On our last Disney trip at the end of March/beginning of April, we stayed on Disney World property at the Port Orleans French Quarter Resort (POFQ). Back in August/September, we stayed at its sister resort, Riverside (POR). These resorts take you deep into Louisiana: with the French Quarter bringing you into downtown New Orleans, and Riverside deep into the bayou. Both resorts fall within the Disney moderate category of hotels. This was the last hotel in the moderate category that we had not stayed at on a previous trip. In short, we had a great trip and would definitely stay at the French Quarter again!
Most hotels in Disney’s moderate category are sprawling resorts with many different sections or villages that you stay within. Often, your room may be a decent distance (10+ minute walk) from the central lobby or pool with food, entertainment, and more. The French Quarter is not like this; each room should be within a 5 minute or so walk from the lobby area. Overall, the resort is quite compact and much more akin to the layout of a deluxe hotel than a moderate. The major differences to a deluxe hotel are exterior doors, slightly smaller rooms, and no balcony/patio. Each building is vibrantly painted and has 3 floors with railings akin to the actual French Quarter in New Orleans. If you don’t mind being a little further from the lobby, some rooms overlook the Sassagoula River and provide a scenic, calming view.
Port Orleans French Quarter is located near Disney Springs and Epcot, both of which are quite close if driving (less than 5 minutes away). Buses can also be taken from the resort to Disney Springs and any of the four theme parks. Unlike most moderate resorts with many smaller bus stops, French Quarter only has a central bus stop outside the main lobby due to its compact nature. This smaller size comes in handy at the parks; in most cases, it has dedicated bus service to the resort. This means less packed buses than those at Riverside. At some slower points during the day, your outgoing bus may traverse through Riverside too. Incoming buses will always stop at French Quarter first. You can also take a pontoon boat ride from the resort to Disney Springs and back. Just be aware that boats can get quite full and French Quarter is the second stop on the way to Disney Springs (i.e. Riverside will have already filled much of the boat).
Lobby & Food Court
As you first enter the lobby of the French Quarter, you are greeted by a flowing fountain and brick pavers, much like the streets of New Orleans. To the right is the check in and concierge area; slightly to the right is the merchandise store Jackson Square. To your left is the bar Scat Cats, and just beyond that, is the Sassagoula Float Works Food Court. Also located in the lobby area is the South Quarter Games arcade. Outside, near the lobby, is a small kids playground.
The food court is a bit smaller than other Disney properties, but it features more hotel theme specific options than most. It has four distinct areas: the grill shop, entree shop, bakery shop, pizza & pasta shop, and po’ boy shop. Cajun/Creole specialties include shrimp & grits, jambalaya, po’ boys, and gumbo. The bakery shop features delicious beignets just like Cafe du Monde and you can a grab a slice of King cake to act like it is Mardi Gras. The French Quarter does lack a full service sit-down restaurant. If one is desired close by, you can a walk or short bus ride to Port Orleans Riverside with Boatwright’s. Overall, the food court delivers some great specialties, but lacks a large variety.
Most Disney moderate category resorts are huge; as we mentioned earlier, French Quarter breaks this mold with its compact size. A possible disadvantage to the smaller size of the resort is that there is only one large pool for the entire resort. The other resorts feature a large main pool and several smaller pools spaced throughout each of the sections. Typically, these smaller pools are a bit quieter than the main pool. However, the main pool is quite impressive with a giant alligator running through it, a pool bar close by, and a “water park” activity area for small kids. The last item, the water activity area, is something most resorts do not currently have.
On our visit, the French Quarter, like many on-site Disney hotels lately, was in the midst of a renovation. Luckily, we received a newly renovated room. Renovated rooms feature new hard floors (as opposed to carpet previously), new beds, refreshed furniture, and a larger TV, among other changes. Rooms are a reasonable size and feature two queen beds (a great new feature of the renovated rooms is that you can store luggage or other things under the beds now!). A Pack in Play crib also fits comfortably in the space for small children. The bathroom area features a room with a shower/tub combo and toilet. The single sink was located outside of the shower room with a sliding curtain that separates it from the main room. The room also features a mini refrigerator and a small coffee maker.
Port Orleans French Quarter breaks from the typical Disney moderate hotel mold with its compact size and quieter feel. This was a welcome sight to us, but others may prefer a bigger resort. The rooms feature much the same amenities as other moderate resorts and should be freshly renovated. Its bus system is convenient, its food court and lobby close to rooms, and its scenery beautiful. We would definitely stay here again in the future.
More photos can be found in the Full Gallery!