SATURDAY SIX: Six Reasons We Love Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter

by on January 17, 2015 19 Comments

Filed under: Adults, Beyond the Parks, Dining, Downtown Disney, Drinking, Merchandise, Saturday Six, Transportation, Walt Disney World (FL)

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six Reasons We Love Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter. Regular readers of the Saturday Six know how much we enjoy staying onsite at the Universal Orlando Resort and Walt Disney World, and while Disney is challenged to compete with some the amenities that Universal can offer its guests, where it does shine is the overall amount and unique hotels on property. Universal has a total of four onsite hotels (soon to be five with the opening of Sapphire Falls in 2016) while Disney has five value resorts alone, not to mention all the moderate, deluxe, and DVC resorts on property. Today we are going to look at our absolute favorite moderate: Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter.

POFQ_logo

Port Orleans French Quarter.

 

Disney’s Port Orleans is broken up into two sections: French Quarter, and Riverside, the latter of which is the much larger of the two resorts. While Riverside certainly has its fans (in fact we’d probably consider it our extremely close second favorite moderate,) we prefer Port Orleans (POFQ) and here are six reason why, starting with…

# 6 – Sassagoula Float Works and Food Factory

French Quarter doesn’t have a table service restaurant (although Riverside’s Boatwright’s Dining Hall is a short walk away,) but it does have a fantastic counter service with the Sassagoula Float Works. Set up like a mall food court, there are several different stations offering Louisiana-inspired dishes such as Po’Boys, Jambalaya, Gumbo, and Beignets. For lunch you can not go wrong with one of the various Po’Boys (our favorites were the pork and beef versions) along with a side of bean salad or house-made chips. As we wrote about in our review of the Fantasy Fare food truck, Disney makes surprisingly good chips. For dinner you gotta go with the Jambalaya or Pot Roast, and any time of the day is good for an order of beignets. Made fresh-to-order and covered in powdered sugar, these beignets are one of the best treats at WDW.

POFQ_BBQpoboy

Pork Po’Boy with bean salad from Sassagoula Float Works and Food Factory.

Beignets_Sassagoula

Beignets at Sassagoula Float Works and Food Factory.

POFQ_burger

Don’t worry, they have burgers and fries too at the Sassagoula Float Works and Food Factory.

POFQ_sassagoulafloatworks

Sassagoula Float Works and Food Factory at Port Orleans French Quarter.

 

# 5 – Boat Transportation to Downtown Disney

I’ll be upfront and say I am not the biggest fan of Disney’s bus transportation. In fact, one of my biggest tips for people traveling down to WDW is to rent a car, even if they are staying onsite. However, I am in love with just about every other form of Disney transportation including the friendship boats at Epcot, the monorail, and the Walt Disney World Railroad at Magic Kingdom. Another relaxing boat ride at WDW is the complimentary ferryboat from French Quarter to Downtown Disney.  While the Downtown Disney area is still under construction, there are still a lot of great reasons to go there. Bowling (or a meal) at Splitsville, drinks at Raglan Road, and shopping at the World of Disney store or the Marketplace Co-op, are just some of the highlights of the area. For most, the biggest problem with Downtown Disney is the parking situation, but if you’re at French Quarter, you can take a boat! Problem solved.

POFQ_DTDdock

# 4 – Scat Cat’s Club

Since TouringPlans’ own Brian McNichols literally wrote the book on WDW’s bars and lounges, and we recently completed a series covering the  Top 25 Drinks at the theme park resorts, it’s fair to say we enjoy libations during our vacations. With live music and a tremendous beer selection, Scat Cat’s Club is a nice way to spend a part of your evening. What we especially enjoy is to look at the jazz memorabilia lining the walls. It was actually taking the incredible tour at Universal’s Hard Rock Cafe that the Saturday Six staff took a deeper appreciation for the history of American music, so it was fascinating to go from piece to piece adorning the walls.

POFQ_ScatCats

Scat Cat’s Club at Port Orleans French Quarter.

POFQ_scatcat3

Scat Cat’s Club at Port Orleans French Quarter.

POFQ_scatcat2

Scat Cat’s Club at Port Orleans French Quarter.

 

# 3 – The Rooms

While several Disney moderate rooms seem to be on the bland side, French Quarter continues its wonderful resort-wide theming straight into the rooms themselves. The gorgeous cherry headboards and Mardi Gras-pastel bedspreads are what will first draw your eyes when attention when stepping into the room, but its the small details throughout – such as the two sinks and mirrors in the bathroom allowing multiple people to get ready at once – which make the rooms stand out.

POFQ_room

Port Orleans French Quarter.

