By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2018, from the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever. Paperback available on Amazon here. Kindle version available on Amazon here.



yourfirstvisit.net—Disney World Instructions for the First-Time Visitor



Category — w. Most Recent Stuff

A Friday Visit with Jim Korkis: The Books of Skipper Canteen

Welcome back to Fridays with Jim Korkis! Jim, the dean of Disney historians, writes about Walt Disney World history every Friday on yourfirstvisit.net.

THE BOOKS OF SKIPPER CANTEEN

By Jim Korkis

Several companies sell books by the foot or the yard to fill book shelves on stage sets for television series, movies, and stage plays. Many sell to interior decorators trying to create a particular look for the room of a house. Collections can be generic or made-to-order including not just content but binding, size and color.

The tomes in the book case in the Meridian on the Disney Cruise Line ships are specifically filled with vintage nautical volumes.

(c) Disney

However, sometimes Imagineers get creative, as in the garage of Mickey Mouse’s house at WDW’s former Mickey’s Toontown Fair, where the shelves had titles like Repairing Electrical and Bermuda Shorts, How to Toon Up Your Car, Replace Your Wheels Without Tiring and The Auto-biography of Susie the Blue Coupe (a reference to a 1952 Disney short cartoon).

At the Skipper Canteen, the table service restaurant in Magic Kingdom’s Adventureland, the shelves are filled with books that reference Disney parks (The Eyes of Mara by Jones, obviously a reference to Indiana Jones and the Disneyland attraction); Imagineers (Crooning Flowers by Sherman and Sherman referring to the Disney composers the Sherman Brothers and their songs for the Enchanted Tiki Room); in-jokes (Friends for Dinner by T. Sam, a reference to Trader Sam the cannibal from the Jungle Cruise attraction); as well as some books that are just silly wordplay (Spotted Tigers by G. Rowl) or punny amusement (Fleas Navidad and Other Winter Insects). Some books have neither title nor author.

The secret meeting room of the Society of Explorers and Adventurers (S.E.A.) is behind the bookcase and is accessed by pulling on a volume of The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling.

Here are a handful of the many delightful titles here:

  • In Search of the Yeti by Harrison Hightower III. Hightower is not only a member of the Society of Explorers and Adventurers (S.E.A.) but was based on Imagineer Joe Rohde, who was responsible for much of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, including Expedition Everest. Hightower has several different books on the shelves including Treasures of the Animal Kingdom.
  • A Manor of Fact by Mystic is a reference to Henry Mystic and Mystic Manor in Hong Kong Disneyland. He is also represented by other books including Treasures from the Manor and Primates as Shipmates referring to his pet mischievous monkey Albert who causes trouble in that attraction.
  • Captain Mary Oceaneer wrote Parrots as Pets referring to her diving companion parrot Salty. She also wrote Charting Course since she is an ocean traveler.
  • Leaders Throughout History by Professor G. Kalogridis. This is George Kalogridis, the President of WDW.
  • Songs of the Tiki Bird by Professor Boag honors performer Wally Boag, who helped write and voiced the parrot Jose in The Enchanted Tiki Room.
  • Universus Arboribus by B.M. Evans is a tribute to Imagineer Morgan “Bill” Evans, who loved putting Latin names on the Disney park horticulture.
  • A Journey to the Stars by Kimball references Imagineer Ward Kimball who wrote and directed the three Disneyland television Tomorrowland episodes about outer space.
  • Hamlet: A Lion’s Tale by Shakes Speare acknowledges that the Disney’s animated feature film Lion King was inspired by the classic Shakespeare play.
  • Native Orange Birds of the Southeastern United States by Dr. Sidd Truss, (pronounced Citrus) is a nod to the Florida Orange Bird of the Florida Citrus Commission that was prominent in the first decade of Walt Disney World.
  • Banjos and Baboons, by Goff, is a reference to Imagineer Harper Goff who was a banjo player but also the designer of the Jungle Cruise attraction.
  • Primates of the Caribbean by Coats, references Imagineer Claude Coats, who did set design for the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction.
  • A View from Above by S. W. Buckets recalls the former Skyway attraction.
  • Mission to the Red Planet  by Tom Morrow is a reference to the former Mission to Mars attraction.

*  *  *  *  *

Thanks, Jim! There’s more from Jim Korkis on Skipper Canteen here. And come back next Friday for more from Jim Korkis!

