Disney’s Port Orleans or Caribbean Beach Resort: which is better?

I have a friend going on a business trip to Disney World for IBM’s Lotusphere 2007 from January 20-25 (that’s when lines are short in Disney World). He can stay at Disney’s Port Orleans and at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. He wants some advice about which one to stay at. I’ve collected some comments from friends, but feel free to add your own comments if you’ve stayed at Port Orleans or Caribbean Beach Resort.

One person who just stayed at the Caribbean Beach Resort last month called the rooms “OK” and the resort “decent.” The Caribbean Beach was “fine, same category as Port Orleans.”

Someone who has stayed at both calls Port Orleans “a smaller, and thus quieter resort than the Caribbean Beach Resort. There are 2 Port Orleans resorts, the French Quarter, and the Riverside. Both are very nice. The Caribbean Beach resort is also one of the largest resorts on Disney property, so if you use Disney’s bus transportation to get around, it will take a little longer. The Port Orleans is a little nicer, with a better selection of food. Also, the Port Orleans resorts are closest to Downtown Disney and Pleasure Island. Caribbean Beach is closest to Epcot and Disney-MGM Studios.

Another person, someone who has stayed only at Port Orleans says it’s “beautiful, the rooms are nice – we stayed there because it’s one of the few resorts with rooms for 5 – they have a nice ferry service to Downtown Disney too. This is a really cool boat ride to Downtown Disney. One hint – if you stay there, walk to the lobby bus stop when embarking to the parks in the morning – Port Orleans has several stops, and the buses bypass them once they’re full, which leads to many people waiting at the end of the line.”

Another friend recommended staying at Port Orleans in May when the Magnolia trees bloom: “One of the best-smelling places I’ve ever been in. Next time we go, I’ll make it a 2-week trip. One week was too hectic – really exhausting.”

One person who can’t stand the bus system says you’re better off staying at a resort with monorail service: Caribbean Bay does have a cool beach theme, obviously, and some good pools. The restaurant fare is mostly American (burgers, pizza). At first, you have to really watch the bus schedule so you know which one to grab and don’t end up riding in circles on the wrong bus. Sometimes, the bus will maddeningly pass right by a stop you want to get off on, so don’t assume anything. If we had it to do over again, we’d stay at a monorail-connected resort like the Polynesian. LOTS of time was wasted riding the buses, and it’s not worth it for a vacation.”

Some other related blog entries: Disney resort experiences and recommendations, Recommended Disney hotels, Diseney Magic European Cruise 2007 dates, 10 days in the Tampa Bay Area with Orlando side trip, Disney timeshares at Animal Kingdom Lodge, Halloween at Disney’s Magic Kingdom.

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  1. Wendell Hoover says:

    My wife and I stayed at the Port Orleans French Quarter last year for two days and loved it!! More intimate than Port Orleans Riverside and we really enjoyed it. We have reserved 4 days in late January next year. We both love Disney and have stayed at almost all resorts..this is near the top of our favorites. Great for transportation to Disney Village.

  2. Misslisslee says:

    We have actually been to Disney a few times for Lotusphere, which is a wonderful time to be there – nice temperature, not crowded, very leisurely trip. The outdoor pools were heated in Port Orleans, so we could still enjoy them, and I loved the quiet. Lots of nice paths for quiet strolls, and we enjoyed the boat ferry to Downtown Disney. We also stayed in the adjacent Cajun-themed resort and thought it was very pleasant as well. As a family, we rented one of those four-person bicycle carriages and it was a leisurely pedal along the path, which would have been miserable in the summer! The only part of the trip I wouldn’t repeat that time of year was SeaWorld – the breeze off the water made it a bit too cold for us overall.

  3. Damselfly says:

    I have stayed at the Caribbean resort twice. The one thing I would caution is not to get a room too far away from the main lobby, or you end up walking a lot to get to the buses.

  4. Dee says:

    I worked at Port Orleans French Quarter. It is quite amazing. The food is unique, a few pools for the kids, and the landscaping is just wonderful. I loved being there!

  5. Sharon Becksvoort says:

    My Husband and I took our 3 kids to Port Orleans Riverside, and was pleasantly surprised at how good the food was in the food court. We saved a lot of money by eating there for breakfast and dinner. The scenic sidewalk trails throught the Resort boasted of tropical trees, and wildlife we do not normally see up in Michigan. This made our trip memorable and especially nice. We also took advantage of the shuttle buses, and didn’t have to wait very long to get where we needed to go. We definitely want to go back!!

  6. Kelli says:

    Both of the resorts are great, remember that Caribbean Beach has an internal bus system just for the resort, that could be the confusion about buses passing people by. That internal system takes you from your “island” to the food court building so a long walk is not necessary. There are regular buses to take you to the different parks, but you can’t get there on the internal bus system. And contrary to what someone said, there’s at least 1 bus stop at each “island” at Caribbean Beach so there really aren’t any very long walks to the bus stop.

