Which Resort!

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Which Resort!

Ok I have narrowed it down to two resorts! At first it was going to be Port Orleans Riverside because we like the price and the Alligator Bayou rooms, but then I was sad because I really wanted to stay at the Wilderness Lodge as it was my favorite Resort. So my parents said that they would pay for us to stay there, then mom lost her job, then mom got diagnosed with Melanoma Cancer, so that went up in smoke. (She is now cancer free as of December 3rd with her last surgery, but will have to be checked every two months for the rest of her life)
So now we are back to us paying for it along with the flowers ($1100) for the wedding, and half of the tent and chairs needed. So in total about $2800, not bad. So we then went back to the idea of staying at Port Orleans Riverside. But I am still up in the air about it. I love the alligator bayou rooms but they seem so far away on the map. My other reservations is that I have never stayed at a moderate resort before eek shocker! The only non- DVC Villa I have stayed in was the Swan in 2011. But that has a great location, walking and boating to Ecpot and HS. Yes I was a very spoiled Disney Kid, my grandparents were DVC members since the beginning and we went every year even twice a year. So needless to say this will be my 22nd time Visiting WDW and I am 25.
So anyways, our lovely Allie shared Penny's first trip to WDW and they stayed at Saratoga Spring, and I couldn't help but notice the horse theme they had going on! So I obviously had to check it out! So now I am in love! muchlove muchlove I was waiting for the fall sales to come up before I booked anyways so now I am thinking that if it goes on sale enough, where it gets down to what Riverside is now at least then we could afford it.
We also have a Disney Honeymoon site as well so that our guests can give us money towards the honeymoon.https://disney.honeymoonwishes.com/Honeymoon-Registry-269191-Walt-Disney-World-Resort-Alanna-Baker-Adam-Hurst.html
I sent the cards out with the Save the Dates after Christmas with the hopes that people would understand we need to book by April. But so far no one has given anything so we are still thinking we solely need to do this trip. Here is a pro and con list I wrote for each.

Port Orleans Riverside:
Pro:
A Bunch of Pools
Theming, always wanted to go to New Orleans
Cost Effective
Close to Disney Springs

Cons:
Rooms we want seem pretty far away from everything
Never stayed at a moderate

Saratoga Springs Resort
Pro:
Two Pools with big water Slides
Can walk to Disney Spring or take Ferry
HORSE THEMED! AH
Menus at food locations look really yummy!

Con:
More expensive
Looks like only Queen bed?
Last time I stayed here bus service was HORRIBLE!

So I am stuck right now, what are your opinions on Port Orleans Riverside vs. Saratoga Spring, it all depends on if the prices go down. If they do though and they are close to each other I am going to have a hard time deciding!
Any experiences and such would help. TIA

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Allie's picture
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I haven't stayed at Port Orleans but you obviously know where my vote lies biggrin I bet you get a majority of Port Orleans lovers, though!

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Sorry we are Riverside nay-sayers. Alligator Bayou was buggy and boring in my opinion. I actually went home with a number of bug bites. I vote for Saratoga if you can pull it off (I love the location more than Riverside too). We went there for dinner on our last trip and it looked like a nice place. If you're watching the cost though some of the other Moderates are beautiful. We enjoyed French Quarter and Caribbean Beach a lot.

And the bad news is that you probably won't get a ton of money from your honeymoon registry. sad We did this for our trip to Maui through AAA and we ended up with about $300 towards the trip. We also didn't need the money so early before the trip so without asking people (which would be rude) you're probably going to be on your own for the most part. If you're having a shower before that time that's the best chance you have. The only thing you can try is making sure that your mom's know that that's your #1 choice for gift so if people ask them they can tell them that you'd really like that. Good news is that people will probably give you some money for the wedding and you could use it to pay any cost of the trip off.

Have you thought about cutting back on your flowers? We saved tons of money by using lanterns on the table and our bouquets/boutonnieres were carnations (all stuffed together they're frilly and gorgeous.) That might be nice way to put a little more money to your trip.

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Our favourite moderate is Port Orleans Riverside and we loved Alligator Bayou. We stayed in building 39 and found it very close to 2 bus stops and to the main building. We would choose the Bayou over the mansions and found it to be more secluded.

We would stay here if we booked moderate.