 

# 2 – The Doubloon Lagoon Area

Traveling with children, we find the pool experience starts to become a bigger factor in determining how much we enjoyed a particular resort. The Doubloon Lagoon, and its surrounding area, is among the best Disney has to offer in any of the 20+ resorts on property. The walkway leading up to the pool has colorful gators right up front, as well as a dedicated playground for children 2-12 years old. There is a hot tub and pool side bar (Mardi Grogs) for the adults, but what the kids are going to love is the Doubloon Lagoon pool itself, filled with unique characters, water spraying features, and – more importantly – a slide.

POFQ_Gator

Gators lead the way to the Doubloon Lagoon.

POFQ_pool2

The fun gator theme continues in the Doubloon Lagoon itself.

POFQ_Pool

The Doubloon Lagoon pool, complete with sea serpent water slide. (photo by Nick Exley)

POFQ_pool3

Port Orleans French Quarter.

POFQ_playground

Dedicated children’s playground near the Doubloon Lagoon.

POFQ_mardigrogs

Mardi Grogs poolside bar.

 

# 1 – The Intimate Feel of the Resort

While French Quarter is far from a boutique hotel, it offers a much more intimate experience than many of WDW’s sprawling resorts, including it’s neighbor Riverside. We’ve often found ourselves walking around the wonderfully themed property with barely a soul in sight, making the experience that much more special. The landscaping takes you completely out of central Florida, and that combined with the old fashioned iron lampposts and wrought-iron filigree around the buildings makes you feel like you are in New Orleans, something which a resort like Saratoga Springs just does not accomplish on anywhere near a level of success. While the entire resort is beautiful, the bursts of Mardi Gras colors in specific areas (such as Doubloon Lagoon and the Sassagoula Float Works) really pop thanks to the understated nature of everything else.  If you are used to staying at a value resort on Disney property and are considering making the jump to a hotel with more amenities, take a chance on French Quarter, we promise you won’t regret it.

POFQ_streets2

Port Orleans French Quarter.

POFQ_streets

Port Orleans French Quarter.

POFQ_streets

Port Orleans French Quarter.

POFQ_frogs

Port Orleans French Quarter.

 

HONORABLE MENTION: The POFQ Pressed Penny Machine

Come on, Mickey as the trumpet player leading the band? Donald Duck with the trombone? Only the missing POFQ logo keeps these from being an A+ pressed penny selection.

POFQ_pressedpennies

Port Orleans French Quarter pressed penny machine. (photo by The Schmoof)

 

DOUBLE SECRET HONORABLE MENTION: The Doorman

Kudos to the entire staff at French Quarter, as we have had tremendous experiences with Cast Members across the boards (check-in, Float Works, Mousekeeping,) but a highlight of every trip is seeing the colorfully dressed doorman, who always seems to be a great spirits. The doormen for French Quarter and Disney’s Grand Floridan seem to evoke a different time and place, and seeing them brings a smile to our face each and every time.

POFQ_doorman

So there you have it: Six Reasons We Love Port Orleans French Quarter. See you next weekend for the latest installment of the SATURDAY SIX, where we’ll look at something fun from the world of Disney and Universal. If you had fun, be sure to check out The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! articles, or, for your listening pleasure, check out the Pardon the Pixie Dust podcast.

If you enjoyed Six Reasons We Love Port Orleans French Quarter, you may also enjoy:

Six Reasons To Check Out Disney’s Pop Century Resort

Six “Secrets” of Disney’s Art of Animation Resort

Six Reasons We Love Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Six “Secrets” of Universal’s Portofino Bay Hotel

Special thanks to crack staff photographer Brandon Glover, Parkscope‘s Nick Exley, and Megan Stump for their invaluable assistance with this article. Be sure to also check out Brandon on The Park Blogger podcast with co-hosts Aengus Mackenzie and Brian Carey.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print
Posted on January 17, 2015

19 Responses to “SATURDAY SIX: Six Reasons We Love Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter”

  • Will be enjoying my first stay at POFQ this May! VERY excited!

  • You left off the fantastic walking/running trail through Port Orleans. Early morning use of the trail brings you out into the gloriously sunny end by the river at French Quarter. This is my husband’s favorite resort so we stay here a lot.

  • We usually stay at the Poly, and since I also hate the Disney buses, take a cab to AK and HS. Without a car, what’s the best way to get from POFQ to MK and Epcot?
    I’ll probably have only my Francophile daughter and not my island-loving husband next trip!
    Thanks much.

    • While you would be stuck with a bus, there are two advantages to bus service from POFQ. (1) It’s located such that the bus rides tend to be shorter here. Our other preferred resorts are WL and AKL and the bus trips are much shorter from POFQ.(2) For the most part, the buses run only from FQ and it’s a smaller resort so the buses tend to be less crowded. When we stayed at the Poly, the buses were combined with the Contemporary or Grand Floridian so it extended the ride with more riders.

      • We stayed at BLT in early December and the AK and HS buses were direct. I don’t know if that was due to the season or if Disney finally heard the complaints about the most expensive resorts having the worst bus service, but we didn’t have any extra stops for the week we were there.

