Those of you planning a vacation to Disney World this year will need to start thinking of places to stay which are convenient, practical, and fun. One such place is the Port Orleans Resort -Riverside. Resting on Disney property, the hotel is favored by my family for its kid friendly atmosphere and amenities. Located a quick bus ride from any of the Disney Theme parks, and a quick bus or boat ride to Downtown Disney, the resort is also perfectly secluded from the surrounding area. Here then is what you should know about this charming resort.
The room accommodations are comparable to what you would expect from hotels in the $150 – $200 per night range, located in heavily vacationed areas. Though the rooms come with no real frills, the kids will get a kick out of housekeepers who make fun arrangements out of the hotel towels. During our last stay there, we returned to the room to find the towels fashioned into an elephant and a tourist lying on the beach. Since it’s Disney, the television cable carries the Disney and ESPN channels, along with channels for other major languages besides English. High speed internet is also available, but it’s not free. Perhaps the only drawback to the accommodations is that the rooms are not all that large, so if your family stretches beyond five, you will need a second room.
Though you can order a room service pizza, buy odds and ends to make sandwiches from the general store, or pop over to Downtown Disney for a bite, the resort still offers a few nice options for breakfast, lunch or dinner. If you are traveling with a pack of kids then the Riverside Mill Food Court will do nicely. For a bit finer dining, the Boatwright Dining Hall (Prices range from $15-$36) is available. Both restaurants offer American cuisine.
Fun Activities for the Family:
There are six heated pools throughout the complex, but the one the kids will probably enjoy the most is the pool on Ol’ Man Island. It’s spacious, has plenty of shallow areas, and comes with a waterslide.
Boats and Watercrafts Rentals
Both kids and adults will enjoy the variety of boats and watercraft rentals available. Though our family has yet to make use of the kayaks and canoes, we have all partaken of the motorboats and pontoons. Our 14 year old enjoyed the fact that he could drive one of the smaller crafts up and down the river, and the rest of the family enjoyed the rides on the pontoon boats, especially during the hotter portions of our July vacations. Prices varied according to crafts.
Game Room/Video Arcade
One feature that our kids made full use of was the Medicine Show Arcade inside the Colonel’s Cotton Mill building. To help parents keep track of the cost an arcade credit cards can be purchased to use on the games. Our kids got a kick out of having the freedom to use the cards, and we were able to restrict the amounts placed on each card.
Downtown Disney/Pleasure Island
Downtown Disney, which is a pleasant 20 minute boat ride away, also has a lot to offer by way of fun for the whole family. Whether it’s eating at one of the themed restaurants like the Rainforest Café and T- Rex Café, shopping at the various stores, or catching a movie at the AMC Pleasure Island theater, there is plenty to do at Downtown Disney and Pleasure Island. Though pricey ($36-$42 per person), kids will also enjoy the DisneyQuest Interactive Theme Park.
Guest can take a carriage ride on a path along the Saddagoula River. Probably more suited for a couple on a romantic getaway than for an activity with the kids, the ride lasts 30 minutes and will run you $45.
Additional Activities that the whole family would enjoy include a jogging path, and rental bikes. Our family made use of the bike built for four, which turned out to be a full workout on a hot July day. If your family is brave enough to try one, make sure to pick up as much speed as you can before starting an uphill.
You can also rent fishing poles to fish at the “fishing hole.” The activity is fun though the odds of snagging a fish are small, and if your kids are squeamish about placing live worms on hooks, parents will spend most of their time on bait duty.