“The story behind these lush rooms is that Princess Tiana (“The Princess and the Frog”) invited some of her royal pals…for a vacation getaway. Princes and princesses of all ages can enjoy their luxurious lodging quarters…”
As expected, many reading the above description anticipated a girly princess explosion. I was personally unsure as to what these Royal Rooms would be like but, as a grown man, I was not as excited about a princess themed room as some others. One “other” that was profoundly more interested in such a theme was my four year old daughter. Therefore I bit the (perceived) sparkly bullet and booked a few nights in a Port Orleans Riverside Royal Guest Room.
What I found when I stepped through the door was an extremely pleasant surprise. Rather than a room covered with glitter and lace, I found a very lavish yet classy room that was much more delicately decorated than I had assumed possible. Using a color palette of primarily gold and blue (royal blue, obviously) and an abundance of woods makes the space feel rich. Although, much like Walt Disney World itself, what makes the room special and different is the details.
The first thing you come upon as you walk through the door is a table and two chairs, just like any Disney moderate resort. This set is different than most in that it sits atop a rather ornate looking base giving it a much more expensive look. Sitting atop the table is a (painted on) letter to you from Princess Tiana herself, welcoming you to her Royal Guest Room.
The curtains are also thicker and more intricately decorated than the standard room variety. The lamp that hangs in the corner is one of my favorite things with its offset chain, delicate metal work, and (of course) Mickey ears. The television cabinet, much like the curtains, is larger with more decoration than a standard room.
Sitting next to the bureau is a cute little stool that looks oddly similar to a certain dog/ottoman from “Beauty and the Beast.” This specific callback is something that repeats throughout the room. The border contains ancillary characters from many princess movies such as Jaque, Gus, Chip, and Sebastian. The faucets in the double vanity specifically recall the Genie’s lamp and the shower curtain displays images of snarfblatts and dinglehoppers. The comforters adorning the queen size beds also show the crowns of several princesses and there is a very familiar looking carpet laying on the floor (see picture above).
Along the walls are several pictures that were presumably gifted to Tiana from her princess friends. Our room contained one image of eight princesses with their princes as well as a few close ups of Tiana with one or two other princesses. My favorite thing about all of the pictures is that they are “taken” at the Port Orleans Riverside Resort, so the backdrops are easily recognizable. There were also two pennants with the princes in silhouette, just so we remember they exist too.
The most noticeable wall hanging contains all eight princesses sitting by the Sassagoula River as they present Tiana with gifts (including a clock that looks just like Cogsworth…hopefully it’s just a replica, that guy is a stick in the mud). This picture is done using lenticular printing so their eyes and a few background items move as you move around the room (and this is not as creepy as I just made it sound). The frame of this particular picture is very pretty as well, having a wood carved look adorned with animals and the initials “SW.” Hmmm, I wonder who made it? Probably Stevie Wonder.
I have specifically not mentioned the best part yet, but here it comes. Ready? Good, it is the headboards…there, all done. Okay, okay, I’ll explain. These large headboards stretch from the beds all the way to the ceiling and depict a lovely night image of the Louisiana bayou complete with Evangeline shining in the night sky (you’ve all seen “The Princess and the Frog,” right? You should, it’s quite good). The cool thing about these headboards happen when you press the little button on the side because that starts the fireworks..yes, the fireworks.
The wood is perforated with many, many tiny holes hiding LED lights. Upon request (well, pressing the button, asking does nothing), the lights spring to life as a fireworks display being watched by several glittering fireflies. The entire thing lasts about a minute, so it is not always on. Although, if your kids are like mine, they will be on most of the time anyway. (See the picture to the right and the quick video below!)
I know I have been gushing again, and I feel that the gushing is deserved, but not all is perfect with these rooms. For one, they are no bigger than a standard room at Port Orleans Riverside, yet they contain larger pieces of furniture. This makes space just a bit tighter, but sometimes a bit is noticeable.
My larger complaint was the location. The Royal Rooms are only found in the farthest of the two mansion buildings, Parterre Place and Oak Manor. Our room was in Parterre Place, the furthest building. This meant that we had a considerable walk to the food court and the closest bus stop. Each was about 5-10 minutes depending on walk speed (five minutes for me, ten with the kids). Due to the multiple stops at Riverside, we chose to board the bus at the East Depot (the last stop for all but the Magic Kingdom and about the same distance from our room as the South Depot ). The walk across two buildings and their adjoining parking lots took so long it required an overnight stay.
Overall, I would recommend the Royal Rooms to most people, although I would think they still appeal mostly to girls. I would highly recommend requesting Oak Manor (which I unsuccessfully did) as well.
Have you stayed in a Royal Room? Do you want to? Any other thoughts, feelings, hopes, or dreams?
Thanks for reading!
Link to YouTube clip of POR Royal Room Headboard