The restaurant was ok for a snack but the meals were bland. I had a Vegetarian burger for $ 6.99 and thats what I got no lettuce, relish or cheese. Room service consisted of Pizza Delivery.
The French Quarter is next to Riverside and very often one bus would need to collect from both locations and would be full. I would recommend staying at the Coronado, it has one bus service, better restaurants and a business centre if you require internet access.
PS recommendations for food, if you are on the Disney Dining Plan check out
Ohanas at the Polynesian Hotel, The Yachtmen Steakhouse at the Yacht Club, The Brown Derby at Hollywood Studios, Crystal Palace in Magic Kingdom and Sunshine Seasons is an excellent Counter Service restaurant. I am Veggie and my Husband is Meat eater and we were all pleased with the choices in these restaurants.
I would recommend you steer well away from restaurants not owned by Disney but doing the plan i.e Planet Hollywood and Raglan Road Irish pub, we were made to feel like second class citizens here for using the plan, they freely admit they take off with your card prior to the meal to check on it to ensure you can cover the bill. They also like to mention regularly that they require a good tip, they seemed to change their tune when presented with the generous Gratutity afterwards. Not sure if they think the british are tight on tips?
So to finish, we will be going back to Disney either in 2010 or 2011 and I will be staying in Deluxe accommodation with at least one bedroom for privacy. If I had to stay Moderate I would stay in Coronado Springs which has recently had a room upgrade.
Travel operator: First Choice
Previously stayed at Caribean beach which was ok 12 years ago on prev visit, went there this time to visit and the place has gone down in my op so i was glad we had chose Port orleans Riverside this time.
This complex is huge split into various mansions with 3 floors and there is a sep complex (the french quarter) which we also visited and again was glad we were in Riverside, nothing wrong with French quarter but Riverside was nicer and more scenic.
Entertainment was ok, nice bar with a guy who plays piano and involves everyone singing dancing etc, we're not bar people tho so i can't coment too much as only saw as we went by but everyone certainly looked like they were really enjoying it.
Rooms were lovely 2 queen size beds, all the disney bits you would expect soaps shampoo etc, clean towels and maid service every day inc sundays, the maid was lovely and she did a good job each and ev day the room was always left lovely for us on our returne from the parks.
The location is perfect 15 mins max on the wonderful disney transport to any of the parks inc downtown disney the buses are all fully air con which is a blessing as the heat was blistering 92 most days and rained only once (still red hot tho).
Staff at check-in and concierge were also great, very helpful and friendly and could answer most questions you may have.
The food court is split into 5/6 diff food varieties but and this is prob my only critisism the food i am affraid is awful....... sorry but it truly is, there is a choice but it is limited to very fast food, even the cereals in the morn are tipped into cardboard tubs with a lid, they also do hot breakfasts bacon eggs toast etc but be warned they put it all on one plate and the taost is french toast (sweet and they put strawbs on it too along with the eggs and bacon so ask for the toast on a sep plate and eat it with some maple syrup), i wasn't expecting real plates etc but thin paper plates with your lunch dinner etc on them wasn't exactly great.
The food choices as said are limited,on first glance it looks ok but when you get into it it is limited and everything is pre packed, apart from the hot food but that isn't exactly hot as most is prepeared well in advance for anticipated crowds. Turkey sandwiches, burgers or nuggets with fries, Beef dinner (American style) fruit/salads and pizza and pasta was about it, oh there is a bakery but again it isn't great, having said all this if it's what you like then of course it's fine i would have just liked it with a bit more choice. It does get crowded from 8 onwards in the morn and 6 onwards in the eve untill about 8 30 then it's not too bad.Cost wise was ok
Like most we took adv of the $12 free refill cups which were brill but you can only fill them free in any disney resort NOT in the parks but it's excellent value for a 2 week stay, the food was mainly all same price $6.99 for pizza 8inch $9.99 for create your own pasta etc kids meals are limited too but most meals come with grapes or carrot sticks and a drink for them for $4.99.
On the whole the place is lovely, fabulous surroundings beautiful scenery perfectly kept grounds 5 pools and one main pool, a boat ride to downtown disney which leaves ev 20 mins up till 4 in the afternoon then ev 10 mins untill midnight, it's free and a lovely ride.
There are horse drawn rides around the grounds for a family of 4 it was $35 and there are bikes and boats to hire.
So all in all it was wonderfull and i would recomend this to anyone who wants somewhere nice to stay but who isn't expecting the Ritz, if you want more i'd say stay at Disneys Boardwalk it is beautiful.
Me personally i'm already going to book to go back to this place next year as i loved it but i will be spending more time visiting international drive to eat and shop.
I-drive is not easy to get to by the way unless you have a car but a tzxi to the Premium outlet on i-drive is $15 and from three you can use the i-drive trolly for $1 all day which is great cos you can go to normal shops and buy everything from cigs at $30 for 200 to pop sweets food etc at quarter disney costs and it's just nice sometimes to get away from disney and see a bit more.