In the meantime, check out his books, including his latest, Secret Stories of Disneyland, and his Secret Stories of Walt Disney World: Things You Never You Never Knew, which reprints much material first written for this site, all published by Theme Park Press.

Kelly B Can Help You Book Your Trip

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October 27, 2017   No Comments

Next Week (October 28 through November 5, 2017) at Walt Disney World

DISNEY WORLD NEXT WEEK: OCTOBER 28 TO NOVEMBER 5, 2017

The material below details next week’s Disney World operating hours, Extra Magic Hours, parades, and fireworks.

For more on October 2017 at Disney World, see this, and for more on November 2017 at Disney World, see this.

OPERATING HOURS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD 10/28-11/5/17

The Magic Kingdom will be open 8a-12MN 10/28, 8a-7p 10/29, 9a-9p 10/30, 9a-7p 10/31 and 11/1, 9a-9p 11/2, 9a-10p 11/3, and 9a-11p 11/4 and 11/5

Epcot will be open from 9a-10p 10/28, 9a-9p 10/29 through 11/2, 9a-10p 11/3 and 11/4, and 9a-9p 11/5

Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be open 9a-8p every day

Disney’s Animal Kingdom will be open 9a-8.30p 10/28, and 9a-8p 10/29 through 11/5

EXTRA MAGIC HOURS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD 10/28-11/5/17

Saturday 10/28 Morning:  Animal Kingdom Evening: none

Sunday 10/29  Morning:  none  Evening: Epcot

Monday 10/30 Morning: none   Evening: Magic Kingdom

Tuesday 10/31 Morning: Animal Kingdom Evening:  none

Wednesday 11/1 Morning: Magic Kingdom  Evening: none

Thursday 11/2 Morning: Epcot Evening: none

Friday 11/3 Morning:  Hollywood Studios Evening: none

Saturday 11/4 Morning: Animal Kingdom Evening: none

Sunday 11/5  Morning: Hollywood Studios  Evening: none

PARADES AT WALT DISNEY WORLD 10/28-11/5/17

The Magic Kingdom: Afternoon Festival of Fantasy Parade: 2p every day

FIREWORKS AND EVENING SHOWS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD 10/28-11/5/17

Happily Every After at Magic Kingdom: 9p 10/28, 10/30 and 11/2 through 11/5

IllumiNations at Epcot:  10p 10/28, 9p 10/29 through 11/2, 10p 11/3 and 11/4, and 9p 11/5

Fantasmic at Disney’s Hollywood Studios: 7.30p 10/28 through 11/4; 8.30p 11/5

Star Wars Show and Fireworks at Disney’s Hollywood Studios:  8p 10/28 through 11/4; 6.45p 11/5

Rivers of Light at Disney’s Animal Kingdom:  7.45 and 9p 10/28; 7.30p 10/29 through 11/4; 6.30 and 7.45p 11/5

SHOW SCHEDULES FOR WALT DISNEY WORLD 10/28-11/5/17

See Steve Soares’ site here. Click the park names at its top for show schedules.

Kelly B Can Help You Book Your Trip

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October 26, 2017   No Comments

Disney World 2019 Planning Tools

WHEN TO GO TO DISNEY WORLD IN 2019

Over the past month or so, I’ve published draft versions of all my basic tools for planning a Walt Disney World visit in 2019. Included in these are

 

  • A broad overview of Disney World in 2019. I’ll add to and revise this as new stuff happens and things I speculate about either become confirmed or disappear as possibilities.  It’s here.
  • A forecast of Disney World crowds in 2019. I’ll update this in the summer of 2018, once the full set of 2018-2019 school year vacation schedules comes out (I track all breaks longer than a three day weekend for more than 15 million US schoolkids, and you might be surprised at how many don’t publish their upcoming year calendars until May or June…) It’s here.
  • A forecast of Disney World resort hotel price seasons in 2019. The actual prices for 2019 should come out in the summer of 2018, so I’ll update this when those prices come out. (For 2018 pricing, Disney World stopped using its former price season language, but I am sticking with this language for clarity and comparability as long as I can.) It’s here.

Based on the crowd forecasts, price forecasts, and some other factors all discussed here, a draft version of my “Weeks to Visit Ranked in Order” for 2019:


I’ll revise this in the summer of 2018, after I finalize my crowd forecasts and have in hand the actual 2019 price seasons. These week rankings, by the way, are meant for first time visitors who may not ever be able to return. Those who know they can return, and returning visitors themselves, have many more good weeks, all marked in green at the right side of the listing. It’s here.

