I recently wrote an article about Port Orleans – Riverside. Today I’m going to discuss its sister resort, Port Orleans – French Quarter.
In the beginning, the French Quarter was known only as Port Orleans. It did not become Port Orleans – French Quarter until it merged with nearby Dixie Landings in the spring of 2001. From this point on, I will refer to this resort only as French Quarter.
The theme of Disney’s French Quarter is Laissez les bons temps rouler! or Let the good times roll. This resort takes its inspiration from the Jackson Square warehouse district of New Orleans in which Spanish and French colonialism played a part in its culture and design. This six-by-thirteen block area of New Orleans is famous for its balconies, wrought-iron railings, cobblestone streets, and courtyards. In this Florida recreation, it feels like Mardi Gras everyday yet tranquility can be found around each corner. Celebration and romance go hand-in-hand at the French Quarter.
Your stay begins under an elaborate, wrought-iron portico. Here, a lively greeter may welcome you to the resort with festive beads and commemorative coins. Nearby is the resort’s one and only bus stop. Transportation to the theme parks and water parks leave from this location approximately every 15-20 minutes.
Inside the lobby of The Mint Building is a lovely fountain. A number of the resort’s facilities radiate from this location. Our first stop is the Registration Desk. This area was themed after the inside of a commercial bank of the 1800s. The mural along the back wall displays the festivities of Mardi Gras. And the railing that lines the desk is a musical staff, complete with notes that represent the first verse of a tune synonymous with New Orleans, “When the Saints Go Marching In.”
Check-in time is 3pm, however, if you arrive early, Bell Services can store your luggage until your room is ready. In addition, if you give the reservation clerk a cell phone number, you will be called when you’re room is ready. Check-out time is 11am.
The backstory for The Mint Building goes something like this. Port Orleans was originally under the rule of the French, but was later transferred to Spanish ownership as war debt. When this happened, the French franc became worthless in this far off territory as the Spanish peseta was now the legal tender of the land. This brought commerce to a screeching halt. Realizing that something needed to be done, the new Spanish governor built a mint and granted an equal exchange of currency to all residents. In no time at all, trade began again and Port Orleans continued to prosper. When the Spanish territory was transferred back to the French in later years, the city was able to easily cope as The Mint was able to change its engraving plates and switched to the franc.
When Port Orleans began to celebrate Mardi Gras, The Mint began producing commemorative coins, which became an immediate hit. Both the local residents and visitors to the area valued these coins as keepsakes and a remembrance of the festive event.
Eventually the Louisiana Territory was sold to the United States in 1803. When this happened, The Mint became obsolete as a producer of currency. However, the Bank of Port Orleans remained successful and a necessary part of the city’s growth. Samuel and Mary Chatelaine, the great grandchildren of The Mint’s founder, bought the bank in 1886. They renamed it the Port Orleans Mint and continued the production of commemorative coins which are still given out to guests this very day. .
Across the way from the Registration Desk is the Concierge Desk. Here, helpful cast members can sell you tickets to the theme parks and water parks, make dining reservations, and secure Cirque du Soleil La Nouba tickets. In addition, they can answer just about any Disney question you may have.
Also in this area is a great place for the kids to wait while mom and dad check in. Disney cartoons are played on the television and crayons and coloring sheets are available for the budding artist.
Adjoining the “bank” building is Jackson Square Gifts. This shop has two entrances, one off of the lobby and one onto The Courtyard. Open daily from 8am to 11pm, this emporium sells Disney souvenirs, snacks, newspapers, magazines, sundries, infant needs, and postage stamps. In addition there are a few items specifically themed to the French Quarter.
Next to Jackson Square Gifts is South Quarter Games. This electronic paradise features a wide variety of games for those of you with good eye-to-hand coordination. Don’t worry, a change machine is on hand to convert those pesky paper bills into coin.
On the other side of the lobby is Scat Cat’s Club. This cozy lounge is full of memorabilia of some of jazz’s greatest musicians. Open daily from 4pm until midnight, this is the perfect spot to unwind with a cocktail or specialty drink after a long day in the parks. Live entertainment is featured Wednesday through Saturday.
