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August 2016 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules

Posted on Thursday 28th July 2016 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The August 2016 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules for Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter are now available. See the main Recreation Activities Schedules page for full-size printable PDF versions.

The main feature swimming pool hours are 9am—11pm for the rest of the summer, including the new children’s Aquatic Play Area at Port Orleans French Quarter. The evening campfires will commence at 6:00pm this month and the Movies Under the Stars will be screened at 8:30pm, with both activities still occurring on alternating days at the two resorts — Monday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday at Riverside, and Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday at French Quarter.


Live Evening Entertainment

No visit to Port Orleans Riverside would be complete without spending an evening in the company of the legendary "Ye Haa" Bob Jackson at the River Roost Lounge, playing 8:30pm—midnight four nights a week (Weds—Sat). Note: Bob will be on vacation from 29 August until 6 Sept.

Port Orleans French Quarter’s Scat Cat’s Club does not currently have official resident musicians, but filling the gap admirably are Jason Thomas and Billy Varnes, two members of the fabulous Off Kilter rock band which used to perform in Epcot’s Canada pavilion. Their dates are only announced a month or so in advance (generally most Saturdays, Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays) but if you happen to be around for any of their evenings (8:30pm—11:30pm) do yourself a favour and pop along, they are highly recommended. July 2016: 3, 4, 5, 9, 10, 11, 12, 16, 17, 18, 19, 23, 24, 25, 26 & 31.C'mon Disney, Jason & Billy certainly deserve a permanent contract if anyone does!


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Photos of temporary food court at POFQ, July 2016

Posted on Wednesday 13th July 2016 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The temporary food location, in place during the current refurbishment work of the main food court, is located in the old Bonfamille's Cafe area as expected, and is thus quite a bit smaller than the normal food court. To provide for the maximum seating capacity they can (which appears to be around 20 tables) you order your food at two registers and cast members bring it out from the kitchens directly to your table (rather like the quick service system in use at the Be Our Guest restaurant, but without the magic roses). This means that no Create-Your-Own options are available. See below photos for menus.

There are chilled grab'n'go cabinets too, plus two Coca Cola Freestyle machines and coffee machines for use with your refillable mugs. Tables in Wonderland cards are accepted, as is the Quick Service Dining Plan. Extra transportation between French Quarter and Riverside is available should you prefer to use the full food court there.

The automated player piano in the lobby has been removed for the time being to allow better access, but otherwise Scat Cat's Club is operating as normal (including evening entertainment).

The refurbishment work is expected to continue into the Fall, and should be completed sometime before Thanksgiving.

Some photos have been uploaded by NCDisneyMom from the POFQ thread on the DISboards (she apologises for the focus in some of them, it was a bit dark to get good shots). Thanks for the update:

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WDW Room and Package Rates for 2017 released

Posted on Tuesday 28th June 2016 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The USA ‘rack rates’ for Rooms and Packages in 2017 were released at 6am EDT on Tuesday 21 June 2016, roughly the same time that they were issued last year. You can now book rooms and packages with Disney online or via their telephone Reservations Center for 2017 vacations, up to the normal maximum of 499 days in advance.

The average room prices at Port Orleans went up by 7.1% compared with last year’s rates, and by 12.1% compared to 2015 rates. French Quarter was hit the hardest, with some room categories, such as King Bed, seeing a nearly 12% annual rise. That’s some inflation rate they’ve got down there in Florida!

The overall tiering at French Quarter seems to have settled into a new pattern too, with River View rooms now considered to be a mid-tier rate, and King Bed and Pool View firmly at the top level. Presumably this is demand-based, as King Bed rooms at French Quarter always guarantee a corner room, and Pool View rooms are all very conveniently located for access to the main building, bus stop, and ferry dock.

The original heavy differentials for Royal Rooms have now been almost completely eroded, with Garden, Pool and River views mostly selling at the same nightly rate, and even then only around $6 more than the cheapest Royal Rooms. So if you are planning a Royal Room vacation, it’s definitely worth considering a Pool View (for the guaranteed convenient location) or a River View.

There is no separate price point for Independence Day this year, so the Summer rate lasts for a full two and a half months from May 29 to August 12. Some room categories now feature weekend pricing during the Summer period, although most are still block-priced as in previous years. And even more strangely, in several categories (such as Preferred Location rooms and all of the Royal Room options) weekend nights during Summer are actually priced lower than the surrounding weekday rates, rather than the normal $30 or so hike for Friday/Saturday nights. I do wonder if this might be an error?

