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December 2017 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules

Posted on Tuesday 28th November 2017 by Admin

The December 2017 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 operating hours are currently 10am—10pm and should remain that way until the end of the year. In January, the hours will be reduced to 10am—8pm. These hours are enforced and the feature pools are gated and locked when there are no lifeguards on duty, however the five Riverside leisure (quiet) pools are generally available at any time (within reason).

Movies Under the Stars will be screened daily at 7pm at Riverside, but only on Mondays & Saturdays at French Quarter. Evening campfire activities will take place at both resorts on the same evenings as the movies from 5pm-6pm.

Winter Wonderland Snowflake Scavenger Hunt. Disney’s Port Orleans Resort French Quarter has been sprinkled with magical snowflakes and we need your help to find them all! To join in on the fun, visit the Front Desk to pick up your clue guide. Return your completed clue guide to the Front Desk to collect a frosty surprise!

Merry and Bright Holiday Nights Workshop ($) (Friday 22 December, Saturday 23 December, Sunday 24 December). Join us in the area adjacent to Scat Cat’s Club at French Quarter for an all-inclusive holiday experience. This unique offering will give you the opportunity to write your own letter to Santa, decorate cookies and customize a holiday craft. Drop by anytime between 6pm and 8pm to join in on the festive fun!

On New Year’s Eve, among other activities, “Ye Haa” Bob Jackson will be playing an extra night at the River Roost Lounge until after midnight.

Some other specific activities to watch out for (on select days, see schedules for details). There will be festive-themed variations throughout the month of December, and special activities will be added for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve:

  • SassagoulaSelfie Scavenger Hunt — Grab a map and join in on an exciting selfie scavenger hunt around Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside. To get started, visit the Riverside Levee Marina from 9:00am-5:00pm! Be sure to share your selfies with the hashtags #SassagoulaSelfie and #PortOrleans.
  • “Beignet Dash” Fun Run — A quick early morning Sunday Runday dash around French Quarter resort, finished with a tasty beignet (payment required). Check-in begins at 7:30am on the riverwalk between building 5 and the Doubloon Lagoon Pool. The run begins at 8:00am. Note: Alternative events will be presented on December 31.
  • Craft Night — Drop by the area adjacent to Scat Cat’s Club at French Quarter on Tuesdays between 6pm and 8pm for complimentary arts & crafts.
  • Painting on de’ Bayou — Let your artistic side shine! Join us in Scat Cat’s Club at French Quarter on Wednesdays from 6pm to 8pm for an instructor-led painting class to design your own take-home masterpiece. The class for guests aged 12 and up and cost $35 per person, plus tax. Registration is limited to 16 guests per week, please call 1-321-347-0750 for additional information or to reserve a spot in the class. Share your masterpiece with the hashtag #PaintingOnDeBayou.
  • Family Game Night — Join us at Scat Cat’s Club at French Quarter on Thursdays at 6pm for a night filled with games and fun for the whole family.
  • Mardi Gras “Mask”-erade — Sashay your way down Alligator Alley to join in on Mardi Gras fun on Fridays at 6pm! Located near the Musical Alligators at French Quarter, our Mardi Gras fun will include dance parties and mask-making ($)
  • Arts & Crafts or Mickey Tie-Dye T-shirt decoration — Explore your creative side with themed poolside arts & crafts / Create your own Mickey Tie-Dye shirt to commemorate your Walt Disney World Resort vacation (payment required).

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 (Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday). Note: Bob will be not be performing his regular nights at the Port on the evenings of Thursday 30 November, Friday 8 December and Saturday 9 December. He will however be adding an extra night on Sunday 31 December to celebrate New Year’s Eve.

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. Occasionally when one of the boys is not available, Greg Hayworth (from Mulch, Sweat & Shears) will sit in. The 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—11pm) do yourself a favour and pop along, they are highly recommended.


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New Menu Options at Boatwright's and the River Roost Lounge

Posted on Monday 13th November 2017 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

On Tuesday 14 November, the Port Orleans Riverside Food & Beverage team will be adding some enticing new Appetisers to the Boatwright's Dining Hall menu, and changing up a few of the entrées too. A couple of new desserts have been added since we last checked the menus too. Some of the highlights are:

  • Crawfish Bisque - $8 - Traditional-style Bisque with Crawfish Tails, a touch of Sherry, and finished with Crème Fraîche
  • Louisiana BBQ Shrimp - $13 - Sautéed Shrimp in a traditional Louisiana BBQ Broth served over a Pimento Grit Cake
  • Fried Green Tomatoes - $10 - served with Greens and House-made Herb-Buttermilk Dressing
  • Chicken and Dumplings - $23 - Pan-seared Airline Chicken Breast, Hand-rolled Potato Dumplings, Mixed Vegetables, and Cream Sauce
  • Mississippi Mud Pie - $7 - Spiced Chocolate Sauce and Whipped Vanilla Panna Cotta
  • St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake - $8 - Bourbon Sauce and Toffee Brittle
They are also adding two more entrées, along with a decadent new signature dessert, Hummingbird Cake, to the bar menu at the River Roost Lounge:
  • “Drunken” Flatbread - $14- Steak with Drunken Goat Cheese and Pepper Jelly
  • Southern Fish and Chips - $13 - Southern Catfish, corn meal battered, served with Cajun Steak Fries and a traditional Remoulade
  • Hummingbird Cake (River Roost’s new Signature Dessert) - $10 - Pineapple-Banana Cake soaked with our Bayou Spiced Rum, Roasted Pecans, and Cream Cheese Frosting
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Hummingbird Cake ($10)

For the full menus, visit the Boatwright's Dining Hall and River Roost Lounge pages.

You might also want to check out the pages for the food courts at both Riverside (The Riverside Mill) and French Quarter (Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory) as they have both added some new items and made a few other changes at the start of October.

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New Boatwright's Dining Hall menu

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New River Roost Lounge bar food menu

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Riverside Burger ($15)

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Port Orleans Riverside, Fall Food Festival, 29-30 October 2017

Posted on Friday 27th October 2017 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

On Sunday and Monday (29 & 30 October) from 5pm-8pm, Port Orleans Riverside will be hosting their second Food and Wine event, the Riverside Fall Food Festival. The first was a one-day event back in May, and the hope is that this will eventually become a week-long event every year.

It will be held on the Waterfront by the Marina and will feature six different stations, and a kids corner. The aim is to give Port Orleans guests a little extra menu variety, adding some new Quick Service Dining Plan options, and to showcase the abilities of the chef team - even the Front of House team is helping out with this event.

Guests can purchase coupons to redeem for the various food options, starting at $6 for one adult coupon ($4 for children) and with discounts for multiple purchases. Disney Dining Plan options and wine pairings are also available.

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November 2017 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules

Posted on Thursday 26th October 2017 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The November 2017 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 operating hours are currently 10am—10pm and should remain that way until the end of the year. In January, the hours will be reduced to 10am—8pm. These hours are enforced and the feature pools are gated and locked when there are no lifeguards on duty, however the five Riverside leisure (quiet) pools are generally available at any time (within reason).

Movies Under the Stars will be screened at 7pm on Monday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday at Riverside, but only on Friday & Saturday at French Quarter. The evening campfire activities will take place from 5pm-6pm on the same evenings as the movies at French Quarter, but every day at Riverside (now confirmed). There are no movies scheduled at either resort for Sunday, Tuesday or Thursday.

Some specific activities to watch out for (on select days, see schedules for details). Note: On Sunday 5th November the Beignet Dash at French Quarter will be replaced by a Doubloon Lagoon Splash & Dash event at 8am (due to a clash with Disney’s Wine & Dine Half Marathon).

  • SassagoulaSelfie Scavenger Hunt — Grab a map and join in on an exciting selfie scavenger hunt around Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside. To get started, visit the Riverside Levee Marina from 9:00am-5:00pm! Be sure to share your selfies with the hashtags #SassagoulaSelfie and #PortOrleans.
  • “Beignet Dash” Fun Run — A quick early morning Sunday Runday dash around French Quarter resort, finished with a tasty beignet (payment required). Check-in begins at 7:30am on the riverwalk between building 5 and the Doubloon Lagoon Pool. The run begins at 8:00am.
  • Fat Tuesdays — Let the good times roll! Join us every Tuesday at Doubloon Lagoon Pool for activities celebrating the spirit of Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter. There’s Mardi Gras magic for all ages!
  • Mardi Gras “Mask”-erade — Sashay your way down Alligator Alley to join in on Mardi Gras fun! Located near the Musical Alligators at French Quarter, our Mardi Gras fun will include dance parties and mask-making ($)
  • Family Game Night — Join us at the Mardi Grogs patio seating at French Quarter for a night filled with games and fun for the whole family.
    Glow with the Flow Pool Party — Come glow with the flow at our nighttime pool parties, at both Port Orleans Resorts.
  • Arts & Crafts or Mickey Tie-Dye T-shirt decoration — Explore your creative side with themed poolside arts & crafts / Create your own Mickey Tie-Dye shirt to commemorate your Walt Disney World Resort vacation (payment required).

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 (Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday). Note: Bob will be not be performing at the Port on the evening of Thursday 30 November.

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. Occasionally when one of the boys is not available, Greg Hayworth (from Mulch, Sweat & Shears) will sit in. The 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—11pm) do yourself a favour and pop along, they are highly recommended.


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Trial allowing pet dogs in Guest Rooms starts at POR on 15 Oct

Posted on Friday 13th October 2017 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

A new pilot program will be trialled at Port Orleans Riverside (and three other Disney properties) starting on Sunday 15 October 2017 which will see the resort become ‘dog friendly’ for those guests who wish to bring their pet dogs on vacation with them.

  • Initially all accommodation categories at the resort were intended to be dog friendly, but that has very quickly been restricted to just Standard and Garden View rooms for new Port Orleans Riverside bookings, with the intention of using building 24 where possible.
  • Guests will be able to bring up to two dogs with them, staying in their room. There are no size, weight or breed restrictions.
  • To bring your dog with you on your upcoming visit, please call 1-407-939-7539.
  • Each guest room participating in the program will have easy access to outdoor pet walkways for exercise and green spaces with pet relief areas.
  • While dogs will be allowed to stay in guest rooms, they will be expected to be well behaved, leashed in public resort areas and properly vaccinated.
  • Guests must sign a waiver which explains where the pets can go, responsibilities of the guest, etc. A copy of this document can be DOWNLOADED HERE.
  • Guests are requested not to leave their animals unattended in rooms for longer than 7 hours at a time, and Disney requires that animals must be capable of being silent during their stay, stating "If noise is heard, you will be called to address the noise within 30 minutes".
  • There is a $50 per night per room fee for guests who bring a dog (or dogs) with them.
  • Guests will get an amenity package delivered on check-in day with various items for their pet. "Pluto’s Welcome Kit" includes mat, bowls, a pet ID tag, courtesy plastic disposable bags, puppy pads and dog walking maps.
  • Guests will not be able to receive housekeeping service while there is an unattended dog in the room, and a Pluto “Do Not Disturb” door hanger will be provided to indicate to hotel staff that there is a pet present.
  • The other pilot properties are Art of Animation, Fort Wilderness Cabins, and the Yacht Club (the nightly fee at the Yacht Club will be $75).
  • The pilot is currently accepting reservations through until October 2018.
  • Other animal facilities - including dog walking, day care and other pet services - are available just over the road at the Best Friends pet care facility. For details, please call 1-877-4-WDW-PETS (1-877-493-9738), or visit www.bestfriendspetcare.com.
  • Pet merchandise is coming soon to participating resorts.
For more information about this new trial program, including other restrictions and policies, guests should contact 1-407-W-DISNEY.

Update on 14 Oct: Rooms will receive a more thorough cleaning at departure including carpet and upholstery cleaning. The room assignment department will try to put guests with pets into certain rooms; how successful they are will depend on whether they know about the guest bringing a pet in advance or not.

Update on 18 Oct: So we are now a few days into the trial and the public outcry on social media and via communications directly to Disney has taken everyone by surprise - heck, it even took me aback, and I know how vocal Disney fans can be. I think it's safe to say that Disney completely underestimated the passion that many people would have on this subject, and the initial plans are being modified and policies rewritten on the fly at the moment. This process will probably remain fluid over the next few weeks, and Disney is closely monitoring and listening to the feedback and will continue to adjust procedures to try to make this trial work for everyone.

Initially, as will have been seen from the printed Dog Relief Area maps, it was intended that all these happy fluffy pets (which everyone would surely like) would be permitted in any type of guest booking at Riverside, and the early announcements did state that the whole resort - barring certain areas such as food & beverage and swimming pools - would be canine accessible as long as the animals were kept under control and on a leash. However over the last 48 hours that intent has been severely trimmed back and they are now aiming to try to restrict dogs to only Standard and Garden View rooms, and the current intention from the room inventory department at Riverside is to use building 24 as much as possible for any guests who book to stay with their pets. This building is well away from the common areas, is located right next to the parking lot to make getting pets to and from rooms easier, and has a nice grassy area nearby to allow dogs to be exercised.

However, although the telephone Reservations Center is now advising guests who wish to bring dogs with them that this will only be possible for Standard and Garden View rooms, the initial announcements - and even the currently posted wording on the Disney website - do not require guests to book that way, nor to preregister their dogs. Thus it is entirely possible that people who have booked for other room categories using the Disney website, via travel agents, through Expedia, etc. will simply show up at the front desk accompanied by their pet(s) and ask to pay the daily fee. This could mean that, in the short term at least, dogs will still need to be accommodated in other areas of the resort in order to comply with existing bookings. This will of course be closely monitored and subsequent deep-cleans arranged for any affected rooms, but at this stage it cannot be guaranteed that other areas of the resort will remain completely dog-free.

I have reached out to my contacts at the resort who have said that so far (i.e. in the first three days of the program) they have not yet had a single dog staying at the resort. Over the next seven days there are currently just four one-night reservations with associated comments indicating that the guest plans to bring a dog with them, against more than 100 comments over the same seven-day period asking to be assigned to a room away from the dog friendly areas. Those four one-night reservations are apparently all from local Florida residents, and personally I would not be at all surprised to find that some or all of them turn out to be from social media aware guests, or even bloggers or website owners, testing out the new policies for themselves. If there have been any booking cancellations because of this new policy then they have already been replaced with new reservations, as Riverside is either sold out or very close to it for the rest of the month.

Please remember however that we are still only three days into a year-long trial period and there is plenty of time for any of the above information to change in line with practical needs and guest comments and experiences.

Update on 21 Oct: A copy of the waiver document which guests need to sign when they check dogs in to the hotel can be DOWNLOADED HERE.

A few interesting new bits of information:
  • So far, the room assignment department at Port Orleans Riverside has not been given any specific directions from Walt Disney World management to indicate that they must enforce the accommodation of all dogs in building 24 only, so they are still expecting that existing booking for other room categories will be assigned to one of the original four dog-friendly areas (buildings 15, 24, 80 and 95 on the map) although building 24 will definitely be the preferred choice wherever possible. For example, if a guest had booked a Royal River View Room room six months ago, and they now state that they wish to bring a dog with them, they will be assigned a room in building 95 close to the originally marked Dog Relief area on the Dog Friendly Locations map. Similarly, someone who originally booked a Preferred Location room would be placed in building 15.
  • Any guest who has expressed a wish to be located away from dogs will be assigned a room as far away as possible from those original four designated areas.
  • As far as common areas go, at the moment dogs will be permitted - under control and on leashes - in all common areas of the resort except for Food & Beverage locations (such as Boatwright's Dining Hall, the food court and presumably the River Roost Lounge) and the fenced pool areas. The lobby and even merchandise shop are fine, as are all the public pathways. This policy is covered by the wording in point 12 of the waiver document.
  • The maximum seven hour 'alone-time' rule will be mostly left to guests' honesty, but in cases where there is concern the electronic door-lock system can be interrogated remotely to prove how long a room has been left unattended. Similarly, Disney are aware that there may be situations where the required 30-minute return time to attend to a barking dog may potentially be difficult to enforce when guests are away from the hotel.

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Initial collateral leaflet for guests arriving with dogs. This is information still subject to change.

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Room and Package Discounts Announced for Spring 2018

Posted on Wednesday 4th October 2017 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Walt Disney World has just announced several new discount offers for hotel stays and packages during Spring 2018, and unusually the Port Orleans resorts are included for at least some of these offers. These discounts will have limited availability and will sell out quickly (and you may find restrictions on some dates and room categories) so book as soon as you can and be flexible with your dates if you want to snag a bargain. As always, I recommend visiting MouseSavers.com for full details of this and any other Disney offers.

The sections of the offers which relate to the Port Orleans resorts are as follows:

Gift of Magic Offer (room-only or as part of a package)

  • Get "up to 20%" off a room-only booking (or the room portion of a package booking) at Port Orleans Riverside or Port Orleans French Quarter for most arrival dates from 1 January 2018 to 14 April 2018.
  • Disney Visa Card holders can get an increased discount level of up to 30%.
  • Park tickets can be added to form a package, but there is no discount on the tickets. However if you decide to add a five-day or longer park hopper ticket, Disney will apparently give you an extra day free.
  • No minimum stay is required but any dates which don’t fall within the valid period, or are blacked-out, will get charged at full rack rate.
  • Another website (Inside the Magic) is reporting that Port Orleans bookings are only getting a 10% discount, and for the period from 1 January until 22 February you may not be offered the deal on Friday or Saturday nights.
  • Book by 2 January 2018.
Play, Stay, Dine Package Offer (dining plan discount as part of a package)
  • Get a discount on the regular Disney Dining plan when you book a package at Port Orleans Riverside (French Quarter is excluded from this offer) for arrival dates from 1 January 2018 to 10 March 2018.
  • For moderate resorts the discount off the Dining Plan works out to around 45%, and while you can upgrade to the Deluxe Dining Plan if you wish, the cash value of the discount remains the same.
  • Minimum stay is 3 days and you need to include at least a 2-day park ticket for each guest.
  • Arrival dates must be within the offer period but you can stay as long as you like and receive the full discount until the end of your stay.
  • Book by 22 December 2017.

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French Quarter Guest Room Refurbishments due to start 6 Jan 2018

Posted on Saturday 30th September 2017 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The planned dates for the upcoming Port Orleans French Quarter guest room soft-goods refurbishment project are as follows. Please remember that this schedule may be subject to minor changes:

  • Building 2 — Jan 6 – Feb 9, 2018
  • Building 3 — Jan 23 – Feb 25, 2018
  • Building 1 — Feb 10 – Mar 13, 2018
  • Building 5 — Feb 26 – Mar 31, 2018
  • Building 4 — Mar 14 – Apr 16, 2018
  • Building 6 — Apr 1 – May 4, 2018
  • Building 7 — Apr 17 – May 20, 2018
In order to minimise disruption the work will be undertaken on a floor-by-floor basis for each building, starting on the third floor and working down to the ground floor. There should be very little impact to guests staying in the other buildings, and no one will be allocated to a room on a floor that is currently under construction. However it is possible that guests may be allocated to rooms on other floors in the same building, depending on occupancy requirements at the time.

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No further details or photos are available as yet, but the work will most likely include changing out the carpeting for hard wood-effect flooring, possibly adding a shutter of some sort between the bedroom and the vanity area, and other general decor and soft goods replacements including the addition of a larger Smart TV hung on the wall. I would be most surprised if we didn’t also see some of the added features that have been popping up at other resorts (for example Pop Century) such as USB charging sockets, extra storage options, etc. And if we are really lucky, perhaps something a little less stark than the plain-white bed linen that recently appeared at the resorts. Only time will tell.

Once French Quarter is complete, refurbishment will commence on Riverside’s Alligator Bayou section, and finally the Riverside Magnolia Bend mansion buildings will complete the project in 2019.

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October 2017 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules

Posted on Thursday 28th September 2017 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The October 2017 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 operating hours are currently 10am—10pm. These hours are enforced and the feature pools are gated and locked when there are no lifeguards on duty, however the five Riverside leisure (quiet) pools are generally available at any time (within reason).

Movies Under the Stars will be screened at 7:30pm on Monday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday at Riverside, but only on Friday & Saturday at French Quarter. The evening campfire activities will take place from 5:30pm-6:30pm on the same evenings as the movies at French Quarter, but every day at Riverside (now confirmed). There are no movies scheduled for Sunday, Tuesday or Thursday.

Halloween Activities — Tuesday 31st October 2017

Riverside

  • 2:30pm Mickey Tie-Dye ($) at Ol’ Man Island Pool
  • 3:30pm Ol’ Man Island Ghoul Party at Ol’ Man Island Pool
  • 6pm—8pm Boo: On the Bayou! Located in the courtyard near the Riverside Lobby. Join us for these fun activities in the courtyard:
    Themed treat stations starting in the courtyard and continuing around Ol’ Man Island. Offerings and supplies are subject to availability.
    A costume contest is available for all ages! Please check in by 6:15pm to participate.
    Create your own slime souvenir ($) at our Slime Lab!
  • 8pm—9pm Happy HallowGLOW Party Located in the courtyard near the Riverside Lobby. Light up the night with ghoulish delight! Join us for bright lights, dancing, prizes, games and more!
  • 9:30pm—10:30pm Spooks, S’mores and More! Located on Ol’ Man Island, enjoy complimentary marshmallow roasting at the campfire pit.
French Quarter
  • 2:30pm Ghosts, Ghouls and Games Pool Party
  • 3:30pm Halloween Arts & Crafts ($) beside the Doubloon Lagoon Pool
  • 6pm—9pm Mardi Ghoul Bash in the Courtyard outside the Main Lobby. Join us to celebrate Halloween with a trick or treat trail, DJ, Mickey Tie-Dye ($), dancing, games and fun for the whole family! Join us at 6:00pm for our costume contest.
  • 9pm Chilling Campfire between Buildings 5 & 6
  • The French Quarter Pumpkin Hunt: Trick or Treat? Thirteen of Disney’s most mischievous villains have taken over Disney’s Port Orleans Resort French Quarter and are hiding around the Resort. We need your help to find them! To get started, visit the Front Desk to pick up your booklet. Find all 13 villains, and return to the Front Desk to claim your sweet treat.

Some other activities to watch out for (on select days, see schedules for details):
  • SassagoulaSelfie Scavenger Hunt — Grab a map and join in on an exciting selfie scavenger hunt around Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside. To get started, visit the Riverside Levee Marina from 9:00am-5:00pm! Be sure to share your selfies with the hashtags #SassagoulaSelfie and #PortOrleans.
  • “Beignet Dash” Fun Run — A quick early morning Sunday Runday dash around French Quarter resort, finished with a tasty beignet (payment required). Check-in begins at 7:30am on the riverwalk between building 5 and the Doubloon Lagoon Pool. The run begins at 8:00am.
  • Fat Tuesdays — Let the good times roll! Join us every Tuesday at Doubloon Lagoon Pool for activities celebrating the spirit of Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter. There’s Mardi Gras magic for all ages!
  • Mardi Gras “Mask”-erade — Sashay your way down Alligator Alley to join in on Mardi Gras fun! Located near the Musical Alligators at French Quarter, our Mardi Gras fun will include dance parties and mask-making ($)
  • Family Game Night — Join us at the Mardi Grogs patio seating at French Quarter for a night filled with games and fun for the whole family.
    Glow with the Flow Pool Party — Come glow with the flow at our nighttime pool parties, at both Port Orleans Resorts.
  • Arts & Crafts or Mickey Tie-Dye T-shirt decoration — Explore your creative side with themed poolside arts & crafts / Create your own Mickey Tie-Dye shirt to commemorate your Walt Disney World Resort vacation (payment required).

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 (Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday). Note: Bob will be away performing at a private event on Saturday 14 October.

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. Occasionally when one of the boys is not available, Greg Hayworth (from Mulch, Sweat & Shears) will sit in. The 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—11pm) do yourself a favour and pop along, they are highly recommended.


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Mandatory curfew from 7pm Sunday 10th Sept to 6pm on Monday

Posted on Sunday 10th September 2017 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Orange Country, FL - which covers almost all of Walt Disney World, including the Port Orleans Resorts - has announced that a mandatory curfew will take place from 7pm tonight (Sunday 10th September) until 6pm on Monday. This will exclude emergency services, medical personnel and critical services staff. See https://newsroom.ocfl.net/2017/09/orang ... -10-7-p-m/ .

This means that guests will be unable to leave Port Orleans for the duration of the curfew, and given the external access nature of the accommodation buildings people will effectively be confined to their rooms from 7pm tonight. Make sure you have sufficient provisions for you and your family and hunker down!

I've also heard from someone I know at the resort that Port Orleans is hosting about 400 rooms of emergency electrical teams from all over the country, and 110 rooms of nurses and doctors to assist with relief efforts. There are apparently many more at the other resorts too. As noted in previous posts, the main parking lots are packed with emergency and maintenance vehicles too. When you need to accommodate a lot of people in a single geographical area with good access to where they are going to be needed, I guess Disney is the place to be.

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Hurricane Irma Advice and Preparations

Posted on Saturday 9th September 2017 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

After barrelling though the offshore islands and Cuba and causing huge devastation and some loss of life, Hurricane Irma is now heading northwards towards Miami and then up into the rest of Florida. Current predictions show the eye will most likely track very slightly to the west of Orlando (most directly over the St. Petersburg/Tampa area) during Sunday night, and will probably still be at Category 3 or 4 level by that point which poses a severe threat of damage to buildings and personal injury. Orlando International Airport will be closed from 5pm on Saturday.

Although this will be a very serious event, remember that Disney takes the safety of its guests extremely seriously and has a whole range of contingency plans are already in place. Also their building construction is second-to-none in the area and generally the work is significantly above locally required specifications. Walt Disney World will be one of the safest places to ride this out.

Disney will be closing all of its theme parks on Saturday night, with no evening entertainment or fireworks scheduled, and nothing is expected to be reopened until Tuesday. Blizzard Beach and ESPN Wide World of Sports are already closed, and Typhoon Lagoon will shut on Saturday afternoon. Disney Springs will close at 9pm on Saturday. The planned Night of Joy at ESPN on Saturday and Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party on Sunday are cancelled, and exchanges or full refunds will be offered for these and any other pre-booked activities. All dining cancellation charges are also being waived until Tuesday. For more detailed information and advice, see Disney's dedicated Irma page, https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/hurricane-irma-info/ and their general hurricane policies at https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/faq/hurricane-policy/ or tune in to Channel 3 on your in-room television if you are already on site.

There may need to be a mandatory room curfew (in line with any local policies) which could potentially last from 24 to 48 hours, and there will probably be no housekeeping services available for the duration of the storm, so please ensure that you are as prepared as possible. Disney movies will be complimentary on Channel 31 of the in-room television system to help to keep the kids occupied.

Port Orleans is advising guests to stock up with water, snacks and non-perishable items for their rooms, ideally purchasing from the theme parks or Disney Springs as resort services will be severely stretched as all guests return to the resort to hunker down over the weekend. Distribution of emergency food packages will commence at 5pm on Saturday from the main buildings, but from previous experiences you should expect lengthy queues. Disney is providing flashlights for all rooms, and you would be advised to fully charge all of your necessary battery-powered devices in advance in case of power outages.

Our thoughts and good wishes are with everyone in the path of this unprecedented hurricane, and we hope that all our friends, cast members, and the "hunkered down" resort guests stay safe.


[Update on 10 Sept] Orange Country, FL - which covers almost all of Walt Disney World, including the Port Orleans Resorts - has announced that a mandatory curfew will take place from 7pm tonight (Sunday 10th September) until 6pm on Monday. This will exclude emergency services, medical personnel and critical services staff. See https://newsroom.ocfl.net/2017/09/orang ... -10-7-p-m/ .

This means that guests will be unable to leave Port Orleans for the duration of the curfew, and given the external access nature of the accommodation buildings, people will effectively be confined to their rooms from 7pm tonight. Make sure you have sufficient provisions for you and your family and hunker down!

I've also heard from someone I know at the resort that Port Orleans is hosting about 400 rooms of emergency electrical teams from all over the country, and 110 rooms of nurses and doctors to assist with relief efforts. There are apparently many more at the other resorts too. As noted in previous posts, the main parking lots are packed with emergency and maintenance vehicles too. When you need to accommodate a lot of people in a single geographical area with good access to where they are going to be needed, I guess Disney is the place to be.


A few photos posted via the Disney's Port Orleans Resorts - A Magical Guide Facebook Group (thanks to the admins for the permission to repost here):

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In-room information flyer.

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More In-room information communication, with a complimentary flashlight.

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Emergency maintenance vehicles waiting in the Riverside parking lot ready for the aftermath.

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More Preparation around the resort.


Update at 5pm EST Saturday. The packaged snack bag at resorts is much cheaper than the one that they offered during last year's hurricane, looks like they took note of some rather disgruntled feedback from guests:

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September 2017 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules

Posted on Tuesday 29th August 2017 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The September 2017 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 operating hours are currently 9am—10pm, but expect those to be reduced soon as the summer season ends. These hours are enforced and the feature pools are gated and locked when there are no lifeguards on duty, however the five Riverside leisure ("quiet") pools are generally available at any time (within reason).

Movies Under the Stars will be screened at 8:30pm on Monday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday at Riverside, but only on Friday & Saturday at French Quarter. The evening campfire activities will take place from 6:30pm-7:30pm on the same evenings as the movies. There are no movies or campfires scheduled at either resort for Sunday, Tuesday or Thursday. On Sunday September 3, French Quarter will be running some extra poolside activities for Labor Day weekend.

Some other activities to watch out for (on select days, see schedules for details):

  • SassagoulaSelfie Scavenger Hunt — Grab a map and join in on an exciting selfie scavenger hunt around Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside. To get started, visit the Riverside Levee Marina from 9:00am-5:00pm! Be sure to share your selfies with the hashtags #SassagoulaSelfie and #PortOrleans.
  • Teen Arcade Challenge — Do you have what it takes to win our Teen Arcade Challenge? Guests ages 12-17 are encouraged to compete in our exciting challenges to win prizes! Join us at 4:30pm on Mondays and Thursdays in the Medicine Show Arcade at Port Orleans Riverside.
  • “Beignet Dash” Fun Run — A quick early morning Sunday Runday dash around French Quarter resort, finished with a tasty beignet (payment required). Check-in begins at 7:30am on the riverwalk between building 5 and the Doubloon Lagoon Pool. The run begins at 8:00am.
  • Fat Tuesdays — Let the good times roll! Join us every Tuesday at Doubloon Lagoon Pool for activities celebrating the spirit of Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter. There’s Mardi Gras magic for all ages!
  • Mardi Gras “Mask”-erade — Sashay your way down Alligator Alley to join in on Mardi Gras fun! Located near the Musical Alligators at French Quarter, our Mardi Gras fun will include dance parties and mask-making ($)
  • Family Game Night — Join us at the Mardi Grogs patio seating at French Quarter for a night filled with games and fun for the whole family.
    Glow with the Flow Pool Party — Come glow with the flow at our nighttime pool parties, at both Port Orleans Resorts.
  • Arts & Crafts or Mickey Tie-Dye T-shirt decoration — Explore your creative side with themed poolside arts & crafts / Create your own Mickey Tie-Dye shirt to commemorate your Walt Disney World Resort vacation (payment required).

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 (Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday). Note: Bob will be away on vacation commencing Friday 25th August and returning to the Port on Wednesday 6th September.

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. Occasionally when one of the boys is not available, Greg Hayworth (from Mulch, Sweat & Shears) will sit in. The 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—11pm) do yourself a favour and pop along, they are highly recommended.


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Port Orleans Riverside Mattress Replacement Program

Posted on Friday 25th August 2017 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

All of the guest room mattresses at Port Orleans Riverside have been replaced over the past couple of months with new Sealy mattresses which have the extra quilted padded layer on the top. The replacement project for more than 2,000 rooms cost over $1m, but I can personally confirm that they are really comfortable!

The project also benefited French Quarter incidentally, as the most recently-installed of the mattresses that were taken out from Riverside rooms (there is normally a rolling program for mattress changes) were moved over to French Quarter to replace the oldest inventory over there.


You may also be interested to know that in addition to daily housekeeping cleaning, and more intense cleaning between guests, there is also a rolling program to ensure that every room in the resort is refreshed on a regular basis. For example at Riverside, every weekday 24 rooms are removed from inventory and given an intensive deep clean. This includes things like carpet washing, paintwork and decor touch-ups, minor maintenance jobs, etc. That way, every room receives special attention at least once every 17 weeks.

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New toiletries trial at Riverside, plus other news

Posted on Thursday 24th August 2017 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Port Orleans Riverside is currently trialing new wall-mounted bathroom toiletry dispensers instead of the regular small bottles of shampoo and conditioner. Alligator Bayou building 14 is being used for the tests as it is the most popular, and thus consistently occupied, area of the resort.

There are three large bottles installed in a silver/chrome press-top dispenser unit on the wall at the end of the bath (the wall nearest to the door). The product is the same range as before, featuring H2O+ Bath Aquatics "Natural Spring" separate shampoo, conditioner and body wash (the regular small bottles are currently from H2O's the "Sea Marine" line). Guest reaction is being closely monitored, especially the amount of requests that the front desk or housekeeping receive daily for in-room supplies.


In other news, towels are currently being provided at the Riverside quiet pools, with one placed at the end of each sunbed in the morning and extras available in the laundry room.


The latest update to the My Disney Experience mobile app includes a number of resort-related improvements. You can now use the app to monitor your Disney Dining Plan credits and balance, and also see your room charges and your live folio balance. The previous update added online checkin to the list of mobile features, so it seems a lot of work is going into improving the hotel guest features.

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Port Orleans Refurbishment Updates

Posted on Wednesday 23rd August 2017 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The previously announced Riverside Mill food court flooring replacement project has been delayed by one week as the newly imported tiling got held up in customs for longer than expected. Work will now commence on Monday 28 August. The first area to be tackled will be the carpeted region closest to the door leading to Alligator Bayou as that is the smallest section and will allow the company to evaluate how long the process is likely to take. Then work will continue around the back of the food court, finishing with the section closest to Boatwright's Dining Hall. A new doorway leading directly from the food court into the Boatwright's upper seating area has been installed to help deal with the potential overcrowding issues, especially at breakfast time.

French Quarter's food court flooring is also being refreshed section-by-section at the moment, the project should take a few weeks to complete.

The waterwheel outside the Riverside Mill is currently turned off for maintenance. The water course/trough was repaired and refreshed last year, and now attention is being paid to the wheel itself. The work will take about a month, during which time there will be scaffolding erected along the end of the building. The food court windows facing into the work area have been covered with cladding.

The large carpet rugs in the Riverside lobby are away for cleaning, they should be back in place within the next week or so.

The next round of guest room "soft goods" refurbishments will commence at the beginning of 2018 starting with French Quarter rooms (one building at a time) and then progressing in the middle of the year to Riverside's Alligator Bayou section, and then on the rest of Riverside during 2019. Changes are still to be confirmed, but they will include replacing the existing carpeting with hard flooring, new larger wall-mounted TVs, and the addition of smaller details such as USB sockets for charging mobile devices. More details and dates will be confirmed later.

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August 2017 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules

Posted on Sunday 30th July 2017 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The August 2017 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 operating hours are currently 9am—10pm. These hours are enforced and the feature pools are gated and locked when there are no lifeguards on duty, however the five Riverside leisure ("quiet") pools are generally available at any time (within reason).

Movies Under the Stars will be screened at 8:30pm on Monday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday at Riverside, but only on Friday & Saturday at French Quarter. The evening campfire activities will take place from 6:30pm-7:30pm on the same evenings as the movies. There are no movies or campfires scheduled at either resort for Sunday, Tuesday or Thursday. On Saturday August 12, both resorts will be featuring the premiere of Disney XD’s new Duck Tales series.

Some other activities to watch out for (on select days, see schedules for details):

  • SassagoulaSelfie Scavenger Hunt — Grab a map and join in on an exciting selfie scavenger hunt around Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside. To get started, visit the Riverside Levee Marina from 9:00am-5:00pm! Be sure to share your selfies with the hashtags #SassagoulaSelfie and #PortOrleans.
  • Teen Arcade Challenge — Do you have what it takes to win our Teen Arcade Challenge? Guests ages 12-17 are encouraged to compete in our exciting challenges to win prizes! Join us at 4:30pm on Mondays and Thursdays in the Medicine Show Arcade at Port Orleans Riverside.
  • “Beignet Dash” Fun Run — A quick early morning Sunday Runday dash around French Quarter resort, finished with a tasty beignet (payment required). Check-in begins at 7:30am on the riverwalk between building 5 and the Doubloon Lagoon Pool. The run begins at 8:00am.
  • Fat Tuesdays — Let the good times roll! Join us every Tuesday at Doubloon Lagoon Pool for activities celebrating the spirit of Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter. There’s Mardi Gras magic for all ages!
  • Mardi Gras “Mask”-erade — Sashay your way down Alligator Alley to join in on Mardi Gras fun! Located near the Musical Alligators at French Quarter, our Mardi Gras fun will include dance parties and mask-making ($)
  • Family Game Night — Join us at the Mardi Grogs patio seating at French Quarter for a night filled with games and fun for the whole family.
    Glow with the Flow Pool Party — Come glow with the flow at our nighttime pool parties, at both Port Orleans Resorts.
  • Arts & Crafts or Mickey Tie-Dye T-shirt decoration — Explore your creative side with themed poolside arts & crafts / Create your own Mickey Tie-Dye shirt to commemorate your Walt Disney World Resort vacation (payment required).

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 (Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday). Note: Bob will be away on vacation commencing Friday 25th August and returning to the Port on Wednesday 6th September.

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. Occasionally when one of the boys is not available, Greg Hayworth (from Mulch, Sweat & Shears) will sit in. The 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—11pm) do yourself a favour and pop along, they are highly recommended.


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Visit Orlando's "Magical Dining Month" includes Boatwright's

Posted on Monday 10th July 2017 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Visit Orlando's annual "Magical Dining Month" will be occurring in September, and this year Boatwright's Dining Hall at Port Orleans Riverside will be included as one of the restaurants participating in the event.

Magical Dining is a month-long program (with a special preview week starting August 25) that ends on October 1, where participating restaurants feature three-course, prix fixe dinners at the special price of $35 per person. Each three-course dinner includes several choices of appetizer, entrée and dessert selected from the restaurant's regular menu. Tax and gratuity are not included, and you can book directly with Disney exactly as normal. No special vouchers are required, simply tell your server that you'd like to take advantage of the offer. One dollar from each meal will benefit a local charity - Freedom Ride or BASE Camp Children's Cancer Foundation.

It seems like a great deal - General Fulton's Prime Rib alone would otherwise cost you $34 at regular menu prices. For more details, see http://www.visitorlando.com/magicaldini ... all/46025/

Choice of Appetizers
Amelia’s Salad
fresh greens, seasonal ingredients, and house vinaigrette

Mardi Gras Fritters
house-made pimiento cheese fritters with pepper jelly

Crawfish Bisque
traditional-style bisque with crawfish tails, a touch of sherry, finished with crème fraîche

Choice of Entrées
Jackson Square Etouffee
crawfish simmered in rich seafood sauce over rice

Chicken and Dumplings
pan-seared chicken breast, hand-rolled potato dumplings, mixed vegetables, and cream sauce

General Fulton’s Prime Rib
slow-roasted prime rib with our specialty crafted chicory-coffee blend, mashed potatoes, seasonal vegetables, and horseradish cream

Choice of Desserts
Crème Brûlée

Seasonal Sorbet

Bourbon Street Pecan Pie



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July 2017 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules

Posted on Thursday 29th June 2017 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The July 2017 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules for Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter are now available, including Independence Day events. See the main Recreation Activities Schedules page for full-size printable PDF versions.

The main feature swimming pool operating hours are 9am—10pm which will continue during the peak summer months. These times are enforced and the feature pools are gated and locked when there are no lifeguards on duty, however the five Riverside leisure ("quiet") pools are generally available at any time (within reason).

Movies Under the Stars will be screened at 8:30pm on Monday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday at Riverside, but only on Friday & Saturday at French Quarter. The evening campfire activities resumed on 19 June and will take place from 6:30pm-7:30pm on the same evenings as the movies. There are no movies or campfires scheduled at either resort for Sunday, Tuesday or Thursday.

Some other activities to watch out for (select days, see schedules for details):

  • SassagoulaSelfie Scavenger Hunt — Grab a map and join in on an exciting selfie scavenger hunt around Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside. To get started, visit the Riverside Levee Marina from 9:00am-5:00pm! Be sure to share your selfies with the hashtags #SassagoulaSelfie and #PortOrleans.
  • Teen Arcade Challenge — Do you have what it takes to win our Teen Arcade Challenge? Guests ages 12-17 are encouraged to compete in our exciting challenges to win prizes! Join us at 4:30pm on Mondays and Thursdays in the Medicine Show Arcade at Port Orleans Riverside.
  • “Beignet Dash” Fun Run — A quick early morning Sunday Runday dash around French Quarter resort, finished with a tasty beignet (payment required). Check-in begins at 7:30am on the riverwalk between building 5 and the Doubloon Lagoon Pool. The run begins at 8:00am.
  • Fat Tuesdays — Let the good times roll! Join us every Tuesday at Doubloon Lagoon Pool for activities celebrating the spirit of Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter. There’s Mardi Gras magic for all ages!
  • Mardi Gras “Mask”-erade — Sashay your way down Alligator Alley to join in on Mardi Gras fun! Located near the Musical Alligators at French Quarter, our Mardi Gras fun will include dance parties and mask-making ($)
  • Family Game Night — Join us at the Mardi Grogs patio seating at French Quarter for a night filled with games and fun for the whole family.
    Glow with the Flow Pool Party — Come glow with the flow at our nighttime pool parties, at both Port Orleans Resorts.
  • Arts & Crafts or Mickey Tie-Dye T-shirt decoration — Explore your creative side with themed poolside arts & crafts / Create your own Mickey Tie-Dye shirt to commemorate your Walt Disney World Resort vacation (payment required).

Independence Day (Tuesday 4th July) Activities

Note: There is no afternoon Barbecue event occurring on Ol’ Man Island this year.

Ol’ Man Island (Riverside)
  • 1:00pm Beach Ball Boom!
  • 1:30pm Red, White & Water Balloon Games
  • 2:00pm Watermelon Eating Contest
  • 3:00pm Star Spangled Scavenger Hunt
  • 3:30pm All-American Pool Party
  • 4:30pm Mickey Tie-Dye ($)
  • 6:30pm–7:30pm Stars, Stripes & S’Mores! Join us at our evening campfire for complimentary marshmallows with s’mores kits available for purchase.
  • 8:30pm–9:30pm Red, White & Glow Pool Party. Join us as we light up the night to celebrate the Fourth of July with our Red, White & Glow Pool Party! There will be lights, dancing, games and prizes for all!
Doubloon Lagoon pool (French Quarter)
  • 1:00pm Beach Ball Boom!
  • 1:30pm Mickey Tie-Dye ($)
  • 3:00pm Red, White and Blue Balloon Toss
  • 3:30pm Patriotic Pool Party
  • 4:30pm Watermelon Eating Contest
  • 5:30pm Stars and Stripes Scavenger Hunt
  • 6:30pm Backyard Bash Lawn Games (on French Quarter Green, by buildings 5 & 6)
  • 7:00pm All-American Campfire (on French Quarter Green, by buildings 5 & 6)
  • 8:30pm Light Up the Night: Red, Blue and White Pool 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 (Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday).