Hungry? Then head for Sassagoula Floatworks & Food Factory. This building is themed to look like a warehouse where props are stored and floats are constructed for Mardi Gras. Some of this paraphernalia was created by Blain Kern Artists, Inc. and others were actually purchased from warehouses in New Orleans. Just in case you’re not sure, Mardi Gras (“Fat Tuesday”) is the celebration that signals the beginning of the Lenten season. In New Orleans, the holiday is marked with parades, floats, masks, beads and the resort’s motto Laissez les bons temps rouler! or Let the good times roll.
This counter-service restaurant is large and can seat 300 people. Breakfast can be particularly busy. If you want to avoid this daily crush of people, try and arrive before 8am. You might also want to grab some prepackaged goodies and drinks the night before and store them in your in-room refrigerator. To see the complete menu, click here (breakfast – lunch/dinner). Baked to order pizza for room delivery is available from 4pm to midnight.
Here are the restaurant’s hours:
Bakery: 6am – Midnight
Breakfast: 6:00am – 11:30am
Lunch: 11:30am – 5:00pm
Dinner: 5:00pm – 10:00pm
I have eaten at the Sassagoula Floatworks & Food Factory a number of times. I’ve always been pleased with my meal, but I find some of the overhead masks and props a little creepy. So for me, if the weather is nice, I much prefer to eat at one of the outside tables in and around The Courtyard.
That’s it for Part One. Check back tomorrow for Part Two.
56 Replies to “Port Orleans French Quarter – Part One”
My family will be there in later September. One of my co-workers recommended it. The posts seem to be very positive. Have tried All Stars, Pop Century and Port Orleans – Riverside. Riverside was immense and might appeal to those who like to walk a lot. After a long day in the parks, that is the last thing that I want to do. Can’t wait to see and experience the French Quarter.
Any updates from anyone who has stayed in the newly renovated buildings? I’d love a report and to see some pictures! Love that Disney is starting to put queen sized beds in the moderate hotels! That is just the thing to get people to leap from the value price point to the moderate!
i would to say i love the article on POFQ my family all 7 of us inc my parents are staying here in march next year i cant wait as it will be the first time we have stayed onsite.
Hi Jack. Thanks so much for the great info! I am going there in 10 days!!!!! My husband and I are taking our 2 year old son for the first time. Any suggestions or recommendations? Is there a certain room or building that is closest to the transportation? Thanks so much.
Building 4 is probably closest to the bus stop. However, the resort is small enough that I don’t think it’s an issue. My favorite building is 5. It’s close to the pool, food court, and lobby.
I have stayed at other resorts like the Polynesian, Contemperary, Boardwalk, and other Deluxe Hotels. I have been to Disney 22 times and i’m only 19 years old and I live in New Jersey. Port Orleans is by far the my favorite, I’vestaye there more than any other resort. Port Oleans French Quater is not only quiet, but it is extremely well kept. When I walk down the streets through out Port Orleans I honsetly forget I’m in Disney. The sounds, sights, and smells have tricked me more than once and I believed I was really in New Orleans. The dragon slide was my favorite when i was younger. And the great thing about Port Orleans in the boat ride to Downtown Disney! A MUST see hotel.
We stayed here for the first time this past June and we loved it here. We love the size of this resort compared to that of Coronado Springs which is where we normally stay. If you have free time from the parks, take time to listen to Eliot Dyson who performs at the Scat Cat Club. He is terrific. The game room here was also a plus for our 11 year old.
We stayed here last year, and it was wonderful. We really enjoyed the size of this resort in comparison to some that we have stayed at in the past. My children loved the feel of the resort, and with not many children they didn’t have to really wait to do anything, almost felt like we had the place to ourselves. We are scheduled to stay here again in november, and can’t wait.
Great posting! You really got the “feel” for POFQ! We have stayed here 3x and love it! When POFQ was first suggested to us, I was nervous. I like quiet time and didn’t think I would enjoy the whole “Mardi Gras” theme. However, your photos capture the real atmosphere of this beautiful resort. Thank you!
