Today In Disney History ~ May 17th
Disney’s Port Orleans Resort French Quarter and Disney’s Port Orleans Resort Riverside are a pair of resort hotels located at the Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. The two hotels are themed to look like New Orleans and the Old South. Both resorts are located in the Disney Springs area and owned and operated by Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. The two resorts are connected to each other and Disney Springs via the Sassagoula River.
Disney’s Port Orleans Resort French Quarter was designed to reflect the style and architecture of New Orleans’ French Quarter. The resort opened May 17, 1991 as Disney’s Port Orleans Resort with 432 guest rooms in three guest buildings and expanded to its current 1,008 rooms in seven 3-story guest buildings containing 144 rooms each.
Disney’s Port Orleans Resort Riverside was designed to reflect antebellum south along the Mississippi River. The resort opened February 2, 1992 as Disney’s Dixie Landings Resort, initially with rooms located in its Alligator Bayou section, and shortly afterward the remaining Magnolia Bend section was opened. Alligator Bayou consists of 1,024 guest rooms over 16 buildings styled as rustic, weathered lodges with 64 rooms per lodge. Magnolia Bend consists of 1,024 guest rooms over four buildings styled as southern plantation grand manor homes with 256 rooms per mansion.
Beginning March 1, 2001 road signage and other theming began to change reflecting the Disney’s Port Orleans Resort and Disney’s Dixie Landings Resort properties becoming “regions” of a united Disney’s Port Orleans Resort. As of April 1, 2001, the regions became French Quarter and Riverside, respectively. Changes leading up to and after this period would include the French Quarter region losing Bonfamille’s Cafe table-service restaurant, bike rentals, and boat rentals. French Quarter region guests would have to use the larger facilities in the Riverside region. Bonfamille’s Cafe’s is now only used occasionally as a meeting space for food and beverage management, and a training facility. Bonfamille’s Cafe’s kitchen is Disney World’s test kitchen. Other theme changes took place such as Colonel’s Cotton Mill food court becoming Riverside Mill.
Disney’s Port Orleans Resort Riverside has a 3.5-acre (1.4 ha) recreation area called Ol’ Man Island featuring the resort’s 158,000-US-gallon (600 kL) feature swimming pool with a large rustic saw-mill themed water slide and a hot tub. The island also contains a children’s playground and the Fishin’ Hole, where guests can rent cane fishing poles and bait for a small fee.
There are also five smaller ‘quiet’ swimming pools at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort Riverside, three located within the Alligator Bayou section and two in the Magnolia Bend area. Riverside also has a marina where guests can rent bicycles or surrey bikes. Rental of personal watercraft was discontinued in early 2014 from all Disney moderate-level resorts, including Riverside. Horse-drawn carriage rides are available in the evening.
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