Port Orleans Riverside is one of Disney World's moderate resorts, although the term moderate is conservative for this luxurious, sprawling complex. Lush foliage complements the Old South theme, and the man-made Sassagoula River meanders through the grounds, past a giant paddle wheel, six swimming pools, a playground and a bike and jogging trail. All Disney resorts feature free transportation to and from the parks, and Port Orleans also has a ferry that takes guests to the French Quarter resort as well as Downtown Disney. Rates for this resorts start at $149 per night (in 2009).
Every room includes a coffee maker, refrigerator, access to high-speed internet, a safe and iron and ironing board. Double sinks in the dressing area can be separated from the main room by drawing a curtain, and the bathroom, including tub, is behind a door. Port Orleans Riverside is divided into two sections, Alligator Bayou and Magnolia Bend, each with its own distinct feel.
Best Rooms in Alligator Bayou
Alligator Bayou is the country side of the resort that captures the Cajun vibe of Louisiana's swamps. The buildings are quaint with rustic touches, and the rooms feature pine bedsteads and furniture. Alligator Bayou does not offer elevators, but each room does have a trundle bed that can sleep one child, making them one of the few places at Disney where you have five people with no extra fee. The best building to stay in is Lodge 14; Lodge 15 is a close second. Both of these lodges offer quick access to the main pool, lobby and food court as well as an easy walk to the south bus depot. Half of the rooms in each offer a courtyard or water view with a higher rate, and half offer a parking-lot view.
Best Rooms in Magnolia Bend
Magnolia Bend is the more refined side of the resort with antebellum mansions, precise gardens and stunning water features. Buildings feature white columns and wrought-iron details, and the rooms offer cherrywood furnishings and french fabrics. Oak Manor offers the easiest access to all the amenities of the resort with a short walk to the main pool, lobby, marina and food court. The east bus depot is less than a minute away, a huge advantage if you have kids. Rooms 9022 to 9034 also offer easy access to the parking lot with a view of a shaded grassy area bordered by azaleas. A distinct advantage to these rooms is that there is no fee for a premium or water view, but they don't face directly into the parking lot. Additionally, due to the position and trees, the rooms don't get the hot, direct sun that other rooms might.
You can make room requests when you make your reservation. However, you might have better luck by faxing a short, polite list of requests directly to the hotel at (407) 934-5777 a few days before your arrival. You can also make requests upon check-in.