Royal Guest Rooms at Port Orleans Riverside: A Review
In April of 2011, Disney announced Royal Guest Rooms at Port Orleans Riverside Resort. The initial announcement stated that:
“The story behind these lush rooms is that Princess Tiana (“The Princess and the Frog”) invited some of her royal pals…for a vacation getaway. Princes and princesses of all ages can enjoy their luxurious lodging quarters…”
As expected, many reading the above description anticipated a girly princess explosion. I was personally unsure as to what these Royal Rooms would be like but, as a grown man, I was not as excited about a princess themed room as some others. One “other” that was profoundly more interested in such a theme was my four year old daughter. Therefore I bit the (perceived) sparkly bullet and booked a few nights in a Port Orleans Riverside Royal Guest Room.
What I found when I stepped through the door was an extremely pleasant surprise. Rather than a room covered with glitter and lace, I found a very lavish yet classy room that was much more delicately decorated than I had assumed possible. Using a color palette of primarily gold and blue (royal blue, obviously) and an abundance of woods makes the space feel rich. Although, much like Walt Disney World itself, what makes the room special and different is the details.
The first thing you come upon as you walk through the door is a table and two chairs, just like any Disney moderate resort. This set is different than most in that it sits atop a rather ornate looking base giving it a much more expensive look. Sitting atop the table is a (painted on) letter to you from Princess Tiana herself, welcoming you to her Royal Guest Room.
The curtains are also thicker and more intricately decorated than the standard room variety. The lamp that hangs in the corner is one of my favorite things with its offset chain, delicate metal work, and (of course) Mickey ears. The television cabinet, much like the curtains, is larger with more decoration than a standard room.
Sitting next to the bureau is a cute little stool that looks oddly similar to a certain dog/ottoman from “Beauty and the Beast.” This specific callback is something that repeats throughout the room. The border contains ancillary characters from many princess movies such as Jaque, Gus, Chip, and Sebastian. The faucets in the double vanity specifically recall the Genie’s lamp and the shower curtain displays images of snarfblatts and dinglehoppers. The comforters adorning the queen size beds also show the crowns of several princesses and there is a very familiar looking carpet laying on the floor (see picture above).
Along the walls are several pictures that were presumably gifted to Tiana from her princess friends. Our room contained one image of eight princesses with their princes as well as a few close ups of Tiana with one or two other princesses. My favorite thing about all of the pictures is that they are “taken” at the Port Orleans Riverside Resort, so the backdrops are easily recognizable. There were also two pennants with the princes in silhouette, just so we remember they exist too.
The most noticeable wall hanging contains all eight princesses sitting by the Sassagoula River as they present Tiana with gifts (including a clock that looks just like Cogsworth…hopefully it’s just a replica, that guy is a stick in the mud). This picture is done using lenticular printing so their eyes and a few background items move as you move around the room (and this is not as creepy as I just made it sound). The frame of this particular picture is very pretty as well, having a wood carved look adorned with animals and the initials “SW.” Hmmm, I wonder who made it? Probably Stevie Wonder.
I have specifically not mentioned the best part yet, but here it comes. Ready? Good, it is the headboards…there, all done. Okay, okay, I’ll explain. These large headboards stretch from the beds all the way to the ceiling and depict a lovely night image of the Louisiana bayou complete with Evangeline shining in the night sky (you’ve all seen “The Princess and the Frog,” right? You should, it’s quite good). The cool thing about these headboards happen when you press the little button on the side because that starts the fireworks..yes, the fireworks.
The wood is perforated with many, many tiny holes hiding LED lights. Upon request (well, pressing the button, asking does nothing), the lights spring to life as a fireworks display being watched by several glittering fireflies. The entire thing lasts about a minute, so it is not always on. Although, if your kids are like mine, they will be on most of the time anyway. (See the picture to the right and the quick video below!)
