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No matter what resort you choose, your stay at Walt Disney World is going to be amazing!
However, each resort has its own quirks that makes it distinctive. That means, even for Disney World veterans, if you’re staying some place new, you might need a few tips to learn the ropes of your chosen home away from home.
Port Orleans – French Quarter is not only a fun place to stay, it’s a unique experience. Even compared to its sister resort, Port Orleans – Riverside, you’re going to find French Quarter has its own flair.
About the Quarter
1. Good All-Around Location
While places like the Polynesian or Grand Florian might seem ideal, if you’re not planning on spending a ton of time at the Magic Kingdom or Epcot, you’re actually spending unnecessary money. Resorts such as Port Orleans – French Quarter are perfect if you want to do several different park experiences throughout your trip. French Quarter is situated almost halfway between the Magic Kingdom area and the Epcot/Hollywood Studios areas. Not to mention just a boat ride away from Disney Springs!
Long story short, pay attention to what you want to do during your vacation. Don’t pay an extraordinary amount for a top tier resort when you can get an amazing experience at a moderate resort and be closer to everything you want to do!
2. Great for Drivers
If you’re planning to drive to Disney World, Port Orleans – French Quarter is a great option. It’s not one to get overly crowded with visitors, which means there is plenty of parking. On top of that, when you drive, you can bring plenty of your own belongings.
3. Indulge Your Sweet Tooth
Ice-cream lovers will flip over the hand-dipped ice cream at Sassagoula Floatworks! Choose your favorite flavors to accompany a beignet, or go for the beignet sundae.
No matter what you choose, we know you’re going to love it.
4. Everybody wants to be a Cat
Scat Cat’s Club is a great spot, whether you want to try some delicious Creole cuisine or hear fabulous jazz music. You won’t want to miss this!
The café opens as early as 6:00am, making Scat Cat a great alternative breakfast location. You can grab a hearty lunch or dinner here as well, along with those fantastic beignets!
5. Doubloon Lagoon
Your kids are going to love the pool, Doubloon Lagoon. Another fun and fabulous water slide, Scales, the 51-foot-long snaking sea serpent slide, stands out at the center of the pool. You can also walk along Scales’ back, as he helps to connect the pool areas.
Also throughout the area, alligator jazz buffs, play over the pool, clamshells spraying water to complement their “music.” A water play area, a whirlpool spa and the Mardi Grogs pool bar make it even more of a party, with mighty King Neptune observing the festivities.
This is a great place to spend an afternoon, enjoying the atmosphere and the Mardi Gras party!
6. Great Couples Option
Traveling as just a couple? Port Orleans – French Quarter is an excellent option for you! Comfy and cozy rooms fit nicely for couples, and you will love a late night over at the Scat Cat Lounge. Disney World isn’t just for kids, and this resort proves that.
Plan Your Port Orleans French Quarter Vacation
These tips will help you as you plan your trip, and to make the most of your time once you’re there. As we like to say, you’ve got to maximize that vacation dollar!
7. My Disney Experience App
Anyone who has traveled to Disney World in the past few years will tell you how essential this app is to your trip.
Not only can you use it to do several things around your resort, such as online check-in, but you can use it manage your entire vacation. Reservations, Fast Passes (when they return), food ordering, and so much more happen all within this platform.
Before you leave for your vacation, make sure everyone in your party downloads the app onto their smart phone so you can be ready.
8. Know the View Choices
Much like the other resorts, the rooms at French Quarter are separated by view. While the views themselves are somewhat obsolete, as the rooms are all off exterior hallways, it is the placement within the resort which matters.
A standard view will put you closer to the parking lot, which is convenient if you have your own car. Garden and river views are situated amidst the walking paths and trees of the resort, ideal if you want to get out and explore. Pool views, obviously, will be close to the Doubloon Lagoon pool, perfect if you have little swimmers in your family.
9. Room Requests
If you want to have a particular view, or want to be on a specific floor, you can make room requests when booking. To make room requests over the phone, call 407-939-7630. You can also make your room requests through the app, but those options might be a bit more limited than taking the time to make a phone call.
10. What About Disney Vacation Club?
For Disney Vacation Club (DVC) members, there aren’t any DVC specific accommodations at French Quarter. However, DVC members can use their points to stay at any Disney World resort, including French Quarter. If you are looking stay at Port Orleans, you can absolutely use your points (or rent them) for your stay.
