On my most recent trip I split my stay between the Polynesian with my family and Port Orleans French Quarter with my friends. I had never stayed at French Quarter before; in fact, I had only stayed at one other moderate resort in the past. I always figured I’d either try to stay cheaply at Pop Century or treat myself to a deluxe resort, so a moderate always seemed like sort of a waste. Boy, was I wrong! I loved the staying at French Quarter, so I thought I’d take my post this week to tell you all about my time there.
It was love at first sight for me as soon as I pulled up to drop off my luggage and hit the parks. The theming here is really amazing! While the atmosphere is a Disney-fied version of New Orleans, it is really beautiful and a lot of fun. It is Mardi Gras all year here with masks and beads found everywhere from the food court to the pool. The main building called French Quarter Square houses a lovely atrium complete with a fountain. To the right is the check-in area and Jackson Square Gifts and Desires, where you can find souveniers or any toiletries you may have forgotten at home. To the left are the resort’s eatery and bar, but I’ll discuss them more later.
Once guests make their way outside, the rooms are divided into seven buildings. French Quarter is the smallest moderate resort, so it feels intimate and cozy. These buildings are three stories high, painted in soft, muted colors, and adorned with wrought iron details. Each room has an exterior entry, and you will have to brave the elements to get from the main building to your room. My room was just a few hundred feet from the action surrounding the main building, so if you ever stay here you might consider requesting building three.
I love most of the gardens at Disney World, but there was something especially charming about them here. They are nestled between each of the buildings and go a long way to contribute to the the theming of this gorgeous resort. Wrought iron gates surrounded flower beds, and old fashioned street lamps lit them and the pathways around them. I’m a sucker for a beautiful magnolia tree, and they can be found all over this property. The gardens go a long way to add to the resort’s charm and beauty.
The pool called Doubloon Lagoon plays right into the theme with its Mardi Gras float water slide and horn playing gators! The pool is large with a great looking slide sure to please kids and adults alike. As an added bonus the pool overlooks the Sassagoula River. There is also a hot tub in the complex, as well as a pool bar for those looking to enjoy a cocktail poolside. The pool is easy to find and centrally located directly behind the main building.
What is the Sassagoula River? It is the body of water running from Downtown Disney along the shores of the two Port Orleans Resorts, Saratoga Springs, and Old Key West. I think the river really adds ambiance to the grounds. I can’t’ explain my connection to all things aquatic, but I am happiest when I’m near water, so I was really excited to stroll along the river one morning while I took pictures for this blog post. There are “river view” rooms available, but without a balcony to enjoy it, I’m not sure it is worth the added expense. I would just set aside time to go for a walk and enjoy the sites. You could even take a walk to Port Orleans Riverside along the path adjacent to the water.
I was also quite pleased with our room. It had been newly refurbished with lovely cherry furniture, including fairly ornate headboards. The room included two queen beds, table and chairs, and a dresser with TV. The bathroom was split into an area with a double sink and closet space, with a separate room housing the toilet and shower. One of my favorite features of the moderate resorts is the curtain hanging between the main area of the room and the sinks. This makes sharing a room with friends really easy since we can change and get ready behind the curtain without having to wait for a turn in the room with the shower. Since I was coming from the Polynesian,which has some of the biggest standard rooms on property, it felt a bit tight, but it really wasn’t uncomfortable for three adults to share. The only thing I did notice was that it would be tough to maneuver an ECV in there.
For food, French Quarter only has a counter service restaurant called Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory and a bar called the Scat Cat’s Club. The counter service is actually pretty good as far as quick service eateries go in Walt Disney World, and since it is the only eatery at this property, it accepts the Tables in Wonderland card. The restaurant features Louisiana favorites like gumbo and beignets. I’m sure people who come from the Gulf Coast would turn their noses up at Disney’s version of their regional cuisine, but as a Northeasterner I thought it was pretty tasty. The bar left a bit to be desired and had pretty terrible entertainment. My friends and I wound up purchasing a bottle of wine at the bar and drinking it in the restaurant’s seating area to try to get away from the evening’s singer.
Like all Disney resorts, French Quarter guests enjoy complimentary transportation to the parks and other Disney destinations. The primary mode of transportation here is bus, but there is also a boat which takes folks to Downtown Disney along the river I previously discussed. The bus stop is out in front of the main building, so that is just another reason to request a room close by. At peak times we had our own bus service to and from the parks, but during most of the day the buses are shared with Port Orleans Riverside. Riverside has four bus stops, so sometimes it can take a while to make the circuit and get where you’d like to go. Also, the buses can get very crowded since they are shared between two resorts. If you can rent a car when you stay here, I would recommend it.
If you couldn’t tell I really enjoyed my time at Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter! I would stay there again in a heartbeat, and it has even inspired me to give some of the other moderate resorts a shot. Readers of the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World seem to agree, giving this resort four stars and an overall B rating. French Quarter has long been a favorite of the moderate resorts, and since it is smaller than most Disney hotels, it is wise to try to book it as far out as possible.
What about you? Have you stayed at French Quarter? Tell me all about what you love and hate about this resort in the comments!