Caravan Sonnet: Disney Port Orleans - French Quarter Resort Review

10/1/16

Disney Port Orleans - French Quarter Resort Review

{BLOG POST UPDATE}
On Wednesday evening (October 5th) I received a phone call from Disney Resort Guest Services regarding my blog post. I was absolutely impressed with the way that Justine took the time to call me, discuss at length my stay and listen to my concerns about our experience. While our experience was unfortunate, I walked away even more confident in Disney and their administration and the way that they handled my complaints and concerns. I will definitely be going back to stay at additional Disney Resort Properties and commend Disney on their excellent guest services in handling our situations. 

When I first decided to accept and pursue the Disney Writing adventure I knew one of the things that I needed to find was a place to stay for my sister and I while we were in Florida. I hadn't traveled to Orlando in many years so I wanted to find a hotel that was within an affordable price range, was in a safe area, and also would be easiest with my health issues to get into the parks. After doing a ton of research, comparing costs for what we needed while we were at Disney, and what we could afford, I chose the Disney Port Orleans- French Quarter Resort. 
Disney Port Orleans- French Quarter (and it's sister hotel - Riverside) are both labeled as "moderate Disney resorts". The benefits include free parking on the hotel site (something that is unique among many hotels in the area), free shuttle service to the parks (buses to the parks and even a water taxi to Disney Springs), swimming pool, free Wifi, TVs, and horse-drawn carriage rides (for an extra fee).

For the price (there was a brief discount given that was found on-line) compared to other hotels in the area and for the time that we were going this seemed like the best option. Having only stayed in one other Disney Resort as a senior chaperone and having been thrilled with it (Coronado Springs Resort), I was excited to experience this Disney Resort and the magic that typically comes with Disney.

Unfortunately I can't recommend this resort at all. I hate saying that because I love Disney, but this experience was truly not good and would hate for anyone to experience what we did. Honestly I was extremely disappointed in four aspects of my stay and would never chose to stay at the Port Orleans again. 
First, I was very disappointed in how a situation was handled on our first morning at the resort. I had called down to the front desk before heading to breakfast and asked if the hotel had any band aids and was promptly told that I could come to the front desk at any time to receive a first aid kit. So after breakfast, while my sister went back to the room to grab something, I headed to the front desk/registration area happily anticipating the day ahead. There were only 4 people working and all seemed very busy so I took my place to be waited on next. I glanced over to my side and there was an adorable young couple who were very much in love and obviously having the time of their lives. It was precious. When the next staff member opened up I glanced over to the couple - honestly not sure who had arrived first- and the guy from the couple motioned for me to go ahead, so I stepped up. As I opened my mouth to speak the staff member (in an extremely loud voice) said, "We are a civilized hotel and we have lines- you cut and it is not your turn it's their turn (pointing to the couple) so get back in line and wait your turn". I was so caught off guard that I turned to say that I was sorry as I thought I must have mis-interpreted what the man in the couple had said to me when the staff member continued with a flick of his wrist and said, "step back and wait your turn". At that point the man in the couple spoke up and said, "dude, I told her to go first". To which the staff member sighed very dramatically and said, "Fine. What do you need?" I stammered and said that I just needed a first aid kit to which he proceeded to question me ("what for?")acting like I was stupid. I finally said that I needed band aids to which he said, "fine. stay here." and went to the back. He came back out a minute later and proceeded to throw the band aids on the counter while he swished his hand at me to leave. He never once apologized for his rudeness, asked if I needed anything else, or attempted to correct his attitude- he just dismissed me. 

