What Resort Should I Choose – French Quarter or Riverside?

Riverside or French Quarter? It’s a question we’ve all asked ourselves as least once in our lifetime. Fortunately, if you’ve chosen to a stay at either Port Orleans Riverside or Port Orleans French Quarter resort on your next Disney World vacation, you’ve already made one great decision.

We consider Riverside and French Quarter resorts to be among our favorites. We like the rich themes, picturesque setting, and laid-back vibe of these two Orleans-inspired resorts. Although we’ve never set foot in Louisiana, we assume this representation is 100% indicative of the real thing…right? Anyway, you’re obviously going to need to choose one resort over the other. I mean technically you could book both, but that would be a waste of your money and a waste of my time writing this post.

So...Riverside or French Quarter?

The Old Mill at Port Orleans Riverside

We say resort DESIGN and COST make Port Orleans Riverside the best of the two Port Orleans resorts.

A grand design

Many consider Riverside’s 80 acre footprint (vs French Quarter 20 acre footprint) a detriment. However, we say just the opposite.There’s no denying it’s big…like really big. Like…I’m always surprised how big it is. Like…take a bathroom break before you circle the resort big. The thing is, we don’t consider that a negative. 

Why? From the over-sized water mill to the mansions lining the Sassagoula river banks, Port Orleans Riverside has a grandness that’s missing from French QuarterSeriously, on your next trip, walk in the front entrance of both resorts and let me know which impresses more. 

Will you want a car if staying here? Probably. Though we NEVER recommend visiting Disney World without a car regardless of the resort chosen (a blog for another day).

Also, we like the design variety of Riverside over French Quarter – where rows of near identical style guest room buildings make up a bulk of the landscape. Circle clockwise around Riverside and you’ll see the design of the guest room buildings evolve from quaint, tin-roof shacks (relatively speaking) to grand mansions. It’s these cool design details that set Riverside a touch apart and live up to the Disney resort hype. 

Cheaper and better?

Riverside has historically had the upper hand when it comes to discounts. It’s rare to see Port Orleans French Quarter room rates discounted. If we look at current available discounts (Summer 2019), we see both French Quarter and Riverside rates are currently 10% off until August 28th (coincidence?). More typical are Riverside rate discounts in the 20-30% range and French Quarter rate discounts in the 0-10% range. French Quarter also rarely participates in package discounts like “free dining”. 

Doing the math [average nightly rate ($281) – the average discount difference (20%)] , means French Quarter is going to cost you somewhere around $300 more than Riverside for a five night stay.

But wait, there's more...

The French Quarter beignets and kids splash area are often cited as an argument for French Quarter over Riverside. It’s almost a moot point. The thing is, as a Riverside guest, both are at your disposal with fairly minimal effort.

Finally, Riverside has something French Quarter absolutely doesn’t…Yehaa Bob Jackson.  Steamrolling his way through a catalog of Disney hits in his signature, over-the-top style, Bob has been a fixture at the resort bar “River Roost” since 1997. You’ll want to be sure and catch him if you find yourself strolling through the resort on one of the Wed-Sat nights he’s performing.

What other folks say about Riverside

Where it's located

Port Orleans Riverside is located in the Bonnet Creek resort area…which is likely the most useless sentence typed on this blog so far. Just know it’s closest points of interest are Epcot and Disney Springs.There are separate entrances for Riverside and French Quarter off of Bonnet Creek Pkwy. If you’re like us, however, you’ll inadvertently turn into the French Quarter entrance on the first day…even though it clears says “French Quarter”. See the map below for details.

What's next?

If you’re looking for any and all details like best room locations, resort dining options, transportation, resort history, latest news…I can keep going, your best Port Orleans resource on the web is portorleans.org. Andre has managed the site for years and is most definitely a Port Orleans expert. Tell him we sent you for 10% off a yearly subscription to the site.

Riverside or French Quarter - What do you think?

With our love for both resorts, this was a tough one. We’re sure you have an opinion as well, so please share. Have you stayed at Riverside or French Quarter? Planning to? Let us know in the comments below…

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