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I’ll preface my commentary by saying that I’m beginning to see signs of what I’ll call “Disney withdrawal.” To be more specific, I’m jonesing to head back to Orlando once again. Maybe it’s the overall lack of magic here on Long Island. Maybe it’s the winter doldrums setting in. Perhaps it’s those new Muppet commercials for Disney World. Whatever it is, I’m ready to go back. What’s really sad is that I was there in September…of 2009…a whopping four months ago! I really have no reason to complain. Some people don’t get to go back for years, but I’ve spoiled myself, and my family for that matter, by taking yearly trips for the last 7 years. So, like I said, I’m ready…already.
It all started a month ago when I was blessed yet again to receive another fantastic offer in the mail with a pin code for 40% off of my next room only reservation. I’ve gotten these before. As a matter of fact, for our September getaway we used one at the Yacht Club and got quite an amazing deal. Before you ask, I have no idea how to go about getting these. They’re linked to your name, so they can’t be traded or published online. I’d like to think I’m getting them because I’ve been there so much, but I know people who are there more than me and have never gotten one, and my best friend Lou went on his first trip ever and received one in the mail 2 months later. Go figure.
That said, the decision to go back brings with it the inevitable question: “Where to stay?” In September, the decision to stay at the Yacht Club was a no-brainer. We’d never gone Deluxe before and 40% off the off-season rate was too good to pass up. This time, a long weekend in spring is needed and I think we’ll save a few bucks and go back to Moderate. That means we’ll probably stay in one of my favorite places in all of Walt Disney World—the Port Orleans-Riverside resort.
Here are my Top 5 Reasons to Stay at Port Orleans-Riverside:
5- The Deal
I’ve long praised Disney for being the best deal in the travel business. There are many people that say staying on property is too costly and there are so many better deals to be found just outside of Disney’s gates. However, I look at it this way: thanks to AAA and staying in the off-seasons, I’ve never paid more than around $149.00 per night to stay at Riverside. I’ve also paid much less. Go find me a place near an attraction as amazing as Walt Disney World with a full service restaurant, food court, free transportation, free river boat transportation to a place like Downtown Disney, 6 pools—including one with major theming, waterfalls and a great slide, amazing landscaping, horse and buggy rides, boat and bike rentals, and impeccable Disney service for less than $150 a night. Good luck.
4- The Jambalaya and the Bananas Foster at Boatwright’s
I know it’s not Le Cellier or Jiko, but I don’t care. It’s almost always the first place we eat when we arrive and it’s always one of my favorite meals in the World. The Jambalaya’s just perfect and the Bananas Foster Angel Food Cake with vanilla ice cream is awesome. I’ve said it before, but when I’m sitting in Boatwright’s looking at all of those cool tools hanging on the walls savoring that last piece of Andouille sausage while the kids color their menus, I know I’ve arrived in one of my favorite places in the world.
3- The Sassagoula River
Disney’s other two Moderate resorts, Caribbean Beach and Coronado Springs each have a body of water at their center, but only the Port Orleans Resort has a river that serves a purpose. Rather than just zipping around in those cool little Watermouse boats, you can actually get places on the Sassagoula. It’s a short and pleasant ride downriver to Downtown Disney. That opens up a whole other world of dining and entertainment options without getting in a car or on a bus, and without theme park admission. The boat also gives you the option of dining, swimming or just walking around the French Quarter. Many times we’ve caught the Riverside Mill food court at its busiest and hopped on the boat to French Quarter to find their food court almost empty.