By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2017, from the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever. Paperback available on Amazon here. Kindle version available on Amazon here. PDF version available on Gumroad here.



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Review: Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter Resort



By Dave Shute

DISNEY’S PORT ORLEANS FRENCH QUARTER

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Port Orleans French Quarter, and its sister resort Port Orleans Riverside, are Disney World’s best-loved moderate resorts.

French Quarter is also my own personal favorite among the moderates, and it’s inspired a great fan site, PortOrleans.org.

However, many stays–most recently in November 2016–confirm that Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter Resort remains the fourth best of the moderate resorts for first time family visitors.

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(These moderate rankings are very close; for what the moderates provide, and how they compare to the other Disney World resort classes, click here)

You can have a wonderful visit at any Walt Disney World resort.

However, this site recommends that first time visitors to Walt Disney World avoid the moderate resorts, while noting that these resorts are wonderful for visits after the first. (See this for why.)

That said, the moderates represent ~30% of the rooms of Walt Disney World, and will be sought by some because this site’s recommended resorts are sold out, because you are on return visits, or because–sensibly–you’re just not that into my rankings!

So I’ve stayed in each of the moderate resorts multiple times–in 33 different rooms, 6 at Port Orleans French Quarter– and published reviews of each.

This review is in six pages:

OVERVIEW: DISNEY’S PORT ORLEANS FRENCH QUARTER

Resorts are ranked on this site for first time visitors based first on their kid appeal, and then on their convenience.

On this basis, Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter Resort is the fourth best moderate resort for first time family visitors.

(Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort is first, Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort second, and Port Orleans Riverside is third; these results are very close.  The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort are ranked last, and this is not close.)

ROOMS AT DISNEY’S FRENCH QUARTER RESORT

Floor Plan Standard Room Disney's Port Orleans French Quarter Resort from yourfirstvisit.net
Like those in the other traditional moderates, rooms at French Quarter have ~314 square feet.

These rooms are quite spacious.  The bedroom area is particularly ample, and is bigger than the bedroom spaces at several of the deluxe resorts. (See this.)

Bed Side from Bath Disney's Port Orleans French Quarter from yourfirrstvisit.net

The rooms sleep four in two queen-sized beds. You can add to this capacity of four a child younger than three who sleeps in a crib. Rooms with one king bed are also available.

There’s an overview of theming and accommodations at Port Orleans French Quarter here, and a detailed photo tour of a standard room at Port Orleans French Quarter is here.

THE POOL AT PORT ORLEANS FRENCH QUARTER

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Port Orleans French Quarter’s main pool is fun–but has a mixed effect on kids.  Some will delight in its sea-serpent theming–the pool slide is a serpent’s tongue! Others will be a little put off by swimming with a serpent!

Kids Water Play Area Disney's Port Orleans French Quarter Resort from yourfirstvisit.net (4)

In 2016 a new huge splash pool area was added, amping up quite a bit the overall kid appeal of the pool complex here.

For more on the pool at Port Orleans French Quarter, see this.

AMENITIES AND DINING AT PORT ORLEANS FRENCH QUARTER

Port Orleans French Quarter is missing some amenities that you’ll find at the other traditional moderates–such as a table service restaurant. These are all available at its sister resort Port Orleans Riverside, and partly because of this, I put Riverside slightly ahead of French Quarter in kid appeal.

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The food court came out of a refurb in late 2016. It lost most of its Mardi Gras theming, and some space. But quality seems up a lot–see my co-author Josh’s review here.

For more on the amenities at Port Orleans French Quarter, see this. For more on dining at Port Orleans French Quarter, see this.

KID APPEAL AND CONVENIENCE AT PORT ORLEANS FRENCH QUARTER

Disney's Port Orleans French Quarter Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

Kid Appeal. The New Orleans theming of this resort…

Fountain Disney's Port Orleans French Quarter Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

…and all of its lovely fountains…

Streetscape Disney's Port Orleans French Quarter Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

…and courtyards, while delightful to adults, will miss most kids entirely.

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The Mardi Gras overlay on the resort theming will delight some kids, but recall unpleasant memories of Chucky to others!

