Our Honeymoon was a lot of firsts for me:
- First time going in August (and the beginning of September) so it was NOT busy.
- First time going with my new wife, alone, as a couple.
- First time staying at Disney without a car.
- First time going to Disney with the Dining Plan (which we also got for free).
- 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.
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.
Here are a few more general pictures of the resort before I get into specifics of each part of the resort.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.