I love this resort. The resort is not big and it has very thing you need. We stayed there twice and loved it. I love the music. I’m a DVC member now but I would stay at this resort anytime.
We have always loved French Quarter because of the smaller size, but now have found that more and more people are finding out how what a best kept secret is is. We never had trouble getting reservations before but the last time it was completely full and we had to stay somewhere else.
Jack, Once again another wonderful report from you!!! Your reports are always the first thing I read on AllEars. Even more so this time around, the hubby and I thinking of staying at POFQ next October to celebrate our birthdays. We only live a short drive away from New Orleans, so we cannot wait to see the Disney Version. Plus friends of ours stay here all the time and they love it, what wonderful reviews from everyone. Plus the boat ride to DTD and hubby’s favorite place Ghiardelli’s and daily beignets has him sold already!!! Can’t wait to read the second installment.
You are right!
This is the perect resort for us. We can walk everywhere. DO not have to wait and wait for the bus to come around. The pool and food court are close to every room.
There are eleavators if you need it! We have stayed here since the Dixie Landing days and really enjoy the resort. Entertainment! too!
Wish it was part of DVC!
I have told my eight year old son all about you, how you visit the “world” each week and you do great pictures/videos/trivia. And of course when he grows up he wants to work at Disney World. Any chance we could meet with you to say hello on our next trip in November of this year? We will miss Deb’s meet & greet, she won’t have one when we are down there, but we would love to meet with you. Please let me know, Denise Finkle
If not this year maybe next time, we are DVC members and this will be our 9th trip. Thanks
Your info is so helpful. I try to visit WDW every year and have stayed at Port Orleans Riverside. May 2011 I will be staying at the French Quarter for the 1st time and I will be having my 2 ‘great’ nieces with me! It will be the girls 1st time at WDW and I was looking for a smaller, quiet resort and it looks like the French Quarter will be excellant! Many thanks!
great post. this is our favorite moderate resort in the world. you describe it perfectly.
One downside of this glowing report… The price of POFQ has gone up $100 over the Riverside price for the same dates. 🙁
I’m not sure what you’re looking at or who is quoting you prices, but the two resorts charge the same amount. As long as you’re talking about the same dates and the same view, there should be no difference in price. I even went into the official Disney page and selected several dates at both resorts and the price was identical. Allears keeps current prices for all Disney resorts posted. I also checked the rates here and the prices are identical.
We usually stay at Riverside, but are making a return visit to FQ. We prefer it’s smaller layout. FQ food court is superior to Riverside as FQ has more options and includes New Orleans food (beignets and Jambalaya for example) while Riverside’s food court has reduced options considerably. The decor in the FQ food court is fun and adds greatly to the Disney theming. I can’t imagine NOT wanting that stuff in there.
Thank you for the wonderful article. We alternate our visits between the Riverside and French Quarter. Our last trip was the French Quarter and I LOVED the peace and quiet compared to the Riverside. I am hoping that you or your readers could answer a question for me. The Jesters in the food court and out by the pool are stepping on an object with a smiley face. What are those and is there some significance to them? I asked a number of cast members on our last trip and they did not know and now it is bugging me.
I stayed at French Quarters last year for the first time (with my husband) and absolutely loved the place. So much so am going back this year (with a girlfriend). It is very quiet and relaxing especially after being at the park all day. And I love the 1 bus stop and the boat ride to either Downtown Disney or Riverside.
Thanks for all the wonderful pictures and you comments about each and every picture.
My family and I have stayed here two times in the past and LOVE it. Other resorts are too big and have way too many bus stops! Love this one. Thanks for the post it brought back a lot of memories! Going back in 15 days! But staying off property at a rental house. I am alreay missing Disney living! LOL
my family has stayed here 6 times. My wife and i are staying again in sept.WE love it there.Anyone who hasn’t stayed here, is missing disney,s best kept secret It,s very relaxing.
I loved reading your blog! My family stays at POR each year and I am trying to convince them to give POFQ a go. We have walked to the French Quarter from Riverside quite often and it is beautiful. We also enjoy the food court because it offers different choices from Riverside… a benefit for staying at either of the Port Orleans resorts is being able to walk to the next neighborhood to visit and enjoy their change of scenery.
