Honeymoon Trip Report: Port Orleans Riverside and Art of Animation

We ended up visiting Riverside more than I thought we would going into the trip. I figured we may go over there once just to check it out and maybe eat in their food court. Well, the first night we ended up going over there and eating in the food court, perusing the gift shop and taking a horse-drawn carriage ride (pre-meditated).

The walk between the French Quarter and Riverside is VERY lovely. The path mirrors the Sassagoula river for a while and there are trees a plenty. Between the resorts there is also a nice little wooden bridge.

You can see the boat going to pick up Riverside guests before it turns around and heads to Downtown Disney.

You can see the boat going to pick up Riverside guests before it turns around and heads to Downtown Disney.

I found a hidden Mickey. This is just past the bridge on the Riverside side.

I found a hidden Mickey. This is just past the bridge on the Riverside side.

Our first glimpse of Riverside.

Our first glimpse of Riverside.

The buildings in the Riverside area are themed after plantation houses. Whether you are looking at them up close or taking in the entire building at once they are stunning. I’ve never been in the deep South nor seen a real plantation house but these seem to do them justice.

Of all the resorts we visited I think I "miss" this one the most: it was beautiful.

Of all the resorts we visited I think I “miss” this one the most: it was beautiful.

We both really like the theming of the resort and the style of the buildings but I am a sissy and hate how far away some of them are to the main buildings. Also, I hate how there are four separate bus stations at Riverside. It was annoying enough to have to stop at them when staying at French Quarter. I can’t imagine waiting at them only to see a full “motor coach” coming your way knowing you will have to wait for the next one.

If/when we stay here in the future I will want to stay in one of the plantation buildings that are close to the main lobby/food court so I can refill my mug as much as possible and be the shortest distance possible to the main bus station.

Zoomed in and over-contrasted.

Zoomed in and over-contrasted.

The main area of the resort is a cross between Frontierland in the Magic Kingdom and the Boardwalk resort. The little marina where you can actually rent little speed boats to take on the Sassagoula river and where the Downtown Disney ferry docks is a great little spot to go fishing or have a drink or two.

The wooden bridge in the background leads to the main pool area.

The wooden bridge in the background leads to the main pool area. The very large building on the left is the Riverside Mill Food Court.

Main lobby on the left with the red roof. Boatwright's (table-service restaurant) in the middle. Riverside Mill Food Court on the right.

Main lobby on the left with the red roof. Boatwright’s (table-service restaurant) in the middle. Riverside Mill Food Court on the right.

I suspect there is no actual water in either of those containers.

I suspect there is no actual water in either of those containers.

Since it used to be called “Dixie Landing” you can imagine that the decor inside is … country rustic. There is a lot of wood. Since it’s Disney it doesn’t feel like a dump though. The check-in area actually looks like a bank of sorts; like the French Quarter but slightly different.

Boatwright’s looked very nice and like a great place to have a sit down meal while still at your resort. We didn’t eat there because we had so many other table-service places we wanted to go to but I image if/when we stay here in the future we will enjoy the delicacies of Boatwright’s.

As all good resorts do, Riverside has a lounge. In this instance it goes by the name River Roost and has a crazy guy named “Yee Ha” Bob Jackson who puts on a hell of a show almost every night. He sings, yells and brings the crows alive with his antics. We didn’t watch any particular part of the show but you can hear it fairly well from the gift shop so we got a little taste of the Bob-man without actually being in the bar.

Ashley modeling a Donald hat. I may get in trouble for posting this.

Ashley modeling a Donald hat. I may get in trouble for posting this.

The gift shop was much larger and had a better selection than the one at the French Quarter. Same goes for the food court; the selections were better and there was much more seating. The first time we ate there we took our food outside and sat at a picnic table of sorts and it was SO nice. The sun had set so it wasn’t blazing hot and the resort was alive with people. The lights along the marina lit up the area ever so slightly and it just felt like Heaven; it was the first night of our Honeymoon and we were in love!

Enough of that now…

After our meal we mulled around waiting for our carriage ride. At the appointed hour we boarded our vessel and embarked on a journey of love.

The driver told us the horse's name was Bob. This was never verified.

The driver told us the horse’s name was Bob. This was never verified.

This was the only picture I took during our ride.

This was the only picture I took during our ride.

The carriage ride was great because we got to see a lot of the resort without having to walk around. We rode around most of the plantation buildings and the pool area but didn’t get to see much of the Alligator Bayou area. Also, some idiot laundry dude was tailgating us with this laundry golf cart and it’s blinding lights for the first part of our ride. Our drive actually stopped the carriage, stood up, turned around and yelled at the dude to either turn around or go around us because he will scare “Bob” if he continues to follow us.

We went back to Riverside one other night later in the trip but all we did was eat another meal and shop a little bit more. We both loved the resort and will most likely spend a vacation there at some point.

