Honeymoon Trip Report: Port Orleans French Quarter

Our Honeymoon was a lot of firsts for me:

  1. First time going in August (and the beginning of September) so it was NOT busy.
  2. First time going with my new wife, alone, as a couple.
  3. First time staying at Disney without a car.
  4. First time going to Disney with the Dining Plan (which we also got for free).
  5. First time staying at anything other than a Value Resort.

While having the Dining Plan with one table service meal a day was a huge difference for me because my family usually ate at quick service locations in the parks or the food court at the hotel, an even bigger difference was staying at a Moderate Resort.

I LOVE Value Resorts at Disney. I really do. The over-the-top theming and plethora of pools  are great. We always stayed at Value Resorts as a child so I have very fond memories at All Star Sports and other Values. And I really do think they are nice. I know a lot of people think they are cheesy or cheap or whatever but they are still better than half of the hotels in the Orlando area, they are close to the parks and you get FREE transportation anywhere around Disney.

Riding up to Port Orleans French Quarter made me realize there was a definite difference between Value and Moderate. The biggest difference Ashley and I noticed: trees. There was so much more vegetation throughout the resort compared to the All Stars or Pop Century.

This was the courtyard we walked past every day on our way to and from the bus stations.

The view as you are coming back from Riverside

Another big difference was noise; it was SO quiet there. I don’t know why but there was hardly ever yelling and there were plenty of children staying there. Maybe the children at Moderate Resorts behave better than children at Value Resorts. The pool area could get a little rowdy but even that was quiet.

My favorite feature of the resort was the network of “roads.” From the moment I saw pictures of the French Quarter when Ashley and I were trying to figure out where to stay I knew I wanted to see those streets. It looks so much like the quintessential New Orleans French Quarter pictures you see in magazines and movies.

The pool/bar/playground/hot tub area is to the right. Registration/gift shop/food court/bar/bus stations to the right.

Building 4 to the left, building 5 to the right.

Building 4 to the left, building 6 straight ahead, courtyard between buildings 5 and 6 to the right.

They even have fun with their street signs. If you speak French you will get the joke.

Here are a few more general pictures of the resort before I get into specifics of each part of the resort.

The view from outside our room. Building 6 is to the left. The river continues ahead to Riverside.

The courtyard behind building 4. Walked past this everyday on the way to the bus stations.

This fountain is just to the right of the main road that goes between buildings 4 and 5 and leads to 6 and 7. The courtyard between buildings 5 and 6 is just to the right.

One of the buildings in building 5. Sort of confusing really. The expansive green in the foreground is the courtyard between buildings 5 and 6 where they show Disney movies every night on a giant inflatable screen. Behind the building is the pool area.

The window on the right is our room. I am standing right on the corner. To the left is the Sassagoula River.

A better picture of the river. Riverside to the left. Downtown Disney to the right.

Here’s a decent picture of what the buildings look like. These would be the Water View rooms in building 6.

They have a campfire every night (I think) between the two buildings of building 6. If I remember correctly it happened sometime between 6ish and 8ish.

View from our room to the left, you can see the adjoining door to the left. Building 6 in the background.

Building 1 from the boat to Downtown Disney. This is one end of the resort, the other being building 7.

Lobby

The lobby is very airy if not…prison-like. And I don’t say that in a bad way, I just can’t think of a better way to describe it. Bird-cage or greenhouse might be better. Anyway, the lobby is very tall and all of the walls and ceiling are primarily made of glass. There is a nice fountain and plenty of space to relax. It basically feels like you are outside even though aren’t.

The light posts inside are a nice touch.

This was taken the last day before heading out to Animal then Magic Kingdom for the evening. We traveled light. Behind us is the resort. Behind the photographer is the entrance and drop-off. To the right is registration and the gift shop. To the left is the bar and the food court.

The registration/check-in area is to the right as you walk in. There are fewer check-in desks then I was used to but the resort itself is tiny compared to most resorts. There is a small desk for Disney Magical Express check-in, a little Disney Vacation club table, a Concierge area and a small sitting area with a few couches, chairs, kids table and TV. The theming is that of a fun, New Orleans bank.

It wasn’t as yellow as this depicts. The desk to the left is concierge and the sitting area is to the right. I was turned away from the check-in desk when I took this.

The check-in desk runs the entire end of the room. The doors to the left of the column of pillars is the gift shop.

Nice barrel vault ceiling above

Drinks

If we go back through the lobby to the other side we walk right into Scat Cat’s Lounge. It’s actually a nice little place to sit down and have a drink or listen to Elliot Dyson perform every night. He plays a great show and takes lots of requests. We didn’t actually watch the show but heard a few songs while we were waiting for our drinks. Ashley soon found out that all of the “specialty” drinks appear to be everywhere. Maybe we were looking at the wrong menu. I had the Purple Haze beer a couple of times. It was yummy.

This is the seating area outside the lounge. Straight ahead is the food court. To the right of the picture is where Elliot sets up camp every night.

Here is the left side of the lounge.

Scat Cat’s to the right. As you can tell, the bar isn’t too busy at 1:30 in the afternoon.

We got these one afternoon. I forgot what they were called. Mostly got them for the souvenir glasses.

The aforementioned Purple Haze. It was a little fruity.

There is also a full-service bar in the pool area. Mardi Grogs as the sign claims is the name, is your typical pool bar at Disney. Nothing super fancy going on here.

There it is in the background at night. Looks a bit scary.

Here it is from the other side during the day.

Eats

There is only one place to eat at the French Quarter: Sassagoula Floatworks & Food Factory. I think I’ll stick to “the food court.” Anyway, it’s small and scary. Compared to other food courts I have been in at Disney resorts it was a bit small BUT remember that the resort itself is tiny. The reason it is scary it because of the various heads handing from the ceiling and insane jesters everywhere.