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I love Saratoga Springs and I've stayed there several times, and I'm always impressed with the friendly service at SSR. But - the buildings here ARE far away from everything, unless you get a room in the Congress Park section. Even then it's a hike to the main buildings, but you're closer to Disney Springs and that gives you the added benefit of using their bus system (which for the time being is right at the bridge where you cross over from the resort to the shopping center). The beds in the SSR Deluxe Studios are Queen beds only, however the 1 bedroom Villas have King size beds.

I've never stayed at POR, so I don't really have an opinion on the location or rooms there.

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TinkASL wrote:
Sorry we are Riverside nay-sayers. Alligator Bayou was buggy and boring in my opinion. I actually went home with a number of bug bites. I vote for Saratoga if you can pull it off (I love the location more than Riverside too). We went there for dinner on our last trip and it looked like a nice place. If you're watching the cost though some of the other Moderates are beautiful. We enjoyed French Quarter and Caribbean Beach a lot.

And the bad news is that you probably won't get a ton of money from your honeymoon registry. sad We did this for our trip to Maui through AAA and we ended up with about $300 towards the trip. We also didn't need the money so early before the trip so without asking people (which would be rude) you're probably going to be on your own for the most part. If you're having a shower before that time that's the best chance you have. The only thing you can try is making sure that your mom's know that that's your #1 choice for gift so if people ask them they can tell them that you'd really like that. Good news is that people will probably give you some money for the wedding and you could use it to pay any cost of the trip off.

Have you thought about cutting back on your flowers? We saved tons of money by using lanterns on the table and our bouquets/boutonnieres were carnations (all stuffed together they're frilly and gorgeous.) That might be nice way to put a little more money to your trip.

Oh boy... sorry to hear that you had a bad experience at Port Orleans Riverside. We aren't registered anywhere else, so my mom definitely knows that all gifts are supposed to be for the honeymoon so either money or disney gift cards. I think she has plans for a shower I am just not sure when I think its supposed to be a surprise, though my aunt kind of blurted something about it a couple weeks ago. lol.

I have thought about cutting back on the flowers. I already have small centerpieces though, it is mostly the girls flowers that or so expensive, but I was very adamant about having the mickey shaped kissing balls. I cheaped out and got carnations instead of spray roses. My other option is to do something like lanterns, which would work because the wedding is tangled themed, but they would have to be less than $40 to save any money, which I am finding difficult.

JanJ wrote:
Our favourite moderate is Port Orleans Riverside and we loved Alligator Bayou. We stayed in building 39 and found it very close to 2 bus stops and to the main building. We would choose the Bayou over the mansions and found it to be more secluded.

We would stay here if we booked moderate.

That is good to hear that they are close to stuff, looking at the map they seem like they are way away from everything!

Kristen K. wrote:
I love Saratoga Springs and I've stayed there several times, and I'm always impressed with the friendly service at SSR. But - the buildings here ARE far away from everything, unless you get a room in the Congress Park section. Even then it's a hike to the main buildings, but you're closer to Disney Springs and that gives you the added benefit of using their bus system (which for the time being is right at the bridge where you cross over from the resort to the shopping center). The beds in the SSR Deluxe Studios are Queen beds only, however the 1 bedroom Villas have King size beds.

I've never stayed at POR, so I don't really have an opinion on the location or rooms there.

Hmmmm darn I was thinking things were closer together at this resort. How was the bus service?

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We really liked the Bayou at Riverside. It took us a while to get to know the pathways. In fact, our first night staying there, we got off of the bus after coming back from a park after dark. We literally got lost in the pathways and couldn't find our building. We ended up flagging down a cast member driving a utility cart and we followed her to our building.

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We stayed in the Alligator Bayou for our Honeymoon and loved it! The walk to the main building wasn't too far and we were close to a bus stop. The pathways are beautiful.
Never stayed at Saratoga Springs though.

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I'm a fan of Port Orleans Riverside and if you know that you need to adjust your expectations going in, you can "downgrade" from Deluxe without feeling like you're getting a lesser product. 90% of liking something is your attitude towards it going in. We do DVC now and I just stayed at All-Star Sports last week and it was perfectly fine because I went in knowing that it was a value and knowing that I needed to adjust my expectations a little bit. Because you are on your honeymoon, I think that Port Orleans could be a very nice choice. They do the horse drawn carriage rides there and there's a beautiful walking path down to French Quarter. The boat ride to Disney Springs is great--it definitely has a more luxurious overall feel to me than the other moderates do.

