The Riverside Resort has a theme of the Mississippi-bayou area of the Old South. Appropriate to any Disney Resort, there are numerous themed elements that recreate the feel of actually being in the bayou. Spread along Bonnet Creek, this Resort encircles Ol’ Man Island which is this sections main swimming area. The Sassagoula River winds through the Resort, heading downstream to Port Orleans French Quarter and Downtown Disney.
The Resort is subdivided into two themed areas which are the Mansion area and the Bayou area. Magnolia Bend rooms are located in plantation-style mansion area homes and are themed two and three storey mansion homes reflecting the large plantation residences in the Mississippi years ago. Here guests will find that the lawns are carefully maintained and features wrought iron railings, trellises and crawling roses. These guest buildings are on the other side of the Sassagoula River, so guests must cross the bridges to get to the main building and other amenities.
Alligator Bayou rooms are in rustic lodges and more of a backwoods cottage setting. This area features sixteen two storey Cajun style buildings with rustic wooden furniture and settings.
Guests will notice a transition between the buildings of the Resort. The buildings of Magnolia Bend begin very luxuriously, and become more rustic looking moving up river, ending in the backwoods settings of Alligator Bayou. The Riverside legend goes that this is due to the fact as pioneers traveled up the Sassagoula River and started building residences with the grandest of building materials from the city of the French Quarter. As they got further upstream, the building supplies started running low and they were forced to improvise. Similarly, the exterior of the Resort commercial center starts out looking mighty fancy at the Medicine Show Arcade, becoming rustic and weather-beaten by the time it reaches the Cotton Mill building.
Sassagoula Steamboat Co. is the Resort’s commercial center and carries a riverboat dock theme and is where guests will find the registration and food court areas, restaurant and other services.
Rooms at the Alligator Bayou section feature brass bathroom fixtures, hickory-branch bedposts, trundle beds and quilted bedspreads, giving the rooms a more rustic feel. The rooms at the Magnolia Bend section are more conventional with light blue and yellow walls, dark wood furnishings, and teal carpets with floral patterns.
The Riverside Resort has 2,048 rooms within twenty buildings, making it the second largest moderate resort on the Disney property, after the Caribbean Beach Resort. A typical size of a guest room is 314 square feet and up to four guests and one child under the age of three in a crib are allowed per room. The Alligator Bayou rooms are outfitted with a trundle bed which allows accommodation for an extra child. Each room has two double beds, some have king beds, a table and two chairs, two pedestal sinks that are outside the bathroom, cable TV and radio, dresser, phone with data port for a laptop computer, key-operated wall safe, hair dryer, iron and ironing board and a coffee maker. Complimentary coffee packs are supplied. There are also small refrigerators in every room, if not, one can be requested.
If guests are looking for a more peaceful stay request rooms in Buildings 26 and 28 with rooms facing east at the Alligator Bayou. The Acadian House north wings with rooms facing west are also quieter. The further away from the main pool area and registration area, the more peaceful it will be.
Services & Amenities:
- Limited room service
- Concierge desk
- Babysitting and child services
- Pak-n-play crib available
- Room and facilities for guest with disabilities
- Laundry facilities and service
- Self Parking
Check-In & Check-Out:
Check-in is at 3 pm. It is possible your room may be available prior to that time, but it is not guaranteed. If it is not ready, you can leave your luggage with the Bell Services where it will be stored and then delivered when you are in the room. If you decide to wait around until your room is available, you are welcome to take a dip or relax by the main pool area. There are lockers, changing areas and public restrooms for you to use. You can also head out to a theme park and start enjoying the Disney World magic while your room is being prepared.
Check-out is at 11 am. When paying with a credit card, you will not have to go to the desk to check out. An itemized bill will be hung on your door by 8:30 am on your departure day. If the bill looks fine, you’re all set to depart. Your electronic room key will be deactivated at 11 am. Don’t forget to use Bell Services to help you with your luggage, filled with souvenirs, to your car. If you are taking a bus or taxi to the airport, or leaving later in the day, Bell services will keep your luggage until your transportation arrives.
Riverside Mill was built to resemble a working cotton press and houses a set of large working gears which are powered by a large water wheel. Enjoy a large selection of quick service food choices including pizza, sandwiches, pasta, and hamburgers.
Boatwright's is themed around the days of wooden boat building and offers casual dining. A children's menu is available. The Dinner menu features Cajun specials fresh from the bayou. Dinner prices range from $12 to $20, but lighter appetizer options are available.
The River Roast Lounge is themed like a cotton exchange and trading room. A full bar is available, as well as light appetizers. Live entertainment is provided five evenings a week so check in advance for the current acts. During football season, the bartenders at the lounge are known to wear referee outfits and many of the games are shown on the lounge's big-screen TV. Monday Night Football is celebrated every week with games, trivia, and drink specials.
The Muddy Rivers Pool Bar is located on Ol’ Man Island and offers drinks and light snacks.
The Riverside Mill bakery is the only place at Disney to get an amazing praline creation. It is a unique southern crunchy treat made out of melted brown sugar, butter, and pecans. In addition, the bakery is always baking other delights to tempt the sweet tooth.
Sassagoula Pizza Express will bring fresh, hot pizza, cold soft drinks, and beer to your room. Just touch Pizza Delivery on the room phone to order or for more information. A menu will be located in each room. Look for the Fire and Ice features of Spicy Buffalo Wings and Ice Cream.
