Our friend Andre over at PortOrleans.org contacted us yesterday to let us know that Port Orleans Riverside was ending boat rentals – that includes pontoon boats and Sea Raycers. In addition, Old Key West and all other moderate resorts have ended the marina boat rentals as well (fishing, biking, and Pirate Cruises will continue).
We went over to Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside today to take a pontoon boat, and had a fantastic time. I think it was the first time I’ve rented a boat from this particular resort, though I’ve been renting watercraft at Walt Disney World since I was about 12 (35 years!) It was always a highlight of my trips as a kid, and I’ve enjoyed renting boats as an adult on a more sporadic basis.
We don’t know the exact reason the watercraft rentals have ended at these resorts. Downtown Disney had a busy marina, but that was removed for construction of Disney Springs. The Disney Springs concept art does show a marina with boats that look like cars – but we’ve been told that might not end up being part of the final plans (with two years until Disney Springs fully opens, anything can happen). And with Port Orleans and Old Key West sharing the same waterways, they all are taking the hit. Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter marina closed years ago, and Disney’s Coronado Springs marina was not open that often when I’ve stopped by the resort. To keep each resort the same, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort is losing boat rentals also. Apparently Disney wants to keep the experience at the moderate resorts very similar, although Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort has long offered more to guests, such as a health club and barber shop (due to it being a convention resort). Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside always had a busy marina when we stopped by, and today was no exception. We waited nearly an hour for a pontoon boat to return.
Marinas at deluxe resorts will continue their boat rentals.
Here are some photos from today – we couldn’t have asked for more beautiful weather.
This is the rental list from earlier today. Keep scrolling and we have the new sign as well.
Jeff took the first turn at the wheel.
I think this is the first time I’ve driven a pontoon boat, at least for more than a minute or two. It was so much fun!
We have many photos from today at Downtown Disney from the water here – it was a nice surprise to be able to take the boat to the Marketplace. Yesterday, boaters weren’t able to go into Downtown Disney.
We enjoyed a full 90 minutes on the water, and that included a ride to Disney’s Old Key West Resort.
Here is our video with highlights of our pontoon boat ride!
We rode past the Treehouses at Saratoga Springs Resort.
Doubloon Lagoon at Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter is currently closed, it was supposed to re-open from refurbishment yesterday (I assume it will be very soon now).
The 90 minutes went very fast, and we soon were heading back to Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort.
I don’t think I’ve seen these banners previously. We did feature the popular Royal Rooms a couple of years ago.
The new rental sign was being posted when we arrived back. All of the self-boating options were removed. The Specialty Cruises mentioned don’t actually leave from Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside, so that leaves Bicycles, Surrey Bikes, Cane Pole Fishing, Guided Bass Fishing Excursions and Bayou Pirate Adventure Cruise. And of course, boats will still be taking guests to Downtown Disney (though the Marketplace dock is currently dismantled).
We also found the new Refillable Mug design – this is one cup design, three angles.
Will you miss the boat rentals at Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort?