Today was Day 2 of the Walt Disney World 2011 Resort Showcase, during which Disney is shining a spotlight on their newest and upcoming resort hotels, as well as new features of older resorts, here in Orlando, California and Hawaii.
I was most excited today for the tour of Port Orleans scheduled for after lunch — we were promised a sneak peek at the recently announced “Royal Guest Rooms.” These new accommodations continue in the trend of theming rooms to a particular story — similar to the pirate-themed rooms Disney World introduced at Caribbean Beach Resort in 2009.
Our tour actually began in the reception area of Port Orleans French Quarter, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary.
After touring the main area, we were led over to the pool, and learned about the resort’s recreation activities.
We were finally shown a few of the resort’s just-renovated rooms.
One of the biggest changes is that the rooms now feature two queen beds, instead of full beds. Flat panel television sets have been added, and the quality of all the furnishings, like bedspreads and draperies, seems to have been upgraded — they even have accent pillows on the beds as an added touch.
In the bathroom area, the pedestal sinks have been replaced with a single, double-bowled vanity, which provides more counter space. All the fixtures, tubs, shower heads, etc., have been replaced as well.
We were also shown a renovated accessible room. This is one type of the ADA-compliant rooms — French Quarter has 25 like the one we saw, which feature grip bars in the bathroom area, and special emergency lights to alert hearing impaired guests of an incident.
French Quarter also has an additional 50 accessible rooms that have wheel-in showers, with hand-held sprays.
The renovation of all of the rooms at French Quarter was completed last month. Renovations will begin on French Quarter’s sister resort, Port Orleans Riverside, in June. To learn more about that project, we quickly rode over to Riverside.
When that renovation begins, work will start on the new Royal Guest Rooms — there will be 512 rooms in the Magnolia Bend area of the resort converted to this new theme. (The remaining rooms in Magnolia Bend will retain their theme, and will be refurbished as well, as will the rooms in the Alligator Bayou section of the resort.)
Imagineer Eric Jacobson greeted us at the model room in Riverside, but admonished us that no photos were allowed — there may still be some fine-tuning to the concept before the rooms are finalized.
But we were allowed to see the room ourselves and ask as many questions as we wanted.
As they are now, the rooms are based on the following story: Princess Tiana (from the film, Princess and the Frog) has invited her other princess friends for a vacation, and each of the invitees has brought a gift that has a place somewhere in the room. As soon as you enter the room, you’ll find a letter from Tiana embedded in the table. Scattered around the room are the gifts — gold faucets in the bathroom that came from the film Aladdin, a hassock that resembles the dog footstool from the Beauty and the Beast. The bedspreads and draperies are in royal blues and golds and some of the the furniture is gold-trimmed. One of the most impressive aspects of the room are the beds’ magical headboards, which light up and feature special effects. You have to see them to appreciate them.
Unfortunately, though, you won’t be staying in these rooms until April or May 2012. (Editor’s note: Other Disney reps have quoted me a timeframe of January 2012. Keep your eyes open for a definite date, hopefully soon!) You will however, probably be able to start booking the rooms by late September or October of this year. Pricing for the rooms is expected to be somewhat higher than a standard Port Orleans room, but actual rates have yet to be determined.
I have more to tell about the Health and Wellness suites at the Contemporary, and the latest news from Aulani in Hawaii, but that will have to wait — it’s late now and tomorrow is another big day, including my first time doing the new Wild Africa Trek in Animal Kingdom!
40 Replies to “New/Renovated Rooms at Port Orleans Resort”
Does anybody know what size the coffeemakers are in POFQ rooms? We are bringing our own coffee and want to make sure we have filters if necessary.
DebK replies: Allison, just checked my photos and it’s a 4-cup Mr. Coffee coffee maker. It takes regular basket filters Hope this helps!
I’m from the united kingdom and am staying at POR in June 2012. I have a standard room booked but would like to know if my room has been renovated and how i go about contacting the hotel as I live in the UK.
