Every guest who has traveled to Walt Disney World® and stayed on property has at one point fallen in love with a particular resort. When that resort comes to mind, memories begin sprouting up of past vacations and evoke some pretty happy nostalgia. I like to refer to resorts like these as “home resorts,” and my home resort happens to be Disney’s Port Orleans - French Quarter Resort – a swinging local featuring jazz and just a touch of that New Orleans magic.
Opened in 1991 Port Orleans French Quarter (POFQ) quickly became a popular moderate resort for guests. Upon first pulling up in front of the lobby, guests are immediately greeted by jazz music and a giant glass atrium lobby featuring a beautiful and classic water fountain. Located above are jesters and joyous figures celebrating throughout the wrought iron décor, since at this resort, it’s Mardi Gras every day. The front desk is located on the right side of the lobby and boasts a large mural showcasing the sheet music for “When The Saints Come Marching In.” Nearby is Jackson Square Gifts and Desires where guests can purchase everything from souvenirs to necessities.
Located across the lobby is Scat Cat’s Club, a small bar and lounge which features some great live music several nights a week. The final amenity located within the atrium style lobby is Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory, a sprawling food court filled with decorations straight out of a Mardi Gras parade. Floatworks offers up some traditional New Orleans style cuisine while also accommodating pickier eaters for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Open from 6am through midnight, offerings include french toast, pancakes, Mickey Waffles, Po’ Boy Sandwiches, salads, quesadillas, muffalettas, burgers, chicken nuggets, pizzas, pot roast, and jambalaya. Most importantly, Floatworks is the only place in WDW where you can get, literally, the best snack ever – fresh beignets. Beignets are flaky, light pastries which are fried and then smothered in powdered sugar. They are the absolute best way to end a long day in the parks, but they are delicious at any hour.
Once through the lobby and all of its amenities, guests are greeted with the true feel of the resort. Just a few steps out of the back of the lobby a sprawling pool lies ahead, and guests find themselves on small streetlight adorned roads lined with wrought iron balconies and brightly colored buildings. There are seven buildings with guest rooms, and all are pretty centrally located. POFQ is the smallest moderate resort at WDW, thus making it easier to navigate to the bus stop, food court, pool, and lobby no matter what building you are in. If you would like to be closest to the pool and lobby be sure to request buildings two or five upon making your reservation.
While the resort may seem small with only seven buildings, it is actually considered to be half of the Port Orleans Resort. In 1992 another moderate resort opened and was titled Dixie Landings. In 2001 the resort was renamed Disney’s Port Orleans - Riverside Resort and combined with French Quarter to form two halves of a large resort. Riverside is much larger than its counterpart, and there is one distinction between the two halves that I think gives POFQ the upper hand- bus stops. French Quarter features one centrally located bus stop which is easily accessible from all guests’ rooms whereas Riverside features four different bus stops (North, South, East, and West) which can still be a bit of a walk depending on where your room is located. Be advised that in the slow seasons busses will stop at both resorts; however, the POFQ boards first and gets dropped off first before making the Riverside loop.
No matter where your room is located throughout POFQ, there is ambiance all around in the form of quaint street signs, beautiful fountains, courtyards, gardens, and the Sassagoula River flowing at the backside of the resort. Guests can board small boats on the Sassagoula and be transported directly to and from Downtown Disney®. For a special treat along the river, guests can also opt to take a horse drawn carriage ride through the Riverside portion of the resort which runs $45 for twenty five minutes.
While every nook and cranny of this resort is beautiful to me, hands down my favorite spot to relax and spend time is the pool, Doubloon Lagoon. The main feature of the pool is a sprawling serpent named Scales whose body winds its way throughout the pool creating bridges and ultimately a slide down his tongue. The beast is being tamed by King Neptune himself, riding high with his trident. While Scales and Neptune are awesome, what really brings charm to the pool area are the multiple alligator statues playing jazz instruments, squirting water at guests, and just overall having a good time. Guests can easily spend hours lounging in the pool or in the nearby hot tub. There is also a poolside bar, Mardi Grogs, which offers up cocktails, wine, and beer. I recommend the Black Cherry Lemonade or the Margarita if you are looking for a refreshingly cold cocktail to enjoy poolside.
In addition to all of the great décor and offerings of POFQ there are also so many little touches that make it special. Some things that come to mind are being able to see and hear Illuminations: Reflections of Earth from certain buildings, movies being played in the courtyard every night for guests to enjoy, and Mardi Gras coins being handed out in the lobby for kids (and kids at heart). I really cannot rave enough about how this resort has become my “home” when in WDW. If you haven’t stayed in French Quarter before, I highly recommend giving it a try – you never know; it could become your home too.
(Images from the author’s personal collections.)
Is POFQ your home resort? What is your favorite part of the resort? Do you have a particular building or favorite memory from staying there? Be sure to let me know by leaving a comment below, I would love to hear from you!
Caitlin Corsello was born and raised in New York. She graduated from Adelphi University with a Masters in Mental Health Counseling in 2012. Her love for Disney started as an infant and has continued to grow with family vacations to Disney parks almost every year since. She holds a particular interest in WDW’s parks and attractions, never passing up an opportunity to visit. She looks forward to continuing to explore and learn about all things Disney and to share that passion with readers.