resort. All 512 of the rooms in Oak Manor and Parterre Place have now been converted to the new Royal Guest Room decor, see the Royal Guest Rooms page for more details. 40 of the ‘non-Royal’ rooms feature one King Size bed instead of the normal two queen bed layout, and 34 mansion-building rooms have been specially adapted to accommodate guests requiring wheelchair access.
Each building consists of a central three-story structure and four two-story wings. The elevators are located in the central part of the three-story sections, next to the main entrance.
Royal Guest Rooms
Give your prince or princess a treat when you choose to stay in one of these stately rooms. The Royal Guest Rooms place your family in the middle of some of your favorite Disney stories. Brought to life by celebrated Disney Characters, each room is fit for royalty.
Enjoy magnificent touches and magical surprises, including custom drapes and linens, ornately decorated beds and headboards that glitter with fibre optic lights, creating your own personal “fireworks” display. Discover majesty and fun, all rolled into one!
As The Princess and the Frog was set in New Orleans, the Port Orleans Resort seemed a natural fit for these new story themed rooms. During your stay, discover special mementos left by Tiana’s royal friends from classic Disney animated films such as Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, The Little Mermaid and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. For example, the bathroom faucets are in the shape of the genie’s lamp from Aladdin and the luggage bench is in the shape of Sultan, the dog that was turned into a bench in Beauty and the Beast. And does that ‘rug’ on the carpet look familiar?
During creative development of these storybook rooms, Disney characters and storylines were chosen that should remain “evergreen” and maintain their relevance over time. Attributes to the room include:
Ornately decorated beds that include headboards with fibre optic special effects and gold and crystal accents.
Custom bed coverings and drapes that create a more luxurious, “royal” experience.
Unique in-room artwork featuring Tiana and her royal visitors.
All rooms feature two queen-size beds. Note: there are no King Bed rooms in this section, nor any facilities for extra roll-away beds
Standard View - sleeps up to 4. 2 Queen Beds and 1 Bunk-Size Pull Down Bed or 2 Queen Beds
Garden View - sleeps up to 5. 2 Queen Beds and 1 Bunk-Size Pull Down Bed or 2 Queen Beds
Pool View - sleeps up to 5. 2 Queen Beds and 1 Bunk-Size Pull Down Bed or 2 Queen Beds
Preferred Room - sleeps up to 5. 2 Queen Beds and 1 Bunk-Size Pull Down Bed
River View - sleeps up to 5. 2 Queen Beds and 1 Bunk-Size Pull Down Bed or 2 Queen Beds
King Bed - sleeps up to 3. 1 King Bed or 1 King Bed and 1 Bunk-Size Pull Down Bed
Facilities include :- Facilities include :- Free Wi-Fi, Air conditioning, Hair Dryer, Coffee Maker, Telephone, Iron & Board, Alarm Clock with Radio and In-Room Safe.
Royal Guest Rooms
Royal Guest Room - Standard View - sleeps up to 4. 2 Queen Beds
Royal Guest Room - Garden View - sleeps up to 4. 2 Queen Beds
Royal Guest Room - Pool View - sleeps up to 4. 2 Queen Beds
Royal Guest Room - River View - sleeps up to 4. 2 Queen Beds
All Facilities included plus :- Special Headboards Create a "Fireworks" Display.
Boatwright's Dining Hall
Boatwright's Dining Hall is located inside the main building of Sassagoula Steamboat Co. in between the River Roost Lounge and the Riverside Mill Food Court. It is open daily from 5pm until 10pm for Dinner service only.
The large warehouse has been themed as a wooden ship building yard. The main feature is a partially built authentic production of a flat bottom 'New Orleans Lugger' which is displayed right in the middle of the Restaurant. With it's lovely waterfront location, this is a great way to dine in a relaxed atmosphere.
The Restaurant provides consistently delicious food along with great service. The menu comprises classic American favourites of tasty Southern-style meat and seafood dishes.
The Riverside Mill is located in the Food Court at Disney's Port Orleans Riverside. It is open daily for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner service from 6.00 am until midnight.
This spacious yet cozy Food Court offers an array of food where you're sure to find something even for the pickiest of eaters, it has five food stations offering Bakery Items, Grill Station, Pizza and Pasta Shop, Carving Station and a Speciality Shop
Outside you will see the feature 'Water Wheel' slowly turning next to the Sassagoula River. Inside sit back and be mesmerised as you watch the mechanism of cogs and wheels that slowly spin and turn the wheel outside.
Muddy Rivers is located by the pool at Ol' Man Island, it is open daily from 11.30am until 9.30pm.
This Southern themed ram shackle pool bar is situated away from the usual hustle and bustle. The bar offers covered seating on the deck area, allowing a great view overlooking the resort's pool. Pull up a bar stool and catch a game on the TV with a refreshing beer to hand.
The River Roost is located in the Commercial Complex of Disney's Port Orleans Riverside. It is open daily from 4.00pm until 11.30pm.
This Southern-style Lounge offers guests a comfy place to stop by and relax after a busy day in the parks. Sit yourself at the bar and try one of the Speciality Cocktails that they have to offer or have a refreshing beer along with one of the bar snacks that are available.
For those that like lively entertainment then this is the place to be, at 8.30pm on Wednesday through to Saturday evenings the famous 'Ye Haa' Bob Jackson performs his sing-along piano comedy show. This is a great family friendly show where the kids will not feel out of place. Audience participation is the name of the game, so if you're a little shy then this may not be your cup of tea!
For a quiet nightcap visit the lounge on a Sunday, Monday or Tuesday.
There feature pool has a 95 foot-long rustic waterslide built into the millworks at Ol' Man Island. There are 5 further quieter pools. Nearby, a whirpool tub, the Muddy Rivers pool bar, and a kiddie pool provide entertainment for all ages. A daily pool party plus an evening campfire and movie screening keep the fun going all day long.
Sail along the Sassagoula River, either by Kayak, Pedal Boat or Motorised Boat.
Guests can explore the Resorts mile long pathway that runs along the Sassagoula River, either on foot taking a leisurely walk or jog or can also hire children' and adults bikes, or ride in comfort on a covered Surrey Bike, that seat from 2-4 people.
Pirate Adventure Cruise
Scallywags 4 to 12 years of age can set sail on a pirate adventure, following clues to discover hidden treasure. Each excursion is kids-only and takes place every day (weather permitting) from 9:30 AM to 11:30 AM. There are 4 Swashbuckling Adventures that traverse the waterways of Walt Disney World Resort, choose from the Disney's Pirate Adventure, Islands of the Caribbean Pirate Cruise, Albatross Treasure Cruise or the Bayou Pirate Adventure.
Kid's can also enjoy the Playground or the play video games in the Medicine Show Arcade, located in the Colonel’s Cotton Mill building.
SERVICES AND AMENITIES:
Disney Bus Transportation
On-line Check in
Laundry and Dry Cleaning Services
24-hour self-service laundry rooms are adjacent to each of the 5 quiet pools dotted around the Resort hotel. Machine tokens can be purchased at these laundry rooms
Merchandise Delivery and Pickup