Hi jack! Just got back from WDW (stayed at WL this time). POFQ is one of my favorite resorts though. I love the small size, and the beautifully landscaped grounds. One really feels like they are in the south at this resort.
I also really like the pool area. My kids think it is one of the nicest in Disney.
We have also enjoyed the evening, carriage rides at POFQ. It’s a nice, relaxing way to spend an evening away from the hustle and bustle of the parks.
Fabulous resort. We stayed at the French Quarter 2 years ago and it became our favorite resort. It was nice to be able to take a short walk next door to Riverside (which is too large for us) to check out their pool and try their food options (for a little more variety). My son (12) loved being able to fish at Riverside too. The boat to Downtown Disney was a huge plus. It was also nice to be able to relax in Scat Cats after a long day at the park. You can get dinner from the food court and take it right in with you. We will definitely stay here again next April. Can’t wait to read tomorrow’s installment.
Hi, Jack! Thanks for sharing the details of POFQ. Someone else has mentioned Bon Familles (don’t remember how it was spelled) and we, too, loved that restaurant. Do you have any information on why it closed and why nothing else has been put in the empty space?
I’m not exactly sure of the timing. It might have been right after 911, but Disney was trying to cut costs. Bon Familles was never extremely busy. For the most part, it only catered to the French Quarter whereas Boatwright’s next door served a resort twice the size. So it was decided that guests staying at Port Orleans who wanted a table service restaurant, could walk to Boatwright’s.
I was sad to see this eatery close. I enjoyed its quiet atmosphere and the food was good.
For a long time, Bon Familles was used for special functions. However, I have no idea if this is still so.
In a further move to cut costs, Disney recently stopped serving breakfast at Boatwright’s. Sad. Very sad. The food courts are a madhouse in the morning.
Great job ! Is there any doubt why this is our favorite moderate ? It’s a beautiful place… Looking forward to part II !
We stayed here last December. It was our first time at a “moderate” resort and I would definitely stay there again. We had a riverview room which was wonderful and we loved the boat service to and from Downtown Disney.
My husband & I also prefer eating outside – those hanging doo dads are creepy. A coffee and some begneits are perfectly complemented by the great music they play by the outdoor area. Noticed a few guests reading and sipping during an iffy rainy day. The views are so relaxing – Like being in New Orleans without the hassle.
Great blog – will send it to my Disney friends.
I also LOVE this Resort. You hit the nail on the head. Great Resort! We have taken my 3 year and then 4 year old grandson ( same child) there. He feels at home there. It is just so quiet. If you can imagine something being quiet at Disney. The coins that you get are great. However my grandson fell in the fountain throwing them in the fountain. There was also a young man that worked there that continues to play a little game with my grandson. He kept throwing coins and my grandson had no idea where they were coming from, but had fun picking them up and throwing them in the fountain. We are going to the World on the 15th of August, but this time staying at Pop Century. Another fun resort.
One other small correction: Jackson Square is not “Jackson Square warehouse district,” it’s just Jackson Square. The Warehouse District is a completely separate area outside of the French Quarter that looks like, well, warehouses.
I am obviously not familiar with New Orleans. The information I presented about the “Jackson Square warehouse district” was taken directly from an official Disney source. I have no real understanding of the area. Thanks for the update.
My family is going on our first family vacation to WDW 8/26-9/3 and we are staying at POFQ. I am really excited about this resort after all the good reviews I have read. Thanks so much for this blog. Can’t wait to see part 2.
Since I was born, raised, and live in the Big Easy, those props in the food court are EXACTLY what adorns all of our floats, so my kids and I don’t find them “creepy” at all! Mardi Gras is all about big and bigger and outrageousness and being grandiose, sort of like our city is every day 🙂 Hence, the “oversizedness” and caricature-like props that adorn the food court and other places around Disney’s French Quarter are what we see all the time and it’s perfectly normal to us! In fact, our predominant float builder, Blaine Kern, was friends with Walt!
