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Disney submits proposals for gradual re-opening of Walt Disney World

Posted Thursday 28th May 2020, 9:06am (EDT) by The Sassagoula Sentinel

On 27 May 2020, Disney submitted its proposals to the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force for a gradual re-opening of the Walt Disney World theme parks. The intention is to reopen the Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom on 11 July, and Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios on 15 July.

There will be a lot of initial restrictions though, such as requirement for pre-booked entry slots for guests with existing bookings and for annual passholders, and a temporary block on any new bookings or ticket sales. The My Disney Experience app/website is not accepting any new reservations for FastPasses, ADRs, or imminent hotel bookings. There will also be many social distancing policies introduced, including no close-crowd generating activities such as fireworks, parades and character greetings. Face coverings will be required for cast members and all guests over 3 years old.

There is less detail on the hotels, but it looks as though they will be reopening in phases. starting with Fort Wilderness on 22 June.

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For more information, see the Disney Parks Blog update.

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Coronavirus pandemic pauses any remaining room refurbishment work until 2021

Posted Monday 20th April 2020, 6:17am (EDT) by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Due to the current Coronavirus pandemic, there are currently no plans to resume any of the remaining room refurbishments during 2020. Disney is expecting that once the resorts do finally reopen there will be unprecedented demand as people try to re-book cancelled vacations, and they are intending to focus on making every possible room available to support guests making up for lost time.

Currently, all of the rooms at Port Orleans French Quarter have been recently refurbished, and the Alligator Bayou and regular Magnolia Bend mansion buildings were also completed in 2019. This just leaves Riverside's Royal Rooms - located in buildings 90 and 95 - which will retain their original decor for the time being until construction work re-commences sometime in 2021. We'll post further updates as information emerges.

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Port Orleans musicians to entertain virtual Guests online

Posted Sunday 22nd March 2020, 11:43am (EDT) by The Sassagoula Sentinel

During this unprecedented period of closure at Walt Disney World and the Resort Hotels, some of your favourite resort musicians have let us know that they plan to stream online video gigs for their fans direct from their homes. We may all be having to isolate ourselves from unnecessary physical contact, but that needn't mean missing out on the fun!

[Update] Several of these artists have also set up virtual 'Tip Jars' via PayPal, allowing viewers to contribute in much the same way as you might in person at their live gigs. If you enjoy their shows, please consider supporting the time and effort that they are putting in to help keep us all entertained during this difficult time for everybody.

"Ye Haa" Bob Jackson (popular nighttime piano entertainer at the River Roost Lounge for the past 23 years) will be streaming his first live gig from home tonight, Sunday 22nd March starting at 6pm EST. [Update: and the following Sundays at 6pm too]

Jason and Billy (members of the popular band Off Kilter, and Scat Cat's Club entertainers from 2016 until the recent 2019 location refurb) will be live-streaming a show via the internet on Friday 27 March from 7:30pm - 9:30pm EST. Please join in and support them, see you 'there'. [Update: Further shows on Sunday afternoons, 3pm - 5pm EST]

Greg Hayworth (ex Mulch, Sweat and Shears, and also a regular guest at Scat Cat's Club over the past few years) and his wife played an online request session from beside their swimming pool last night, and they plan more 'Sunset Sessions' each Wednesday at 7pm.


For more information, and to watch the live shows, please follow their Facebook Pages and join in with the live chats to request your favourite songs:

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CoronaVirus 2020

Posted Friday 20th March 2020, 5:00pm (EDT) by The Sassagoula Sentinel

I'm sure that everyone who reads our Facebook page, or indeed any Facebook page, is already aware that as a precaution to help limit the spread of Coronavirus, all Walt Disney World theme parks were CLOSED as from Monday 16th March. Additionally, all Disney World Resort Hotels closed by 5pm on Friday 20th March, allowing current guests enough time to make arrangements to get home. Disney-owned retail locations (such as those at Disney Springs) closed from 17 March. All transportation options apart from bus services between the Resorts & Disney Springs and the Resorts Monorail loop were also shut down when the parks closed, and now all transportation is shut down.

Disney is stating that these full closures will remain in place until the end of the month, but in my opinion guests should expect this situation to last for significantly longer than that, possibly several months. Please keep an eye on our Facebook page and the Walt Disney World website for ongoing updates.

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March 2020 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules

Posted Sunday 1st March 2020, 4:00am (EST) by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The March 2020 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 larger versions.

The main feature swimming pool operating hours are 10am—8pm until sometime in March. Outside of these times, the main feature pools and hot tubs are gated and locked as there are no lifeguards on duty. The five leisure (quiet) pools at Riverside are officially open 9am—10pm, but they are not locked and are generally available at any time within reason.