Honestly I was shocked. While we had been given a discount, I would never expect any staff member of any hotel, let alone a Disney hotel to act this way or treat anyone this way. The whole thing was completely confusing and completely inappropriate and had me in tears. The way that this situation was handled was such poor customer service that it really put a damper on things for both my sister and I for our entire stay there. This is one of the main reasons that I couldn't recommend this property to anyone.
Second, was the food court situation. My sister and I both enjoyed the breakfast options (gluten free eaters be ware though that there are very limited options!) and when we returned from the parks we were looking to do something simple for dinner. After calling down to the front desk trying to find out the hours of the food court/restaurant we were told that they only served 4 different options and all were only appetizers. For my health issues and for my specific diet (which I had discussed in advance before making the reservations) this was completely new information. Both my sister and I tried calling four different people at the hotel and speaking with different staff. We kept being assured that there was no other food (in fact one staff member told us that they only serve breakfast). So imagine our surprise and frustration after Emily spent over 2 hours traveling to Disney Springs to get food to find out that no, there is dinner food at the food court and we had been mis-informed (and again there was no apology).
Third, the transportation system was unlike what I have experienced or heard from others about Disney Resort transportation and was extremely frustrating. When I had stayed at the Coronado Springs Resort the bus system and transportation were a dream. I expected the same type of thing to happen at this resort and was extremely disappointed. 

First, the bus system for the French Quarter also serves three different bus stops at the Riverside so you often had to wait more than 20 minutes for a bus because they were full. In addition to this when we were ready to leave Epcot and head back to the hotel for the day the bus was jammed packed and not everyone could get on (after waiting for 55 minutes) because the bus system served two different resorts. So be prepared to wait. For a while. Second, the boat transportation system sounded so adorable and my sister decided to take that when she went to get us food instead of driving to Disney Springs (after being assured by a staff member it would be quick) something she later regretted. After waiting a good while for the boat to arrive she arrived at Disney Springs and went and purchased food and came back... only to discover that unlike the Riverside hotel that has three boats, French Quarter only had one and arrived nearly an hour later. My sister and a couple of other people from the French Quarter asked the Riverside boat captain if he would drop them (since his boat was empty) and at first he said no, but finally agreed. Technically we found out that while the Port Orleans resorts are connected, they really aren't. 

If you are planning to stay here at the Port Orleans be advised to give yourself plenty of extra time as you will be definitely waiting.
Fourth, I was disappointed in how this resort chose to handle the request for a disability or a first floor room due to my health issues. When I made the reservation (and before I checked in) I had specifically asked for a room that would be easily accessible to the buses, the food court, and to get to. Now the room was "somewhat" accessible to both of the first two things, but unfortunately was located on the third floor and there was no elevator anywhere near our room. We requested help with our bags when we checked in but my poor sister was still having to carry things up three flights of stairs because the elevator was so far away and I had to walk a ways to get to our room. If you have a disability make sure to really check this out before you stay at this resort as it was definitely not the most disability friendly which was a true disappointment for a Disney property.

Again, I have never had these situations happen at a Disney property before and am hoping that these were exceptions and not the routine at this property. Unfortunately despite trying to discuss some of these concerns with staff members these items were brushed to the side which saddens me, but as I mentioned in my blog post update I was extremely impressed with how Disney took my concerns seriously when I spoke with them after our stay. Absolutely impressed!

I hope that y'all have found this review of the Disney Port Orleans- French Quarter helpful! Please let me know if you have any questions regarding this resort! I would be happy to answer them! 

3 comments:

  1. Wow, friend, I am so sorry you had this experience! That's so frustrating and so unlike the Disney "image." I hope someone from Port Orleans reads this, takes it to heart, and makes some serious changes! <3

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    1. It was SO hard to write this review as I LOVE and adore ALL things Disney. I had gone into staying at this resort with such HIGH hopes based on my experiences of staying at another Disney property and so I hesitated to share this review as I am truly hoping that this was simply our experience and that it hasn't happened before. On the other hand I know a lot of people look to stay at Disney properties and I wanted to provide a truthful report of what we experienced as I wouldn't advise someone to stay there. I hope that this review will help serve as a guide and warning but more than anything hope that someone from the Port Orleans property will take (as you said) these things to heart and make some changes. :)

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    2. On Wednesday evening (October 5th) I received a phone call from Disney Resort Guest Services regarding my blog post. I was absolutely impressed with the way that Justine took the time to call me, discuss at length my stay and listen to my concerns about our experience. While our experience was unfortunate, I walked away even more confident in Disney and their administration and the way that they handled my complaints and concerns. I will definitely be going back to stay at additional Disney Resort Properties and commend Disney on their excellent guest services in handling our situations.

      Delete