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Ol' Man Island reopens after a two-month refurbishment

Posted Saturday 5th March 2016, 5:00pm (EST) 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 Friday 4th March 2016, 5:00pm (EST) 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 Thursday 3rd March 2016, 5:00pm (EST) 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 Tuesday 1st March 2016, 11:33am (EST) 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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