Port Orleans Riverside vs Art of Animation – Best Resort?

There are so many resorts to choose from at Disney World. But if you’re waffling back and forth over the Port Orleans Riverside vs Art of Animation, this article will help you best determine which resort is worth your money. Which resort will win: the over-the-top celebration of animation hotel or the charming Lowcountry resort?  Let’s find out!

Port Orleans Riverside vs Art of Animation: Room Cost

Art of Animation

Disney’s Art of Animation Resort” by Jared licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Art of Animation has vastly different pricing. There are two types of rooms: a standard and a family suite. The standard room with a king or two queen beds ranges from $195 to $367, depending on the season. A family suite, which can sleep up to six, ranges from $442 to $856 a night (as of publication).

The suites are the same throughout, with a queen bed with a private bath in a separate room from the living area. The living area also has a bathroom, a sleeper sofa, and a double-size table bed. The significant difference is the theming, and you can choose between The Little Mermaid, Finding Nemo, Cars, and The Lion King. We have noticed that The Lion King suites are more expensive than the others.

Port Orleans – Riverside

Port Orleans Riverside” by Michael Gray licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Port Orleans – Riverside is also a moderate resort, but prices are lower than Art of Animation, even in their 5th Sleeper Suites. For a standard view, you can expect to pay $250 to $375 a night.

Many room configurations are available, including suites and the coveted Royal Guest Rooms. Suites range from $281 to $459 a night, which is considerably cheaper than the Art of Animation. You can also choose your view, often overlooking the woods or the gardens.

Restaurants and Dining Experiences

Art of Animation

Despite the elevated price, the dining options are similar to any value resort. You can enjoy meals all day at Landscape of Flavors, the only restaurant. It is a quick-service style, which means you will either order your meal through the My Disney Experience app or stand in line cafeteria-style with a tray of food.

Expect average fare for breakfast, including waffles, eggs, and sandwiches. Lunch and dinner have the same menu and are slightly more exotic than breakfast. Entrees include seared salmon, Tandoori chicken, shrimp, grits, and more. You can also order pizza, burgers, salads, and kid-friendly fare.

There is one pool bar, The Drop Off Pool Bar, where guests can enjoy alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. Some cocktails, like the Big Blue Ocean vodka-based drink, are themed to the resort. Others are more standard, like a mai tai. Prices range from $8.50 to $17.50. You can also pick up a few poolside snacks like chips or a soft pretzel.

Port Orleans – Riverside

The Riverside Mill Food Court is similar to Landscape of Flavors, as it is the resort’s quick-service location. However, the food’s theming is more reminiscent of the hotel itself. You can pick from classic, southern-inspired foods like jambalaya, gumbo, and a pimento BLT. Breakfast is similar to the Art of Animation, with standard breakfast fare.

A unique touch to this restaurant is the nightly entertainment at River Roost, a lobby bar lounge. You sip luxurious libations while singing along to Yehaa Bob Jackson, who plays Wednesday to Saturday nights. We enjoy this show, and it is fun for all ages.

Beyond the quick-service spot and lounges, Port Orleans Riverside also has a table-service restaurant. Boatwright’s Dining Hall is themed to the historic southern shipyards, where large vessels were made to float along the Mississippi River. Being a sit-down restaurant, the food is upgraded from the cafeteria and has southern staples like boudin balls, a seafood boil, and red beans and rice. This restaurant is popular, so reservations are recommended.

Hotel Amenities

Art of Animation

Standard rooms include a hairdryer, an in-room safe, a coffee maker, a mini-refrigerator, free WiFi, a telephone, and an iron and ironing board. Suites will have the mentioned items and a kitchenette with a microwave and a (slightly) larger refrigerator.

The resort has an ATM, housekeeping, laundry/dry cleaning services, mail services, and parking. You will need to pay for parking, which is $15 per vehicle per night for overnight parking.

There are three pools at the Art of Animation: The Big Blue Pool, the Cozy Cone Pool, and the Flippin’ Fins Pool. The Cozy Cone Pool has cabanas shaped like orange construction cones, giving you a little shade in the hot Florida sun. The Big Blue Pool often has daily activities, and we found those perfect for children.

In the evening, sit by a campfire, roast marshmallows, or watch a Disney movie under the stars. If you are looking for a little extra activity, you can run on the jogging trail, or little ones can play at the Righteous Reef playground.

