Port Orleans: French Quarter

As I was going through past Disney posts, I realized I’ve never done a review of our favorite moderate resort at Disneyworld. Two years ago, we were planning to take the boys to Disney for the first time, so I turned to a friend of mine who knows a thing or two about Disney stays (she’s the original creator of the Disney Diva site). When I was a kid we always stayed at deluxe resorts, but I wanted to try out a moderate (for cost purposes). She immediately said “Port Orleans: French Quarter, you’ll love it”. We booked it, and have stayed there another time since. It is indeed our favorite moderate resort and one of our overall favorite resorts at Disneyworld, so let me tell you why!

First, ambience. This resort never seems crowded (we’ve stayed in both June and October, which are high crowd times at Disney), it is quaint, with beautiful gardens and views. We always pick a garden view room, and both times have been located close to both the quick service dining area and the transportation area. It is tree covered, so there are cool places to sit and you can get almost all the way to the quick service area under cover (helpful for when it’s raining).

Second, rooms. Unlike every other moderate (at this time, as far as I know) on property, they have queen beds. Now moving from a double to a queen bed may not seem like a big deal, but my husband is 6 foot tall, and my boys argue when they are in close proximity to each other in a bed. This saves us a lot of headaches. In addition the rooms have always been clean, and they’ve been quiet.

Third, transportation. You can take a boat to Disney Springs, and while every where else you’ll have to take a bus, there is bus specific for French Quarter. You can’t even get that at some of the deluxe resorts. We have only had one issue waiting for a bus, and it was at park close at Epcot. The cast members at transportation ended up calling us a separate bus after we waited for almost an hour. However, I’ve had that happen while staying at both Animal Kingdom Lodge And The Boardwalk, so it can happen anywhere.

Fourth, cast members. This is true of many Disney resorts, but we’ve always had great experiences with the cast members here. The door greeter is always humorous, they took us to our car with our luggage when we left on our first trip, and gave us lots of advice for places to go on our trip that everyone got sick.

Fifth, the pool and the playground. The pool is awesome. Water slide, splash pad area, on going kid activities. There is also a shaded playground. I know this sounds basic, so often you think, I didn’t take my kids to Disney to play on a playground! Believe me, I thought that too. However, I realized that when you over plan you end up creating so much structure, and my kids need to run. And you cannot always just run around in Disney World, but you can at the playground.

On the flip side, there is no table service dining at French Quarter. It’s only quick service. The quick service does have lots of options, like shrimp and grits, and our favorite…beignets.

A few other downsides are you can’t walk into any of the parks, and sometimes the boat for Disney Springs can take awhile. Also, the French Quarter doesn’t typically participate in special offers from Disney World (Port Orleans: Riverside does), so the standard rate is typically what you’re going to get. However, I really think it’s one of the best resorts on property. The rate, to me, is reasonable and it’s going to be a closer bus ride to the parks than the value resorts. This year we’re staying at The Beach Club for A’s tenth birthday, so we’re taking a break from The French Quarter. I haven’t stayed at The Beach Club in probably twenty years, so I’m interested to compare it to our experience at French Quarter. I’ll be sure to share when we return!

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Akershus Royal Banquet Hall

To be honest I was unsure how this dinner was going to go. Five princesses, three boys, and on the last night of our trip. However, despite A’s face above, the boys loved it. Let me preface, as other reviews have stated, this meal is really all about the princess experience. Our dinner meal was fine, but both B and I agreed that the appetizer buffet and desserts were the highlight. The appetizer buffet was mainly crudités, cheeses (the smoked Norwegian goat cheese was so good we are trying to find it at home), and rolls and honestly I could’ve just eaten that.

As for the desserts (my picture was blurry because the lighting was low):

They were very good, but my very favorite was the little apple brown butter cake in the middle. It was so good!

Other highlights besides food were the princess meetings:


And the Royal processional that all the girls seemed to know what it was about, but my boys were quite confused:

Overall, I was glad that we decided to go! I don’t know if we’d go there again because princesses aren’t high on the boys’ lists of characters to meet, but it was definitely worth it to at least experience it once.

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The polite pig

In a little corner of Disney Springs, is a bustling BBQ joint, with exposed pipe work, craft beers, and a guy literally making the brisket right in front of your eyes. This was our first eating stop (a quick service credit on the dining plan) at Disney, and despite it being very busy we quickly ordered and found a table.

J was slightly excited to be at Disney, if you couldn’t tell. We ordered pulled pork, brisket, Mac and Cheese, and chicken strips:


The kids’ meals were okay. The mac and cheese was okay (a little over sauced), and the chicken strips were what you expect from a kids’ meal. I have to say my favorite of everything was the sides (sweet potato tater totes and fried cauliflower). The pork was super tender, and I would rate the brisket as “fine”, but I’m biased because B’s brisket is so amazing.

Overall, I like the style of the restaurant, the food is kid friendly and it’s a good expenditure of quick service credits if you are on the dining plan!

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Wilderness Explorers

Hidden among the rides and animals:

Is a lesser advertised adventure full of animal information:

The Wilderness Explorers!

The boys picked up a Wilderness Explorers guide on the way in the park and they literally took us through the entire park. The only stops we made were for lunch and our fast passes, but other than that they were collecting “badges” (stickers) learning about all the different wildlife.

They found each of the guides and learned about animal habitats, conservation, and how animals help us every day:

In addition to all the information, I think they enjoyed that they were taking us through the park, instead of us leading the, from place to place. We really enjoyed it because we were able to sit! And chat with each other off to the side while the boys worked on their badges.

This to me is the true uniqueness of Disney, that you can be among all these rides and attractions, but also have a calmer more laid back experience. Which truly makes it more of a vacation, rather than a trip you need a vacation from after you get home!

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DW: The snack element

DW: SnacksWhen we started planning our Disney trip we did some initial budgeting and pricing and decided that the dining plan would be a good choice for our trip. One of my favorite things about going to Disney is the table service restaurants and with the character dining we were going to do, we decided it would be a good budget choice. This is a little bit more about the snack portion of the plan, which by far was the trickiest for us to keep up with…

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Favorite Souvenirs

DW: Favorite Disney SouvenirsI still have a few Disney posts left! Next up is our favorite souvenirs from the trip. The items that I’m featuring are “park exclusives”, but many of them you can order on the Disney Parks App. The boys (B included) purchased several books, however, I have to say you can get the books MUCH cheaper on Amazon (yes, I price checked). In the future I think I would tell them boys I would collect their book list and then have them shipped to arrive at our house when we returned from the trip. So that set aside here is what I thought were very much worth the purchase (and the boys still play with and love).

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Disney World…Sunshine Seasons

DW: Sunshine SeasonsI love both The Land and The Seas at Epcot because A) They are well air conditioned, and B) The rides are typically easy to walk on to (minus Soarin’) and C) They have good food choices for both quick service and table service. One of those quick service choices is Sunshine Seasons at The Land. Here is a little more about it…

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Disney World…Favorite Downtime Spots

DW: Favorite Downtime SpotsOne of the best pieces of advice I had read before we headed to Disney was in order for kids of the boys age to really enjoy it, it’s smart to give them time to just “be” and experience downtime in the parks. As crowded as Disney World can be during the summer this may seem impossible, but we found some spots to enjoy the park without standing in a line…

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