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More Pool Area Construction Updates from 14 February

Posted on Monday 15th February 2016 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

On Riverside's Ol' Man Island, new lighting poles have been added (still to be painted) and metal support posts for the access gates have been installed across the pathways. It is still unclear whether the rest of the perimeter barrier will be tastefully ‘in tune’ with the wooden post, slat and rope designs around the rest of Everett Peace’s reclusive little island, or whether Disney will take the easier option and just use metal railings (which incidentally do work very well with the wrought ironwork theming over at French Quarter):

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Skimming of the inside of the Ol' Man Island pool now seems mostly complete and they have started tiling the upper edges. The new tiles appear to be a generic mottled brown/beige rather than the whimsical bayou foliage and wildlife design that was there previously:

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Meanwhile, over at French Quarter's Doubloon Lagoon, more concrete has been laid at the new children's water play area, and some of the heavier equipment has been removed now. It also looks like they have fitted the gratings over the edge drainage channel. Landscaping and laying of the soft rubberised flooring has not yet been started:

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More updates on the Port Orleans Management Restructuring

Posted on Sunday 14th February 2016 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The recent changes in the management structure at Port Orleans are becoming a little clearer (well, to me at least!) so I thought a minor update was in order. The main aim seems to have been to reduce the amount of management layers between the General Manager level and the hourly-rate cast members to just two steps. Port Orleans was pretty much there anyway, so these tweaks have been relatively minor.

Several new "Proprietor" roles have been created, which are an amalgamated department manager role covering more than one traditional line of business, Where this has caused some positions to disappear (such as in Food & Beverage, Recreation and Merchandising) those staff have been redeployed as Duty Managers at different resorts and there have been no enforced job losses - although at least one retiree who oversaw Food & Beverage across multiple Sassagoula area resorts has not been replaced. A few hourly positions have been lost or reorganised too - such as the roving iPad-wielding additional checkin staff - but those CMs have been rotated into other roles within the same departments.

So the new management structure looks like this:

Port Orleans Riverside
General Manager: Suzette Noble
Proprietor, Rooms and Recreation: Lon Rydberg (also overseeing new Guest Experience Managers supervising the front desks)
Proprietor, Food & Beverage and Merchandise: James Campbell
Proprietor, Housekeeping and Custodial: Mintaka Senanayake (a previous Guest Service manager from French Quarter, before she transferred to Caribbean Beach three years ago)

Port Orleans French Quarter
General Manager: To be announced
Proprietor, Rooms and Recreation: Stefanie Shomper (also overseeing new Guest Experience Managers supervising the front desks)
Proprietor, Food & Beverage and Merchandise: Matthew Vache
Proprietor, Housekeeping and Custodial: Drew Weaver

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Ol' Man Island Bridge Closure and other Construction Updates

Posted on Thursday 11th February 2016 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The main access bridge leading from the Riverside Marina and food court over to Ol' Man Island is currently closed for three weeks to allow worn-out wooden decking to be replaced, and for some structural work on a support beam to be completed. This work has been timed to coincide with the refurbishment of the feature swimming pool and the reduced occupancy levels in the Magnolia Terrace mansion building to attempt to reduce the amount of guests inconvenienced by the closure.

The bridge should be re-opened by Saturday 27 February but in the meantime guests will need to use the riverbank pathways and alternative bridges in order to cross to the other side of the resort or to access the children's playground and the fishing hole.

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Work is continuing on the Ol' Man Island pool refurbishment, and more vegetation has been cut back beyond the seating areas in readiness for the installation of new perimeter fencing. Work is currently still on schedule for completion by 4 March.


Progress is finally being made on the children's water play area at French Quarter, and it looks like they have now finished the underground piping work and laid most of the remaining concrete pathway. Although there still appears to be a lot of work left to do, the target completion date currently remains at 29 February.

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Additionally, construction staff are working around the perimeter edges of the main pool area, adding additional wrought-iron safety fencing between the pool deck and the Mardi Grogs seating area, and also installing lockable gates at the main entry/exit locations. I believe this is most likely part of a general Disney response to two recent tragic incidents involving children who accessed hotel pools unaccompanied or outside of lifeguard hours (see Orlando Sentinel articles in March 2013 and July 2015).

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For more photos, see the Refurbishment Information Page.

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Port Orleans Mardi Gras events mostly cancelled, 9 Feb 2016

Posted on Sunday 31st January 2016 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Update on 2 Feb: I've just been informed that the afternoon Mardi Gras activities planned for Port Orleans French Quarter on Tuesday 9 February, including the character greetings, have been CANCELLED for this year. The cut-down version of the cast member pargo parade will still take place at 10am though. The Recreation Activity Schedules that had already been printed for this month have been withdrawn, so I've removed them from the site too. I'll provide further updates as soon as I know more.

With all the departmental shake-ups going on at Port Orleans at the moment I'm still awaiting the full Recreation Schedule files for February (although quick photos are on the site). However I can confirm that the annual Mardi Gras 'pargo parade' put on by cast members will be going ahead on Tuesday 9th February at 10am, albeit on a somewhat smaller scale than in previous years.

This year’s theme will be "Candyland", but only six instead of the usual ten pargos will be used. The different lines of business (Custodial / Engineering / Food & Beverage / Front Desk / Housekeeping / Merchandise / Operations Learning & Development / Recreation / Watercraft Transportation / etc) will be combining to create the floats, and I'm not sure whether there will still be a departmental competitive element or not.

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