Of course we’re all familiar with the excellence and quality of Walt Disney World resorts. But do you take time to truly explore your resort when you’re on a Disney vacation? Each resort has its own hidden gems, that can add a new level to your stay. On a recent trip to Walt Disney World, we tried out Port Orleans Resort: French Quarter, and here are some of the surprising and delightful things we found.
6. Scat Cat’s Club
Whether you’re staying, as we did, in the French Quarter, or down the Sassagoula River at Riverside, you’ll want to stroll through the charming historic French Quarter to let the cobblestone streets, beautiful wrought-iron work and larger-than-life Mardi Gras atmosphere sweep you away. While you’re there, make sure you check out the Scat Cat’s Club, to enjoy some delectable Dixieland drinks and live entertainment – and yes, you are welcome to bring in food court items from next door! There’s no better way to experience the laid-back, soulful, romantic vibe that embodies Port Orleans Resort.
5. Make a Splash with Scales, the Sea Serpent
Continuing the Mardi-Gras theme, the main pool area at French Quarter has fun written all over it! Enjoy the gigantic sea serpent water slide (he’s lovingly referred to as “Scales”), where you can slide down his tongue under the watchful gaze of King Neptune. Seashell water features and jazz-playing alligators abound, and you can unwind at the hot tub and Mardi Grogs pool bar when you’re finished splashing around with Scales. There’s even a Doubloon Lagoon Water Play Area for Neptune’s tiniest guests. If you feel like exploring, you can always take the short walk to the Ol’ Man Island pool complex down the Sassagoula River, at Port Orleans – Riverside, where the splashes will continue with a swimming hole, water falls and fishin’ hole.
4. Horse-Drawn Carriages
Looking for a lovely way to step back in time and feel just like you’re enjoying New Orleans as it was a century ago? Choose a horse-drawn carriage ride, and add some “timeless” to your trip! You’ll slow things down a bit as you travel down scenic pathways and along the beautiful shores of the Sassagoula River, enjoying one another’s company and the relaxing, picturesque ambience. The ride lasts for 25 minutes, and departs at Riverside Levee Marina. We found the fee very reasonable, and completely worth the experience! (Reservations are recommended.)
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3. Water Transportation
We were delighted to discover that only a short walk from our room at French Quarter, we could hop on a water taxi as an alternative to our usual complimentary bus. The water taxi is a refreshing way to get where you want to go, while enjoying lovely river views and captain’s commentary along the way! Getting to Disney Springs has never been so easy or so breezy! Port Orleans’ water taxis are available at both the French Quarter and Riverside.
2. Complementary Activities
Unbeknownst to many guests, there are a variety of complimentary activities at many Walt Disney World resorts, and Port Orleans Resort is no exception. After a full day in the parks, why not bring your family to a complimentary campfire right in the comfort of your resort? You’ll roast marshmallows fire-side as the sun sets (marshmallows and roasting sticks are provided), making memories that will last long after your vacation ends. You may want to stay for another great complimentary activity – the outdoor screening of popular Disney movies, immediately following the campfire. Both activities are, of course, subject to weather conditions. Check with your resort’s front desk for more information!
1. Pirate Cruise
Yes, you heard right – there are several pirate cruises for children at Disney World Resorts, and one takes place along the Sassagoula River, and departs from the Fishin’ Hole on Ol’ Man Island at Port Orleans Riverside. Your little pirates will enjoy a snack and drink during their 2-hour Bayou Pirate adventure, which involves a pirate story, a treasure hunt, and the division of pirate booty among all the children once the treasure has been discovered. An extra (again, very reasonable, in our opinion, for the experience) fee applies, and you’ll want to make reservations by phone.
Doing a bit of research before leaving on vacation can illuminate some hidden treasures at your chosen resort. Whether it’s a giant sea serpent slide or an idyllic carriage ride, these gems will enhance your stay. All of the aspects listed above are just the tip of the iceberg at Port Orleans Resort. Knowing these extra little secrets can make all the difference in fabulous resort experience!