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French Quarter Food Court Refurbishment starts 11 July

Posted Tuesday 14th June 2016, 5:00pm (EDT) 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!

(The original Bonfamille's restaurant, as used during Christmas 2015 with the revised name of Scat Cat's Cafe)

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 Sunday 5th June 2016, 8:57am (EDT) 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




(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 Monday 30th May 2016, 5:38pm (EDT) 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 Tuesday 17th May 2016, 4:00am (EDT) 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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