Travel operator: Virgin
The desk was staffed and she was pleased to see us. It only took a few minutes to check in, mainly down to being given all the information we needed on Dining plans etc. The lady also kindly offered to sort out new entitlement cards (your pass into Disney etc) to include charging, which we picked up the next morning.
Free fridge, coffee making facilities and goods, comfortable beds (higher than UK beds), a table and chairs, free bath stuff (shampoo, bath soap and face soap), small safe, two sinks, seperate bathroom, ironing board and iron, hairdryer and the other small things you expect awaited us as standard features. We just went to sleep!
The hotel only has a counter service restaurant which offers enough choice for breakfast and lunch and there is always a short walk to Riverside for counter service and the good Boatwrights table serve restaurant (if you like real southern cooking).
The pool area is excellent (far better than Riverside), although the toddlers pool is a bit shallow by European standards and has a step up into the pool. The attentive life guards are a class above European ones IMHO. "Life vests" are free and in several sizes and seemed to be in ready supply. Kids have a dragon themed water slide that can be used by kids in life vests as well as those who don't need them (including adults). Towels are provided and can be left in the room for cleaning.
The play area is also excellent but not too well shaded and gets hot in the sun. Good for early morning and evenings.
The garden and grounds are well kept and it well worth walking around them and to Riverside to appreciate the landscaping, gardening and ambience. Anyone whose kids have the Playhouse Disney song DVD, will have seen bits of the landscaping on Alexs rendition of "Song of the South".
The hotel is served by the excellent Disney transport system, which includes boats to Riverside and Downtown Disney and Buses to all other Disney areas (bar the golf courses). Be warned though it stops in certain areas at 11pm, or 1 hour after a park closes in the case of Magic hours. We saw the usual idiot drinkers who missed the last boat home and had to find alternatives.
The shop is OK, but the one at Riverside is a bit bigger and better and has English Newspapers (the proper day not the day before). Didn't use the Arcade but it looked OK, but you had to pay so when you have Magic Your Way Ultimate passes, Downtown Disney is 30 minutes away max and you can spend hours in Disney Quest for free.
The conceierge was efficient and the timshare (Disney Vacation Club) didn't bother people. There are colouring facilities and play facilities in reception to keep the kids busy.
The entertainment was OK, basically a guy who could play lots of instruments in true New Orleans style. He did most nights. Riverside had a loopy pianist (who was an excellent Musician) which would suit the Butlins crowd.
Bar was OK, but you DON'T go to Disney for the bar... and we ate out most nights on the Disney Dining Plan in the parks and at the more upmarket Table Service Restaurants at the Luxury Disney hotels (transport free and you can eat at any hotel you want, so why worry if you hotels restaurant doesn't have food you like!).
Staff were all excellent. Security guards often stopped to chat (and no I don't look or act shifty). All mad a fuss of our blue eyed blonde 3 year old princess as much as they did of our 8 year old boy. We even had some of the "golf cart" shuttles, that have the job of shuttling staff between the hotels, offer us lifts (not that we wanted one, the walks were lovely as stated).
The phone in the room could use phone cards on free-phone numbers and there was no charge, and also no charge to Disney booking systems if you used the quick key on the phone (there's a tip for you!). Phones were speakerphone type so whole family could talk to those back home.
TV (in room) had an excellent selection of channels, of course Disney being prominent.
Shower in bath was massage type which could be adjusted to suit, water went from freezing to boiling by the turn of a generously sized and geared dial, and could be set to suit the user. The Bath was slightly smaller than UK equivalents.
Rooms were cleaned EVERY day, Sundays included. and they phoned you if they couldn't get in (because you were in the room at the time they called and arranged another time). You had the free choice to change towels.
On site is also a Laundrette, which including powder costs $5 a load to clean and tumble dry, knock $2 off if you want to dry clothes on the small line in your bathroom, but the tumble dryers were good. Wash takes 30 minutes, dry takes 30 minutes. So you can set one off, go to the pool, come back, set the dry off, go to the shop or eat, and then pick up your clothes. Everyone did something similar and I hardly saw anyone stay with their washing.
Rooms had plenty of sockets and VERY good air-con.
We loved the place and will probably go back if we cannot get into one of the Luxury places next time (was constrained by having to book "last minute").
Travel operator: TCD/Disney
The room was ok for sleeping in and we had a trundle bed which pulled out from underneath the bed under the door but sadly didn't go in between the 2 beds which were queensized beds. They were rather high so I would consider putting a child on the floor rather than risk them falling out. Housekeeping were always knocking on the door at 9am if you didn't put up your privacy sign. There was a small fridge which was great for holding bottles of water/beer and even leftover food.
Our room was close to the quiet pool which was often busy at 11pm but was a lovely time of night to swim. We did try the main pool which was often busy but sunbeds were usually easy to get. Some were in nice shades while others were in direct sun.
The Laundry was often busy too at night but great to take a few clothes and keep washing.
The food court was revamped in early 2007. It could get quite busy and a lot of the breakfast was expensive and there was a lack of cereals which weren't pounding with sugar. It resulted in us hitting Wal-Mart for some decent cereal. Lunchtime was quiet but some nice stuff and the bakery was fantastic. They also offer a cup for $11.99 which has free refills of fizzy juice, hot drinks and ice. It was worth the value for a 2 week stay.