Note: Bob will be playing all of his regular shows throughout June, July and most of August. However he will be away on vacation commencing Friday 25th August and returning to the Port on Wednesday 6th September.

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. Occasionally when one of the boys is not available, Greg Hayworth (from Mulch, Sweat & Shears) will sit in. The 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—11pm) do yourself a favour and pop along, they are highly recommended.


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2018 Rack Rates released for direct US bookings

Posted on Wednesday 21st June 2017 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The USA ‘rack rates’ for Rooms and Packages in 2018 were released on Tuesday 20 June 2017, roughly the same time that they have been issued for the past two years. You can now book rooms and packages with Disney online or via the Disney telephone Reservations Center for 2018 vacations, up to the normal maximum of 499 days in advance.

For the first time ever, the highest daily rates at Port Orleans — a ‘moderate’ resort — exceed $400 per night, which is over the Christmas period in a Royal Pool View or Royal River View room. Ouch! It looks like at French Quarter, King Bed and Pool Views are still considered the premium options now, way higher than River View. Also the variations within the four Royal Room categories often remain fairly minor, so if you’re planning on splurging on a Royal Room then you might want to consider the excellently-located Pool View, or River View, options.

Overall, room prices have risen by an average of 5.54% from last year’s rates, which equates to +13% from two years ago, and +18.4% since 2015. See the Room Rates Page for more details.

I’ve been having real difficulty trying to understand and differentiate the seasonal grouping blocks this year, as many of the blocks now seem to include up to three weekly price points (Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday being the cheapest, then Sunday & Thursday, and finally Friday & Saturday at a really hefty premium). This is what is causing all the wild fluctuations in the graphs below. Once I know the seasonal grouping dates I can create average weekly rates for each season type, which should make the graphs more readable and useful.

In the meantime, I’ve created a spreadsheet covering each of the sixteen room categories at Port Orleans for every day in 2018, which you can DOWNLOAD HERE. I did observe that some of the initial prices released on 20 June had changed two days later, so while that list is accurate as of 22 June 2017 there may be some further modifications over time.

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Evening Campfires due to resume from 19 June

Posted on Friday 16th June 2017 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The evening campfire activities, which were temporarily suspended on 14 April due to extremely dry weather and local wildfire risks, are scheduled to return next week, commencing 19 June. They will be included in the July schedules, but for the rest of June:

Port Orleans Riverside will hold its Campfire on de' Bayou events on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday evenings from 6:30pm to 7:30pm.

Port Orleans French Quarter will hold its Cajun Campfire events on Friday and Saturday evenings from 6:30pm to 7:30pm.

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Campfire on de' Bayou at Port Orleans Riverside

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Arneil the French Quarter Greeter Celebrates 30 Years at WDW

Posted on Sunday 11th June 2017 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

[Posted by friend-of-the-site Steve Denney]

Congratulations Arneil!

On June 20th, Arneil, the instantly recognizable and very popular Greeter at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort French Quarter, will be celebrating 30 years as a Walt Disney World Cast Member. Arneil, who is a Viet Nam veteran, came to Disney from Illinois in 1987. He began working at EPCOT Center as an Attractions Host in Future World at what was then called World of Motion (which later became GM’s Test Track.) He also worked at the much-missed Horizons attraction before that too closed.

In 1990, when the Walt Disney World Yacht and Beach Club Resorts first opened, Arneil became one of their original Bell Services cast members. He remained there for sixteen years, subsequently transferring to Disney’s Wilderness Lodge in 2006.

After nearly five more years at Wilderness Lodge, Arneil was encouraged by his friends in Disney management to take on the role for which he has since become so well known. In 2010, Arneil created the colorful “Monarch of the Mardi Gras” persona for the many guests arriving, departing or just passing through the lobby at Port Orleans French Quarter.

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Anyone who takes a few minutes to stop and chat with Arneil will quickly appreciate that he loves people, and particularly enjoys the opportunity to interact with all of the diverse cultures and backgrounds that are represented by Disney guests.

Although his first name is of Scottish origin – he is named after a family friend in Glasgow – Arneil is primarily of Dutch heritage. It doesn’t take much encouragement for him to share his Dutch roots with anyone who is interested, and you’ll find that he has some interesting, and famous, ancestors.

Arneil is an avid reader with a keen interest in history and languages, so it should not surprise anyone to know that he speaks several languages fluently, including Dutch, Flemish, German and Afrikaans. But what may not be so obvious is that he is also able to greet guests in more than a dozen more languages. Saying “hello,” “goodbye,” or simply exchanging well wishes in such diverse tongues as Spanish, Hindi, French, Filipino, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Greek, Polish, Italian, Vietnamese, and Arabic has become second nature for him, and an integral part of his Mardi Gras persona.

Arneil, with his plume-adorned top hat and clad in the bright green, gold and purple of Mardi Gras, has become an iconic presence in the French Quarter lobby, often the first cheery face that you see on arrival, and the last to wish you “Bon Voyage” as you depart.

I encourage you to stop and chat whenever you have the time, and especially if you happen to be at French Quarter on Tuesday June 20th don’t forget to congratulate him on thirty years with Walt Disney World, a milestone certainly worthy of recognition and appreciation.

Incidentally, although Arneil may not be a member of these forums, he does read the posts from time to time - so, if you have any comments, memories or well-wishes for him, post them here or on this Facebook thread and we’ll make sure he sees them.

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Last summer, I wrote a short song for Arneil which I presented to him at the end of one shift, along with a copy of the lyrics as a keepsake. The acoustics of the glass and tile lobby were not exactly conducive to getting a studio-quality recording with non-professional video gear, but a few attempts later in Scat Scat’s we got something that while maybe not technically perfect seemed to capture the spirit nicely. You’ll note that Arneil was quite familiar with the lyrics by then, and started acting them out as we went along!

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June 2017 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules

Posted on Monday 29th May 2017 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The June 2017 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.

As from Sunday 28 May, the main feature swimming pool operating hours are 9am—10pm which will continue during the peak summer months. These times are enforced and the feature pools are gated and locked when there are no lifeguards on duty, however the five Riverside quiet pools are generally available at any time (within reason).

Movies Under the Stars will be screened at 8:30pm on Monday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday at Riverside, but only on Friday & Saturday at French Quarter. There are no movies scheduled at either resort for Sunday, Tuesday or Thursday.

The evening campfires are currently still suspended due to local dry conditions and fire hazards.

Riverside is adding some new activities into the mix this month in a similar vein to those introduced at French Quarter in May:

  • Swashbucklin’ Saturdays — A fun-filled day of Pirate activities. The activities start at 1pm on Ol’ Man Island and wrap up with the screening of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl at 8:30pm.
  • Sunday, Tuesday & Thursday, 8:30pm—9:30pm: Glow with the Flow Pool Party — Join us on Ol’ Man Island as we Glow with the Flow of the Sassagoula River into the night! The parties occur on evenings when there is no Movie Under the Stars showing.
  • Daily: #SassagoulaSelfie Scavenger Hunt — Grab a map and join in on an exciting selfie scavenger hunt around Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside. Guest may visit the Riverside Levee Marina from 9am—5pm daily to get started.
  • Continuing Daily: Arts & Crafts ($), Mickey Tie-Dye T-shirt decoration ($), Ol’ Man Island Pool Party, and other regular poolside activities. Times vary, see schedule.
French Quarter’s new activities continue this month too, with slightly less emphasis on poolside games and Movies Under the Stars than Riverside:
  • Sunday 8am: “Beignet Dash” Fun Run — A quick early morning dash around the resort, finished with a tasty beignet (payment required). Check-in begins at 7:30am on the riverwalk between building 5 and the Doubloon Lagoon Pool. The run begins at 8:00am.
  • Monday & Tuesday, 7:30pm—9:30pm: Doubloon Lagoon Glow Party — Come glow with the flow at the Doubloon Lagoon Glow Party.
  • Wednesday 7pm—9pm: Family Game Night — Join us in Scat Cat’s Lounge for a night filled with games and fun for the whole family.
  • Thursday 8pm—10pm: Mardi Gras Musical Mixer — Bebop on down to Scat Cat’s Lounge for a night filled with your favorite musical activities.
  • Friday & Saturday 8:30pm: Movies Under the Stars (Jungle Book (2016) and Cars this month).
  • Daily: Mardi Gras Pool Party — Bring the whole family for fun and exciting games during our afternoon pool party! Also Disney Trivia or Name That... on select days. Times vary, see schedule.
  • Daily: Arts & Crafts or Mickey Tie-Dye T-shirt decoration — Explore your creative side with themed poolside arts & crafts / Create your own Mickey Tie-Dye shirt to commemorate your Walt Disney World Resort vacation (payment required). Times vary, see schedule.

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 (Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday).

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. Occasionally when one of the boys is not available, Greg Hayworth (from Mulch, Sweat & Shears) will sit in. The 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—11pm) do yourself a favour and pop along, they are highly recommended.


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Build-Your-Own Bloody Mary at the Muddy Rivers pool bar

Posted on Sunday 28th May 2017 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

A new adult-oriented activity is being trialled at the Muddy Rivers pool bar: Build-Your-Own Bloody Mary.

Available Sunday lunchtimes, 11am-1pm, for $13 you can get a Bloody Mary made with whatever extras you desire - including Ham & Salami, Cheese, Bacon, Pickles, Limes, Celery and Peppers.

This is currently a test, but if successful they plan to move it indoors to the River Roost Lounge.

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Port Orleans Riverside Barbecue Events - 16 and 29 May 2017

Posted on Monday 15th May 2017 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Apparently Tuesday 16th May 2017 will be National Barbecue Day! Who knew? Well obviously someone in the Port Orleans Riverside Food & Beverage team received the memo anyway, as the resort will be providing a mini Food and Wine festival all of its own between 5:30pm and 8:30pm on Tuesday 16 May. Representatives from the resort’s brewery sponsor Abita will be on hand, and the chefs have dreamed up a range of delicacies to suit every taste that will be freshly cooked for guests. There will be plenty of other fun too, including music, dancing and craft activities.

Rather than buying one specific meal, you will be able to purchase special coupons to redeem for the various food and drink items at the event. For $15.99 adults will receive four coupons, while children will get two coupons for $8.99. Drinks will cost £12.50 for two beverage coupons. You will also be able to make use of Disney Dining Plan credits.

  • Smoked Brisket with Homemade Mac & Cheese, paired with Sassagoula Sweet Tea.
  • Grilled BBQ Shrimp with Southern Style Cheesy Grits, paired with the Abita Amber.
  • Grilled Andouille Crusted Zellwood Corn on the Cob.
  • Abita Turbo Dog BBQ Pork Slider with Summer Slaw, paired with the Abita Turbo Dog Beer.
  • Spicy Satsuma Bayou Wings, paired with a Citrus Crush.
  • Southern Sweets, paired with a Bailey’s Frozen Cappuccino.
Memorial Day (Monday 29 May) will also see an afternoon outdoor barbecue event located beside the Muddy Rivers pool bar on Ol’ Man Island. Similar to the ones held on other recent public holidays which have proven very popular, you will be able to purchase a selection of freshly grilled items:
  • Cheeseburger $10.29
  • BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich $9.99
  • Grilled Hot Dog $7.49
  • Grilled Corn on the Cob $3.99
  • Sassagoula Shaved Ice (assorted flavors) $3.99 [Presumably not grilled!]
  • All Entrées will be served with choice of two sides, which include coleslaw, baked beans, and house-made chips.
  • All items are eligible on the Disney Dining Plan.

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"Ye Haa" Bob Jackson Celebrates 20 Years of Port Orleans fun

Posted on Thursday 4th May 2017 by The Sassagoula Sentinel


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On the 4th of May 1997, a new piano player named Bob Jackson made his first appearance at the Cotton Co-Op lounge at Disney's Dixie Landings Resort, following a recommendation to apply from none other than the lounge's previous incumbent who he met at a gig at Orlando's Blazing Pianos bar. Dixie Landings (renamed a few years later to Port Orleans Riverside) was to become the regular home for his "Ye Haa Bob" persona for the next 20 years.

Surprisingly at the time, the Cotton Co-Op was not especially well-known as a nighttime entertainment venue, filled mainly with weary tourists relaxing after a long day at the parks, or guests waiting for their reservations at the nearby Boatwright's Dining Hall. However Bob saw the potential to turn this location into a lively destination attraction, and his duelling piano background, which necessitated getting people up on their feet and singing along, gave him the experience needed to bring the same vibe and energy to his new home.

Two decades later, and now an official Walt Disney Legacy Award recipient, "Ye Haa" Bob Jackson is still wowing the crowds four nights a week at what is now known as the River Roost Lounge. His zany mixture of toe-tapping, sing-a-long standards, and increasingly frequent Disney classics performed in his own inimitable and enormously energetic style, attracts a multi-generational crowd from babes-in-arms to octogenarians, all of whom are encouraged to join in the fun, and his amazing memory comes to the fore as he interacts with his audience members by name.

Away from the Port, Bob is a talented musician and composer in his own right. He began playing piano from a very early age, and was a music composition major at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. He has also worked at many other locations around Orlando (such as Rosie O'Grady's at the new-defunct Church Street Station, SeaWorld, and Universal's CityWalk) and around Walt Disney World (including the Diamond Horseshoe Revue in the Magic Kingdom). Bob has recorded at least ten CDs (available from his website) including collections of his own original material. He also regularly performs at local churches and for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families at the wish-fulfilling "Give Kids the World" village.

As Bob so often says at his shows, "no one has more fun than us," and given that he can count the likes of Disney/Pixar's Chief Creative Officer John Lasseter among his many fans, he's probably right!

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May 2017 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules

Posted on Thursday 27th April 2017 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The May 2017 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 operating hours are currently 10am—9pm. These times are enforced and the feature pools are gated and locked when there are no lifeguards on duty, however the five Riverside quiet pools are generally available at any time (within reason). The evening campfires are currently suspended due to local dry conditions and fire hazards, and the Movies Under the Stars will be screened at 8:30pm on Monday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday at Riverside, but only on Friday & Saturday at French Quarter. There are no movies scheduled at either resort for Tuesday, Thursday or Sunday.

The recreation activities at Riverside will be similar to those presented for the last year or two, but French Quarter sees some changes this month:

  • Sunday 8am: “Beignet Dash” Fun Run — a quick early morning dash around the resort, finished with a tasty beignet (payment required)
  • Monday & Tuesday, 6:30pm—8:30pm: Doubloon Lagoon Glow Party — Come glow with the flow at the Doubloon Lagoon Glow Party
  • Wednesday 7pm—9pm: Family Game Night — Join us in Scat Cat’s Lounge for a night filled with games and fun for the whole family
  • Thursday 8pm—10pm: Mardi Gras Musical Mixer — Bebop on down to Scat Cat’s Lounge for a night filled with your favorite musical activities
  • Friday & Saturday 8:30pm: Movies Under the Stars (Moana or Finding Nemo this month)
  • Arts & Crafts Activities or Mickey Tie-Dye T-shirt decoration presented daily (payment required) but otherwise there is a generally reduced selection of afternoon poolside activities

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 (Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday).

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. Occasionally when one of the boys is not available, Greg Hayworth (from Mulch, Sweat & Shears) will sit in. The 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—11pm) do yourself a favour and pop along, they are highly recommended.


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Summer/Fall 2017 Offers, including (limited) Free Dining

Posted on Tuesday 25th April 2017 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The free “Disney Dining Plan” offer for USA room & ticket package bookings during Fall 2017 was announced on 24 April 2017, and as usual it’s sadly only of limited benefit to Port Orleans guests. Given that our two favourite resorts already sell very well, Disney simply doesn’t need to offer very much in the way of extra enticement, especially for the smaller French Quarter resort.

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Port Orleans French Quarter is completely excluded from the 2017 free dining offer, however at Riverside the Quick Service plan is being offered in limited quantities and room categories for arrivals from 21 August to 30 September 2017. There is a minimum stay of three nights and you must purchase at least two days of Park Hopper tickets per person to be eligible. You can also upgrade to the Regular or Deluxe Dining Plans for a fee. Bookings must be made by 7 July.

In addition to Free Dining there are some other Summer/Fall 2017 room-only offers worth considering, although again you may have to be quick to snap up anything for Port Orleans as the allocation is limited. Theme park tickets can be added to the discounted room rates to build a package.
  • Summer Room-Only Discount: Up to 25% off many Moderate Resort rooms for stays from 28 May to 31 August 2017 (must be booked by 14 July). French Quarter is completely excluded, and availability at Riverside (15% discount) is now fairly limited too.
  • Enchanted Escape Room-Only Discount: Up to 25% off many Moderate Resort rooms for stays from 1 August to 7 October 2017 (must be booked by 31 August). Both Riverside (15%—20%) AND French Quarter (20%, but from 1 Sep—7 Oct only) are included in this offer, but book soon as availability is limited.
As always, please see the excellent http://www.MouseSavers.com website for full details of this and other offers.

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Easter Sunday Activities, 16 April 2017

Posted on Friday 14th April 2017 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Port Orleans Easter Sunday Recreation Activities, Character Greetings and Movie Schedules for 16 April 2017

Note: ** As from 14 April 2017, all campfire activities at Walt Disney World are temporarily suspended due to the extremely dry weather and local outbreaks of wildfires.

Riverside

9am — Candy Scramble (Building 90 Courtyard)
9:30am — Lawn Games (Building 90 Courtyard)
9:30am–11:30am — Character Greetings (Building 90 Courtyard)
10:00am — The Egg Hunt (Pathway to Ol’ Man Island)

Ol’ Man Island Poolside Activities:
11:30am–12:30pm — Mickey Tie-Dye ($)
12:30pm–1:30pm — Bunny Hoppin’ Pool Party
1:30pm–2pm — Egg Drop
2pm–3pm — What’s In Your Easter Basket?
3pm–3:30pm — Egg-straordinary Trivia
3:30pm–4:30pm — Easter Arts & Crafts ($)

6:30pm–7:30pm — Campfire on de’ Bayou (Ol’ Man Island) **

French Quarter

9am — Candy Scramble (Courtyard Lawn between Buildings 5 & 6)
9:30am — Lawn Games (Courtyard Lawn between Buildings 5 & 6)
10am — The Egg Hunt (Pathway to Doubloon Lagoon Pool)

Doubloon Lagoon Poolside Activities:
11:30am–12:30pm — Easter Arts & Crafts ($)
12:30pm–1pm — Egg Drop
1pm–2pm — Bunny Hoppin’ Pool Party
2pm–3pm — Mickey Tie-Dye ($)
3pm–3:30pm — Egg-straordinary Trivia
3:30pm–4:30pm — What’s In Your Easter Basket?

5:00pm–7:00pm — Character Greetings (Courtyard Lawn between Buildings 5 & 6)
6:30pm–7:30pm — Cajun Campfire (Courtyard between Buildings 5 & 6) **
8:30pm — Movie Under the Stars, “Zootopia” (Courtyard Lawn between Buildings 5 & 6)

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(Setting up the Easter 2016 Candy Scramble, photo by David Kletter)

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April 2017 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules

Posted on Thursday 30th March 2017 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The April 2017 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 operating hours are currently 10am—9pm. These times are enforced and the feature pools are gated and locked when there are no lifeguards on duty, however the five Riverside quiet pools are generally available at any time (within reason). The evening campfires are scheduled for 6:30pm—7:30pm, 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.

At 1pm at French Quarter and 3:30pm at Riverside there will be poolside Arts & Crafts Activities, with Mickey Tie-Dye T-shirt decoration occurring on select days as shown on the schedules (payment required for these activities). See Resort signage or a Recreation Cast Member for details.

April 11 Movie Preview: Disneynature’s “Born in China”. Join us at Port Orleans Riverside for a special advanced screening of the new film which ventures into the wilds of China, capturing intimate moments with three animal families: a doting panda bear, a two-year-old golden snub-nosed monkey and a mother snow leopard.

Easter Sunday activities will be announced closer to the date.

The “Bayou Pirate Adventure” riverboat activity cruise for children aged 4—12, which ran three days a week from the Riverside Marina, has been discontinued at short notice. The final cruise was on March 30th 2017. Similar cruises remain available from several other Walt Disney World resorts such as the Yacht & Beach Club, the Grand Floridian and the Caribbean Beach. Disney is currently in the process of contacting any guests who have already made bookings for this activity to offer them alternatives or compensation.

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 (Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday).

Note: Bob will not be playing his regular shows on Wednesday 19 April or Thursday 20 April as he will be on vacation.

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. Occasionally when one of the boys is not available, Greg Hayworth (from Mulch, Sweat & Shears) will sit in. The 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—11pm) do yourself a favour and pop along, they are highly recommended.


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Bayou Pirate Adventure cruise ending 30 March 2017

Posted on Tuesday 28th March 2017 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Sadly, the kids' "Bayou Pirate Adventure" riverboat activity cruise for children aged 4-12, which ran three days a week from the Riverside Marina, will be discontinued at the end of this month. The final cruise will take place on Thursday 30 March.

Similar cruises will remain available from several other Walt Disney World resorts, such as the Yacht & Beach Club, the Grand Floridian, and presumably still Caribbean Beach too (although at the moment there is so much construction going on at that resort that it wouldn't be my first choice).

[Update: This decision must have been made fairly recently, so Disney is currently in the process of contacting any guests who have already made future bookings for this activity to offer them alternatives or compensation]

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March 2017 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules

Posted on Wednesday 1st March 2017 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The March 2017 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 operating hours are currently 10am—9pm. These times are enforced and the feature pools are gated and locked when there are no lifeguards on duty, however the five Riverside quiet pools are generally available at any time (within reason). The evening campfires are scheduled for 5:30pm—6:30pm, and the Movies Under the Stars will be screened at 7:30pm, 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.

At 1pm daily there will be Arts & Crafts Activities, with Mickey Tie-Dye T-shirt decoration occurring on select days as shown on the schedules (payment required for these activities). See Resort Lobby signage or a Recreation Cast Member for details.


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 (Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday).

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. Occasionally when one of the boys is not available, Greg Hayworth (from Mulch, Sweat & Shears) will sit in. The 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—11pm) do yourself a favour and pop along, they are highly recommended.

Jason & Billy at Scat Cat’s: March 4, 5, 6, 7*, 11*, 12, 13, 14*, 18, 19, 20, 21*, 25, 26, 27* & 28. * Jason will be playing with Greg Hayworth on March 7, 14, 21 & 27, and on March 11 there will be a solo show from John Stevens.


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Mardi Gras events at Port Orleans French Quarter, 28 Feb

Posted on Thursday 23rd February 2017 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Port Orleans has always had a reputation for fun and games at Mardi Gras (which this year occurs on Tuesday 28th February) and this time there will be a number of brand new activities available at French Quarter - although guests from Riverside are of course very welcome to attend too. Some events will be free, while others will incur additional charges.

In addition to the regular afternoon poolside games, guests can enjoy:

10am—11am - Pargo Parade : The annual parade will begin at Riverside and end in the French Quarter Courtyard. Organised by the cast members of the resort to kick off the Mardi Gras celebrations, pick a location along the parade route to watch a series of fun decorated floats inventively created using the resort's 'pargo' carts. Candy and beads will be distributed by the parade participants.

11am—Noon : Guest Interaction with Pargo Parade participants.

Noon—2pm - Painting on de’ Bayou : Located by the Scat Cat’s Stage, guests will experience an instructor-led class allowing them to create their very own New Orleans themed masterpiece to take home, priced at $39.99 + tax. Scat Cat’s Club will offer a full menu and specialty drinks, with a cocktail server to take your orders.

3pm—5pm - Scat Cat’s “Magic Mardi Gras Mixer” : Located in the Scat Cat’s Club lounge, adult guests will be able to indulge in the spirit of Mardi Gras with specialty food and cocktails, and there will be a Roaming Magician available to spellbind everyone.

5pm—8pm - Mardi Gras Courtyard Celebration : Located in the French Quarter Courtyard, events will include Mickey Tie Dye ($17 + tax), Beignet Walk, Dance Party hosted by a DJ, King Cake Eating Contest, Create Your Own Mardi Gras themed Tumbler/Wine Glass ($8.00 + tax), Bead Toss, Roaming Magician.

5:30pm—6:30pm - Cajun Campfire (note the later than normal start time).

7pm - Movie Under the Stars : “The Princess and the Frog” screened on the lawn between buildings 5 & 6.

In the event of inclement weather, events will be moved into the French Quarter Lobby.

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Valentine's Day events at Port Orleans

Posted on Monday 13th February 2017 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

If you are visiting Port Orleans this week there are a few special Valentine's Day activities (all clean family-friendly fun!) on Tuesday February 14th, plus a special four course menu-for-two available at Boatwright's Dining Hall in the evening for $120, finished off a with champagne toast. Thanks as always to Special Agent John for the photos.

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Package and Mail Delivery fee of $5 per item from 12 Feb

Posted on Friday 10th February 2017 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Effective this Sunday, 12 February 2017, there will be a $5 handling fee charged for every incoming mail item or package delivered to the resort for guests. This follows a (presumably-successful?) trial carried out at the Value resorts over the last few months , during which I guess 'successful' was defined as making more money for Disney than before they started charging? With the current trend of nickel and diming guests at every opportunity, I can’t say I’m exactly surprised though. See https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/guest ... -services/ for the official announcement (tucked in after the bullet points at the bottom).

The fee is per box or envelope, whatever the size or shape - and regardless of whether it's a single small letter or a large heavy box. However the fee will not apply to deliveries dropped off in person at Bell Services such as Garden Grocer, Owner's Locker, etc. It also does not apply to internal WDW items such as Disney Florist, Disney Vacation Club and purchases made at the parks and sent back to your hotel, nor will it be charged for gifts or items that the guest wasn't expecting (such as items left by other guests, travel agent welcome packages, etc).

To be honest I think the biggest reason for this charge is the massive increase in the quantity of product that people are having shipping to them, which is I suspect due in large part to the prevalence of information, tips and suggestions passed round on the internet (including sites like this one). Also with airlines charging more for bringing stuff along as baggage, and Disney charging ever more for something as simple as a bottle of water, it will probably only get worse.

Ten years ago there would be a few guest items a day delivered to the resort, and this would be handled by front desk staff as needed. Now though, there is a constant flow of delivery people with boxes stacked to the ceiling throughout the day. POR has had to allocate a complete extra room (which used to be office space) solely for package storage, and there is now a dedicated staff member to handle everything.

While this does all seem like another case of biting the hand that feeds, I guess as long as the incremental revenue remains greater than the losses incurred from guests deciding that it’s no longer worthwhile to stay on property, this sort of thing will continue whatever anyone says. The next two charges that I fear we might see before too long will be the implementation of a resort parking fee, and/or the addition a per night resort surcharge - as if that wasn’t already embedded into the extraordinarily high rack rates which went up again by 7% per year. I do hope not, but only time will tell.

However if you are unhappy with this charge being surreptitiously added, I suggest you make your complaint known at the time and see what can be done about it.

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Separate 'Internal Shuttle' Bus Service Ending

Posted on Wednesday 8th February 2017 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The separate 'Internal Shuttle' bus service that was launched at the start of December will be ending on 12 February 2017 due to lack of demand. The system will revert back to its previous arrangement where the Disney Springs buses also act as an internal shuttle service between the Port Orleans bus stops.

From 12 February, the Disney Springs bus service will stop first at French Quarter, then continue on to Riverside calling at the South, West, North and East Depots, then it will stop again at French Quarter before exiting the resort and heading to Disney Springs.

Reminder: The Port Orleans to Disney Springs bus service no longer calls en route at Typhoon Lagoon after 1pm. Instead, guests travelling after 1pm need to change at Disney Springs for a dedicated Typhoon Lagoon bus. Similarly, there is no direct bus service at any time for guests travelling from Port Orleans to Blizzard Beach, instead you'll need to get a bus to Animal Kingdom first and change there to a direct Blizzard Beach bus.

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Happy 25th Anniversary to Port Orleans Riverside

Posted on Thursday 2nd February 2017 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Twenty-five years ago, at the far end of the Disney-created Sassagoula River, a new hotel complex was nearing completion ready to become the sister resort for the recently-opened Disney's Port Orleans...

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Disney’s Dixie Landings Resort opened to the public on 2nd February 1992 featuring the charming rustic-styled Alligator Bayou Lodge buildings. Shortly after that, phase two of the resort opened with the more elegant sophistication of the Magnolia Bend mansion buildings, bringing the total number of guest rooms up to 2,048.

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On 1st April 2001, the original Port Orleans and Dixie Landings locations officially merged to form one large resort. The combined complex was now to be called Disney’s Port Orleans Resort, with the area formerly known just as Port Orleans changing its name to Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter and the area formerly known as Dixie Landings changing its name to Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside. The combined resort now spanned some 325 acres and featured a total of 3,056 guest rooms, making it the largest in Walt Disney World.

For more background on the History of Dixie Landings and Port Orleans, please see our History and Backstory pages.


Twenty-five wonderful years of creating Southern-themed magic later, and the spirit of Dixie Landings (if not the original name) lives on.

We'd like to wish all the cast members past and present a wonderful Disney Birthday, and we look forward to visiting for the next 25 magical years.



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February 2017 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules

Posted on Wednesday 1st February 2017 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The February 2017 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 pools are currently 10am—8pm, which will be extended to a 9pm closing time from February 12th. These hours are enforced and the feature pools are gated and locked when there are no lifeguards on duty, however the five Riverside quiet pools are generally available at any time (within reason). The evening campfires are scheduled for 5pm—6pm, and the Movies Under the Stars will be screened at 7pm, 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.

The Valentine's Day movie will be Cinderella (animated), presented at Port Orleans French Quarter only

From noon—1:30pm daily there will be Arts & Crafts Activities, and on select days there will be Mickey Tie-Dye T-shirt decoration at 2pm (payment is required for all of these activities). See Resort Lobby signage or a Recreation Cast Member for details.

The format of the Recreation Calendar handouts changed at the end of 2016, with all of the activities for each resort now listed on one side only (a resort map is printed on the back).


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 (Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday).

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. Occasionally when one of the boys is not available, Greg Hayworth (from Mulch, Sweat & Shears) will sit in. The 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—11pm) do yourself a favour and pop along, they are highly recommended.

Jason & Billy at Scat Cat’s: February 4, 6, 7*, 12, 13*, 14, 18, 19, 20, 21*, 25 [TBC], 26, 27 & 28*. Note: Jason will be playing with Greg Hayworth* on February 7, 13, 21 & 28.



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French Quarter "Doubloon Lagoon" maintenance work from 9 Jan

Posted on Saturday 7th January 2017 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

I've just had official confirmation that the French Quarter "Doubloon Lagoon" swimming pool and the new children's Aquatic Play Area will both be closed for routine maintenance next week, starting on Monday 9th January for approximately five days. Given that this sort of work requires significant advanced planning, and that the dates had already been included in recent press/travel agent information, it seems strange that paying guests are only now being informed about it.

The following communication will be provided in-room for guests staying at the resort:

Starting Monday 1/9/17 French Quarter Doubloon Lagoon Pool and Aquatic Play Area will be closed for cleaning and Maintenance. The French Quarter hot tub will remain open throughout the refurbishment. During this time Guests may see or hear work in progress.

We invite French Quarter Guests to make a splash at the Ol’ Man Island Pool, or any of the five leisure pools, located throughout Disney’s Port Orleans Resort. Recreation activities will also be available in the courtyard near the lobby at Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter.

For Guests’ convenience the following transportation options will be available during the closure:
  • Golf Cart Transportation, from 10:00am-8:00pm, at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter will be located in the courtyard near the Resort Lobby and at Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside at the leisure pool between Buildings 80 and 85.
  • Internal Bus transportation is available to Disney’s Port Orleans – Riverside during pool operating hours.
  • Boat transportation to Disney Port Orleans – Riverside operates from 10:00am-4:00pm.

We appreciate your understanding and apologize for any inconvenience. Should you have any questions or need additional assistance, our Front Desk Cast Members will be happy to assist you.


Update 14 Jan: The Doubloon Lagoon swimming pool and Aquatic Play Area are now open again. The water-slide will remain closed for a while longer while work on it is completed.

The pool hours are currently 10am-8pm, and the Mardi Grogs pool bar will be open from noon until 5pm (hours may be adjusted at bartender's discretion).

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January 2017 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules

Posted on Wednesday 4th January 2017 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The January 2017 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.

Some websites are reporting a few pool refurbishment closures this month but I haven’t had any official confirmation of these dates as yet so don’t be surprised if they change:
French Quarter, Doubloon Lagoon pool: Jan 9-13
Riverside, Magnolia Bend quiet pool: Jan 23-25


For the next few months, the main feature swimming pools will be operating their winter hours of 10am—8pm. These hours are enforced and the feature pools are now gated and locked when there are no lifeguards on duty, however the five Riverside quiet pool are not locked so you can use these pools at any time (within reason). The evening campfires are scheduled for 5pm—6pm, and the Movies Under the Stars will be screened at 7pm, 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.

From noon—1:30pm daily there will be Holiday Crafts (paid activities) including Create Your Own Picture Frame, No Sew Pillows, Create Your Own Countdown Plaque, Create Your Own Map Coasters or Ornaments, and Character Fuse Beads. See Resort Lobby signage or a Recreation Cast Member for details.

The format of the Recreation Calendar handouts changed at the end of 2016, with all of the activities for each resort now listed on one side only (a resort map is printed on the back).


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 (Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday). Note: Bob was off work for a couple of days at the end of December following a minor car accident, but he was back in time for the New Year’s Eve celebrations. Hope you’re feeling better Bob!

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. Occasionally when one of the boys is not available, Greg Hayworth (from Mulch, Sweat & Shears) will sit in. The 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—11pm) do yourself a favour and pop along, they are highly recommended.

Jason & Billy at Scat Cat’s: January 1, 2, 3*, 7, 8, 9*, 10, 15, 16, 17*, 21, 22, 23*, 24, 28, 29, 30* & 31. Note: Jason will be playing with Greg Hayworth* on January 3, 9, 17, 23 & 30.


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Bob Jackson involved in minor car accident

Posted on Thursday 29th December 2016 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Port Orleans Riverside's legendary entertainer "Ye Haa" Bob Jackson has reported via Facebook that he has been involved in a minor car accident (rear-end shunt). He is apparently OK, but will be off work for a couple of days and is hoping to be back in time for the New Year's Eve bash.

Our thoughts are with you for a speedy recovery Bob - and don't overdo the jumping around on your first day back!

[Update: Bob was back at the Port on December 30, thank goodness the accident wasn't more serious]

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Christmas & New Year Events, 2016

Posted on Monday 19th December 2016 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Christmas at Port Orleans has traditionally been a time filled with extra fun and activities, especially for the children, but this year’s plans seem somewhat more muted. Indeed, the cynics amongst us might even go so far as to say Scrooge-like given the exorbitant room-rates that are charged during this period (between $300 and $376 per night for a Moderate resort!). This year's special activities appear to consist broadly of the same content that would be provided at any other time, albeit with a Holiday overlay.

From what we’ve been told so far, there will be no pre-Christmas holiday singers in the lobbies [Update: see below], no Santa or Disney Character greetings on Christmas Eve, and not even the annual Gingerbread House competition appears in the lists. There won’t even be a campfire or movie featured at Riverside on Christmas Day this year; to find those, you’ll need to head over to French Quarter just like any other regular Sunday — and even the movies are the same titles that are being shown at weekends during the rest of the month.

Hopefully some of these perennially popular guest favourites might still turn up, but so far it looks as though the same bean-counters who so heavily trimmed back on the annual Mardi Gras celebrations this year may also have pulled the budget out from under Disney’s Christmas Magic too.

Christmas Eve

  • 1:00pm—2:45pm Holiday Themed Poolside Activities
  • 3:30pm—4:30pm Holiday Craft: Character Fuse Beads ($)
  • 5:30pm—6:30pm Campfires
  • 7:00pm Movies (Riverside: Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas / French Quarter: The Santa Clause)
Christmas Day
  • 1:00pm—2:45pm Holiday Themed Poolside Activities
  • 3:30pm—4:30pm Holiday Craft: No Sew Holiday Pillows ($)
  • 5:30pm—6:30pm Campfire (French Quarter only)
  • 7:00pm Movie (French Quarter only, The Nightmare Before Christmas)
New Year’s Eve (at both resorts)
  • 6:30pm—7:30pm Campfire
  • 7:30pm—8:30pm Craft: Make your own Toast Glass, sparkling cider included ($)
  • 9:00pm—12:30am New Year’s Eve Event, including: Sparkling Cider Toast, Games, Giveaways, DJ, Mickey Tie Dye ($), Dick Clark’s New Years Rockin’ Eve viewing
Update: Apparently there was a choir singing in the French Quarter courtyard on Sunday 18 Dec and then at the Riverside Levée marina area on 19 Dec. However nothing was mentioned in any of the schedules to communicate this to guests, so perhaps there’s still hope for some character greetings or a Santa drop-in on Christmas Eve?
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Photo courtesy of Mary Thomas on Facebook

There will also be a “Jolly Holiday” themed version of the Sassagoula River Pirate Cruise for kids aged 4—12. The cruises are available on Sunday 18, Tuesday 20, and Thursday 22 December and can be pre-booked by calling 1-407-WDW-PLAY. Checkin begins at 9am at the Riverside Levee Marina for a 9:30am departure, and the cruises will finish at the Fishin’ Hole on Ol’ Man Island at 11:30am. Snacks and drinks are included, and the event costs $39 plus tax per child.

I’m still awaiting confirmation as to whether the temporary "Scat Cat’s Café" table-service restaurant which operated from the old Bonfamille’s Café location at French Quarter during Christmas week last year will make a reappearance. So far it doesn’t look too hopeful though.

Update on 22 December: Sadly, the temporary table-service location at French Quarter that was opened over Christmas 2015 will not be making an appearance again this year. Apparently due to concerns that the Sassagoula Floatworks & Food Factory refurbishment might overrun its scheduled re-opening date, they felt unable to commit to using the Bonfamille’s Café space early enough to make definitive plans.

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December 2016 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules

Posted on Sunday 4th December 2016 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The December 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.

For the next few months, the main feature swimming pools will be operating their winter hours of 10am—9pm. These hours are enforced, and the feature pools are now gated and locked when there are no lifeguards on duty, however the five Riverside quiet pool are not locked so you can use these pools at any time (within reason). The evening campfires are scheduled for 5:30pm—6:30pm (please ignore the typo on the Riverside calendar), and the Movies Under the Stars will be screened at 7:00pm, 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.

From 3:30pm—4:30pm daily, there will be Holiday Crafts hosted in each of the resort lobbies. These paid activities include: Create Your Own Picture Frame, No Sew Pillows, Create Your Own Countdown Plaque, Create Your Own Map Coasters or Ornaments, and Character Fuse Beads. Also, for the entire month of December, every Saturday will feature Holiday-themed poolside activities.

The format of the Recreation Calendar handout sheets has changed this month, with all of the activities for each resort now listed on one side only (a resort map is printed on the back). Please check back closer to Christmas for the specific Holiday activities.


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 (Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday). During December, his shows will have a distinctly festive feel.

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. Occasionally when one of the boys is not available, Greg Hayworth (from Mulch, Sweat & Shears) will sit in. The 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—11pm) do yourself a favour and pop along, they are highly recommended.

Jason & Billy at Scat Cat’s: December 5, 6*, 11, 12*, 13*, 17, 18, 19, 20*, 26, 27* & 31. Note: Jason will be playing with Greg Hayworth* on December 6, 12, 13, 20 & 27.


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Changes to Port Orleans Bus Services

Posted on Thursday 1st December 2016 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

According to Orlando Park News, there have been a few minor, but very welcome, changes to the bus service provided at the Port Orleans resorts.

First, there is new a dedicated Internal Shuttle bus linking all four Riverside bus stops and French Quarter. There has been an Internal Shuttle system in place since early December 2015, which ran in conjunction with the Disney Springs route, but apparently this has now been extended to use a dedicated bus. The new shuttle service starts at 6:30am and provides round-trip transportation from French Quarter to Riverside South, West, North, and East until 12:30am daily, extended to 1am on Fridays and Saturdays.

Also, in an effort to reduce bus overcrowding and wait times during the peak demand period, from approx 8am until 11am the service from Riverside to the Magic Kingdom will now operate using two separate buses. The first will stop at the South Depot only, and the other will cater solely for the three outlying circle Depots, West, North and East. This should make using the outlying bus stops a much more attractive proposition for guests visiting the Magic Kingdom in the morning.

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Happy Thanksgiving - which means Christmas is not far away!

Posted on Thursday 24th November 2016 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Wishing a Very Happy Thanksgiving to everyone at Port Orleans today and during the extended Holiday weekend - and especially to the dedicated cast members who will be working today to keep the guests comfortable and happy.


And as is the custom, the Christmas decorations went up this week - in fact most were in place by Monday - and the whole resort is looking really festive this year, especially French Quarter.

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(Thanks John for the photos)

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Port Orleans French Quarter Food Court Re-opens

Posted on Monday 21st November 2016 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The Sassagoula Floatworks & Food Factory food court at Port Orleans French Quarter re-opened to guests on Saturday 19 November after a four-month refurbishment with a brand new menu and completely updated kitchen facilities, along with a new cleaner look. The fully updated menu is now available on our main food court page.

Notable changes include a New Orleans inspired menu, which includes many old favorites (such as beignets of course) alongside lots of exciting new options. New breakfast items include Breakfast Po’ Boys, Cajun Grit Bowl with Shrimp, Molasses-Cream Cheese Cinnamon Roll, Jumbo Sweet Potato Belgian Waffle, Grilled Steak and Scrambled Eggs, and Crispy Fried Chicken on Biscuit with Maple Bacon Jam. For Lunch/Dinner you could try Crawfish Mac & Cheese Burger, Create-Your-Own Signature Rice Bowl or Create-Your-Own Pasta, Southern Classic — ‘Meat & Three’, Cajun Bayou Pizza, Jambalaya, Daily Po’ Boys, Sassagoula Power Salad or French Quarter House Salad. Gelato has replaced the traditional ice cream flavours, which is a great upgrade.