I know I have been gushing again, and I feel that the gushing is deserved, but not all is perfect with these rooms. For one, they are no bigger than a standard room at Port Orleans Riverside, yet they contain larger pieces of furniture. This makes space just a bit tighter, but sometimes a bit is noticeable.
My larger complaint was the location. The Royal Rooms are only found in the farthest of the two mansion buildings, Parterre Place and Oak Manor. Our room was in Parterre Place, the furthest building. This meant that we had a considerable walk to the food court and the closest bus stop. Each was about 5-10 minutes depending on walk speed (five minutes for me, ten with the kids). Due to the multiple stops at Riverside, we chose to board the bus at the East Depot (the last stop for all but the Magic Kingdom and about the same distance from our room as the South Depot ). The walk across two buildings and their adjoining parking lots took so long it required an overnight stay.
Overall, I would recommend the Royal Rooms to most people, although I would think they still appeal mostly to girls. I would highly recommend requesting Oak Manor (which I unsuccessfully did) as well.
Have you stayed in a Royal Room? Do you want to? Any other thoughts, feelings, hopes, or dreams?
Thanks for reading!
Link to YouTube clip of POR Royal Room Headboard
30 thoughts on “Royal Guest Rooms at Port Orleans Riverside: A Review”
We received an upgrade to a princess room on our last stay at POR. I have two 13 yr old boys. We were all pleasantly surprised by the way the room was decorated. We thought the rooms were much more “royal” themed then “princess” (which to two teenage boys implies an explosion of pink). We have stayed at POR many times and did not mind our location as we ended up close to the bridge leading to the main building by the arcade. (Its Disney – there’s always a walk 🙂 We would recommend the rooms for those looking for something “new” for their next trip, even if your family includes boys. And regardless of whether you’re in a princess room or not, you’re at POR and we always love that!
We cannot wait to stay here next May! One thing to note, the Royal Rooms are located in Parterre Place and Oak Manor, not Magnolia Terrace, as you stated. Parterre is probably the farthest from anything, so we will be requesting Oak Manor!
You’re right, the changes have been made. Sorry!
Thanks for the post and a review from a non-princess perspective. We are staying at POR next year, so your post made me giddy! It will be our first time staying at a Disney resort. We do not currently have a royal room booked, but your post tempts me to go for an upgrade.
However, access to bus transportation IS important to us. Any tips on handling bus transportation or requesting certain rooms close to the buses? You mentioned you walked to the East Depot even though the South Depot was just as close… why choose one over the other?
I would call and ask to put a note on your reservation that you would like to be close to a bus stop. The more specific you get, the greater the chance that the Cast Member assigning your room will get confused if those specific rooms aren’t available. By just saying “close to bus stop” it gives them more flexibility.
The reason we walked to the East Depot is because most buses go South, West, North, East (the exception being MK which goes West, North, East, South). Getting on at East and off at South minimized our time on the bus without incurring extra walking.
Thanks, that makes sense, and it is good information for me to file away for our trip.
whoa, what now with the buses? How can we find out the routes of buses to make our bus time shorter?
The Magic Kingdom buses stop first at the West Depot, then go to North, East, and South. Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom stop first at the South Depot, then go to West, North, and East. The Riverside buses will also stop at French Quarter on occasion, but that is harder to predict.
I know this sounds complicated, but it really isn’t. Once you are there for a day you get the hang of it really quickly.
With 4 bus stops – if you go to the stop that the bus gets to last, how often does the bus fill up before actually getting to your stop? I am going at a peak time (4/2-10).
It all depends on the time of day. If you are getting on the bus 45 minutes or more before park opening you will be fine, but right around park opening it may get busy. Buses being full are a bit random since the times between buses are random. I would still try going to the last stop the first day and see what happens.
Sorry, this is not really an answer, but it is a tricky problem.
Are you sure the beds are full size? I thought the recent renovations at Riverside included an upgrade to queen-size beds. Is that not the case for the Royal Rooms?
Yep, they are queen. My brain and fingers did not communicate very well in this post. Thanks for catching that!