Going back to the rainy morning turned into resort tour day, we find ourselves at the BRAND NEW (at that point) Art of Animation Resort. We ended up leaving the resort, one of us in disgust and bitter (more on this later). Instead of talking about the resort in long-winded, run-on sentences,  I am going to put all of the pictures one after the other and explain in the caption for each because 1) it’s something different AND 2) all five of you only care about the mediocre pictures anyway.

It's like an All Star Resort but 10 times better.

It’s like an All Star Resort but 10 times better.

The gift shop. On your left as you walk in the main doors.

The gift shop. On your left as you walk in the main doors.

The brilliant chandelier in the main lobby. The light shades are animation sketches.

The brilliant chandelier in the main lobby. The light shades are animation sketches.

The check in area is probably the coolest on Disney property. It's so colorful and bright but not overly bright, if that makes sense.

The check in area is probably the coolest on Disney property. It’s so colorful and bright but not overly bright, if that makes sense.

The other side of the check-in area. All the way on the right are black and white "rough" sketches. As you go along the wall they become more finished and colored in. VERY cool concept.

The other side of the check-in area. All the way on the right are black and white “rough” sketches. As you go along the wall they become more finished and colored in. VERY cool concept.

The necessary arcade. Wonder if Wreck it Ralph was in the works before they finished this?

The necessary arcade. Wonder if Wreck it Ralph was in the works before they finished this?

The inside of the gift shop. They continue the onslaught of color in here.

The inside of the gift shop. They continue the onslaught of color in here.

It's actually tastefully done and is exactly like the layout at POP Century as far as the gift shop and food court being in one large room.

It’s actually tastefully done and is exactly like the layout at POP Century as far as the gift shop and food court being in one large room.

The food court items. Compared to the other Value Resorts, the Art of Animation is quite adventurous. The World of Flavors station was easily the least popular.

The food court items. Compared to the other Value Resorts, the Art of Animation is quite adventurous. The World of Flavors station was easily the least popular.

This is more of the main dining area. I can't tell if this area is themed like one of the guest room sections or not. The chairs are actually wooden though and they have real flatware.

This is more of the main dining area. I can’t tell if this area is themed like one of the guest room sections or not. The chairs are actually wooden though and they have real flatware.

This is the middle of the Lion King section of the food  court. It is loosely broken up into the same sections as the guest rooms.
This is the middle of the Lion King section of the food court.
This is the Finding Nemo section viewed from just outside the main lobby. This is all the further we made it outside because of the rain and my pride (explaining in a bit). The pool is straight ahead and buildings flank either side of it. VERY colorful and VERY fun looking!

This is the Finding Nemo section viewed from just outside the main lobby. This is all the further we made it outside because of the rain and my pride (explaining in a bit). The pool is straight ahead and buildings flank either side of it. VERY colorful and VERY fun looking!

Well, those are all the pictures I have so I suppose I should explain why I got so disheveled and left.

While planning our trip we included a lunch at the Art of Animation food court so we could check the resort out. We arrived, checked everything out and headed for the food court. It was prime lunch time so it was hoppin’. I finally decided on the create-your-own-pasta. Because of the lengthy line, a cast member was going through the line taking people’s orders on a tablet of sorts. She took mine (Penne pasta, onions, green peppers, peas, shrimp and pesto sauce) and her little contraption printed out a ticket with “16” on the top of it. Using my extremely high level of intelligence, I figure out this meant my order was number 16. I headed to the pick up area and waited.

And waited.

And waited as I heard numbers lower than mine being called out. It had only been five minutes or so; nothing to worry about. Then, I started hearing numbers above mine: 17, 19, 21, 18, etc. I started to get a little pissy. Then I heard numbers in the mid-20s. OK, something is going on here. Then FINALLY, I heard the number “16.” I headed for the counter and the cast member called it out again, “216.” WHAT!? First of all, where in the world did a three-digit number come from.  Second, where in the world is MY lunch.

Because I am timid and a bit of a sissy I didn’t say anything. I waited another couple of minutes and gave up. I stomped away, found Ashley, told her what happened and informed her that I wanted to leave. Luckily, nothing on any of the menus caught her eye too much so she didn’t put up a fight.

We took the “motor coach” to EPCOT, transferred to the French Quarter “motor coach” and went to our own food court and discovered the beauty that is the Shrimp Po’ Boy. All in all, not a bad trip.

About the only thing left from the Honeymoon I have yet to babble about are the restaurants we ate at, which was actually a very large part of this trip. I am going to split them up into two posts: table-service restaurants and counter-service restaurants. I should have both of these posted by next Wednesday since next Thursday Ashley and I are headed back down to Disney for a 5-day, 4-night extended weekend at POP Century. It is the first Disney Christmas trip for either of us and we are pumped. Also, it will give me a lot more to talk about in the coming months. You poor, poor souls.

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