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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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