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

Available on Amazon here.





Review: Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter Resort

By Dave Shute

DISNEY’S PORT ORLEANS FRENCH QUARTER

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.

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However, many stays–most recently in July 2018–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 37 different rooms, 7 at Port Orleans French Quarter– and published reviews of each.

This review is in six pages:

Note that the long-time travel agent partner of this site, Kelly B., can help you book your Disney World vacation at Port Orleans French Quarter or anywhere else–contact her at at KellyB@DestinationsInFlorida.com or 980-429-4499.

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, but see this before booking it; 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


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.)

All rooms in Port Orleans French Quarter were refurbed in 2018. The refurb was more slight than what we’ve seen recently at other Disney World resorts.  It includes a much larger TV and many more power points.  More controversially it includes what we’ve also seen elsewhere: wooden floors and beds raised to 30 inches–providing room underneath to store luggage, but awkwardly high for some. It does not include a solid door separating the sink area from the rest of the room, nor more structured closet space, which I view as a bit of a miss. Theming remains rich and detailed, but less so than before.

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 refurbed 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 my overall rankings.

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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.

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.

The long-time travel agent partner of this site, Kelly B., can help you book your Disney World vacation at Port Orleans French Quarter or anywhere else–contact her by using the form below!

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

This review continues here.

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