Port Orleans - Riverside
(was Dixie Landings)

This review was originally published
in the November 21, 2000 issue of ALL EARS.
Since that time, Dixie Landings had a name change and is now called Port Orleans Riverside.

Editor's Note: This story/information was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all current rates, information and other details before planning your trip.

There are many old sayings that seem to indicate it's regrettable to "step back a notch” so to speak. Sayings like; "You can't go home again," "Don't look back," and “How can you keep ‘em down on the farm, after they’ve seen Paree?”

In my past several trips to the Mouse, I had found nirvana in the luxury resorts. With their big fluffy robes and drop-dead ideal locations, I started following the credo, "Give me Beach Club, or give me death” and felt I could never go moderate again.

A late August stay at Dixie Landings changed all that.

Dixie Landings, soon to be renamed and merged with sister moderate resort Port Orleans, is one heckuva nice place. Spread out over a vast area of winding pathways and magnificently landscaped grounds, I can’t imagine a better moderate resort (and I’ve stayed in a few) existing anywhere in Mousedom.

The air is alive with the smell of magnolia trees. The oak trees sway in the relatively cool, VERY early morning breeze. Flocks of all sorts of waterfowl glide in to gentle landings on the Sassagoula River. Schools of fish frantically break the water, chasing after whatever small bug that may have made the unfortunate choice of deciding to rest a moment on the river’s lazy surface.

This is a moderate? This costs the same as the Caribbean Beach?

It quickly became evident that the extra dinners and martinis we would be having with the money I saved over a Luxury resort, while being detrimental to my loins, would taste all the better.

The resort is broken into two areas anchored around by a delightfully themed central hub, echoing back to the post-Civil War steamboat era, when cotton was king.

This central area contains a variety of services. There is a Colonel's Cotton Mill food court, catering to those looking for anything from bacon and eggs, to baskets of chicken, burgers and fries, to late-night pizza. There's even a bakery offering the ever-waist-expanding midnight "Big Cookie" or should-be-outlawed-cuz-they're-so-good cinnamon buns.

For those who wish to be waited on, there is Boatwright’s, offering great breakfasts and good dinners at a reasonable price. Also in the hub is Fulton’s Market, with a nice variety of Disney items, cigarettes for those of you in need, water, beer and wine splits, and really almost anything else legal you can’t live without.

A real surprise was found in the Cotton Co-Op Lounge. A nice little place serving up nightly ice cold Coronas and snacks to a desperately dry-mouthed and sore-footed Zamgwar and his wife (aka "she who must be obeyed").

The surprise was the live entertainment. On my trip, this took the form of a wildly energetic singer/piano player named Bob. Nightly, he pounded (and I mean pounded) out tunes and kept the whole place singing until closing. Even my beloved Beach Club lacked night-time entertainment.

Through the river doors of the “Cotton Mill", the "Cargo" dock area features boat and surrey rentals, a huge waterwheel and of course, Sassagoula Steamship Service (a launch) to Port Orleans and Downtown Disney.

Stretching across the river are a series of bridges, each one unique, leading the way to Ol' Man Island, the resort’s main pool, and to the "mansion" part of the complex, known as Magnolia Bend.

Like everything that Disney does, the outdoor design of the mansions is perfect. On the River side, they each have a great lawn in their central courtyard set off with a completely different fountain, and all are illuminated at night. When in season, the azalea bushes must be breathtaking, for they are everywhere.

On the Dock side, the theming is cajun bayou, with lush vegetation, meandering walkways and small bridges, perfect for romantic after Corona strolls.

After culling all the information we could from the rec.arts.disney.parks (RADP) newsgroup we requested and were given a corner room in Alligator Bayou, building 14. In the light of your first full day there, it becomes evident quickly why this location is a favorite of RADPers (an acronym that always sounds like a urinary tract infection to me). A bottomless cup of coffee or soft drinks, a cool beer, and a refreshing quiet pool are only steps away.

All the cast members I encountered and spoke to while at Dixie Landings were exemplary of what helps make up “Disney Magic."

When the merger of Port Orleans and Dixie Landings is complete in April 2001 Dixie Landings will become Port Orleans-Riverside. Lengthy discussions with a variety of cast members seem to indicate the change in name should not in any way change this wonderful hotel.

To those who dream of staying in a moderate, dream of this one. To those who think a luxury resort is the only place to stay, think again.

That’s My2Cnts. What’s yours?

Next month, read why Zamgwar and "she who must be obeyed" joined the Disney Vacation Club.


Office of Refillable Mugs

The Zamgwar Institute