Bob Jackson plays in the bar but we found that annoying. We liked to go on quiet nights and chat with the bar staff. The shop staff were great too and there was a well stocked shop. Reception and concierge were great helps with any queries. The bus service was very good too. Our longest wait was 10 minutes but Epcot often was a long wait to get back.
A nice hotel for a moderate hotel in Disney.
Travel operator: Airtours
This hotel didnot really have the Disney magic like All Stars does but was suited to us as our children are older.The hotel is spread over quite a large area and the rooms are well spaced out,it is surrounded by trees and has a scenic river,where you get ferry boats to the sister hotel (French Quarter)or stay on the boat to Downtown Disney.
The rooms themselves easily accomodate 4 although storage space is limited.They have a,fridge,radio alarm clock,very small safe,(big enough for passports,cash etc only),coffee maker(with complimentary coffee), individually controlled air con,iron and iron board and hairdryer.The staff were very friendly and helpful.
The rooms were cleaned everyday and maids were happy to come at almost any time of day suitable to us.
There is a food court which was reasonably priced although quite limited in the choice of food available(this was busy at breakfast and just before closing time), the refillable mugs are great, they were $12 dollars each and allowed you to have free refills of a variety of hot and cold drinks throughtout your entire stay.
Being a Disney hotel you have free bus transport to all Disney parks including water parks and we never waited more than 10 minutes for a bus.
They also have a full service restaurant which we thought was quite expensive for what you got. They have a pianist/comedian most nights in the bar,who we had previously been told was fantastic personally we found him intimidating,if you were just looking to have a quiet drink in the bar you were "encouraged "to join in his repetitive nightly routine.
There is a shop which was quite reasonably priced and sold a good range of things,if you purchase anything in the theme parks you can have them shipped back to the pickup area in the shop.
The hotel has various swimming pools we generally used the quiet pool as this was nearer to our room,but there is a pool with slides etc if you prefer this. Next to the pools are launderettes which came in very handy.
The hotel is accessible for disabled visitors but can be a problem for the less able bodied if your room is one of the many that is quite along way from the food court/reception area.
We thought the hotel was fine and perfectly adequate for our needs.
Travel operator: Virgin
The hotel is in a central location on disney and no more than 10 mins away from the parks by the frequent free buses.
Food was fine and not to expensive. I did have a health scare whilst I was there and the hotel dealt with it quickly and efficiently (tip for asthmatics - use the air conditioning at night, humidity is high, and this helps).
Was a bit worried about being a couple on disney with no kids, but when we were there it was about 50/50 between couples and families and we didn't feel out of place.
Recommended to all.
Travel operator: first choice
There is one large pool and also several smaller pools nearer each complex so helping to reduce crowding (though this wasn't an issue in early Feb).There were bikes and boats for hire.
We didn't see anything of the hotel entertainment (if we weren't too tired, we went to Downtown Disney) but have read on other sites that the guy in the piano bar is/was amazing.
You also have the use of the facilities (including their fantastic looking pool) at the Port Orleans French Quarter (just a short walk through the grounds) but this was being done up at the time of our visit.
The rooms are a little lacking in Disney sparkle - but perfectly adequate. I suspect you probably get bigger and smarter rooms in many non Disney hotels, but there are so many advantages to staying on a Disney site (free transport, free parking at Disney parks, extra park hours etc), and you should also consider that a lot of the time you will not be in them.
There are several really good features to this hotel (apart from location); firstly there are regular free ferries down the river to Downtown Disney from the hotel (and from the Port Orlean French Quarter), then there are the special refillable souvenir mugs that you can purchase for approx $15 (can't remember exactly how much sorry)- these allow you to keep refilling them with coke, lemonade, tea, coffee or hot chocolate etc. throughout your stay, day and night - an absolute bargain if you are staying over week if you work it out ! They have resealable tops and straw holes, making them ideal to refill just before you go out to the park or before you retire to your room at night. Another good point to this hotel is, if you are a large group, it is one of the few Disney sites where you can have 5 persons staying in a room.
The only real downside of this hotel was the food - the breakfast was expensive and although plenty of choice it wasn't very nice, there were also queues and the dining area was very noisy, canteen like and busy. After the first day we decided to drive ten minutes down the road to the Crossroads area and went to Sizzlers for an amazingly cheap all you can eat breakfast buffet, which got ridiculously cheaper and cheaper each day we went back (keep each day receipt till the next day and your bill is reduced). Food was fantastic (quantity and quality), place was quiet and clean (and under 3s eat for free)- the only downside was it did mean getting to the parks a little later, as we didn't want to spoil our holiday by getting up too early (but they are open early). The kids could even have ice creams as they left!
I haven't stayed in any other Disney hotels before so can't compare this one, but we have stayed in a non Disney one on International Drive (Ramada Inn - International Drive) which was just awful.
I would definitely recommend this hotel - especially if you prefer a slightly calmer, quieter type of resort.
Travel operator: Funway
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