Movies Under the Stars will be screened at 7:30pm four nights a week at Riverside’s Magnolia South pool deck, between buildings 90 & 95 (Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays), and five nights a week at French Quarter on the Green between buildings 5 & 6 (Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays). There are no movie screenings on Tuesdays this month.

Evening Campfire Activities will take place from 5:30pm-6:30pm every night at Riverside, and on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at French Quarter. You can roast marshmallows for free, or you can optionally purchase full s’mores kits, all in the warm glow of a night-time campfire.

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

  • “Beignet Dash” Fun Run ($) (French Quarter, 8am Sundays) — Craving beignets? Join us on Sunday Runday for a quick 1½ mile dash around the Resort. Complete your race with a tasty beignet! Check-in begins at 7:30am on the Riverwalk between Building 5 and Doubloon Lagoon Pool and the run begins at 8am. Be sure to share your photos with the hashtag #FQBeignetDash. Cost is $15+tax, including three beignets and a souvenir “medal”. To reserve your spot, please call 407-WDW-PLAY or visit the Concierge Desk.
  • Painting on de’ Bayou ($) (French Quarter, 2pm—4pm Wednesdays. Note the change of time and venue) — Learn to paint at Port Orleans French Quarter! Join us in Sassagoula Floatworks & Food Factory from 2pm to 4pm on Wednesdays for an instructor-led painting class to design your own take-home masterpiece. Our instructor will help you walk away with a painting you’re proud of, whether you’re a beginner, an expert or somewhere in between! Please call 407-WDW-PLAY or visit the Concierge Desk to reserve your spot. Registration is limited to 16 Guests per week and costs $35 per person, plus tax. For ages 12 and up. Share your masterpiece with the hashtag #PaintingOnDeBayou.
  • Mardi Gras Festival (Riverside, 7pm—9pm, Saturdays) — Wander over to the Riverside Levee Marina every Saturday from 7pm to 9pm to celebrate the Mardi Gras season with games, crafts and more.
  • Doubloon Lagoon Glow Party (French Quarter, 7:30pm Tuesdays) — Dance on down to the pool for an exciting evening of party games and dancing that will light up the night!
  • Back Porch Games (Riverside, 12pm Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays) — Bring the family down to the Back Porch of the Riverside Lobby for some fun in the sun. These giant games will be a blast for everyone!
  • Arts & Crafts ($) 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 (cost is $18+tax, including the T-shirt).
  • SassagoulaSelfie Scavenger Hunt (Riverside, 9am—5pm daily) — 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 from 9am—5pm. Be sure to share your selfies with the hashtags #SassagoulaSelfie and #PortOrleans.
  • Mardi Gras “Mask”-erade (French Quarter, daily) — French Quarter is ready for a Mardi Gras “Mask”-erade. All throughout the resort you’ll find masks themed to your favorite Disney movies, 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 Mardi Gras surprise!

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 Jackson will be on vacation seeing the Northern Lights in Alaska from Saturday 21st March until 28th March. He will be back for his regular nights at the Port from Wednesday 1st April.

Don’t miss an opportunity to see the new live jazz entertainment at Scat Cat’s Club Lounge in the newly renovated space next to the main Lobby (the old Bonfamille's restaurant). The Lounge opens at 4pm, with live jazz music starting at 7:30pm on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays (days subject to change). Currently “Big Ezee Swag” are the featured jazz quartet. You can also pick up your favourite tasty treat, Beignets, and speciality coffee in the new Scat Cat’s Club Cafe, open all day from 6am.

These new offerings replace the popular evening musical duo Jason Thomas and Billy Varnes, whose four-year tenure at Scat Cat’s Club unfortunately came to an end on Sunday 29 September 2019. Good luck with your next gig guys, wherever that may be, you will be sadly missed at the Port.

Note: For the past ten years, cast members from the resort’s recreation team have been kind enough to send me a quick email at the end of each month with the new recreation schedules, so I can provide this information in a timely manner for upcoming guests on the 1st of the month. Unfortunately, at the end of January 2020 I received an email saying that have been given “direction from the company” that they are no longer allowed to send out this information — even though the same sheets are given out in Welcome Packs to every arriving guest, and they even can be picked up on request at the front desk. They have said I’m more than welcome to still upload those, but sadly as I’m based in the UK, that isn’t really an option...

Luckily the internet being what it is, I can still point you to the very helpful OrlandoParkNews.com website, where they do still host every WDW Resort’s Recreation Schedule from the start of each new month, so please give them a visit and support their site. This is what they have on their page for Port Orleans for March:


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