By the way, Disney World rooms are already bookable into 2019–you can book 499 days ahead. If you want a head start on your 2019 Disney World vacation, the long-time travel agent partner of this site, Kelly B., can help you–contact her at at KellyB@DestinationsInFlorida.com or 980-429-4499.

For more on when to go to Disney World, see this. And if you have any questions, let me know using the comment form below!

 

Kelly B Can Help You Book Your Trip

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October 22, 2017   No Comments

A Friday Visit with Jim Korkis: Totem Poles in Canada

Welcome back to Fridays with Jim Korkis! Jim, the dean of Disney historians, writes about Walt Disney World history every Friday on yourfirstvisit.net.

TOTEM POLES IN CANADA IN EPCOT’S WORLD SHOWCASE

By Jim Korkis

When Walt Disney World opened in 1971, the totem poles in Frontierland were meant to be artistic enhancements like on a movie set and not authentic re-creations. When Epcot opened a decade later, the same was true of the three fiberglass totem poles that decorated the entrance to the Canada pavilion.

Totem poles can recount tribal legends, commemorate people or significant events, represent supernatural powers, mark the territory of a specific tribe and more. Most guests were not troubled by these colorful fakes that added to the atmosphere of the area.

However, over the decades, the world’s attitude to respecting native cultures changed significantly. The Disney Company was sensitive to these changes and so for the Canada pavilion, even though it would not increase attendance or revenue, it was decided to change out the fiberglass totem poles to realistic cedar ones that would more accurately represent an authentic cultural experience.

In April 1998, Disney employed Tsimshian artist David Boxley from Alaska, noted for his decades-long dedication to authentic tribal art, to carve a 30-foot tall totem pole to replace the one near the trading post. Boxley was raised by his grandparents and taught the Tsimshian traditions.

This beautiful hand-carved totem pole tells the well-known tale from the Pacific Northwest Indians of Raven and Sky Chief. The Trickster Raven steals a “golden ball of light” from a hidden box and tosses it up into the sky where it becomes the sun, the moon and the stars.

In 1986, Boxley made a major decision to leave the security of a teaching position and devote all of his energies toward carving and researching the legacy of Northwest Coast Indian art. Boxley has carved over 68 totems in the last twenty-six years for institutions, museums, corporations and more.

He stated, “Carved from mature cedar trees, totem poles are an important part of the coastal First Nations culture. Totem poles were created and raised to represent a family-clan, its kinship system, its dignity, its accomplishments, it prestige, its adventures, its stories, its rights and prerogatives. A totem pole served, in essence, as the emblem of a family or clan and often as a reminder of its ancestry.”

On January 22, 2017 at 11:30 am, two new totem poles carved by Boxley were installed to replace the remaining original fiberglass poles at the Canada Pavilion.

(c) Disney

The Eagle Totem Pole tells one of Boxley’s favorite cultural tales, in which a boy finds an eagle caught in a net on a beach and frees it. Years later, when hunger strikes the boy’s tribe, he walks on the same beach, only to find the eagle there waiting for him with food – paying him back for his kindness years ago. The bottom of this totem pole also tells the story of how a family of beaver taught a human family the importance of treating all creatures – human and animal – with respect.

The Whale Totem Pole depicts the tale of the first potlatch, a ceremonial feast celebrated by the Nagunaks and creatures of the undersea world.

The overnight installation was followed up with a dedication ceremony for the new poles that included a performance by the Git Hoan Dancers (People of the Salmon).

Based in Washington State, Git-Hoan members can trace their ancestral roots to some of the main tribes of Southeast Alaska, the Tsimshian, the Haida and Tlingit. They also performed at the Epcot International Festival of the Arts on January 21 & 22, 2017.

*  *  *  *  *

Thanks, Jim! And come back next Friday for more from Jim Korkis!

In the meantime, check out his books, including his latest, Secret Stories of Disneyland, and his Secret Stories of Walt Disney World: Things You Never You Never Knew, which reprints much material first written for this site, all published by Theme Park Press.

Kelly B Can Help You Book Your Trip

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October 20, 2017   No Comments

Next Week (October 21 through October 29, 2017) at Walt Disney World

DISNEY WORLD NEXT WEEK: OCTOBER 21 TO OCTOBER 29, 2017

The material below details next week’s Disney World operating hours, Extra Magic Hours, parades, and fireworks.