My holiday is booked with Virgin Holidays. All these posts are so helpful by the way!! 🙂
Deb K replies: Thanks, Louise! I think all of the POR rooms should be renovated by now — they’ve been working on it for nearly a year, so I hope they are done! You can contact the resort directly as follows:
Or since you have booked through Virgin, perhaps they can contact the resort for you?
Deb Wills is staying at Port Orleans Riverside tonight in one of the new Royal Rooms, so watch for a report from her about them within the next few days.
Have a wonderful trip!
we will stay ay port orleans riverside in may 2012. are all the rooms finished being renovated. not sure if we’ll be in magnolia or alligator yet.
Deb K replies: They have been working on the renovations for a year, so I expect that they are done by now. Deb Wills is staying at the resort tonight (3/10/12), so look for a report from her in the next few days. Have a great vacation!
I have a question about the new trundle bed/murphy bed. We were thinking of staying there (family of 3 plus 2 grandparents) in October 2012 and I am concerned about my 3 year old son falling off the bed. The previous set up just had the bed on the floor so it wasn’t a concern. What do you know about these in terms of safety/height off the floor?
The photos of the renovated Alligator Bayou room with murphy bed show double beds. Do you know if any of these rooms have 2 Queen beds plus the murphy bed?
I am just about to go to POR. I was talking to the hotel last night and they told me two buildings at the POR Alligator Bayou are completed, so I have requested the new rooms. My fingers are crossed. We have a party of 7 and we have one room for 5 and a king room for 2. They told me the new room for 5 no longer has a trundle bed, instead it has a pull from the wall Murphy type bed.
Hi, Any news on whether trundles are still available at POFQ or if they will be at POR once renovated?
Deb Koma replies: There were never any trundle beds at French Quarter, they are only at Riverside. And as far as I know, all the rooms that had trundle beds before will still have them. The rooms that are being converted to themed rooms are all located in the Magnolia Bend section of Riverside — the trundle beds were only located in Alligator Bayou.
With the King rooms, is there an option for a 3rd person to sleep? (trundle, etc) We will be traveling with our 7 yr old.
DebK replies: I believe you’ll be able to request a rollaway bed for your chlld, but I’m not positive — they generally say max occupancy for a King room is just 2. That’s something you’d have to ask about when you make your reservations.
please let me know if the truddle bed will fit with the queen bed.thank you 🙂
Have the dates for the new rooms at riverside been released yet? We’re planning on end of January 2012 for our stay.THanks!
Deb Koma replies: Some of the rooms are available for booking now and will open in February 2012.
can you please let me know if all the rooms at French Quarter are newly renovated. we are staying here for thanksgiving.
Deb K replies: Hi Bonnie, As I note in the blog, ALL the French Quarter rooms have been renovated — their renovations are complete.
i’m confused /:
are the king sized bed rooms renovated as well? or just the queen sized rooms?
Deb Koma replies: Hi Catelynn, as I said in the blog, all of the rooms at Port Orleans French Quarter have been renovated. That includes the King rooms. It’s the Riverside rooms that are currently under renovation.
This has probably been asked, but I wanted to make sure. All the rooms at POFQ have been refurbished, but do they all now have 2 queen beds (or 1 king)? We are going in August and I want to take advantage, as it will lesson the fights between the kids sharing a full sized bed. Also, are ALL the rooms the same as the photos above? They look absolutely gorgeous and would be thrilled if they were all the same….
Deb Koma replies: Yes, I think it’s safe to assume that all the rooms are furnished the same — queen beds (unless it’s an accessible room) with the same linens, etc.
We will be staying at POFQ for the first time in Aug/Sept. So excited to stay there. I am hopeful that this hotel is a wonderful as it looks. They have big shoes to fill as we usually stay at the Contemporary. Can’t wait to get there….see you in 45 days POFQ !