    I have stayed at both these hotels, Caribbean beach 2 times in the last 6 months. It’s larger, yes, but if you like the island feel, you will love it. Port Orleans French Quarter is very small, therefore everything is a short walk away. Buses are shared between the two Port Orleans resorts, so there can be a long wait there for the bus you want.

    These are both “moderate” class hotels, there isn’t that much difference in amenities. However, Caribbean Beach was the first moderate resort built, therefore the rooms are considerably larger, around 340 square feet apiece whereas the Port Orleans rooms are around 300 square feet.

    Caribbean Beach has been totally renovated in the last year and Port Orleans was renovated while part of it was closed after September 11th.

    Both of these resorts have their good and bad points, but my family and I love Caribbean Beach simply because we stayed there on our honeymoon and it always has special meaning for us. We find the CMs there to be very friendly and helpful. Good luck and check out this website if you want photos, etc. http://www.allears.net

  7. Beverly says:

    I agree with everything Kelli posted because I spent one week at Carribean Beach with my grand-daughter and we loved everything! The room was fine & had everything we needed. The bus was just outside our door and the food courts,pools,etc. were a very short walk.

    We are going again during Xmas vacation this year and I cannot wait.

  8. gordon says:

    We’ve stayed at both and prefer CB. I think the rooms are identical so that part is a wash. We like CB because each “village” has its own pool. You might like the chance for a quiet pool in one area vs. a crowded one someplace else in the same resort. Also the CB has a manmade beach area with hammocks that are great!

  9. mike specht says:

    As a family we have stayed at both CB and PO Riverside. Rooms at CB are larger 340′ to 260’respectively. Food court choices are decent at both resorts. Both have multiple pools,heated in winter. Transportation is adequate as buses do come every 15-20 mintes. Yes, you may have to wait sometimes for a bus…anticipation and planning your day is time well spent.

    At night..from the food court area of CB you can see,hear and watch some of the beautiful fireworks from EPCOT.

    The ferry boat ride at Port Orleans is a great way to enjoy the peace and quiet after a long day of activities but doesn’t run during thunder/lightning storms. And yes, it can be a bit buggy at times.

  10. peter lyon says:

    we’ve stayed at both resorts over the past 5 years with our two kids,and each has something to offer.we enjoyed carrib beach so much we went back a second time.i love the carribean atmosphere,the walk accross the bridge in the morning,reggea mussic,feeding the fish.you forget your in the middle of a large city.the bus sys couldn’t be better.if your a people watcher,very interesting talking to people from around the world.we’ve found that whatever your needs are,disney staff is so accomidating & friendly.can rent bikes,water craft at both resorts.PO is probably a little quieter,we’ve found thaat there seems to be more younger families at the carrib beach.we’ve totally enjoyed all our trips to disney world & plan to go again in the near future,w/o kids.no matter were you choose to stay,you will have a “magical” experience.remember also,you can take the buses to any disney resort & spend a day enjoying there ammenities at any time.

  11. C.Marz says:

    Well I have just returned from my 2nd trip to Port Orleans ( Riverside )since mid June. This is my 4th stay in 5 years there. Port Orleans or Carribean Beach – which is better huh ??? I have visited them all and ALL the Moderates are great. Buttttt – here is what makes Port Orleans Riverside better than French Quarter, Carribean Beach, or Coranado in my opinion. Vegetatian !!!

    There are much more Palms, bushes and plants. It seems more green. It does a lot more for the scenery and overall ambience. You go to the other 3 and all you see are Buildings and wide open space of nothing. You would have to stay once at Riverside to see the difference.

    It has 1 main and 4 other pools. So Carribean has a little more room space. When your in Disney, the only time your spending in that room is to sleep. If your there to spend time in a room and do nothing else, save a lot of money and check into the closest Motel 6 to your house, or check into the shrink, because you need your head examined if you came to Disney to spend all your time in the room anyway.

    Food is about the same at all with a little diferent twist for each resorts theme. The main plus at Port Orleans is the boat that goes to Downtown Disney. Carribean and Coronado don’t have such an option. One minus to Coronado is that it is also a convention center. Do you want to share the resort with those folks when you are there with your family? NOT !!!!

    What I suggest to people is to stay at which ever one you want, AND if you stay a week and your renting a car, every day stop at a different resort and tell security at gate your checking it out for your next stay. Spend a 1/2 hour at each checking the scenery, pools and dining. That way you can get a feel for what pleases you for your next stay – and it can be fun.

    I rate Riverside the best, but hey, I hope everybody else hates it because then I have to share it with less people next time. It is much better when it is quieter anyhow. I would be a liar if I said it wasn’t the best Moderate Resort though.

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