I fell in love during our most recent trip to Walt Disney World in early April.
The Port Orleans Riverside Resort captured my heart completely during our 8-day trip.
I wasn’t sure what to expect. I spent months planning the trip and eagerly anticipated trying a new resort. We’re not newbies to staying on property, so I thought I knew what to expect.
Little did I know it would be love at first sight.
Large Resort, Homey Feel
Ok, maybe not at first sight. But even as we pulled up, I started getting butterflies in my stomach. As we drove to the lobby, I couldn’t get over how green and lush everything looked.
We already received notification that our room was ready via online check-in. However, we decided to stop by the lobby to get the scooter I rented, along with a map to the resort. Note for anyone considering staying at Riverside: it is a massive resort. Yet, somehow, as we made our way around we found it quite homey and charming. Must be that Southern Hospitality! But, make sure to get a map, especially for the bus stops for Disney Transportation.
The cast member who check us in noted our account said we were celebrating our anniversary (thanks to our travel agent who made the note). We found out we had a garden room instead of the standard room we booked — a little pixie dust. After giving us a pair of Happy Anniversary buttons (hooray!), she gave us a map to find our room. I decided to pick up my scooter and ride it over to the room while my husband drove the car over.
I’m so glad I took the scenic route! I got to take a motorized tour of the grounds. The moment I went through lobby doors to the resort grounds, I was blown away. Right in front of me wound the Sassagoula River with a footbridge leading the way to my room at the Acadian House. Along the way, I saw a gazebo, a horse-drawn carriage and a surrey bike. It felt surreal.
By the time I reached our hotel building, I had tears in my eyes. I know these are basic hotel rooms designed to look like a southern-style plantation. But, oh my goodness, when you see you’re staying in this building, how could I not be impressed?
I turned around to just take it all in and saw this beautiful sight.
The pictures don’t do it justice. The grounds are stunningly beautiful.
I couldn’t wait to see our room.
What To Expect In A Riverside Room
Our garden-view room had two queen beds, each with a charming headboard depicting our “home away from home” for the next seven nights. Both the beds and pillows were quite comfy. The mattresses were a little harder than I’m used to, but they didn’t feel flimsy like other hotels I’ve stayed in.
The double bathroom vanity stood outside the shower and toilet room. This was nice so one person could take a shower or use the restroom, while someone else brushed teeth and finished getting ready for the day. Made getting out for rope drop easier on those early mornings! I also liked the simple decor style that matched the old-fashioned charm of the resort.
Since we were on the third floor, our view was partially obstructed by the railings. But, we had a lovely fountain area to look out rather than just a parking lot. Yes, you can still see the lot in the distance, but this certainly beat many of the views we’ve had at other resorts.
Time To Eat At The Sassagoula Steamboat Company
My husband and I decided to get some food at the main building aka The Sassagoula Steamboat Company. This is where you’ll find both a number of food and entertainment options.
Riverside Mill Food Court: For our first night, we opted for quick service. We were tired after two days of driving and wanted to grab something fast and easy. We were surprised at the options available on the menu. Sure, there were the traditional pizza, burgers and chicken tenders. But, there is also a pasta bar (made fresh to order), a carving station (the pork and turkey are wonderful), a salad station and much more. No one has to settle for fast food, in the stereotypical sense, here. And, of course, there are delicious desserts at the bakery/ice cream shop. Breakfast also has plenty of variety on the menu. The prices weren’t bad, either, considering it’s Disney.
River Roost Lounge: Want a quick drink and some fun entertainment? Head over to the River Roost Lounge. The menu has drinks and some small, shareable dishes. The highlight, though, is Yeeha Bob Jackson. Bob has been performing at Riverside for more than a decade. His piano show is appropriate for all ages and strongly encourages audience participation. Be prepared to sing along and feel a little silly. It’s all good. Everyone is there for a good time! We had a blast watching him on our first night there after dinner.
Boatwright’s Dining Hall: The resort’s table service restaurant is a fine place to have some more “grown-up” fare. Our experience there was fantastic. I had the French Onion Soup for my appetizer, which was so delicious! For my main meal, I had prime rib. The chef prepared it perfectly medium rare and it was so tender. I was impressed. For dessert, I had a berry sorbet. My husband loved his jambalaya, too! It was a little crowded and noisy, so it’s not exactly the best place for a quiet, romantic meal. But, I’d definitely eat there again.
The main building area is gorgeous. It has a working water wheel outside the dining hall and at night the whole area is lit up for a spectacular view.
Love The Water? You’ll Love Riverside
During our stay, we used two of the resort’s pools. There’s ‘Ol Man River, Riverside’s main pool. This area is crowded just about every day by 11 am, so if you want to take advantage of the large pool and waterslide, get there early. We did that one day and it was fine. There’s also a smaller pool area, a jacuzzi, hammocks and a pool bar to enjoy.
We happened to capture ‘Ol Man River not long before closing for the day. Trust me when I say this place is packed to the brim.
The other days, we used one of the side pools near the Acadia House. It’s nothing fancy, but we loved the quiet there.
There’s also a fabulous boat ride you can take down to Disney Springs. Nothing beats it on a warm, sunny day! Don’t miss it!
Overall, it was a fabulous stay and we can’t wait to go back and enjoy it!