11. Pack Your Sunblock!
Florida isn’t called the Sunshine State for nothing. Even if you are one of those people that “don’t burn,” you will burn if you don’t put on at least some sunblock. Whether you’re at the parks, the pool, or even just walking around the resort, you will be glad that you packed (and wore!) your sunscreen. It costs a premium on property, so trust us on this one. Doubloon Lagoon doesn’t have a great amount of shade, so it’s even more important on a pool day.
12. Towels and Swim Vests are Available!
You don’t need to worry about packing beach towels and swim vests, these things will be waiting for you at the pool. All the swim vests are Coast Guard approved, and come in different sizes to meet your child’s needs.
These are fairly bulky items, so unless you’re going to a water park during your stay, we suggest you skip the suitcase-shoving and save the space.
13. Plan for Rain
Let’s be honest, it’s Florida. It’s going to rain. If it’s a day you’re hanging out at the resort, you might find yourself with stir-crazy kids unless you plan ahead.
For drivers, plan to bring board games or coloring materials to use in your room. You can also pop over to the main building of French Quarter to visit the shop or see what other kid’s activities are planned for the day.
You can also bring rain gear and go puddle splashing on the walking paths!
14. Take Advantage of Magical Express
My most recent vacation renewed my love of this service. It is so easy to use, just book it ahead of time and you’ll be off to Disney World!
As soon as you get off the plane at Orlando International airport, head to Terminal B and go down just one level. Make sure you have your MagicBands out, as a Cast Member will scan them before you head to the correct bus. From there, you just have to sit back, relax, and enjoy your vacation.
The same service will bring you back to the airport at the end of your trip, giving you just that little bit of Disney magic before you leave.
15. Online Check-in
I absolutely love this convenient feature of the My Disney Experience app, easily getting checking in and into your room in a flash. You can even check in before you leave for your trip, although I suggest waiting until the day of your arrival. You can check back on your app to see when you’ve officially been assigned a room, and then head straight there.
On our most recent trip, we got our room number when travelling on the Magical Express bus, which meant we could go right to our room as soon as we were dropped off.
16. Special Celebrations
Don’t forget to let the Front Desk know if you’re having a celebration during your stay! A birthday, anniversary, or even celebrating an engagement all can be marked by special decorations in your room.
Since the decorations tend to be themed along with the resort, you’ll end up with your own Mardi Gras soiree to go along with whatever you are already celebrating!
In a smaller room space (as compared to a villa at a deluxe resort) you really want to get those suitcases out of your living space. The rooms at Port Orleans – French Quarter have plenty of storage space, making it easy for you to get unpacked and organized as soon as you get in your room.
Even if you’re only staying for a few days, you’ll be glad you took our advice on this one.
18. Get the Mug
Soda drinkers, save the money by getting the refillable mug! Any self-serve drink, like soda, tea, coffee, and even hot chocolate, can go in this mug. The refillable mug costs $19.99, and a standard soda costs $3.99, making the cost of the mug about the same as five sodas. If you’re on a seven-day trip, you’ll come out ahead, even if you only have one soda a day!
When I’ve gotten the mug, I usually use it for coffee in the morning, a soda at lunch and later in the afternoon. At that rate, I would have already spent about $10 on drinks in one day. It’s easy to see how the refill mug can save you money!
While you can only use this mug at the resorts, it is particularly nice on a rest day or when relaxing by the pool.
19. Where is the Mug?
At Port Orleans – French Quarter, you’ll find your refillable mug at Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory. Sassagoula Floatworks is the counter service food location at French Quarter, and also where you’ll be able to fill up your mug throughout the day. Sassagoula Floatworks is open for breakfast all the way through to late night dining, so you won’t have trouble finding a good time to stop in!
20. Um…Where are We?
Never get lost again, use the My Disney Experience app to navigate the map of all of Walt Disney World.
No matter where you are on property, whether you’re in a park or at the resort, you have access to a digital copy of the map. Zoom in and out to figure out your location, or search for a particular place and use the map to give you directions.
21. Plan for Breakfast
They don’t call it the most important meal of the day for nothing. If you’re trying to start your Disney day, park or not, on empty, you will regret it.
