Port Orleans French Quarter — Would I Stay There Again??

by on May 10, 2009 13 Comments

Filed under: Resorts, Walt Disney World (FL)

On my most recent trip to Walt Disney World I stayed at Port Orleans French Quarter for part of my trip.  This was my first time at this hotel.  I had heard good things.  In the “Unofficial Guide” you can get a detailed description of all of the amenities, room layout and dimensions.

A few things I like about the French Quarter:  the rooms were nice, clean, and the “themeing” is darling.  I also loved the refrigerator in the room.    The grounds are very pretty.  The housekeeping staff was great. The food court accepts the  “Tables in Wonderland”  card.  There is a curtain that divides the beds from the sinks. That’s nice and the Values don’t offer that. I visit the real “French Quarter” in New Orleans several times a year and I have to say I much prefer Disney’s “French Quarter”  — much cleaner.

A few things I didn’t love: the food court is small and doesn’t have a ton of choices.  At the time of my visit, it was understaffed.  Waiting in line for mediocre, over priced food gets a little old — even at Disney World.  The bathroom isn’t much bigger than that in a Value resort.  The location of the French Quarter didn’t seem any more convenient than the Value resorts.  Other than the food court, the main detractor for me is the price.

So here is my dilemma, it cost $70 more per night to stay here as opposed to Pop Century or another Value Resort.   Does Port Orleans offer enough amenities for me to justify spending the extra money?  I know this answer is different for everyone. For me, the answer is no.  The rooms at a Value resort don’t seem that much smaller, the food court at Pop Century is huge and offers a ton of variety, the Disney toiletries are the same at Moderates and Values, the “themeing” at all of the Value resorts is clever and very Disney, and the rooms are clean as well.

If staying at a Value means I can stretch my budget and stay another night or enjoy a nice meal, then I think I’ll stay Value.  Let me confess right here, if I have a window of time to go to Disney World and there is not availability at a Value,  you can bet I am staying at French Quarter.   Every family has different priorities and Port Orleans may be just the place for yours.

Posted on May 10, 2009

13 Responses to “Port Orleans French Quarter — Would I Stay There Again??”

  • by David Davies on May 10, 2009, at 11:22 pm EST

    I’ve run through this same analysis before and reached the same conclusion.

    Note that there are promotions and times of year where the price difference between Port Orleans French Quarter and Pop Century is less than $70 per night, so that can change the scenario a bit. Moderates can be had for around $100 per night sometimes, and that makes them much more attractive to me.

    Also, it’s worth noting that the value food courts accept Tables in Wonderland. And although the POFQ food court is not as large as the one at Pop Century, I prefer the POFQ one to the ones at the All Star resorts. Plus, you can take a 10 minute walk along the Sassagoula River to Port Orleans Riverside if you want a bigger food court or a sit-down restaurant (Tables in Wonderland is not accepted at the Riverside food court, though).

    You also didn’t mention that the POFQ pool area has a slide and a hot tub, and that you can take a boat to Downtown Disney (the boat although it’s a nice ride, is probably slower than a bus from other resorts or from POFQ). However, those things matter only if you’re going to use them, and the value pools are very nice even though they lack slides.

    The value of having these “extras” available varies from person to person, and that’s why we all end up at different resorts.

  • Well this is timely. I’ll be spending two weeks in POFQ in late August early September and because of the size of our family we need two rooms (6 of us plus 1 guest = 7). I ran all the numbers, and compared all of my options and decided to splurge. Since my girls are getting older I thought they would enjoy POFQ a little more, and with 1 in college and another joining her soon I’m not sure how much longer our family vacations will include the entire family.

    Now, if I had my way I’d be staying in a 2 bedroom villa at a DVC resort, but they were way over our budget. Don’t tell me to become a DVC member I’ve crunched those numbers many times over the years trying to convince myself it’s a good deal, and they always tell me otherwise. Not to say a DVC membership is not right for some people. Just not me yet.

    • I wouldn’t worry, bobaloo. I do agree with Caroline that the food court gets boring and crowded, but French Quarter is my favorite resort. The theming is excellent, the pool is one of the best in WDW, and the direct boat access to Downtown Disney makes visits to DD much more convenient. There’s also live music on select nights. As for the size of the rooms, I assume that I haven’t stayed at Deluxes enough times for 315 sq. ft. to bother me.

      Enjoy your trip!

  • by Michelle Szczepaniak on May 11, 2009, at 8:30 am EST

    Our family and friends stayed at POFQ in April 2005 and then we returned to Disney in September 2008 and stayed at Pop Century. We have a son who is 6 and a daughter who is 2 and here are things that I find that Value Resorts do not offer: towels by the pool, hot tubs, slides in the pool, no covered seating while waiting for Disney Transportation, no refrigerator in room (must pay at Value Resort for one), we had to call several times for a bed rail, and the noise was out of control. We decided that we would probably never stay value again because we felt that we had a much nicer stay at POFQ in 2005 and even though POFQ is the smallest of the Disney Resorts it is nice because you don’t have to do a ton of walking to get to the Food Court, Transportation, or Pool. I hope this information helps anyone trying to decide to stay Value or Moderate… I think it’s worth the few extra bucks myself to stay Moderate.