I am thrilled to see the remodel, had read some not-too-good reviews but booked at POFQ for Sept – my kids’ first trip and my first since 2001, when we stayed at POR. Very happy about the queen beds!
Can you please let us know which rooms of the POR hotel have been completely remodeled. We are undecided whether to reserve at the POR or POFQ in September.
Deb Koma replies: The renovation of all of the rooms at POFQ is completed, but they are only just starting at POR this month. I have no idea how many they’ll have done by the time of your visit in September, if any, but even so, you won’t be able to stay in any of the “royal guest rooms” until early next year.
Great blog-I always love to get a dose of Port Orleans when I am really missing it from up here in New England! We are a family of 5 and have stayed at POR twice–LOVE IT!! We are currently beginning to plan a family trip for 14 for Fall 2012. POR is our go-to resort and I am hoping renovations will be done on all the Alligator Bayou rooms by then…hoping the 2 queen beds leave room for the trundle to be pulled out! Also, I know the trundles are “recommended” for 9 & under but hopefully ages aren’t an issue when reserving a room? Thanks again for all your great blogs!!
are the rooms @ FQ going to fit 5 with the larger beds?
Regarding the POR remodel. Will the rooms still be able to sleep 5? This is our go to resort, as it the best value for 2 adults and 3 children. Just concerned about the addition of queen beds.
I absolutely love the remodeled rooms except I will miss the pedestal sinks. Those purple and gold bedspreads are just right. We stayed at POFQ for the first time in 11/09 and really liked it better than the Deluxe resorts.
I see a privacy curtain between the bed area and the vanity area, but I don’t see an actual door. Is there a door for privacy in the shower or toilet areas?
Deb Koma replies: There’s a privacy curtain between the vanity area and the bedroom area. There is a door between the vanity area and the actual bathroom with the toilet/shower/tub.
Just curious- We stay at POR because we are a family of five and use the trundle bed. What have you heard about the remodel there? If/ when queen beds are added, it seems that it would be difficult to fit the trundle bed.
Deb Koma replies: That’s an excellent question — will there still be trundle beds. I’ll try to find the answer to that – should have thought to ask when I was there! Thanks.
Port Orleans French Quarter is one of my family’s favorite resorts and the new rooms look beautiful. I can’t wait to see it in person. I am also very excited for the new Princess themed rooms over at the Riverside, my girls will go nuts over them….but then again, I know I will go nuts over them as well :).
Glad to see they are updating my favorite resort. I stayed at Riverside last March and the room needed to be renovated. By the way, my favorite drink at Port Orleans was a Gator Tail- which is no longer available. Does anyone know what was in it? I remember a banana- melon taste.
I didn’t know there was even such a thing as a resort showcase! Thank you for letting us in on this.
So glad you posted this! We are scheduled to stay here in August, as it is one of our fav resorts. A CM had mentioned they had queen beds now when I checked on my ADRs. I had no idea there was a complete renovation! So excited! The beds were getting uncomfortable and I didn’t care for the two separate sinks w/o a counter.
Great article Deb, and nice photos. It sure doesn’t seem like 20 years since we first saw those “Port/Dixie” destination banners on the front of Disney buses does it?
I was interested in the figure of 526 Royal themed rooms for Riverside though. All the information that I’ve got points to there being 512 such rooms (i.e. two complete mansion buildings, most likely Parterre Place and Oak Manor) and I can’t figure out how they are going to add an extra 14 rooms. Just wondering if that might have been a typo, or if they’ve got something planned for a few extra Royal rooms somewhere like Alligator Bayou 14, for easier wheelchair accessibility for example?
Deb Koma replies: Andre, I’ve checked back and everything else I read says 512, too — I think someone misspoke somewhere along the way. I’ll go back and correct the blog. Thanks!
These are beautiful! We booked our vacation for November 2011 in POR. I am seriously considering calling my MEI/MouseFan Travel rep and requesting a change of resort!
I’m confused with the comment that the toilets in the ADA rooms are lower??