Whether you’re bringing your own food or hitting up Sassagoula Floatworks, make sure you plan to have breakfast!
We don’t recommend a big character breakfast on a park day though, as that will eat into your time and literally weigh you down.
22. Mobile Food Order
If you’re headed to Sassagoula Floatworks, or even Riverside Mill, try using the mobile order feature on the My Disney Experience app. Mobile Order allows you to grab and go from participating counter service restaurants, saving you time in lines. Let’s face it, I know you don’t want to stand in another line.
Pull up the menu on the app, make your selection, and then let the restaurant know when you’re close by. It’s that easy!
23. Get to the Pool Early
If you’re going to spend any length of time at the pool, plan to get to the pool fairly early if you want to stake out a spot. That also means taking your whole party with you, because chair saving is not a thing. Also if you want a table or umbrella, those are in short supply, so you want to show up early to get one. That doesn’t mean there aren’t other shade options, but if that’s what you’re looking for make sure you time it so you can claim one
24. Bring Pool Snacks
Either stop off at Sassagoula Floatworks or Scat Cat Cafe before hitting the pool, or pack snacks to have poolside. While Mardi Grogs does have food options, like wraps and specialty pretzels, the focus is more on the libations. If you know you or your kiddos are going to want something to eat during a pool day, you need to come prepared!
25. Use the Retractable Clothesline
All the showers have retractable drying lines created for the purpose of hanging your wet clothes, so make sure you use it! There isn’t a good place to hang wet items, like bathing suits, outside. Since the hallways are all exterior, without personal balconies, you run the risk of your items being lost or taken. At any rate, hanging clothes and towels on balconies or railings isn’t permitted at Disney resorts, so your best bet is to use the drying line. If you’re worried about air circulation, leave the fan on to help assist with the drying.
26. Where is the Bus?
There’s only one Disney transportation bus stop at Port Orleans – French Quarter, located to the right the main lobby. Since this resort is a bit smaller, you aren’t going to find nearly the number of busses that are over at Riverside. The only downside is if you’re staying a little ways from the lobby, you’ll need to make time to walk to the bus stop.
27. Know the Distance
Travelling with younger kids? We highly recommend that you take a break during the day, the best time being in the heat of the day. However, depending on what park you’re going to, you’re going to want to account for the travel time. It may take you even an hour to get all the way back to your room from the park, so if you know you little one needs a quiet nap or you want a dip in the middle of the day, don’t plan to leave the park fifteen minutes before you know a meltdown is coming.
Even if it’s a non-park day, you still want to keep an eye on that clock. You know your kiddo, and you know how quickly he or she will lose it without a break or nap. Busses take longer than you think they will, so just be prepared!
28. Ride Share is a Great Option
On days you’re going to the Magic Kingdom or Animal Kingdom, you might want to skip the bus and use ride share. This way, you can control exactly what time you leave and expedite your travel time rather than waiting on the bus. Especially on Extra Magic Hour days, if you use Lyft or Uber to beat the busses and the rush, putting yourself closer to the turnstiles for rope drop.
We have also used this option when trying to get to a dinner reservation, or when heading back to our resort from another resort. Inter-resort travel isn’t really a thing, so ride share is a great way to go from one resort back to French Quarter.
29. Drove to the Resort? Drive to the Parks.
If you brought your own car, you should take advantage of having it! Since you’ve already paid the parking fee to park at the resort, you won’t have to pay to park at the theme parks. Also, let’s be real, your own transportation will be much faster than the bus. This is doubly true if you have members of your party that need assistance, like car seat tots or those in wheelchairs.
Now, we recently were turned away from arriving early at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, so if you’re going to Galaxy’s Edge you might want to try a different option or plan to arrive closer to the opening time. However, most of the time, driving yourself is a great way to get ahead of the crowds.
Port Orleans French Quarter Resort Experiences
While at Port Orleans – French Quarter, you’ll find that you’ll have plenty to do without even leaving the resort area. Between French Quarter and Riverside, you’ll never be bored on your down days.
From fun activities to delicious destinations, there’s plenty to do!
30. Go on a Pirate Adventure!
Guests ages 4-12 can venture onto a pirate vessel and sail to different ports of call (resort stops) finding clues and searching for treasure!
This is a great activity for your younger kiddos on a day off from the parks, and still a ton of fun! The pirate adventure cruise takes about two hours and is kids-only, so this is a good chance for mom and dad to take a break poolside.
