Walt Disney World
A History in Postcards
Free with stay postcards page 5: Port Orleans French Quarter /Riverside

On the previous page I noted the openings of the first two new Disney resorts since the early 1970's which occurred in 1989, well needless today we didn't have to wait another 15-20 years after that for more resorts to open, in 1991 Disney's Vacation Club opened in the location now known as Old Key West, the initial name of the resort was Disney Vacation Club since it wasn't originally envisioned that the concept would be expanded beyond that resort. Since, however, the Disney Vacation Club cards are often used to promote the resorts that are for sale at present, rather than to be distributed to the various rooms as "free with stay" cards, I've decided to cover them in their own separate chapter later on.

In May of 1991 Port Orleans resort opened on the site of what is now known as Port Orleans: French Quarter, that newer name gives a big clue to the theme of the resort with lots of wrought iron railing along the walkways of the upper stories of the hotels buildings and other decor along those lines throughout the resort when it first opened in 1991 this resort had it's own table Service dining establishment Bonfamilles, that closed leaving just the Food Court as a Dining option at this resort, though guests can travel by boat or on foot, by a waterside walkway to the it's sister resort the neighboring, Port Orleans: Riverside or by boat or Bus to Downtown Disney, still as the occupancy rates have climbed in recent years for the Disney hotels and restaurants we can hope that perhaps someday soon this restaurant may reopen. This access to Downtown Disney by boat sort of sets the Port Orleans Resorts apart from the other resorts in it's same price category (at the time it opened it was considered a Value Resort, and nowadays it is considered a moderate) this is one of the factors that make Port Orleans resorts there is an additional difference, Port Orleans French Quarter is much more compact in design AND has fewer rooms than any other Moderate resort making average distances to the Main building much less here than at other resorts, and greatly reducing the chances of over full busses at it's bus stop, these things combine to make Port Orleans French Quarter the favorite of many in it's category, Unfortunately that lower number of rooms than any other Moderate resort probably played into the closing of Bonfamilles I mentioned earlier. Additionally between the two Port Orleans resorts early in 2001 the Port Orleans resort and its sister resort Dixie Landings were combined, at that time the name of Dixie Landings was changed to Port Orleans: Riverside and Port Orleans was re-named Port Orleans: French Quarter this is seen by some as a way to achieve cost savings, and by others as a way to remove the term "Dixie" from the name of the resort since the resort's could actually be managed as sister resorts without changing the names I suspect it is more of the latter than the former, but I can sympathize with both those who have a fondness for the old name of the resort, and those who feel that the word "Dixie" has things associated with it that makes them think that perhaps that was a poor choice of name to begin with. Still as a part of that cost-savings consolidation other changes came to the resort as well like the closing of the table service Bonfamilles restaurant I mentioned earlier, since many of these changes occurred in 2001 it is important to note that this consolidation of the resorts took place well before the events of September 11 which did of course cause a great reduction in the number of visitors to Walt Disney World for some time after, so much so that large parts of the Port Orleans resort were closed all at the same time and a mass refurbrishment was done to take advantage of the extended down time, and later as Port Orleans came back on-line the same strategy was used for a full shut down of the Caribbean beach Resort, in the past, and since then buildings have generally been refurbrished one building at a time, keeping the rest of the resort open while that one small portion was closed. As a further part of cost saving measures the "free with stay" postcards were eliminated, though at least one batch of cards were printed for Port Orleans: Riverside AND Port Orleans: French Quarter after the changes in names. Additionally while I know of several "view" sides that appeared on the Dixie/riverside cards, I only know of one piece of art that appeared as a view side of the PO/French Quarter cards, though the text did change with the name change, in fact even the back sides of the Dixie/Riverside cards seem to perhaps have had more variations over the years reflecting many of the almost yearly changes in WDW Resort-Wide celebrations over the years.