Port Orleans – Riverside

Room amenities are similar to Art of Animation standard rooms. You’ll see a hairdryer, an in-room safe, free WiFi, a coffee maker, a mini-refrigerator, a telephone, and an iron with an ironing board. The Royal Guest Rooms also have a special Princess and the Frog headboard with a light-up fireworks effect.

Like Art of Animation, there is an ATM, housekeeping, laundry/dry cleaning services, mail services, and parking. The moderate resort is $20 per vehicle per night for overnight parking.

There are more recreation options available at Port Orleans – Riverside. You can enjoy bike rentals, bass fishing, excursions, a horse-drawn carriage ride, and more. While they are added to the cost of your stay, they are unique if you choose to have a day away from the parks.

The pools also vary more at this resort. There is the vast main pool with a water slide and a kiddie pool, with a pool bar a short stroll away. Also, quiet pools are available, perfect for getting away from the resort’s hustle.

You can also enjoy a campfire and movies under the stars near the Magnolia South Pool deck. There is also a playground and a jogging trail for getting extra exercise.

Transportation Options

Art of Animation

This resort falls under the Skyliner route, which takes you to either Epcot or Hollywood Studios. You can take the bus to Animal Kingdom, Magic Kingdom, and Disney Springs. Like Pop Century, there is only one bus stop in front of the lobby.

Port Orleans – Riverside

You must take the bus to all parks, but you can boat to Disney Springs or Port Orleans – French Quarter. We loved taking the boat along the Sassagoula River to the shopping and dining center.

Ease of Getting to and From Parks

Art of Animation

Getting to and from the parks is a toss-up at the Art of Animation. The most significant benefit is the Skyliner, which is one of the most efficient ways to get to and from Epcot and Hollywood Studios. At park opening and closing, there can be a large line to get back to the hotel, so you’ll want to plan accordingly. We found that if you’re closing out Epcot, it is easier to take the boat at the International Gateway, between France and the UK at World Showcase, to Hollywood Studios and hop on the Skyliner from there.

Busing takes around 20 minutes to Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom. Considering this resort heavily focuses on families, the buses can get quickly crowded. There is only one bus stop, so you must walk from the main lobby to your room. Thankfully the walkways are well-lit, and the grounds are easily navigable.

If you’re looking for a less crowded way to get to your room, consider taking a bus to the Riviera Resort and hopping onto the Skyliner. While it might not shorten the journey, it is more relaxing than scrunching into a bus at night’s end.

Port Orleans – Riverside

You can only take the bus to Disney parks, which can feel tedious. Instead of a one-stop, you have multiple. So you will walk to the nearest stop from your room instead of walking to the lobby. Frankly, the buses were the least favorite part of our stay. At the end of the day, I want to get to my room instead of thinking about my bus stop.

Resort Theming

Art of Animation

This resort is similar to the All-Star resorts and Pop Century. But, the lobby is more beautiful than many value resorts. We love the cascade of colors throughout the building and the sketches of our favorite Disney animated movies. Little touches, like the chandeliers, make this lobby stand out.

On the grounds, each building section is themed to different movies, including Finding Nemo, Cars, The Little Mermaid, and The Lion King. There are giant statues of some of your favorite characters and bright colors. As this is a newer resort at Disney World, there are a lot of touches of decoration and theming not seen in the older value resorts.

Port Orleans – Riverside

We love the theming at Port Orleans – Riverside. It is a homage to the Lowcountry of the south, with everything from beautifully landscaped gardens, to mansions, bungalows, and more. The hotel feels relaxed and gives a different vibe than other resorts. There are unique touches throughout, like a working cotton press.

We find the resort quite vast, so there is a lot of walking. Thankfully, the area is romantic, so the walk is worth it (especially in the evening). We were at Port Orleans Riverside for our honeymoon, and I’ll never forget walking at sunset hand-in-hand in the dimly-lit walkways.

Port Orleans Riverside or Art of Animation: Final Verdict

Comparing hotels is tough, especially when it is Port Orleans Riverside vs Art of Animation. While both have great offerings, we would choose Port Orleans Riverside over its competition for our trip. Frankly, the Art of Animation is expensive for a value resort. While it has great theming for kids and the Skyliner, the price-to-value ratio is off for us.

Port Orleans Riverside has a lot of activities to do throughout the day. The theming is more intricate, and there are more food options, including a sit-down restaurant. This resort has swept us away with its southern charm, and we can’t wait to return and stay.

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