We have stayed at both the Port Orleans Resorts in recent years and I have to say that they are my favorite Moderate resorts in WDW. The landscaping and theme of the resorts has a very rich and expensive feel like the Deluxe resorts. The counter and table services at both resorts serve great food. The entire resort has been undergoing refurbishment over the last few years. Most rooms have queen beds (versus double), flat screen TVs, and updated decor. The lobby of Riverside is close to finishing its remodel as well.
Riverside is a giant resort with over 2,000 rooms. It is broken down into 2 sections – Alligator Bayou & Magnolia Bend. Alligator Bayou has small cottages with rustic looking furnishings. There are 16 two-story cottages with no elevators. Magnolia Bend is the mansion section. Here there are 4 three-story buildings (with elevators). Two of these buildings are now converted to the Royal Guest Rooms which are princess themed! This resort is very large and it can be quite a walk from your room to the lobby, restaurants, and main pool depending where you are. There are 4 bus stops, so your walk to transportation is very close no matter where you are.
French Quarter is a smaller resort which is themed like the French Quarter of New Orleans. There are 7 buildings with so many little details that make it feel like you are walking around New Orleans, like wrought iron terraces, colorful paint, and street signs. There are just over 1,000 rooms at FQ, which makes it the smallest moderate resort on property. The rooms have been recently refurbished with queen beds, flat screen TVs, and updated decor.
The location of the Port Orleans is ideal. The buses to the parks run quickly and often. The longest bus ride is the one going to Animal Kingdom (15-20 minutes). Riverside has 4 bus stops, so there will be times when your stop will have a full bus before it gets to your stop. There is only one bus stop at French Quarter, so you do need to be there and ready to jump on when the bus arrives. There is a boat to Downtown Disney from both resorts along the river.
The pools at both resorts are great. French Quarter has a dragon slide and alligators squirting water as well as a pool bar. Riverside has Ol’ Man Island pool near the lobby with waterfalls and a curved slide. There are also 5 quiet pools around the resort. 2 are located at Magnolia Bend and 3 within Alligator Bayou. These pools are very nice and located near the rooms & laundry facilities. But they are just a pool with no slides, waterfalls, pool bar.
Both Riverside and French Quarter are luxurious enough to make me feel like I am in a Deluxe resort without the pricing of one. I like French Quarter because it is a smaller resort and has a more intimate feel. I keep going back to Riverside because there are so many different things to see and do. I love wandering around the different bridges and walkways along the river. If you are trying to decide on a Moderate resort, you can’t go wrong with either of the Port Orleans!