 

 

For more on October 2017 at Disney World, see this.

OPERATING HOURS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD 10/21-10/29/17

The Magic Kingdom will be open 8a-12MN 10/21, 8a-7p 10/22, 9a-11p 10/23, 9a-7p 10/24, 9a-11p 10/25, 9a-7p 10/26, 8a-7p 10/27, 8a-12MN 10/28, and 8a-7p 10/29

Epcot will be open from 9a-10p 10/21, 9a-9p 10/22 through 10/26, 9a-10p 10/27 and 10/28, and 9a-9p 10/29

Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be open 9a-8p every day

Disney’s Animal Kingdom will be open 9a-9.30p 10/21, 9a-9p 10/22 and 10/23, 9a-8.30p 10/24 through 10/28, and 9a-8p 10/29

EXTRA MAGIC HOURS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD 10/21-10/29/17

Saturday 10/21 Morning:  Animal Kingdom Evening: none

Sunday 10/22  Morning:  Hollywood Studios  Evening: none

Monday 10/23 Morning: Animal Kingdom  Evening: none

Tuesday 10/24 Morning: none Evening:  Epcot

Wednesday 10/25 Morning: none  Evening:  Magic Kingdom

Thursday 10/26 Morning: Epcot Evening: none

Friday 10/27 Morning:  Magic Kingdom Evening: none

Saturday 10/28 Morning: Animal Kingdom Evening: none

Sunday 10/29  Morning: none  Evening: Epcot

PARADES AT WALT DISNEY WORLD 10/21-10/29/17

The Magic Kingdom: Afternoon Festival of Fantasy Parade: 2p every day

FIREWORKS AND EVENING SHOWS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD 10/21-10/29/17

Happily Every After at Magic Kingdom: 9p 10/21, 10/23, 10/25 and 10/28

IllumiNations at Epcot:  10p 10/21, 9p 10/22 through 10/26, 10p 10/27 and 10/28, and 9p 10/29

Fantasmic at Disney’s Hollywood Studios: 7.30p every night

Star Wars Show and Fireworks at Disney’s Hollywood Studios:  8p every night

Rivers of Light at Disney’s Animal Kingdom:  7.45 and 9p 10/21 through 10/28; 7.30p 10/29

SHOW SCHEDULES FOR WALT DISNEY WORLD 10/21-10/29/17

See Steve Soares’ site here. Click the park names at its top for show schedules.

Kelly B Can Help You Book Your Trip

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October 19, 2017   No Comments

Review: Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort

DISNEY’S PORT ORLEANS RIVERSIDE RESORT

(Note 10/17: Port Orleans Riverside is now part of a dog-friendly pilot program.)

With more than 2000 rooms sprawling in two different sections around Disney’s (man-made) Sassagoula River, Port Orleans Riverside is probably Disney World’s best-loved moderate resort, and has inspired a great fan site.

I’ve stayed at Riverside ten times since I started this site, most recently in September 2017. These visits confirm that Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort remains the third best of the moderate resorts for first time family visitors.
Review - Disney's Port Orleans Riverside Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

(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 stay in them all the moderate resorts multiple times–in 35 different moderate rooms, ten of them at Port Orleans Riverside–and publish reviews of each.

This review has nine 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 Riverside or anywhere else–contact her at at KellyB@DestinationsInFlorida.com or 980-429-4499.

OVERVIEW: DISNEY’S PORT ORLEANS RIVERSIDE RESORT

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 Riverside resort is the third 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 Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter is fourth; these results are very close.  The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort are ranked last, and this is not close.)

Themed to the riverine rural south, Port Orleans Riverside combines sweeping riverside vistas, manicured gardens, and accommodations themed as stately homes in its Magnolia Bend section (red oval on map)…

…with a more backwoods and wetland-themed area in Alligator Bayou (blue circle on map).

Joining the two, and containing most amenities, is the river-port themed area Sassagoula Steamship Company (gold circle on map).

ROOMS AT DISNEY’S PORT ORLEANS RIVERSIDE RESORT

Much more so than Disney World’s other moderate resorts, Port Orleans Riverside has distinct areas and room types, with varied pros and cons.

There’s two areas–Alligator Bayou and Magnolia Bend–and three different room types.