Normally for handicapped access, the toilets are “higher”. Lower would be a dealbreaker for me as I’ve two bad knees that don’t like to bend and a recent hip replacement.
I have to say, after many many years of staying at the premium resorts, Grand Floridian, Boardwalk, Beach Club, Yacht Club and many many trips to the Polynesian Concierge (3501 Hawaii Rocks), I stayed at Port Orleans French Quarter on a dare from a friend.
I will never stay anywhere else but French Quarter. The resort has everything the premium resorts have and in my opinion, a better food court. The Cast Members are some of the best on Disney property. The availability of a boat to Downtown Disney is a lovely perk. The laundry is one of the largest and cleanest I’ve ever seen. Bus transportation is timely and efficient. All they need is Valet parking and full room service. I wish I’d taken my friend’s advice years sooner, I could have saved $$$,$$$!
Deb Koma replies: My mistake, Deb — you are right about the toilets. For some reason I wrote “lower” in my notes, not sure what I was referring to! In any case, I agree with you about French Quarter, it’s a lovely resort, especially now that the rooms have been redone!
Not a comment but a question. Have all the POFQ rooms been updated or are these premium rooms that you would have to pay extra for?
Deb Koma replies: Yes Bob, as I say above, ALL of the FQ rooms have been totally redone. The Riverside redo starts in June.
We stay at POFQ for part of our trip every year. I’m so glad to see the new renovations.
We just returned from our first stay at POFQ. We loved it…comfy beds and the room at the vanity was great. Be sure to look for the hidden Mickey in the shower curtain and the room divider curtain!
Hi – thanks so much for the wonderful report. As somebody who usually stays Value, I’m traveling solo in September and staying at POFQ. After reading your report, I just cannot wait to experience this resort!! The rooms are gorgeous and the setting is beautiful. Thanks again for such a lovely report. Lisa
We just completed a short stay at the PO-FQ and the renovated rooms are very much an improvement. Very comfy beds. In fact, the room in your photos is an exact duplicate of the one we stayed in, even to the fold of the towels, the placement of the shampoo bottle and the housekeeper’s card! We’re looking forward to the renovations on the Riverside portion.
We just stayed at POFQ Mother’s Day weekend, and while we loved the room updates, both my husband and I found the new queen beds to be VERY uncomfortable! We actually prefer Pop Century’s beds to these new ones. Other than that, the rooms are great, the counter space at the sink area is great, and this remains, in my opinion, the most beautiful Disney resort!
We stayed at Port Orleans Riverside in October 2010. We absolutely loved the resort! We stayed in the Magnolia Bends section and it was so peaceful. I really enjoyed walking the property and I loved sitting in the gazebo. That being said we felt like the rooms were in need of an update. The furniture was worn and the room didn’t have a nice fresh smell. Other than that we fell in love with the resort so we were really excited to hear that they are updating the rooms. I saw in the blog that the fairy tale rooms won’t be ready until April or May 2012. Would you know if any of the other rooms they are updating will be ready sooner? We are planning another trip in October 2011 and Port Orleans Riverside is our first choice for a resort and we were hoping they would have some of the updated rooms ready.
Thanks for the update. I can’t wait for our Sept trip to POFQ. Our visit last year was great, but the beds were getting lumpy.
Deb, do you know if the POFQ rooms have and ipad/ipod charger?
Thanks for all of your work for us fans!
We just stayed at French Quarter in April and got a newly remolded room. We loved it! This was our second Disney trip, we stayed at C.B. last April in a pirate room. We would stay at either one again they were both very nice. We’re gonna try and get a new Princess room at Riverside for Christmas 2012!!
Great post! Did the ADA compliant rooms with grip bars, etc. feature two queens or one king? Love POFQ but I believe the old rooms only featured a King bed…this would make a big difference for our family! Thx!!
POFQ is my favorite resort! Was so happy to see how beautiful the rooms turned out – thanks for a great article and wonderful pics :).