Review, Photos & Video: Royal Rooms at Port Orleans Riverside
Royal Rooms at Port Orleans Riverside are the only princess-themed guest rooms at Walt Disney World, featuring Tiana’s friends from animated films such as Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, Little Mermaid, and Snow White. This hotel review features room photos, thoughts on staying in the rooms, and whether they’re worth the extra money. (Updated October 23, 2021.)
We’ve separately reviewed Port Orleans Riverside, so this will focus solely on the Royal Rooms. If you’re interested in the amenities and thoughts on the resort as a whole, read our Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside Review. That covers pools, transportation, amenities, regular rooms, dining, and much more.
Spoiler: Port Orleans Riverside is #1 on our list of Moderate Resort Hotel Rankings at Walt Disney World. Being big fans of the resort already, we were curious as to whether the Royal Rooms improved the experience or whether spending extra for the themed room was a worse option.
October 23, 2021 Update: Port Orleans Riverside recently reopened after a year-plus closure. During that time, it was expected that the Royal Rooms would receive a soft goods refurbishment consistent with the regular rooms (see our New Rooms at Port Orleans Riverside post for a photo and video tour). That was the plan pre-closure, and it was our understanding that the project was already underway.
For whatever reason, the Royal Room refurbishment was not completed. We’ve now heard from guests who have stayed in 3 different Royal Rooms, and all look identical to what you see here, minus bed runners. That’s probably a good thing, given the trend to remove carpet and other decorations that are harder to clean and maintain. It’s possible there are some renovated Royal Rooms, but if so, we’ve yet to see photos or hear reports on them.
We really like the Royal Rooms at Port Orleans Riverside, and are happy they seem to have survived the resort refurbishment project. It might come as a surprise to some of you that we like these rooms, given that our review of the Pirate Rooms in Caribbean Beach is not exactly positive. As such, it’s understandable to expect something similar here.
Going into the experience, my big concern was that these were going to be otherwise undesirable rooms that Disney had minimally “princess-ified” a bit to capitalize on the insatiable demand for all things princesses. That more or less seems to be what happened with the Pirate Rooms, in my view. Fortunately, that is not the case with Port Orleans Riverside’s Royal Rooms.
Unlike the Pirate Rooms, which I think are technically in Georgia and are a hellacious hike to Old Port Royale (pool, food court, etc.), the Royal Rooms are the equivalent of Preferred Rooms in Alligator Bayou in terms of distance from the lobby and food court. All of the Royal Rooms are located in Magnolia Bend, and even the most distant rooms should be less than a 10-minute walk from the food court.
Note that the Royal Rooms are sub-divided into River/Garden/Pool View rooms and Standard View rooms, with the former having about a surcharge most nights. The view is immaterial. Moderates have exterior hallways and no balconies, so it’s not as if you can enjoy that view, anyway.
What might matter is location, as the rooms with a view are also going to be slightly closer to the bridge leading to the lobby. In most cases, the distance is going to be negligible (we were placed in what I assume was a Garden View room despite paying for a Standard View), but it might matter to you. I wouldn’t pay anything for the slight location difference.
The generally good location of all of the Royal Rooms does help make their cost more palatable. With average rates that are over ~$60/night more than a standard view, Royal Rooms aren’t cheap.
However, if you’d be getting a Preferred Room, anyway, that difference is cut down to ~$25/night. That’s much easier to justify.
Given that the theme of this room could be the highlight of the trip for your kids, I could totally see dropping the extra $25/night to see their eyes light up when you turn on those fiber optic headboards each night before they fall asleep.
Speaking of which, the biggest selling point is obviously going to be the decor. This is one aspect of the Pirate Rooms that I thought was okay–it failed to wow me, but I’m also not a 6-year old boy. By contrast, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the decor in the Royal Rooms.
There are two ways Disney could have gone with these rooms thematically: glitter, sparkles, and pinkification (new word alert) or stately, elegant, and regal. The former would be the cheaper way out, and would mean the rooms are more decorated than they are themed.
