By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2019, the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever.

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Review and Photo Tour of Port Orleans Riverside Alligator Bayou Rooms



By Dave Shute

For the first page of this review of Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort, see this.

THE ALLIGATOR BAYOU ROOMS AT PORT ORLEANS RIVERSIDE

Port Orleans Riverside has two areas and three distinct room types.

Its Magnolia Bend area has two room types, Royal Rooms and Standard Rooms, each sleeping four in two queen beds.

Its Alligator Bayou area rooms sleep five in two queen beds and one short (~66 inches long) Murphy bed.

These Alligator Bayou rooms are one of only two traditional moderate resort spaces that sleep 5 (non-Pirate rooms at Caribbean Beach are the other), and these rooms are as a result very important to families a little larger than average or families that work best with three sleeping spots

For families that don’t need the extra bed, these rooms have so-so theming (although it is warmer and more cheery after the latest refurb), are kind of ugly in spots–although your taste may vary–and are a bit thin on storage. Such families have better options.

REVIEW OF THE ALLIGATOR BAYOU ROOMS

Port Orleans Riverside rooms are being refurbed, with the Alligator Bayou section the first of its three principal room type areas to complete the refurb.

I stayed in a refurbed Alligator Bayou room in September–my eleventh stay at Port Orleans Riverside.  The photos below are mostly from that stay, with one or two from earlier stays to make some points about the refurb.

The spot for the fifth person is a drop-down Murphy bed that lowers in front of the TV. See the floor plan. New in 2019 these rooms can be booked by anyone, so if you are seeking a third sleeping spot you can book these rooms even if you don’t have five people in your party.

The Murphy bed is comfortable and fine for sleeping a kid five feet tall or shorter. And the sleepy gator is drop-dead cute.

But the design of the room and placement of this bed means both that the room has just three smallish drawers, and also that these drawers are a little hard to access when the bed is lowered. I will call out other storage options during the tour.

When you enter the room, you’ll see two queens and the connecting door (if the room has one) on one side. You can also see in this shot three of the main themes of the refurb:

  • Wood-laminate floors rather than carpets
  • Platform beds with accessible space underneath
  • Simplification of the rustic theming of the rooms–for example the headboards used to have a “home-made from branches” look.

The platform beds let you fit many sizes of suitcases under the beds–that’s my standard-sized rolly bag turned on it edge. This both de-clutters the closet area, and provides the option for the under-bed suitcases to sort of work as unwieldy storage drawers.

Here’s the same beds from the back of the room.

A closer view of one of the beds.

Between the beds is a bedside table (themed as river cargo) with storage below…

…and a drawer with plenty of room for important books.

Art Alligator Bayou Port Orleans Riverside from yourfirstvisit.net

There’s some art on the wall between the beds and bath.

On the other side of the room you’ll find a table and chairs, an object that contains the Murphy bed and drawers, a TV above, and a mini-fridge and set of shelves. All but the TV are essentially unchanged from before–the TV, at 55 inches, is much larger.

The TV side from the back of the room.

The table feels a little too large for its area, and heavy. Its design suggests construction from branches. It gained no power points in the refurb–perhaps they would be off theme.

Further down this side of the room is the object with the Murphy bed, TV above and a bench and drawers below. The bench is not comfortable to sit on–the seat area is not long enough front to back, and the 90 degree seating angle is awkward.

This entire object is themed as a packing case. Note the “stenciling” on the center drawer–a reference to the groundbreaking Mickey Mouse cartoon Steamboat Willie, released in 1928. The “AB 2292” refers to the opening of Riverside (under a different name) on February 2, 1992.

As noted, there’s only three smallish drawers.

As you can tell from this shot with the Murphy bed down, they are a little difficult to access when the bed is in use.

Murphy Bed Alligator Bayou Port Orleans Riverside from yourfirstvisit.net (2)

I measured the Murphy bed as 66 inches long by 30 inches wide.  The framing does not much impede the mattress.

At the bath end of this side of the room you’ll find a mini-fridge, a coffee service and a small set of shelves below it, with a coat rack above.  The shelves offer a little additional storage.

The mini-fridge.

As is common in the Disney resorts, the bath is split into two spaces. Above is the sink area, which has lost a few rustic touches, such as branch framing around the mirror.

The sink space can be closed off from the living area with a privacy curtain.

Old Room Divider Curtain

The curtain has lost its former sacks of sugar river cargo theming (above), and now adds much-needed whimsy and charm to the space.

Back in the sink area, note the clothes hanging area on one side–there’s also an ironing board and wall safe in this area.

The safe is about four times bigger than before the refurb.

This makeup mirror is new with this refurb.

Note that the area under the sinks can be used to stash clothes, making up a bit for the lack of drawers in the room.

The bath/toilet area is enclosed in its own space.

The bath surround keeps the ugly mud-brown walls, and its simple shower head set up that now feels quite dated compared to shower heads in other recent refurbs.

As is now common, most toiletries are provided through large in-wall bottles.

Old Shower Curtain

The previous fish-themed shower curtain (above)…

…has been replaced with a much more fun and colorful fabric.

The theming of these rooms is meant to recollect backwoods rustic cabins. Some of the furniture is meant to resemble “found” objects–e.g. the packing crate theme in the bedside table and the murphy bed object. Others appear handmade. Others are meant to recollect a mismatched set of hand-me downs or thrift store finds.

The theming is not much to the benefit of these rooms, and the concept is carried off much better elsewhere, for example in the Treehouses and the Wilderness Lodge, but is better after this refurb than before it. The whimsy and color added by changes in the two fabrics (room divider and shower curtain) is profound, and the swap of a rug that did a bad job of looking like a wood floor to a wood laminate is also successful.

Despite the so-so theming and weak storage, these Port Orleans Riverside Alligator Bayou rooms are a godsend for five-person families–or families that need three beds.

Otherwise, I can’t really recommend them. For families that don’t need the Murphy bed, the small number of drawers, theming both too subtle and too ugly, and the extreme distance of many of these rooms from the central services of Port Orleans Riverside makes them not the best choice. Families who don’t need the Murphy bed, but are committed to Port Orleans Riverside, would be better off in one of the standard rooms in its Magnolia Bend section.

Kelly, the long-time travel agent partner of this site, can book you into one of these Alligator Bayou rooms–or anywhere else at Disney World!  Contact her using the form below.

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AMENITIES AT PORT ORLEANS RIVERSIDE RESORT

This review continues here.

TOPICS IN THIS REVIEW OF DISNEY’S PORT ORLEANS RIVERSIDE RESORT

OTHER KEY PAGES FOR WHERE TO STAY AT DISNEY WORLD

 

 

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