    • The bus service is great at POFQ! There is only one bus stop in the resort and it usually does not share buses with POR. It’s one of the best things about staying here!

      • 90% of my frustration with the Disney Bus Trasportation would be solved if all resorts had the wait time boards that one of the Deluxe Resorts has (Animal Kingdom Lodge I believe) or Disney followed through and put that information on the MyDisneyExperience App (something they were testing last year.) When you are standing outside waiting for a bus, 10 minutes seems like a half hour, but if you know the next bus will be there in ______, the time is much more manageable, at least for me. That’s not going to stop another one of my frustrations, seeing several buses arrive for another destination before even one arrives for the one I want, but I could live with just the wait times.

        • This^. I live in a major city, with great public transportation. I take the bus and train every day. But buses at Disney drive me crazy. If I knew I would have to wait 20 minutes at my resort to get to MK, I would grab breakfast or something before leaving.

  • We dont mind the bus from POR to MK and Epcot – (havent stayed at POFQ yet)
    Much better than the bus from the values – and a bus to MK is — in my opinion anyway – way better than driving. Agree that the boat to DD is absolutely the way to go!

  • We just returned home on Wednesday from a stay at Port Orleans – French Quarter! It was our first stay there and it was absolutely wonderful! We were in building 4 which is closest to the bus transportation and only one building away from the lobby/front desk and food court. The grounds of this hotel are beautiful. We were also a very short walk away from the pool and the boat to Downtown Disney. The staff is amazing! We also enjoyed all of our meals at the food court. We will definitely stay here again! Hands down…it’s the best moderate resort!

  • The doorman is the BEST! My kids love him. We usually stop by just to see him and get some beignets even when we aren’t staying there. One of my favorite things about POFQ is the fact that it has only one bus stop. (When we were there, we never, ever stopped at Riverside.) It may seem like no big deal, but after waiting for what seems like an eternity for a bus, you just want to get on your way, not stop 4 or 5 more times before you even leave the resort.

  • Great article. POFQ is our favorite resort–we’ve probably stayed there 6 or 7 times, if not more. What my husband and I like about it is, it’s a nice resort for couples like us who don’t have kids. While there’s plenty there for kids to do, and plenty of kids staying there every time we go, the quiet, intimate feel of the resort you mention in #1 gives it a peaceful, relaxing atmosphere we’ve never found at any other resort. After reading this article, I want to go back again right NOW. 🙂

  • Couldn’t agree more!

  • We stayed at the French Quarter for the first time last year, and fell in love. So much so that we booked up again and will be staying again this June. We also converted two friends, who had planned to go back to The Animal Kingdom Lodge (where they stayed last year), to change their hotel and now all four of us are going to WDW together this year. Because we’re coming from the UK, people would normally say “why don’t you try somewhere different?” but POFQ just has this draw and it’s a brilliant place to stay. Couldn’t agree more with you 6 picks!

  • We honeymooned at POR, and have stayed at POFQ twice with our kids (now 9 and 7). We chose POFQ because of the smaller size of the resort, the solitary bus stop, the wonderful pool, and the shared amenities with POR. We found it to be perfect in every way. We love the immersive theme and the more intimate feel of this resort. The food at Sassagoula’s is delicious…especially the pot roast, which practically melts in your mouth. Yum! You will totally love your stay here and it won’t be your last! :o)

  • Oh My People…STOP,STOP!
    Telling everyone one how great POFQ is !!
    SHHHHHH… lets keep it a secret.
    No really, we had a fabulous time here during our two week stay in December 2013. We had no issues getting to the park on the buses. Only stopped at POR bus stops twice, during the two weeks we were there.(It took 10 minutes to Magic Kingdom). Great boat ride to Downtown. Pool was LOVED by the kids(and us).
    My kids(5 & 8) found someones collection of ‘doorman’s coins’ on the Float works table one morning. They wanted to keep them and throw them in the fountain. I told them to hand them in to the doorman, so the person who left them there could have them back. When they told the doorman this story and handed in the coins, he gave them both a bounty of coins and some deluxe necklaces (different to the usual ones he hands out). He told the kids this was their reward for being honest.
    : )
    Such a peaceful resort.

  • We stayed in POFQ back in 2010 during spring Free DDP. I loved the atmosphere and location, rooms were top notch. We went again in fall of 2013, but stayed at Coronado Springs because they took POFQ/RS off the free dining program. Coronado Springs was just as nice in most respects — the rooms were identical (and just as nicely themed) and there were more amenities by far. The room buildings are nicer on the outside at the POFQ, and we would go back in a heartbeat if they bring free dining back to it.

  • I would have to agree about the intimate feel of the resort and of course the food! I am debating on going back to POFQ or Caribbean Resort for my family’s next trip to WDW this October!