That being said, SSR is my home resort and it's lovely, too. The biggest deal to me is that by upgrading, you get a private balcony. I like to sit on the balcony and enjoy my oatmeal in the morning. I am not patient at all when it comes to the buses and I think that SSR has pretty awful bus service. I don't stay there without renting a car anymore.

Since you are planning to look for fall specials, keep Wilderness Lodge on your radar. They are typically one of the less expensive deluxe resorts and on sale, you might get it for close to the rack rate at Port Orleans Riverside. As a stand-alone resort, discounting location, WL is my absolute favorite.

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December 2013: 10th Anniversary, 1st DVC Stay | April 2014: Birthday on the Boardwalk | May 2014: Star Wars Weekend, Navigating WDW with a wheelchair | August 2014: Villains Unleashed | September/October 2014: MNSSHP, F&W, Tower of Terror 10-miler | March/April 2015: Disneyland and California Coastal Cruise | November 2015: Wine & Dine Half, Food & Wine, 1st Disney Cruise | February 2016: Presidential Classic Gymnastics Meet | March 2016: "Work" Trip, Tours, F&G Festival | April 2016: Conference at Disneyland | Fall 2016: Festive Fall Fun | January 2017: Festival of the Arts | May 2017: AbD Backstage Magic | July 2017: AbD San Francisco | Sorry I had to give up doing trip reports. Too many time commitments right now.

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alicemouse wrote:
I'm a fan of Port Orleans Riverside and if you know that you need to adjust your expectations going in, you can "downgrade" from Deluxe without feeling like you're getting a lesser product. 90% of liking something is your attitude towards it going in. We do DVC now and I just stayed at All-Star Sports last week and it was perfectly fine because I went in knowing that it was a value and knowing that I needed to adjust my expectations a little bit. Because you are on your honeymoon, I think that Port Orleans could be a very nice choice. They do the horse drawn carriage rides there and there's a beautiful walking path down to French Quarter. The boat ride to Disney Springs is great--it definitely has a more luxurious overall feel to me than the other moderates do.

That being said, SSR is my home resort and it's lovely, too. The biggest deal to me is that by upgrading, you get a private balcony. I like to sit on the balcony and enjoy my oatmeal in the morning. I am not patient at all when it comes to the buses and I think that SSR has pretty awful bus service. I don't stay there without renting a car anymore.

Since you are planning to look for fall specials, keep Wilderness Lodge on your radar. They are typically one of the less expensive deluxe resorts and on sale, you might get it for close to the rack rate at Port Orleans Riverside. As a stand-alone resort, discounting location, WL is my absolute favorite.

WL is my favorite, but during out stay there, there will only be the one main pool open and still under construction. My grandparents just stayed there are were not thrilled with all the stuff going on, and they couldn't seem to get their magic bands to work either so had to keep getting someone to open the room. But it is my all time favorite resort so if the prices do dip that low, then it may still be an option.

I am glad to hear the Port Orleans is so romantic and that the Alligator Bayou really isn't that far away as it appears. I was hoping that SSR would have improved their bus service by now... I guess I lot is going to depend on the fall deals.

How are the restaurants at POR?

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I have to disagree on the bus service. We had decent bus service at Caribbean Beach, terrible bus service at Coronado Springs, and great bus service at Saratoga Springs. We never had to wait more then 10 minutes for a bus, but if we had we were in Congress Park and like Kristen pointed out, we could have walked over to the Downtown Disney stop instead.

Of course, all of this could be the luck of the draw.

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Allie wrote:
I have to disagree on the bus service. We had decent bus service at Caribbean Beach, terrible bus service at Coronado Springs, and great bus service at Saratoga Springs. We never had to wait more then 10 minutes for a bus, but if we had we were in Congress Park and like Kristen pointed out, we could have walked over to the Downtown Disney stop instead.

Of course, all of this could be the luck of the draw.