Your food will now be served on real bamboo plates with proper metal cutlery instead of the previous paper plates and plastic knives and forks, bringing a much more upmarket feel to the dining experience. The trash & tray disposal areas have also been improved to allow depositing items for washing separately from general food waste and pizza boxes (although oddly nowhere for plastic bottles?) however only time will tell whether this may create something of a bottleneck when the food court is particularly busy.

The five food service counters have been reorganised slightly (the bakery is now in the middle for example) and the existing windows at either side of the service area have been removed. The redesign has also opened up access through to the main seating area (where the Grab'n'Go cabinets used to be) and moved the registers into that space instead. New taller Grab'n'Go cabinets have been installed in the middle of the already rather cramped space in the middle of the service area, which will surely just cause more congestion to the queues during busy periods? Within 24 hours staff were trying to address this issue by moving the cabinets around, but I'm surprised nobody realised the potential problem during the planning stages. I'm guessing they didn't want the service/register area to extend out any further out in the seating area as they are now quoting the restaurant capacity as 395 compared to the original 300.

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Refillable cold beverages are now available from eight new Coca Cola Freestyle machines - a very popular replacement for the previous two regular drink fountains - offering a far wider range of carbonated, still and diet options. The central beverage island is themed to resemble an unfinished 'work in progress' Mardi Gras parade float - or so they tell us anyway, but it doesn't seem very intuitive until you've been told.

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Which brings us neatly to perhaps the most controversial change: the theming, or perhaps more the lack of it. For a long time, guests have commented negatively on the huge 'creepy' masks hanging from the ceiling as part of the Mardi Gras float factory theme, and removing those faces was always going to be part of the overall plan for the refurbishment. However now there is nothing at all hanging from the ceiling, just industrial-looking steel girderwork and skylights (which admittedly does give the benefit of making the room feel lighter and more airy). The remaining few salvaged Mardi Gras props are now displayed on shallow balconies above doorways, where you may spot Tiana and Prince Naveen hidden within the playing card designs. The colourful New Orleans jester which previously stood proudly just outside the serving area is gone too. Even the flooring is now a nondescript grey rather than the warm earth tones that were featured before, and the chairs and new tall stools are cold metal designs rather than wooden.

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I have been told that there is still some detail work to be completed which won't be ready until January, and that they didn't want to risk delaying the re-opening any further to wait for it. This will apparently include some chandeliers for the main seating area, but it's hard to see how that will make a major impact in mitigating the rather stark and utilitarian feel.


The official ribbon-cutting ceremony, attended by French Quarter General Manager Punam Dayabhai-Jairambhai and one of the Walt Disney World Ambassadors, took place at 8:30am - however the food court had actually opened several hours earlier because it would have been impossible to transition the live food service from the previous day's temporary location back to the main food court during food service without causing major disruption to guests.



Regular visitor Steve Denney was on hand to bring us the latest opening news as it happened (all of which was posted live on our Facebook page over the weekend) and he has since consolidated his thoughts and photos into a review article in the comments.

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For other reports, please see Disney Parks Blog post, the DISboards overview, and the excellent AJ Wolfe's Disney Food Blog article (AJ's site is always well worth a visit for the excellent foodie photos anyway).

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French Quarter food court prepares for re-opening on 19 Nov

Posted on Thursday 17th November 2016 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

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So is everyone ready for Saturday's grand re-opening of the Port Orleans French Quarter food court? There's still some decor detail to be completed (although it seems that the ceiling will be plainer than before) but they are already testing out the kitchens on some very willing cast member victims (no guests yet, sorry) and the feedback is pretty good!

Breakfast choices include Sweet Potato Belgian Waffles, Buttermilk Pancakes with various toppings, Grilled Steak and Scrambled Eggs, Whole Grain Croissant Breakfast Sandwich, Crispy Fried Chicken on Biscuit with Maple Bacon Jam. All apparently served on real flatware with real cutlery rather than the previous paper plates and plastic knives and forks (which also means less waste I assume). The beverage island now features eight Coca Cola Freestyle machines instead of the previous two multi-dispenser units for cold drinks.

As we reported previously, the Grand Opening will be on Saturday morning at 8:30am, spread the news! So is anyone planning to head over there? Here are a few quick teaser pictures to whet your appetite...

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Update 18 Nov: Menus as promised:

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Port Orleans French Quarter food court to reopen 19 November

Posted on Saturday 12th November 2016 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

I've just had confirmation that the "Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory" food court at Port Orleans French Quarter will be reopening to guests on Saturday 19 November, featuring "American cooking inspired by the flavors of New Orleans". There will be some brand new menu items, plus some old favourites of course. After a couple of days of internal menu testing, the official ribbon-cutting ceremony will be at 8:30am on 19 November.


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And of course it wouldn't be French Quarter without...
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November 2016 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules

Posted on Saturday 22nd October 2016 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The November 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 opening hours will remain at 9am-10pm during November. The evening campfires will operate from 4:30pm until 6pm this month, and the Movies Under the Stars will be screened at 7:00pm, 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.


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: Due to other commitments, Bob will not be performing his regular Port Orleans shows on Saturday 29 October, Thursday 3 November or Friday 4 November.

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 (8pm—11pm) do yourself a favour and pop along, they are highly recommended.
Jason & Billy at Scat Cat’s, November 2016 (Saturday—Tuesday): November 5, 7, 12, 13, 14, 20, 21, 26, 27 & 28. Jason will be playing with Greg Hayworth on November 8, 15, 22 & 29. No shows are scheduled for November 1, 16 & 19.


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Hurricane Matthew due to impact Florida, theme parks closed

Posted on Thursday 6th October 2016 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

I'm sure everyone has been following the news of Hurricane Matthew, which is now hours away from reaching the Florida coastline and is then expected to push its way up the East coast over the next couple of days. Most of central Florida is now on high alert, and Disney have announced that the theme parks will all close at 5pm on Thursday and remain closed all day on Friday, with any outdoor events (such as the Halloween parties) cancelled.

The Fort Wilderness Campground has been completely evacuated, and the treehouse villas at Saratoga Springs (next to the Sassagoula River) and the lagoon-side bungalows at the Polynesian Village Resort are also being closed for the duration and guests relocated.

The resorts will be laying on extra support - food, drink, supplies, entertainment, etc - for guests who will presumably be advised to remain in their rooms during the worst periods of the impending weather system, which currently looks likely to be around the middle of the day on Friday.

I'll post more information on what Port Orleans are doing as-and-when I get updates. Obviously the situation is very fluid at the moment, as the predicted track and severity of the storm changes hour-by-hour, and multiple contingency plans are being put into operation.

My thoughts are with the cast members and guests at my favourite place right now - hunker down and stay safe everyone.

[Update on Friday morning] I've heard that in the expectation of the food courts being closed on Friday, the WDW resorts have been selling emergency snack boxes containing a very small sandwich, a piece of fruit, packet of chips, and a tiny cookie (not even a drink) for $12.99! This really smells like gouging to me - IMHO these should be provided for free to all guests who will be effectively trapped in their rooms. However I gather that if you complain, the cost is being refunded - I guess the cast members must feel guilty about charging for it too. And it probably goes without saying, but all Disney transportation will be shut down for the whole of Friday, and the airports are closed to all commercial flights too.

[Update on Friday afternoon] The resort food courts re-opened for breakfast this morning, initially with slightly limited menus to help process the heavy demand as quickly as possible. With the hurricane now past the Orlando area, the Walt Disney World theme parks are scheduled to be open tomorrow (Saturday) at 8am, with everything else following soon after. Disney Springs will be re-opening around 5pm on Friday evening, although probably not everything will be open initially.

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October 2016 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules

Posted on Saturday 1st October 2016 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The October 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 will remain at 9am—10pm for now. 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 occurring on alternating days at the two resorts — Monday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday at Riverside, and Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday at French Quarter.

Halloween Activities (Monday 31 October)

RIVERSIDE, OL’ MAN ISLAND POOL
1:30pm Beach Ball Blast
2:00pm Halloween Mickey Tie-Dye (fee)
3:30pm Oogie Boogie Pool Party
4:30pm Villain Bingo
6:00pm—9:00pm Trick-or-Treating
9:00pm Chilling Campfire

RIVERSIDE, HALLOWEEN BASH ON THE BAYOU
6:00pm—9:00pm Join us for activities in the Lobby Courtyard for a Monster Bash Dance Party, Bewitching Games, Costume Contest, Decorate Your Own Pumpkin (fee), and Character Meet and Greets! Select food and beverage and merchandise items will be available for purchase.

FRENCH QUARTER, HALLOWEEN BASH
4:00pm—7:00pm Join us for activities in the Lobby Courtyard for Halloween Mickey Tie-Dye (fee), Monster Bash Dance Party, Bewitching Games, Costume Contest, Trick-or-Treating, and Character Meet and Greets. Select food and beverage and merchandise items will be available for purchase.

FRENCH QUARTER, MOVIES UNDER THE STARS (on the green between buildings 5 & 6)
7:00pm—8:30pm Watch a Halloween double-feature of Walt Disney Animation Short Films Toy Story of Terror and The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad while roasting marshmallows around a Chilling Campfire.
8:30pm Hocus Pocus



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: Due to other commitments, Bob will not be performing his regular Port Orleans shows on Saturday 29 October, Thursday 3 November or Friday 4 November.

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 (8pm—11pm) do yourself a favour and pop along, they are highly recommended. October 2016 dates: 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 9, 10, 11, 15, 16, 17, 18, 22, 23, 24, 29, 30 & 31. (Not playing Tuesday October 25).


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September 2016 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules

Posted on Sunday 28th August 2016 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The September 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 will remain at 9am—11pm for the first few days of September, and then they switch to 9am—10pm from September 5th. 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 occurring on alternating days at the two resorts — Monday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday at Riverside, and Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday at French Quarter.

On Labor Day (Monday 5th September) there will be a few extra “End of Summer Extravaganza” daytime poolside activities at both resorts, plus an afternoon barbecue.


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).

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 (8pm—11pm) do yourself a favour and pop along, they are highly recommended. Jason & Billy's September dates are 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 11, 12, 13, 19, 20, 24, 25, 26 & 27. Greg Hayworth will be subbing for Billy on September 6, 13 & 27.


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Port Orleans meet, River Roost Lounge, Saturday 6th August

Posted on Thursday 4th August 2016 by Admin

For anyone staying at Port Orleans at the moment (or if you are just in the area and want to pop by) we've got a small informal meet at the River Roost Lounge (next to the POR lobby) at 7pm on Saturday 6th August. Everyone is welcome, see you there?

Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1137482842981655/

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Andre

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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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Beignet Sundaes and Bayou Burgers

Posted on Sunday 5th June 2016 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

A couple of new items have appeared at the Port Orleans food courts over the past few weeks, which is welcome news indeed after the removal of multiple options a few months ago.

Starting at French Quarter - and I can't believe this wasn't a thing already - but for $6.79 you can now get a Beignet Sundae - a larger sized New Orleans beignet served in a bowl with ice cream and sauce. A classic plus ice-cream too, what more could you ask?

And over at Riverside there is now a speciality Bayou Burger - Chopped Prime Rib on a 7oz Burger with an Abita Beer Fondue served on a Toasted Onion Roll with House Made Pickles (with choice of Coleslaw or French Fries). $12.99

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(Thanks to Scott Campbell for the Bayou Burger photos, and Disney for the Beignet Sundae)

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June 2016 Recreation Activities & Entertainment Schedules

Posted on Monday 30th May 2016 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The June 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.

As from Sunday 29 May, the main feature swimming pool hours will be 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 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 June 23, 24 & 25 (he is taking some personal time to visit his high school class reunion in Ohio).

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 (8:30pm—11:30pm) do yourself a favour and pop along, they are highly recommended: June: 4, 5, 6, 7, 14, 19, 20, 21, 25, 26, 27 & 28. C'mon Disney, Jason & Billy certainly deserve a permanent contract if anyone does!


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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 from 8pm, 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, 29 (with Greg Hayworth), 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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FamilyFun Magazine's Best Family Vacations Travel Awards

Posted on Wednesday 13th April 2016 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

FamilyFun Magazine's annual Best Family Vacations Travel Awards survey features only one Walt Disney World destination within its overall Top 10 "Best of the Best" list - and that is our very own Port Orleans French Quarter.

2,000 families who travel with kids aged 3 to 14 rated nearly 500 US destinations that they had visited within the past five years in five categories - and they obviously had great taste, we couldn't agree with their choice more!

http://www.parents.com/fun/vacation/ide ... el-awards/

(thanks to the folks over at DISboards/WDWinfo for spotting this one)

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April 2016 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules

Posted on Thursday 31st March 2016 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The April 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 brand 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 7, 8 and 9 April as he is travelling up to Alaska for a few days.

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: April 3, 5, 9, 11, 12, 16, 17, 18, 19, 23, 24, 25, 26 and 30. C'mon Disney, Jason & Billy certainly deserve a permanent contract if anyone does!


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Punam Dayabhai-Jairambhai named as POFQ General Manager

Posted on Friday 18th March 2016 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Disney has just released the following information:

Punam Dayabhai-Jairambhai will transition from her current role as senior manager, Merchandise & Operating Participants, Disney Cruise Line Operations, to General Manager, Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter.
Punam, who has also previously worked with Adventures by Disney based in California, will be taking over from current General Manager Suzette Noble who has been overseeing both resorts since Valerie Bunting was transferred to a new role last August. Suzette will now switch over to managing the Port Orleans Riverside section only.

We wish them both well in their new roles.

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French Quarter's new Aquatic Play Area Officially Opens

Posted on Monday 7th March 2016 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The brand new (and much anticipated) children’s Aquatic Play Area at French Quarter officially opened to guests at 9am this morning, complete with plenty of whimsical - and suitably drenching - water play features, all with a unique New Orleans twist.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony was conducted by Port Orleans' General Manager Suzette Noble, French Quarter's Proprietor of Rooms & Recreation Stefanie Shomper, and Walt Disney World Ambassador Caitlin Busscher. Many thanks to Denise from MouseSteps.com for the photos and to Jeff Lange for his great video of the event:

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Other work undertaken at the same time includes the addition of extra fencing and lockable gates at all of the entrances and exits to the pool area, plus improvements in disability accessibility with the replacement of some stepped access routes with inclined slopes. There have also been some new features added at the Mardi Grogs bar, including air heaters for the cooler winter months and some extra snack items (pretzels and popcorn).

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For more background and photographs of the entire construction process, which started back in October 2015, please see our previous news items, or the Refurbishments Page.

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Ol' Man Island reopens after a two-month refurbishment

Posted on Saturday 5th March 2016 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

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).

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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.

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Ol' Man Island pool ready to re-open on Saturday

Posted on Friday 4th March 2016 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Friday night, and it looks like everything is set for Ol' Man Island to reopen at 9am in the morning. The (sadly still rather intrusive) fences and gates are complete, all construction equipment is gone, the bar is restocked and the sunbeds are back in place. Even the snazzy new restrooms should be good to go [groan, sorry about the pun!].

The French Quarter Aquatic Play Area will open at 9am on Monday morning.

Who's going to be the first to update us with some re-opened photos?

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Multiple items removed from Port Orleans food court menus

Posted on Thursday 3rd March 2016 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The Riverside Mill food court has removed a number of breakfast options from its menu, including one complete serving zone (the counter in the corner, to the left of the Omelets). The odd thing is that most of these lost items were only introduced late last Summer:

  • Breakfast Sandwich
  • Egg White Frittata Sandwich
  • Quiche Lorraine
  • Create-Your-Own Fruit Bowl
What remains (apart from the other Make-Your-Own options and the Bakery) are just the generic - and presumably least healthy - Bounty Platter, Pancakes, Waffles, French Toast, Biscuits and Gravy, and Grits.

I can only assume this is a cost-cutting exercise, but whatever the reason I can't see how it can do anything other than result in even longer lines for guests.

[Added on 6 March] French Quarter's Sassagoula Floatworks & Food Factory has also removed one breakfast item that was added last summer, their Quiche of the Day selection.

[Further Update] Many lunchtime Po' Boy options were also removed from the French Quarter menu, plus the Chilli-Cheese Hot Dog and Fried Chicken Sandwich - and even Chocolate Cake appears to be gone.

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POR and POFQ Pool Areas, Construction Nears Completion

Posted on Tuesday 1st March 2016 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Note: for the latest pictures and information, please see the Maintenance and Refurbishment Page.


French Quarter - Doubloon Lagoon and Children's Water Play Area
(Now due to open by 6 March)

Update 25 February 2016: The target completion date for the French Quarter children’s water play area has again been slightly delayed, this time from 29th February to 6th March. Workers are starting to add the final detailing and test the water features, but landscaping, fencing and some remaining pathway construction over the buried pipework is still to be completed.

The Mardi Grogs pool bar has just had some new features installed, including pretzel and popcorn machines and air heaters to allow more people to sit outside during the cooler winter months. Pretzels are priced at $3.19 each, or $4.19 with a cheese dip, and popcorn is $3.50 (plus tax).

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Update 29 February 2016: Testing of the water elements commenced this afternoon, and it looks great with lots of spray fountains and a fun fill-and-tip water wheel at the top. Thanks as always to John Schmidt for sending the photos and video. The splash play area is marked as having a sloped depth of 11 inches in the middle, and will presumably have the same 48-inch height restriction as per other resorts.

The remaining pathways have now been laid around the water play area and landscaping added, and most of the green construction fences have been removed, but other current work includes the removal of the steps from the northern access pathway to the hot tub, adding ramped access from the Mardi Grogs bar to the seating area, and replacing some worn-out decking on the boat dock.

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Riverside - Ol' Man Island
(Due to reopen by 4/5 March)

Update 28 February 2016: The access bridge from the Riverside Marina to Ol’ Man Island reopened for guests around 5pm on Friday 26 February, albeit with a few areas of paintwork that still need finishing.

Work is progressing well on the main pool area, and the pool itself was refilled several days ago. The perimeter fencing is almost complete, and lockable gates are being installed across all of the pool-access pathways. While the gatepost edging is at least styled in keeping with the island theme, the outlying fences and the gates themselves are all metal and more than one person has commented on the new “Stalag Riverside” look. Hopefully once the foliage is allowed to grow a bit the fence will be much less noticeable, and there has already been some new planting on the mansion building side of the island. At least it’s better than the incongruous wire-mesh fencing that has recently been added around the Polynesian leisure pool.

There is still a lot of work to be completed on the restrooms and the River Roost bar area (there isn’t even a bar counter-top at the moment!) but the expectation is still that the area will be ready to be handed back to the resort team by Friday 4 March. This does not necessarily mean that the pool will reopen to guests on that day though, as final approvals from the Reedy Creek folks will be needed, along with resetting all the furnishings in the area and revisiting the training of the lifeguards (as one of the guard stations has been moved slightly). The most likely opening date at the moment is Saturday 5th March, but that could still move either way.

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Update 29 February 2016: Cement work outside of the restrooms is making progress, and bar elements such as the counter-tops now appear to be done and thematic detailing is being restored. Final touches on landscaping are being worked on, and they are skimming and brushing out the pool. Some minor finishing work was still being done to the bottom of the slide. A double-handrail and a chair lift have been added to the already somewhat cramped hot tub.

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March 2016 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules

Posted on Friday 26th February 2016 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The March 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.

The evening campfires will commence at 6pm this month and the Movies Under the Stars will be screened at 8pm, 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 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!

Reminder: The Ol’ Man Island pool area is closed until at least 4 March. Also, the new children's water play area at French Quarter is currently scheduled to open around 6 March, assuming there are no further construction delays. See the Refurbishments page for more details.

Easter Sunday Activities for 27 March 2016

Morning Activities, located on the lawn near Oak Manor (building 90) at Port Orleans Riverside:
8:30am Character Greetings
9:00am Candy Scramble
9:30am Mickey Tie-Dye (payment required) and Lawn Games

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[Updated: Candy Scramble Easter 2016 - now that is a LOT of Candy!]

Afternoon Poolside Activities:
1:30pm Disney Trivia
2:30pm Disney Junior Pool Party!
3:00pm Egg-citing Relay Games
3:30pm Bunny Hoppin’ Pool Party
4:30pm Bunny Bingo (POR only)
4:30pm Mickey Tie-Dye (payment required) (POFQ only)

Evening Activities on the lawn between buildings 5 & 6 at Port Orleans French Quarter:
6:00pm Campfire
6:00pm–8:00pm Character Greetings
7:00pm The Great Golden Egg Hunt
8:00pm Movie Under the Stars: The Good Dinosaur (PG)

Easter Baskets will be available for purchase at merchandise locations.


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This Week's Port Orleans Construction Projects Update

Posted on Monday 22nd February 2016 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Note: for more pictures and the latest information, please see the Maintenance and Refurbishment Page.

French Quarter - Doubloon Lagoon and Children's Water Play Area
(Due to open by 29 Feb)

Lots of progress this week, including fitting of the remaining water-slide segments and the removal of the protective covers from some of the water features. On Sunday 21 February, after the final Pebble Tec coat had been applied earlier this week (there is apparently no cushioned flooring) they started filling the basin area with water via garden sprinklers, presumably for initial drainage and leak testing before they start on the various underground-fed elements. The final sections of concrete pathway are nearly ready for laying, and the plumbing control systems and piping are being hidden behind permanent walls.

The new fencing surrounding both the main pool and the water play area is almost complete, and most of the gates have now been installed — although not all are fully functional yet. The fencing is similar to the existing wrought-iron design, although slightly shorter and less ornate — whether the existing product was no longer available, or the new sections are just a cheaper alternative, is not clear.

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Riverside - Ol' Man Island
(Due to open by 4 Mar, access bridge planned to re-open sooner)

The Ol’ Man Island project is progressing quickly, and is reported to be on target for its planned reopening date of 4th March. Refurbishing of the slide is complete and the final gel coat has been applied, and maintenance work on the decorative water channel is also finished. It looks as though the main pool’s Pebble Tec layer has also been applied (although from the photos more finishing still needs to be done, and some overflow edge tiling is not yet complete) and on Sunday workers were filling the pool with water to continue testing it.

Lots of work has been carried out on the Muddy Rivers building too, with extensive wood repairs, a new counter, and new electrical and drink dispenser systems (plus two additional beer taps). The poolside bathrooms are being refreshed too, including the addition of a companion bathroom. The bar staff have been given an access date of 2nd March to start restocking in preparation for reopening to guests few days later.

There is still quite a lot of concrete work to be completed, including a new ramp up to the hot tub to replace the old steps, and several sections of damaged deck that are being relaid. About half of the new perimeter safety barrier has now been erected, and while the new metal railings don’t fit in quite as well as they could with the rest of the predominantly wooden detailing, much of it is hidden by foliage so it doesn’t stand out too badly. Some sections next to the walkways appear to be more suitably themed though.

On the access bridge, in addition to the new decking, two underlying support beams have been replaced and workers are also replacing some of the boards on the curved arches and along the sides. This work is on-track for the bridge to be reopened to guests slightly before the main island opening date.

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Riverside - Magnolia Terrace Mansion Building Roofing Work

Extra weekend work is helping to catch up on a slightly delayed start, and phase one is still on schedule for completion by 26th February, after which it looks like they will be moving on to one of the northern wings of the building (the end facing towards Acadian House). As rooms were removed from inventory during the roofing work, the extended downtime is being used to perform deep cleaning, carpet extraction and other general painting/maintenance on the guest rooms.

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More Pool Area Construction Updates from 14 February

Posted on Monday 15th February 2016 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

On Riverside's Ol' Man Island, new lighting poles have been added (still to be painted) and metal support posts for the access gates have been installed across the pathways. It is still unclear whether the rest of the perimeter barrier will be tastefully ‘in tune’ with the wooden post, slat and rope designs around the rest of Everett Peace’s reclusive little island, or whether Disney will take the easier option and just use metal railings (which incidentally do work very well with the wrought ironwork theming over at French Quarter):

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Skimming of the inside of the Ol' Man Island pool now seems mostly complete and they have started tiling the upper edges. The new tiles appear to be a generic mottled brown/beige rather than the whimsical bayou foliage and wildlife design that was there previously:

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Meanwhile, over at French Quarter's Doubloon Lagoon, more concrete has been laid at the new children's water play area, and some of the heavier equipment has been removed now. It also looks like they have fitted the gratings over the edge drainage channel. Landscaping and laying of the soft rubberised flooring has not yet been started:

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More updates on the Port Orleans Management Restructuring

Posted on Sunday 14th February 2016 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The recent changes in the management structure at Port Orleans are becoming a little clearer (well, to me at least!) so I thought a minor update was in order. The main aim seems to have been to reduce the amount of management layers between the General Manager level and the hourly-rate cast members to just two steps. Port Orleans was pretty much there anyway, so these tweaks have been relatively minor.

Several new "Proprietor" roles have been created, which are an amalgamated department manager role covering more than one traditional line of business, Where this has caused some positions to disappear (such as in Food & Beverage, Recreation and Merchandising) those staff have been redeployed as Duty Managers at different resorts and there have been no enforced job losses - although at least one retiree who oversaw Food & Beverage across multiple Sassagoula area resorts has not been replaced. A few hourly positions have been lost or reorganised too - such as the roving iPad-wielding additional checkin staff - but those CMs have been rotated into other roles within the same departments.

So the new management structure looks like this:

Port Orleans Riverside
General Manager: Suzette Noble
Proprietor, Rooms and Recreation: Lon Rydberg (also overseeing new Guest Experience Managers supervising the front desks)
Proprietor, Food & Beverage and Merchandise: James Campbell
Proprietor, Housekeeping and Custodial: Mintaka Senanayake (a previous Guest Service manager from French Quarter, before she transferred to Caribbean Beach three years ago)

Port Orleans French Quarter
General Manager: To be announced
Proprietor, Rooms and Recreation: Stefanie Shomper (also overseeing new Guest Experience Managers supervising the front desks)
Proprietor, Food & Beverage and Merchandise: Matthew Vache
Proprietor, Housekeeping and Custodial: Drew Weaver

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Ol' Man Island Bridge Closure and other Construction Updates

Posted on Thursday 11th February 2016 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The main access bridge leading from the Riverside Marina and food court over to Ol' Man Island is currently closed for three weeks to allow worn-out wooden decking to be replaced, and for some structural work on a support beam to be completed. This work has been timed to coincide with the refurbishment of the feature swimming pool and the reduced occupancy levels in the Magnolia Terrace mansion building to attempt to reduce the amount of guests inconvenienced by the closure.

The bridge should be re-opened by Saturday 27 February but in the meantime guests will need to use the riverbank pathways and alternative bridges in order to cross to the other side of the resort or to access the children's playground and the fishing hole.

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Work is continuing on the Ol' Man Island pool refurbishment, and more vegetation has been cut back beyond the seating areas in readiness for the installation of new perimeter fencing. Work is currently still on schedule for completion by 4 March.


Progress is finally being made on the children's water play area at French Quarter, and it looks like they have now finished the underground piping work and laid most of the remaining concrete pathway. Although there still appears to be a lot of work left to do, the target completion date currently remains at 29 February.

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Additionally, construction staff are working around the perimeter edges of the main pool area, adding additional wrought-iron safety fencing between the pool deck and the Mardi Grogs seating area, and also installing lockable gates at the main entry/exit locations. I believe this is most likely part of a general Disney response to two recent tragic incidents involving children who accessed hotel pools unaccompanied or outside of lifeguard hours (see Orlando Sentinel articles in March 2013 and July 2015).

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For more photos, see the Refurbishment Information Page.

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Port Orleans Mardi Gras events mostly cancelled, 9 Feb 2016

Posted on Sunday 31st January 2016 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Update on 2 Feb: I've just been informed that the afternoon Mardi Gras activities planned for Port Orleans French Quarter on Tuesday 9 February, including the character greetings, have been CANCELLED for this year. The cut-down version of the cast member pargo parade will still take place at 10am though. The Recreation Activity Schedules that had already been printed for this month have been withdrawn, so I've removed them from the site too. I'll provide further updates as soon as I know more.

With all the departmental shake-ups going on at Port Orleans at the moment I'm still awaiting the full Recreation Schedule files for February (although quick photos are on the site). However I can confirm that the annual Mardi Gras 'pargo parade' put on by cast members will be going ahead on Tuesday 9th February at 10am, albeit on a somewhat smaller scale than in previous years.

This year’s theme will be "Candyland", but only six instead of the usual ten pargos will be used. The different lines of business (Custodial / Engineering / Food & Beverage / Front Desk / Housekeeping / Merchandise / Operations Learning & Development / Recreation / Watercraft Transportation / etc) will be combining to create the floats, and I'm not sure whether there will still be a departmental competitive element or not.

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Maintenance Updates & Management Restructuring News

Posted on Friday 29th January 2016 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

A quick roundup of the latest news on the various refurbishment projects going on around Port Orleans, plus a bit more on the current Management Restructuring process.

French Quarter Children's Water Play Area

Work was originally scheduled to be completed by 24 December 2015 but work-permit issues delayed the planned re-opening date until 19 January 2016. However construction is obviously overrunning considerably beyond that based on the photos taken on 23 January which show water piping is still being installed and they haven't even started on laying the flooring yet. The information that I'm hearing at the moment is pointing towards an opening date of around 29 February 2016.

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Riverside Ol' Man Island pool refurbishment

Work commenced on schedule on 11 January 2016 and the target completion date is still 4 March 2016. The work is mostly routine maintenance and perimeter fencing modifications. All of the through-route walkways, the children's playground and the fishing hole currently remain open, although letters recently sent out to guests indicate that some pathways may need to be temporarily closed during the work and the children's playground may also be affected at some point. There are no evening campfires at Riverside at the moment, but the French Quarter alternative is still available daily. A free shuttle service to French Quarter is in place, and the five quiet pools at Riverside are open as normal. The River Roost Lounge in the main building is opening a little earlier in the day than normal to compensate for Muddy Rivers being closed.

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Riverside Magnolia Terrace roofing work

The building 85 roofing work will be split into five phases, and is expected to run through until 15 July 2016. The first phase has already commenced, which comprises the whole of central section of the building. That section should come back into service on 26 February and then work will commence on each of the four outer 'wings' in turn.

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For more information and photos, see the Refurbishment News page.


Management Restructuring [Minor details updated 10 Feb]

A major reorganisation of the management structure at Port Orleans (and many other areas of Walt Disney World) is currently in progress, and some details are now starting to emerge. The following information is pieced together from multiple sources, but I'm sure there's more news still to come:

  • The current Port Orleans General Manager, Suzette Noble, will now become the General Manager for Port Orleans Riverside, while Port Orleans French Quarter will get its own General Manager (still to be announced).
  • "Proprietors" appears to be a newly-created level of management overseeing multiple areas such as guest service, front desk and recreation, reporting directly to each resort's General Manager. The current Guest Service Managers (Lon Rydberg at Riverside and Stefanie Shomper at French Quarter) have been promoted to this new role, while the original front desk/guest service management positions have been renamed as Guest Experience Managers, reporting to the Proprietors.
  • The former Food & Beverage managers, James Campbell and Matthew Vaché, will now take on additional overall responsibility for the Merchandise departments at Riverside and French Quarter respectively.
  • The exiting French Quarter Merchandising Manager has been transferred to the All Star Resorts as Duty Manager.
  • There will also be separate Executive Housekeepers at both properties instead of the current combined operation.
Good luck to everyone in their new roles - I suspect it's going to be a busy adjustment period!

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Walt Disney World Management Structure Reorganisation

Posted on Sunday 24th January 2016 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

According to the Orlando Sentinel, Walt Disney World is embarking on (yet another) reorganisation of its management infrastructure. The changes broadly relate to the organisation of management reporting structures, with departments now organised more by physical location rather than thematically. Reporter Sandra Pedicini writes:

"The reorganization will give general managers and executives authority over geographic locations – say, the Magic Kingdom's Frontierland – rather than traditional categories such as merchandise or food and beverage. The philosophy is to take a more holistic approach to management, focusing on the overall guest experience, Disney said."

Of particular interest to Port Orleans aficionados will be the element of the plan to assign each hotel its own individual General Manager, rather than the previous practice of one person overseeing several resorts. This may result in Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter becoming somewhat more autonomous than they have been in the past.

As I understand it at present, the current Port Orleans General Manager, Suzette Noble, will retain overall control of the Riverside resort, while a new General Manager (still to be announced) will be brought in to oversee French Quarter. There will also be some shake-ups in the way the various lines of business are managed, such as Recreation now coming under the overall local control of each resort's Guest Services manager (previously Recreation was a combined team) and the Food & Beverage managers at each resort will now incorporate Merchandise into their remit. Both resorts will also gain their own Executive Housekeepers, rather than having one large team covering both resorts. Whether or not this will alter the current policy of cast member roles sometimes being shared between the two resorts is still unclear, but Disney have announced that there will be no lay-offs as a result of these changes.

It seems unlikely that there will be any significant impact on the overall guest experience, at least in the short term, but perhaps giving French Quarter its own autonomy may result in more facilities being provided directly for guests staying there, rather than everything being shared with Riverside? And it surely can't escape the notice of an incoming General Manager that French Quarter is the only Disney Moderate Resort that doesn't currently operate its own table service restaurant in addition to a food court.

More changes will no doubt become apparent over the coming weeks, but to me this all vaguely smacks of someone in an executive position at Walt Disney World with too much time on their hands looking to "make their mark". Let's wait and see what happens, it could be an interesting year...

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January 2016 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules

Posted on Thursday 31st December 2015 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The January 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.

From 11 January onward, the feature pool on Ol’ Man Island at Riverside will be CLOSED for refurbishment work and is not due to reopen again until approx 4 March. The closure includes the children’s splash pool, the hot tub, and the Muddy Rivers pool bar - however the fishing hole and children’s playground will remain open. Riverside’s Recreational Activities will move over the main building area during the closure.

The access bridges leading to the island will remain open for most of this period, however you may find some individual bridge closures at times. The five quiet pools at Riverside, along with the main pool at French Quarter, will continue to operate normally.


The main feature swimming pool hours will reduce to 10am—9pm from 3 January.

The evening campfires will commence at 5pm this month and the Movies Under the Stars will be screened at 7pm daily at both resorts. Until 10 January the campfire events will take place on alternate days at the two resorts — Monday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday at Riverside, and Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday at French Quarter. From 11 January onward, the campfires will take place daily, but at French Quarter ONLY.

Continuing this month: The Disney Junior Pool Party (4pm daily) 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! [at French Quarter ONLY from 11 January]

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Off Kilter's Jason Thomas & Billy Varnes live at Scat Cat's

Posted on Thursday 24th December 2015 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Two members of Off Kilter, the popular celtic/rock fusion band which performed at Epcot's Canada pavilion prior to the now-defunct lumberjack show, are currently appearing live several evenings a week at Scat Cat's Club at Port Orleans French Quarter. Jason Thomas and Billy Varnes will be playing three blues/bluegrass oriented sets each evening, 8pm-11pm. Bring your requests - and they might even throw in an Off Kilter tune or two!

Planned dates until the end of January 2016 are:
Sunday, Dec 27
Monday, Dec 28
Saturday, Jan 2
Sunday, Jan 3
Monday, Jan 4
Tuesday, Jan 5
Sunday, Jan 10
Sunday, Jan 17 (after the Highland Games!)
Monday, Jan 18
Sunday, Jan 24
Monday, Jan 25
Sunday, Jan 31

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See https://www.facebook.com/events/462361727302964/

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Bonfamille's Café temporarily reopens for Christmas 2015

Posted on Monday 21st December 2015 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

My spies at Port Orleans are not on the ball this week, so this news just in from AllEars.net:

For a limited time over the Christmas period, the former Bonfamille's Café table-service restaurant adjacent to Scat Cat's Club at Port Orleans French Quarter will be turned into Scat Cat's Café. This temporary location will serve dinner nightly from December 21 - 30 between 5pm and 10pm.

The All-You-Can-Eat Cajun inspired meals, served family style, cost $25.99 for adults and $14.99 for children under 10, and reservations can be made at the podium just off the main lobby from noon to 10pm.

Appetiser: House Salad with sweet roasted garlic vinaigrette; house made corn bread
Entrée: Grilled Andouille Sausage, Cajun-roasted Chicken, Slow-cooked Pot Roast, Vegetable Jambalaya with Maque Choux, Mashed Potatoes, Collard Greens and Mac and Cheese
Dessert: Deep South Bread Pudding with Banana-Caramel Sauce and Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

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Updates to the Disney Bus routes at Port Orleans

Posted on Wednesday 9th December 2015 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Disney has recently made a few tweaks and adjustments to the free bus system which transports guests from the Port Orleans resorts to the theme parks. The route changes actually make a lot of sense, and should make the service generally more consistent and predicable for guests when visiting the different parks - and hopefully reduce some of the confusion that has been reported over the years.

The bus information page at portorleans.org/buses.php is now fully up-to-date with the new details, but the main points to take away are:

  • Buses now start running at 7am (whereas the first buses used to be around 6:45am).
  • The first few buses of the day all run as shared services from French Quarter and Riverside (apart from the Animal Kingdom buses for some reason).
  • For the rest of the day, more of the routes now operate as independent services rather than having so many shared French Quarter/Riverside routes. Both the Magic Kingdom and Disney's Hollywood Studios now appear to have their own separate services running to and from Riverside and French Quarter all day for example.
  • Whenever bus routes do happen to be shared, the first call is now always French Quarter rather than one of the Riverside stops (which used to vary park-by-park).
  • The Riverside pickup order for all of the theme parks now consistently has the West Depot as the first call, then North, East and South.
  • The Disney Springs buses continue to also act as an Internal Resort Shuttle service, with stops at French Quarter, Riverside South/West/North/East and then back to French Quarter again before heading onward to Disney Springs.
So what do people think of these changes, and if you've experienced any of the new routes over the last few days did you feel that the service has improved? Let us know via the comments or on our Facebook page.

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December 2015 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules

Posted on Tuesday 1st December 2015 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The December 2015 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 evening campfires will commence at 5pm this month and the Movies Under the Stars will be screened at 7pm daily at both resorts. The campfire events will this month take place on alternate days at the two resorts — Monday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday at Riverside, and Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday at French Quarter. The main feature swimming pool hours will remain at 9am—10pm for the rest of December, but will be reduced during January/February.

Special Festive Events:
December 16: Holiday Performers 8:30am & 9:30pm, French Quarter Lobby
December 17: Holiday Performers 7pm & 8pm, Riverside Lobby
December 18: Holiday Performers 7pm & 8pm, French Quarter Lobby
December 19: Holiday Performers 8:30am & 9:30pm, Riverside Lobby
December 20: Holiday Performers 8:30am & 9:30pm, French Quarter Lobby
December 21: Holiday Performers 7pm & 8pm, Riverside Lobby
December 22: Holiday Performers 7pm & 8pm, French Quarter Lobby
December 22: Cast Member “Deck the Gingerbread House” Competition Guest Voting 9am—5pm, Riverside & French Quarter Lobbies
December 23: Holiday Performers 8:30am & 9:30pm, Riverside Lobby
December 24: Character Greetings in the Lobbies (8am—9:15am at Riverside, 10:30am—11:45am at French Quarter), 1pm—3pm Festive poolside activities, 4pm Campfires, 5pm—9pm Meet Santa Claus in the Riverside Lobby, 6pm Holiday Treat Decorating, 7pm Christmas Movies Under the Stars
December 25: 1pm—4pm Festive poolside activities, 5pm Campfires, 7pm Festive Movies Under the Stars
December 31: 8pm—midnight New Year’s Eve Parties in both Lobby Courtyards, Ring in the New Year with festive fun and a live countdown to 2016!


Continuing this month: The Disney Junior Pool Party (1:30pm daily) 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! Mickey Tie-Dye: Please join us at 1:30pm at the Riverside lobby courtyard on Sundays and Thursdays for our Mickey Tie-Dye activity (chargeable purchase).

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POR and POFQ pool area maintenance updates

Posted on Sunday 22nd November 2015 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The planned dates for the Port Orleans Riverside Ol' Man Island pool closure are now set as 11 January 2016 to 4 March 2016 . This includes the main and children's pools, the hot tub and the Muddy Rivers pool bar - but the campfire, kids' playground, fishing hole and through-route walkways will remain open. This work could potentially run a little longer, but that's the most accurate information I have at present.

Also, construction work on the new Port Orleans French Quarter children's water play area is running slightly behind schedule due to some permitting issues, and it is now scheduled to open on 19 January 2016.

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Halloween Pumpkin Decorating Content

Posted on Sunday 1st November 2015 by Admin

Denise and Jeff from MouseSteps.com visited Port Orleans for Halloween and posted this great video of the cast members' annual pumpkin decorating contest. They really went to town with the beautifully detailed and fun designs this year, and pumpkins included Muppets, Scrooge McDuck, Star Wars BB-8, Genie, Inside Out and even a candy apple design - and I especially liked the multi-layered Alice in Wonderland/Cheshire Cat creation.

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November 2015 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules

Posted on Wednesday 28th October 2015 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The November 2015 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 evening campfires will commence at 5pm this month and the Movies Under the Stars will be screened at 7pm daily at both resorts. The main feature swimming pool hours are currently 9am-10pm.

Mickey Tie-Dye: Please join us at 1:30pm at the Riverside lobby courtyard on Sundays and Thursdays, or near the Doubloon Lagoon pool on Tuesdays, for our Mickey Tie-Dye activity (chargeable purchase).

Continuing this month: The Disney Junior Pool Party (1:30pm daily) 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!

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POR main pool closure from 8 Jan 2016 for two months

Posted on Sunday 11th October 2015 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The Port Orleans Riverside main feature pool on Ol' Man Island (including the children's pool and the hot tub) will be closed from 11th January 2016 until 4 March 2016 for maintenance work. This could potentially run a little longer, but those are the most accurate dates I have at present.

All of the five quiet pools at Riverside will remain open, as will the French Quarter "Doubloon Lagoon" pool, which may be used by Riverside guests.

Update 7 Nov: A few people have been asking which sections of Ol' Man Island will still be open during the pool refurbishment work. As far as I can tell at the moment, the closure will be limited to the pool area itself (including the kids' pool, hot tub and Muddy Rivers pool bar). All the through-route walkways, the children's playground, the evening campfire and the fishing hole will remain open. The River Roost Lounge in the main building will open a little earlier in the day to compensate for Muddy Rivers being closed (which is actually quite common during Jan/Feb anyway, when it can get a bit cold for people to sit out by the pool).

Update 22 Nov: Dates for the pool closure now set as 11 January 2016 to 4 March 2016. This could potentially run a little longer, but those are the most accurate dates I have at present.

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October 2015 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules

Posted on Sunday 27th September 2015 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The October 2015 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 evening campfires will commence at 6:30pm this month and the Movies Under the Stars will be screened at 8pm daily at both resorts. The feature swimming pool opening hours will be 9am—10pm as from 27 September.

