On our first trip there was a huge debate about where to stay. Art of Animation won over Port Orleans Riverside. So it was a no-brainer to stay at Riverside on the second trip. I was drawn by the beauty of the property and was not disappointed on arrival.
We had stayed at the Grand Floridian the prior night and were at Magic Kingdom when I got a text message from Disney to say our room was ready. I had used Touring Plans to request a specific room and was placed just two doors away. I double checked the map online to confirm which bus stop was closest to the room and we went straight to it skipping the front desk. The bus stop was just a two minute walk to our building.
The room is really a basic hotel room. (Excuse the wild kids walking all over the bed in the picture below.) We had a double sink, a small round table, and dresser for some storage. There was just enough room behind the door and next to the bed to store the stroller keeping it open but out of the way. It was nothing that wowed me, but it was clean and the beds were comfy.
There is a little detail of the southern charm on the headboard. On this particular day we had come back and Mousekeeping and tucked up Snow White and all of her friends that had journeyed with us.
We were in the “Mansions” area of the property and this is the view I was hoping to wake up to. Instead we walked by it ever morning. Close enough. It was so peaceful. I could have stood at this spot all day long. I feel like it was always rather quiet and laid back, except by the main pool and lobby areas.
For our first night I had a surprise for the family. We took a horse-drawn carriage ride around the resort. As our ride was ending the sun was just about the set over the river. The kids were excited about it, but it wasn’t anything they talked about after it happened.
Did I mention it was H-O-T during our May trip?! We spent a lot of time at the pools. There are six pools but we only made it to check out three of them. Two of the “quiet pools” were close– one outside our building and one on the far side of the next building. They were definitely quiet. Sometimes we were there with only one or two other families and had basically the whole pool for the kids to splash as much as they wanted.
The main pool had a slide. Diva loved it and Peanut hated it. It dropped the riders right into the middle of the pool. It was awkward placement with people walking right in front of it as someone came flying out. It was busy most of the time and full of activity. The kids joined in a few of the poolside games and even made a few friends.
There is a table service restaurant and a food court option for meals. We never had the opportunity to eat at the table service, Boatwrights, so I’ve added it to my to-do list for our next trip.
The food court was great! We found so many options for food. And they had ice cream and Mickey Brownies at the same station. We put many of our snack credits to use for this awesome dessert! Two scoops of ice cream = One snack credit! Grumpy is actually the one who spotted my favorites and brought them back to the room early on in the trip. After that it was a just an every day thing.
We did manage to get some actual meals here as well. Mainly quick lunch options for the kids of basics: hamburgers or chicken fingers. I really enjoyed the barbecue pork sandwich and Grumpy made his own chicken salads a few times.
I did not love the bus transportation this time around. I wasn’t as prepared for the multiple bus stops as I thought I would be. At Art of Animation you piled onto an empty bus each time. Here there were four stops. Each time the bus stopped some people got off and others got on. You never knew if you’d have a seat or not. For the most part it wasn’t awful, it just wasn’t great. We did spend a lot of time sitting on the benches waiting.
It’s pretty hard to tell who is going where because it’s one open bus stop for all destinations. One morning we arrived just after 8:00AM to get to Magic Kingdom for 9:00AM opening. The bus stop was full of people heading to all parks for opening. Each time a bus pulled up there was little room for new passengers. The Magic Kingdom buses were almost overflowing. Only allowing a handful of people to board each time. There was a woman waiting in an electric scooter that had been there since before we arrived. She couldn’t board any of the buses due to the capacity. Finally after nearly five full buses over 30 minutes someone called to complain. We could overhear her and she was polite about it. It was a legitimate complaint. They sent an empty bus to stop. The woman on the scooter finally was able to board and then it filled to standing room only. We went straight to the park.
Another night we were leaving Epcot and the line was so long to the Riverside bus that we hopped on the French Quarter bus. There was no line and we had a seat! The walk along the river was quiet, except for Diva yelling about the “best day ever!” It was short walk, maybe 8-10 minutes. It also made me add French Quarter to the list of hotels I want to try. The property is SO cute and also compact.
We had fairly little interaction with the staff on property since we skipped the desk check-in. The Cast Members that handled our luggage when we arrived and departed with very helpful and polite. When I went to the front desk to pick up a package they were really apologetic when it took a little longer to locate. There was some kind of computer glitch on our check out day that ended up having us make a second call to have our bags picked up. Maybe it was a Cast Member. Maybe it was the computer.
In the end, the family is divided in our thoughts on Riverside. Peanut and Grumpy say “it doesn’t feel like Disney.” The little Mickey heads on the coat rack aren’t sufficient for them. Grumpy also misses the suite. Diva wants to go back, but she doesn’t have any reasons why. I liked it. I loved the property and food court. I thought pools were just right. So maybe the rooms could be a little more Disney.