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Walt Disney World Management Structure Reorganisation

Posted Sunday 24th January 2016, 6:20am (EST) by The Sassagoula Sentinel

According to the Orlando Sentinel, Walt Disney World is embarking on (yet another) reorganisation of its management infrastructure. The changes broadly relate to the organisation of management reporting structures, with departments now organised more by physical location rather than thematically. Reporter Sandra Pedicini writes:

"The reorganization will give general managers and executives authority over geographic locations – say, the Magic Kingdom's Frontierland – rather than traditional categories such as merchandise or food and beverage. The philosophy is to take a more holistic approach to management, focusing on the overall guest experience, Disney said."

Of particular interest to Port Orleans aficionados will be the element of the plan to assign each hotel its own individual General Manager, rather than the previous practice of one person overseeing several resorts. This may result in Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter becoming somewhat more autonomous than they have been in the past.

As I understand it at present, the current Port Orleans General Manager, Suzette Noble, will retain overall control of the Riverside resort, while a new General Manager (still to be announced) will be brought in to oversee French Quarter. There will also be some shake-ups in the way the various lines of business are managed, such as Recreation now coming under the overall local control of each resort's Guest Services manager (previously Recreation was a combined team) and the Food & Beverage managers at each resort will now incorporate Merchandise into their remit. Both resorts will also gain their own Executive Housekeepers, rather than having one large team covering both resorts. Whether or not this will alter the current policy of cast member roles sometimes being shared between the two resorts is still unclear, but Disney have announced that there will be no lay-offs as a result of these changes.

It seems unlikely that there will be any significant impact on the overall guest experience, at least in the short term, but perhaps giving French Quarter its own autonomy may result in more facilities being provided directly for guests staying there, rather than everything being shared with Riverside? And it surely can't escape the notice of an incoming General Manager that French Quarter is the only Disney Moderate Resort that doesn't currently operate its own table service restaurant in addition to a food court.

More changes will no doubt become apparent over the coming weeks, but to me this all vaguely smacks of someone in an executive position at Walt Disney World with too much time on their hands looking to "make their mark". Let's wait and see what happens, it could be an interesting year...

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January 2016 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules

Posted Thursday 31st December 2015, 5:19am (EST) by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The January 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.

From 11 January onward, the feature pool on Ol’ Man Island at Riverside will be CLOSED for refurbishment work and is not due to reopen again until approx 4 March. The closure includes the children’s splash pool, the hot tub, and the Muddy Rivers pool bar - however the fishing hole and children’s playground will remain open. Riverside’s Recreational Activities will move over the main building area during the closure.

The access bridges leading to the island will remain open for most of this period, however you may find some individual bridge closures at times. The five quiet pools at Riverside, along with the main pool at French Quarter, will continue to operate normally.

The main feature swimming pool hours will reduce to 10am—9pm from 3 January.

The evening campfires will commence at 5pm this month and the Movies Under the Stars will be screened at 7pm daily at both resorts. Until 10 January the campfire events will take place on alternate days at the two resorts — Monday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday at Riverside, and Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday at French Quarter. From 11 January onward, the campfires will take place daily, but at French Quarter ONLY.

Continuing this month: The Disney Junior Pool Party (4pm daily) 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! [at French Quarter ONLY from 11 January]




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Off Kilter's Jason Thomas & Billy Varnes live at Scat Cat's

Posted Thursday 24th December 2015, 6:00am (EST) by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Two members of Off Kilter, the popular celtic/rock fusion band which performed at Epcot's Canada pavilion prior to the now-defunct lumberjack show, are currently appearing live several evenings a week at Scat Cat's Club at Port Orleans French Quarter. Jason Thomas and Billy Varnes will be playing three blues/bluegrass oriented sets each evening, 8pm-11pm. Bring your requests - and they might even throw in an Off Kilter tune or two!

Planned dates until the end of January 2016 are:
Sunday, Dec 27
Monday, Dec 28
Saturday, Jan 2
Sunday, Jan 3
Monday, Jan 4
Tuesday, Jan 5
Sunday, Jan 10
Sunday, Jan 17 (after the Highland Games!)
Monday, Jan 18
Sunday, Jan 24
Monday, Jan 25
Sunday, Jan 31


See https://www.facebook.com/events/462361727302964/

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Bonfamille's Café temporarily reopens for Christmas 2015

Posted Monday 21st December 2015, 11:41am (EST) by The Sassagoula Sentinel

My spies at Port Orleans are not on the ball this week, so this news just in from AllEars.net:

For a limited time over the Christmas period, the former Bonfamille's Café table-service restaurant adjacent to Scat Cat's Club at Port Orleans French Quarter will be turned into Scat Cat's Café. This temporary location will serve dinner nightly from December 21 - 30 between 5pm and 10pm.

The All-You-Can-Eat Cajun inspired meals, served family style, cost $25.99 for adults and $14.99 for children under 10, and reservations can be made at the podium just off the main lobby from noon to 10pm.

Appetiser: House Salad with sweet roasted garlic vinaigrette; house made corn bread
Entrée: Grilled Andouille Sausage, Cajun-roasted Chicken, Slow-cooked Pot Roast, Vegetable Jambalaya with Maque Choux, Mashed Potatoes, Collard Greens and Mac and Cheese
Dessert: Deep South Bread Pudding with Banana-Caramel Sauce and Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image

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Updates to the Disney Bus routes at Port Orleans

Posted Wednesday 9th December 2015, 5:00pm (EST) by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Disney has recently made a few tweaks and adjustments to the free bus system which transports guests from the Port Orleans resorts to the theme parks. The route changes actually make a lot of sense, and should make the service generally more consistent and predicable for guests when visiting the different parks - and hopefully reduce some of the confusion that has been reported over the years.

The bus information page at portorleans.org/buses.php is now fully up-to-date with the new details, but the main points to take away are:

  • Buses now start running at 7am (whereas the first buses used to be around 6:45am).
  • The first few buses of the day all run as shared services from French Quarter and Riverside (apart from the Animal Kingdom buses for some reason).
  • For the rest of the day, more of the routes now operate as independent services rather than having so many shared French Quarter/Riverside routes. Both the Magic Kingdom and Disney's Hollywood Studios now appear to have their own separate services running to and from Riverside and French Quarter all day for example.
  • Whenever bus routes do happen to be shared, the first call is now always French Quarter rather than one of the Riverside stops (which used to vary park-by-park).
  • The Riverside pickup order for all of the theme parks now consistently has the West Depot as the first call, then North, East and South.
  • The Disney Springs buses continue to also act as an Internal Resort Shuttle service, with stops at French Quarter, Riverside South/West/North/East and then back to French Quarter again before heading onward to Disney Springs.
So what do people think of these changes, and if you've experienced any of the new routes over the last few days did you feel that the service has improved? Let us know via the comments or on our Facebook page.


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