I was a bit surprised that Disney went the latter route, making the rooms truly Royal Rooms rather than simply Princess Rooms. In the wide view of the room and many of the details shots, you can see that nothing jumps out as “pinkified.” Rather, they look regal.
Most guests are probably going to call them the Princess Rooms, and these may not appeal to the princess-averse youngsters in your party, but there was effort put into keeping them fairly neutral. More importantly, effort was made to the finishing and detail of the rooms. Lots of woods, rich texture, and finishing make the rooms have an unexpected depth given the target audience.
To be sure, these rooms still skew towards a younger demographic and this is reflected in the princess portraits (in which each of the princesses inexplicably received a spray tan for some reason) and some other decor around the room.
However, the room is not so over the top that it’s going to be eye-roll inducing to anyone over age 8. By and large, the rooms are tastefully done.
In fact, I could see this even being a good option for adults looking for a whimsical place to stay on their first visit to Walt Disney World. There’s no way I’d pick these rooms over those in Animal Kingdom Lodge (or elsewhere), but I realize everyone’s tastes vary–I liked the room a lot more than I expected I would.
I could see adults who identify Disney most strongly with its animated films getting a kick out of these. Same goes for anyone who has ever read any “news” articles about the royal baby. Sarah really liked the Royal Room and already wants to stay in them again.
Since this is Port Orleans Resort, Princess Tiana is highlighted throughout the room. It’s too bad this and a meet & greet are about the only attention The Princess and the Frog receives at Walt Disney World, because I think it’s one of Disney’s best animated films, and criminally underrated.
(Update: Well, it seems like that’s going to change sometime in the next few years. Not exactly what I had in mind when writing that!)
The attention to detail is no exaggeration.
From the ornate woodwork to the fiber optics in the headboard to the faucets and more. I’d be curious to see the per room construction costs of the Royal Rooms versus the Pirate Rooms. I’ll bet these cost 3-4 times to design and build above what the Pirate Rooms cost.
The princes are also repped. Interestingly, Beast’s character is referred to as “Prince Adam” in the room, which is a source of controversy among Disney fans. (No, I’m not kidding.)
While he was never referred to as Adam in the film, subsequent to that, he was referred to in official Disney products and releases as Prince Adam. Due to this, many claim Prince Adam isn’t actually his name, and is an urban legend or myth. I’m not so sure about that. It isn’t like some fan named him that and the errant info has spread on Tumblr, and it’s not like misattributing, “If you can dream it, then you can do it” to Walt Disney. Either Walt said that or he didn’t. Not quite the same here.
If Disney itself has since released additional information that does not contradict what was contained in the original film, that could be considered canon. Movie companies do this all the time–they’re called “sequels.”
In this case, it’s not a sequel, but it’s still Disney releasing information that’s consistent with the original film. I don’t really care one way or the other; I just find it an interesting controversy. Regardless, I digress…
In terms of what to expect from the rooms, you’ve got the standard Moderate Resort amenities, such as mini-fridge and coffee maker. One downside is that the rooms sleep 4, as opposed to the 5 of Alligator Bayou rooms thanks to the pull-down bed in those rooms.
I spend a few hours working on my laptop early each morning before we head to the parks, and one plus is that those chairs were more comfortable than the normal in-room chairs. Not a huge thing for most, but might be a nice little “pro” for a few others.
All Royal Rooms at Port Orleans Riverside feature two queen-size beds. There are no king bed rooms in this section, nor is there any space for extra roll-away sleepers.
In terms of bedding, these seemed about average for Moderates, meaning they are fine but nothing special. I’m so tired after a long day in the parks that I could have a great sleep on a pile of filled potato sacks. I think the mattresses in the Pirate Rooms might actually be filled with potatoes, so the ones in the Royal Rooms are a definite upgrade from those.
The bathrooms in the Royal Rooms are basic. There’s some nice accent work, and I love the faucets, but otherwise, this is all fairly standard.
This is one area where a refurbishment and modernization of the Royal Rooms would be welcome to improve the lighting and storage space in the bathrooms.