This lovely door greets you as you walk from the lobby to “the food court.”

Here is the ordering area. It’s very small and can get cramped during peak times. Luckily, we never ate here during peak times.

Here is a little bit more of it to the left.

Let the creepiness commence.

It’s themed as a storage area for a Mardi Gras parade.

It’s actually not that creepy in person.

This little area is by the desert section where you can get ice cream and beignets (YUMMY). It’s also the first thing you see if you walk into “the food court” from the lobby.

That’s the pizza pick-up window straight ahead. The restrooms are to the right.

As far as the actual food goes we only ate at “the food court” once. We had lunch there our second full day. We both went with the shrimp po’ boy and were VERY pleased. The sandwiches were gigantic and very flavorful. Ashley said she would make the trip to French Quarter on future trips just to get this again. I liked it but don’t think the trip is necessary, unless of course we wanted to just walk around the resort and enjoy it again.

We can thank the Disney Dining Plan for all of this.

Proudly modeling her sandwich.

Modeling my eating capabilities.

And a half-eaten shrimp po’ boy. As you can see, it comes with little friend shrimp(s?), lettuce, tomato and spicy ranch type of sauce. The only thing I would ask for next time is extra sauce.

We also got a small (3) order of beignets one afternoon. I had never had them before and they were basically elephant ears in pocket form but MUCH better. The only thing I had ever heard about them before was from Jimmy Buffet and he said there was “too much sugar and dough.” Well, Mr. Buffet, these particular beignets were fluffy, light and perfectly sweet.

Gift Shop

Once again, the gift shop has a unique name: Jackson Square Gifts & Desires. I’ll stick to “the gift shop.” I don’t have many pictures of it but it was a perfectly decent gift shop. The gift shop over at Riverside was much larger but I ended up browsing this one after refilling my mug several times. I don’t remember seeing any resort specific merchandise. Then again, I only remember seeing that at a few Deluxe Resorts.

This was taken from the doorway coming from the check-in area.

An end-cap full of Mickey ear hats. The Donald one is cool.

She wasn’t actually that bitter. We do share a mutual hatred of Duffy the Disney Bear however.

Transportation

There are only two bus stations at the French Quarter. They are right next to each other and very close to the main entrance. Of all the buildings, building 4 is the closest. It’s a 1-2 minute walk from either the lobby or building 4. Our walk from building 5 was probably 3-4 minutes each time.

Bus Station B services Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. Bus Station A services the rest – EPCOT, Animal Kingdom & Blizzard Beach, Downtown Disney & Typhoon Lagoon.

The rules.

I took this from the “entrance” to bus station A. That’s the main entrance in the back. Pretty close.

Here is a bus. I was experimenting with photo editing. As you can see, it didn’t turn out well.

We got these after boarding the “motor coach” one time.

While I would prefer the Pizza Planet delivery truck, this one is pretty rad in its own right.

Pool

There is only one pool at French Quarter BUT, it’s fairly large and there are all kinds of chairs and loungers to sit in. I never swam for two reasons 1) I forgot my swimming trunks and 2) I always took a nap in the afternoon instead of swimming. Ashley took a dip or two though. She said it was nice. I believe her.

The most distinguishing factor of the pool is the giant dragon/sea creature that weaves around the premises and functions as 1) decoration 2) stairs over a part of the pool and 3) a slide.

For decoration.

As stairs.

As a slide.

View of the pool from the back of the resort. Behind me is the river.

The band “shell.” Get it?

As you walk from the main building to the pool this is what you see.

Some hooligan appears to have stolen the stick to his drum stick.

Pickin’ the banjo.

He’s having himself a good ole time.

And then this guy ruins it.

The boat dock behind the pool that takes you to Downtown Disney and/or Riverside.

Room

Finally, we have arrived at the room. Since you have most likely lost interest by now I decided to save the best for last. We had a King Bed room and were “upgraded” to a corner Water View room. It was a great location because it was somewhat far away from the main areas of the resort, yet we were still within 5 minutes of any part of the resort because of its small footprint. The extra window that comes with a corner room was also handy. We didn’t have any issues with noise but if we had we were only bordering one room so that was nice as well.

The room seemed much larger than a Value room. This had to be due to the gigantic King bed and plethora of floor space. Because of this, it felt very roomy. As usual, we had a little table and chairs, dresser with flat-screen TV (don’t know how many rooms in Disney have these, I would have to assume most), tub/shower, toilet, ironing board, closet area and safe. One thing we did have that I wasn’t used to (at Disney or anywhere) was two sinks. Wow was that nice. We could both get ready at the same time. It also meant a heck of a lot of counter space.

Here is our door. It was very pink around it.

The view of our corner. Lots of light!

Mickey toiletries. We may or may not have taken a bag of them home with us…

Towel Mickey on our bed when we arrived. We kept him in our window sill our entire stay.

A better picture of the bedspread. When I say “better” I mean “better than horrible.”

Our table and chairs along with a view out of the windows.

Here is the safe. Tried to give an idea of dimensions. That’s an iPad in there with money underneath. I was also able to fit my 11″ MacBook Air in there with the iPad and money.

Our pretty gift package from Disney Floral. The groom and bride ears we purchased separately. For not liking wine or most champagne I can definitively say that champagne was DISGUSTING.

That’s about it. If you watch the Honeymoon Day 1 video a few posts ago it will give you a better sense of the room. Next up will probably be a post about Downtown Disney. Don’t have a TON of pictures from there but they should suffice.

I’ll leave you with this nice picture.

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