STANDARD AND ROYAL ROOMS IN THE MAGNOLIA BEND SECTION OF PORT ORLEANS RIVERSIDE

The Magnolia Bend section of Port Orleans Riverside contains four large buildings themed as graceful southern plantation homes, with courtyards, porticoes, grand stairs, and fountains.

The northern-most of these buildings are Acadian House and Magnolia Terrace. These are the best-located of the Magnolia Bend options, being closer to the resort’s central amenities and more convenient to bus stops than the two more southern buildings.

Bed Side from Back Standard Magnolia Bend Room Disney's Port Orleans Riverside Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

Rooms here sleep four in two queens (and a few two person king bed rooms).

Floor Plan Standard Room Disney's Port Orleans Riverside Resort from yourfirstvisit.netTheir floor plans are typical of the moderates. For a full review of this room type, see this.

Royal Rooms at Disney's Port Orleans Riverside Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

The two southern Magnolia Bend buildings, Oak Manor and Parterre Place, are where you’ll find Riverside’s Royal Rooms.

Royal Rooms are distinctively decorated to a Disney Prince and Princess theme, and are higher cost than options at Port Orleans Riverside. Their floor plans are very similar to those in the two other Magnolia Bend buildings. They sleep four in two queens–no king bed rooms are in the Royal Room buildings.

Families who find the added theming worth the extra ~$50-$100 per night these rooms cost may find them quite pleasant. The buildings themselves, however, are distant from the main pool and from bus stops.

A detailed review of the Royal Rooms is here.

FIVE PERSON ROOMS IN THE ALLIGATOR BAYOU SECTION OF PORT ORLEANS RIVERSIDE

The Alligator Bayou section of Port Orleans Riverside is on the northern and western sides of the resort. The two-story, no-elevator buildings here are themed as backwoods cabins.

These rooms are among the few “traditional” moderate rooms at Walt Disney World that can sleep 5–the only other ones are at Caribbean Beach.

Murphy Bed Alligator Bayou Port Orleans Riverside from yourfirstvisit.net

The fifth sleeping spot is in a short (66″) Murphy Bed that drops down from the TV/dresser object. (There’s also a few king rooms, also with the Murphy Bed.)

Floor Plan Alligator Bayou 5 Person Room Disney's Port Orleans Riverside Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

The geometry of the object containing the Murphy Bed means that these rooms have both less drawer space to start with, and also that the drawers are inaccessible if the Murphy Bed is in use. So for families that don’t need the extra bed, a room in the Magnolia Bend section at either Acadian House or Magnolia Terrace is a better choice.

See a full review of these Alligator Bend rooms here.

A room refurb is expected to kick off at Port Orleans Riverside in later 2018. No confirmed details are available, but recent refurbs at other Disney World resorts have included a shift to wood floors, the replacement of the fabric curtain separating the bath from the living area with a sliding solid door, bigger TVs, more and better organized storage, and many, many more power points. This refurb will likely be done floor by floor in Magnolia Bend, and building by building in Alligator Bayou, and should have little impact on guests.

There’s much more on accommodations and theming at Port Orleans Riverside here.

AMENITIES AT DISNEY’S PORT ORLEANS RIVERSIDE RESORT

Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside has as wide a range of amenities as you’ll find at any Disney World moderate resort, falling short compared to the rest only in dining compared to Coronado Springs and in its kids pool, where you’ll find much better ones at Port Orleans French Quarter and Caribbean Beach.

Distinctive amenities here–shared with sister resort Port Orleans French Quarter–include boat service to Disney Springs and horse-drawn carriage rides.

Details on the amenities at Port Orleans Riverside begin here.

DINING AT DISNEY’S PORT ORLEANS RIVERSIDE RESORT

Port Orleans Riverside has an indoor bar with a limited menu, a poolside bar with chips and such, a table service restaurant, Boatwright’s, and a quick-service venue, the Riverside Mill.

Each has its fans–especially the indoor bar, River Roost, with its common live entertainment from Yehaa Bob— but collectively they are about average among the moderates, and are particularly bested by Coronado Springs with its “real” room service menu and “real” food at its main pool.

For more on dining at Port Orleans Riverside, see this.

THE POOLS AT DISNEY’S PORT ORLEANS RIVERSIDE RESORT

Port Orleans Riverside has six pools–the main pool with a fun slide, pool games, and sawmill theming at Ol’ Man River, and five smaller, un-themed “leisure” pools scattered among the accommodations buildings.

