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Celebrating 25 Years of Disney’s Port Orleans Resort

Posted on Tuesday 17th May 2016 by The Sassagoula Sentinel


Celebrating 25 Years of Disney’s Port Orleans Resort


17 May 1991 - 17 May 2016



In 1982, Walt Disney World Executive Dick Nunis proposed a new development near to the Empress Lilly steamboat-inspired restaurant in the Lake Buena Vista Shopping Village area (today known as Disney Springs). The expansion was to include an intricately-themed hotel complex designed to evoke the relaxing laid-back feel of the city of New Orleans, reminiscent of Disneyland’s New Orleans Square. Surrounding the ‘recently docked steamboat’ would be a variety of themed buildings, with affordably priced guest rooms on the upper levels and restaurants and retail outlets on the ground floor.

Sadly this plan never materialised during the turbulent early eighties, however in the world of Imagineering good ideas never really die and the two-level resort hotel and shopping/dining district eventually reappeared in the mid-1990s as Disney’s Boardwalk Resort.

In the meantime, as part of massive expansion plans brought about by new Disney chief Michael Eisner, the New Orleans resort concept was resurrected from the vaults — but instead of being situated within the rapidly expanding Disney Village Marketplace area, it was relocated to create an entire new themed area to be accessed via a specially built waterway, the Sassagoula River.

So it was that Disney’s Port Orleans Resort first opened its doors to the public on 17th May 1991. Originally featuring just 432 guest rooms in three buildings, the room count was soon increased to 1,008 as construction work on the remaining four buildings was completed. Nine months later its sister resort, Disney’s Dixie Landings (now Port Orleans Riverside), opened — and the rest, as they say, is history!

For more background on the resort, and fun facts and trivia details, please see our History and Trivia pages.

As a special Anniversary treat, we’ve just made available for downloading a complete early copy of the official eight-page Port Orleans ‘resort newspaper’ The Sassagoula Sentinel as a fully detailed PDF file. Enjoy!


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Port Orleans 25th Anniversary Events, 17 May 2016

Posted on Monday 16th May 2016 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Port Orleans French Quarter (the original 'Port Orleans Resort') opened its first 432 rooms to guests on 17th May 1991, twenty-five years ago this week. Come to the lobby courtyard between 5:30pm and 8:30pm on Tuesday 17th May for the new weekly 'Fat Tuesday' Mardi Gras Block Party, this week also celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the resort.

Events include: Dance Party, Beignet Walk, Games and Activities, Mickey Tie Die, Specialty Food & Beverage, and Merchandise Offerings.

Afterwards, join talented duo Jason & Billy for a fun evening of musical entertainment at Scat Cat's Club, adjacent to the main French Quarter lobby.

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Work on food locations at French Quarter & POR Muddy Rivers

Posted on Saturday 30th April 2016 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Work will commence in the next few weeks inside the old Bonfamille's Cafe restaurant location at Port Orleans French Quarter in order to prepare it for temporary guest use during August to October this year. This will most likely not be full table service though, so you won't be able to make ADRs in advance. I don't have any exact details of dates to release as yet, but as soon as I know anything more definite I will let everyone know, and I'll also post information on other related work which may be occurring at the resort during the same timeframe... As always, stay tuned for updates and keep an eye on our Facebook page and Twitter feed, etc.

The Bonfamille's location was last used during Christmas 2015 for a brief two-week table service experience serving cajun-inspired options under the name "Scat Cat's Café", and prior to that it functioned as Walt Disney World's test kitchen facility:

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(Photo from Christmas 2015)


In other food-related news, it looks like the Muddy Rivers pool bar at Port Orleans Riverside will soon be installing facilities for limited hot food preparation. Don't get too excited, it won't become a full quick service dining location or anything like that, but there will be simple hot fried food available - french fries, chicken nuggets, wings, etc - prepared to order by the bartenders. See PerfectFry.com for an idea of the sort of equipment they are planning to use, and it seems that connection points have just been fitted in readiness (I have no idea why they didn't do this during the recent two-month refurbishment period, which you'd have thought would have made a lot more sense):

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May 2016 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules

Posted on Thursday 28th April 2016 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The May 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 currently 9am—10pm, 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 8:30pm, with both activities occurring on alternating days at the two resorts — Monday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday at Riverside, and Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday at French Quarter.

Continuing this month: The mid-afternoon Disney Junior Pool Party at 2:30pm features music and activities from some of your favourite Disney Junior shows. Join in with awesome activities and games such as Sofia Says, Doc McStuffins Trivia, sing-alongs and much more!

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 not be at the Port on his usual nights of 20 and 21 May due to a wedding commitment in New York.

Port Orleans French Quarter's Scat Cat's Club does not currently have its own 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, but if you happen to be around for any of the following evenings do yourself a favour and pop along, they are highly recommended: May 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 10, 14, 15, 17, 21, 22, 23, 24, 30 and 31. C'mon Disney, Jason & Billy certainly deserve a permanent contract if anyone does!


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Free Disney Dining Plan (limited) and other Fall offers

Posted on Monday 25th April 2016 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Disney has just issued the details of what has become an annually anticipated offer for guests staying on-site during the Fall. To try to increase occupancy levels during this traditionally quieter period, they are offering the Disney Dining Plan for free at select resorts when you book a full-price room and ticket combined package.

Sadly for Port Orleans fans though, the offer seems to be following the same overall pattern as last year. French Quarter is completely excluded from the offer for all dates, and Riverside is only available for limited dates and room types (only valid for arrivals from 23 August 2016 to 1 October 2016). To take advantage of the offer you need to book a minimum of three nights stay, and include at least two days worth of park tickets for every guest in the room. Currently you need to book by 8 July.

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Other current offers relating to the Port Orleans Resorts include the following, which cannot be combined with Free Dining:

Awaken Summer Room-Only Discount: Up to 25% off Moderate Resorts, excluding French Quarter, for stays between 30 May and 25 August 2016. Book by 10 June.

Back To School Room-Only Discount: Up to 25% off Moderate Resorts for stays between 1 August and 5 November 2016. Book by 31 August.

Availability and room types are limited so if you can be flexible with your dates and room category choices that may help.

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Note: All of the above offers are only valid for bookings made via the US Disney Reservations Center, or the US Walt Disney World website (i.e. priced in US Dollars). For other markets, different offers may be available.

For example, the UK Walt Disney Travel Company has just released its 2017 offer which only provides the Quick Service Dining Plan at Moderate Resorts, but is available for most dates in 2017 when you book a room along with 7, 14 or 21 day tickets for everyone, plus they give you a 'free' $200 Disney Gift Card per booking. The 2017 offer provides two counter service meals (which no longer include desserts) and TWO snack items per day, plus one refillable mug, and it is valid at both French Quarter and Riverside for most dates from 1 January – 29 March 2017 and 17 April – 30 November, 2017 (subject to availability and room category choice). Book by 7 July 2016.

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For general information on all the current offers available, and other ways to save money on Walt Disney World trips, I highly recommend a visit to MouseSavers.com.

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