If there’s one thing Walt Disney World always gets right, it is theming. And when you arrive at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter – with its cobblestone streets, fountains, wrought-iron railings and jazzy ambiance – you most definitely feel like you’re arriving in the heart of New Orleans.
Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter is a moderate resort in the Downtown Disney area. The French Quarter is a ten-minute walk from its larger sister property, the Port Orleans Riverside, which embodies Louisiana’s more rural flair.
What makes the French Quarter truly unique and appealing, though, is its size. With only 1,008 rooms, the French Quarter is the smallest of the moderate resorts. In a world where bigger is almost always better, staying at a small resort is a real perk when you don’t have to walk far from the bus stop to your room, or from the food court to your room, or from the pool to your room. Well, you get the picture!
There are seven guest buildings, each three stories tall with elevator access. Because of its small size, there are no preferred rooms, meaning you don’t have to pay extra to enjoy the perks of a preferred location. But don’t let its small size give you the impression that there’s not as much to do at the French Quarter! There are plenty of activities onsite, and the hotel’s location provides easy access to Downtown Disney by boat.
What Works for Families
• Compact grounds and laid back atmosphere
• Nice pool area with sea serpent water slide and daily pool activities
• “Movies Under the Stars” play nightly on the lawn
• Fair-sized arcade located adjacent to the lobby is rarely crowded
• Cajun campfire offered each night with complimentary marshmallows for roasting
• Boat service direct from the resort to Downtown Disney makes for a fun diversion from the busses
• The food court is small but has a very good selection, rarely gets as crowded as the larger resorts’ food courts can get
What Doesn’t Work for Families
• No sit down restaurant on site
• Larger-than-life masks and Mardi Gras decorations in the food court can be scary for younger children
• The French Quarter’s elegant atmosphere might not be the best choice for families looking for a more vibrant, kid-centric Disney experience
• More amenities (surrey bike rentals, fishing, pirate boat excursion) are offered at the neighboring Port Orleans Riverside, but you have to take a boat or walk ten minutes to get there
Port Orleans Resort’s Rooms
The French Quarter’s 1,008 rooms are decorated in dark wood and a classy purple and gold to capture the feel of New Orleans. Rooms are 314 square feet, with two queen beds and two sinks outside the bathroom – a nice feature for larger families and a step up from other moderate resorts that only offer one sink.
Rooms have flat screen televisions with convenient audio and video inputs. Other amenities include a mini-fridge, wall safe, coffee maker, iron/ironing board and hair dryer. A laundry room is centrally located near the resort’s pool.
Like the other moderate resorts, the French Quarter features outdoor walkways rather than interior hallways. Most overlook the landscaped grounds and cobblestone streets. If you choose, you can upgrade to a water view room and be right on the river, but I say save your money for more worthwhile Disney ventures!
Dining at the French Quarter
The French Quarter’s main dining area is a food court named Sassagoula Float Works and is open daily from 6 am until midnight. The food court offers a variety of American and Louisiana-inspired cuisine, including pizza, hamburgers, jambalaya, chicken and ribs. There is also a ‘grab-n-go’ section for pre-made sandwiches, snacks, drinks and desserts.
Bakery items are made fresh daily. You absolutely must try the resort’s New Orleans specialty: beignets, a deep-fried puff of dough covered with powdered sugar. If you are on the Disney Dining Plan an order counts as a snack credit and you will get enough for the whole family to sample! The bakery also serves espresso, cappuccino and lattes.
Hanging from the ceiling of the food court are giant sculptures you might see on Mardi Gras floats, giving the whole room a festive (if somewhat creepy) feel.
The French Quarter does not offer a full service sit-down restaurant. However, a boat ride to either the Port Orleans Riverside or Downtown Disney will satisfy that need. For adult beverages, there is a poolside bar called Mardi Grogs and Scat Cat’s Club off the lobby, where live jazz is performed several nights a week.
Healthy Tip for This Destination
While the Port Orleans Riverside might be a far walk if your goal is to use the pool or dine at their restaurant, if your goal is the journey and not the destination then this is a great place to head for a little exercise. The beautifully landscaped walkway curves along the riverfront for a truly scenic morning walk or run. It is exactly half a mile each way. Add to the distance by meandering back and forth across the bridges a few times.