Top 8 Disney Pro Tips for Port Orleans Riverside at Walt Disney World

Port Orleans Riverside
Credit: Disney

I have a soft spot in my heart for Port Orleans Riverside—it is one of the first Disney resorts I stayed in as a child and the resort we chose for our honeymoon (back then it was Dixie Landings). But, having stayed at all of the moderate resorts on property I still find that this one is my favorite for a variety of reasons. Here are my top 8 pro tips for making the most of your stay at Port Orleans Riverside:

8. Location

Although not as convenient to the parks as some of the deluxe resorts, Riverside is situated in a great spot to make your bus rides to the parks as short as possible. There is a “back way” to the Magic Kingdom that the buses utilize going past the new Golden Oak development and Fort Wilderness Campground—this makes for a very convenient ride. It is also located close to Epcot and Hollywood Studios, so choosing this resort means you can make the most of your time and avoid long bus rides. It is a large resort, so there are often peak times when the buses are standing room only, so these shorter rides are really nice.

7. Two resorts in one!

Here is a pro tip: if you are staying at Port Orleans Riverside you can share the facilities at Port Orleans French Quarter. That means for the price of a moderate resort you can have two feature pools and two food courts at your disposal. And over at French Quarter you can find those yummy beignets available all day. It is easy to get between the two resorts—there is a nice walking path along the river that is great for a relaxing stroll (and to work off those beignets).

6. Carriage Rides

Want to add a little extra romance to your vacation or surprise your little princess with her own horse drawn carriage? Well, you can do this at Port Orleans Riverside. Carriage rides are available from the main area around the marina and “Sassagoula Steamboat Company” that take you around the scenic Sassagoula River. Carriages accommodate up to 4 adults or 2 adults and 3 small children for a base price. The rides last about 25 minutes and it is recommended that you make reservations by calling 407-WDW-PLAY up to 180 days in advance.

5. Fishing

I always recommend that you take a day to enjoy the amenities of your resort and to relax away from the hustle and bustle of the parks. It helps you feel refreshed and allows you to take advantage of the activities and beauty of your resort that you are paying for. Port Orleans Riverside has a very unique offering: Cane Pole Fishing. The fishing hole is stocked with various types of fish and is open from 7:00am-1:45pm for catch and release fishing. There is a fee for fishing based on a 30 minute time frame that includes your pole and bait—pricing is available for individuals or families of up to 6 people. Even if you bring your own pole and bait the same fee applies. Fishing is just one of the great recreational activities available at Riverside, you can also go on a Pirate Adventure Cruise (kids only for a fee & reservations required); roast marshmallows; enjoy a movie under the stars; or rent a surrey bike.

4. Guest Rooms

Port Orleans Riverside has some of the most diverse guest room options of the Walt Disney World resorts. One great advantage here is that the rooms in the Alligator Bayou section can accommodate families of up to 5 people with two queen beds and a fold down bed (and they are so cute with Louis from The Princess & the Frog on the back “wall” of the bed). This makes it one of the most affordable resort options for larger families. There are two sections to Riverside, the more rustic “Alligator Bayou” that looks like it is carved out right along the bayou, and the more formal mansions in the “Magnolia Bend” section. When booking your reservation you can request one section over the other if you prefer, but requests are not guaranteed. If you are a family of 5 you will be in the Alligator Bayou section. The final option for rooms at Riverside are the Royal Guest Rooms. This is a category that you book so you are guaranteed to get one of these specially themed rooms in the Magnolia Bend section of the resort. And they are truly special. Staying in one of these rooms you are a guest of Princess Tiana herself and the room is filled with Princess touches like Aladdin’s lamp for the sink faucet, portraits of the Princesses, the flying carpet on the floor, and my personal favorite the fireworks in the headboard.

3. The Paths along the Sassagoula River

Part of the lore of the Port Orleans Resorts revolves around the Sassagoula River that runs through both resorts—and it is a really beautiful and tranquil part of the resort. Along the river you will find a walking path that takes you on both sides of the river through the Riverside resort (several bridges cross over it), and all the way over to French Quarter along its banks. This is a great area for a relaxing walk, or if you are a runner it is one of the better running paths in Walt Disney World. You can request a running map (based on availability) at the check in desk with a path that is about 1 mile marked on it.

2. The Boat to Disney Springs

With all of the new development, shops and restaurants at Disney Springs having easy access to this area is becoming more of a perk. Port Orleans Riverside offers boat transportation to Disney Springs, and it is a really nice and relaxing ride. You follow the Sassagoula River past the Treehouse Villas, Saratoga Springs & Old Key West until it opens up into the water around Disney Springs itself. It is a great way to get over there for dinner and some shopping. Here is an extra pro tip: allow yourself plenty of time to make a dining reservation if you are using the boat transportation. Everyone loves to use the boat and capacity is limited so you may have to wait through a couple of boats to be able to board. Also, the boat does not run during inclement weather or high winds so you do have the alternative option of a bus.

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1. YeHaa Bob

Port Orleans Riverside’s lounge the River Roost hosts one of the best live acts at Walt Disney World on select nights of the week. YeHaa Bob is a family friendly entertainer who has more energy that anyone one person should have. He will get everyone in the entire audience involved in his interactive show and I guarantee even the quietest person in your group will be singing along and laughing so hard their sides hurt. The lounge itself serves New Orleans themed appetizers and specialty cocktails, so come early if you want to get a table—his show is very popular! Also check the times guide at the resort or visit YeHaa Bob’s website (yehaabob.com) in advance of your trip to know which nights he is performing at Riverside. Pro tip: even if you aren’t staying at Riverside it is worth the trip over to catch his performance.

Do you love to stay at Port Orleans Riverside? What are your pro tips for a stay here?

About Sarah Chapman

I am a long time Disney fan since I was hooked on Walt Disney World with my first trip in 1987. Since that time I’ve tried experiencing everything I can in the parks, with a total of 30 visits and counting (I’m always planning my next trip) to Walt Disney World—not to mention Disney Cruise Line and even (shhh!) Universal Orlando and Sea World. I’ve turned my Disney obsession into a profession helping others plan their magical vacations as a Dream Vacation Maker at LBAC Travel. I am a work at home mom to three wonderful boys, and each one has been properly indoctrinated with all things Disney. Walt Disney World is definitely our “Laughing Place.” Look for me on Facebook at Facebook.com/SarahLBAC for updates, discount announcements, tips, tricks and planning advice for your next vacation. You can also find me on Instagram (sarahdreamvacationmaker) and Pinterest (sarahlbactravel).