Port Orleans Riverside Reopening Summary - 14 October 2021

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The Sassagoula Sentinel
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Port Orleans Riverside Reopening Summary - 14 October 2021

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Summary: Port Orleans Riverside Reopened on Thursday 14th October 2021. Here's what we know so far...

It’s now been a few days since Port Orleans Riverside reopened its doors to guests after a 572 day closure. Here's a summary of what happened, and what we know so far.

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Port Orleans Riverside reopened at 6am on Thursday 14th October, when room confirmation text messages went out to guests who had already registered via online checkin. The first guest to walk down the ceremonial red carpet and check in at the front desk was vlogger GooToYou (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4-s59-gjLI) who received a Welcome Basket from the cast members. He was followed by friend of our site Stefanie D’Oria, and the next but one was regular Port Orleans stalwart John Schmidt.

By 9am around 70 rooms had checked in, and by the end of the day around 420 rooms were occupied (planned for approx 21% of total potential occupancy). Building 80, and of all of the ‘30’s Alligator Bayou buildings, have not yet been reoccupied. There will be a gradual ramping up of occupancy to around 90% over the coming days.

The Riverside Mill food court was open from 7am with both in-person selections and mobile pre-ordering via the My Disney Experience app available. The Muddy Rivers pool bar opened at 11am, and the River Roost Lounge started serving at 5pm. Fulton’s General Store opened at 8am, but with several empty wallbays awaiting the arrival of new stock. Boatwright’s Dining Hall is not expected to reopen until Christmas or early next year.

The Sassagoula River Ferries were running from 10am on opening day, connecting Port Orleans guests with the Marketplace Dock in Disney Springs (the only dock currently open). The service to French Quarter will recommence on 28th October with the opening of the resort.

“Ye Haa” Bob Jackson performed his first show back at the River Roost Lounge in 19 months to a huge and rapturous crowd. The first tables were taken by around 9am, and by 2:30pm most of the Lounge was full. By showtime, there wasn’t a seat to be had and people were standing around the edges of the Lounge and in the corridors. Multiple vloggers and streamers were present, and you can watch a full replay of the show at https://youtu.be/jd_WkrJgSCE?t=9346. Bob will be performing his regular nights at the River Roost, Wednesday-Saturday at 8:30pm.

Most Recreation activities were operating from day one, including poolside games, craft activities, hair braiding, the Fishin' Hole, Cycle and Surrey Bike Rentals, the Campfire on de’ Bayou, and Movies Under the Stars. One notable exception was the horse-drawn carriage rides, which are not expected to return until perhaps February next year.

The Royal Room refurbishment programme, which was due to have started back in April 2020, did not continue during lockdown and it is still on hold. They have taken the opportunity to do refresh work all the buildings, paintwork, etc. There has also been some fairly major landscaping work undertaken, mostly in the Alligator Bayou area where a lot of older/denser trees have been removed and replaced with new vegetation or saplings.

There were a few minor teething difficulties with some of the EPOS till systems and supplies to Muddy Rivers pool bar, but overall things went very smoothly for what amounted to a completely fresh resort opening.
Cast Member energy was described as “off the chart” on opening day, and it was contagious. So many returning CMs seem genuinely excited by their return to the Port.

Congratulations to all the Management and Cast Members who made this all happen, and WELCOME BACK!
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