Thanks for your review of the Royal Guest rooms. We have been planning our visit to Disney World for a couple of months, were again going to stay at the Port Orleans Riverside Oak Manor. In our research, allears.net had an update on about the new Royal Guest room; we like the rooms and are going chose the stay there. However, there is a bit of confusion in which buildings the Royal Guest rooms are located. Allears.net in their review had the rooms in buildings 90 (Oak Manor) and 95 (Parterre Place) your review has them in 95 and 85 (Magnolia Terrace). I called Disney World from the number you provide on your site 407 934-6000 and she stated that the Royal rooms are located in buildings 90 and 95. If you could just help clarify which buildings the Royal Rooms are located, thanks.
Sorry for the confusion, I was mistaken. Oak Manor and Parterre Place are the correct buildings.
Thanks for your quick reply. All of you at Unofficial guide and touring plans do great work. I have recommended you to every one of my friends that are going to travel to Disney.
Timely post as we will be in one of these rooms tomorrow! With 2 girls age 10 and 12 we are dreaming of drifting to sleep by the light of the fireflies, thanks for the post and wonderful pictures! We plan on taking the bridge across to the main bus stop, I hope that will work out better than going to the East stop as I’m worried about the crowds and filled buses. Love this site and reading about Disney in anticipation of our trip.
Full buses are definitely a concern at the East Depot, plus the walk is more pleasant to the South Depot (less parking lots). Enjoy your trip!
We’ll be in one on Thursday and I can’t wait! You’ve just made me so much more excited
We were there in over Thanksgiving. The only complaint I have about the rooms are the beds. The look of everything is amazing, but the beds are horrible as are the pillows! The pillows collapsed into nothing, the beds were uncomfortable and squeaked with every movement…if you have room to take a pillow of your own I would highly recommend it so there is some small piece of comfort during your stay.
Also, my eight your old son hates anything remotely girly and he appreciated the look of the room very much. My now 5 year old would have gladly stayed in the room forever!
That should be eight year old son…sorry for my horrid typing. 🙂
Hi there- I also stayed in a Princess Room and while it was amazing and a great experience for my little girl, I do agree that the beds were horrible. I would go so far as to say it was the most horrible bed I have ever slept on! This was our 3rd Disney hotel stay and we have been so pleased with everything about our stays thus far but while I would stay there again we are contemplating bringing a pillow topper this time so it doesn’t feel like you are sleeping on concrete.
I actually thought by booking a Royal Guestroom, I was guaranteeing myself a preferred location since on the map, it lloks like a short walk to the main building that houses the restaurants, lobby etc., and I assumed a bus stop. This is not correct?
If you are in Oak Manor, the walk to the main building and bus stop are not bad. Parterre Place is farther. Honestly, the grounds are amazingly lovely and walking through them is a joy most of the time. My complaint about the distance comes because when I am carrying a sleeping four year old and pushing a stroller with a screaming one year old…the grounds are less joyful 🙂
Oh, and to your other point: No, they are not a preferred location. The Royal Rooms (like the Pirate Rooms at Caribbean Beach) are a way that Disney can magically charge more for less desireably located rooms.
It’s like you read my mind. I was on the moms panel just last night and I read a conversation about the ‘royal rooms’, but had no idea where they were and what they were. After a few (I’ll admit lame) attempts to figure it out on the site, I gave up guessing that I would never know the answer. Until now…
I’m guessing that these royal rooms cost more than the standard even though they are farther away and not any bigger? Is the price difference significant? We have not graduated from the value resorts, Art of Animation will be our next stay in April. But if I were to stay at a moderate, I think the royal rooms would be magical 🙂
They are more expensive, although not by too much (about $30 per night or so). You can all of the prices (keep in mind that these are the non-discounted prices) on AllEars.net, specifically here:
PortOrleans.org has a great color-coded map of the resort at http://portorleans.org/riverside-info.php (hope it’s ok to link to their site, I’ve found it very useful in planning my trips there).
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