Halloween (Saturday 31 October) will feature lots of fun activities, including Halloween Bash parties (4pm-7pm at POFQ and 6pm-9pm at POR) with Trick or Treating, Eerie Musical Games, Tricky Trivia, Bewitching Games, Monster Bash Dance Party, Costume Contest, Creepy Crawly Arts and Crafts, and Meet and Greets with Disney Characters. There will also be themed poolside games during the day, a Chilling Campfire in the evening, and over at French Quarter the movies starting at 8pm will be Toy Story of Terror followed by Hocus Pocus. There will also be displays of decorated pumpkins made by the resort cast members on Friday 30 October, and guests will be able to vote for their favourites.

Continuing this month: The Disney Junior Pool Party (1:30pm daily) 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!

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POR main building parking lot resurfacing work, 9-16 Sept

Posted on Saturday 5th September 2015 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Resurfacing work on the guest check-in parking lot outside the Port Orleans Riverside main building will commence following the Labor Day holiday on Wednesday 9 September, and should hopefully be completed by 12 September (weather permitting). It is expected that one half of the parking area will be closed at a time, with all access temporarily redirected to either the left or right entrance points as the work progresses.

Update on 13 Sept: More work on the parking lot will be taking place 14-16 Sept.

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September 2015 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules

Posted on Monday 31st August 2015 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The September 2015 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules for Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter were posted last week [Sorry, I forgot to post to the News page when I updated the main page]. See the main Recreation Activities Schedules page for full-size printable PDF versions.

The evening campfires will commence at 7pm this month and the Movies Under the Stars will be screened at 8:30pm daily at both resorts. The feature swimming pool opening hours are 9am—11pm.

The Riverside Fair returns on Sunday, September 6. Join the cast members at the Ol’ Man Island pool area at Port Orleans Riverside from 11:30am — 9pm as they celebrate Labor Day with Poolside Games, Poolside Barbecue (extra charge for food), music and more!

Continuing this month: Splash into summer with the Disney Junior Pool Party featuring 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!

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Port Orleans Food Court menus updated on 19 August

Posted on Saturday 22nd August 2015 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The food court menus were updated at both Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter on 19 August 2015. I happened to be strolling through the Riverside Mill early in the morning on the 19th when they were changing out some of the signage, and will update the full menu pages as soon as I get a chance between all of our family vacation activities [Edit: All menu pages have now been updated]. In the meantime, I received the following update information from the resort:

At Riverside Mill, you can look forward to enjoying a few adaptations of your favorites. For breakfast, the new Egg Sandwich comes with bacon or sausage and provides a quick meal for our guests on the go. A selection of new quiches provides some variety to guests looking for something a little different. The Breakfast Po’ Boy also joins breakfast as an item that is both popular and themed. For lunch and dinner, the delicious Veggie Wrap has been joined with the popular Muffaletta Sandwich to create a vegetarian Muffaletta with roasted vegetables. Finally, many of you have already shared how excited you are that Corn Dog Nuggets have joined the menu! Our guests are sure to love all of these new additions.

At Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory, scrumptious additions have joined process improvements to create a menu that is varied, delicious and efficient. In addition to the Quiche and Corn Dog Nuggets above, we’ve added several rotating options to all meal periods to provide countless variations throughout a guest’s stay. For breakfast, the popular bounty platter is now a create-your-own option, allowing you to pick from a selection of meat, fruit and breakfast sides. Lunch has an expanded Po’ Boy menu with additions of catfish, chicken parmesan and rotating cold salad Po’ Boys. Dinner might prove to be the best of all with rotating Pastas of the Day and Entrées of the day. French Market Meatloaf, Whole Roasted Salmon and Pork Roast will make for an amazing dinner option. In all, over 37 items were changed or added to create a delicious, memorable and varied experience for our guests.

I tried the 'make your own' Breakfast Platter facility at the Sassagoula Floatworks almost by accident yesterday, and noticed the breakfast potatoes are now served as hash browns instead of cubes, and a lovely thick slice of gammon/ham is also an option in addition to the regular bacon strips. All I've got to do is work out how to document all the new rotation options without spending seven full days in the food courts! [Many thanks to F&B Manager Matthew for his help on that one]

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Non-stop ferry trial from POR & POFQ to DTD, 2-8 August 2015

Posted on Friday 31st July 2015 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

According to Orlando Theme Park News, from Sunday 2 August to Saturday 8 August the evening Sassagoula River Cruise ferry boats will be trialling separate, non-stop, services from Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter directly to the Marketplace Dock at Downtown Disney between 5pm and 11pm nightly.

Any guests planning to hop between the two resorts during this period will not be able to use the water ferry service, however complimentary buses will be available from the bus stops at the front of each hotel.

Update on 11 August: I just heard back from someone in river transportation that the trial was so successful and popular with guests that it has already been decided to continue it indefinitely. This applies to boats after 5pm, when Riverside boats will run approx. every 15 minutes and FQ boats every 20 mins.

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Ye Haa Bob Jackson not performing 11-20 Aug 2015

Posted on Thursday 30th July 2015 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

River Roost lounge entertainer "Ye Haa" Bob Jackson will be taking some personal time off to recover from outpatient surgery from 11-20 August 2015. Presumably Disney will be providing alternate entertainment for Port Orleans Riverside guests in the meantime.

Hope it goes well Bob, and we all look forward to seeing you back at the Port as soon as you are feeling well enough.

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August 2015 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules

Posted on Sunday 26th July 2015 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The August 2015 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 evening campfires will commence at 7pm this month and the Movies Under the Stars will be screened at 9pm daily at both resorts. The feature swimming pool opening hours are 9am—11pm.

Continuing this month: Splash into summer with the Disney Junior Pool Party featuring 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!

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Port Orleans General Manager Val Bunting to leave after 6yrs

Posted on Saturday 25th July 2015 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Port Orleans General Manager Valerie Bunting will soon be moving to a new position within Walt Disney World. After six very successful years overseeing Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter, Val will be going back to her original park operations roots as "Director, Parks Arrival Experience, Program Management and Park Support" (and no, I'm not really sure quite what that entails either).

From my own experience, and from other people’s comments, Val is an inspirational, enthusiastic and well-liked leader, and lots of great stuff has happened under her watch - including a major refurbishment of the entire resort, the introduction of the popular Royal Guest Rooms, and not to mention the amazing feat of keeping these two resorts running at close to 100% occupancy year-round.

Val has previously worked in senior management positions at both the Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom (see 2009 News Post) and her strongly guest-service oriented attitude will no doubt prove a real bonus for any Disney post. I'll add more details once the announcement of her successor has been made public - it’ll be fascinating to see who is going to replace her, and they're certainly going to have a tough act to follow!

Good luck in your new role Val, and I hope you enjoy it as much as you seem to have enjoyed looking after the Port.

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Update 1 August:

The new General Manager of Port Orleans has been announced as Suzette Noble, who has for a number of years been the General Manager of Downtown Disney Merchandise.

She started her Disney career in 1997, having previously been a manager with Chico's, the women’s clothing retailer. Prior to working at Downtown Disney, Suzette was general manager, Disney's Animal Kingdom and liquidation merchandise operations. Her husband is also a senior manager at Walt Disney World, so the Mouse obviously runs deeply in their household.

Update on Val Bunting, February 2016: Shortly after Val's departure from Port Orleans to head up the overall Park Arrivals Experience team, Disney reorganised the operational structure to bring that function directly under each park's individual management structure. Val moved over to take charge of the Entertainment division at Disney's Hollywood Studios, and has recently had overall responsibility for the Animation Courtyard area added to her remit.

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Advanced Notice of Planned Refurbishment Work

Posted on Thursday 2nd July 2015 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

As always, I need to preface this sort of posting with the fact that plans and dates can change at any time and I don't currently know any more than what I've stated below. As and when more concrete information and exact dates become available, I'll post further updates here. And of course maintenance and refurbishment are always going to be ongoing somewhere - there'll be other projects down the line in 2016 too, which I'll be able to let you know about closer to the time.

Beginning in early October 2015, work will commence on removing the old children's splash pool at Doubloon Lagoon in order to install a new "Interactive Water Feature" play area. I’m sure you've seen these popping up at other Disney resorts, and now it'll be French Quarter's turn - and I hear from someone who has seen the plans that it should be rather impressive. Don't worry though, the work shouldn't impact on the main swimming pool facilities. No word as to when the Riverside children's pool will get the same treatment, but presumably that will happen too at some stage.

Roofing refurbishment will commence on the Magnolia Terrace mansion building (building 85) at Port Orleans Riverside in January 2016. This will be the same kind of work that was undertaken on Oak Manor (building 90) during the equivalent time period back in 2014, and so will presumably involve temporary closures of portions of the building on a rolling basis to avoid inconveniencing guests. Even so, guests should be aware that there will probably be scaffolding visible around the current work areas, and some daytime noise too. By way of comparison, the Oak Manor work in 2014 took about six months to complete and was finished in mid July, see the 2014 news post.

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Update on 22 Nov: Construction work on the new Port Orleans French Quarter children's water play area is running slightly behind schedule due to some permitting issues, and it is now scheduled to open on 19 January 2016.

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Cocktail Servers and New Menu for Muddy Rivers from 5 July

Posted on Wednesday 1st July 2015 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Starting July 5th, Port Orleans Riverside will be bringing back the cocktail servers at the Ol' Man Island pool area. There will also be a new bar menu, including specialty drinks that will be unique to Port Orleans. Keep an eye on these news pages, and on the Muddy Rivers page, for more information.

Update posted on 2 July: I've just updated the Muddy Rivers page with the new menu, which starts on Sunday 5 July.

The food is still the same as the previous menu, and many of the existing drinks remain the same too, but there are a number of specialty drinks which are new and unique to Port Orleans (a traditional Hurricane, Front Porch Freeze, Gata-Melon Juice, NOLA Cola, and the non-alcoholic Bull Frog Brew). One cool option is the 'All That Jazz', which is a layered frozen drink containing three of the other new cocktails.

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Independence Day 2015 (3rd and 4th July) Special Events

Posted on Tuesday 30th June 2015 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The previously-published Recreation Schedule already covers the basic details, but here's a bit more information for anyone staying at Port Orleans this coming Independence Day weekend (Friday 3rd and Saturday 4th July) who is not intending to spend the whole day at the parks. Most of the main activities will be taking place at Riverside, but French Quarter guests are very welcome to join in the fun too.

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Riverside Fair (3rd and 4th July)

  • Hours: 5pm to 8:30pm
  • Location: Riverside Lobby Courtyard (inside the Lobby in case of inclement weather)
  • Food and Beverage will be selling themed drinks and food items
  • Merchandise will be selling themed items as well
  • There will be character greetings, as well as a live band throughout the event
  • Complementary face painting, where guests have the opportunity to choose between a few themed designs
  • Each division of Port Orleans will be hosting their own 'booth' which will include a game of some sort (Recreation will provide the prizes for each booth)
  • Recreation will be hosting activities throughout the event as well, including a dance party, cake walk, trivia, and opportunities to win more prizes!
  • Recreation will also be offering Mickey Tie Dye: Guests can tie dye their own shirt, and even find a hidden mickey within their tie dye. Both child and adult size shirts will be available, and the activity will cost $17
  • At the end of both the 3rd the 4th events, guests can enjoy the Movie under the Stars at 9pm in front of Building 90 Oak Manor (3rd: The Princess and the Frog, 4th: Big Hero 6)
Poolside: Ol’ Man Island at Riverside (3rd and 4th July)
  • Food and Beverage will be hosting an outdoor barbeque where guests can purchase food and drink items from noon to 5pm
  • Recreation will be hosting themed activities from 1pm to 4:45pm
Poolside: Doubloon Lagoon Pool at French Quarter (4th July only)
  • French Quarter will be hosting themed poolside activities from 1pm to 6pm
  • This will be followed by Campfire at 7pm and the Movie under the Stars (Lilo & Stitch) at 9pm

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July 2015 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules

Posted on Thursday 25th June 2015 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The July 2015 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules for Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter are now available, including Independence Day events. See the main Recreation Activities Schedules page for full-size printable PDF versions.

The evening campfires will commence at 7pm this month and the Movies Under the Stars will be screened at 9pm daily at both resorts. The feature swimming pool opening hours are 9am—11pm.

Independence Day Activities (Friday 3rd July and Saturday 4th July) include: Riverside Fair with patriotic games and a poolside barbecue on Ol’ Man Island; Arts & Crafts, Liberty Games, Live Entertainment and Disney Character Greetings in the courtyard by the Riverside Marina; Specialty merchandise and Food & Beverage items available to purchase; Themed poolside games and a Patriotic Campfire in the evening at French Quarter.

Continuing this month: Splash into summer with the Disney Junior Pool Party featuring 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!

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2016 Room and Package Rates released by Disney

Posted on Monday 22nd June 2015 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Walt Disney World released the 2016 Room and Package Rates for their resort hotels, including Port Orleans, at 6am EDT on 22 June. Bookings can now be made via their website or telephone booking line up to the regular 499 day advance limit (meaning the cut-off is currently around 3 November 2016).

The full price structure for all room categories in 2016 is now listed on the Room Rates page.

Prices this year vary from $197/night for the cheapest Value rate Standard View rooms up to $378/night for a Pool View Royal Room at Christmas time. The average increase from last year’s rack rates is 4.54% (French Quarter accounting for about 3.75% of this, with Riverside higher at nearly 5%) so not exactly in tune with America’s current negative inflation rates or its reduction in average hourly earnings. All of which may make staying on-site at Disney in 2016 a significantly more pricey option in real terms for many people.

The premium nature of the various Royal Guest Room categories continues to stay pretty flat compared to the tiering that was in place when the Royal categories were first introduced back in 2012. There is often very little difference between the price of Standard View Royal Rooms and the various higher categories — and at many times of the year, Garden, Pool and River views are all exactly the same price.

I have no idea why French Quarter’s Garden View rooms are currently showing as cheaper than Standard View rooms for most dates. It could be an error within Disney’s pricing systems which will be rectified at some point, or it could be the intended rate. Whichever, it’s currently a bit of a bargain!

Also, for some reason, Pool View and King Bed rooms at French Quarter are now mostly more expensive than the previously top-tier River View rooms. I guess I can understand the Pool View premium price as those rooms give an excellent guarantee of proximity to the main building and also to the bus stop and boat dock, but I’m not sure why King Bed should have followed suit too. Maybe people are starting to realise that you can legitimately request any view type that you want when you book a King Bed room?

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Rainy Day Character Visits to Port Orleans Riverside

Posted on Friday 12th June 2015 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

I just heard that the Port Orleans Riverside lobby is now a "rainy day" location for character visits. On those really stormy days where Florida downpours could keep you and your kids away from the parks, you might just find that the characters come to you instead.

This is NOT a scheduled meet-and-greet and it will only happen sporadically, often with very little notice even to the resort cast members. So if it does happen to occur while you are there, make the most of a lovely photo opportunity - but don't make special plans around the possibility of it happening.

This photo was taken during the afternoon of Wednesday 10 June in the main registration lobby, where Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Tigger and Stich were greeting resort guests.

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June 2015 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules

Posted on Friday 29th May 2015 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The June 2015 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 evening campfires will commence at 7pm this month and the Movies Under the Stars will be screened at 9pm daily at both resorts. The feature swimming pool opening hours are 9am—11pm.

New for this month: Splash into summer with the Disney Junior Pool Party featuring 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!

Also, at 9pm on Friday 26 June at both resorts there's a special Movie Under the Stars feature premiere of Disney Channel's "Teen Beach Movie 2" (rated TV-G).

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Rapid-Fill Mug price change, single length-of-stay rate only

Posted on Thursday 28th May 2015 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

WDWMagic.com has today reported the following information relating to Rapid-Fill Mug purchases at Port Orleans Riverside:

Reported by guests staying at Pop Century, All Star Resorts, and Port Orleans Riverside, the new pricing structure consists of a single option of $16.49 + tax for the entire length of stay. The 1 day, 2 day, and 3 day options have been eliminated, and the $16.49 is a reduction from the previous $17.99 length of stay price.

Rapid Fill mugs allow refills of fountain drinks, tea and coffee at the resort self-service beverage locations.

It isn't clear yet if the new pricing will be rolled out to all hotels.

This replaces the existing tiered pricing structure of $8.99 for 1 day, $11.99 for 2 days, $14.99 for 3 days and $17.99 for your entire length of stay (nominally up to 14 days, but that can be extended by a cast member if you are staying longer than that). At present it only applies at Riverside, with French Quarter's food court retaining the old multi-day pricing structure.


There are also a lot of rumours currently circulating that Disney intends to modify the way that Snack and Meal Credits function on the Disney Dining Plan from Sunday 31 May. In essence, it seems that Snack credits will become more versatile and can be spent more simply and with less restrictions (e.g. all basic ice creams and non-alcoholic drinks will be included, as will caramel/candy apples, large Mickey cookies, fresh popcorn, etc). There will also be many locations (including the food courts and both of the gift stores at Port Orleans) where it will be possible to convert one Meal Credit in order to purchase three Snack items instead. More details if and when this is officially confirmed, but from all I've heard it seems very likely at the moment.

Update on 31 May: It seems that the modifications to the Disney Dining Plan regarding Snack Credits are indeed now available to guests who ask for them, although Disney appears to be holding back on making any official announcement [was rumoured to be happening on 4 June, but that has passed now; the earlier leaked details can be found at http://www.inquisitr.com/2121592/disney ... n-in-2015/ though].

I recommend keeping an eye on the excellent Disney Food Blog for the latest reliable information.

Update on 19 Aug: The single price point for the length-of-stay mugs is now $16.99.

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800+ new photos added to the site Photo Galleries

Posted on Tuesday 26th May 2015 by Admin

Over the past month or so I've been working my way steadily through a backlog of over a thousand image files which have been building up on my hard drive from my past few visits to Port Orleans. The urgent newsworthy pictures were posted at the time of course, but I still had a lot of multiple-exposure 'HDR' photos which needed processing, and a ton of general background images too.

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Now (finally!) they're all done and the duplicates have been removed, and there are about 800 brand new high-resolution photos from the past few years available across the various Photo Galleries on the site for you to enjoy, making more than 4,200 Port Orleans pictures in total. Some of the updated Galleries include:
Please feel free to use the social media buttons at the bottom of each webpage to Like or Share your personal favourite Galleries with your friends and followers on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or Pintrest. And do let me know if there are any views or subjects that you think should be covered which I've missed, and I'll try to catch up with them on my next visit.

Enjoy!

Andre

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Memorial Day "Riverside Fair" at Port Orleans Riverside

Posted on Friday 22nd May 2015 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Red, White and Blue on the Bayou

Port Orleans Riverside has added some patriotic banners around the rear courtyard area of the main building, and will be holding a special "Riverside Fair" event to commemorate Memorial Day Weekend on Sunday 24th May. Events will include Games, a Dance Party, Cake Walk, Live Entertainment, Character Meet & Greets, Specialty Food & Beverage and Merchandise offerings, Face Painting.

12pm-3pm: Barbeque Lunch
1pm-5pm: Poolside Activities
5pm-8:30pm: Booth Activities

The banners will stay up until Independence Day (4th July) and will then be rotated out with various fall themed ones for Halloween, Christmas, etc.

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May 2015 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules

Posted on Wednesday 29th April 2015 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The May 2015 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 evening campfires will commence at 7pm this month and the Movies Under the Stars will be screened at 9pm daily at both resorts. The feature swimming pool opening hours start out at 9am—10pm, and should be extended to the full summer hours of 9am—11pm from 24 May.

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Free Dining Offer for Fall 2015, limited Port Orleans dates

Posted on Monday 27th April 2015 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Disney has today released their Free Disney Dining Plan offer to encourage bookings for the slower Autumn/Fall season, valid for visits commencing on selected dates between 28 August 2015 and 21 December 2015. However, once again, the deals available for guests planning to stay at Port Orleans are very limited.

Port Orleans French Quarter has been completely excluded from the offer again this year, while Riverside has a few rooms available for the first month only, from 28 August to 2 October. I'm guessing that those will probably sell out fairly quickly though, so get your bookings in quickly if you don't want to miss out. Note: you will need to book a non-discounted stay of at least three nights, with a minimum of two days worth of park tickets, in order to receive the standard Dining Plan for everyone in your party for the entire length of your stay.

For more details on this promotion, and for other deals and money saving offers related to Walt Disney World (including a new Late Summer offer giving 20% discounts on rooms at both Riverside and French Quarter) I highly recommend a visit to MouseSavers.com. It's well worth checking to see what other deals are available on the dates you plan to travel, as unless you are a group of 3+ people staying in one room, and are big eaters in the first place, it can sometimes work out cheaper to get a better room-only discount and then pay for food as you go. 'Free' dining isn't always quite the deal it first seems once you crunch the numbers.

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Top Ten Reasons for Choosing to Stay at Port Orleans

Posted on Saturday 25th April 2015 by Admin

I've lost count of the number of times I've been asked for my opinions as to what sets the Port Orleans resorts apart from the myriad of other places to stay within the Walt Disney World area. There are so many reasons to choose from, as a brief browse around this website will quickly confirm, but I've just created (for what it's worth anyway) my own personal Top Ten List.

I'd love to know if you think I've missed anything out - what are the special reasons that bring you back to the Port year after year...

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POFQ Bus Stop Refurbishment Work Commencing 13 April

Posted on Saturday 4th April 2015 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Orlando Park News is reporting that the bus stop at Port Orleans French Quarter will be closed for refurbishment work starting on Monday 13th April:

"Guests staying at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort - French Quarter should note that the hotel's bus stop will be undergoing a refurbishment starting April 13. During this refurbishment, the bus stop (which serves the entire resort) will be temporarily relocated near Building 3."

As of now, the reopening date of the main bus stop has not been confirmed.

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Update on 24 April:

The temporary bus stop is in the parking lot behind building 3 (so just on the other side of the main lobby building to where the normal bus stop is located) and they have set up a tented covered area, with seating and some potted plants, for people to wait. I know that the work includes replacing some concrete, but I'm not sure of anything else that might be planned (e.g. a wait-time screen?). See DISboards Port Orleans French Quarter Q&A Thread for a few photos.

Update on 30 April:

The main bus stop at Port Orleans French Quarter will be re-opening tomorrow (1st May) after three weeks of work replacing roadway concrete.

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Riverside Laundries switching to card-only payment machines

Posted on Monday 30th March 2015 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Following a successful trial over at French Quarter, the Port Orleans Riverside laundry machines are also now switching over to cashless payment, and will soon only be able to accept card payments.

As of the end of March 2015, both of the mansion building laundry rooms have already been converted, as has the Alligator Bayou laundry next to the quiet pool by building 18. The room by the 'twenties' pool is currently closed while work is completed on swapping the machines, leaving just the final laundry room in the Alligator Bayou thirties section to be completed very soon.

Note: As Disney is using an off-the-shelf card processing solution, there is no facility for guests to pay using Magic Bands or even old-style Disney Key to the World cards. However, as no ZIP code or PIN entry is required, any credit, debit or pre-loaded dollar payment card should work - including internationally issued cards - just as long as they have a magnetic stripe on the back.

Update on 4 April: Work is apparently now complete, all of the laundry rooms have been updated.

The new machines (including the existing ones over at French Quarter) are also internet connected. Yes, really! You can check on the current status of any of the washers and driers at Port Orleans via the website http://www.laundryview.com/disneyworld/ using either a computer or a mobile device, which allows you check for available machines and also to see when your own load is finished.

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Riverside's Bob Jackson to play at new Boathouse restaurant

Posted on Saturday 28th March 2015 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Update from Bob regarding this project:

"I was hoping to pick up some shifts on my nights off from the Port at a new Restaurant at Disney Springs called The Boathouse. Unfortunately, the gig was unable to launch before we could play the first note!"


Original Story:

Port Orleans Riverside's popular resident evening entertainer, the legendary "Ya Haa" Bob Jackson, will be soon spending even more time performing at Walt Disney World when the new Boathouse Restaurant opens as part of the Disney Springs development at Downtown Disney.

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Bob is tentatively scheduled to start working at the new restaurant on his nights off from Port Orleans - does the man never sleep?! He'll apparently be playing on the water taxi there, and will be performing instrumental jazz standards with a sax player from 4pm-10pm on Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays. The restaurant hasn't officially opened yet so the schedule below is still subject to change, based on a currently planned opening date of Monday 13 April.

Note: Bob has a personal day-off planned for Friday 10 April, so he won't be performing at the River Roost Lounge that day.

Wed 01 April - River Roost Lounge (Riverside)
Thu 02 April - River Roost Lounge (Riverside)
Fri 03 April - River Roost Lounge (Riverside)
Sat 04 April - River Roost Lounge (Riverside)
Sun 05 April - Ocoee Christian Church (10:45am-noon)
Mon 06 April - Off
Tue 07 April - Give Kids the World
Wed 08 April - River Roost Lounge (Riverside)
Thu 09 April - River Roost Lounge (Riverside)
Fri 10 April - OFF
Sat 11 April - River Roost Lounge (Riverside)
Sun 12 April - Ocoee Christian Church (10:45am-noon)
Mon 13 April - Boathouse (Disney Springs)
Tue 14 April - Boathouse (Disney Springs)
Wed 15 April - River Roost Lounge (Riverside)
Thu 16 April - River Roost Lounge (Riverside)
Fri 17 April - River Roost Lounge (Riverside)
Sat 18 April - River Roost Lounge (Riverside)
Sun 19 April - Ocoee Christian Church (10:45am-noon), Boathouse (Disney Springs)
Mon 20 April - Boathouse (Disney Springs)
Tue 21 April - Boathouse (Disney Springs)
Wed 22 April - River Roost Lounge (Riverside)
Thu 23 April - River Roost Lounge (Riverside)
Fri 24 April - River Roost Lounge (Riverside)
Sat 25 April - River Roost Lounge (Riverside)
Sun 26 April - Ocoee Christian Church (10:45am-noon), Boathouse (Disney Springs)
Mon 27 April - Private Event
Tue 28 April - Boathouse (Disney Springs)
Wed 29 April - River Roost Lounge (Riverside)
Thu 30 April - River Roost Lounge (Riverside)

Bob's schedule can also be found on his website, or subscribe to his monthly email newsletter.

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April 2015 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules

Posted on Friday 27th March 2015 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The April 2015 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 evening campfires will commence at 6:30pm this month and the Movies Under the Stars will be screened at 8:30pm daily at both resorts. The feature swimming pool opening hours are currently 9am—10pm, which should be extended to the full summer hours of 9am—11pm sometime around May.

Special Easter Sunday events on 5 April will include Character Meet & Greets, Candy Scrambles and other games, Easter Arts and Crafts, Bunny Bingo, and The Great Golden Egg Hunt. Pre-made or customisable Easter Baskets will be available for guests to purchase from 3-5 April at both resort gift shops (Fulton's General Store and Jackson Square Gifts & Desires).

Celebrate Earth Day by joining the cast members in the Lobby to vote for your favourite recyclable art creation. Made by the Cast Members from the resort, see their creativity on display and cast your vote on 21 April from 9am-3pm. Also, in celebration of Earth Day, on Wednesday 22 April the Movie Under the Stars presentation will be Disneynature’s “Bears”.

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Tom Casey to leave Scat Cat's Club at end of March

Posted on Wednesday 25th March 2015 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Lounge entertainer Tom Casey will be finishing his run at Scat Cat's Club at Port Orleans French Quarter at the end of March.

According to his Facebook page, evening entertainer Tom Casey will be finishing his contracted run at Scat Cat's Club at Port Orleans French Quarter at the end of March. Thanks for all the fun and live music at Scat Cat's over the past couple of years Tom, and good luck for your future projects.

There has been no announcement as yet as to who will be replacing Tom.

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March 2015 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules

Posted on Wednesday 25th February 2015 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The March 2015 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 evening campfires will commence at 6pm this month and the Movies Under the Stars will be screened at 8pm daily at both resorts.

New for March at Port Orleans French Quarter is Frozen Friday: "Do you wanna build a snowman?" Then join us at the French Quarter Green (between buildings 5 & 6) every Friday for fun-filled Frozen themed activities for all ages:

  • 4pm - Frozen Trivia, Snowman Building, Troll Bowling and more
  • 6pm - Frozen Sing Along and Campfire
  • 8pm - Movie Under the Stars: Frozen (rated PG)

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Live webcam of the Port Orleans 2015 Mardi Gras parade

Posted on Monday 16th February 2015 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

If you want to watch the special Mardi Gras parade that the Port Orleans cast members put on every year for resort guests, pop over to the www.eyesonears.com website at 10am EST tomorrow morning (Tuesday 17 Feb) as site user Darlene (username 'newharmony') plans to live stream it.

You'll need to be registered on the site to view the video feeds and join in with the live chat, but it's quick and free to do. Then, the best page to watch the stream on would probably be www.eyesonears.com/media/mobilecams, where the video will be on the 'M2' feed. [If you can't use that link for any reason, you can try the Ustream feed directly at www.ustream.tv/channel/eyesonears-m2]

If you miss it, Darlene has said she will record it so you'll be able to catch up on it later.

[Edit: The recording is now available via the Eyes on Ears Ustream channel at www.ustream.tv/recorded/58926996]

Enjoy!

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Mardi Gras at Port Orleans, 17 February 2015

Posted on Wednesday 11th February 2015 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The Port Orleans resorts will be continuing their annual tradition of celebrating the Mardi Gras ("Fat Tuesday") festival, just like their counterparts over in the 'real world' New Orleans, on Tuesday 17 February 2015.

The annual cast-member designed and run 'Pargo Parade' will be taking place at 10am this year, a little earlier than in previous years, which should allow more guests to enjoy the fun before heading off to the theme parks for the rest of the day.

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There will also be an evening of Mardi Gras celebrations over at French Quarter from 5pm-9pm, including a Dance Party, Contests & Prizes, Cake Walk, King Cake Eating Contest, Characters, and Face Painting.

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Direct-to-Room checkin to become a permanent feature

Posted on Thursday 5th February 2015 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Direct-to-Room check-in service will become a permanent feature at Port Orleans as from Tuesday 10 February.

For those people who were following the limited tests that took place last year, you may be pleased to know that the 'Direct to Room' checkin service will now become a permanent feature at the Port Orleans resorts starting from next week, Tuesday 10 February, and soon after then at the other Disney resorts.

It still won't be compulsory of course - you can always head over to the Front Desk when you arrive if you prefer, or if you need something specific - but assuming you've already received your Magic Bands in the post and have completed the necessary online process, it will be possible to have your resort room number communicated to you by email and/or text message shortly before your arrival. You will then be able to completely bypass the whole traditional registration process and go straight to your room with your Magic Band already activated and ready for use to get you into your room, pay for dining, use your ticketed admissions into the theme parks, access FastPass+, etc.

While this won't appeal to everyone - especially for those first-time visitors who may not know their way around the resort yet - for returning guests who just want to get to Disney and head straight off to a park, it could be a real time-saver.

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February 2015 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules

Posted on Saturday 31st January 2015 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The February 2015 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 evening campfires will commence at 5pm this month and the Movies Under the Stars will be screened at 7pm. These events will this month take place on alternate days at the two resorts - Monday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday at Riverside, and Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday at French Quarter.

Oh, and don't forget Mardi Gras on Tuesday 17 February.

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New Resort-Specific Merchandise arrives at Port Orleans

Posted on Saturday 3rd January 2015 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Update: Please see our new Resort-Specific Merchandise page for more details and lots more photos.

No sooner does the new year arrive than we are starting to see some brand new resort-specific merchandise arrive at the Port Orleans shops. After years of waiting, this is a very welcome sign of a change in direction from Disney. So far we've received some pictures and prices of the range on display in Fulton's General Store at Port Orleans Riverside, and presumably there are similar items over at French Quarter too.

These three pictures were recently posted by @Schmoofy, out there in the Twitterverse:

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And DISboards user FelisLachesis has just added some more photos and checked the prices:

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Plus the products which were previously available:

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Prices (plus sales tax):
Mug: $14.95
Baseball cap: $19.95
Throw: $74.95
Ornament: $14.95
Pictures: 5"x7" (in 8x10 frame) $35, 3"x5" (in 5x7 frame) $25
Trading pin (blue level): $8.95


Update on January 10th:

More great photos from Bret+ (@Schmoofy on Twitter) of French Quarter items:

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Happy New Year at Port Orleans, and a review of 2014

Posted on Thursday 1st January 2015 by Admin

I'd like to wish everyone a fabulous New Year - I hope 2015 is a good one for you, and hopefully it will include at least one visit to our favourite resort hotel.

I'm sure there will be lots to look forward to at Port Orleans this year, and a few changes might even be coming in the very near future. For example, I hear that following the successful trail period in the summer there will soon be a permanent facility for direct-to-room check-ins which, although optional, will be a very useful feature for returning visitors who already know the resort. And all those people who have been longing to be able to pick up some resort-specific merchandise at the gift shops might just be in for a pleasant surprise the next time they visit [see news update on 3rd Jan for some pictures and prices of new products].

It also seems like an opportune moment to do a quick roundup of some of the little bits of Port Orleans news from last year which may not have made the headlines:

  • The new Sassagoula River Ferry dock at Downtown Disney opened in mid-August, using a custom-built jetty linked to a new footbridge between the Rainforest Café area and the Saratoga Springs Resort:
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  • For guests using the Disney Dining Plans, the included Refillable Mugs are now often distributed from the main registration lobby during busy times, so you can pick them up as soon as you check in.
  • A limited-menu continental breakfast has recently been made available at the River Roost Lounge featuring pastries, coffee, etc. Very convenient for a quick pre-park snack with no lines.
  • The road layout at the main bus stops has been modified slightly to accommodate the turning circles of double-length articulated "bendy" buses which should help to ease the waiting times during busy periods. Photo of the work site in August:
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  • During the summer, the landscaping teams trimmed back some of the larger trees which were starting to obscure guests' views. In particular, the river-facing courtyard at Magnolia Terrace (near to the pretty little gazebo) has been opened up considerably, and there will be more flowering plants added to bring a splash of colour to that area:
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  • The old thick quilted comforters were removed from guest bedrooms earlier in the year, to be replaced by plain white sheeting and a decorative bed-scarf across the foot of the bed. There is a possibility that the somewhat incongruous white covers may be replaced by more tastefully themed colours at some point in the future.
  • Trials were held in some French Quarter rooms to see if removing the adjustable blinds from guest rooms might help to make the rooms brighter. I don't know whether this test will be expanded to the rest of the resort, but I rather hope not as the only remaining option for guest privacy was to shut the curtains completely, which rather defeats the object:
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  • Winter operating hours for the main feature pools (9am-10pm) were introduced at the start of December, and it is likely that the hours will be reduced still further in January/February. The campfire and movie schedules have also been trimmed back a little for the low season, with events now occurring on alternating days at Riverside and French Quarter.
  • A new backstory-themed menu was introduced at Boatwright’s Dining Hall at the end of October, and a trial was carried out in November/December offering a selection of cold food options at the Muddy Rivers pool bar.
  • Major work was completed on the Oak Manor roof during the Spring/Summer, necessitating a rolling closure of parts of the building for several months.
  • On 2nd March, the popular boat rental facility at Port Orleans Riverside's marina was shut down. It was initially speculated that this might have been due to the ongoing construction work in the Downtown Disney area, but at the moment it seems that the closure will be permanent.
  • On 24th February, the resort airline checkin/bag-drop service was extended to include some International flights in addition to the existing domestic routes.

It's been a busy year for this site too, with several new features and information pages being added to portorleans.org. FastPass+ and My Disney Experience are now a staple part of any stay at Walt Disney World, and details were added to the site back in February. Also, lots of work has gone into updating the building floorplan maps and creating new panorama views of all of the guest room types. There's also been plenty of behind-the-scenes activity to make the site menus and forums operate more reliably on some mobile devices and make the News pages more easily browsable. Plus all the routine adjustments to cover the 2015 room price releases, updates to the restaurant menus, monthly recreation schedules and so on. Here's a quick summary from the Site Updates page:
  • 13-Dec-14: Rewrote the News parsing PHP code to tidily paginate the display pages and provide better access for individual items.
    09-Dec-14: Added more details and photos to the two resort gift shop pages, Fulton’s General Store and Jackson Square Gifts & Desires. Long overdue!
    06-Dec-14: Revised the top menus to be more compatible with iPhones. Also updated fonts and made some other site-wide layout tweaks.
    03-Dec-14: Completed 6 new 360° panoramas, including new in-room images showing the updated bed covers.
    18-Nov-14: Added new food options being offered for a trial period at the Muddy Rivers pool bar.
    15-Nov-14: Updated all of the food court and pool bar menus and prices (Riverside Mill, Sassagoula Floatworks & Food Factory, Muddy Rivers and Mardi Grogs).
    04-Nov-14: Added the full 2015 room rack-rate pricing structure, including graphical representations of the seasonal price fluctuations.
    01-Nov-14: Further updated building floorplan maps (corrected the annotations for some connecting Accessible rooms) and added a direct access page to make it easier to view or download individual maps.
    29-Oct-14: Updated the choices and prices to reflect Boatwright’s Dining Hall's new ‘themed’ menu.
    09-May-14: Updated building floorplan layouts to include details of all Connecting Rooms.
    01-May-14: Site now includes Google Ads, hopefully remaining fairly unobtrusive within the overall user experience. Visitor donations just weren’t covering the overall running costs, so a necessary evil I’m afraid.
    11-Apr-14: Added new Mobile layout to the Discussion Forums to make them easier to use on phone screens.
    31-Mar-14: Added Sassagoula Pizza Express menus and poolside & in-room delivery details.
    30-Mar-14: Updated site layout and menu bar to provide easier site navigation.
    03-Feb-14: Added “My Disney Experience” page covering the Disney website & mobile app, Magic Bands, FastPass+, etc.

Well, that's about it for now - have a very Happy New Year everyone!

Andre

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January 2015 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules

Posted on Tuesday 30th December 2014 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The January 2015 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 evening campfires will commence at 5pm this month and the Movies Under the Stars will be screened at 7pm. These events will this month take place on alternate days at the two resorts - Monday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday at Riverside, and Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday at French Quarter.

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Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from portorleans.org

Posted on Wednesday 24th December 2014 by Admin


I would like to wish everyone a sincere and very magical

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I hope you and your families have a lovely and peaceful festive break.




And if you do happen to be at Port Orleans on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day (either as a guest or a Cast Member) have an amazing time!

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All the Best from your website administrator,

Andre

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Christmas 2014 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules

Posted on Tuesday 16th December 2014 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The Christmas / New Year 2014 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 evening campfires commence at 5pm over the holiday period this year and the Movies Under the Stars will be screened at 7pm. These will both take place four days a week, with the other three days featuring indoor activities at 5pm instead.

There are lots of other free festive activities for all the family planned too, including live performers, character greetings (with Santa himself making an appearance at Riverside) on Christmas Eve, cookie decorating, a cast member gingerbread house competition, and a New Year's Eve Party at Riverside.

French Quarter Holiday Activities
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Riverside Holiday Activities
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December 2014 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules

Posted on Wednesday 3rd December 2014 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The December 2014 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 evening campfires commence at 5pm in December, and the Movies Under the Stars will be screened at 7pm. Extra Christmas Eve / Christmas Day schedules will be posted closer to the time.

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Trial Food and Cocktail Service at Muddy Rivers

Posted on Sunday 16th November 2014 by RiverRooster

Today food is available at Muddy Rivers [the pool bar on Ol' Man Island]. They are now offering a selection of sandwiches, including: Tuna Salad Croissant ($10.49); Cajun Turkey Club ($10.49); Muffeletta ($10.49); Ham & Cheese Croissant ($9.99); Kid's Meal Turkey Sandwich ($6.99); and Kids Meal Uncrusted PB&J ($6.49). A cocktail server is also walking the pool deck. I'm told this will be in place for a trial period [ending 10 January 2015, coinciding with the end of Marathon weekend].

[Update from Admin 7 June 2015] Just had an email from one of my contacts at the resort, and the Muddy Rivers poolside food and cocktail service has been continued, and there are plans to expand it in the future.

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New Themed Menus at Boatwright's and River Roost Lounge

Posted on Friday 7th November 2014 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

On 29 October 2014, Port Orleans Riverside launched new updated food menus at its Boatwright's Dining Hall table-service restaurant and the River Roost Lounge (the famous home of "Ye Haa" Bob Jackson). While many of the food offerings have remained similar to previous menus, several new Appetisers and Entrées have been added and a number of the options have been renamed to fit in with the resort's elaborate themed backstory (see the Back Story Pages).

You can now start your meal with appetisers such as Colonel Peace’s Crawfish Pieces or Ol' Man Island Oysters, and then continue with General Fulton’s Prime Rib, Jackson Square Étouffée or Sassagoula Short Ribs - not to mention the signature Boatwright's Jambalaya - and finish off with Brew du Krewe or Doubloon Bread Pudding.

For the full menus and prices, please see the Boatwright's Dining Hall and River Roost Lounge pages.

Also recently updated are the menus for the Riverside Mill and Sassagoula Floatworks & Food Factory food courts, plus the Muddy Rivers and Mardi Grogs pool bars.

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November 2014 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules

Posted on Friday 31st October 2014 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The November 2014 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 evening campfires commence at 5:30pm in November, and the Movies Under the Stars will be screened at 7:30pm.

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New Disney Parks Port Orleans Videos

Posted on Sunday 19th October 2014 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The Disney Parks YouTube Channel has just posted a couple of fun Port Orleans videos, one showcasing the resort in general and the other highlighting the Alligator Bayou rooms. Enjoy!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ltRUt8X ... Un_Tp597hQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybzmj57 ... Un_Tp597hQ

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October 2014 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules

Posted on Saturday 27th September 2014 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The October 2014 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 evening campfires commence at 6pm in October, and the Movies Under the Stars will be screened at 8pm.

Lots of special Halloween activities will be hosted on Friday 31 October, but if you wish to watch a movie please note that French Quarter will be presenting Toy Story of Terror at 8:30pm and Nightmare Before Christmas at 9pm, while Riverside will be hosting “Madame Medusa’s Moonlit Campfire” on Ol’ Man Island at 9pm instead of a movie.

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September 2014 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules

Posted on Thursday 28th August 2014 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The September 2014 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules for Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter are now available. See the main Recreation Activities Schedule page for full-size printable PDF versions.

The outdoor movies will start at 8:30pm and the daily campfires commence at 6:30pm this month.

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WDW 2015 Rack Rates Released

Posted on Wednesday 30th July 2014 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Walt Disney World has just released their hotel room 'rack rates' for the whole of 2015, including both of the Port Orleans resorts. See http://www.disneyworld.com and enter your required dates for a quote.

The full breakdown of all the 2015 rates for all room categories at Port Orleans are now available on the Room Rates page. Here's a quick overview of how they break down by season.