Once again, Memorial Day appears to be an anomalous blip at Riverside, significantly more expensive than even Christmas week at $383 per night for a River View room — a full $70 more than a similar River View room at French Quarter for the same nights.

For more information and a full pricing breakdown, see the main Room Rates page at http://www.portorleans.org/roomrates.php#2017

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July 2016 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules

Posted on Sunday 26th June 2016 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The July 2016 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules for Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter are now available. See the main Recreation Activities Schedules page for full-size printable PDF versions.

The main feature swimming pool hours are 9am—11pm for the rest of the summer, including the new children’s Aquatic Play Area at Port Orleans French Quarter. The evening campfires will commence at 6:30pm this month and the Movies Under the Stars will be screened at 9:00pm, with both activities still occurring on alternating days at the two resorts — Monday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday at Riverside, and Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday at French Quarter. Other daily recreation activities seem to be somewhat reduced from previous months, or perhaps they are just not yet fully itemised?

Update: The reason for the calendars looking so sparse this month is that the resort is testing out a new system for poolside activities. The activities Cast Members will now be able to pick and choose games that are more relevant to the guests who are in the pool at that time, as opposed to a more structured fixed schedule grid. The campfires are also operating for an extra half-hour per day

July 4th (Independence Day) activities at Port Orleans Riverside (Ol’ Man Island Pool)
11:00am Beach Ball Blast
11:30am Water Balloon Games
12:00pm Red, White and Blue Relays and Races
12:30pm Mickey Tie-Dye ($)
2:00pm Patriotic Pool Party
3:00pm Stars and Stripes Scavenger Hunt
3:30pm Ice Cream Drop
4:30pm Water Balloon Games
5:00pm Star Spangled Dance Party
6:30pm Patriotic Campfire, on Ol’ Man Island
8:30pm Movie Under the Stars: Zootopia, in the courtyard by Oak Manor

July 4th (Independence Day) activities at Port Orleans French Quarter (Doubloon Lagoon Pool)
11:00am Beach Ball Blast
11:30am Mickey Tie-Dye ($)
12:30pm Red, White and Blue Relays and Races
1:00pm Watermelon Eating Contest
2:00pm Patriotic Pool Party
3:00pm Stars and Stripes Scavenger Hunt
3:30pm Water Balloon Games
4:30pm Revolutionary Hula Hoop Games
5:00pm Star Spangled Dance Party


Live Evening Entertainment

No visit to Port Orleans Riverside would be complete without spending an evening in the company of the legendary "Ye Haa" Bob Jackson at the River Roost Lounge, playing 8:30pm—midnight four nights a week (Weds—Sat). Note: Bob will be on vacation from 29 August until 6 Sept.

Port Orleans French Quarter’s Scat Cat’s Club does not currently have official resident musicians, but filling the gap admirably are Jason Thomas and Billy Varnes, two members of the fabulous Off Kilter rock band which used to perform in Epcot’s Canada pavilion. Their dates are only announced a month or so in advance (generally most Saturdays, Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays) but if you happen to be around for any of their evenings (8:30pm—11:30pm) do yourself a favour and pop along, they are highly recommended. July 2016: 3, 4, 5, 9, 10, 11, 12, 16, 17, 18, 19, 23, 24, 25, 26 & 31.C'mon Disney, Jason & Billy certainly deserve a permanent contract if anyone does!


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French Quarter Food Court Refurbishment starts 11 July

Posted on Tuesday 14th June 2016 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

It looks like the cat is now out of the bag as to why work has recently been occurring inside the original Bonfamille's Cafe restaurant location at Port Orleans French Quarter (as reported here back in April, in http://www.portorleans.org/news.php?first=300416).

Starting 11 July - which is a little sooner than was recently intended, but the dates and scale of the project have already been adjusted several times - the Sassagoula Floatworks & Food Factory food court will be closed for a few months for refurbishment work. The work is due to be completed "sometime in the fall". In the meantime, the original Bonfamille's area will be brought back into service to act as a temporary quick service food court, serving many of the resort's regular hot and cold favourites - including of course the signature beignets.

Guests will also be able to make use of the Riverside Mill food court and Boatwright's Dining Hall table-service restaurant over at Port Orleans Riverside, and free shuttle transportation will be provided.