The cost is $39-$49 dollars per child, and we recommend booking this experience in advance. You can reserve your child’s spot by calling (407) 939-7529.
31. Take the Boat
One of the best parts about being at a resort on the river is the availability of water travel! If you’re headed to Disney Springs, or even over to Port Orleans – Riverside, take the boat.
While it isn’t always faster, travelling with the water taxis definitely is more fun than taking the bus. A smooth ride down the river lets you see all the sights, including a great view of the Treehouses at Saratoga Springs.
Since you have it available, you might as well use it! Trust me, your kids will love it.
32. Ol’ Man Island
Pool day? Check out Ol’ Man Island at Riverside! Especially if it’s your second chill day of the week, you and your family might appreciate the change of scenery.
You’ll love the three and half acres of pool area, shielded by natural shade of the trees of the island. The kids (or kids at heart) in your group will go crazy over the ninety-five foot long water slide, mimicking a sawmill log flume. The wading pool is perfect for littler splashers, with surrounding chairs for watching parents. For the grownups in your group, you can hit the Muddy Rivers pool bar for a cool beverage.
This is a time where it’s totally ok to pool hop, so you might as well go for it!
33. Extra Dining Options
If you’re staying more than a few days, you might find yourself getting sick of Sassgoula Floatworks, as awesome as it is. Well, I am here to remind you that you can always go over to Riverside!
The Riverside Mill Food Court is a great counter service option, with all sorts of family favorites. The lounge is also fantastic, with a wide variety of food and drink. Not to mention Boatwright’s Dining Hall, which is the perfect place to go for a class American feast.
Don’t get bored with your choices, explore new ones!
34. Boatwright’s Dining Hall
In case I wasn’t clear, you definitely want to eat here during your stay!
Boatwright’s Dining Hall is a must-do if you’re staying in the Port Orleans area. Even though it is over at Riverside, it’ll be worth the walk. This restaurant has some of the best comfort food at Walt Disney World, with twists on some of your favorite Southern dishes. If you’re a fan of down home cooking, you’re going to love it!
35. Have a Beignet
If you didn’t have a beignet, did you really stay at Port Orleans – French Quarter?
You can get these delectable New Orleans treats in two places – Sassagoula Floatworks and Scat Cat lounge. Grab one with breakfast at the Floatworks, or with a delicious cocktail in the lounge. Or, you know, both. I’m not here to judge!
36. Visit the Shop
No matter where you stay, you’re going to want to visit the shop on hand. At Port Orleans – French Quarter, you’ll find Jackson Square Gifts and Desires.
If you’re looking for French Quarter merchandise, like t-shirts, pins, and the like, this is where you’ll want to go. Around the holidays, you’ll find Christmas ornaments and other festive décor. I always make it a point to stop in the shop, even if it’s just to see what’s there.
37. Jackson’s has you Covered!
Forgot to pack for a rainy day? Jackson Square Gifts and Desires has all kinds of merchandise, including small items like playing cards and coloring books, that can help entertain your kiddos. You can also find ponchos here if you want to get out!
If you can’t find those things at Jackson’s, try Fulton’s General Store over at Port Orleans – Riverside.
38. No Gym?
No, Port Orleans – French Quarter does not have a fitness center. However, there’s still plenty of ways to stay active at the resort! From walking paths for running, biking, or just walking, to swimming in the pool, you’ll find plenty of ways to stay in your routine.
If you drive yourself, you can always bring some small weights or exercise ball to use in your room.
39. Take a Walk
Plenty of interconnected paths cross over this resort, many of which are covered by the shade of the trees. If you enjoy a nice walk in the evenings or after a large meal, this is a great place for it! Just don’t forget to use the map so you don’t get too turned around!
These paths are also a great exercise option, or just a good chance to get out of your room for a bit. Whatever you reason, if you’ve got good weather, you should spend some time outside on the paths.
40. Carriage Ride
Port Orleans – Riverside is one of the only resorts on Disney property that offers daily horse drawn carriage rides! Since Riverside is just down the road (or walking path) from French Quarter, this is a great way to spend a leisurely afternoon. Take in the sight of the river as you roll on by, enjoying time together and appreciating the scenery. Make it a date for two or a family outing, just remember to book in advance!