Riverside’s River View rooms are at their most expensive on Memorial Day ($340/night), when even at Christmas they are only $331! Even a Royal River View room is cheaper over that weekend. And in the Spring/Summer, the incremental increase from Standard View to River View is now as much as a whopping $78/night extra (it used to be about $25/$30 a few years ago):

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This year the Royal Rooms seem to be going for much less of a premium than before — for example during the summer, Garden, Pool and River View Royal Rooms all cost exactly the same, just $6/night more than a Standard View Royal Room. So if you’re paying for a Royal Room anyway, definitely consider upgrading to River View:

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The French Quarter premium rooms generally seem quite a bit cheaper than Riverside’s for similar dates, and there is somewhat less of an increment when moving up between categories. And during the summer, French Quarter’s River View is actually cheaper than Pool View:

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August 2014 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules

Posted on Thursday 24th July 2014 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The August 2014 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules for Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter are now available. See the main Recreation Activities Schedule page for full-size printable PDF versions, or click on the images below.

The outdoor movies will start at 9pm and the daily campfires commence at 7pm this month.

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July 2014 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules

Posted on Friday 20th June 2014 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The July 2014 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules for Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter are now available. See the main Recreation Activities Schedule page for full-size PDF versions, or click on the images below.

The outdoor movies will start at 9pm and the daily campfires commence at 7pm this month. Special activities are scheduled for American Independence Day (4th of July).

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Port Orleans to test direct checkins, bypassing Front Desk

Posted on Thursday 5th June 2014 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter will both be taking part in a two-week trial of an innovative new time-saving checkin procedure for guests arriving between Monday 16 June and Saturday 28 June 2014.

To qualify, guests with arrival dates between 16 and 28 June will need to have first created a My Disney Experience account, and already received their Magic Bands at home (meaning that this test will only be available to domestic US residents). The guests will also need to have completed Online Checkin, and paid in full prior to arrival - including setting up a PIN number for their account. Basically, everything you would normally do while standing at the Front Desk needs to have been completed in advance.

Any guests who meet these requirements will automatically receive a notification email a few days prior to arrival to make them aware of the test, and then an hour or so before their stated arrival time they will get a further text message and/or email indicating their assigned room number. They are then free to proceed directly to their room without any need to first call at the Front Desk.

Anyone not wishing to take advantage of this test - or perhaps needing more information, or with questions or concerns about the location of their room - should simply show up at the Front Desk and check-in normally. There is no need to "opt out" if anyone does not wish to participate, this is purely an added convenience.

This is only an initial time-limited test at the moment, not a soft-launch, and it will not currently be extended beyond the trial period. The results will then be evaluated to decide whether this system could work for a more general roll-out at Walt Disney World at some point in the future.

The trial will not be advertised generally, nor promoted to guests who have not already met the above criteria, so if you'd like to participate just get yourself set up in My Disney Experience, do your Online Checkin, and wait for your email.


[Updates added on 6 June]

This trial system is not compulsory, I guess it's mainly for repeat guests who often ask about whether the Front Desk line will be shorter or longer if they do online checkin, or if they arrive at 10am or 11am, etc. Think of it as "FastPass to your Room" if you like, or "Checkin+". If you don't want to use it though, that's entirely up to you.

"Paid in full" happens automatically for packages at 45 days out (and I assume for room-only at 6 days?) so no need to do anything in those cases. If you want to check, or force a payment through so this system will definitely kick in, just call the Reservation Center in advance. The system will not apply to any bookings where an ID needs to be confirmed upon arrival (e.g. cast member bookings, etc).

Welcome Packs will not (for the trial at least) be sent to rooms in advance. If you need one - for example for a map, parking pass or other welcome collateral - you'll need to pop by the Front Desk at your convenience to pick one up.

MagicBands and all their paid features (park tickets, dining plan credits, etc) will go live once the reservation is centrally 'checked-in' on the system, which is also when your text will be sent advising you of your room number - so guests can go directly to a park upon arrival at WDW if they wish.

The room number will normally be confirmed and a text sent about one hour before your stated arrival time, but it could be as close as 15 minutes if a suitable room is not ready early enough. If a room is still not ready by then, a message will be sent advising of the delay but your band will still be activated for all the other features but obviously not for door-key access yet. A followup message will confirm the room number later, and you will be able to use the door-key feature after that.

There will be three other Walt Disney World resort hotels taking part in the trial at the same time.

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June 2014 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules

Posted on Wednesday 21st May 2014 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The June 2014 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules for Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter are now available. See the main Recreation Activities Schedule page for full-size PDF versions, or click on the images below.

The outdoor movies will start at 9pm and the daily campfires commence at 7pm this month.

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Building Floorplans now include Connecting Room details

Posted on Friday 9th May 2014 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Our popular Port Orleans building floorplan layouts have just been updated to add even more detail. Not only can you check the various room types & categories, and the locations of all the Accessible rooms, but you can now see every pair of rooms that includes a Connecting Doorway too. While special room requests can never be guaranteed of course, it is now much easier for you to check to see if a particular room request might be realistic or not.

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See the Room Locations and Requests page and click on any of the buildings in the resort maps to see expanded floorplan views. You can also download combined PDF documents for each section of the resort from the Maps and Directions page.

I hope you enjoy the updated maps, and have fun planning!

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Free Dining Announced for Sep-Dec 2014, but not Port Orleans

Posted on Saturday 3rd May 2014 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Around this time for a number of years, Walt Disney World has launched a free 'Disney Dining Plan' promotion for room with park ticket packages booked for the slower months of the Fall, usually starting in late August and often getting extended until mid-December. Previously, Port Orleans was one of the resorts included within the offer but unfortunately it appears that Riverside and French Quarter have perhaps become victims of their own success and Disney have opted not to include them in the promotion this year.

Forecasted occupancy levels are monitored regularly by Disney, and offer details can be changed with very little notice if they think they need to promote a particular resort which is not selling well - but unfortunately (for us anyway) Port Orleans' average occupancy level is dramatically higher than either of the other two Moderate resorts (Caribbean Beach and Coronado Springs) so there is currently not much likelihood of Disney needing to offer extra incentives for guests to stay there.

If you're interested in switching to another resort in order to take advantage of the offer, please see the various online discussion threads (such as http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3271072) for more details. The dates are 31 Aug - 23 Dec with some lengthy blackout dates covering most of October and parts of November/December, and bookings commence on 2 May for Disney Visa card holders and 7 May for everyone else.

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May 2014 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules

Posted on Wednesday 23rd April 2014 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The May 2014 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules for Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter are now available. See the main Recreation Activities Schedule page for full-size PDF versions, or click on the images below.

The outdoor movies will start at 9pm and the daily campfires commence at 7pm this month.

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Oak Manor roof refurbishment construction update

Posted on Sunday 13th April 2014 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

[Work was completed on time by 18 July]

The Oak Manor roof refurbishment work which started back in January is continuing apace. So far, the central three-story section of the building is complete, as is the river-facing wing on the Parterre Place side (i.e. closest to the quiet pool and the footbridge over to the main buildings).

They are currently working on the northern river-facing wing (closest to Magnolia Terrace) and that should be completed on 9th May. Then work will move over to the parking lot side of the building, with a currently scheduled completion date of the 18th of July.

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(Thanks to RiverRooster for the photo)

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WDW Radio Show LIVE from River Roost Lounge 8:30pm 12 April

Posted on Saturday 12th April 2014 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Tune in via your web browsers or mobile devices tonight at 8:30pm (EST) to watch the WDW Radio LIVE show, this month coming to you direct from the River Roost Lounge at Port Orleans Riverside with everyone's favourite entertainer, Ye Haa Bob Jackson. Have a great evening folks!

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April 2014 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules

Posted on Tuesday 1st April 2014 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The April 2014 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules for Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter are now available. See the main Recreation Activities Schedule page for full-size PDF versions, or click on the images below.

The outdoor movies will start at 8:30pm and the daily campfires commence at 6:30pm this month.

There will be extra activities on Easter Sunday (20 April) including Character Meet & Greets, Jelly Bean Guessing Contest, Easter Candy Scramble, Cupcake Decorating and Family Games such as croquet, egg races and tug-of-war.


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March 2014 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules

Posted on Saturday 1st March 2014 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The March 2014 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules for Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter are now available. See the main Recreation Activities Schedule page for full-size PDF versions, or click on the images below.

The outdoor movies will start at 8pm and the daily campfires commence at 6pm this month. On Sunday 2 March, the Oscars ceremony will be screened live at the Riverside Lobby Courtyard instead of the regular movie.

On Tuesday 4 March, Port Orleans will feature its annual Mardi Gras celebrations, including a mini-parade around the resort organised by the cast members - starting at French Quarter at around 1:30pm and getting to Riverside by 2pm.

Note: French Quarter's "Doubloon Lagoon" pool will reopen on 4 March after its seven-week refurbishment.

Also, in what appears to be a massively short-sighted and very disappointing move, as from 2 March 2014 Disney has seen fit to permanently close the Port Orleans Riverside Levee boat rental facility. Very Bad Show, Disney - you are meant to be all about "plussing" your parks and resorts, not "minussing" them. If you wish to make your views known, ask for an explanation, or request that this decision be reversed, please contact [email protected].

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Riverside boat rental marina to permanently close

Posted on Thursday 27th February 2014 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Well this one came out of the blue... the Riverside Levee boat rental marina will be permanently closing as from Sunday 2 March.

Very Bad Show, Disney - you are meant to be all about "plussing" your parks and resorts, not "minussing" them.

The Sassagoula river ferry will continue to operate to and from Downtown Disney as normal, as will the children's pirate cruises and the cycle rentals, but no more Sea Raycers, kayaks or other boat rentals. As far as I know at the moment, this will be a permanent closure. Apparently this will happen at the other Moderates too.

And so another bit of magic is chipped away. :(

Please email [email protected] if you want to make your views known, and perhaps ask for a proper explanation.


Update 2 March: I contacted my friend Denise from mousesteps.com and she and her partner Jeff took a trip over to Riverside yesterday and rented out a pontoon boat for an hour-and-a-half and took one last nostalgic trip along the Sassagoula before the service finally closed last night. Her report and photos can be found HERE, and Jeff's video of the trip on YouTube HERE. So sad to see this wonderful facility go away.


Update 4 March: I've heard mutterings that this might be something to do with an external (third-party) contractor who ran the rental service. To be honest, I'd always assumed it was run by Disney directly (certainly the staffing was provided by Disney cast members) but I've never really had the need to look into it.

According to website WDW News Today, the facility was not popular enough at the Moderate resorts and so the company has pulled out, leaving just the Deluxe Resort locations operating. I'm guessing the current closure of the DTD rental dock for the Disney Springs project won't have helped either.

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Downtown Disney Marketplace ferry dock closing 22 Feb 2014

Posted on Wednesday 19th February 2014 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The Downtown Disney Marketplace ferry dock (located next to the Rainforest Cafe) will be closed from 22 February 2014 until the fall for construction work related to the new Disney Springs project at Downtown Disney. In the meantime, the Port Orleans river ferry boats will still run as normal, but they will use the Pleasure Island dock in the centre of Downtown Disney instead.

The temporary new routes will be as follows:

  • Port Orleans River Cruise – Yellow Route
    Service between Downtown Disney Pleasure Island and Disney’s Port Orleans Resorts
  • Disney Vacation Club Ferry – Blue Route
    Service between Downtown Disney West Side and Disney’s Old Key West Resort, Disney’s Saratoga Resort & Spa and the Treehouse Villas
  • Internal Downtown Disney Water Taxi – Red Route
    Service between Downtown Disney West Side and Pleasure Island only

[Edit] The new Port Orleans ferry dock opened mid-August, connected to a brand new bridge between Saratoga Springs and Downtown Disney near to Rainforest Cafe. I've posted photos via the @PortOrleansOrg Twitter account and on Facebook.

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Resort Airline Check-In Service for International Travellers

Posted on Sunday 2nd February 2014 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter will be extending their Resort Airline Check-In Service to include guests travelling on International flights as from 24 February 2014.

As with existing guests travelling on domestic US flights, the Resort Airline Check-In Service allows guests to check in for their flight directly at their hotel on their day of travel, including retrieving boarding passes and dropping off checked luggage. This is part of a gradual roll-out, and all Disney Resorts will be offering the International Airline Check-In facility by 17 March.

The airlines which participate in the scheme are Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, AirTran Airways, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines and US Airways - which given that these are all internal US carriers does seem a little ironic, but at least many of them do fly overseas too.

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February 2014 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules

Posted on Friday 31st January 2014 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The February 2014 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules for Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter are now available. See the main Recreation Activities Schedule page for full-size PDF versions, or click on the images below.

The outdoor movies will start at 7pm and the daily campfires commence at 5pm this month.

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Reminder: The French Quarter “Doubloon Lagoon” pool area is closed for refurbishment work until approx 28 February 2014, so activities will take place in the courtyard there instead of the pool. The pool bar and hot tub are closed too. For those who want to swim, there is a free shuttle service which takes guests directly over to the Riverside pool on Ol’ Man Island, and all guests can use the five quiet pools too.

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Key to the World cards to be phased out from 7 January 2014

Posted on Monday 6th January 2014 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The traditional plastic 'Key to the World' cards will be phased out at Port Orleans as from Tuesday 7 January 2014 as part of the ongoing rollout of Disney's new MyMagic+ system. When you check in after that date, each guest will automatically receive a Magic Band wrist bracelet only, with no backup plastic card supplied unless specifically requested.

The Magic Bands have been in testing for several months, and allow you to access everything that the old KttW cards did, and more - guest room door access, theme park admission, Disney Dining Plan credits, resort-wide payment facilities (charged back to your room account), FastPass+ pre-bookings for attractions, car park access, etc.

You can manage all of your bookings, customise your Magic Bands and make dining & FastPass+ reservations via a personalised account system called My Disney Experience, which can be accessed from the Disney website or via mobile devices or using terminals in the parks.

Guests who, for whatever reason, are not comfortable with the bracelet system can still request a plastic card which will do all of the same things - but it will simply mimic the tap-to-use operation of the Magic Bands (using its own RFID chip) rather than providing a magnetic stripe for swiping in the old-fashioned way. This means that you will no longer be able to reserve attraction times using the old legacy Fast Pass system - you will only have access to the new interactive FastPass+ variant. That sadly means that from now on, unless you have pre-booked you're probably not going to get a FastPass for the headliner rides such as Soarin' or Toy Story Midway Mania. Another nail in the coffin for spontaneity at Walt Disney World, I'm afraid.

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January 2014 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules

Posted on Thursday 26th December 2013 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The January 2014 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules for Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter are now available. See the main Recreation Activities Schedule page for full-size PDF versions, or click on the images below.

The outdoor movies will start at 7pm and the daily campfires commence at 5pm this month.

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Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Posted on Wednesday 25th December 2013 by Admin

So being a Brit, I always get a bit puzzled by the whole American "Happy Holidays" thing :) ... but with today being the actual 25th of December, I would like to wish everyone a very genuine and sincere:


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And if you happen to be at Port Orleans today (as a guest or Cast Member) have an amazing time:

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Andre

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Oak Manor roof refurbishment work commences 19 January 2014

Posted on Sunday 15th December 2013 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Just as a bit of a heads-up, as it might have an impact how people choose to request rooms, refurbishment work on the roof of the Oak Manor building (Port Orleans Riverside's building 90, in the Royal Guest Rooms section) will begin on 19 January 2014 and continue for about 6 months.

Construction staff will only be working on one wing at a time, so the majority of the building will remain open - but of course there may be visual intrusion from other parts of the building with some scaffolding, daytime noise, etc.

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December 2013 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules

Posted on Wednesday 27th November 2013 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The December 2013 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules for Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter are now available. See the main Recreation Activities Schedule page for full-size PDF versions, or click on the images below.

The outdoor movies will start at 7pm and the daily campfires commence at 5pm this month.

Don't miss the seasonal musical presentations in the run-up to Christmas. Special events including games, activities and Character Greetings will take place on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and more fun is planned at Riverside for New Year's Eve from 9pm until midnight.

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Riverside fridge replacement should be completed by 20 Nov

Posted on Wednesday 13th November 2013 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

I've just had confirmation that the long-awaited shipment of replacement in-room refrigerators for Port Orleans Riverside is now due to arrive at the resort later this week. It will obviously take a little while to get more than 1,200 fridges installed into guest rooms, but they will be starting as soon as the delivery arrives and are hopeful that all rooms should be completed and have working fridges by 20 November, just in time for Thanksgiving vacationers. (As previously posted, French Quarter was completed last month)

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POFQ Pool Refurbishment, plus revised feature pool hours

Posted on Tuesday 5th November 2013 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The Port Orleans French Quarter swimming pool, Doubloon Lagoon, will be closed for refurbishment from mid-January until the end of February 2014 (which includes the busy President's Day week). The dates are tentatively 13 Jan - 28 Feb, but that may change slightly depending on how long the work eventually takes. Disney will be running a free shuttle service between POFQ and POR during the closure to allow guests to use any of the six Riverside pools in the meantime.

The POFQ hot tub will also be closed for some of the time, but not necessarily for the whole of the refurbishment period. The laundry and kids playground will remain open, but the Mardi Grogs pool bar and the restrooms will be closed.

Update on 28 Jan: Rather than running large shuttle buses from the front of the hotels, they are using the small 'golf-cart'-like pargo vehicles to take guests from the front of the pool area at POFQ directly over to the pool at Riverside in a few minutes. Very little hanging around, just hop in and go. Return trips are just as easy.

Update on 27 Feb: The POFQ pool is due to re-open on Tuesday 4th March.


* * *

As from November 2013, the POR and POFQ feature pools (i.e. Ol' Man Island and Doubloon Lagoon) will both have extended lifeguard operating hours of 9am-11pm. However, outside of those times both pools (including the hot tubs) will be fully CLOSED and guests will not be allowed to use them - so sadly no more midnight soaks in the hot tub after a long day at the parks. :(

Off-season (e.g. 5 January - 15 February 2014, but dates are subject to change based on demand and other factors) the feature pool and hot tub hours will be reduced to 9am-9pm.

The five quiet pools around the Alligator Bayou and Magnolia Bend areas of POR will still remain available for swimming at any time outside of these hours (at your own risk of course), it's only the main feature pools which will have restricted access times.

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Touringplans.com room view photos of the entire resort

Posted on Wednesday 23rd October 2013 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Touringplans.com, the web presence of The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World guidebook, has just unveiled a superb new resource for anyone planning a trip to Port Orleans (and many of the other Disney hotels). They sent photographers round every single floor of every building, capturing a snapshot of the view that you will see from the window of each of the 3,000+ rooms at the resort.

So finally questions such as "how much of the river can I see from a River View room?" and "what are the parking lot views like?" now have definitive answers for everyone to see. Some elements of this new section are still being adjusted, but it is already an excellent place to peruse if you're planning a stay on Disney property. (Quite aside from their existing superlative park touring resources, which can save you a lot more time in line than FastPass+ is ever likely to do)

French Quarter maps and photos can be found at: touringplans.com/hotel_maps/disneys-port-orleans-resort-french-quarter

Riverside maps and photos can be found at: touringplans.com/hotel_maps/disneys-port-orleans-resort-riverside

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November 2013 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules

Posted on Tuesday 22nd October 2013 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The November 2013 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules for Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter are now available. See the main Recreation Activities Schedule page for full-size PDF versions, or click on the images below.

The outdoor movies will start at 7pm and the daily campfires commence at 5pm this month.

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In-Room Fridge Replacement Update (POFQ done, POR at 40%)

Posted on Saturday 19th October 2013 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The on-going issues with the replacement of fridges at most Disney resorts due to safety concerns are sadly not quite behind us yet, at least not for all guests.

First the good news: If you are staying at Port Orleans French Quarter, you should now be OK. All rooms should now have working fridges installed, although staff do still need to do a 100% room audit next week to confirm that their inventory lists are fully correct. But there should no longer be any need to make special requests.

Port Orleans Riverside guests, however, are not going to be so lucky. There has been no improvement at POR over the last month or so, and the number of rooms with working fridges currently stands at around 40%. About half of these are needed to help satisfy guests with medical or other special requirements (including moving fridges around between guest stays) so the 'random chance' of you happening to get a working fridge is currently only about 20%.

Maintenance staff have now physically removed the old affected units (rather than leaving them in situ with a warning letter) but unfortunately the next batch of replacement fridges - which was originally hoped for around the start of November - is now looking to be nearer the end of the month. No confirmed dates are available yet, but as soon as I can let you know anything more specific I will post the information here.

Remember that you can also get Port Orleans news updates automatically via Twitter @PortOrleansOrg, Facebook facebook.com/PortOrleans.org or by subscribing to the good old-fashioned RSS/email feed.

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Themed comforter bedspeads replaced with plain white sheets

Posted on Friday 18th October 2013 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The gorgeously detailed and themed comforter bedspreads which formed so much of the initial impact of that first moment when you walk into a Port Orleans guest room appear to have been removed. According to reports from current guests (in Alligator Bayou and French Quarter so far) there isn't even a "bed scarf" now (that strip of decorative fabric which some hotels place along the foot of their beds) to mitigate an otherwise clean & sterile expanse of 'hospital' white.

Before & After:
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Maybe it's just me, but I just don't think that a deeply themed and story-based environment such as Port Orleans is really the right place for the latest trendy fashionable hotel chain look. It also seems a real waste, given that the 3,000+ comforters were only a year or two old after the last refit.

What a shame, I feel that Disney really can (and did!) do better than this.


[Added 2-Nov] A new plain-look Royal Room bed (see DISboards thread)
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With or without a runner at some future stage, still bland.


[Added 4-Nov] And not looking much better in Magnolia Bend. Probably the least impact so far though, as apart from the bedhead artwork the MB rooms are more lightly themed anyway:
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(thanks for the photo John)

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Sassagoula River Ferry adjustments for Dragon Boat Festival

Posted on Monday 7th October 2013 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Over the next couple of weeks there will be some adjustments to the Sassagoula River Ferry service to and from Downtown Disney due to the upcoming annual Orlando International Dragon Boat Festival (18-19 Oct) and the various planned events on Lake Buena Vista at Downtown Disney.

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Race Hours:
18 October: 6:00pm - 8:00pm
19 October: 8:00am - 5:00pm

The resort ferry services affected are Old Key West, Port Orleans Riverside, Port Orleans French Quarter and Saratoga Springs, and additional buses will be provided during these times.

Most of the the ferry boats will not be running during the following periods:
9 October: 4:35pm - 6:45pm
10-17 October: 10:00am - 11:00am and 3:15pm - 6:45pm
18 October: 10:00am - 11:00am and 3:15pm - closing
19 October: 10:00am - 5:30pm

Update on 9 Oct:

I've just heard that the Port Orleans river ferry services to and from Downtown Disney will only be impacted on the main day of the races, Saturday 19 October. On that day, there will be no river ferry service until 5:30pm. Prior to that, the Port Orleans river ferry service will operate as normal.

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October 2013 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules

Posted on Sunday 29th September 2013 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The October 2013 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules for Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter are now available, including special Halloween activities. See the main Recreation Activities Schedule page for full-size PDF versions, or click on the images below.

The evening campfires commence at 6pm this month, and the Movies Under the Stars will be screened at 8pm (except for Halloween which will be 7pm/9pm).

Halloween Activities for 31 October include:

  • Disney Character Meet & Greets
  • Candy Corn Guessing Contests
  • Scavenger Hunts
  • Cake Walks
  • Monster Mash Dance Party
  • Costume Contest (all ages)
  • Pumpkin Decorating & Crafts
  • Trick-or-Treating
  • Haunted Campfires
Reminder: the Riverside campfire site on Ol’ Man Island is still closed at the moment, but the main refurbishment work has now been completed apart from some final safety checks, so it should hopefully be reopened by early October. In the meantime guests can still use the new French Quarter campfire site.


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Bus Wait-Time Display now operating at POR South Depot

Posted on Saturday 28th September 2013 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

There has been a TV screen sitting quietly and unobtrusively at the Port Orleans Riverside South Depot for some time now, and it has recently been turned on. Now guests waiting at the bus stop can get a real-time estimation of when the next Disney Bus for their destination should arrive:

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The information should get updated immediately as busses are changed or delayed, and if new ones are deployed to a route, and it is all based on the central despatch system linked to the GPS tracking devices fitted to all of the buses in Disney's fleet.

At present this is only at the Riverside South Depot with no immediate plans for the outer stops or French Quarter, but it's still a very nice start!

(Thanks for the photo D!)

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New Menu Items at Boatwright's from 25 September

Posted on Friday 27th September 2013 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

With special thanks to our dedicated specialist research team who have swung into action armed with covert photographic equipment and integrated wireless network communications tools (thanks mrsmomo, that means you and your smartphone! :) ) we find that several new menu items have now been added to the Boatwright's Dining Hall menu as from 25 September. A few existing items have gone up by a dollar or two, but mostly the prices have stayed the same.

Pimiento Cheese Fritters Image $8.49 (Appetiser)
with Pepper Jelly

Slow-Cooked Beef Short Rib Image $24.99 (Entrée)
Cheesy Grits and Red Wine Reduction
~ Recommended Pairing: Beringer Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma County ~

Sweet-Tea Brined Pork Chop Image $21.99 (Entrée)
with Sweet Potato Hash, Citrus-Whiskey Glaze, and Onion Straws
~ Recommended Pairing: Canyon Road Merlot, California ~

The restaurant has removed the existing Salmon Salad from the menu to make room for the new items. The new Slow-Cooked Beef Short Rib is already getting rave reviews, it had only been on the menu for 24 hours and already several people have commented on how good it is.

The food court menus were also updated at the end of August with a few new items, see the Riverside Mill page for full details.

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MagicBands coming to Port Orleans French Quarter from 30 Sep

Posted on Friday 13th September 2013 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

BREAKING NEWS: I'm hearing reports that the My Disney Experience system is now allowing Port Orleans French Quarter guests with arrival dates as early as 19 October to customise Magic Bands and make FastPass+ reservations for their stay. The system seems to have updated overnight. More information as soon as I get it.

Update at 6:30am (Eastern): I just had an email, the official French Quarter start date for Magic Band / FastPass+ is for arrivals from 30 September onward.

The current testing period lasts until 31 October, so nothing can be set up beyond then at present. However the general expectation is that the system will mostly likely continue seamlessly after that period, once Disney has loaded the new dates onto the system.

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September 2013 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules

Posted on Sunday 25th August 2013 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The September 2013 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules for Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter are now available. See the main Recreation Activities Schedule page for full-size PDF versions, or click on the images below.

The outdoor movies will start at 8:30pm and the daily campfires commence at 6:30pm this month.

Reminder: The Riverside campfire location on Ol' Man Island will be closed for most of September, you will need to use the new French Quarter campfire site instead.

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Campfire Updates: New POFQ location, plus POR refurbishment

Posted on Saturday 24th August 2013 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The newly-built campfire firepit at Port Orleans French Quarter which we mentioned a couple of weeks ago has now opened for guests as from Thursday 22 August. Located in Beignet Square - the courtyard between buildings 5 and 6 where the evening movies are screened - the campfire will take place every evening for a couple of hours before the movie starts.

Oddly enough for a custom-designed location, there is currently no bench seating provided (unlike at the previous area) which a few guests have already commented upon. This will be reviewed over the coming weeks as the old location is transformed back to its previous use. Note: children under 12 must be accompanied to the campfire by an adult.

Also, the Riverside campfire on Ol' Man Island is currently closed for about a month for refurbishment work (the exact completion date is somewhat dependent on how cooperative the September weather turns out to be). In the meantime, cast members will be helping to transport interested guests over to French Quarter's campfire by pargo (golf cart).

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Magic Bands coming to Port Orleans Riverside from 3rd Sept

Posted on Thursday 15th August 2013 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

I was asked to hold back on posting this until today, but Magic Bands will be issued to all Port Orleans Riverside guests for stays commencing 3rd September onward.

Emails and letters will start going out today to inform guests arriving within 18 days that they can pre-book their FastPass+ times (up to 60 days out in fact) and customise their Magic Bands (colour and name) via the My Disney Experience site and/or mobile app. It may not be possible for Disney to contact all guests (e.g. international guests, or those who have booked via some travel agents) but the new system will still apply to everyone regardless.

Continental USA guests should be able to get their Magic Bands mailed out in advance, others will need to pick them up at the Front Desk when they check in. Key cards will still be issued as a backup for the foreseeable future.

While this is still officially classified as a "test", the general expectation is that unless there are major problems this will most likely remain permanent.

French Quarter will follow within the next few months.

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Footbridge between Magnolia Terrace and Ol Man Island closed

Posted on Monday 12th August 2013 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The footbridge between the Magnolia Terrace mansion building and Ol' Man Island is closed for maintenance work (decking replacement) during the day from Monday 12 August for the next five days. Alternative routes are signposted via the other two bridges. The bridge will be re-opened each night.

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News Updates: Fridges, Magic Bands, Refillable Mugs, etc

Posted on Sunday 11th August 2013 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Fridges: Both Riverside and French Quarter are now at around 40%-50% working fridges, after about 400 new units were installed at the initially worst-hit French Quarter. Specific medical requests are all being granted, but general requests are still being dealt with on a case-by-case basis (they are moving fridges around to try to help guests, but there are no guarantees at present). 500 more are expected at the end of August, which will make the situation easier again, and the remainder hopefully by early November.

"Rapid Fill" Mugs: The new RFID-chipped mugs started to be issued to new guests from today, but the equipment to enforce their use at the drinks dispensers won't be activated until 19th August. The chips are being activated as you buy them (there is a new device at the tills, which sets each mug up for its period of validity depending on which option you've paid for) so they should work immediately once the dispenser sensors are turned on. Existing guests won't be forced to swap their mugs when the system goes live next week as their mugs will already be active.

Riverside had orange, purple and green mugs today, but French Quarter hasn't got the green ones as yet. The new mugs can officially be refilled at any Disney resort hotel which has a beverage dispenser location, not just at your home resort.

Magic Bands: These should be coming fairly soon now (not quite this month though) and I'll be able to post more information, and hopefully some dates, when I get home from my Port Orleans vacation at the end of this week. I can confirm that Riverside will be first though, with French Quarter a month or two later.

French Quarter Lobby: Two new chandeliers are due to be installed over the next few weeks, and there will be new signage added above the desks soon too. As part of the refurbishment budget, the pianola player-piano at the side of the main atrium (near to Scat Cat's) was repaired and now periodically plays live music in the lobby.

Swimming Pool Life Jackets: Free kids’ life vests are now available at all pools across property, starting about a week ago. They are proving very popular already, as previously you had to request one from the Marina.

French Quarter Campfire Relocation: The firepit is being moved to the end of Beignet Square, the courtyard lawn located between buildings 5 and 6 where the evening movies are shown. Work is almost complete, and the switchover should be taking place in the next week or two. The previous river-view campfire location by building 6 will revert to a seating area, probably as a smoking area. Update: the new campfire location opened on Thursday 22 August.

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August 2013 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules

Posted on Monday 29th July 2013 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The August 2013 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules for Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter are now available. See the main Recreation Activities Schedule page for full-size PDF versions, or click on the images below.

The outdoor movies will start at 9pm and the daily campfires commence at 7pm this month.

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Disney's Magical Express Downtown Disney pickup trial

Posted on Sunday 28th July 2013 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

As part of a test running from 1-31 August, guests using Disney’s Magical Express service and staying at Port Orleans Riverside or Port Orleans French Quarter will be able to opt to leave for the airport from the Downtown Disney area rather than from their resort.

This presents an additional opportunity for guests to enjoy shopping, dining and entertainment at Downtown Disney to complete their Walt Disney World Resort experience. [OK, that Disney-speak translates to "lets you spend even more money with Disney"]

Eligible guests must have a domestic flight that departs from Orlando International Airport between 3 pm and midnight, or an international flight between 4 pm and 1 am, on the day of check out.

Reservations should be made no later than 48 hours prior to departure by calling the automated reservation line at (407) 566-6900.

Disney’s Magical Express motorcoaches depart from the center of Downtown Disney, near the Pleasure Island bridge closest to Raglan Road Pub and Restaurant. Area signage and Disney’s Magical Express Cast Members will be available from noon-9 pm to provide assistance and directions for guests. There will also be information leaflets at the resort.

Guests must arrive at least 15 minutes prior to their scheduled departure time, which will be approximately three hours prior to domestic flight times, and four hours prior for international flights. Disney’s Magical Express motorcoaches may make multiple stops and will depart promptly.

Participating guest luggage can be handled in the following ways:


  • Resort Airline Check in: It is recommended that guests participate in Resort Airline Check-in if possible (details of this service are provided at Resort check-in)

  • Resort Bell Services Transfer: Alternatively, guests can check luggage, including carry-on luggage, with the Resort Bell Services team to be transferred to the Disney’s Magical Express Bus Stop at Downtown Disney, where Guests will claim their bags prior to boarding the motorcoach. Allow at least two hours prior to your scheduled motorcoach departure time. Luggage will travel with Guests on the motorcoach.
For more information, you can call Disney’s Magical Express on 1-866-599-0951.

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Rapid Fill Refillable Mug RFID system coming to Port Orleans

Posted on Saturday 27th July 2013 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Walt Disney World's new refillable mug program — "Rapid Fill" — is being rolled out at all resort hotel locations with self-service beverage stations. The drinks stations at the Port Orleans food courts are in the process of being modified at the moment, so presumably after a short testing phase the system will be going live soon (no confirmed dates as yet though).

The new Rapid Fill mugs feature a radio frequency identification (RFID) chip installed in the mug which allows it to be used for a specific amount of days, all the way through to the guests’ entire length of stay if required (multiple-resort stays are allowed, but the days must be CONSECUTIVE).

The new mugs will allow guests to refill beverages at any resort's self-service beverage station, not just at their home resort (but NOT at the theme parks or water parks). Guests will be able to check their remaining days via the fountain beverage dispenser’s display screen.

The prices for the new mugs will be as follows:
$8.99 for 1 day
$11.99 for 2 days
$14.99 for 3 days
$17.99 for length of stay (4-14 days, but can be specifically extended for longer stays)

Note: It will still be possible to buy a single drink (paper cup) at the food courts, which will contain an RFID chip coded for your current visit only.

Rapid Fill mugs may be purchased and used at any resort self-service beverage island, and Disney Dining Plan guests will receive the new mugs as part of their package.

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POFQ Lobby Re-Dedication Ceremony on Thursday 18 July 2013

Posted on Friday 19th July 2013 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

A few days ago we reported on the re-opening of the newly refurbished Port Orleans French Quarter registration lobby, and yesterday (Thursday 18 July) saw the official Re-Dedication Ceremony at 9am, presided over by Port Orleans' General Manager Val Bunting and attended by Walt Disney World Ambassador Rich Tamayo.

Denise from the excellent http://www.MouseSteps.com photowalks site was on-hand to document the rededication, and she has posted a great set of pictures of the event (including the free fresh beignets for guests!) plus some photos of the new details in the lobby in her Resort Update. There's also a short video of the ceremony (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pl ... aVg796NqXE) from Jeff Lange of JWLMedia.com.

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Musician Tom Casey joins Port Orleans French Quarter

Posted on Friday 19th July 2013 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Now that the lobby refurbishment at Port Orleans French Quarter is complete, entertainment offerings at Scat Cat’s Lounge will resume on Friday, July 19.

Musician Tom Casey will join Scat Cat’s Lounge, performing a dynamic blend of piano and jazz vocals. Tom has previously performed at a variety of venues across the Walt Disney World Resort, including providing vacation cover for French Quarter's previous resident musician, Elliot Dyson.

Performances will take place Friday through Monday at 8:30pm, 9:30pm and 10:30pm. There are no performances scheduled on Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays.

Update on 10 Aug:

I watched the last hour or so of Tom's set last night. His style is very different from Elliot's, it's no longer a jazz theme but more of a piano-accompanied mix of rock/pop standards (he also has stored backing/rhythm tracks on a laptop, and he does requests). He's very good though, just somewhat different to what you might expect if you're used to Elliot's music.

Tom has just set up a Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/TomCaseyAtScatCats - which oddly doesn't seem to come up in searches, but that link works - so pop along there and Like him to see his posts.

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Port Orleans French Quarter Lobby opens after refurbishment

Posted on Friday 12th July 2013 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

As I indicated last week, the Port Orleans French Quarter lobby has now re-opened for guest use after its refurbishment. The plan was to transition services back today (Friday) and be fully open by Monday, but it looks as if the work is pretty much complete now.

It looks very nice, with a fabulous new patterned tiled floor which looks perfectly in keeping with rest of the room. The desks are now dark wood with accented highlight panels along the upper edge in the new two-person 'pod' style so CMs can come out to interact with guests. The effect is more of a subtle change than the recent Riverside update, as the French Quarter desks were already dark wood.

The lovely backdrop behind the main desk area remains, as do the paintings, but on the sad side, the "When the Saints..." music notes are gone. :( There's also new rug/carpeting and sofas in the TV area, and new golden queue stanchions.

Here are a first few camera-phone photos of the new Lobby to be going on with:

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(many thanks to the person who kindly sent them to me this morning)

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Refrigerators Temporarily Removed from Disney Hotel Rooms

Posted on Wednesday 10th July 2013 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

This was just posted on the Disney Travel Agent Blog. I have no more specific information at present and will update this post when I know more:

Due to a possible defect in the refrigerators in some of the Guest rooms at the Walt Disney World® and Disneyland® Resorts, as well as Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa, Resort hotels at these locations have removed or temporarily disconnected Guest room refrigerators until the issue can be resolved.

Guests staying at these Resort hotels will be notified of the refrigerator removal via a letter in their room. Currently the schedule for replacing the refrigerators at these Resorts is expected to last several months.

This follow-up comment was just posted by Disney:
This is for all Resorts, except Disney Vacation Club rooms and the cabins at Disney's Fort Wilderness Campground. Currently we do not have an exact timeframe for when the fridges will be replaced, but it is expected to take at least 4 months. At each Resort there will be a limited number of refrigerators available by special request.


Update on 12 July:

The review of all 3,056 rooms at Port Orleans has now been completed, and it doesn't look like it's going to be quite as much of a problem as was first envisaged. Only around 50% of the rooms at Riverside have the type of fridge which will need removing (due to a fortunate piece of luck caused by available inventory during the recent rooms rehab) although the situation is slightly worse over at French Quarter. There will still be issues over the coming weeks of course while replacement fridges are sourced and installed, but it does look like it should be possible for guests to at least request a room with a fridge other than for medical reasons.

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2014 Rack and Package Rates released on the WDW USA website

Posted on Wednesday 10th July 2013 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The 2014 room Rack Rates and Packages are now available on the WDW USA website with confirmed pricing.

I've just compared a few sample dates for this year vs. next year at Port Orleans Riverside. While the Standard room types actually don't seem to have changed at all, and Garden View goes up by only a few dollars, some other room types have rocketed. e.g. in 'Summer-rate' July, River View goes up from $254/night this year to $279 next, and Pool View from $248 to $273 - that's $25 more expensive, or about a 10% increase. (prices inc taxes)

Update on 18 July:

Rates for all dates in 2014 are now in http://www.portorleans.org/roomrates.php.

Here's a quick view of how they break down by season - I still think there are some anomalies with King Bed rates though:

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July 2013 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules

Posted on Tuesday 25th June 2013 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The July 2013 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules for Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter are now available. See the main Recreation Activities Schedule page for full-size PDF versions, or click on the images below.

The outdoor movies will start at 9pm and the daily campfires commence at 7pm this month.

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June 2013 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules

Posted on Wednesday 29th May 2013 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The June 2013 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules for Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter are now available. See the main Recreation Activities Schedule page for full-size PDF versions, or click on the images below.

The outdoor movies will start at 9pm and the daily campfires commence at 7pm this month.

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May 2013 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules

Posted on Tuesday 30th April 2013 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The May 2013 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules for Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter are now available. See the main Recreation Activities Schedule page for full-size PDF versions, or click on the images below.

The outdoor movies will start at 9pm and the daily campfires commence at 7pm this month.

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Talented POFQ jazz musician Elliot Dyson laid off by Disney

Posted on Monday 29th April 2013 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

According to DISboards member and Port Orleans French Quarter regular 'cruisingkat', POFQ's resident multi-talented jazz musician Elliot Dyson has been let go by Disney. Anyone who has spent any time at the resort will be familiar with Elliot's nightly laid-back jazz sessions at Scat Cat's Club which are a signature attraction of the resort, and I know he will be greatly missed by a lot of folks.

cruisngkat wrote:We go to Disney at least 5 times a year and see him each time we visit. We received a text from Elliot telling us he has been let go. We saw him this past Wednesday and Thursday nights (4/24 & 4/25) and he told us May 4 will be his last night performing at Disney as his contract was terminated.

From the above, I'm assuming this is not just a temporary measure while the lobby refurbishment upheaval is going on next month. As I understand it, both Port Orleans resorts have been at pretty-much 100% capacity for several months now - even during normally slower periods - so if this is a cost-cutting exercise, what on earth are they thinking? Bad show Disney. :(

We at PortOrleans.org would like to thank Elliot for his many years of entertaining guests at the resort, and we wish him well for the future.

Update, 30 April:

I've had some feedback from a member of the management team at the resort, saying that this is as a result of the Lobby Refurbishment due to commence in two weeks' time, and it is still possible that Elliot may be asked to return after the work is complete. I'll quote a portion of the message here so I don't misrepresent anything:

As a result of being in that space, we have suspended all entertainment in that area due to the change in Guest flow and noise concerns. Elliot will be on hiatus during the refurbishment and we will have entertainment return after everything is completed. Our entertainment partners are part of the process and with the refurbishment will be looking at the offerings at French Quarter to ensure that our offerings match the quality, spirit and theme of the resort. This means that Elliot could easily return after the re-opening, however this has not been confirmed. The news of him let go is only referring to the time of the refurbishment.

However his return does seem far from certain at present according to what Elliot himself has been saying. If you enjoy his shows at POFQ, why not write to Disney to strongly encourage them to re-hire him after the lobby refurbishment is complete?

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POFQ Laundry goes cashless - credit cards only

Posted on Saturday 20th April 2013 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The washing machines and dryers in the Port Orleans French Quarter Laundry Room (located near to the Doubloon Lagoon swimming pool) are now cashless and you will only be able to pay using a credit or debit card. This is initially a six-month trial and there are no immediate plans to extend it to any of the Riverside laundry rooms (as yet, anyway).

Strangely though, there is no facility to pay using your Key-to-the-World card (room charge) which given the current major push towards contactless payment using room keycards everywhere at Walt Disney World, and the upcoming personalised Magic Band system, does seem a little odd. Perhaps the new RFID payment technology isn't yet ready to be left on its own as a stand-alone unit without CM supervision?