The Muddy Rivers Bar is located adjacent to the main pool has a large covered porch that and serves drinks and lighter foods and snacks.
The best beverage deal at the resorts are the refillable mugs. Available for approximately $13, these sturdy plastic mugs can be purchased through any food court vendors and pizza delivery. The mugs are refillable for the length of your resort stay at any self-serve beverage island found in the food court area. Beverages include soft drinks, coffee, tea, iced tea and coffee and hot chocolate. Milk, fruit juice and alcoholic beverages are not included. The mugs are not refillable at any of the theme parks. This is a very economical deal if you are an avid pop or coffee drinker.
The main themed swimming area, Ol' Man Island, is centrally located between the bayou section and the mansions. The Island is home to a large pool, a spa, a kiddie pool, a wading pool and a small water slide. The island has a geyser at the main pool that shoots water through a pile of rocks and debris, adding to the theme. Legend has it; the old man was so upset with the geyser spouting off that he tried to block its eruptions with the rocks and debris. His efforts failed and a wonderful spray of water had been produced. There are also five quiet pools scattered throughout the Resort, three in Alligator Bayou and two pools in Magnolia Bend. These pools are usually more serene than Ol' Man Island because most kids prefer the Island due to the water slide.
The Medicine Show Arcade is one of the largest video arcades in Disney World. It is located in the main building and offers a selection of video games and pinball machines.
There is a play area where kids can climb, slide and play located adjacent to Ol’ Man Island.
Other Children Activities
For kids and kids at heart, catch-and-release fishing on Ol' Man Island is available at the Fishin' Hole. It is stocked with catfish, bass, and blue gill, and a catch is almost guaranteed. Craft activities are held near the pool on some days. If visiting during a holiday period, there may even be special activities such as an Easter egg hunt.
Carriage rides are available. They will guide you through the French Quarter and Riverside regions. The ride starts in front of Boatwright’s Dining Hall and the first ride departs at 6 pm and the last departs at 9:30 pm. Each carriage can accommodate as many as four adults or two adults and two or three children. Early reservations are recommended, and can be made them at the Riverside Marina near the main building. Carriage rides may be cancelled due to inclement weather.
Butterfly Garden allows guests to relax and enjoy nature. The garden is located behind the Acadia House.
Adults can enjoy jogging or a leisurely walk around the grounds or along the riverside path to nearby French Quarter.
In Alligator Bayou gray concrete walkways run directly from the parking lot to the Sassagoula River. The other colored paths will take guest along the scenic route and eventually get guests to where they want to go.
Bikes & Boats
Pedal boats, watermice, kayaks, canopy boats, pontoon boats or Sea Raycers can be rented to spend some time on the river with. Bicycles and surrey bikes are also available for rent. There may be a 30 minute time limit for each individual use depending on availability, but there is no limit to the number of times you can use the equipment.
Fulton's General Store is located in the Resort commercial center. The shop carries a large assortment of postcards, souvenirs, over the counter pharmacy needs, and convenience items. There is a bulk candy counter and a limited selection of liquor, munchies, cold beverages, and toiletries. Disney character and Resort themed merchandise can also be found here.
To get to any Disney Resort or theme park you can drive yourself, take a taxi or use the wonderful Disney Transportation System. Disney Transportation includes buses, boats, the monorail and the Magical Express Service.
Theme Parks, Water Parks, Disney Resorts and the Downtown Disney area are accessible by the bus system. Buses travel on routes throughout the Resorts but do not provide direct service between all destinations and require transfer from one bus to another.
Bus service to the Theme Parks begins approximately two hours before opening. Generally buses will run every 20 minutes throughout the day and continue to operate until two hours after park closing. During peak times, buses can get a little crowded, but there is usually another bus that arrives quickly after so guests are not waiting long periods of time. Magic Kingdom is not accessible by bus from the Contemporary Resort, Grand Floridian Resort & Spa and Polynesian Resort. These Resorts provide monorail transportation to the park.
The Disney ferryboats connect the Magic Kingdom to the Transportation and Ticket Center, which is adjacent to the parking lot. Entering the park by ferryboat gives guests a chance to float by some of the Deluxe Resorts. This is also the best way to get the first glimpse of Cinderella Castle. If guests are staying at the Contemporary Resort, Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, Polynesian Resort, Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground or Wilderness Lodge, the Magic Kingdom is accessible by boat at their own water launches.
Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios are accessible by boat from BoardWalk Inn and Villas Resort, the Yacht Club and Beach Club Resorts and the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotels.
Downtown Disney is accessible by ferryboat from Disney's Port Orleans Resort and Disney's Old Key West Resort.
There are three loops to the monorail system. Loop A runs counterclockwise connecting Magic Kingdom and the Ticket and Transportation Center. Loop B runs clockwise along side Loop A and stops at the Ticket and Transportation Center, Polynesian Resort, Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, Magic Kingdom, Contemporary Resort and back to the Ticket and Transportation Center. Loop C runs from the Ticket and Transportation Center to Epcot including a quick tour inside the park around Spaceship Earth. Service generally starts an hour and a half before opening and ends two hours after closing.
If you bring or rent a car, there is plenty of free parking at the Resorts and parks. Depending on your room location, you may or may not be able to park close to your room. Ask when room selection is made.