Oh wow, ten minutes is really good. When we were there, we waited for 30-45 minutes for a bus to come and just hoped it would be the one we wanted! We had reservations at Askurhaus (sp?) for the princess breakfast one day. So my mom and I knew we had to head out early and we wanted to do some stuff at Epcot anyways. We still waited at least a half hour for a bus to Epcot. We were waiting for my aunt, uncle, cousin, and grandparents, we were 1 1/2 hours late for our reservation because we had to wait for them, they left right after us and had to wait an hour for a bus and spoke with a CM two times telling them they needed to get to Epcot for a reservation and no bus had come yet! thankfully my mom and I were there to say they we were actually coming and they couldn't get a bus to go so they held the reservation for us! This was back in 2004 or 2005 and the theming in the room was not that great either, and the room was actually dirty when we got there, and it also seemed like we were fairly far away from the bus stop. So that is why I never really looked into because it was I think one of the worst Report experiences we have had. But I have heard lots of good things and love the update on it.

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FutureMrsHurst wrote:
alicemouse wrote:
I'm a fan of Port Orleans Riverside and if you know that you need to adjust your expectations going in, you can "downgrade" from Deluxe without feeling like you're getting a lesser product. 90% of liking something is your attitude towards it going in. We do DVC now and I just stayed at All-Star Sports last week and it was perfectly fine because I went in knowing that it was a value and knowing that I needed to adjust my expectations a little bit. Because you are on your honeymoon, I think that Port Orleans could be a very nice choice. They do the horse drawn carriage rides there and there's a beautiful walking path down to French Quarter. The boat ride to Disney Springs is great--it definitely has a more luxurious overall feel to me than the other moderates do.

That being said, SSR is my home resort and it's lovely, too. The biggest deal to me is that by upgrading, you get a private balcony. I like to sit on the balcony and enjoy my oatmeal in the morning. I am not patient at all when it comes to the buses and I think that SSR has pretty awful bus service. I don't stay there without renting a car anymore.

Since you are planning to look for fall specials, keep Wilderness Lodge on your radar. They are typically one of the less expensive deluxe resorts and on sale, you might get it for close to the rack rate at Port Orleans Riverside. As a stand-alone resort, discounting location, WL is my absolute favorite.

WL is my favorite, but during out stay there, there will only be the one main pool open and still under construction. My grandparents just stayed there are were not thrilled with all the stuff going on, and they couldn't seem to get their magic bands to work either so had to keep getting someone to open the room. But it is my all time favorite resort so if the prices do dip that low, then it may still be an option.

I am glad to hear the Port Orleans is so romantic and that the Alligator Bayou really isn't that far away as it appears. I was hoping that SSR would have improved their bus service by now... I guess I lot is going to depend on the fall deals.

How are the restaurants at POR?

We've never eaten at the Table service, but the food court has lots of variety and we rarely encountered long waits to get food or to checkout. IMO, the Quick Service setup at POR is less confusing than at SSR. At SSR, the quick service and the shop share a checkout station and the traffic pattern is a little bit chaotic.

As for bus service, we encountered very short waits (10 minutes or less on average) at POR, but that was in 2010. Like Allie, we also had a bad experience with the frequency of the buses at Coronado. At SSR, my bus grievance is the quantity of internal bus stops. I would just get off at the first stop and walk, but even after staying there three times, I still find the layout more confusing than any other resort and I'm constantly getting lost--especially in the dark. It is really convenient to be able to walk to DS though--especially for dining at other resorts because if you walk to DS, you can get a direct bus.

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I have stayed at both Port Orleans Riverside and French Quarter. I much preferred French Quarter because it is smaller and you can get to Riverside and Disney Springs quite easily. My friend and I walked to Riverside and took the boat to Disney Springs (back then it was Downtown Disney) and Riverside both. The bus stop was practically right outside our door. I did like Riverside's food options better than French Quarter.

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alicemouse wrote:

We've never eaten at the Table service, but the food court has lots of variety and we rarely encountered long waits to get food or to checkout. IMO, the Quick Service setup at POR is less confusing than at SSR. At SSR, the quick service and the shop share a checkout station and the traffic pattern is a little bit chaotic.

Very valid point, I did notice this the one time we were in there to get our resort mugs.

Sorry to hear about your previous bad experience at Saratoga! That is pretty similar to our Coronado experience yuck

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FutureMrsHurst wrote:
How are the restaurants at POR?

The food court is amazing with lots of choice - I loved the cereal/yoghurt bar for breakfast and the salad bar for lunch and/or dinner. The omelette station is also great for breakfast and I always wanted to try the pasta bar at dinner, but didn't get a chance the 2 times we've stayed here.

Boatwright's restaurant is very good as well and although I don't believe you can have it, the corn bread is to die for!!