Famille Du Pentium

Another Day, Another Llama Video

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Hotel Review – Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside

So we arrived after spending the night at the Nick Hotel, and immediately the Disney "magic" begins.  If you’re looking for Mickey waltzing up to your kids in the lobby and magically transporting them to Fantasia, your bar is set a bit high.  But if you’re looking for a themed resort with a lot of attention to details, Port Orleans Riverside will do it.

The foliage is really the major point of this resort.  Apparently they’ve won awards for the horticulture.  It’s all in line with the theme, Louisiana Bayou River foliage.  And it’s lush and very nice.  

We pulled up to the lobby and I checked in while the kids watched Disney movies on the T.V. in the lobby.  Good start. 

The CM at the check-in desk was a little less magical.  First, she printed off our room key / park ticket / meal plan IDs, then realized that she printed my oldest Son’s card with charging privileges.  No big deal, I said.  I don’t think Aaron is going to try to charge anything, he’ll be with us the entire time.  But no, she said in broken english, she must reprint the card.  So she did, but somehow she confused the new card with the old card and voided the new one in the system instead of the old one.  So the first park we went to, we had to visit guest services in order to get him in, and I had to visit the lobby one more time to have his card reprinted *again*.  Second, I knew that last time we visited, I charged somewhere in the neighborhood of $1500 on my room charge for a week.  So I asked to up the starting approval (which they get from your credit card anyway) to $2K.  I have plenty of room and cash waiting at home to pay this off, so it should be no big deal.  But no, she says in broken English, $1000 is the standard.  Yeah, I know.  But you can go over the standard.  She didn’t understand.  Standards are standards, you don’t deviate from them.  Someone send this woman back to "Disney Magic" school.  

Anyway, check-in aside, we got the bellboy and headed to our room to dump our luggage.  The bellboy was great; kind of reminded me of Jerry Van Dyke in his speach and mannerisms, and he let the kids ride on the golf cart.  

The rooms in the moderate resorts are nominally bigger than the Value resorts, but they also put more in them – like the big hutch for the T.V., the luggage stand, and the refridgerator.  We didn’t care much about size, this was the cheapest room on-property that could sleep two adults and three kids.  it does this by way of a trundle bed, which is fine for us.  The decor is definately "in-theme" down to the light fixtures and bedposts.  

The nearby "quiet pool" is 24 hours, but no lifeguard, and is supposed to be, well, quiet.  But it was anything but.  I was doing laundry two nights (wet clothes and shoes one night, needed more clean clothes another night) and at midnight there were still kids making a lot of noise in the pool, with their parents right there.  If I were in a room adjacent to the Quiet Pool, I would have been very upset.  But I wasn’t 😉

The main pool area is actually on an island in the middle of the resort.  All the buildings circle "Old Man Island" but unfortunately only two bridges connect to the mainland.  So if you’re not near the front or Aligator Bayou, it’s quite a walk.  But again, lots of great foliage to take in on the way.  The pool area also has a bar that serves hot snacks and great foofie-drinks, if you’re into that.  The pool itself has one short waterslide, some waterfalls, a kiddie pool, and a whirlpool (where I spent most of my time – 104 degrees F, ahhh!)

The main lobby has a gift shop, a lounge (which I wanted to try out but never got the chance, it has a great piano bar), the usual food court, and a table-service restaurant, Boatwrights.  Boatwrights is nice but nothing special; you of course have to make reservations but it’s not a memorable meal, just good.  They could stand to add something to it, like more ambiance or maybe characters.  

Outside the main lobby, there are regular activities (for which you pay, of course – but they add to the "magic") like horse-drawn carraige rides, face painting, a marina where you can rent watercraft (if you have reservations), and a water taxi that will take you to the other Downtown Disney resorts plus Downtown Disney itself.  We tried this, but thunderstorms broke out and the boat taxi (which is entirely aluminum) had to shut down.  So we had to take a bus from Old Key West to Downtown. 

I wasn’t pleased with the bus service from Port Orleans Riverside.  We waited 20 minutes for a bus to Magic Kingdom.  It takes ten minutes to drive there.  I shoulda drove in the first place.  We did on later visits.  I don’t know if it was a one-time thing or what, but the busses were few and far betwen and it wasn’t because of low volume that day – every bus was jammed with standing passengers and some always got left behind.  

Housekeeping did an OK job.  I was actually more pleased with the housekeeping staff at All Star Music four years ago.  We tip well, and we expect a little extra in return.  Out of seven nights of tipping, we really only got "special treatment" one day.  I’m not a crybaby about it, but it’s an unwritten rule – heavy tippers get extra amenities every day, and this housekeeper broke that rule.   

We definately would like to stay at this resort again sometime, although probably when we’re older with no kids.  Between the joking piano player in the bar, the carraige rides, and other adult amenities, it would be a great place to stay for an adult Disney visit.  Don’t get me wrong – the kids will love it and be treated great, but as an adult you will find yourself saying "I wish I could spend some time here without the kids…" 

posted by Michael Humphries-Dolnick at 7:31 pm  

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