    • Thanks Michelle and Jillann. Good info. Although when I stayed at Pop in 2007 they did have pool towels.

      • by Michelle Szczepaniak on May 11, 2009, at 2:00 pm EST

        I was surprised, but in 2008 there were no towels by the pool we were told that you had to bring them from your room and request new ones for your room… I just thought that was not very accomodating for the guests… Whichever you choose you’ll enjoy your vacation.

  • My family has stayed multiple times at Port Orleans Riverside, and enjoyed it very much. It’s a very quiet, laid-back atmosphere, by and large, the food court (bigger than the FQ version) is okay, and the boat transportation to Downtown Disney is a pleasant way to unwind (in either direction). The big pool is fun, and there are plenty of quiet pools to get away from the crowds.

    Yehaa Bob Jackson’s show at the bar at the Riverside is definitely worth going to, esp. if you have kids. But it’s easily accessible from FQ, too.

    We stayed in Coronado Springs last time — better food court but not quite as relaxing.

    I understand very well the sense that you’re there for the park-going, not hanging out at your room, but you will end up spending an appreciable time at your home resort — if a marginal investment improves that part of the experience, it’s probably worth it.

    • by Michelle Szczepaniak on May 11, 2009, at 2:02 pm EST

      Dave I have to agree with you POFQ is a very relaxing atmosphere!! I thought about staying at Coronado Springs this September, but heard it was a very large resort and that it wouldn’t suit a family with small children with all of the walking to get to pools, transportation, and food court. Thanks for your comment because now I know I probably won’t stay there for sure.

      • Plusses for kids at Coronado Springs:

        1. Very wide-ranging food court.
        2. Great main pool area.


        Very large resort. Basically, if your at the back side of it (we were), it’s either a 10 minute walk to the main building (length may vary depending on walking speed), or else take the bus (which may be a 10 minute wait).

        With kids, I’d seriously go with Port Orleans (Riverside, only to be closer to the food court, but either would be nice).

  • I think our fine peeps at touringplans.com need to have some sort of open forum like this for vacation planning! It is so great to hear everyone’s comments and experiences. ( I made use of the Mom’s Panel on the Disney website, and though I found it very helpful, I have a feeling there’s always a little pixie dust in their answers. I don’t think they’d EVER say anything was bad!!!! 🙂 ) We are staying for a week at the Caribbean Beach – pirate room for my little boys. We won’t be at the resort much, so I think it will be super for our needs. Looked at value places but was scared of noise!!!!! We will be there 5/23 through 5/30. Wish us luck!

  • by DisneyDad59 on May 11, 2009, at 6:51 pm EST

    An excellent post and some very informative comments. Thanks!
    I think one key to any aspect of a successful Walt Disney World vacation is to invest the time to decide what you really want and what you can reasonably afford. (“You” meaning you and your family and/or other guests.)
    I know my habits, my expectations and my budget, so I’ll be staying at the Pop Century (50s) until that winning PowerBall ticket comes my way. I got to that place by investing lots of time with research and a little money staying here and there. But…I won’t dare tell enyone else where they should stay based on my preferences. I would suggest they read the books, visit the websites, skim the chat boards and have a very honest assessment about what they want. When reading other people’s opinions, take their circumstances into account, too…because their issues or hassles may be a result of their poor planning, unrealistic expectations, or their inability to simply deal with an inconvenience. (That’s why Front Desk has its own button, in my opinion.)
    Incidentally, I have stayed at several of the onsite resorts and loved them all..and I’ll never stay off-property again, but that’s just me.
    Happy vacation!

  • One thing I would add to the “plus” side for certain families: Port Orleans Riverside Alligator Bayou has some rooms that can accommodate 5 people in one room -as long as one of your “people” is small enough to sleep on a cot. We were pleasantly surprised to find that for a family with three young children, it was actually LESS expensive to stay at this moderate resort than to stay in a value resort where we would have to book two rooms. Obviously, this doesn’t apply to everyone, but particular to families of 5 with at least one small child.

  • by Beckypooh1972 on May 21, 2009, at 10:31 am EST

    We stayed at Riverside (standard room- requested close to parking because we had a car) the first week of May and especially enjoyed exploring the beautiful grounds. For the money we liked Pop Century’s room better when we stayed there Sept. 08. We tried Riverside this time because the buy4 get3 free put it within our budget. The difference in room size was barely noticeable and the furnishings at Riverside were all scratched up; our room was also dusty around the “hard to reach areas” like light fixtures. Pop’s rooms just seem better suited to young families; our 2 pack n plays fit better, there was no freestanding air unit for the kids to mess with, even the bathroom area was better for us at Pop. Our toddlers drove us crazy playing with the sinks at Riverside:) Not sure we’d stay at Riverside again but we might try another moderate if the promotion was good enough.