41. Rent a Surrey Bike
Surrey bikes are family bicycles that can seat four adults and two additional children (depending on the bike). You can take the bike all over the paths, just be aware of the pedestrians as you go. Your littlest rider will love ringing the bell to let people know you’re coming! Ride through French Quarter, exploring the resort, or head over to Riverside and scoot through the bayou.
These bikes do require a bit of push power, so make sure everyone going is up to peddling.
42. Enjoy a Paint Night
Get in touch with your creative side by participating in a paint night, held at Sassgoula Floatworks. Every Wednesday at 2:00pm, guests 12 and older can come and paint a Disney-inspired picture. Trust me, it will be well worth the $35 fee!
It is highly suggested that you reserve this experience ahead of time, although you can check for same day availability. To make your reservation, call (407) 939-7529.
43. Order Pizza
Port Orleans – French Quarter is one of the resorts that offers what Disney calls “In-Room Dining.” This is different from Disney’s typical room service, as it is designed more with families or large group meals in mind. You can order a meal for your whole family (rather than separate meals) straight to your room! If you’re staying for a week and you aren’t using the Disney Dining Plan, this is a great cost-effective option to feed your whole family at once, especially since you can’t cook anything in your room.
44. Go Fishing!
There are two different ways for you to fish in the Port Orleans area. One is the small fishing hole on Ol’ Man Island, where you can use old-fashioned cane poles to get the real bayou river experience. If you’re a fan of boat finishing, book a bass fishing excursion and head out on the river. These sorts of excursions are a great way to spend a down day, as they are totally relaxing but still fill the time nicely.
45. Check out Riverside
French Quarter’s sister resort is right up the river, and totally worth the visit! The Riverside theming is completely different from French Quarter, giving you a different view of New Orleans culture. While you’re over there, take some pictures and explore the different areas. This is a great activity for a day off, or if you’re family aren’t big swimmers.
46. Let Me Get a Selfie!
Between both Riverside and French Quarter, there are some amazing and unique picture opportunities, many of which make for amazing selfies. On a day off from the parks, take some time to collect these fun photos! Whether you use this scavenger hunt we found online, create your own, or just wander around and take fun selfies, this is a great activity for your older kids and preteens.
47. Outdoor Movie Night
Port Orleans – French Quarter is one of the many resorts that has outdoor evening activities for families, such as roasting marshmallows over a campfire and a family-friendly Disney movie out under the stars. However, there’s something even more special about the nighttime outdoor fun along the river and out among the trees. If you have little campers, indulge them in a late night, especially if you don’t have to get up early the next morning. The full schedule of these activities is available at the Front Desk, so be sure to check them out!
48. Check out Lake Buena Vista Golf Course
There aren’t many resorts with a golf course right next store, so if you enjoy a round of golf you should take advantage of Lake Buena Vista Golf Course. Right down the road at Saratoga Springs, you’ll find a serene, professional-level course in Lake Buena Vista. You can even grab a quick breakfast right outside the course before heading out for an early round, or lunch if you prefer an afternoon game.
Whatever you choose to do, we know you’ll have a great time!
49. Check out the Free Activities!
Every week, there are plenty of fun (and mostly free) activities happening at your resort. All you have to do is check with the Front Desk to find out the specific schedule.
50. Try Something New!
There are so many amazing opportunities to try something out of the norm at Port Orleans – French Quarter. Head over to Scat Cat Café to try out some new flavors, or look into trying a fun new excursion. Don’t let these chances go by!
51. Enjoy the Night Life
One of the special aspects of this resort is that the fun doesn’t stop when the sun goes down. The night time fun over at Scat Cat Lounge is a great chance for adults to get out and enjoy themselves. Enjoy delicious drinks, zesty Cajun food, and incredible jazz music until 12:30am! Especially if you’re traveling as just adults, I promise you’ll really love this time together.
No matter how you choose to vacation, we promise you’ll love your stay at Port Orleans – French Quarter!
Grace Hoyos, Staff Writer
Grace is a life-long lover of all things Disney, particularly the parks at Walt Disney World. She is also an avid Disney Cruise Line enthusiast who regularly dreams of the white sands of Castaway Cay. Grace loves the fact that her Disney trips give her time to spend with her family, enjoy incredible food, and try new experiences.