Please welcome guest author Emma Stewart as she reviews the Riverside Mill Food Court at Port Orleans Riverside Resort in Walt Disney World!
Imagine you’re strolling through the bayou twilight: crickets chirping, fireflies glowing, a water wheel spinning lazily next to the river.
Stroll on up just past the water wheel and around the corner, and you’ll find a cheerful-looking building that is the perfect spot for dinner.
Welcome to Riverside Mill, the food court at Port Orleans Riverside Resort. Now when it comes to food courts, usually you’ll just stick to the one at whatever resort you happen to be staying . But my family will often make an extra trip just to enjoy the Mill’s cozy charm and delicious entrees.
The dining area at Riverside Mill is quite spacious, with lots of lofty wooden beams. The most striking part about it is the mill apparatus that stretches over the drinks station and all the way to the other side of the room, where the water wheel is right outside the windows.
The cogs and wheels above you turn lazily, and it feels like it could be a real, working mill! In fact, as far as the more engineering-minded persons in my family have been able to discern, it seems to be a working mechanism that does turn the water wheel outside!
The dining area is carpeted, which is unique for a food court and may be what makes the space feel so cozy.
I also love the mismatched chairs grouped around every table. Back by the window, furthest from the food service area, there are two big round tables tucked away – my favorite spot!
Riverside isn’t one of the resorts that tends to attract huge conventions or tour groups, so the food court is usually very quiet and relaxed. Though depending on when you go, you may find yourself singing and dancing along with the cast members up by the cash registers!
There’s a pre-recorded loop with a very charismatic voice that invites you to get up and join in on the Riverside celebration. The song goes: “It’s time to clap our hands (Clap! Clap!) down at the Riverside!” Then the next verse goes: “It’s time to slap our knees down at the Riverside!” and so on. Really cute!
The Riverside Mill is your typical market-style Disney food court, so there are multiple stations where you can order different eats – sandwiches and wraps, hot foods from the grill, or pizza and pasta.
At the pasta station flames sizzle up out of the pan as the chefs cook up your order right before your eyes. They have a create-your-own option where you can pick and choose exactly what sort of pasta you’d like.
Disney burgers can be hit or miss; the burger at the Mill is definitely a hit – juicy and delicious. The chipotle-barbecue burger with all the fixings – big onion rings, bacon, cheese, and that tangy bbq sauce – just. so. good.
And don’t forget the fries!
The bakery station has a wonderful selection of various treats. And a restaurant is only as good as its desserts, right? 🙂
However you look at it, there are plenty of options when it comes to an after-dinner sweet!
Every time I’ve eaten here, there seems to be some new, lovely-looking cobbler. Usually you’ll find a delectable apple tart as well!
And I always have to get a look at the cupcakes! No fancy flavors here, just good old chocolate or vanilla, but very tasty.
Interesting fact: the Riverside Mill is one of the few places on property where you will find Hi-C Fruit Punch.
I also love the old-fashioned fellow on the Pick-A-Mug signs at the refillable mug stations.
If I could pick up the Riverside Mill food court and move it to my neighborhood, I would. It’s the sort of place that you want to come to again and again – you know the food is going to be tasty and the atmosphere relaxed. Disney food courts can be hectic places, but this one manages to keep that laid-back Southern charm!
Emma is a writer, photographer, Disney cupcake aficionado, and former Disney cast member. Check out her blog over at A Pinch of Pixie Dust.
Share your experiences at the Riverside Mill Food Court, or tell us your favorite Walt Disney World food court in the comments below!