Six pools is either a feature or a bug, depending on your perspective.  There are so many because the main pool is too small to serve all who might wish to use it, and is a hike from many outlying rooms. You’ll find the same feature/bug at Caribbean Beach and Coronado Springs.

The main pool, though much loved, is uninteresting compared to those at Caribbean Beach and Coronado Springs, and the kids pool next to it is quite weak compared to the alternatives at Caribbean Beach and French Quarter.

There have been no hints at this, but I do imagine that the kids pool at Riverside will be replaced one of these days with a much more fun splash play area. In the meantime, Riverside guests are welcome to use the one at French Quarter.

There’s more on the pools at Port Orleans Riverside here.

KID APPEAL AND CONVENIENCE AT DISNEY’S PORT ORLEANS RIVERSIDE RESORT

Kid Appeal. The southern bayou and plantation theming of this resort, while charming to many adults (especially the Magnolia Bend section, whose Georgian architecture is quite lovely), will miss most kids entirely.

That said, its extra amenities bump it slightly ahead of its sister resort Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter. (French Quarter visitors are encouraged to use these amenities; the difference is that for Riverside guests, they are immediately present.)

Moreover, the Royal Rooms will have great appeal to some kids–though they are more expensive, and less convenient, than alternatives.

Main Pool Disney's Port Orleans Riverside Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

Now, I get comments all the time along the lines of “We stayed at Riverside and it had great appeal for my kids!” Of course it did. All the Disney resorts have great kid appeal. My point is that some have even more than others…

Convenience. Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside is in the middle of moderates IN convenience.

While often thought of as out of the way, it is in fact just across the street (or two) from Epcot, and along with Port Orleans French Quarter is the closest of the “traditional” moderates to Magic Kingdom. It also shares with French Quarter a slow boat to Downtown Disney.

The principal convenience frustration is that, since it commonly shares buses with Port Orleans French Quarter, it has in effect 5 bus stops. The Magic Kingdom bus is the exception–it has only four stops, as it skips Port Orleans French Quarter.

Buses sometimes fill before they get to their final stop (although this is much less common than it used to be), and the first day or two of a visit, it can be hard to identify from inside the bus whether one is at the West, North, or East Bus Stop.

Getting off at the wrong stop matters, because Port Orleans Riverside is pretty darn big, and can be a challenge to get around.

While at my pace no room is more than a ten minute walk from the central service area and pool, this is assuming you take the most direct path, and don’t get lost. Getting lost–especially at night–in the far reaches of the Alligator Bayou section is easy. Or at least it is for me…

It’s not widely noticed, but the texture of the concrete paths in the Alligator Bayou section is meant to help with wayfinding. Where there are groups of buildings, the main path through them is textured to look like a plank road.

The texturing is meant to indicate to you that you are on a main path, and keep you from wandering off accidentally onto a building-specific path.

The image on the right side shows the texture of such a plank road.

As a final convenience point, the two story buildings in the Alligator Bayou area have no elevators.

Other distinctive features. One of only  two traditional moderates that can sleep five, in the Alligator Bayou section. (Caribbean Beach is the other, and its five person rooms are slightly more livable.) These Alligator Bayou rooms provide two queen beds and a short Murphy bed. With Port Orleans French Quarter, the only moderate with no lake, and with the French Quarter the only moderate with boat transport to Downtown Disney.

BEST PLACES TO STAY AT DISNEY’S PORT ORLEANS RIVERSIDE

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.)

Unless you need the bed for the 5th person, stay in a top floor (quieter) standard room in building 85– “Magnolia Terrace” –in the Magnolia Bend section. This area is much lovelier than the other section, Alligator Bayou, and the storage is more convenient. And of the non-Royal options, Building 85 is the best choice–lovely, closer to the pool and central services, and with a nearby bus stop.

If you do need the fifth person bed in Alligator Bayou, shoot for a ground floor room (no elevators) in buildings 16, 17 (close to the amenities and bus stop at Sassagoula Steamship Company) or 38–better views, close to the main pool.

Room request forms for Riverside are particularly thin on options. If you booked a Royal Room you’ll automatically be put in Oak Manor or Parterre Place, the buildings that include them; if you booked five people three or older, you’ll automatically go into one of the Alligator Bayou rooms.  Beyond this, call to express your preferences.

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

THEMING AND ACCOMMODATIONS AT DISNEY’S PORT ORLEANS RIVERSIDE RESORT

This review continues here.

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

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October 18, 2017   No Comments