Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter – Still Our Most Recommended Moderate Resort
As I’ve mentioned here on the site many many times, we are unashamedly “Disney Resort” people. We’ve done the offsite thing and in a select few ways it *can* be beneficial but for the most part staying on Disney property at a Disney resort is the best and, in my opinion, the only way to tour the parks. However, it’s a rare scenario when someone is planning a Disney vacation and getting advice for their trip that the inevitable question of “what resort do you recommend?” doesn’t pop up. It’s a good question but one that I can’t stress enough how situational the answer can be. At the same time though, one of my go to resort recommendations time and time again is Port Orleans French Quarter for reasons that I hope to share in great detail here today.
To make a long story short, earlier this week (March 2019) we spent 4 nights in a standard room at the resort. We’re notorious for staying at deluxe resorts, but on this particular trip it was just me and my dad enjoying a rare vacation on our own and this came in at the perfect price point with our Annual Passholder discount. That’s one of the huge benefits of being an Annual Passholder but we recently shared so many other reasons in our The Unique Benefits of Becoming a Walt Disney World Annual Passholder That Tend to Get Overlooked article. Setting that fact of the matter aside, it was an incredible stay and fit the mold of our desired vacation style on this particularly trip.
We weren’t looking for something with the perfect room, the perfect view, or even the perfect location, and this ultimately fit the bill as it has on a select few occasions in the past as well. As an added benefit, it allowed for the opportunity to go back and update my thoughts on the resort overall and to do so from a first-hand experience standpoint.
I could attempt to wax poetically about the theming, but in all reality the best description was a statement I overheard at the bus stop a few short days ago by another guest stating “I really like our resort. It feels nicer that what I expected.” In many ways that’s the ideal description for French Quarter. It’s not a deluxe resort and is firmly categorized by Disney as a moderate but it has so many added bonuses when compared to the other resorts in that tier that I almost put it in a category of its own as a moderate+. Unfortunately, the price does tend to reflect the difference in accommodations in comparison, but I must say it’s well worth the slight difference in price.
In all reality, it’s likely the one resort I tend to recommend the most to first time Disney parks guests. It’s a perfect blend of affordability combined with some unique additions that tend to give you a slight “deluxe tier” feel in a moderate resort before you decide if making the jump to a deluxe tier resort like Wilderness Lodge at a higher price. Some guests simply don’t like paying deluxe tier prices and don’t feel like it works for them. I will always be a proponent of deluxe accommodations but we’re undeniably theming obsessed travelers and love the little details hidden around every corner.
With all of that being said, let’s dive into some of the greater details of the Port Orleans French Quarter experience.
The Property and the “French Quarter vs. Riverside Debate”
The best way I can describe the property itself is as classy and subtle theming in all the right ways. It’s not a resort that has towering character statues the size of buildings (like many of the value tier resorts), but there’s a certain upscale feel to the property that generates a great vibe.
In the simplest of descriptions, the resort feels premium without the premium price tag. The pool area is rarely over crowded, the walkways feel quiet and almost deserted most of the day, and the luxury of it being the smallest moderate resort is a huge benefit when walking to your resort room. That simple fact alone is perhaps the greatest benefit of French Quarter. No matter what room you end up with, you’re never walking miles to the counter service location or to the pool or transportation options. Everything (for the most part) is centrally located and a reasonable walking distance for the average guest.
In our given circumstance, we had booked a standard room and utilized online check in. Our room was ready about 20 minutes before the stated check in time and we were given a room on the backside of building 5. For reference, the pool photo below was taken from the second floor walkway of building 5 on the side that faced the pool. Our room was on the opposite side of that building. We didn’t have a “view” per say but we were still incredibly close to the pool and dining areas without paying for any type of upgrade. It was about a two minute walk to Floatworks and a one minute or less walk to the pool. You may not always get this lucky but it has worked in our favor at this resort many times.
Inevitably there’s always a debate of which is better, “French Quarter” or the neighboring larger sister resort “Riverside.” Riverside is undeniably the bigger resort and debatably the more elaborate of the two resorts. The pool at Riverside is a bit more unique but not so much so that it sways my vote in favor of Riverside. To me, French Quarter is the perfect blend. It’s spread out enough to avoid crowded areas, but also is small enough that everything is a short walk away and common areas don’t feel overcrowded like many of the value resorts tend to. If you’re really debating one of the two Port Orleans options, you cant go wrong with either one. Look into the pools and look into the dining options at each one and if all else fails, pick the more budget friendly option.
The Resort Rooms (Standard View Room Tier)
A nice little addition to the experience was a welcome letter from the general manager of the resort including an email address encouraging guests to share reactions and responses to their stay. I’ll likely send over this article to share my own personal thoughts as a result. It’s a simple option that they really did not have to have available to guests but it shows that extra “Disney” touch of class and was even paired with a business card for the head of housekeeping if any issues arose.
On our particular stay, our air conditioning unit was not working properly and literally within minutes of our call to the front desk we had a very pleasant gentleman (I wish I could remember his name) in our room fixing the problem and making sure everything was perfect for our stay. He even wrote up a report, installed a new filter because he saw ours was near time for a change, and stuck around for a brief few minutes to assure that the unit was cooling correctly and would work well throughout our stay. It was a near perfect response on Disney’s part and a testament to guest service. As someone looking to find a way into this industry in the near future and as a management student finishing a degree, this particular situation is one I tend to take mental notes of and I have to say it was handled flawlessly.
The Pool That’s Better Than You’d Expect!
The Food – Top Notch!
I’m unashamedly a sucker for good food, and the counter service location Floatworks is always near the top of our list when dining at Walt Disney World. Even if we’re not staying at this particular resort we typically make a trip over just to enjoy the food. Floatworks has a great array of offerings that have a slight New Orleans flare to them in a food court style environment where everything is made on the spot for each and every guest. It’s an impressive dining location to say the least and if you’re not positive it’s for you, just check out the photos of the cheese stake sandwich below. The Po’ Boy sandwiches are also top notch and no meal here is complete with trying the shockingly affordable yet incredible Mickey shaped Beignets.
Transportation (The Slight Downside)
Wrapping Up – The Big Picture
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