Our daughter finished her freshman year at Eckerd College a couple of weeks ago, and since we were headed down there to move her out of her dorm anyway, we decided to tack a week at Disney on to the trip. Originally we’d booked a 7-night stay at Disney’s All-Star Movies resort, but a week or so before driving down we found that we could move over to the Port Orleans French Quarter for a little bit more money, and jumped on it. That’s one thing about Disney’s online reservation system (restaurants included), always keep checking the site leading up to your trip, you never know what you might find or what might open up.
Upon arrival, we saw what many of the reviews I’d read about this place were talking about, in that it’s smaller than the average Disney hotel. I’ve gotta say, that was one of our favorite things about the place. We felt All-Star was way too big the last time we stayed there, as we had quite a hike to get from the room to the main building every day, and that was never an issue at French Quarter. We had a ground floor river view room in building 6 (specifically room 6145), which is out on one edge of the property, but the walk to the main building was only a couple of minutes each way. The place really had a small resort feel, which we absolutely loved. A few shots from around the property:
The room itself was pretty standard, and being one of their moderate hotels, had two queen beds as opposed to the doubles that the All-Star rooms come with. Definitely a welcome upgrade. The room was tastefully decorated, no complaints there. There was something in the room I was allergic to, however, and I never did figure out what it was. Usually I have issues with down pillows, which I don’t know if we had here, but Bayley had a pillow with her that wasn’t, which I used all week and still had issues, so I don’t think it was the pillows. Oh well, some Claratin took care of it. Really, the only room-related complaint we had is that we didn’t get either of the requests my wife asked for. She’d asked for a high floor (the buildings here are 3 floors high) and a corner room, and we got neither. No biggie though, we had no issues related to room location. We also had a 4th guest, as Bayley’s boyfriend was with us for the week, and were able to fit a twin air mattress in the room with little issue. Additionally, the privacy curtain between the sinks and the room were really nice, as was the double sink setup so two people could be getting ready at once. Some pics of the room itself:
Note that the fridge was actually fairly roomy. I ordered an 8″ cake from Disney Dining for my wife’s birthday, and the full-sized cake box fit in the fridge without issue, along with quite a few bottles of water and some other random stuff. The safe, on the other hand, was tiny. Small little wall safe that used keys. All this technology in the parks and hotel, and we can’t use a magic band to access our safe?
Some additional benefits of this property:
- They have a water taxi that will take you to Port Orleans Riverside, or Downtown Disney. We used this a few times, and while most trips were fine, our last attempt to take it over to Downtown Disney exposed a big issue. Riverside is a much bigger resort than French Quarter, and water taxis to Downtown Disney originate there. This means that during peak times, the boat arriving to pick you up can be pretty full. On our last day, we got to the boat ramp right as one was leaving, and waited 20 minutes for the next one out in the hot sun at the end of a line of about 15 people (the previous taxi didn’t have enough room to accommodate everyone in line). When it arrived, it only had room for 13. With 4 in our party, and being at the end of the line, that meant we were out of luck, and were pretty rudely told by the captain we had to wait another minutes for the next one. We were already overheated, having to wait in the sun, so we headed to the bus stop and grabbed a bus over there. On a busy Saturday when the hotel is 100% full (like it was that Saturday on Memorial Day weekend), they really should have the boats running more often, and maybe even have one or two dedicated to French Quarter as demand dictates. Additionally, more shade, and/or misters while waiting in line. Outside of that one time, we never had an issue with the water taxis, taking them to Downtown Disney twice, and over to Riverside once. Definitely a better way to get there versus fighting traffic at Downtown Disney. Some water taxi shots:
- In typical Disney fashion, there are plenty of things for the kids to do. We used the pool a couple of times, and in both cases, saw dance parties and hula hoop competitions going on. Additionally, they show Disney movies each night in the little park between buildings 5 & 6 at 9pm, and host a marshmallow-roasting campfire on property each evening too.
- For a fee, up to 4 people can take a ride around the property in a horse and buggy. Looked pretty cool, but we never did it.
- Bus service was good. We never waited long for a bus, and never missed one due to overcrowding. The Magic Kingdom bus from French Quarter doesn’t stop anywhere else, but the others do. The Hollywood Studios bus, for example, makes 4 stops at Riverside after picking up at French Quarter (that should tell you how big Riverside is). On our first Saturday there, I took the bus from the Magic Kingdom to the hotel a little after 9pm and back to the Magic Kingdom after resting in the room for about 10 minutes, and the round trip time was roughly 50-55 minutes. We took the bus to various parks about half the time we were there and never had any complaints.
- The crew over at luggage storage was great. That cake I mentioned earlier that we’d stored in our room fridge? Yea, it was big. We’d only eaten about half by the time we left, so we kept it at luggage storage the day we checked out, as they had a fridge they could hold it in. We didn’t want to waste it, but not having anywhere to store it while we were at parks that final day didn’t leave us much choice.
I think that about covers it. The bottom line is that all three of us agree that this is our new favorite hotel on property, as there was a lot to like. Enjoy a few more pictures from the French Quarter!
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