I assume this is primarily an effort to cut down on maintenance costs and provide a more consistent service for guests, but it will also help to reduce the risk of vandalism and theft which has been an issue with cash boxes in the past.


Update on 29 March 2015:

Apparently the Riverside laundries are going cashless too now, and will soon be only accepting credit or debit card payments.

The laundry room near building 18 is already done, and the room near building 25 is closed at the moment so presumably they are currently updating that one. I'll post a further update when I know more details.

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POFQ Lobby Refurbishment due to start 13 May 2013

Posted on Thursday 4th April 2013 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

As I posted a month ago, this spring will see Port Orleans French Quarter's turn to be given a brand new look for its main registration lobby area, similar to the work completed over at Riverside last summer.

I can now confirm that the work is due to commence on Monday 13 May 2013 and should be completed by mid-July. As always, please remember that work schedules can shift a little, but that's the best information I have at the moment. More details on the estimated completion date should be available in June.

During the period while the current lobby area is closed, all checkin and guest service functions will take place at the old Bonfamille's Café restaurant, just across the central atrium next to Scat Cat's Club - so when you enter the main atrium, you'll need to turn left rather than right.

Update on 20 April: Start date will be Monday 13 May, not 15 May as previously posted.

Update on 9 May: Check-in facilities are now located in the Bonfamille's Café area, in readiness for work commencing on the regular lobby next week.

Update on 2 July: The official re-opening is set for Monday 15th July, but services will probably start transitioning over on Friday 12th July.

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April 2013 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules

Posted on Saturday 30th March 2013 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The April 2013 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules for Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter are now available. See the main Recreation Activities Schedule page for full-size PDF versions, or click on the images below.

The outdoor movies will start at 8:30pm and the daily campfires commence at 6:30pm this month.

Don’t miss the special Earth Day activities this month. Vote in a Recycle and Photo Contest in the Lobby at POR on Thursday 18 April (8am–5pm), then join in with the Earth Day Celebrations from noon-2pm on Friday 19 April beside the POR Marina. Recycle and Photo Contest winners will be announced at the Earth Day Celebration.

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Easter Sunday 2013 Events Timetable at Port Orleans

Posted on Friday 29th March 2013 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The Easter Sunday 2013 Recreation Schedules are now available, see the main Recreation Schedules page for more details.

If you don't fancy spending all of Easter Sunday in the crowded theme parks (and they will be crowded!) there are plenty of activities around both of the Port Orleans resorts to keep you and the kids occupied, including character meet-and-greets, family games and poolside fun, and of course some traditional confectionery-based activities.

Also, both of the resort gift shops (Fulton’s General Store at Port Orleans Riverside and Jackson Square Gifts & Desires at Port Orleans French Quarter) are again offering pre-made and made-to-order Easter Baskets from Tuesday 26 March until Easter Sunday.

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Walt Disney World will also be hosting special religious services in the Fantasia Ballroom at Disney's Contemporary Resort Convention Center. Guests will need to use Disney Transportation (rather than trying to park at the Contemporary) to get to the services, which are at the following times:
  • Catholic Mass: 8am-9am
  • Protestant Service: 9am-10am
  • Catholic Mass: 10:15am-11:15am

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French Quarter Lobby Refurbishment / POFQ Panorama Photos

Posted on Saturday 2nd March 2013 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

This spring will see Port Orleans French Quarter's turn to be given a brand new look for its main registration lobby area. Tentatively planned to start sometime in May (details to be confirmed) the refit will be similar to the work completed over at Riverside last summer. During the period while the current lobby is closed, all checkin and guest service functions will take place at the old Bonfamille's Cafe restaurant, just across the central atrium next to Scat Cat's Club.

This also seemed an ideal opportunity to create an archive 360-degree panorama photo of the original lobby design before it is gone forever, and that along with several other Port Orleans French Quarter panoramas are now available to view on our new French Quarter Panoramas page.

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March 2013 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules

Posted on Friday 1st March 2013 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The March 2013 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules for Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter are now available. See the main Recreation Activities Schedule page for full-size PDF versions, or click on the images below.

The outdoor movies will start at 8pm and the daily campfires commence at 6:30pm this month.

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"Ye Haa" Bob Jackson receives Walt Disney Legacy Award

Posted on Thursday 28th February 2013 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Port Orleans Riverside's celebrated night-time entertainer, "Ye Haa" Bob Jackson, yesterday received the prestigious Walt Disney Legacy Award, given annually to a very select group of cast members for "keeping the magic alive through exemplary performance and commitment to the traditions and ideals established by Walt Disney".

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As the highest honour one can receive within Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, The Walt Disney Legacy Award recognises those exceptional individuals who consistently excel in the categories of: Dream, Create, Inspire. The award is a global program which recognises the outstanding achievements of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Cast, Crew and Imagineers, and each recipient will have first been nominated by their leaders, direct reports and/or co-workers.

Congratulations Bob from all your friends at portorleans.org, this award is richly deserved for the amount of effort and dedication you put into entertaining your guests. Walt would have been proud of you, as you embody the values and traditions that he wanted for the parks (and now resorts) which carry his name - wear your new blue name-badge with pride!

See Bob's Facebook page if you'd like to congratulate him yourself.

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February 2013 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules

Posted on Friday 1st February 2013 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The February 2013 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules for Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter are now available. See the main Recreation Activities Schedule page for full-size PDF versions, or click on the images below.

The outdoor movies will start at 7pm and the daily campfires commence at 5:30pm this month. And if you’re going to be at Port Orleans for Mardi Gras, don’t forget the special parade of decorated pargo carts which the cast members organise every year — 1:30pm on Tuesday 12 February.

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Touch-to-Pay terminals activated at Port Orleans today

Posted on Tuesday 29th January 2013 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The new keycard touch-to-pay terminals were activated at Port Orleans this morning (a few days later than first planned due to some technical teething problems). You can now pay using your RFID-chip based room keycard at all of the Port Orleans lobbies, shops, restaurants and bars (along with the theme parks and other WDW locations). As far as I know, you cannot use the new system in the laundry rooms, arcades, lockers, etc. though.

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Also, if you check in online from now on you should be offered the option of setting up a security PIN number for your keycard, which will save a little bit of time creating one when you arrive. The original intention was to only use the PIN numbers for transactions of $50 at WDW, but more recently all transactions require you to enter your PIN.

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Riverside Swimming Pool Maintenance Dates, January 2013

Posted on Wednesday 16th January 2013 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The Ol’ Man Island swimming pool slide at Port Orleans Riverside will be closed from 7th January until 1st February 2013. The pool itself will remain open as normal though, it is only the slide that is undergoing maintenance. The Port Orleans French Quarter pool and slide will be fully open during this time though, and guests from Riverside are always welcome to use it.

[Update 20-Jan: Seems from local reports that the main pool slide has been open a lot of the time, perhaps the work finished early or is being done in stages?]

Also, Alligator Bayou quiet pool #2 (the pool located near to buildings 24-28) will also be closed for maintenance work from 23rd January until 26th January 2013. Both of the other quiet pools in the Alligator Bayou area, along with three other pools at the resort, will remain open as normal during this period.

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Floor plans for every Port Orleans accommodation building

Posted on Wednesday 2nd January 2013 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

There have been room number layouts for the Port Orleans Riverside Magnolia Bend mansion buildings here on portorleans.org for a few years now, based on maps from the old Sassagoula Times handout which the front desk used to give out to arriving guests. However until now there has been no breakdown available for the other sections, which has been one of the most requested features from site visitors lately.

So, after much research and burning of the midnight oil over the Christmas break, I'm proud to present detailed floor plan layouts for every floor of every building at Port Orleans - that's all sixteen Alligator Bayou lodges, the four Magnolia Bend mansions and the seven French Quarter buildings. All of these new floor plans can be accessed by simply clicking on each building in the resort maps on the Alligator Bayou, Magnolia Bend and French Quarter pages.

I'll try to add even more detail soon, and provide downloadable PDF versions too, so there's more still to come. Although I'm pretty sure that the basic layouts are covered accurately now, if anyone notices any errors please let me know.

[Update 5-Jan-12] As promised I've now added extra detail, plus downloadable/printable PDF versions too. All of the building floor plans maps now include the room categories (Garden/Water/River Views, Preferred, King Bed, etc) and the locations of all of the Disabled Accessible rooms. Happy planning!

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January 2013 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules

Posted on Tuesday 1st January 2013 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The January 2013 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules for Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter are now available. See the main Recreation Activities Schedule page for full-size PDF versions, or click on the images below.

The outdoor movies will start at 7pm and the daily campfires commence at 5:30pm this month.

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Christmas Eve/Day 2012 Recreation Activities Schedules

Posted on Saturday 22nd December 2012 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Christmas is almost upon us, and for those guests spending a bit of time relaxing away from the parks there will be lots of fun and games at both Port Orleans resorts. As I mentioned previously, there are musical groups entertaining everyone in the lobbies daily in the run-up to the big day, and on Christmas Eve your kids (oh alright, the adults too) can meet with Disney characters at both resorts in the morning, and Santa will be making a special appearance at the Riverside Lobby in the evening.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone at Port Orleans this holiday season.


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Port Orleans Riverside Christmas 2012 (click to download PDF file)

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Port Orleans French Quarter Christmas 2012 (click to download PDF file)

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Christmas Holiday Events at Port Orleans, 2012

Posted on Tuesday 11th December 2012 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

I'll try to post more details closer to the time, but visitors travelling to the Port Orleans resorts over the Christmas Holiday period can expect some extra fun for all the family.

Port Orleans Riverside and French Quarter will both be hosting Disney Character meet and greets in their lobbies on Christmas Eve (24 December), with the white-bearded gentleman in the red suit also scheduled to make a personal appearance at Riverside on the 24th - presumably before commencing his vital overnight voyage.

There will also be local musical groups appearing the week before Christmas, presenting seasonal entertainment:

Port Orleans French Quarter Lobby

  • Sunday 16 December (morning) 8:30am & 9:30am - Valencia Community College Intone (Orlando, FL)
    Tuesday 18 December (evening) 7:00pm & 8:00pm - The Grace Notes (Winter Garden, FL)
    Thursday 20 December (morning) 8:30am & 9:30am - O-Town Sound Chorus (Orlando, FL)
    Saturday 22 December (evening) 7:00pm & 8:00pm - First United Methodist Church (Titusville, FL)

Port Orleans Riverside Lobby
  • Monday 17 December (evening) 7:00pm & 8:00pm - Winter Springs High School Bear Voices (Winter Springs, FL)
    Wednesday 19 December (morning) 8:30am & 9:30am - Sweet Adelines International, Inc. Sound of Sunshine Show Chorus (Longwood, FL)
    Friday 21 December (evening) 7:00pm & 8:00pm - Tenoroc High School Vocal Ensemble (Lakeland, FL)
    Sunday 23 December (morning) 8:30am & 9:30am - Sweet Adelines International, Inc. Sound of Sunshine Show Chorus (Longwood, FL)

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December 2012 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules

Posted on Sunday 2nd December 2012 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The December 2012 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules for Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter are now available. See the main Recreation Activities Schedule page for full-size PDF versions, or click on the images below.

The outdoor movies will start at 7pm and the daily campfires commence at 5:30pm this month. A specific schedule for Christmas Eve/Christmas Day activities will be available closer to the time.

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November 2012 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules

Posted on Friday 9th November 2012 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The November 2012 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules for Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter are now available (they were there at the start of the month in fact, but I forgot to add a news posting as I'd just posted the Halloween one - sorry!). See the main Recreation Activities Schedule page for full-size PDF versions, or click on the images below.

The outdoor movies will start at 7pm and the daily campfires commence at 5:30pm this month.

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Halloween Recreation Activities Schedules 2012

Posted on Sunday 28th October 2012 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Boooo! Sounds like there's going to be a load of spooky fun for all the kids - and kids at heart - staying at Port Orleans on Monday 31st October this year - including games, food and even some character meet and greets.

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Port Orleans Riverside Halloween 2012 (click to download PDF file)


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Port Orleans French Quarter Halloween 2012 (click to download PDF file)

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Restaurant menus updated to reflect current options & prices

Posted on Wednesday 24th October 2012 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

There have been some minor changes in options and prices at both of the food courts and at Boatwright's Dining Hall over the past couple of months. The listings on the site now reflect all of the current offerings and prices for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner for both adult and kids' meals.

See the individual pages for Boatwright's Dining Hall, the Riverside Mill and the Sassagoula Floatworks & Food Factory for full details.

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General News Updates, including RFID door lock installation

Posted on Monday 15th October 2012 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Brand new ‘RFID’ locks are being installed on the doors of all guest rooms during October. French Quarter is now complete [17 Oct] and Acadian House and then the rest of the mansions will come next, followed by Alligator Bayou. These new locks are triggered by tiny proximity-activated chips embedded within the key cards which are issued to guests, allowing the door to be opened by simply placing the keycard near to the new Mickey-head sensor on the door (this one is from Acadian House; the Royal Rooms will have a slightly different style):

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This is much easier to use than the old “slide in, pull out” method as far as guest access is concerned, and it also has a number of advantages from an operational point of view. For example, it will no longer be necessary to reprogram keycards at the front desk in the event of a guest issue or a room change, but simply to remotely reprogram a different door lock to accept the same card. The upgrade process should be transparent to guests, who could be issued with chipped Key to the World card in the morning and then return after a day at the parks to find the updated locking system is now on their door.


Support poles for new hammock loungers were reported to have been installed last week alongside the pathway just beyond the fishin’ hole on Ol’ Man Island. Apparently there are going to be eight of these located around the resort, sounds like a lovely little addition. [Update] Here's an image of one of the three new hammocks now located on Ol' Man Island:

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General work has been continuing around the resort, such as upgrades to the pathways and bridges around the Alligator Bayou section to provide easier access for guests with impaired mobility.


The parking lots outside of the main lobby buildings at both Riverside and French Quarter now have rather ugly metal mesh fences around their perimeters. Also the first parking lot exit at Riverside (closest to the South bus depot) has been blocked off, leaving just the second exit, closer to the main road. Presumably this has been done for pedestrian safety reasons, but you would have thought it would have been possible to find some fencing that was more in keeping with the theming of the resort rather than this rather nasty generic metal barrier.

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The old flip-over price menu boards at the Riverside Mill food court are now gone, replaced by cabinets for flat-screen displays. Until the electronic displays were ready recently, printed signs were being placed in front of the screens daily for the breakfast and lunch/dinner menus.

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Room and Package Discounts for Fall/Winter 2012/13

Posted on Sunday 14th October 2012 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Earlier in the week, Disney released Room and Package Discount offers for Fall and Winter 2012/13, which include giving up to 30% discount on Port Orleans Riverside room rates and up to $600 off some packages. See our Discounts and Special Offers page for full details and links to the Disney website offer pages.

Fall 2012 Offer

Save up to 20%/25% on stays at Port Orleans Riverside for most nights from 1-Nov-2012 to 22-Dec-2012 (excludes Thanksgiving week, 17-23 Nov).

This is a room-only offer, however tickets and Dining Plans can be added at extra cost. Book by 31st October 2012 via the Disney Reservations Center on (407) W-DISNEY, or contact a specialist travel agent and mention offer code G97.

Winter 2013 Offer

Save up to 30% on stays at Port Orleans Riverside for most nights from 2-Jan-2013 to 7-Mar-2013 (stays from 18-20 Jan are available at some resorts but may have different discounts).

There is also a “Play, Stay, Dine and Save” offer covering the same time period (and including both Riverside and French Quarter) which gives discounts of up to $600 on 5-night/6-day Magic Your Way package prices with the Disney Dining Plan included.

You need to book these offers by 31st December 2012 via the Disney Reservations Center on (407) W-DISNEY, or contact a specialist travel agent and mention offer code Z3K for the room-only offer or Q83 for the package offer.

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October 2012 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules

Posted on Sunday 30th September 2012 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The October 2012 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules for Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter are now available, see the main Recreation Activities Schedule page for full-size PDF versions, or click on the images below. The outdoor movies will start at 8pm and the daily campfires commence at 6:30pm. A separate schedule will be released for Halloween closer to the end of the month.

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Final touches to the POR Lobby Refurbishment now complete

Posted on Thursday 6th September 2012 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Yesterday the final new custom-made rug carpet, which was originally scheduled to be delivered in October, arrived early and has been laid in the previously-empty open space on the Marina side of the lobby. This has allowed the remaining furniture to be set out too, which was being held back to avoid damaging the new tiles in the meantime. This now concludes the lobby refurbishment, giving a pleasantly consistent look to the new area.

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This was the refurbished lobby just prior to the new details being added - click on the image below to scroll around the lobby:

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September 2012 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules

Posted on Monday 3rd September 2012 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The September 2012 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules for Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter are now available, see the main Recreation Activities Schedule page for full-size PDF versions, or click on the images below. The outdoor movies will start at 8.30pm and the daily campfires commence at 7:00pm.

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August 2012 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules

Posted on Thursday 2nd August 2012 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The August 2012 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules for Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter are now available, see the main Recreation Activities Schedule page for full-size PDF versions, or click on the images below. The outdoor movies will start at 9pm and the daily campfires commence at 7:30pm.

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Final Alligator Bayou building (26) re-opens to guests

Posted on Wednesday 1st August 2012 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The final Port Orleans Riverside Alligator Bayou building (26) re-opened for guests today. The guest room refurbishment was all done a couple of weeks ago, but they kept the rooms out of use until the roof maintenance work was complete and all the scaffolding was taken down.

So now all rooms at both of the Port Orleans resorts have now been fully refurbished and the update program is complete.

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2013 package and rooms rates due to be released on 11 July

Posted on Tuesday 10th July 2012 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

According to the Walt Disney World website, room and package booking rates for all of 2013 for the on-site hotels (including Port Orleans) are due to be released on 11 July. Currently the US site only allows you to book until 31 December 2012, although some of the International sites have allowed 2013 bookings for non-US guests for a while now.

Update 6am EST, 11 July 2012: The 2013 booking rates are now available via the WDW online booking system. Full details can be found in our Room Rates page.

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Disney Parks Blog post regarding refurbished Riverside lobby

Posted on Wednesday 4th July 2012 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The Disney Parks Blog has a short feature on the newly refurbished lobby at Port Orleans Riverside with some nice detail photos, saying "The two-month refurbishment included new tile, colorful rugs, decorative period lighting and some new furniture. The space is very inviting – it sure seems brighter and more spacious to me." See http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2 ... ld-resort/

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Independence Day Celebrations

Posted on Monday 2nd July 2012 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

American Independence Day is fast approaching, and the Port Orleans Resorts will be offering plenty of fun activities to keep the young (and young at heart) resort guests entertained on Wednesday 4th July. These will include old-fashioned lawn games, a watermelon eating contest, candy counting, a cake walk, a pie throwing contest, plus all the usual pool activities, movies, etc.

One quick tip from me: if you want to see the special Magic Kingdom fireworks, go on Tuesday 3rd July. You'll see exactly the same show, but without the crazy crowds. Then you can either enjoy the resort activities on the 4th, or head over to see Epcot's celebrations where the larger size of the park may help make it feel a little less crowded.

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And here are the other activities for the rest of July, also available at the usual Recreation Activities Schedule page:

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Portorleans.org is five years old today

Posted on Sunday 1st July 2012 by Admin

I can't believe where the time has gone, but five years ago today the very first files were served out from the fledgling www.portorleans.org domain. It wasn't a full site at that point, just a collection of a couple of resort maps and a few pictures I think.

I first registered the actual name on 22 June 2007, and I noticed the timing because I've just this week paid the annual server hosting invoice for the coming year (all donations via the homepage gratefully received... LOL).

The first online post where I referred to anything from the site was on 1 July 2007, on the UK-based DIBB forums (after the idea was first mooted on 11 March in another DIBB thread). A proper 'menu-based' site was still a few months away (26 Oct 2007) but I think I shall count 1st July as the site's official birthday for now.

And now, five years later, the site gets around 1.5 million page hits a year. How time flies when you're having fun!

Thanks for everyone's support, and I hope this site has proved informative and useful.

Andre

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Port Orleans Riverside Lobby (partially) re-opens...

Posted on Tuesday 26th June 2012 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The main lobby at Port Orleans Riverside has re-opened today after its two-month refurbishment... well, almost. At a fairly late stage they decided to add an extra treatment to the floor tiles, which took a few days to apply and harden. This must of course now be done with the previously-completed section of the lobby too, so they will shut that side off again for a few days while the work is completed. Then the furniture will be put back into place. I don’t know what’s happening about the carpet though - I know that originally a new one was planned to be put down, but it looks like the new floor is all tiled to me.

But it's looking very nice already, this was taken first thing Tuesday morning (26 June):

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Update on Thursday 28 June:

The Lobby Refurbishment work is now pretty much complete, with the carpeting (in the form of two giant rugs) now laid and all of the desks opened for guests. A few items of furniture still need to be added, and the kids' TV needs to be moved and queue lines set up, but otherwise it's basically done.

On first view, I'm not completely sure if the darker blue in the carpet might be one colour too many though, but I'm sure it'll grow on me. It's apparently proving very popular with guests.

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Update on Thursday 29 June:

There is now a spaciously open section where the old Online Checkin desks used to be - there will be another large rug going in here, and more furniture, but that won't be for several months as the rug is being hand-made. Otherwise, a few small chairs need to be added in front of the children’s TV and some new stanchions for the queue areas which should be installed over the next couple of days.

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The new light fittings over the desks seem very evocative of the period theming - and nice to see the lovely artwork on the back wall has been retained:

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Alligator Bayou final buildings start refurbishment

Posted on Sunday 24th June 2012 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

If anyone was sleeping in an old Alligator Bayou double-bedded room last night, you would have been among the very last few. The final two Alligator Bayou buildings (26 and 35) today go down for refurbishment, so the last of the old rooms (and those old double beds & trundles) will have gone away forever.

Currently, buildings 25, 26, 34 and 35 are down for refurbishment. Two of them (25 and 34) are due back within a week, and the final one (26) should be completed in about four weeks. It really doesn't seem like nearly two years since this all started over at French Quarter does it?

Note: Some Accessible rooms are taking a few days extra after the rest of a building has opened, and if so adjacent rooms are not being occupied while work is being completed. There have been some reports of noise during the daytime from locations <em>behind</em> these Accessible rooms (in building 18 for example, which has more Accessbile rooms than some other buildings)

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Meanwhile, over in the Riverside lobby, work is drawing to a close on the refit there too. The construction walls are due to come down tonight, and front desk/check-in services should be operating from their new stations on Monday morning. For tomorrow only, concierge services will remain in their temporary River Roost location, and they will be moved over during Monday night so on Tuesday morning everything should be complete (barring a few very minor finishing touches apparently). Can't wait to see what it looks like!

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Port Orleans Riverside Refurbishment Updates

Posted on Sunday 10th June 2012 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The Alligator Bayou guest room refurbishment program is continuing apace, with one new building commencing work every Sunday. Building #39 closed today, and building #34 is due to close on Sunday 17th June. The work is generally taking twelve days per 64-room building, so #39 and #34 are intended to be returned for guest use on the 22nd and 29th of June respectively.

As previously mentioned, the ‘twenties’ numbered buildings are taking slightly longer to complete due to the additional roofing work that is being carried out, which is being further hindered by the wet Florida summer weather. Buildings #27 and #25 are currently estimated to be returned for use on the 20th and 27th of June, but those dates are still somewhat uncertain.

Finally, buildings #26 and #35 will both be closed together on Sunday 24th June, which will signal the final goodbye for the last few non-refurbished guest rooms at Port Orleans. By the end of the first week in July there should be just one building still undergoing renovation (#26) which will hopefully be completed around the third week in July.

For the latest updates, please keep an eye on www.portorleans.org/rehab.php.


The work on the main lobby at Port Orleans Riverside is also moving along well now, with the new chandelier already hoisted up into place. Work continues on laying the fabulous new tiling, and currently the plan is for the construction walls to be removed overnight on Wednesday 20th June, reopening for guests on 21st June.

Update on 20 June: The lobby reopening has been slightly delayed until around Monday 25 June due to extra work being done on the new floor tiles (and drying time).

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WDW Ticket prices increasing from Sunday 3rd June

Posted on Friday 1st June 2012 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

While not solely related to Port Orleans, resort guests will certainly be affected by today's announcement that ticket prices at Walt Disney World are due to increase on Sunday 3rd June. I won't deal with all the details here (which range from a $4 increase for a one-day/one-park base ticket to more than $100 increases for children's Annual Passes) but all of the major Disney news sites have the breakdowns, including:

Disney Parks Blog (full list here)
Touringplans.com Blog
AllEars.Net

If you are planning on getting your tickets in advance it might be best to do it on Saturday, as most ticket types don't start to expire until you actually commence using them.

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Slight changes to the Alligator Bayou refurbishment order

Posted on Wednesday 23rd May 2012 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

There have been a few minor adjustments to the order of the refurbishment schedule for the Port Orleans Riverside Alligator Bayou area:

  • Buildings 15 and 28 will be re-opening on Friday 25 May as planned.
  • Next to commence work will be building 25 (instead of 18 as originally planned) which should be ready for re-opening on 8 June (or shortly after).
  • Building 18 will now be started on 3 June, due for completion on 15 June.
  • Building 39 will be started on 10 June and finished on 22 June.
As always, please see the Refurbishments Page for the latest updates.

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First Stage of Riverside Lobby Refurbishment Unveiled

Posted on Friday 18th May 2012 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The first stage of the Port Orleans Riverside Lobby Refurbishment has now been unveiled and we have a few photos to share. Work will continue on the other side of the lobby very soon, and during that phase checkin facilities will be at the new desks while concierge services will be operating from in front of the River Roost Lounge. The likely completion date is now looking to be around 22 June according to Bob Jackson's revised schedule.


These new desks are currently located where the old online checkin was situated, but eventually that section will be empty and they will be moved over to where the current front desk is. There are a few elements which still need to be added, such as light poles and a foot bar across the bottom:

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According to what I was told, the new floor tiles are on the left and the older ones on the right, but I'm not sure about that[Edit: see update below]. The original carpet (see above) is due to be replaced during the next phase too:

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I can't wait to see this finished - given the level of detail we can see so far, and the quality of the finish, I think it will look really beautiful.


Update 20-May:
The more I look at this photo the more I think that all of the above tiling is new. I'm sure the older tiles were lighter and more neutral in colour, and the grouting was darker. I was going by what I was told by the photographer about the right-hand side being old, but those darker tiles look far too new and match so perfectly with that gorgeous decorative strip that I think they must all be new. Also the original hard-wood border between the tiles and the old carpet is gone.


Update 22 May:
All of the tiles in the above photo are definitely the new style. The remaining two-thirds of the lobby has now been walled off, and construction work there has commenced (mostly overnight after 11pm). Registration/checkin is now being handled from the new desks, which are currently facing outward beside the corridor to the games arcade.

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Happy 21st Birthday to Port Orleans French Quarter

Posted on Thursday 17th May 2012 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Port Orleans French Quarter (then just simply "Disney's Port Orleans Resort") first opened its doors on 17 May 1991, so today the resort turns Twenty One.

Thanks for 21 years of magical vacation memories!

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EasyWDW Blog Features Overview of Port Orleans Riverside

Posted on Tuesday 15th May 2012 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Josh from EasyWDW.com just put up a couple great Port Orleans Riverside commentary posts, along with tons of pictures taken on 27 April. Well worth a view at Part 1 and Part 2 if you're a POR fan (or just want to know more about the resort).


So what's going on with these very temporary-looking signs in the food court I wonder? I hope they're not planning on putting in video screens like the ones over at French Quarter. While presumably eminently practical, they'd be very out of character for the theming when compared to the previous rotating menu boards.

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Building 16 re-opens today, 17 and 24 to follow next Friday

Posted on Friday 4th May 2012 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Port Orleans Riverside's Alligator Bayou building 16 re-opened today with all new refurbished rooms, and next Friday (11 May) buildings 17 and 24 are also due for completion. After that will come building 15, which is due to re-open on 25 May. For full details and the rest of the projected schedule, please see our Refurbishment page.

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In-room coffee makers replaced with Cuisinart dual-pod units

Posted on Friday 4th May 2012 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

All of the guest rooms at Port Orleans French Quarter and Port Orleans Riverside now feature new Cuisinart dual-pod coffee makers, which have gradually replaced the old 4-cup filter machines over the past month or so.

These new units can make two cups of coffee simultaneously, using coffee pods which are inserted into trays through which hot water is passed. Free pods are supplied, which will be replenished daily by housekeeping.

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May 2012 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules

Posted on Sunday 29th April 2012 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The May 2012 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules for Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter are now available, see the main Recreation Activities Schedule page for full-size PDF versions, or click on the images below. The outdoor movies will start at 9pm and the daily campfires commence at 7:30pm.

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Port Orleans Riverside Lobby Refurbishment Update

Posted on Saturday 28th April 2012 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The lobby refurbishment now underway at Port Orleans Riverside will be completed in two stages. In order to minimise disturbance to guests, construction work will take place overnight between 11pm and 7am, which is why "Ye Haa" Bob Jackson’s show in the adjacent River Roost Lounge will be ending at 11pm during the construction period instead of the usual midnight. There should be no other impact for guests as the lobby area is completely isolated from all guest room areas.

Stage One: Monday 23 April to Wednesday 9 May 2012 [Edit: now extended until 17 May]

One-third of the lobby area will be separated off by a construction wall, however guests will still be able to use the remaining section for Registration, Online check-in and Concierge services. It has been suggested that doing online check-in before you travel may help speed up your arrival process.

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(Thanks to Denise at MouseSteps for the photo)

Stage Two: Thursday 10 May [now 17May] to Friday 8 June 2012 (end date is still to be confirmed)

The other two-thirds of the lobby will be separated off by a construction wall and services will be split while this phase of the work goes on.
  • Registration (regular check-in and check-out) will now use the desks in the newly completed section of the main lobby.
  • Online check-in will be located within the main entranceway lobby during the busier parts of the day (9am to 6pm) and will return to the regular desks overnight until 9am the next morning.
  • Concierge services will be located in the front of the River Roost lounge.
Plenty of signage will be in place throughout the process to direct people to the correct locations.

Work will include replacing the central carpet and tiles, new 'open plan' modular desk stations for 2-4 cast members, new crystal chandeliers, and general paintwork refreshing and other updates. The overall nineteenth century steamboat embarkation hall concept will still be retained though, in keeping with the rest of the resort's theme and storyline.

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Port Orleans Riverside Lobby Refurbishment Commences

Posted on Tuesday 24th April 2012 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Port Orleans Riverside Lobby Refurbishment Commences, estimated to continue through to the first week in June. Alligator Bayou buildings 16 and 24 currently undergoing refurbishment too.

Work on refurbishing Port Orleans Riverside's stylish 'steamboat company' lobby area commenced yesterday and is expected to continue through to the first week in June. In the meantime, reception facilities will be temporarily borrowing part of the River Roost Lounge, and it is suggested that guests may find that using the online check-in system could speed up their arrival process. The work will include brand new carpet, refreshed paintwork and other details, but all staying true to the original design concept of the resort. I'm pleased to say that one of my favourite details, the gorgeous period and themed paintings and maps on the walls behind the check-in desks, will be staying.

The Alligator Bayou guest room refurbishment program is also progressing well, with building 24 new well underway and building 16 commenced over the weekend. As the 'twenties' buildings are having roofing work done at the same time, and each one will not be re-opened until the scaffolding is down, it's possible that building 16 may reopen before 24. Building 17 will be the next to start work, this coming weekend. See http://www.portorleans.org/rehab.php for the latest updates.

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Parterre Place Reopens, Alligator Bayou work starts 15 April

Posted on Friday 13th April 2012 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The final 256 Royal Guest Rooms located in Port Orleans Riverside's Parterre Place reopened today, completing the refurbishment of the whole 1,024 room Magnolia Bend mansion building area.

Sunday 15 April will then see work recommence on the remaining Alligator Bayou Lodges - starting with building 24 and progressing with one new building started each week for the next three months. Currently the planned schedule is 24, 16, 17, 28, 15, 27, 18, 39, 25, 34, 35 and finally 26. Refurbishment work will take approximately two weeks per building so there will be some overlap with at least two buildings down at any given time. The "twenties" buildings could each be closed for slightly longer than two weeks to allow time for additional roofing work which has been scheduled to run in parallel with the room updates. See the top of the Reburbishment News Updates page for the latest progress information.

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Easter Sunday 2012 Recreation Events at Port Orleans Resorts

Posted on Friday 6th April 2012 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The Easter Sunday 2012 Recreation Schedules are now available, see the main Recreation Schedules page for more details.

It’s great see some character greetings at the resorts on Easter Sunday, especially for those who want a quieter start to the day and don’t plan on hitting the parks too early. There are lots of other fun and activities during the day too, many of which seems to involve various sorts of rather enticing confectionary... still, at least there’s some running around involved to get it! :lol:

Also, both of the resort gift shops (Fulton’s General Store at Port Orleans Riverside and Jackson Square Gifts and Desires at Port Orleans French Quarter) are offering pre-made and made-to-order Easter Baskets until Easter Sunday. These can be ordered in advance and held for pickup.

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Walt Disney World will also be hosting religious services on Sunday 8th April 2012 in the Fantasia Ballroom at Disney's Contemporary Resort hotel. The service schedule is as follows:

Catholic Mass: 8am and 10:15am (the 8am service will probably be less crowded)
Protestant Service: 9am

Note: There will be no car parking available at the Contemporary. Please take a bus to the Magic Kingdom and then either walk, transfer via a special shuttle bus, or take the monorail to the Contemporary.

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More great Royal Guest Room photos and video from MouseSteps

Posted on Wednesday 28th March 2012 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Denise and Jeff from MouseSteps and JeffLangeDVD have just uploaded the best series of in-room photos I've yet seen of the new Royal Guest Rooms at Port Orleans Riverside, including all the new details in the surrounding sections of Oak Manor. See http://www.mousesteps.com/index.php?opt ... Itemid=146 for the full set of photos.

They have also put together a nice Royal Guest Room video tour at http://jefflangedvd.com/2012/03/disneys ... and-video/ and there's also a video tour of a refurbished Alligator Bayou room further down the same page.

Their sites are both well worth regular visits from any Walt Disney World fan, why not bookmark them?

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April 2012 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules

Posted on Tuesday 27th March 2012 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The April 2012 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules for Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter are now available, see the main Recreation Activities Schedule page for full-size PDF versions, or click on the images below. The outdoor movies will start at 8:30pm and the daily campfires commence at 7pm.

There will also be various special activities on Easter Sunday (8th April) such as Easter Egg/candy hunts, cake decorating, Disney character greetings and loads of games for the kids. More details and a full schedule will be posted here once the timetable has been confirmed.

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POR Lobby Refurbishment / River Roost Lounge changes

Posted on Sunday 25th March 2012 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

We posted back in February about the forthcoming maintenance work due to take place in the Port Orleans Riverside lobby during April and May. Resident entertainer Bob Jackson has just updated his website with the following additional information:


They are going to be remodeling the lobby of Port Orleans Riverside, and they will be using part of the lounge for lobby functions. So starting April 11, my show will end at 11 PM. As of now, I'll still be starting at 8:30 PM. That might change. The rehab work will continue through May 23. We'll get through it!

Also, Denise from MouseSteps.com has just reported that some of the seats from the lobby have already been removed for maintenance work.

Update on 8 April:

Bob has updated his website to give new dates of 25 April - 6 June for the lobby refurbishment work.

Update on 15 April:

The lobby refurbishment work is due to commence on Monday 23 April and is expected to take about six weeks.

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AllEars.net reports from new Royal Guest Room at POR

Posted on Sunday 11th March 2012 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Deb Wills from AllEars.net got to stay in one of the new Royal Guest Rooms at Port Orleans Riverside on Saturday night and seems to have really enjoyed it from her tweets (follow @AllEarsDeb).

AllEars has now posted a lot of detailed photos (including some great Hidden Mickey shots) plus their own in-room video at http://allears.net/acc/g_PortOrleans-RoyalRooms.htm.

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First Royal Guest Room Photos

Posted on Saturday 10th March 2012 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Here is the very first batch of photos from the brand new 'Royal Guest Rooms' which opened at Port Orleans Riverside's Oak Manor yesterday, including a couple of Accessible bathroom photos. More picture to come soon, watch this space.

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Disability Accessible Room bathroom details (there are also rooms which feature roll-in showers):

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For gallery scaleable versions and a preview video, see the Royal Guest Rooms page.

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New Cable TV Channels from 13 March 2012

Posted on Saturday 10th March 2012 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The in-room cable television channel line-up is being expanded across all of the World Disney World resort hotels, and Port Orleans is scheduled to be the first to get the new services on Tuesday 13 March 2012. The other hotels will follow over the next two months.

Some of the new channels include Fox News, Bravo, AMC, National Geographic, TBS, TNT, Travel Channel, WE TV, Syfy, Discovery, Bio, HGTV, TLC, History, Food Network and TV Land. Local affiliate channels (ABC, NBC, etc.) and Disney resort hotel-specific channels will still be available. Channel 17 will contain a full list of the new services.

For more details after the new channels go live, see the TV Channels page.

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Opening Day Ceremony for the new Royal Guest Rooms

Posted on Friday 9th March 2012 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Opening Day for the new Royal Guest Rooms was apparently very hectic, but the cast had a lovely ceremony in the afternoon and Val Bunting (General Manager) and her leadership team dressed as Royalty for the occasion. The Exec Housekeeper read a proclamation officially handing the rooms over from the rehab crew to the Housekeepers, and got them to promise to keep these lovely new rooms looking immaculate and smelling great.

There was celebratory cake and chocolate-covered strawberries and pretzels, plus sparkling cider (in champagne glasses of course!) for a toast.

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Besides the rooms, they've also done some enhancements to the courtyard area. The fountain is painted royal blue inside, and the water lighting is coloured at night. There are also spiral topiaries and royal banners featuring the crowns and swords of various princesses and princes. There are also new topiaries with twinkling lights.

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(Many thanks to the cast member who kindly sent the photos for us)

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POR Royal Guest Rooms confirmed as opening on Friday 9 March

Posted on Thursday 8th March 2012 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The first of the new 'Royal Guest Rooms' at Port Orleans Riverside will be opening to the public tomorrow, Friday 9 March. There will be a small cast-member handover ceremony in front of Oak Manor to rededicate the building at around 3:15pm (it's really for the cast-members, but I'm sure no one will object if a few guests gather around at the back to see what's happening) and the first guests should be assigned rooms at around the same time.

We'll be updating our new Royal Guest Rooms page with more information and photos just as soon as we get them. The long wait is finally over!

[Update] New video clip online: http://www.epcyclopedia.com/2012/03/09/ ... t-orleans/

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POR/POFQ Recreation Activities Schedules for March 2012

Posted on Friday 2nd March 2012 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Recreation Activities Schedules for March 2012 are now available, see the main Recreation Activities Schedule page for full-size versions.

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PortOrleans.org pages now on social networking sites

Posted on Monday 27th February 2012 by Admin

A quick bit of site news here. We have now set up pages on all the major social networking sites, which you can easily access using two new rows of icons located just beneath the menu area on every page of portorleans.org.

The smaller icons allow you to 'share' or '+1' interesting pages with your social networking friends, while the larger icons on the second row are a quick way to follow our pages directly.

At the moment, the accounts will mainly be used as an additional distribution method for our news updates so you can get the latest Port Orleans information just as soon as we post it, but who knows what will happen with them in the future?

If you want to visit them directly, the new pages are:

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Royal Guest Room Progress Update (with a few photos)

Posted on Sunday 26th February 2012 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

I've received an email from a resort guest who has just got back after visiting Port Orleans Riverside, and while they were at POR they took an evening stroll over to Oak Manor and reported back the following Royal Guest Room progress update (information as of Friday 24 February):


Third floor rooms are near completion with all the decor apparently complete. They just need TVs, bed covers, blankets, pillows and cases.

Second floor rooms are further behind. They have carpet on the floor, mattresses in rooms, some furniture like bench seat, chairs, table, chandelier, main light fixture and head boards, plus apparently all bathroom fixtures and furniture.

First [Ground] floor rooms have just carpet done on about 65% of the building, with about 35% still getting removal of old decor.

In my opinion not going to be done on time at all - maybe third floor, but that is only how many rooms?

Remember that there's still a couple of weeks before this new section is due to open, and we know from previous work on some of the other buildings that progress is generally pretty quick, so I'm sure that the rooms will be ready in time for the grand opening date of 9 March - I very much doubt Disney would let the new date slip!

There were no 'keep out' warning signs or construction walls like the ones at French Quarter - just a standard Disney "Pardon our Appearance" sign set down in the middle of the pathway. Many of the window blinds were open, and even some of the lights had been helpfully left on! As it was obvious that there were no guests in residence, and no one asked them not to look, they snapped a couple of quick pictures through the windows which give a better idea of progress:

Second floor (24-Feb-2012):
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Third floor (24-Feb-2012):
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Third floor (24-Feb-2012):
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Third floor (24-Feb-2012):
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[Edit: the mystery spy did later reveal themselves as DISboards member "Venomhatch" in http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php ... st44234069]

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WDW Radio Show LIVE on 22 Feb from the River Roost Lounge

Posted on Tuesday 21st February 2012 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

This Wednesday night (22nd February) the WDW Radio Show hosted by Lou Mongello will be broadcasting its live weekly video webcast directly from the River Roost Lounge at Port Orleans Riverside, with special guest “Ye Haa” Bob Jackson.

For more details, see the Show Announcement:

Join us on Wednesday, February 22, 2012 at the River Roost Lounge at Port Orleans: Riverside and be part of the weekly WDW NewsCast, starting at 7:30pm.
Then, stay as we chat with YeeHa Bob and enjoy his show, which starts at 8:30 – it’s family friendly, so come and join us for an evening of fun and friends!!
Can’t make it in person? Watch it LIVE starting at 7:30pm ET at WDW Radio LIVE

I won't be able to make it to the resort in person on Wednesday, but I'll definitely be in the show's online chatroom for the first part of the evening if any viewers want to log in and say hi.

Update 24-Feb:

We're in luck! I knew Lou wouldn't let us down - he hit the record button: http://www.wdwradio.com/2012/02/video-y ... wdw-radio/

The first hour or so is from half-way back in the room, but the audio is fine. During the later section, Lou finally ended up on stage with Bob so some great close-ups and fun, although the audio does get a bit distorted being so close to the speakers. Remember this was a live web-stream, so it's not HD-camcorder type footage. Good fun though!

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Mardi Gras comes to Port Orleans, Tuesday 21st February 2012

Posted on Monday 20th February 2012 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

If you happen to be visiting Port Orleans during Mardi Gras there are lots of fun activities around the resort and by the poolside which guests can take part in. Look out for the signs, or ask at the front desk for information.