Hi Jack! Your blog, as always, is just wonderful! I always enjoy reading what you have to say.
We always avoided POFQ mainly because we felt we couldn’t possibly be wowed by a recreation of the French Quarter since we lived in the New Orleans metro area for over 10 years. How could anything compare to the real thing? We moved away in early 2007 and miss it terribly. When the husband and I were planning our 15th year celebration in May 2008 we gave in & tried POFQ. We spent 9 splendid nights there (without the kids). The resort is just beautiful. It was the perfect romantic choice bringing back so many rich memories of our days in New Orleans. I like to tell people that this resort captures the essence of what New Orlean’s French Quarter is. It’s all the beauty and wonder of the Quarter without the crud, stink, or scary people. You even get beads without having to scream “Throw me somethin’ Mister!” until you’re hoarse or expose any body parts. POFQ is a wonderful, tranquil, beautiful, and romantic gem of a resort. We loved our stay there and will visit again someday.
Thanks for the walk down memory lane. Can’t wait for Part 2!
Thank you so much for this informative piece. I live in Louisiana, and most visitor’s do not know the history that has made New Orleans what it is. Thank you for the history lesson, and explanations!
Thanks for another wonderful blog. I’m a native to the New Orleans area and I thought I’d let you know that the coins you speak of in your blog, that they give out, we call doubloons.
I would agree with you that the masks can sometimes be creepy. However, as a native New Orleanian, I can tell you that they are quite authentic. They are exactly the sort of think you would see attached to the front of the floats.
My husband and I spent our honeymoon at this resort in 1999, and it is absolutely beautiful. It is everything we wish the French Quarter could be and seldom is. We also enjoyed taking a short boat ride to Dixie Landings (as it was called then) to eat at Boatwrights – very traditional Southern cuisine.
Thank you for highlighting this beautiful resort. It brings back such wonderful memories.
We began staying at Port Orleans in 1994, soon after it opened. Its fun to look back at the pictures and see how the landscape (and us!) has matured over the years. We always enjoyed eating breakfast at the restaurant Bon Famalies. I sure wish they would re-open that place..it was great. Now that Boatwrights is no longer serving breakfast, you have to leave the resorts to get a sit down big breakfast.
Great Blog, Jack. Thanks.
Thanks for another great blog Jack. We have stayed at POFQ many times over the years. It is our favorite of all the moderate resorts. I just love the size of it. You can walk from the bus stop to your room in just minutes. When we would come back at night we always enjoyed having a cold beverage at Scat Cat’s Club in the evening. We really love to sit and listen to Elliot Dyson on the nights he was performing.It’s been about 5 years since we stayed at POFQ. Do you know if Elliot still plays there Jack?
Yes. Elliot Dyson still appears at the Scat Cat Club Wednesday thru Saturday. Unfortunately, I was there on a Sunday and didn’t get to see him.
Oopps! History mistake! The Louisiana Purchase took place in 1803–not 1823! Hi from New Orleans Jack! Love your blog! We’ve never stayed at POFQ–seems redundant as we live a block and a half from the real thing, but it is very well themed!
My family and me just got back from Disney World and I check your blog to see what I missed while I was there, and find that you wrote about the resort that we just enjoyed for a week at and that we stay at every time we go.
In my opinion the French Quarter is one of the best Disney resorts. Its small size and quant layout seem to make it on of the most peaceful places to stay. The one bus-stop is also a plus when riding on a crowed bus after a long day of walking when compared to the multiple stop design such as Riveride.
Looking forward to part II,
As ALWAYS a great resort report! Anxiously awaiting part 2!
I do have a question though. The coins you have pictured. How do you acquire them?
About a year and a half ago, Disney started having greeters at both the Riverside and Port Orleans. These costumed characters welcome guests to the resorts. At the French Quarter, the greeter gives out plastic coins and beads. However, this position is not always staffed and when it is, it’s only during the day. So it’s possible you never saw them.