Same goes for the shower. No one strained anything dreaming up the design for the bathrooms.
Here’s a walk-through video of the Royal Room so you can get a better idea of how it looks, as well as those cool fiber optic headboards in action:
Overall, we were both very pleasantly surprised by the Royal Rooms. They aren’t something I’d do again for myself, but when we have kids, I could see them being a must-do. One of the main arguments in favor of Value Resorts is that “kids love them” despite the basic designs being off-putting for a lot of adults. I think the Royal Rooms do a great job of appeasing both kids and adults.
For the kids, you have the rooms themselves, which can also be enjoyed–or at least tolerated–by many adults. For adults you have the subtle theme and charm of Port Orleans Resort as a whole, which likewise can also be enjoyed by kids. As a result, I see the Royal Rooms as a great compromise and something to strongly consider for the sake of your kids–or royalty-obsessed adults.
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Do you like the Royal Rooms, or do you think they are overpriced? Would you consider splurging on a stay here for the sake of your kids? What do you think Beast’s real name is? Planning on staying here someday? Do you agree or disagree with our assessment of the Royal Rooms at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!
We stayed in a royal room when it first reopened until last week. The room was not updated but I did see one that appeared to have wooden floors that had the same pattern as the carpet. We were okay with the room not being updated as it was our first stay at riverside.
The Royal Room I stayed in this week had wood floors instead of carpet but the one next to me still had the carpet.
Thanks for sharing that. Sounds like they did finish the ones that started pre-closure, but didn’t do anything with the rest of them!
We enjoyed our stay at Port Orleans Riverside very much. We had 4 rooms and all the rooms were beautiful, clean, comfortable and roomy. The staff was amazing all very cheerful and helpful from helping us with luggage, to giving us directions and even taking our family picture. We absolutely enjoyed our stay.!! We would stay there again. Thank you to all the staff for making our stay magical!!!
When I showed my twin 5-year old sons this webpage the were so excited about the magic carpet and Aladdin’s lamp and already decided they wanted to stay here, but when we got to your video and the fireworks started sparkling on the headboard, they literally started jumping up and down with excitement! I don’t think it is just a princess room, more like a Disney animated movie room (but my boys love the princess movies too, so they were excited for that aspect as well). We usually stay in Deluxe resorts, but are saving quite a lot of money with these rooms, without sacrificing the magic. Can’t wait to see the room in person!
Those rooms look amazing! I’d love them as much as my girls. The only thing that I think would bother me (and this is probably REALLY odd) is that the door is right next to the bed. That feels odd to me… Am I the only one?
That’s not the door to the outside, it’s for a adjoining room. 🙂
and what u mean by an adjoining room
Interesting review. I’ve never stayed in one of these rooms and unless Disney is offering freebies to its online critics, I don’t envision that ever happening. They look tacky, cartoony and over the top.
What’s worse is they take away from the theme of Dixie Landings (the resort’s real name), a place I have stayed at many times. This is more of the pimping of the BRAND. The homogenization of what once were amazing themed resorts. This resort used to take you back to an Old South river town (right down to the copy of a resort newspaper that was completely stylized.) Now? It’s Disney princesses because … you know … Mommy Bloggers love them … and other Lifestylers think it is all about Disney IP because they have been brainwashed to do so.
As to the beds, while I used to feel Disney had the best beds in O-Town (except for Swan and Dolphin) that time passed quite a while ago. I’d be interested in reading a real Top 10 beds for comfort column in O-Town since you have been testing out so many resorts over the last year or two. If you are paying between $200-300 a night (is that what they go for now?), then I’d expect top quality bedding.