Port Orleans / Port Orleans: French Quarter

po-doubloonA-640 (77K)
pofq-640 (82K)

Above: no differences in these two cards other than the font and the name of the resort.
Below: even the back sides of the PO/POFQ cards seem to have very few variants (at least in the examples I have).

pofq-bk-sm (33K)

Dixie Landings / Port Orleans: Riverside

Dixie Landings opened in stages with an official opening date of February 2, 1992, as to what exactly I mean by opening in stages I'll first need to describe it a bit more first. Dixie Landings is themed to some of the more rural areas of the antebellum south a bit upsteam from the French Quarter resort that while set in much the same period is more to the city of New Orleans itself and more specifically of course the French quarter, Dixie Landings / PO Riverside on the other hand actually represents two different areas the buildings additionally there are more green spaces between the buildings to reflect that rural feel, there is not necessarily more space between the buildings than there is at Port Orleans French Quarter but more of those spaces ARE green spaces whereas at French Quarter there are more areas done up to replicate streets, with plantings having the more formal feel that gardens would have in an urban center. One half of the Riverside resort On the same side of the Sassagoula River as the Check in and central dining areas) is called Alligator Bayou these buildings have low "swampy" areas in between the buildings, and even the decor in the rooms is given a very rural feel (since we stayed here on our honeymoon in 2002 I actually have some pretty good photos of the room decor in the trip report from that trip), additionally there is a whole other half of the resort, across the Sassagoula River from Alligator Bayou and the central check in areas, done up in large buildings designed to look like big expansive Southern manor homes, that half is called Magnolia Bend, but beyond that even each of those buildings has its own name; Oak Manor, Parterre Place, Acadian House, and Magnolia Terrace (I don't have my own photos of these rooms but great photos of ALL WDW resorts can be found at http://allears.net/acc/gallery.htm). . Now I can tell you what I meant when I say that Dixie landings opened in stages I'm operating from memory of something I read hear and don't recall the source so this may be imperfect, but, if I recall correctly the first rooms to open at Dixie Landings were in the Alligator Bayou section, being on the same size of the river as the main buildings of the resort, this makes a certain amount of sense since it would be easier to keep the continuing construction on the other side of the Sassagoula River away from guests by simply keeping the bridges across the river closed until those buildings were to open. Having such great well defined separate areas was actually celebrated on the early postcards of the resort too. As the first cards of this resort were tailored specifically to the buildings in which the room resided, in other words if you had a room in Alligator Bayou you'd get a card featuring Alligator Bayou. Staying instead in Parterre Place? then you'd get a card of that, that said I don't yet have all of these cards, but considering that the guy who out bid me last time I saw a set of these come up on Ebay is a good buddy of mine I'm thinking I can persuade him to send me a few scans of the other cards (This means you Tom ;-) ).

First Dixie Landings Card series

This series is printed on a paper stock that has a bit of texture and color to it to make it look old, so the scans will look a bit odd.

dixie-aligator-640 (46K) dixie-aligator-back-640 (33K) dixie-oak-640 (66K) dixie-oak-bck-640 (63K)

Later Dixie Landings and Port Orleans: Riverside Cards

dl-640 (49K)

Above: The Dixie landings card from the mid 1990's until 2001
Below: The card from 2001 until when they stopped offering them (only a very short time).If You compare it to the card above you can see that it was VERY heavily cropped it is a rectangular portion out of the oval above it seems as if they didn't have access to the original artwork to redo the card with the new name of the resort.

por-640 (51K)

After this early series of cards the rest of the years that Dixie Landing offered a card it was much like Port Orleans (French Quarter) in that the front art did not change much, but I seem to have several backs for these cards and I'll show those Below...

dxl-bckA-640 (74K) dxl-bckB-640 (26K)

The bottom of the two scans above is the only version of the card that was produced for the resort after the name change (the one without the oval).

E-mail Me martsolf@mindspring.com

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Last modified by Brian K Martsolf at 26-Jan-2008 07:56 AM