Getting the Royal Treatment at Port Orleans Riverside

| May 27, 2012
Last month, my husband and I took our middle son on a surprise trip to Walt Disney World to celebrate his 4th birthday.  Since we were going to be there just 2 weeks after Port Orleans Riverside debuted their new “Royal Guest Rooms,” we thought it would be perfect to try them out.  Story rooms are kind of a new trend with Disney – they also have pirate rooms at Caribbean Beach (we’ve stayed in these too – so cool!) and all the rooms/suites at the new Art of Animation resort will be themed around classic animated films.  The theme of the new Royal Rooms is that Princess Tiana invited some of her royal pals for a vacation getaway at Riverside and each princess left behind a souvenir for Tiana.

We had never stayed at Port Orleans Riverside before, but had heard how big it was.  The Royal Rooms are located in the buildings closest to the main building, where the food court, boat dock and bus stops are located.  We loved the location and are probably spoiled now.  It was really handy to be so close, especially when coming back at naptime or at night with a tired boy.  We saw a lot of people at the resort with the refillable mugs and we commented that if we were at any other building, we wouldn’t want to use a mug and have to walk so far just to fill it.  Our building overlooked the Sassagoula River and the water wheel on the main building, which is a gorgeous view, especially in the morning and evening hours.

The room was beautiful!  The furnishings were rich blues and golds and really did look like a royal suite.  I loved that the radiator was covered with wood and marble, so that it didn’t look so utilitarian.  The bathroom vanity looked like a piece of ornate furniture, as did the armoire that hid the refrigerator.  One thing that did feel a little weird was that the richness of the room seemed a little strange in a Moderate resort size room.  It might have been better in a Deluxe size room to complete the royal feel.

We really enjoyed looking around the room for the little touches representing each princess.  Some that we found were a coat hook with Cinderella’s carriage on it and a carved dark-wood frame with carvings of Snow White’s forest friends.  The shower curtain was decorated with seashells and tridents from Ariel.  One of our favorites was the sink faucet – it was a gold “magic lamp” left by Jasmine.  One of the trickiest was an upholstered bench with animal legs from Beauty and the Beast (remember the dog foot stool?!)  I really liked that there were photos in frames on the wall, showing the princesses’ fun weekend together at Riverside.  It really brought the story together and made the room more homey.  There were even framed profile silhouettes of each prince, just to remind the princesses of home.  We did find one Hidden Mickey, but we won’t spoil its location for you.

I asked Jonah what his favorite part was:  “It was really neat because it had the fireworks on the bed!”  The top of the headboard was decorated with jewels that lit up, and the headboard had a fiber optic fireworks display on it.  It was a really neat touch, though the fireworks weren’t quite as spectacular as the Disney-released video makes them look.  Jonah just loved this and every time he walked in the room, he had to press the button to turn on the fireworks.  At bedtime he said, “I can’t sleep without my fireworks!” and would have to turn them on before he would lay down.  One downside is that they only stayed on for about a minute.  I’m glad they shut off automatically, so we didn’t have to remember to shut them off before bed, but it would have been nice if they stayed on for about 15 minutes so we could enjoy them with the lights off while falling asleep.

I really loved having the thick curtain separating the bathroom from the rest of the bedroom.  This was especially great when trying to get ready and not wake Jonah up until it was time to go.  We normally stay in the value resorts and I hate having to always look at the messy bathroom area.  I’ve only stayed in one other moderate resort (the pirate rooms – can you tell we have small children?!), so this may be standard, but I definitely enjoyed it.

Now, what I’ve been waiting for in a Disney resort –  outlets in the nightstand!  My job is all online, so I spend a lot of time on my laptop, even on vacation.  It’s a pain to always have to sit at the desk (where you can’t get a good view of the TV) and to not be able to plug it in near the bed.  Finally, they’ve figured that out.  Also, we like to plug in a phone next to the bed to use as an alarm and normally we have to leave it on the table on the other side of the room.
A couple of bad things:  Our room was dirty.  I found 3 hairbands on the floor (all in different spots) and if the housekeepers would have looked down, they would have seen them.  They were right in the middle of the floor.  There was dust everywhere on the dresser, the nightstand and the bathroom vanity.  I wasn’t looking specifically for it, it was just bad enough that I noticed.  The bathroom vanity was also covered in sawdust, like the room hadn’t even been cleaned after construction was completed.  But, because of the hairbands, I know someone had stayed in it before.  We didn’t bother to complain about any of this, but the room was serviced while we were there and none of this was cleaned.  Also, there was a definite lack of storage space.  Where we would have expected another dresser to be, there was an upholstered bench that didn’t really seem to serve a purpose, other than being the souvenir left from Belle.  The dresser had the fridge in it, so that really took up a lot of space.  We only had one child with us, but if we would have had the other two along as well, we would have run out of room for our clothes.

Even though Disney is marketing these as “Royal Guest Rooms,” they are really more princess-themed.  I think this room would be perfect for princess-loving girls, maybe late elementary school/middle school age, who could pick out all the subtle princess touches.  Much of that was lost on Jonah, who hasn’t seen most of those movies yet.  All in all though, we really enjoyed the room and it was a great way to celebrate our little guy’s special day!

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Category: Disney World

About the Author ()

Leah grew up in a little farming town in Illinois, right on the Mississippi River. Her Chicago-born husband, David, left the city for her, and they're now raising their three children (Jacob, Jonah and Lydia) just 12 miles from her hometown. As the Senior Editor of the DIS (wdwinfo.com), Leah spends a lot of time writing about, reading about, and discussing Disney. So, it should come as no surprise that one of her family's favorite ways to spend time is going to Walt Disney World and traveling on Disney Cruise Line. She also enjoys shopping, watching movies with her husband and doing crafts with and for her kids.

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