Every year, Port Orleans cast members get the opportunity to enter a competition to see which department (Front Desk, Housekeeping, Food & Beverage, etc) can dream up the most creative, best themed Mardi Gras parade floats based around the resort's "pargo" vehicles. These golf-cart like buggies are normally used to ferry cast members, guests and luggage around the resort's winding pathways, but it turns out that they also provide excellent bases for small parade floats.

The cast members get to parade their imaginative floats around both resorts for guests to see on the official Mardi Gras "Fat Tuesday", and this year it all kicks off from Riverside's Acadian House at 1:30pm tomorrow (Tuesday 21st February) and does a round trip through French Quarter. The full route details are in the map below:

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Good luck to all the 2012 teams, and may the best department's float win!!



Update 22 Feb:

The main Mardi Gras page has now been updated with the following photos from this year's parade (with thanks to Denise Falles Preskitt from http://www.MouseSteps.com).

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MouseSteps features new photo walks around POFQ and POR

Posted on Sunday 19th February 2012 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

MouseSteps, an excellent photo travelogue website featuring extensive photographic walks around various locations at Walt Disney World, has just updated their Port Orleans French Quarter walk with 120 new photos, and Port Orleans Riverside with 180 new photos. These give a great feel to both resorts, and also the timescales and distances between the various sections of the resorts.

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Local roadworks and POR pool maintenance details

Posted on Tuesday 14th February 2012 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Construction work to repave Bonnet Creek Parkway (which is the main road running outside both of the Port Orleans resorts) is scheduled from now until 23 March. Work will take place overnight (7pm-7am) excluding Friday and Saturday nights. There may be some local traffic delays.

Swimming Pool Maintenance Updates at Riverside: The quiet pool between Oak Manor and Parterre Place (buildings 90 and 95 at Port Orleans Riverside) will be closed for refurbishment work from 27 February to 1 March. The South quiet pool in Alligator Bayou (near to building 16) will be closed for refurbishment from 12 to 15 March. The North quiet pool in Alligator Bayou (near to building 35) will be closed for refurbishment from 19 to 22 March. All other pools at Riverside, including the Ol' Man Island feature pool will remain open.

Refurbishment work in the main lobby at Port Orleans Riverside will apparently be taking place from 9 April to 25 May. More details as I get them, but I do know that at some point the paintwork in the checkin area is due to be updated and brand new carpet will be fitted.

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D23 Blog celebrates 20 Years of Port Orleans Riverside

Posted on Friday 10th February 2012 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Disney's D23 Fan Club has posted a message on their blog celebrating 20 Years of Port Orleans Riverside (née Dixie Landings) and looking forward to the new Royal Rooms opening next month, with some quotes from cast members including the resort's Guest Services Manager and the General Manager. To read the article, see http://d23.disney.go.com/news/2012/02/d ... -makeover/

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Port Orleans Riverside 20 years old today - Happy Birthday!

Posted on Thursday 2nd February 2012 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

20 years ago today, the first section of the brand new Dixie Landings resort (the 1,024 rooms of the rustic Alligator Bayou lodges) opened to the public. This was to be the first of two distinct areas, which would later include the Magnolia Bend mansion buildings.

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Following a name change and merger with its sister hotel in April 2001, that resort is of course now better known to us as Port Orleans Riverside. For more details of the resort's background, please see our History page, and also a new blog posting today on the DisneyParks Blog.


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So if you're there today, don't forget to pop along to the lobby nice and early and pick your free birthday cake while it lasts.


Although I can't be there in person today, I'd like to pass on my own grateful thanks to General Manager Val Bunting and her whole team for the hard work they put in to keeping the resort running smoothly and looking as picture-perfect as it did on opening day twenty years ago - perhaps even better now that all the foliage and vegetation has had a chance to mature.

As Walt Disney was always keen to point out, it's the cast members who ensure that the magic happens - and apparently nearly 150 of them have been at this resort since opening day. It's their dedication which ensures that visiting guests experience a truly magical stay laced with Southern Charm, and they are directly responsible for so many visitors returning to Port Orleans year after year - including me! Thank you everyone, and here's to the next twenty years.


Happy Birthday Dixie Landings / Port Orleans Riverside!



Update:

Here are a few photos of the decorated lobby and anniversary cake, and the presentation for the opening day cast members who were all given a special glass ornament featuring a steamboat design to celebrate their 20 years working at the resort.

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Port Orleans Guest Service Manager on DisneyParks blog

Posted on Wednesday 1st February 2012 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Kyle Raser, the current manager of Guest Service Operations at Port Orleans, was featured in a lovely posting on the DisneyParks Blog yesterday - just a few days ahead of Port Orleans Riverside's 20th Anniversary. Kyle talked nostalgically about his very first trip to Dixie Landings (as it was then known) as a 14-year-old back in 1993, which started him on his future career path.

For the full posting, see http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2 ... st-member/

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French Quarter Courtyard Refurbishment, 9 Jan - 2 March 2012

Posted on Saturday 28th January 2012 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The French Quarter Courtyard (behind the main lobby building) will be undergoing refurbishment work starting on Monday 9th January for approximately 8 weeks. The central area, from the lobby doors out towards the sidewalk, will be boarded up during this period but walkways will be available on either side of the courtyard.

Daily construction work should not start before 9am and the estimated completion date is 2nd March 2012. (Thanks to John Miller for the photos)

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Update on 19 March: Some more recent guest photos (see http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php ... st44363512) show that work is a little behind schedule, and is looking like it will be completed nearer to the end of March.

6 March:
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13 March, the section nearest to the main lobby is pretty much done now, and some of the walls are down:
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Update on 17 April: The work was completed a while before Easter, a couple of weeks behind the original schedule. Here's a photo from DISer 'pixarmom' of the finished courtyard:

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Dixie Landings opened 20 years ago on 2 February 1992

Posted on Friday 27th January 2012 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

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The initial section of the resort originally known as Dixie Landings first opened to the public on Sunday 2 February 1992, two decades ago, joining its sister resort of Port Orleans which had débuted nine months earlier. The initial 1,024 rooms in the rustic Alligator Bayou section would later be joined by another 1,024 Magnolia Bend mansion building rooms.

The resort subsequently had a name change to Port Orleans Riverside in April 2001, at which time its sister hotel was also rebranded to Port Orleans French Quarter. Today, the combined Port Orleans resort offers a total of 3,056 guest rooms and employs around 1,200 cast members, including approximately 142 who have worked there since opening day.

The latest issue of the Walt Disney World Cast Member magazine “Eyes & Ears” features an article on the resort, including details of the upcoming Royal Room refurbishments and some words from one of the opening day cast members. It does not mention whether there are any guest-accessible events planned for the anniversary on Thursday.

Update: There will be balloons and decorations up in the lobby on 2nd February, and free birthday cake for the guests - while it lasts of course, so get there early!

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According to General Manager Val Bunting, herself a native Southerner, the resort's highlights are almost too numerous to list. “It’s kind of that place [from] a hundred years ago, where things are much simpler and much quieter,” she said. “I tell [Cast Members], ‘You don’t have to be from the South, you just have to know what great hospitality is and provide great charm while you’re here.’”

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Alligator Bayou quiet pool maintenance dates in Jan/Feb

Posted on Saturday 14th January 2012 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The three Alligator Bayou quiet pools are due to be closed for short routine maintenance periods during January and February 2012. Pool #2 is due to be closed from Monday 23 January until Friday 27 January, pool #3 from Monday 30 January to Friday 3 February, and pool #1 from Monday 27 February to Thursday 1 March. These dates do not coincide with the existing work on the main feature pool on Ol' Man Island which is scheduled to be carried out from 6-8 February.

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Garden View category opens. Queen Beds not guaranteed at POR

Posted on Saturday 7th January 2012 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The new 'Garden View' room category came into effect on 1 January 2012 at Port Orleans, with views now available as follows:

  • Standard: Parking lot views
  • Garden: Lawns, courtyards (including fountains, water features, etc), bayou landscaping/pools/streams - but NOT parking lots
  • Water: Swimming pool view
  • River: View of the Sassagoula River
  • Also bookable are Preferred Locations (buildings 14, 15, 18 and 27 at Riverside only) and King Bed rooms.
Unfortunately though, it seems that the presale information provided by the Disney Reservations Center, and the descriptions on Disney's online booking website, were both wrong - or at least premature - in claiming that all Garden View rooms at Port Orleans Riverside would have queen beds from the outset. This will indeed be true once the resort-wide refurbishment program is completed in August, but for now only about one third of the guest rooms at Riverside have been updated.

While many guests will have booked Garden View rooms simply to ensure that they do not overlook a parking lot, a significant number of bookings have apparently been made solely on the basis that this was the only room type at Port Orleans Riverside which advertised Queen Beds in the amenities list (see below examples). Sadly, at present the chances of getting queen beds by booking Garden View are not any better than they would have been with any of the other room categories.

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As of today (7 January) the WDW booking website is still quoting Queen Beds as a benefit of this room category, but the management team at the resort are working to get this corrected as soon as possible. I do know that resort staff will try their best to keep guests happy at check-in, and they will attempt to accommodate anyone who specifically asks for - or had made a Garden View booking because of - queen beds. However with only a limited number of queen bed rooms available, there are obviously no guarantees.

If queen beds are particularly important to you I would suggest that you call the reservations center now and ensure that your existing booking has a note added to it requesting queen beds. Don't believe them if they tell you that you are guaranteed to be given queen beds anyway, as until around August that will not be true. A few days before you arrive you may wish to contact the resort on 1-407-934-6000 and ask to speak to the on-site room allocation department (not just the central switchboard who will initially answer your call) and reiterate your request and explain the reason. They will do their best to help you if they can.

Note: this issue does not affect Port Orleans French Quarter, where all of the rooms have already been refurbished and feature queen beds. However in a bizarre twist, the WDW booking website no longer includes any descriptive text for Garden View rooms at French Quarter... has someone perhaps inadvertantly removed the accurate description? :roll:

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Update on 15 January:

Over the last couple of days Disney have finally corrected their official booking website, and Garden View rooms are now listed as having 2 double beds, rather than 2 queen-size beds. Oh well, better late than never.

Update on 24 June:

The final two Alligator Bayou buildings closed to undergo refurbishment today, so there are now no double-bedded rooms left at the either of the Port Orleans Resorts, and guests are now guaranteed two Queen Beds (or one King Bed, if booked, of course).

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Royal Room Refurbishments Delayed, first rooms now 9 March

Posted on Wednesday 4th January 2012 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

News leaked out this morning, which has just been confirmed by staff at the resort, saying that the scheduled opening date for the new Royal Rooms at Port Orleans Riverside has been delayed, and is currently set for 9 March. The original target date was 17 February, and Disney is currently in the process of contacting every guest who was booked into the new rooms during the intervening three week period to discuss what options are open to them.

While I'm sure every case will be dealt with individually, please remember that the delay is not the fault of the resort staff and they will be doing their best to try to reduce the disappointment to guests, especially children. A number of guests who have been contacted so far have reported that they have been offered generous complimentary upgrades to Disney Deluxe resorts such as the Polynesian.

No reason for the delay has yet been offered.

Update on 5th January:

The resort Cast Members at Port Orleans Riverside are NOT handling the outgoing calls to guests affected by this delay themselves. There is a small team at the Disney Reservations Center who are going through every reservation and contacting the guests directly. This info came directly from a manager at the resort.

Obviously this process will take time, and I'd assume they are probably starting with the earliest reservations and going forward from there. If you are concerned that you have not been contacted after a few days, please try calling the Disney Reservations Center (not the resort directly) and ask to speak to someone on the team handling this situation.

I do not know whether there are any hard-and-fast rules regarding what alternative accommodations may be offered, nor if there is any automatic "water-view for water-view" matching policy in place. Personally, I would think it's more likely that each case will be dealt with individually to try to keep each guest happy, within overall guidelines laid down by the department.

Update on 12th January:

Most guests should have been contacted by now, with a few near the end of the three week period still saying they are awaiting calls. If you do still need confirmation, please leave a voicemail for the Disney Reservations Center special team on 1-407-248-1727, giving your name, reservation number and check-in date, and they will call you back.

The latest info I've seen on the revised refurbishment dates are that Oak Manor (building 90) will now be in progress from 22-January to 9-March, and Parterre Place (building 95) from 11-March to 13-April. Even if some rooms might be ready slightly before then, I really doubt they would now commit them to guests in advance, just not worth the risk.

Update on 2nd February:

It's looking like the initial 256 rooms that will be opened in Oak Manor on 9th March may not be quite enough capacity for all of the guests that are booked into Royal Rooms around the end of March (and I'm guessing this may apply over the Easter period too) so Disney are calling and offering a few more lucky people complimentary upgrades to Deluxe Resorts. This should only effect a few people, but I strongly suspect that if you really insist they would be able to let you stay in one of the Royal Rooms and simply offer the free upgrade to someone else instead.

The second building (Parterre Place) is scheduled to open mid-April (still the 13th at the moment) so after Easter the pressure should ease up.

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January 2012 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules

Posted on Sunday 1st January 2012 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

The January 2012 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules for Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter are now available.

The outdoor movies will start at 7pm this month, and there will again be a slightly reduced set of pool activities in this cooler weather. The daily campfires commence at 5:30pm.

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(click on the above images for printable versions)

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Feature Pools Maintenance Closures Jan/Feb 2012

Posted on Wednesday 28th December 2011 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The Doubloon Lagoon feature swimming pool at Port Orleans French Quarter will be closed for maintenance work on Tuesday 17 January and Wednesday 18 January, reopening on Thursday 19 January 2012. The spa/hot tub should remain open during this time. There is also construction work going on in the courtyard behind the entrance lobby, access will be along the sides of this area.

The Ol' Man Island feature swimming pool at Port Orleans Riverside will be closed for maintenance work from Monday 6 February to Wednesday 8 February, reopening on Thursday 9 February 2012.

All of the other pools at the resort will remain open for guests during these closures.

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Christmas 2011 Recreation Activities Schedules

Posted on Sunday 25th December 2011 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

HAPPY CHRISTMAS!


The Christmas 2011 Recreation Activities for Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter are now available:

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Alligator Bayou buildings 14 and 38 now fully refurbished

Posted on Sunday 18th December 2011 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

This weekend saw the refurbished opening of the first of the Preferred Location buildings in Port Orleans Riverside's Alligator Bayou section. Building 14 appears to have replaced building 39 in the refurbishment schedule, so with the reopening of building 38 last week, refurbished rooms are now available in AB buildings 14, 36, 37 and 38 (plus the Acadian House and Magnolia Terrace mansion buildings).

There will now be a short break during the holiday period and then work will commence mid-January on converting Oak Manor to the new Royal Rooms. The projected opening date for this section is 17 February, with Parterre Place following a month later. [Update: Opening of Royal Rooms in Oak Manor has been delayed by three weeks to 9 March]

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Free Wi-Fi launches at Port Orleans 15 December

Posted on Thursday 15th December 2011 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

We've just been told that a new free Wi-Fi internet service at Port Orleans is now ready for action, and will commence service today (Thursday 15 December 2011).

Update on 16 December:

In addition to the lobby, entranceway, bus stop and pool area, guest rooms have now been confirmed to be covered too, although there are some early reports of patchy reception in a few places. Speeds are generally faster in the common areas than in the guest rooms.

The SSID (access point name) that you should look for is "disneyguest" (unsecured).

For more information, please see our Internet Access page.

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DisneyParks Blog unveils preview video of Royal Rooms at POR

Posted on Tuesday 13th December 2011 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The official Disney Parks Blog has just unveiled a brand new preview video showcasing the new Royal Room designs at Port Orleans Riverside which are due to open early in 2012. Click here to read the article and view the video.

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Work has commenced on Alligator Bayou 14 (and possibly 15)

Posted on Sunday 4th December 2011 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

A visiting guest (KAE2008 from the DISboards) has just reported that refurbishment work has commenced on Alligator Bayou building 14, and possibly 15 soon - which is well ahead of the leaked provisional schedule that we had previously been sent. Looks like building 14 will be open by the weekend of 16 December, so at least one of the 'Preferred Location' buildings will have newly refurbished rooms before Christmas - excellent news!

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December Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules

Posted on Saturday 3rd December 2011 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The December Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules for Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter are now available.

The outdoor movies will start at 7pm this month, and there will again be a slightly reduced set of pool activities in the cooler weather. The daily campfires commence at 5:30pm.

There will be a separate schedule for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day which will be available via the resort's Holiday Activities Guide later in the month.

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(click on the above images for printable versions)

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Alligator Bayou Building 37 re-opened last weekend

Posted on Wednesday 23rd November 2011 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Port Orleans Riverside's Alligator Bayou building 37 re-opened for guests last weekend (19 November) with refurbished rooms, joining building 36 which opened a week earlier. Work starts this week on building 38 (due to be completed by 9 December) and next week on building 39 (due to open by 16 December).

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Alligator Bayou Building 36 now re-opened for guests

Posted on Tuesday 15th November 2011 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

At Port Orleans Riverside, the first of the long-awaited Alligator Bayou refurbished rooms are now complete and Building 36 has reopened to the public, right on schedule. Construction workers will now be moving on to buildings 37 and 38, and then 39, all of which should be completed by 15 December - just in time for the Christmas holidays, it's almost as if they planned it that way... :lol:

One guest has already posted a few iPhone photos to PhotoBucket, and I've asked if she could maybe send me the original images so we can see more of the details. The soft furnishings look great, and it appears that the elaborate, immersive theming has been carried through with every element - and I adore the Port Orleans details on the new bedspreads! Also note the Alligator motifs on the comforter pillows.

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First 'sneak peek' photos of Alligator Bayou Refurbishments

Posted on Thursday 10th November 2011 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

As with French Quarter last year, a visiting guest was able to sneak a quick pre-opening look inside one of the newly refurbished rooms in Alligator Bayou building 36 for us on Tuesday 8 Nov, and they look amazing!

The room seems very true to the original rustic concept, but perhaps going even a little further than before - note that as I said a while back, the flooring in the bathroom has been retained, plus those lovely wood-hewn bed heads. The rustic planking effect in the bathroom and for the carpet are also nice touches. The new pull-down bed looks great too - complete with a picture of Louis from Princess and the Frog inside. Obviously there are still finishing touches to be done (such as the bedding and curtains) and you'll note that the cover isn't on the A/C unit yet, but so far it looks like they've done a fabulous job - although I too have some serious concerns about the amount of storage space provided for five people and all their luggage. Not sure if the section under the murphy bed is three drawers or one large one as there don't seem to be any handles on it as yet. And is it just me, or are there an awful lot of different wood colours going on? Perhaps that's deliberate to tie in with the backwater bayou theme though.

The first rooms are due to open for guests in a few days time.

Beth's comments about the room are as follows:

OK-I just got back today and have pictures of Bldg 36!!!! First off, it is nowhere near finished. One of the guys showed me into a room that he said was "more done" than the rest of them and it was not all the way finished by any means. It didn't look like they had started on 37-38 either.

Anyway, there is a fold down bed like the previous pictures of Aulani; it is where the old wardrobe/TV furniture used to be. The TV is mounted high on the wall, then there is the fold down murphy bed (sideways) that looks like a bench seat with maybe some drawer space underneath that. The refrigerator is besides it with a few very small drawers attached to the side. Overall there is very little drawer space compared to the old wardrobes. The bed was fairly good sized and would sleep someone up to 5 feet tall I believe. The problem is where are 5 people going to put all their stuff in that room?

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For the full size photos, please see the Guest Gallery Page.


Update on 14 Nov: I just worked out the storage issue. Under the fold-down bed there are indeed three large drawers with finger-recesses along the top edge to pull them open - see this expanded detail:

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I've also noticed that a lot of details in the room seem to have been left pretty-much untouched: the dark shelf over the sinks looks original (if the dust is anything to go by anyway!), as does the hanging rail; the mirrors (in both wash area and bedroom) seem to have the same frames as before; the wooden cladding panels in the wash area look original; the bedheads look original, but possibly with a wider top-beam added to make them fit the queen beds better? (not sure about that one though, the old ones were located 'outside' of the mattress base, so they could just as easily have placed behind the new mattresses instead). None of these are in any way complaints by the way, I'm impressed if they managed not to lose too much of the original theming which was still in very good condition.

The original hung paintings in the rooms have been retained in all of the refits so far by the way, which is lovely as they are from the Walt Disney Imagineering Collection.

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Quiet pool between Oak Manor and Parterre Place closure

Posted on Thursday 3rd November 2011 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The quiet pool between Oak Manor and Parterre Place at Port Orleans Riverside was scheduled for maintenance work to the restroom area between 10 October and 11 November. It was reported by a guest that the pool was closed around 19 October, so should presumably be reopening soon.

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WDW Today podcast Port Orleans discussion

Posted on Tuesday 1st November 2011 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Episode 949 of the excellent WDW Today podcast is devoted to a discussion of the Port Orleans resorts. The hosts have always regarded the Port Orleans resorts as their favourite moderate resorts at WDW, and while there are a few minor factual errors** the overall show is a nice balanced overview of the pros and cons of staying at Port Orleans.

Click here to listen to or download the show.

** Update: Episode 952 the following week offers some further thoughts on Port Orleans, including corrections to the little issues I mentioned above. Thanks for listening guys.

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November Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules

Posted on Monday 31st October 2011 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The November Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules for Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter are now available, please see our Recreation page for full details and to download printable PDF copies.

Of particular note is that, with the earlier winter nights starting to draw in, movies will start at 7pm this month.

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Halloween Recreation Activities Schedules 2011

Posted on Friday 28th October 2011 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

I've just received the recreation activities schedules for the two Port Orleans resorts. Sounds like lots of spooky fun for all the kids - and kids at heart - staying at Port Orleans during Monday 31st October this year.

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Port Orleans Riverside Halloween 2011 (click to download PDF file)


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Port Orleans French Quarter Halloween 2011 (click to download PDF file)

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Refurbishment work commences on Alligator Bayou building 36

Posted on Tuesday 25th October 2011 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Room refurbishment work commences this week on the first of the sixteen Alligator Bayou Lodges (building 36, which is due to be completed around 13 November). Buildings 37, 38 and 39 will follow at approximately two-weekly intervals, with all of these first four buildings being completed by 16 December in time for the busy Christmas period.

Note: The new Alligator Bayou rooms WILL still feature an extra bed option for a fifth person to sleep in the room, but rather than the previous trundle bed arrangement (which presumably would not work as well with the new queen-size beds) there will be a new murphy-style bed which will pull down from the wall beneath the TV.

After Christmas, work will shift back over to the two remaining Magnolia Bend mansion buildings, Oak Manor and then Parterre Place, both of which will be completely converted to feature the brand new Royal Rooms. Oak Manor will reopen by 17 February, and Parterre Place just over a month later. Once those are fully complete, the rest of Alligator Bayou will be refurbished.

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October Recreation Activities Schedule

Posted on Saturday 1st October 2011 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The October 2011 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules for Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter are now available, please see our Recreation page for full details and to download printable PDF copies. A separate Halloween Activities schedule will be posted closer to the date.

Also, Happy Birthday to the Magic Kingdom and Walt Disney World! 40 amazing years to the day of making magic for millions and millions of happy guests, children and adults alike. Thank you to Walt for the imagination and inspiration, and to Roy for the drive and determination to bring his ideas to life.

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Magnolia Terrace re-opens after refurbishment

Posted on Friday 2nd September 2011 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The Magnolia Terrace mansion building should be fully re-opened for guests this weekend. Many of the rooms were brought back into inventory last week (some as early as 19th August in fact) and the remainder should now be ready.


(click on the above image to scroll, use +/- keys to zoom)


There will now be a short pause before work commences on Alligator Bayou building 36 on 25th October, which is due for completion around 11th November. Buildings 37, 38 and 39 will follow, all due to be completed before Christmas.

Early in the New Year work will start on Oak Manor, the first of the two mansion buildings which are to be fitted with Royal Rooms. This section is due to re-open by 17th February 2012.

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September Recreation Schedule posted

Posted on Thursday 1st September 2011 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The September 2011 Recreation Activities Schedule is now available, please see our Recreation page.

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General Port Orleans News Updates

Posted on Friday 26th August 2011 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

To put the ongoing debate to bed once and for all (to use a very suitable metaphor) I had a great meeting today with someone who can give us an absolutely definitive answer on the extra bed in Alligator Bayou question. (Thank you for your generosity with your time if you are reading this)

So YES, the fifth person bed option IS staying, but not as a trundle bed (as they won't fit with the new queen beds). The new option will be a fold-down bed which is actually slightly bigger than the current trundle beds, and it will allow smaller adults to use it rather than just kids. It will be located on the wall, beneath the new flat-screen television (which will also be wall-mounted) and will fold down on top of a lower, wider drawer unit. Princess and the Frog fans will spot some fun themed details on the inside of the new fold-down unit and also on the comforter pillows on the main queen beds. Oh, and AB fans will love to hear that the existing floor tiling in the bathroom and vanity areas will be staying, as it was only installed fairly recently. The general rustic concept will be staying too, but "on steroids" as one resort manager commented.

On the downside, one other thing that I learned it that the option to have an extra roll-away bed brought into the other areas (Magnolia Bend and French Quarter) will no longer be available with the queen beds, meaning that Alligator Bayou will be the ONLY option for families of five. There will also definitely be no King Bed rooms available in the new Royal Room areas (which we already knew from the booking site).

On the recreation front, the new poolside game activities, movie screenings and campfires at both resorts will be staying year-round rather than being seasonal, which will please a lot of people.

I hope to be able to get some detailed photos from Magnolia Terrace (which comes back into availability in a few days) before I leave and will post them when I do.

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Movie Nights extended: now daily, plus includes Riverside

Posted on Saturday 6th August 2011 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Starting in Summer 2011, Port Orleans French Quarter began hosting three outdoor “Movie Under the Stars” screenings each week. As from August 2011, this has been extended to showing movies every night at 9pm — plus there is also now a similar offering over at Riverside at the same time. The French Quarter movies are shown in Beignet Square — the turfed area between buildings 4, 5 and 6 — while Riverside guests need to head over to the courtyard in front of Oak Manor (building 90).

Details are subject to change, and screenings can be cancelled due to poor weather, but the current resort activities schedule (which also includes daytime poolside activities and games) should be available from the Front Desk or Concierge Desk. For August 2011, the published information is as follows:

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Acadian House now re-opened with refurbished rooms

Posted on Friday 5th August 2011 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

According to a DISboards posting, Acadian House has now been re-opened for guests.

We're still waiting to see the first photos, but the guest checked in on Thursday 4th August and has described the newly refurbished room as follows:

Room is nice and has that fresh paint smell. I have never stayed in a Manor room before but based on pics I have seen. There are new headboards with pictures on them. One of a plantation home and the other of a paddle wheel boat. Otherwise the rooms look the same and the new tv stand looks like the one from POFQ rehab pics I have seen.

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Magnolia Bend quiet pool refurbishment, 5 Sept - 7 Oct 2011

Posted on Monday 1st August 2011 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The quiet pool located between Acadian House and Magnolia Terrace at Port Orleans Riverside is scheduled to be closed for routine maintenance and refurbishment work between 5th September and 7th October 2011. The main Ol' Man Island pool and the other quiet pools will remain open as normal.

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Refurbishment work commences on Acadian House at POR

Posted on Friday 1st July 2011 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

It has recently been confirmed by a visiting guest that Acadian House was being closed down by sections at the end of last week (June 24) and a sizable area of the Acadian parking lot was already set aside for construction equipment and vehicles. So it looks like work has commenced as planned, and the countdown is now on until the targeted completion date for this first building of 5th August. There is no indication as yet whether the building might be reopened in phases, or all at once.

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First Royal Room Photographs released on Disney Blog

Posted on Friday 17th June 2011 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Today's Disney Parks Blog has provided us with the first actual photos of the new Royal Guest Room concept destined for the Port Orleans Riverside mansion buildings. Travel Agents were given a sneak peek a few weeks ago, but at that stage photography was not allowed.

As we reported a few days ago, bookings are now live on the Walt Disney World website, with room availability starting from 4 March 2012.

Disney Parks Blog wrote: Opening in early Spring 2012, the Royal Guest Rooms at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside allow princes and princesses of all ages to stay where Disney royalty have stayed. Guests find regal touches left behind by some of their favorite Disney characters like fiber optics special effects above ornately decorated beds with gold and crystal accents; custom linens and drapes; and in-room art and details including princely banners and princess friends. The 512 Royal Guest Rooms start at $189 per night.

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2012 Room Rates Released

Posted on Monday 13th June 2011 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Walt Disney World has just released their 2012 room rates through their online booking site. At the time of writing, rooms were only bookable up to 25 October 2012 as there is a maximum 499 day rolling booking window.

The upcoming ‘Royal Room’ category at Port Orleans Riverside is now bookable for stays commencing Friday 17th February (which is when the refurbishment of Oak Manor should be completed) and Disney has also introduced yet another booking category – Garden View – into the already complicated and increasingly pricey mix. This presumably means that anyone paying for a basic room will now most likely end up with a parking lot view.

I will try to put together a full price breakdown as soon as I can [19-Jun: now completed, please see the Room Rates Page for all 2012 prices] but base rates appear to start at $159 weekday / $174 weekend for Value season, going up to $190 weekday / $205 weekend in peak Summer season. Special vacation dates will be even higher, for example $234 for the entire two weeks around Easter and $244 for the Christmas Holidays.

The various special categories add on as follows (well, according to the WDW website, anyway - but when you click on each option, the sums don't always seem to add up quite as shown...)

Normal Rooms
Standard View: ---
Garden View: +$11
Preferred Location: +$28 [Riverside only]
King Bed: +$28
Water View: +$28
River View: +$34

Royal Rooms
Standard View: +$34
Garden View: +$45
Water View: +$62
River View: +$68

There was initially a typo on the WDW website which quoted the final Royal Room price as ‘Garden View’ again, but that has now been changed to the correct ‘River View’ listing. Also, there appear to be no King Bed options in the Royal Room categories, so we must assume that the only choice there is for two queen beds – which does seem logical enough bearing in mind that these rooms are aimed directly at families.

So, finally Disney has made it possible to book a single Port Orleans Riverside (moderate) room for over $300 per night plus tax! Recession, what recession?

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Refurbishment Dates for Port Orleans Riverside (tentative!)

Posted on Saturday 11th June 2011 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The following dates include some overlap between buildings, and are obviously always going to be SUBJECT TO CHANGE, so please don't make your wedding plans based on them! I have deliberately not quoted the planned completion dates to avoid anyone getting disappointed.

  • Magnolia Bend, Acadian House: starts 26 June 2011, for approx. six weeks
  • Magnolia Bend, Magnolia Terrace: starts 31 July 2011, for approx. six weeks
  • Alligator Bayou, Lodges 36, 37, 38, 39: starts 25 October 2011, for approx. eight weeks
  • Magnolia Bend, Oak Manor: starts 15 January 2012, for approx. five weeks [Royal Themed Rooms]
  • Magnolia Bend, Parterre Place: starts 19 February 2012, for approx. five weeks [Royal Themed Rooms]
  • Alligator Bayou, Lodges 24, 16, 17, 28: starts 3 April 2012, for approx. eight weeks
  • Alligator Bayou, Lodges 14, 27, 18, 15: starts 8 May 2012, for approx. seven weeks
  • Alligator Bayou, Lodges 25, 35, 26, 34: starts 5 June 2012, for approx. eight weeks
The construction work will happen one building at a time, however especially in Alligator Bayou it looks as though work on the next lodge may well commence before the previous one has been fully completed, giving some overlap where two buildings could be out of use at the same time.

I have no idea why the schedule for the two mansion buildings which are due for the 'Royal' treatment (Oak Manor and Parterre Place) is slightly shorter than the other two buildings - you'd have thought they would actually take longer to complete. Time will tell I guess.

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June Movie Night Schedule at POFQ

Posted on Wednesday 1st June 2011 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Disney movies are currently being shown three nights a week at Port Orleans French Quarter - Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at 8:30pm - on a giant inflatable screen erected on the grassy courtyard between buildings 4, 5 and 6 (Beignet Square).

The June 2011 schedule is as follows (subject to change):

  • Wednesday, June 1: Monsters, Inc.
    Friday, June 3: Gnomeo and Juliet
    Saturday, June 4: Tangled
    Wednesday, June 8: A Bug's Life
    Friday, June 10: James and the Giant Peach
    Saturday, June 11: The Rescuers
    Wednesday, June 15: Atlantis
    Friday, June 17: Enchanted
    Saturday, June 18: Toy Story
    Wednesday, June 22: The Emperor's New Groove
    Friday, June 24: The Princess and the Frog
    Saturday, June 25: The Sword and the Stone
    Wednesday, June 29: Lilo and Stitch

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Movie Nights at Port Orleans French Quarter

Posted on Sunday 22nd May 2011 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The grassy courtyard between buildings 4, 5 and 6 (Beignet Square) has often been used for entertainment during special events such as Easter and Halloween, but it seems that the resort is now trialling the idea of having movie nights three nights a week (Wednesday, Friday and Saturday) on a giant inflatable screen. Presumably this will happen during the summer months when it's always warm enough to sit out in the evenings.

The May 2011 schedule is as follows (subject to change):

  • Wed 4 May: A Bug's Life
    Fri 6 May: The Sword in the Stone
    Sat 7 May: Monsters, Inc.
    Wed 11 May: Toy Story
    Fri 13 May: G-Force
    Sat 14 May: Wall-E
    Wed 18 May: The Princess Diaries
    Fri 20 May: Beauty and the Beast
    Sat 21 May: The Princess and the Frog
    Wed 25 May: Bolt
    Fri 27 May: Mulan
    Sat 28 May: Meet the Robinsons

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Disney Press Event shows new rooms at Port Orleans Resort

Posted on Friday 20th May 2011 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

As part of a press event, journalists from the press and online sites received a tour of Port Orleans to view the various new features, including a tour of the refurbished and Accessible rooms at French Quarter, plus previewing the model room for the new Royal Themed rooms at Riverside.

Great review with some photos from Deb Koma at AllEars.net.

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20th Birthday Activities at Port Orleans French Quarter

Posted on Tuesday 17th May 2011 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Port Orleans Resort is 20 Years Old Today - Happy Birthday!


If you're going to be at the resort today, don't miss out on the birthday cake being served in the lobby area of French Quarter, and enjoy some great jazz entertainment from the resort's talented resident musician, Elliot Dyson, who will be performing all day today at the Scat Cats lounge right next to the lobby.

Have a great day - I just wish I could be there to join in the fun!

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Port Orleans turns 20 years old on Tuesday 17 May 2011

Posted on Sunday 8th May 2011 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The first three buildings of the original Port Orleans Resort - the section that is now known as French Quarter - originally opened their doors to the public on 17 May 1991, two decades ago. Riverside - or Dixie Landings as it was then known - opened a year later on 2 February 1992. Now the combined resort offers a total of 3,056 guest rooms and employs around 1,200 cast members.

The latest issue of the WDW Cast Member magazine “Eyes & Ears” features an article on the resort, saying that the cast member celebrations this month will focus on the French Quarter and will include a cookout, birthday cake, commemorative keepsakes and recognition of about 15 cast members who have worked there since opening day. It does not mention whether there are also any guest-accessible events planned.

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“We say it’s the place where Disney magic flows with Southern charm,” commented Valerie Bunting, general manager of the resort, in the article. Born in Virginia, Valerie loves the New Orleans area and said she feels quite at home at the resort which she has managed for nearly two years. “I’m in heaven here. It transports you back to a quieter time. You’d never know that you were in the middle of the Walt Disney World Resort.”

“When I’m just walking by the river, I see people sitting on benches just at peace with themselves,” said Valerie, who has been a cast member for 35 years. “It’s a haven.”

I'd just like to add grateful thanks to Valerie and her whole team for the work they put in to keep this resort looking as picture-perfect as it did on opening day twenty years ago - perhaps even better now that the foliage and vegetation have had a chance to mature - and ensuring that the visiting guests experience a fabulous and truly magical stay. Here's to the next twenty years.

Happy Birthday Port Orleans!

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Riverside Refurb due to start with Acadian House on 26 June

Posted on Friday 6th May 2011 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The latest information regarding the Port Orleans Riverside room refurbishment project indicates that work will commence on 26 June 2011, starting with the Acadian House mansion building (building 80).

Also, the 512 rooms which will receive the new 'Royal' makeovers will definitely be located, as previously expected, in Oak Manor and Parterre Place (buildings 90 and 95) and work on those will commence in late January 2012.

Nothing has yet been confirmed regarding any specific start dates for work on the Alligator Bayou lodges, but the estimated completion time for the whole resort is still being quoted as April/May 2012.

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Official - 'Royal Rooms' coming to Port Orleans Riverside!

Posted on Tuesday 26th April 2011 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The Disney Parks Blog has just confirmed that the much anticipated 'Royal' themed rooms will be coming to Port Orleans Riverside during the upcoming refurbishment. One-quarter of the resort's room capacity will be given over to the new themed rooms.

Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Disney Parks Social Media Manager wrote:
Exciting enhancements also are taking place over at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort, with 512 Royal Guest Rooms planned to debut by March 2012. The story behind these lush rooms is that Princess Tiana (“The Princess and The Frog”) invited some of her royal pals – Belle (“Beauty and the Beast”), Jasmine (“Aladdin”) and more – for a vacation getaway. Princes and princesses of all ages can enjoy their luxurious lodging quarters, which will include ornate beds that feature headboards with fiber-optic special effects, and gold and crystal accents. Guests also can enjoy artwork and special mementos left by Tiana’s royal friends.

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Since The Princess and the Frog is set in New Orleans, Port Orleans Riverside was deemed a natural fit for this story - although I'm not quite sure why French Quarter was not regarded as an even more obvious fit.

During a guest’s stay, they will discover special mementos left by Tiana’s royal friends from classic Disney animated films such as Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, etc. For example, bathroom faucets are in the shape of Aladdin’s lamp and the luggage bench is in the shape of Sultan the dog that turns into a bench from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.

During creative development of these Storybook Rooms, Disney characters and storylines were chosen that would remain “evergreen” and maintain their relevance over time. Attributes to the room include:
  • Ornately decorated beds that include headboards with fiber optic special effects and gold and crystal accents.
  • Custom bed coverings and drapes that create a more luxurious “royal” experience.
  • Unique, in-room artwork featuring Tiana and her royal visitors.
Guests will be able to begin booking this new category of 'Specialty Rooms' mid-summer 2011 for visits commencing March 2012 by visiting waltdisneyworld.com or calling the Disney Reservation Center on 407-939-7429. No indication has been given as to how much these rooms will cost compared to standard rooms, but this is Disney so you know there will be a premium!


The concept art does looks somewhat scaled back from the original version that was mooted in a guest survey back in August 2010. Note the lack of ceiling detail, less ornate bedheads, missing shelf, no coats-of-arms & ornamental swords beside the curtains, etc. when compared to the older artwork show below:

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Port Orleans Riverside tentative refurbishment dates

Posted on Thursday 21st April 2011 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The following tentative refurbishment dates come from what should normally be a reliable source of information, but they seem very much at odds with the other details floating around from cast members at the moment. I guess these dates would only make sense if the Alligator Bayou buildings are going to be slotted in during the same time frame? Anyway, until work actually commences this is all merely speculation and should be treated as such.

Acadian House: 19 June - 29 July 2011
Magnolia Terrace: 24 July - 2 September 2011
Parterre Place: 8 January 2012 - 17 February 2012
Oak Manor: 12 February - 23 March 2012

[Update: these dates actually tie in very well with the recently announced news of the Royal themed rooms, which would explain the changes from some earlier rumoured dates and they do now seem a lot more likely to be accurate. Another online posting has indicated that the first Alligator Bayou sections may commence work in July too]

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Easter Sunday 2011 Events Timetable at Port Orleans

Posted on Wednesday 20th April 2011 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The following fun events have been scheduled at Port Orleans for Easter Sunday 24 April 2011:

  • 9am - Candy Scramble
    Meet at French Quarter Field between buildings 4 and 5.
  • 9am–2pm - Jellybean Counting Contest
    Try your luck at the Riverside Marina! The winner will be announced at 4:30pm at the Riverside Pool Party.
  • 9am–10:30am - Autographs with Characters
    Meet your favourite Disney Characters at the French Quarter and Riverside lobbies.
  • 10am–11am - Easter Games on the Green
    Meet at French Quarter Field between buildings 4 and 5 for some Easter fun!
  • 12pm–1pm - Cake Walk at the French Quarter Pool
    Want to win a free cake? All you have to do is meet on the French Quarter Pool deck for some cake walk fun, but get there early before the cakes hop away! (While supplies last)
  • 1pm–2pm - French Quarter Pool Party
    Meet on the main pool deck for a splashing good time. All ages welcome, families encouraged.
  • 2pm–3pm - Cupcake Decorating
    Hop on by Riverside Marina to decorate a cupcake! (While supplies last)
  • 3pm–4pm - Cake Walk at the Riverside Pool
    Want to win a free cake? All you have to do is meet on the Riverside Pool deck for some cake walk fun, but get there early before the cakes hop away! (While supplies last)
  • 4pm–5pm - Riverside Pool Party
    Meet at Ol' Man Island on the main pool deck for a splashing good time. All ages welcome, families encouraged. (While supplies last)
Religious Services

For guests celebrating Easter, religious services will be hosted in the Fantasia Ballroom of Disney's Contemporary Resort. Catholic Masses will be held at 8am and 10:15am, while a Protestant Service will be held at 9am. Please use Walt Disney World Resort transportation as personal vehicles may not be accommodated due to parking restrictions at Disney's Contemporary Resort.

Note: All events subject to change without notice.

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POR quiet pool & POFQ Kids Playground refurbishment closures

Posted on Tuesday 19th April 2011 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

According to the latest newsletter from MouseSavers.com, the second of the two Magnolia Bend quiet pools at Port Orleans Riverside will be closing for maintenance work from 25 April until 27 May 2011 (the other Magnolia Bend pool was done last month). Also, the Kids' Playground at Port Orleans French Quarter will be closing for refurbishment from 2 May until 27 May 2011.

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Port Orleans French Quarter Refurbishments now complete!

Posted on Saturday 16th April 2011 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Refurbishment work on the final building at Port Orleans French Quarter was completed right on schedule, and building 3 was officially rededicated on Friday 15th April 2011. All rooms are now open to guests.

Work on Port Orleans Riverside is due to commence within "about six weeks" according to an insider, although earlier sources had quoted the first weekend after Easter.

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Easter Activities at Port Orleans for 2011

Posted on Sunday 10th April 2011 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The famous Easter Egg Scramble will take place at Port Orleans again this year, and there will also be an Easter Egg hunt held in Boatwright's Dining Hall (presumably both activities will take place on Easter Sunday?). The resort also describes the arrival of "special Disney characters accompanied by Mr and Mrs Easter Bunny" although I'm not quite sure what that entails! Check with resort cast members for details.