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Now, I get comments all the time along the lines of “We stayed at French Quarter and my kids just loved it!” And I’m sure that they did.  All the Disney resorts have great kid appeal. My point is that some have even more than others…

Convenience. Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter is the most convenient of the moderates.

While often thought of as out of the way, it is in fact just across a street (or two) from Epcot, and along with Port Orleans Riverside is the closest of the “traditional” moderates to the Magic Kingdom. (Coronado Springs is almost as close.)

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It also shares with Riverside a slow boat to Disney Springs.

It is unique among the traditional moderates in having just one bus stop for the Magic Kingdom.

However, sometimes it shares buses with Riverside for the other three parks, having thus five bus stops (one at French Quarter and four at Riverside) for these parks. This happens less than it used to…

Compact Footprint of Port Orleans French QuarterGetting around the resort is easier at French Quarter than at any other moderate. It has half as many rooms as the other moderates, and adds to this a particularly compact layout.

See the image to the right.

In it, French Quarter is in the bottom center, and Riverside (mostly) in the top. I’ve then copied and pasted French Quarter into Riverside, highlighting it in red.

All of Port Orleans French Quarter fits comfortably into just a part of Riverside’s Magnolia Bend–just one of Riverside’s two sections!

Port Orleans PoolsAnother convenience point is the size of French Quarter’s main pool, Doubloon Lagoon. Although French Quarter holds fewer than half as many people as Riverside, its main pool is about the same size.

What this means is that a much higher proportion of resort guests can be at the main pool at French Quarter than at Riverside.

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Now Riverside does have five more pools than French Quarter…but this is a testament to Riverside’s sprawl, with the design intent being to put pools closer to accommodations buildings so that people did not have to walk ten minutes to the closest pool!

Love at the Pool Disney's Port Orleans French QuarterI personally prefer the French Quarter main pool to Riverside’s because French Quarter’s pool chair areas are much less shaded than those at Riverside. This is a matter of taste, though, so I ignore it in the rankings!

For more on the pool at Port Orleans French Quarter, see this.

Other distinctive features. Most romantic of the moderates. Only traditional moderate with no bike rentals, only one pool, and no sit-down restaurant. With Port Orleans Riverside, the only moderate with no lake, and also with Riverside the only moderate with boat transport to Disney Springs.

BEST PLACES TO STAY AT PORT ORLEANS FRENCH QUARTER

This site suggests that first time visitors stay in standard rooms, not preferred rooms (because they won’t be spending much time in their rooms, or going to the main resort food area often; the single exception is visitors to the Animal Kingdom Lodge, who should always pay for savanna views.)

Click the image to enlarge the map–note it is not to scale, and exaggerates the size of Port Orleans French Quarter (purple on the right) compared to Riverside (green on the left).

At French Quarter, buildings 1 and 7 are the least convenient, and 5 and 2 not only have no standard view rooms, but are also subject to pool noise.

Building 6 is a great building, but has no standard view rooms.

Of what’s left, a second floor room (less noisy) in Building 4 is by far the best choice.  It is the most convenient building at French Quarter when you factor in distance from the food court, main pool, and bus stops.  Moreover, its standard view rooms are masked from the parking lot by some lovely gardens!

Building 3 is the next best choice.  Most–but not all–of its standard view rooms are also sheltered from the parking lot, and it’s as convenient to the pool and almost as convenient to the food court as Building 4.  It is a little farther from the bus stop.

Disney's Port Orleans French Quarter Resort Online Check-in from yourfirstvisit.net

The online form does not let you select a building, so just call.

BEST FOR:

Adults seeking a romantic resort; families with mobility issues seeking a compact moderate; families seeking the most convenient moderate.

WORST FOR:

Families seeking a particularly kid-appealing resort; families requiring a table service restaurant.

THEMING AND ACCOMMODATIONS AT DISNEY’S PORT ORLEANS FRENCH QUARTER RESORT

This review continues here.
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17 comments

1 Mike H { 05.17.13 at 6:31 pm }

Hi Dave … for the month of November, is it almost guaranteed that the French Q will be sharing buses with Riverside?

