After a flurry of last-minute activity, restocking the bar, finishing off the new fencing and clearing away the debris and equipment, the Ol' Man Island area was handed back to resort staff on Friday 4th March to allow them to start rearranging the sun beds, checking safety equipment, and preparing the island for guest access.
At 9am on Saturday 5th March, Ol’ Man Island finally reopened to guests, and the Muddy Rivers pool bar was once again supplying its customary southern libations as if nothing had happened.
The most noticeable changes from a guest's point of view are the new and sadly somewhat intrusive metal perimeter fences and sturdy lockable gates ("Stalag Riverside" anyone?), although given enough time the foliage should grow up to obscure the majority of the fencing. Currently the gates do not have electronic access control via the use of magic bands, but that is presumably just a matter of time if they want to cut down on the number of day-tripping tourists travelling up the Sassagoula River from Disney Springs for a sneaky dip in "Old Man" Everette Peace's swimmin' hole...
There have also been a lot of other, less visible, tasks completed and other minor modifications made. The entire lining of the pool has been stripped and retreated, meaning that the whimsical frog & alligator edging tiles are gone, replaced with a tasteful if rather generic brown/beige product. The hot tub now has more disability-friendly features including the removal of the old stepped access path, and adding a chair hoist and double handrails for entry.
The Muddy Rivers pool bar has been refitted and its equipment updated, and the nearby restrooms have also been completely refitted (and featuring some lovely new inventive signage too).
For more background and photographs of the entire construction process, which started in January 2016, please see our previous news items, or the Refurbishments Page.