I totally agree with you, Tom. Princess and the Frog is vastly underrated and was a breath of fresh air with its use of traditional animation. Also, Ray+Evangeline 4ever
Thank you for reviewing the Royal Rooms! You’ve made my husband feel better about staying in one of these rooms when we visit next month. We normally opt for a King room but this time I splurged for a more “royal” feel! After watching your video he commented that the room wasn’t “overly princessy at all” LOL. We are big fans of your blog and appreciate all of the guidance that you provide when planning a trip to Disney. 🙂
Loved the review! I definitely fall into royalty obsessed adult/royal baby news is NEWS category…so yeah, I’m all about these rooms. (I’m just going to have to find a way to not let my husband – a childless, young adult male – know what the room looks like before I book it). 😀
Enjoyed the review! I imagine Sarah hiding in the closet while your recording that video haha!
FYI, not all royal rooms are in magnolia bend, some are further away in parterre place. That’s where we were when we stayed in one. Its a little longer walk, but we still enjoyed it.
Unless I’m mistaken, the resort is divided into two styles: Alligator Bayou and Magnolia Bend. Within Magnolia Bend, the manors that are Royal Rooms are the Parterre and Oak buildings.
To further confuse things, there’s a Magnolia building within Magnolia Bend (no Royal Rooms in that building).
Which building do you think would be the best location?
Are the Royal Rooms the only rooms on property with the animated headboards?
Tom – I thought that your video showing the fibre optic headboards was very useful for this post. It would likely appeal to some kids and their parents quite a bit. The technology seems to be similar / the same that Disney has used in some rides for years – the Mexico ride’s firecrackers come to mind.
It reminds me how some of the Disney Cruise ships have a video porthole in the interior rooms with Mickey Mouse swimming by periodically.
I literally LOLed at that spray tanneed princess remark!
Perfect timing! We’re staying here next week when we go for the Princess Half Marathon weekend… Wouldn’t have splurged (the standard mansion rooms looked great to me), but we got the upgrade as part of our discount availability. I have to admit, I’m VERY excited about it – just because this is our ultimate “Princess” trip, and the room will be the perfect touch.
I think it’s telling that despite being turned back into a human, named Adam or anything else, almost all of the Beauty and the Beast merch, sequels, and appearances are of the BEAST… Not the prince. As it should be.
And the newly spray tanned, extra big-eyed princesses are a little scary :/
But great review, can’t wait to get there next week and see the room for myself!
Going here in May can’t wait it will be me and family’s first trip to wdw
We stayed at Riverside in December in the manor rooms. My adult son was joining us for a few days and the only rooms available were of the Royal variety. My son, being in the entertainment industry, couldn’t thank me enough for providing him the scenario of a single, grown male’s experience as a Royal room resident. His stories have developed into a wealth of jokes, and a really excellent sitcom script.
I can see why Sarah loved the Royal room. I did too and and would book one if accompanied by young children. That said, I’m perfectly comfortable with a manor room.
Stayed in one of these rooms a couple trips back & I think my wife and I enjoyed the room more than our girls. The fiber optics are a nice touch but, the attention to detail & thoughtful execution throughout are truly what makes these rooms neat.
Lovely review Tom, I love Port Orleans French, my favorite resort, have stayed for 2 weeks each, at Walt Disney World 12 times, and this is my all time number one ! It is so stylish and not too expensive. I will look at the Royal rooms next time I go. I am a big fan of your blog and read it everyday, nothing like reading about my fave place , when you cannot be there yourself. I have also been to Disneyland Paris 13 times, and it does have it’s charms.Walt Disney Studio’s needs a California adventure re-do, that has to be the worst park in the Disney empire! Want to visit all the others but as usual, money holds me back.And I agree the food at Disneyland Paris is not good, and expensive, but the railway station is good for a 12 inch sub and a coke, $3.50. And there is always Earl, or Maccy’s. Or the shopping center, a bus ride away, with a supermarket, so you can do it on the cheap. If ever you want to know the cheap tricks of visiting Disneyland Paris, then just ask. Mike Crompton from the UK.
We’ve stayed in the Royal rooms twice thanks to discount availability and I quite like them. I was hesitant about the location, but even at the far end of Parterre Place it is an easy walk to the main building. I wasn’t overly impressed with the other mansion room refurbs, so I would pick these rooms over those. Plus you’re guaranteed to be in a mansion. Worth it to me!