The Royal Guest Rooms at Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside
Snagging a good deal, we stayed at the Pirates of the Caribbean rooms at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort a few months previous. My son was in love with the pirate theming, and I think the pirate beds doubled as a 5th park during our trip. Wanting to find something equally special for our daughter, I stumbled upon the Royal Guest Rooms at Port Orleans Riverside.
We stayed at Port Orleans Riverside for our very first Walt Disney World trip with our son several years ago but hadn’t returned as we tried out different resorts. I remembered the rooms as “nice”, but not anything special. The Royal Guest Rooms, however, seemed to be fit for a princess. The pictures looked amazing, with portraits of princesses adorning the walls and Princess Tiana welcoming you to a royal stay. I didn’t need much convincing to book this room for our next trip!
The Port Orleans Riverside Resort is consistently at the top of the list of Disney’s Moderate Resorts. Having stayed at three separate moderate resorts this year (Caribbean Beach, Coronado Springs, and Port Orleans), I can easily say that it was our favorite. The Resort is themed after the big mansions and sprawling estates near New Orleans. You will find horse-drawn carriages, magnolia trees, and huge porches throughout.
The Resort has a Sundries shop and it felt like most of the other Moderate Resorts. It was missing fun activities, like those we found at Coronado Springs though. Another perk was the shipping area. We ordered packages from Amazon (forgot the rain cover for the stroller at home!!) and had items shipped to our rooms. We were able to pick them up at Fulton’s.
There were 7 sections, and the Royal Guest rooms are all located in the back.
This is where the Royal Guest Room shines. You are paying around $56 more per night for this special, themed room, but is it worth it? My vote is a resounding “YES!
You are greeted when you walk in by a table with two chairs and a message from Tiana welcoming you, as her Royal Guest, to her home.
There are portraits of the Princes and Princesses along the walls. I even loved the wallpaper boarder with all of the Princesses loyal friends, including Gus Gus!
Similar to the Pirate Rooms, the star of the room is supposed to be the headboard. In this case, there is a big golden button on each headboard that sets off fireworks. Be sure to turn the lights off and enjoy the show.
The bathroom was similarly dressed up in its Royal flaire.
Location and Transportation
Port Orleans Riverside is located closest to Disney Springs and Epcot. It is also closer to Magic Kingdom than some of the other value resorts.
Buses are the only mode of transportation to the parks. Thankfully, we only shared buses one time on our way back from Animal Kingdom at closing time. All other buses were specific to Port Orleans Riverside. Travel Times to each of the parks was very reasonable, and with only 4 stops inside the resort, we were between the parks and our resort very quickly:
- Magic Kingdom – 15 minutes
- Epcot – 15 minutes
- Hollywood Studios – 20 minutes
- Animal Kingdom – 25 minutes
The Royal Guest Rooms are located in the back two sections of Port Orleans. This puts you as the last stop on the way to the parks, but it also means you are the last to be dropped off at home too.
Port Orleans Riverside has two options for dining, Riverside Mill Food Court serving up Quick Service meals with several different types of food and Table Service dining at Boatwright’s Dining Hall. We only ate at the Quick Service location during our time at Port Orleans as Boatwright’s is only open for dinner. This was a fairly big down-side for us as we are the type to always visit the parks in the evening so we were never able to take advantage of the Table Service on-site.
Riverside Mill Food Court has six different areas to choose from:
- Pizza and Pasta
- Grill – We enjoyed some really good burgers from this station
- Salads – Build your Own and a good selection of soups as well
- Carving Station
- Bakery – We loved the ice cream for a late night snack (and yes, it counts as a snack on the DDP!)
- Specialities – New Orleans inspired food
We enjoyed breakfast similar to all other Moderates, with a deluxe breakfast coming with eggs, breakfast potatoes, mickey waffle, and your choice of bacon/sausage. Our favorite lunch/dinner were the burgers at the grill. They came with all kinds of toppings, including barbecue, fried pickles, and pimento cheese.
I always recommend taking advantage of some of your resort’s special activities. For one, many are free which is hard to come by at Disney World.
Pools and Playground
The main pool is located on Ol’ Man Isle in the middle of the resort, but there are five others sprinkled throughout the resort as well. The main pool has a fun water slide and a snack bar, but the other pools are usually much less crowded allowing you to pick one that fits your mood for the day! Another great feature is the playground on Ol’ Man Isle. I think it’s one of the best of the moderate resorts and is also shaded, which can be a big plus during the summer.
Movies Under the Stars
Since we were visiting during the Halloween, I loved to see some of my favorite movies like Hocus Pocus included in the Movies Under the Stars. They set up a giant TV screen and you are welcome to bring blankets to enjoy a movie for a night at the resort.
Boat to Disney Springs
This could also be considered transportation, but I think it’s a great magical extra! I’m a big fan of the boats at Disney and pick them over buses whenever available. Port Orleans Riverside has a dedicated boat over to Disney Springs, which is another great way to spend a day outside of the parks.
Horse-drawn Carriage Rides
We loved watching the carriage rides around Port Orleans Riverside. These are only offered at the Port Orleans resorts and Fort Wilderness, another of my favorite resorts. There were a few times that we stopped just to watch the horses walking by.
Port Orleans Riverside
Port Orleans is currently the top of our list for Moderate Resorts. There are several reasons it gets the top spot, and the biggest are:
- Transportation – There are a very reasonable number of stops (only 4) for the resort and you have your own buses for almost every park. The travel time was very short compared to other moderate resorts. The boat to Disney Springs is also a big bonus.
- Atmosphere – The extras, including the playground and pool, make this an especially family-friendly resort. The grounds are also fun to just stroll around. My son and I took several walks just for fun.
- Size – The resort is also a great size. Many of the other moderate resorts are so large, I feel lost. Port Orleans Riverside is planned well, with only 4 bus stops and a generously sized food court. You feel like you have space and aren’t crammed in with everyone else.
Royal Guest Rooms
I know the big question is whether the Royal Guest room is worth the extra money. For us, it was but there were a few reasons why:
- Cheaper than a Deluxe Resort –They are a minimum $50 cheaper per night than a Deluxe, sometimes closer than $100-150 cheaper per night. The Royal Guest room gives you a special experience at a much lower price if you aren’t ready to make that leap to Deluxe.
- Princess Obsession – If you have a princess obsession, this is the room for you. Having stayed in a lot of the other room options at Walt Disney World, this room is in the top 3 for theming. My daughter and son absolutely loved it. If you really want to set this experience apart, you can also consider booking a Princess meal or Tiana’s Riverboat Cruise. I have full reviews here : Battle of the Princess Meals and Tiana’s Riverboat Cruise.
- Port Orleans is your Favorite – If Port Orleans is your favorite, and you want a slightly different experience then this might be for you. Staying in a Royal Guest room gives you a little something special without leaving your comfort zone.Linking up with veravise.com and #MouseFanMondays