We’ve never stayed at this resort mainly because we love Riverside so much especially the trundle bed so our youngest daughter has her own bed (it would be nice if all the moderates offered the trundle bed option). We have been over to French Quarter though to explore, swim and eat beignets. It would be impossible for us to switch our alliance from one Port Orleans resort to the other but it’s really great having you visit to try and convince us of course!
Can’t wait for part II and any other resort reviews you care to do.
Love this! I am staying at the French Quarter in NINETEEN days and your blog and everyone’s comments has me relieved that I made the right decision. Can’t wait to read tomorrow’s entry!!
I’m glad I’m not the only one that finds the masks and decor of the food court “creepy”!!!! I thought I was just weird….. I also think the Fantasia 2000 section of All Star Movies is creepy too…..
I absololutely love POFQ. My husband and I staryed there for the first time in December 2009 and fell in love. I was born in New Orleans and love everything about the city. This resort makes me feel like “home”. I can’t wait to get back in September with my neice. Can’t wait for part 2.
well done jack ! well done ! between f.q. & riverside . f.q. wins out for me. t- 50 working days & counting until i am back @ f.q.
I totally agree with you–some of those masks and hanging heads freak me out! My parents and sister thought I was being silly when I said so years ago, but now I know that other people feel the same way. Strange decor choice, but as a whole I love this resort.
Another great blog entry! I am really enjoying the resort series. Thanks for all your hard work.
Thank you for this review. We will be staying at this resort in January. I really enjoy following your blog. The videos that you make are incredible! Thank you!
Don’t forget to mention the beignets, Jack. It’s all about warm beignets! 🙂 I love this resort; so calm and peaceful compared to others – especially if you get a room near the river. Your blogs are WONDERFUL! Can’t wait until tomorrow for part 2.
Jack…you have the best blog…I try to tune in daily you have given me so many ideas for my 21st trip to the WORLD this October.
Thank you for the hard work you do.
We LOVE the French Quarter and stayed here whever we stayed on property. Since we have younger kids we love that there is only one bus stop. Also no metter what building you stay in your close to the food court. The pool is really cute and we love to take the boat to downtown. We recently became DVM members and although I know I will LOVE my home resort of BLT a part of me is going to miss the French Quarter-we have a lot of happy memories of this resort. I would recommend to anyone with young kids. One bus stop makes life easy when your holding them asleep on the bus ride back hanging on to the rest of your stuff and strollers too! Great post. cant wait to read part 2.
I had stayed @ POFQ years ago with my family. I chose to stay there again in Jan 2010 for my first ever solo trip to the World. I loved it! I thought it was the perfect size, not too sprawling like some other resorts. And I never had a problem with the buses, either. The resort’s grounds are so pretty! Looking forward to part 2 & to reminiscing! Thanks Jack!
Another great in depth article!!! Port Orleans is our FAVORITE moderate resort and I love reading and looking at pictures of it to remind us of the fun we’ve had during numerous trips staying at Port Orleans.
Our favorite thing to do at Port Orleans is go down to the bakery portion of Sassagoula and get a homemade ice cream sandwich with their homemade cookies and ice cream. They’re to die for!!!
I can’t wait to see part 2!!!
Thanks for your in-depth articles Jack! Our family only gets to enjoy a trip to the World about once every five years. Our past two trips were spent at the French Quarter. We enjoy the fun atmosphere that is also very laid back and relaxing. Reading your blog and seeing the pictures of the resort (many that I have also taken) makes me feel like I was just there! I am looking forward to part two tomorrow and just wanted to let you know that I REALLY enjoy your blogs. Yours is the first I look at every day because of the detail and the feeling of “being there” that you relay to your readers. You really have a wonderful gift and I am glad that you are able to share it with us!
This was the first hotel my family stayed at in the World and it’s the one to where we keep going back because of its relative calmness and smaller size. Totally agree about the creepiness of the hanging decor in the food court–one in particular freaked my daughter out when she was 4 (now 12 and is still a little leery about the big clown-head). Can’t wait until tomorrow’s part 2.
Thank you so much for this blog. We will be staying here for the first time in September and we are very excited. This just reassures me that we will be very pleased with our stay. Can’t wait for Part Two!