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Work has now commenced on final French Quarter building (3)

Posted on Friday 1st April 2011 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The final building at Port Orleans French Quarter, building 3, is now undergoing refurbishment. Building 2 was completed around the end of last week and its rooms are now occupied. Work commenced on the one remaining building at the start of this week and progress is still well on target for completion of the whole resort by the weekend before Easter.

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"Ye Haa" Bob Jackson guests on WDW Today podcast

Posted on Friday 18th March 2011 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Port Orleans Riverside’s very own night-time entertainment legend, “Ye Haa” Bob Jackson, makes a lively guest appearance on today’s WDW Today Podcast. Visit the show page to download or listen to episode #852.

Oh and Matt, I’m sure I won’t be the first person to point this out, but Bob performs at Port Orleans RIVERSIDE, not French Quarter! Lovin’ the shoe anyway :-)

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Saint Patrick's Day Fun at Port Orleans

Posted on Thursday 17th March 2011 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Organised by the Food & Beverage team, the resort held a fun Saint Patrick’s Day Scavenger Hunt on 17 March 2011, in which 47 families participated. One mother commented how she loved that she and her 8 children had to walk around the resort, getting exercise in a beautiful and clean environment on a gorgeous day.

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French Quarter Building 1 completed, work has started on 2

Posted on Saturday 12th March 2011 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The latest reports from Port Orleans French Quarter indicate that the three-week timeline for the refurbishment of each building is still right on schedule. Building 1 is now fully completed and occupied, and work commenced on building 2 on Monday 7th March. This should hopefully mean that the final building (number 3) will start work around Monday 28th March and the whole resort will be complete by the weekend before Easter, just in time for the very busy Easter break period.

I'm guessing that work on Port Orleans Riverside’s Parterre Place will not start until after Easter, so maybe we’ll see work commence there around Monday 2nd May? Keep watching here, or subscribe to our Image RSS News Feed, for the latest updates.

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Mardi Gras 2011 at Port Orleans

Posted on Tuesday 8th March 2011 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Every year, the cast members at the Port Orleans resorts get the opportunity to enter a fun competition to see which department can dream up the most creative, best themed Mardi Gras parade floats based around the resort’s “pargo” vehicles. The cast members get to parade their floats around both resorts for guests to see on the official Mardi Gras “Fat Tuesday”, and it all kicks off at 1:30pm on Tuesday 8th March.

If you happen to be visiting over Mardi Gras there are lots of other fun activities around the resort which guests can take part in too — look out for the signs, or ask at the front desk desk for information.

PortOrleans.org wishes all of the 2011 Pargo Parade contestants the very best of luck — have a great day!

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First timescales for Riverside refurbishment program emerge

Posted on Tuesday 22nd February 2011 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

With the Port Orleans French Quarter room refurbishment now approaching its two-thirds stage, and completion looking to be on schedule for before Easter 2011, firmer news is starting to emerge about the second phase of the project, Port Orleans Riverside. One guest recently received an email from Walt Disney World Guest Relations indicating an expected time scale for this work:

Thank you for contacting the Walt Disney World® Resort.

In order for Disney's Port Orleans Resort - Riverside to continue to flourish as a magical destination, it is necessary for us to make enhancements from time to time. As a result in May 2011, the resort will begin going through a refurbishment to replace the double beds rooms with queen beds. The refurbishment work is expected to continue through Spring 2012 for our Guests' future enjoyment.

Disney has also applied for the necessary work permit in order to start refurbishment work on the first Magnolia Bend mansion building, Parterre Place, which was approved on 17th February (thanks wdwmagic.com). This time Disney will be using a different contractor, New Horizons Construction Services, instead of Friedrich Watkins Company. Although both companies have a proven track record of undertaking major construction projects for Disney, presumably this will mean that any possible last-minute delays in the completion of French Quarter will be unlikely to effect the start date of work at Riverside.

The last guest room refurbishment at Port Orleans Riverside took 12 months to complete, with Magnolia Bend taking from March 2004 to August 2004 and Alligator Bayou taking from August 2004 to February 2005. Thus we should probably expect the mansion buildings to be completed sometime before Thanksgiving 2011, and Alligator Bayou by April/May 2012.

There is, incidentally, no confirmation at all as to whether the previously rumored Royal/Princess themed rooms might be added to any of the Riverside mansion buildings during this refurbishment. One or two cast members have hinted that this might be the case, but it’s just as likely that they have merely been reading the various speculations on the internet. Personally, I’m keeping a very open mind on this one at the moment.

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French Quarter Building 5 completed, work has started on 1

Posted on Thursday 17th February 2011 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The latest reports from ‘the Port’ indicate that building 1 of Port Orleans French Quarter commenced its refurbishment work around Monday 14 February, and that building 5 is now either fully complete or almost there.

It looks as though the schedule is calling for work to start on each new building at three-week intervals, but this is currently slightly overlapping with completion of the final touches on the previous one. At this rate though, the whole resort could possibly be done by around the end of March.

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DIS Unplugged podcast reviews French Quarter stay

Posted on Wednesday 16th February 2011 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The DIS Unplugged audio podcast today ran a detailed review of their recent stay at Port Orleans French Quarter. Despite enjoying previous visits to POFQ, to say that their experience this time was “somewhat disappointing” would be a gross understatement! Listen or download the show via this LINK to find out what happened.

Thankfully, the problems that they encountered don’t seem to be a general reflection of the state of the resort, but it does show how easy it is for things to slip. Hopefully, management have now taken note and appropriate measures have been applied.

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PortOrleans.org Photo Gallery updates (230+ extra photos)

Posted on Saturday 5th February 2011 by Admin

I've just added more than 230 new Port Orleans photos to the site's Photo Gallery, including a special page devoted entirely to pictures of the newly refurbished rooms at Port Orleans French Quarter. Enjoy!

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French Quarter Building 4 completed, work starts on 5

Posted on Monday 24th January 2011 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Refurbishment work on building 4 at Port Orleans French Quarter is now just about complete, with some rooms already added back into the resort’s inventory over the weekend, and the remainder due to be available by the middle of this week. Building 5 is the next on the construction schedule, and workers are already starting to transfer over to that location.

There has still been no official announcement from Disney about this project, but given the progress so far I would expect that either building 2 or 3 would be next for refurbishment. My money would on building 2 — unless, of course, they decide to work from the outside inward again, which would mean building 1.

Presumably the overall target is to complete the whole resort before the start of the busy Easter period. As always, stay tuned to portorleans.org for the latest news.

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French Quarter Building 4 starts refurbishment process next

Posted on Friday 31st December 2010 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Refurbishment work is due to commence on the next section of Port Orleans French Quarter (building 4) very early in the New Year. The work on building 4 will take approximately four weeks and the whole project is currently running to time, or even slightly ahead of schedule.

Wishing everyone at Port Orleans - guests and cast members - a Very Happy New Year.

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Riverside Magnolia Bend quiet pool closure, 8-Feb to 1-Apr

Posted on Tuesday 28th December 2010 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

One of the two Magnolia Bend quiet swimming pools at Port Orleans Riverside will be closed for scheduled maintenance from 8th February 2011 until 1st April 2011. All of the other pools at the resort will remain open.

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Massachusetts man dies after walking in front of Disney bus

Posted on Sunday 26th December 2010 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Tragic news as a Massachusetts man dies after walking in front of a Disney bus at Disney’s Port Orleans resort. The following information is from the Orlando Sentinel:

A Massachusetts tourist was killed Sunday when he walked in front of a bus at Walt Disney World’s Port Orleans resort, the Florida Highway Patrol said.

According to witnesses, Robert Krueger, 69, of Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod, was walking alone when he stepped into the path of a Disney bus traveling through the parking lot of the resort about 5:50 pm, said Sgt. Kim Montes, a Florida Highway Patrol spokeswoman.

The front of the bus struck Krueger and knocked him to the ground, a report says. He died at Orlando Regional Medical Center, Montes said.

The driver, Rosemary Kincaid, 57, of Lake Alfred, had passengers at the time of the accident. No injures were reported. Montes said she didn’t know how many people were onboard.

The crash is under investigation, but Montes said charges were unlikely. Krueger was not on a crosswalk, and the bus had the right-of-way, the highway patrol said.

Walt Disney Resort President Meg Crofton issued a brief statement on the accident: “We offer our deepest condolences to the guest’s family and loved ones. We are doing all we can for them during this difficult time.”

Our sympathies and condolences go out to this gentleman’s family and friends at this awful time for them. It’s so sad when, in this place of magic and fantasy, the real world intrudes so tragically and painfully.

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French Quarter Building 6 refurbishment completed

Posted on Saturday 18th December 2010 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

French Quarter building 6 renovation work is now completed, with the top floor having been open to guests for a few days now. The building was officially re-opened with a special ribbon-cutting ceremony on 17 December.

The resorts are in full Christmas swing now, with several guests reporting Christmas Carolers singing in the Sassagoula Floatworks & Food Factory at breakfast time on Thursday morning. Sounds lovely.

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas. Season's Greetings!

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French Quarter Building 6 starts refurbishment process

Posted on Sunday 28th November 2010 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Now that refurbishment work on French Quarter building 7 has been completed and rooms have been reopened for guest use, new construction signs went up today saying please pardon the work around building 6. Sections of the parking lot serving buildings 5 and 6 were roped off and guests were asked to ensure that all vehicles had been removed from that area by the end of Sunday evening as construction equipment would be moved in to start work on Monday morning (29 November).

It seems that they are working to a four-week schedule for each building, although it might also make sense for them to take a week’s break over Christmas when the resort would presumably expect to be fully booked.

[UPDATE 6 December] “The workers are very busy on building 6, arriving at 7am and leaving as late as 10pm.” No wonder progress is so quick!

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First guests stay in refurbed French Quarter rooms (PHOTOS)

Posted on Tuesday 23rd November 2010 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

More photos added on 26 November

First reports have arrived of guests being allocated newly refurbished rooms in building 7 at Port Orleans French Quarter, check out the DISboards thread for discussions. The first rooms were allocated for guests sometime during the afternoon of 19th November.

We’ve been sent some great new first snaps, they’re taken with a camera phone but still give a great taster of the new decor — loving the regal purple and gold bedspreads now we can see the detail!

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More 'sneaky' POFQ rehab photos leak out on the net

Posted on Saturday 20th November 2010 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

A few more ‘sneaky’ photos have been posted on the Port Orleans French Quarter FAQ Thread on the DISboards. These were taken through the windows of a couple of finished rooms in building 7 (including 7138 on the ground floor) and they show the bedspreads too. These actually look rather more purple/blue tinted than I remember, but I guess it’s tricky to tell from covert photos snapped between the window blinds.

Still no news of anyone staying at the resort who has actually been assigned one of the refurbished rooms yet, but it can’t be long now.

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French Quarter Building 7 due to re-open imminently

Posted on Friday 19th November 2010 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

I just received an email from a guest who phoned the resort’s front desk this morning — although she would probably have got through to the WDW central switchboard:

I just wanted to share an update on the room renovations. We are going in 9 days and I just called the front desk to see if Building 7 would be open. According to the agent, her notes indicate that the building is to go back online today :-)

That does sound rather quick for the whole building to be completed, but maybe some sections may be opened? I guess we’ll find out soon enough...

... and a quick update (20 Nov) from another guest who is staying at Port Orleans next week:
My family and I are checking in on Wednesday, and I just called and asked if we could possibly stay in a refurbished room. I was happily told by Chris at the front desk that we will be in one of the new rooms in Building 7. I'll send an update when I can!

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FIRST (UNOFFICIAL) POFQ IN-ROOM PHOTOS

Posted on Monday 15th November 2010 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

These images just in from our brave “top secret agent” guest, who noticed that someone had inadvertently left one of the doors open in the newly refurbished (but as yet unopened) section of Port Orleans French Quarter. Many thanks for emailing them to me.

Remember, these (ever so slightly unauthorised!) photos are of an incomplete room, as yet without bedcovers, shower curtain, etc. We also don't know whether there are any more changes to be made to the fittings/etc before these rooms are opened for guest use — the test room that I managed to peek into a few weeks earlier had slightly different bed headboards for example, closer to the style of those in the Riverside Magnolia Bend section.

However, even with the above caveats I'm guessing people will still want to see these sneak peeks... Enjoy!

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More preview information on new room contents

Posted on Friday 12th November 2010 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Quote from a guest who has just returned from Port Orleans French Quarter, and which matches closely with what I managed to glimpse of one of the test rooms:

I asked at the concierge desk earlier this week about the refurb details and was invited backstage to see the display board! No pics allowed but they knew I was going to post some info. Unfortunately, it has been days since I saw the display, so I don't remember as much as I wish I did.

The colors are based on shades of the colors of the beads they give you in the lobby — gold, green, and purple — but not garish, more muted and the purple more royal. No blue in the room. Walls are a yellow cream with a cream and gold border at the ceiling. Bedspread is green with a gold design (possibly matching the border, but not sure) — not as bright or multicolored as the current spread — more elegant. I think the carpet was green. I can't remember the color of the chairs or curtains, nor do I remember the look of the table. The nightstand is smaller to accommodate the queen beds. The dresser includes the refrigerator, all one unit. Dark wood with some lighter inlays on the end. Flat screen TV.

In the vanity area, there is one long unit with two bowls instead of two pedestal sinks. I couldn't tell from the picture if the shelf that is currently above the sinks is still there. Dark wood trim around the vanity but open below, not a cabinet.

Someone wondered about the pictures in the rooms. They will remain, not being replaced.

Overall, I think the room looks very mature and tasteful.

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WORK COMMENCES ON FRENCH QUARTER ROOM REFURBISHMENTS

Posted on Monday 1st November 2010 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The guest-room refurbishment process at Port Orleans French Quarter has now commenced. Work started on building 7 on Monday 1 November 2010, initially with floors two and three of the building which are now designated as hard-hat construction areas and are thus off-limits to all guests and resort cast members. A large area of the parking lot next to building 7 is currently fenced off for materials storage and dumping of scrap material.

The expectation is that each building will take approximately one month to update, with the whole resort being completed by April 2011. After that work will commence on the mansion buildings at Port Orleans Riverside and then finally the Riverside Alligator Bayou section. The whole process is expected to take between 12 and 18 months.

A test room — corner room 7116 — was completed a while ago, but the resort managers are not allowing any guests to view it at the moment (no matter how much you plead). Luckily the blinds were not completely closed, so it was possible to sneak a peek at some of the interior detail such as the expected flat-screen TV and queen size beds. The basic colour scheme appears to be in greens and yellows, with gold accents and dark wood furniture.

The new bedspreads are a fairly dark green with ornate golden flourish detailing, and the headboards resemble those in the Riverside mansion buildings. The carpet is a lighter green with yellow/gold details (again, much like the current mansion buildings at Riverside) and the curtains are pale yellow. The wash area retains the traditional twin-sink layout but with a shallow dark wood pelmet-style surround, decorated to look like drawers. The ornate detailing in the corners of the archway to the wash area has been retained.

More info as soon as anyone manages to get a better look (or photos!) inside a refurbished room, but we can certainly expect building 7 to be completed and available for guests sometime between the end of November and Christmas. Please remember that there are no guarantees that you will get any particular location, but it certainly can’t do any harm to put in a request...

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More information on upcoming rehab room contents

Posted on Wednesday 27th October 2010 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

French Quarter room rehabs are starting around now, as we already knew, followed by Riverside. Once the process gains momentum, two buildings may be done at a time for speed. The rooms will be completely gutted and fully renovated (including replacing bath tubs, basins, etc). New small cupboards with drawers will be added to the bathrooms. Flat screen TVs will be added on dresser-style units, with drawers underneath, and the old Riverside tall armoires will be removed.

I’ve also heard that the bedside tables will be made smaller (18 inches wide) to allow for... queen beds! From what I’ve gathered, the third-bed option in the Alligator Bayou rooms will be retained, but probably not in the form of the current trundle beds due to adverse guest comments about them being rather low to the ground. The talk I heard was of some sort of Murphy bed arrangement which might pull down from the wall, but I can't see quite how that would fit into the room layout, especially with connecting rooms. Time will tell on that one, I suspect.

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Disney PhotoPass portrait sessions coming to Riverside?

Posted on Tuesday 26th October 2010 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

This morning, a small group of Disney PhotoPass photographers was spotted taking posed sample shots around the grounds of Port Orleans Riverside. It seems that the portrait sessions currently available at several of the deluxe resorts, such as the Grand Floridian and Polynesian, are proving so popular that Disney is looking into the possibility of expanding their offerings into other locations, such as perhaps one of the moderate hotels.

One of the photographers indicated that Riverside was giving them some of the most photogenic backdrops so far, but of course nothing has been decided as yet and it may be some time (if ever) before the project is taken any further. Sounds like a great idea though.

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LIVE video from Port Orleans Riverside (22 Oct-1 Nov)

Posted on Friday 22nd October 2010 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

LIVE VIDEO streaming direct from Port Orleans Riverside until 1 Nov 2010, see the Video page for details of when the feed is running, or visit EyesOnEars.com to join in the online fun.

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Manager at French Quarter confirms rehabs "imminent"

Posted on Monday 18th October 2010 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

A guest visiting the resort last week asked a manager at Port Orleans French Quarter about the rehabs and the possible new room themes. She was told that everything is still just conjecture at this point as far as the different themes go, but that if it did happen it would be only be a portion of the rooms, and that those rooms would be at Riverside rather than French Quarter.

The manager did however confirm that both resorts were definitely going to be refurbished and the work should take 18 months or so to complete. French Quarter would be started first (pretty much imminently) and would be completely finished by April 2011. She also mentioned that she had seen samples of the new carpet and it looked fabulous.

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Background information on Port Orleans refurbishment project

Posted on Friday 1st October 2010 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Back in March 2010, Disney filed work permit paperwork with the Orange County Comptroller’s offices for “guest room renovation” work to be undertaken at Port Orleans French Quarter by Friedrich Watkins Company of Orlando, FL — the same company which did the last series of Port Orleans room refurbs in 2004. This new work permit referred only to Building 7, and stated that the work must commence sometime before mid-March 2011.

More work permits were filed in June 2010 for room renovations to Port Orleans Riverside buildings 24 and 95 (Parterre Place) with commencement dates sometime before June 2011. Most recently, in July 2010, more permit paperwork was filed to cover all of the remaining sections of Port Orleans French Quarter (buildings 1 to 6), also with a requirement to commence work by March 2011.

There is still no official word from Disney about the refurbishments but the nearby DVC resort of Old Key West is in the process of having all of its rooms updated (based on permits issued at the start of April).

The last series of room refurbishments (2004/05) progressed at a rate of approximately 64 rooms per week and were carried out by the same company without requiring major closures or impacting on guest experience.

For other rehab news, check out Mouse Planet and wdwmagic.com.

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Magnolia Terrace building temporarily closed for maintenance

Posted on Wednesday 8th September 2010 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

A guest staying at Port Orleans Riverside this week has reported that they requested a room in the Magnolia Terrace mansion building but were told that the whole building is currently closed for refurbishment work. They checked later during their stay and noted that all of the rooms in that building did indeed appear to be unoccupied, however they did not see any actual work in progress. Hopefully this is for more than just the planned maintenance work on the elevators which has been scheduled. [Update: The building reopened a few weeks later, but without any noticeable room refurbishments having taken place.]

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Disney releases 2011 room rates

Posted on Monday 9th August 2010 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Disney released the room availability details for 2011 bookings this week, and there are a couple of surprises in among the usual annual price rises — which actually do not appear to be quite as steep as they have been in some previous years, mostly around $5 per night extra. This year there are a couple of new room categories available, “River View” and “Preferred Location” (the latter at Riverside only).

Port Orleans French Quarter now offers rooms in four categories: Standard, then King Bed or Water View (both charged at $25/night extra) and finally River View (for a further $5/night).

Port Orleans Riverside offers five options: Standard, then King Bed, Water View, or Preferred Room (charged at $25/night extra) and finally River View (for a further $5/night).

  • Standard: These rooms offer general views of the resort, landscaping, courtyards or gardens (including the bayou area at POR). This category could also include rooms facing towards a parking lot.
  • Water View: These rooms offer views of the river, a swimming pool or other water feature.
  • King Bed: These rooms do not specify a specific type of view and could be located within any section of the resort.
  • Preferred Room (Riverside only): These rooms offer close proximity to the restaurants, transportation and main building. Update: Preferred Rooms will be located in Alligator Bayou lodges 14, 15, 18 and 27. A few guests have been informed by cast members at the Disney Reservations Center that Magnolia Terrace and Oak Manor may also be included, but this has not been confirmed and currently does not seem very likely.
  • River View: These rooms offer direct views of the riverfront, but they do not guarantee any particular proximity to the main buildings. Note: at Riverside, any of the directly river-facing rooms tend to give good access to the facilities areas anyway.
Prices for 2011 start at $154 / $179 / $184 (plus tax) for the cheapest dates and go up to $200 / $225 / $230 for periods like Independence Day weekend, etc. For full details and prices please see the Room Rates page.

To make bookings, please visit www.disneyworld.com.

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New themed room designs may be coming to moderate resorts?

Posted on Sunday 8th August 2010 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

This one is most definitely in the “rumour” category, and may not even apply to Port Orleans at all (if anywhere!) but it’s interesting nonetheless. A number of guests who have stayed on-site at Disney resorts have recently been receiving survey emails asking whether they would be interested in staying at specially themed rooms in Moderate hotels. We know that the Caribbean Beach Resort already has some Pirate and Finding Nemo themed rooms, and Coronado Springs has been fairly recently updated and is targeted more towards the convention market anyway, which really only leaves Port Orleans as the potential target market — always assuming that Disney are not planning on building an entirely new Moderate hotel of course.

In each case during these online surveys guests were reminded that these would only be standard Moderate-sized rooms, and that there could be a premium of around $30 per night over the regular rooms at the same resort. The themes suggested were Royal (although not specifically “princess”) and Haunted Mansion, for which the descriptive texts were as follows:

In this special room, Tiana has hosted her royal friends from around the world. During your stay, you will discover that each friend has left Tiana a special thank you gift for her hospitality by adding touches of fun and sparkle to the interior decor. With magical fairy dust swirling above, you’ll recline in ornate canopy beds trimmed with velvet fabrics, carved detailing, and a bejeweld golden crest. Rich ceiling moldings, drapery, and custom linens further enhance the luxury of your special stay. Adorning the walls, signed portraits of each princess appear in jewel-set frames while princely swords and shields guard the entrance to the royal dressing room and bath.

It’s an enchanted stay as a special Guest of this “Royal Room.”

and...
Come spend the night with a few of the happy haunts who play in an enchanted bedroom inspired by the Haunted Mansion. Rest atop the floating Doom Buggy beds with a couple of friendly spooks and watch glow-in-the-dark, cartoon-like footsteps mysteriously appear as the evening sets in. A sliding bookcase creates a hidden passage to the bathroom and is the perfect hiding place for a hitch-hiking ghost. Oversized furnishings with curvy lines and bright colors add to the whimsy in the room.

Guests will delight in finding the hidden special effects that play up the merry, rather than scary, room ambiance.

There has been much online speculation that the Royal theme — which appears to be inspired by the New Orleans-located Princess and the Frog — would be a good fit for adding to the French Quarter, while perhaps one of Riverside’s Magnolia Bend buildings could become a Haunted mansion?

It’s all complete guesswork at the moment, but interesting anyway.

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Concept Art of a proposed Royal Themed room


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Concept Art of a proposed Royal Themed room


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Concept Art of a proposed Haunted Manion Themed room


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Concept Art of a proposed Haunted Manion Themed room

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Refurbishment plans UNOFFICIALLY confirmed by resort manager

Posted on Monday 2nd August 2010 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

There is still no official word from Disney as to any start date for room renovations at Port Orleans, and Cast Members at the resort are remaining predictably tight-lipped on the subject, however at the start of August it was unofficially confirmed to a guest by two managers that the rehab of French Quarter building 7 would start in October 2010.

The last series of room refurbishments (Port Orleans Riverside, 2004/05) progressed at a rate of approximately 64 rooms per week and were carried out by the same company (Friedrich Watkins Company of Orlando, FL) without requiring major closures or impacting on guest experience.

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More Work Permits filed, for French Quarter buildings 1-6

Posted on Tuesday 20th July 2010 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Disney has just filed more work permit paperwork with the Orange County Comptroller’s offices for further guest room renovations at the remaining sections of Port Orleans French Quarter, specifically buildings 1 to 6.

Again, there is no information from Disney as to any start dates, but the work permit is only valid until 25th March 2011. The nearby DVC resort of Old Key West is currently in the process of having all of its rooms updated (based on work permits issued at the start of April) so hopefully Port Orleans won’t be far behind. As always, check out Mouse Planet and wdwmagic.com for great rehab update information.

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Best Friends Petcare Center to be built opposite Riverside

Posted on Thursday 24th June 2010 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Pet lovers visiting Walt Disney World can now plan to board the family pet in fun, luxurious new accommodations [so says the Press Release]. The one-of-a-kind resort — located across the road from the main entrance to Port Orleans Riverside at 2510 Bonnet Creek Parkway — comprises more than 50,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space, including 17,000 square feet of air-conditioned indoor space, 10,000 square feet of covered outdoor runs and play areas, and an expansive private dog park exclusively for the use of pet resort clients and their dogs.

The facility will accommodate up to 270 dogs and 30 cats for both daytime and overnight boarding, plus a special facility for the boarding of “pocket pets” such as hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits and ferrets. A wide selection of suite choices for dogs includes air-conditioned indoor rooms, 48-square-foot indoor-outdoor suites, and four expansive [and presumably expensive!] VIP (very important pet) suites with television, raised bedding and private outdoor yards.

Pricing and other details are available at www.bestfriendspetcare.com or by calling 877-4-WDW-PETS. Reservations are being accepted for pet boarding stays beginning 27 August 2010.

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More Work Permits filed, for Riverside buildings 14 and 95

Posted on Monday 14th June 2010 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

More planning permits have been filed by Disney with the Orange County Comptroller’s offices for guest room renovations, this time at Port Orleans Riverside. The permits specifically refer to work on Alligator Bayou building 24 and to Parterre Place (building 95). No other details or dates for commencement of work have been given and the permits last for a year. If you want to view the submitted paperwork, click HERE or HERE.

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Work Permit filed for French Quarter building 7 guest rooms

Posted on Wednesday 24th March 2010 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

According to Mouse Planet and wdwmagic.com, Disney have recently filed work permit paperwork with the Orange County Comptroller’s offices for “guest room renovation” work to be undertaken at Port Orleans French Quarter by Friedrich Watkins Company of Orlando, FL.

The work permit refers specifically to Building 7 and states that the work must commence sometime before mid-March 2011. There is no information given as to whether this is to be a general refurbishment or just involves a few rooms, or what the work will entail, but the last major resort-wide refit of the guest rooms at French Quarter took place back in 2003/04.

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"Ye Haa" Bob Jackson guests on Main Street Mugs Live podcast

Posted on Tuesday 23rd February 2010 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

“Ye Haa” Bob Jackson, the popular musician who entertains the crowds four evenings a week at the River Roost Lounge at Port Orleans Riverside, is a guest on the Main Street Mugs Live podcast this week. The full show can be heard on their website or you can downloaded it as an MP3 file.

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LIVE video from Port Orleans Riverside (13 Feb-21 Feb)

Posted on Saturday 13th February 2010 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

As part of the Eyes on Ears project, a live webcam was streamed directly from a river view room in Oak Manor at Port Orleans Riverside from 13th February until 21st February 2010. See the video page for more details, or visit www.eyesonears.com to see current live webcams streamed from other Walt Disney World locations.

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Restaurant ADRs now available from 180 days again

Posted on Tuesday 27th October 2009 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

All Disney Advanced Dining Reservations (including for Boatwright’s Dining Hall at Port Orleans Riverside) can now be made up to 180 days in advance of your planned dining date, as opposed to the temporary 90 day system introduced at the end of last year. Disney Resort guests get an extra 10-day window from their arrival date, giving a maximum of 190 days from check-in day.

The switchover day, when 90 extra days of availability was created overnight rather than being phased in gradually, was fraught with somewhat predictable problems. The online booking system was completely swamped and crashed within a few seconds of the extra 90 days being released at 6am and it was down for the rest of the day (possibly in a deliberate attempt to keep the remaining telephone booking system operating?). The phone lines were instantly jammed at 7am with some guests experiencing waits of well over an hour (if you could even get into the queue; many people spent literally all day redialling and getting “lines are busy” messages). Some restaurants — such as Cinderella’s Royal Table — did not even show up on the system at all, and the agents’ computers were prone to crashing or simply locking out a whole batch of in-progress reservations all day.

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Feature pools water slide maintenance dates (Oct-Nov 2009)

Posted on Monday 19th October 2009 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Port Orleans Riverside’s Ol’ Man Island pool water-slide will be closed for maintenance from 19th October until 6th November. When it reopens, the dragon slide at the Doubloon Lagoon pool at French Quarter is then scheduled to be closed from 9th November until 20th November. Both pools will otherwise remain open during the work and guests may use the remaining slide at the other resort pool in the meantime.

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Orlando International Dragon Boat Festival at DTD, 17th Oct

Posted on Saturday 17th October 2009 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Due to the 2nd annual Orlando International Dragon Boat Festival taking place on the lake at Downtown Disney on Saturday 17th October, watercraft transportation will not be available between Downtown Disney and the Sassagoula River resorts (Port Orleans French Quarter, Port Orleans Riverside, Old Key West and Saratoga Springs). Additional buses will be provided during the day and normal watercraft transportation will resume after 5:30pm. Internal watercraft transportation between the resorts will not be affected.

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Val Bunting appointed as Port Orleans General Manager

Posted on Monday 13th July 2009 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Port Orleans is getting a new General Manager, a position which oversees both sections of the dual resort. Val Bunting, currently Vice President in charge of Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park, will take charge as soon as her Animal Kingdom successor is in place [now confirmed as Kevin Lansberry, who has been with Disney since 1986 and who was previously Vice President of Downtown Disney, Transportation, Sports and Golf operations].

Prior to taking the position of VP at Animal Kingdom in October 2007, Val Bunting was the General Manager of Park Operations at Magic Kingdom, and she has been employed at Walt Disney World since 1976. According to a Disney spokesperson, Val made the decision as a personal choice in order to move into the resort side of the business. For the news story, see this Orlando Sentinel article.

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Sassagoula River Ferry boat service operating hours changed

Posted on Sunday 14th June 2009 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The Sassagoula River ferry boat service which runs between Port Orleans Riverside, Port Orleans French Quarter and Downtown Disney now operates from 10am until 11pm daily. The additional local service which used to ferry guests between the two resorts from 9am until 11am is no longer operating, presumably because there is less demand now that Boatwright’s Dining Hall no longer serves breakfast. Thanks to Allison Duddles for the update leaflet, which also states that the two games arcades are now open 24 hours per day (was 7am—midnight).

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01-Jun-2009

Posted on Monday 1st June 2009 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The 25-minute horse drawn carriage rides which are available in the evenings from the Riverside marina area have recently been increased in price from $35 to $45. For more information on this service and how to book, please see the Recreation page.

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17-May-2009

Posted on Sunday 17th May 2009 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

With the reopening of the central Pleasure Island ferry dock at Downtown Disney on 17 May, the Disney Vacation Club Resort ferry service (for Old Key West and Saratoga Springs) will be relocated to that new dock. The Port Orleans (French Quarter and Riverside) ferry boats will continue to depart as they always have from the Marketplace dock, next to the Rainforest Cafe.

On 21 May, the new dock for the rebuilt Treehouse Villas will open for public use. When this happens, the DVC resort boats departing from Downtown Disney will run two separate routes — one service from Pleasure Island to Old Key West (with green flags and signs) and the other from Pleasure Island to Saratoga Springs and the Treehouse Villas (with blue flags and signs). The continuing Port Orleans service from the Marketplace dock will be marked with yellow flags and signs.

The internal Downtown Disney water taxi service will continue to ferry guests between the three Downtown Disney docks — Marketplace, Pleasure Island and West Side — and will be marked with red flags and signs. The various services will run every 10-30 minutes from 10:30am until 11:30pm daily. See the Ferry Boats page for further details.

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12-Apr-2009

Posted on Sunday 12th April 2009 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

This Easter Sunday (12 April) children can enjoy fun Candy Scrambles at several Walt Disney World resorts. Port Orleans Resort guests should meet at French Quarter Square at 9am to participate.

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05-Apr-2009

Posted on Sunday 5th April 2009 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The UK Walt Disney Travel Company has recently been informing guests that Port Orleans Riverside will soon be removing all of the trundle beds from its Alligator Bayou rooms, citing that as these beds are so small the company has been receiving too many complaints about them.

In an attempt to clarify the situation, on March 19th I called the resort directly and after a little persuasion managed to get an answer passed on from the Office Operations Manager at Riverside who said (and I quote) “there is no way that they are going to get rid of the trundle beds.”

As the rumour still seemed to be spreading, on April 5th I called the UK Walt Disney Travel Company and at first the agent repeated their original information — i.e. that Riverside can no longer accept bookings for more than four people. However, when I asked if she could check again on the source of that information, she eventually came back to me saying that it is not the actual resort that has the limitation, but that “our UK partners are not contracted to be able to book those rooms”. She said that five-person bookings can definitely still be made with the US booking office, just not via the UK booking line.

Hopefully that will put everyone’s mind at rest for the time being at least. If anyone working at the resort can provide any further information, please get in touch.

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18-Mar-2009

Posted on Wednesday 18th March 2009 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Port Orleans Riverside’s fabulous piano-playing entertainer “Ye Haa” Bob Jackson returned to his regular gig at the River Roost Lounge on Wednesday 18 March after a month of recuperating from back surgery.

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26-Feb-2009

Posted on Thursday 26th February 2009 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Walt Disney World’s online checkin facility is now available, allowing resort guests to pre-register for their stay via Disney’s website up to ten days in advance of their arrival date. This new system allows you to provide such information as full guest names, arrival & departure times, on-site (e.g. cell phone) contact details, a credit card number for room-charges and also any special room requests (although, as always, these cannot be guaranteed). A welcome folder, which will include your room key cards, will then be waiting at a new quick-pickup location in the resort lobby.

For more details, or to use the service, log in to the My Disney Vacation page at www.disneyworld.com or go directly to www.mydisneyreservation.com.

Walt Disney World Resort launched a new Online Check-In Service today, designed to simplify and streamline guest arrivals. The new service is complimentary and available to guests staying at select Walt Disney World Resort hotels and Disney Vacation Club resorts open as of February 2009.

Within 10 days of their arrival dates, guests are able to provide check-in information, advise the resort of their arrival times and request room preferences (although those cannot be guaranteed). Guests can also register the names of all the people in their party and provide a credit card to cover charges at the resort hotel.

Upon arrival at their resorts, guests visit a special welcome location where their room keys and other registration material are waiting. Disney cast members are also available to provide additional information and answer questions.

Meeting professionals can also arrange private group check-in at a Disney resort convention center or other locations.

“Our new Online Check-In Service offers added convenience and time savings for Walt Disney World Resort hotel guests,” said Kevin Myers, vice president of Resort Operations for Walt Disney World Resort. “It’s the latest benefit created as part of our continuous effort to provide a seamless and hassle-free arrival experience for our guests as they begin their Disney vacation.”

www.mydisneyreservation.com/guest

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Boatwright's Dining Hall no longer serves breakfast

Posted on Sunday 22nd February 2009 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Boatwright’s Dining Hall no longer serves Breakfast as of this morning, only Dinner. This means that the only on-site breakfast options for guests staying at either Riverside or French Quarter will be the counter service locations — and no more Sweet Potato Cakes or Banana-stuffed French toast! It is unclear at present whether this is merely a short term cost-cutting measure due to the current economic downturn or if this curtailment will continue through into the peak summer months. Disney’s official word on the subject is as follows:

As a part of our normal course of business, we regularly evaluate our offerings and make appropriate adjustments as needed. Boatwright’s Dining Hall at Disney’s Port Orleans - Riverside will no longer be open for breakfast effective Sunday, February 22, 2009. Dinner will continue to be offered daily.

Guests looking for dining options at Port Orleans - Riverside throughout the day are invited to visit the Riverside Mill for a wide variety of meals or the River Roost for lounge-style dining. If looking for a more formal dining experience, please visit one of our many other Resort restaurants for breakfast or lunch including Olivia’s at Disney’s Old Key West Resort, Captain’s Grille at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort or The Wave at Disney’s Contemporary Resort.

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21-Feb-2009

Posted on Saturday 21st February 2009 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The Ol’ Man Island feature swimming pool and hot tub reopened today after a three week rehab which started on 2nd February. Following this, one or more of the Alligator Bayou quiet pools may be closed from 23rd February to 6th March.

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16-Feb-2009

Posted on Monday 16th February 2009 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Port Orleans Riverside’s fabulous piano-playing entertainer “Ye Haa” Bob Jackson is currently convalescing following back surgery on 16 February. He hopes to be able to return to work at the River Roost Lounge on 18 March. We wish you a speedy recovery Bob — everyone is missing you. Why not leave Bob a message on his Facebook page?

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15-Feb-2009

Posted on Sunday 15th February 2009 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The Eyes on Ears group streamed LIVE video from Alligator Bayou Lodge 39 at Port Orleans Riverside from 15 February 2009 until 21 February 2009. The webcaster (Mike©) also recorded some walkabout sequences around both Port Orleans Riverside and French Quarter which should be available for downloading soon. For more information, please visit www.eyesonears.com.

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05-Feb-2009

Posted on Thursday 5th February 2009 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Disney’s Port Orleans Resort kicked off Mardi Gras in style with a fun parade and float-decorating contest, consisting of Cast Member-decorated golf carts touring the resort.

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03-Feb-2009

Posted on Tuesday 3rd February 2009 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Disney recently announced that an online checkin facility will soon be available. The start date has now been revised from early January 2009 to “late February”, and DVC members have just been emailed with a date of 24th February. When it does finally go live, guests will be able to pre-register at Disney’s website up to ten days in advance of their actual arrival date. The system will allow you to provide such information as full guest names, arrival & departure times, on-site (e.g. cell phone) contact details, a credit card number for room-charges and also any special room requests (although, as always, these cannot be guaranteed). A welcome folder, which will include your room key cards, will then be waiting at a new quick-pickup location in the resort lobby. [This service is now live as of 26-Feb-09, see www.mydisneyreservation.com]

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30-Jan-2009

Posted on Friday 30th January 2009 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Guests visiting Port Orleans Riverside mentioned that some sections of the resort — for example, some of the Magnolia Bend mansion buildings — were not being currently occupied due to generally low attendance figures. Resort staff remained tight-lipped on the subject and no further confirmation was received. Subsequent visitors seem to think that the resort quickly returned to normal operation.

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21-Jan-2009

Posted on Wednesday 21st January 2009 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Guests trying to make breakfast reservations for Boatwright’s Dining Hall at Port Orleans Riverside have been informed that as from Sunday 22nd February 2009 the restaurant will no longer be serving breakfast. Dinner reservations are apparently unaffected.

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17-Jan-2009

Posted on Saturday 17th January 2009 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Disney wrote to guests saying that the main Ol’ Man Island feature pool at Port Orleans Riverside would be closed for rehab from 2nd February 2009. No reopening date was given in the letters, just a general indication of “late February” [the pool actually reopened on 21st February]. The main wooden water-slide supports were replaced, alongside general maintenance work. The pool and hot tub were closed and fenced off for the duration of the work but the rest of the facilities on the island were unaffected. In the meantime, guests were offered use the five remaining quiet pools at Riverside or the Doubloon Lagoon feature pool at Port Orleans French Quarter, for which a water taxi service was available. Although Disney has not announced anything officially, it is also likely that one or more of the Alligator Bayou quiet pools will be closed from around 23rd February to 6th March once work on the main pool has been completed.

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Dining Reservations temporarily change to 90-day window

Posted on Tuesday 23rd December 2008 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

All Disney Advanced Dining Reservations (including for Boatwright’s Dining Hall at Port Orleans Riverside) can now only be made up to 90 days in advance of your planned dining date, as opposed to the old 180 day system. Disney Resort guests will still get an extra 10-day window from their arrival date, giving a maximum of 100 days from check-in day.

At that point, Cinderella’s Royal Table, Chef Mickey’s and Victoria & Albert’s could all still be booked for dining dates up to 19th June 2009, however as from 21st March 2009 the 90-day window caught up for these restaurants too.

This change was eventually reverted back to the full 180 day window on 27th October 2009.

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19-Dec-2008 - RUMOUR

Posted on Friday 19th December 2008 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

RUMOUR: There are currently a number of independent rumours circulating on the internet, some apparently based on off-the-record comments from cast members, that Disney may be planning to temporarily close one Value and one Moderate resort due to the current economic downturn. At present these rumours are completely unsubstantiated, but it would not be without precedent as Disney previously closed Port Orleans French Quarter (for “maintenance”) for a twelve month period during the sharp decline in attendance after 9/11. Currently room bookings are available for the next twelve months at all of the on-site resorts, but if Disney did take this course of action they could easily switch people to other locations as they did in 2003. No other information is available at present, and nothing has been announced officially — watch this space for updates.

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11-Dec-2008

Posted on Thursday 11th December 2008 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

As part of the 2008 Mousefest event, the Disney Podcast Network held a Bob Jackson Meet at Port Orleans Riverside’s River Roost Lounge at 8pm. It wasn’t a formal event, anyone was welcome to turn up and meet fellow Disney fans for a friendly nightcap. A few pictures from the meet are here on flickr.

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27-May-2008

Posted on Tuesday 27th May 2008 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

(from MousePlanet’s WDW News Updates page)
Interesting items from paperwork filed with Orange County during the last week:
Port Orleans French Quarter and Riverside: Replace existing concrete sidewalks with new concrete.
Port Orleans Riverside Food Court Beverage Island: Modify existing soda dispenser support counter and install new drain pan/trough.

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Spring 2008

Posted on Monday 31st March 2008 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Minor room refurbishments were carried out throughout the Port Orleans French Quarter resort. Changes included swapping the old air conditioning units for newer more efficient GE Zoneline models (although still featuring rotary controls). Also the light bulbs have been replaced with energy efficient types. These changes were most likely required as part of Disney’s intention to make all of its resort hotels comply with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Green Lodging Program. Presumably the same series of updates will be undertaken at Riverside soon?

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28-Jan-2008

Posted on Monday 28th January 2008 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The Doubloon Lagoon pool at Port Orleans French Quarter was closed for rehab 28-Jan-2008-15-Mar-2008. It actually reopened slightly early to guests on Saturday 8th March.

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