2 Dave { 05.19.13 at 6:38 am }

Hi Mike, I expect so except for Thanksgiving week…

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3 Nick { 06.08.13 at 5:17 pm }

Hi Dave. Planning first trip from Uk. Great site!
Leaning towards POFQ mainly because of the convinience factor over other moderates – what do you think the transport will be like from here in last 2 weeks in august 2014? Shared with Riverside?
thank you

4 Dave { 06.09.13 at 8:49 am }

Hi Nick, and thanks! I’d guess transport then will be routine–that is, shared, other than the MK bus.

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5 Scott { 07.07.13 at 12:39 pm }

Hi Dave,

Do the buses stop at the French Quarter first? It seems logical that they would being that it is roughly half the size of Riverside.

Thanks,

Scott

6 Dave { 07.08.13 at 7:14 am }

Scott, I believe that they do…

7 Scott { 07.08.13 at 6:28 pm }

Thanks Dave.

8 Christina H { 08.03.13 at 10:35 pm }

Hi Dave! We are planning on staying at POFQ next summer and we’ll have a little one w/ us in addition to our 3 year old son. My question is, do you know the dimensions of the bathroom (the separate room w/ tub and toilet)? I am wondering if we could fit a small Pack-n-Play crib in that room so we could close the door to the bathroom and let the baby sleep/nap while we hang in the guest room. Thanks buddy! Your website it just the best!!

9 Dave { 08.04.13 at 9:20 am }

Hi Christina and thanks!

After I do my floorplans, I don’t keep my original drawings and measurements. I should, but sadly I am an idiot. So I’m just guessing from memory here.

The separate bath is about as small as it can be and still fit the fixtures. I think that at most there’s 3 feet clear between the toilet and the wall one faces while…reading, and between the entry door and the tub, 30 inches…

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10 Scott { 11.02.13 at 11:17 pm }

Hi Dave,

We just returned from a seven night stay at the French Quarter. The place was nice but does not compare to the Art of Animation, which we stayed in December 2012. I would say my number one complaint is the waiting area for the buses. The lack of a queue line for each park as they have at Art of Animation is quite frustrating. People just seem to walk up to the front of the waiting area at French Quarter with little regard to those who are waiting. This does not happen at Art of Animation because of the queue line. The exception to this at Art of Animation is of course the handicapped waiting area, which is a whole other area I could offer my complaints about.

Scott

11 Dave { 11.03.13 at 9:56 am }

Hey Scott, thanks for the report! Good point about the queues–that’s true pretty much everywhere except the values…

12 Amanda { 02.03.14 at 2:10 pm }

My family loves WDW but we have never stayed in the Moderates. This year there are more of us going, so we are saving money by going the Moderate route. We are not concerned with the pool or restaurants since we spend all of our time (other than sleeping) at the parks… but we would love for the resort to still have that special Disney feel over all. That being said, my biggest concern is the bus stops and long waits for the buses. We will be going the week leading up to Christmas. I’m leaning towards POFQ. I know that resort only has one bus station, so will we be spending a lot of time in that one line for the bus? I may be over thinking it. Any advice?

13 Dave { 02.04.14 at 9:19 am }

Amanda, POFQ has just one bus stop because it’s such a small, compact, and easy to get around resort. That makes it a great choice!

14 Scott { 03.04.15 at 6:20 pm }

Dave,

Would a Garden View room be a good option to be in closer proximity to the food court and bus stop? Or is a standard room a good option?

Thanks,

Scott

15 Dave { 03.05.15 at 9:54 am }

Scott, all buildings have garden views so picking that won’t set you anywhere in particular. Most standard views are in 1,3, 4 and 7, so ditto. So ask for “Near Transportation” instead.
Port Orleans French Quarter Online Check-in Form from yourfirstvisit.net

16 Lisa { 06.28.16 at 3:31 pm }

Does POFQ still share a bus with Riverside? I have read reviews that some say it does and some say it doesn’t. We are going the beginning of April next year and would like to stay at a hotel with a slide and decent transportation. Moderates are within the budget or I would be at the Polynesian. Suggestions?

17 Dave { 06.29.16 at 12:25 pm }

Lisa it shares buses at times, especially to non-MK destinations. The details are here.

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