I've been trying to get further information on a few specific things that people have been asking, and can confirm the following:

  • Yes, you will definitely be able to use your refillable mugs (they are part of the Dining Plan after all, there would be a LOT of complaints if refills were not available).
  • Yes, beignets & dipping sauce will be available.
  • Yes, hot breakfasts will be available in the morning just like normal.
  • The menu will be very similar to what you can get at present, although the exact details have not been finalised as yet so I can't be too specific. Suffice to say that staples such as Mickey Waffles, Bounty Platters, French Toast, Pancakes, etc should be available at breakfast time, and for lunch/dinner there will be things like Jambalaya, Po'Boys, burgers, chicken sandwiches, pizzas, baked potatoes, gumbo/soup, roast salmon, etc. As usual, the dinner menu will include a few extra items not available at lunchtime. I'm not sure whether make-your-own items will be available, but as I said the menu is still to be finalised.
  • The Grab & Go range may even be extended to include bakery items, sandwiches, muffeletta, etc.
  • Tables in Wonderland will continue to be accepted at the temporary location at FQ, but it won't be accepted at the Riverside Mill (even though that may be acting as an overflow location).
  • The extra transportation between FQ and Riverside will probably take the form of a minibus/van transfer shuttle, but it will be based on what the actual level of demand turns out to be.
  • Evening entertainment at Scat Cat's Club at French Quarter will be continuing as normal (which currently means the excellent Jason and Billy from Off Kilter).
  • The best information on the end date for the refurbishment at the moment is that it will definitely be done before Thanksgiving, but how much before then is not certain.
  • A few little hints on what to expect from the refurb: some of the 'scarier' giant face masks will be removed, but other parade icons will remain to maintain the theming. The overall design will be remodeled slightly, with new paint, flooring, equipment, etc. I also gather that after the refit the drinks fountain area may include the new Coca Cola "Freestyle" machines, which I think is great news!

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(The original Bonfamille's restaurant, as used during Christmas 2015 with the revised name of Scat Cat's Cafe)

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The current Sassagoula Floatworks & Food Factory - maybe the big scary heads might be on their way out?

The following email is being sent out to guests staying at French Quarter during the affected period (which will last until sometime during the fall):

Thank you for choosing Disney's Port Orleans Resort - French Quarter as your vacation destination! We eagerly await your arrival and look forward to sharing our hospitality with you.

Here at the Walt Disney World® Resort, we believe that in order to continue delivering the best Guest experience, we must renew and refresh our offerings at every opportunity. In preparation for your upcoming stay, we want to make you aware that Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory Food Court will be closed for enhancement and unavailable during your visit.

Rest assured, while we are working our magic, there will be plenty of dining options available to you:

An alternative dining experience will be available adjacent to the Lobby. This location will proudly serve Guest favorites such as jambalaya, gumbo, po-boy sandwiches, other hot and cold entrées and our famous beignets. In addition, there will also be a selection of grab 'n' go meals available for purchase.

Bus transportation will be provided from 7:00am to 12:00am to our neighboring Resort, Disney's Port Orleans Resort - Riverside, where you can dine at Riverside Mill Food Court or stop in for dinner at Boatwright's Dining Hall from 5:00pm to 10:00pm.

Our in-room pizza delivery service will continue to be available from 4:00pm to 12:00am daily. The menu includes pizza, hot and cold sandwiches and pasta which you can order by pressing "Dining Options" on your in-room phone.



The Disney Reservations Center phone line won't be able to tell you anything that's not in the information sheet that they've been sent though (they are just a call center). Since it says exactly the same as the guest email that has already been mentioned, I can't see they can object to it being quoted here too:

Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory food court refurbishment

In order to continue delivering the best possible experience for our Guests, we are commited to refreshing and enhancing our offerings. Beginning July 11, Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory food court will be closed for future enhancements. When assisting Guests with reservations at Disney’s Port Orleans Resorts through this fall, please share these alternative food and beverage options:
  • An alternative dining experience will be available adjacent to the lobby and Scat Cat’s Lounge. This location will be serving Guest favorites such as jambalaya, gumbo, po-boy sandwiches, other hot and cold entrees and our famous beignets. A selection of grab ‘n’ go meals also will be available for purchase.
  • Guests can dine at Riverside Mill Food Court or have dinner at Boatwright’s Dining Hall (open from 5-10 p.m.) at our neighboring resort, Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside. Bus transportation will run from 7 a.m.-midnight to accommodate Guests who wish to take advantage of this alternative.
  • In-room pizza delivery service will continue to be available from 4 p.m.-midnight. The menu includes pizza, hot and cold sandwiches and pasta, which can be ordered by pressing “Dining Options” on your in-room phone.
There are a few rather pointless reactive FAQs too, which just reiterate the start date as being 11 July until Fall, the fact that the dining plan will be accepted (which will still be Quick Service incidentally), and that there will be no noise impact in the guest accommodation areas "while you are enjoying your room" (yes, that's precisely how it's written in Disney-speak).

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