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Minnie Vans coming to Port Orleans Resorts from 19 Feb

Posted on Friday 16th February 2018 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

There have been recent rumours, but multiple sites across the internet have just confirmed that Walt Disney World's "Minnie Van" service will be available from Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter starting from Monday 19 February. This service offers guests flat-rate transportation, using Disney vehicles and drivers, to and from anywhere within Walt Disney World. The cost is $25 plus tip for a maximum of six guests (including up to two children needing car seats) and the service is currently available from 6:30 am to 12:30 am.

Operated in conjunction with the Lyft ridesharing app, guests who wish to take advantage of this service need to first install the app on their phone and then have it validated at the hotel front desk or via the My Disney Experience app. Then they can request a Minnie Van pickup from anywhere on property and they will be notified of the expected arrival time and the vehicle number (as otherwise they all look the same - Minnie Mouse polka dots). Wheelchair accessible vans are available upon request. The Port Orleans pickup and dropoff point will be at the front of the hotel by the Porte Cochere. Note: some Disney deluxe resorts have been trialling using this system for airport transfers too (at a cost of $150) but that will not initially be available to Port Orleans guests.

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New General Manager, John Berko, appointed at Port Orleans

Posted on Thursday 15th February 2018 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

We first mentioned this on our Facebook page back at the end of November when rumours started emerging, but for those who don't follow us on Facebook, or who haven't read the related Orlando Sentinel article, the Port Orleans resorts recently underwent a major management shake-up during Walt Disney World's latest round of cost-cutting measures.

Around 21st November 2017, Port Orleans Riverside's General Manager since August 2015, Suzette Noble, was unexpectedly notified that she would be let go after some 20 years of working in various management capacities at Walt Disney World. The General Manager of Port Orleans French Quarter, Punam Dayabhai-Jairambhai, briefly filled in to oversee both resorts before she too was transitioned away to become General Manager at Disney's All Star Movies.

Within a couple of weeks the existing General Manager of All Star Movies, John Berko, had been moved over to Port Orleans to take up a combined role overseeing both sides of the resort, Riverside and French Quarter. Ironically this had always been a joint management position in the past, most recently under the auspices of Valerie Bunting between 2009 and 2015 until she was transferred to a management role at the theme parks. For the past two years though there have been separate General Managers, Suzette at Riverside and Punam at French Quarter, but Disney appears to have decided to return the original combined structure with one General Manager overseeing both resorts.

Over the past few days, the in-room collateral has been updated to reflect last year's changes, and the Guest Welcome Letter is now signed from John Berko. Interestingly, and as far as I know for the first time, the letter also provides a dedicated email address, WDW.GM.PortOrleans@disney.com, which allows guests to pass on comments about their stay. The welcome letter assures guests that every email received will be read and personally responded to - either by John or one of his team - and he concludes by wishing guests a magical stay at Disney's Port Orleans Resort.

I'd like to take this opportunity to wish John well as he continues to settle into his new role at Port Orleans, and of course to Punam in her new position too. I would also like to extend my very best wishes and personal thanks to Suzette for all her work at Disney and for her help and support over the past few years.

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Mardi Gras Events — Tuesday 13 February 2018

Posted on Saturday 10th February 2018 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

If you happen to be visiting Port Orleans during Mardi Gras there are lots of fun activities around the resort and by the poolside which guests can take part in. Every year, Port Orleans cast members get the opportunity to enter a competition to see which department (Front Desk, Housekeeping, Custodial, Food & Beverage, etc) can dream up the most creative, best themed Mardi Gras parade floats based around the resort’s “pargo” cart vehicles. This year’s parade theme is Walt Disney World Sweets and Treats (Dole Whip Float anyone?).

  • 10am Mardi Gras Pargo Parade — Mardi Gras Pargo Parade traveling through both Port Orleans Riverside & Port Orleans French Quarter. See map for details.
  • 6pm—9pm Mardi Gras Masquerade — Join us in the Port Orleans French Quarter Lobby Courtyard for Mardi Gras fun for the whole family! Our Mardi Gras Masquerade will include a DJ, dancing, character meet and greets, a King Cake eating contest, a Decorate Your Own Mask craft (paid activity), a Decorate Your Own Glass craft (paid activity), giveaways, and more!
  • 9pm Movie Under the Stars — End your Mardi Gras celebrations by joining us on the green between Buildings 5 & 6 at French Quarter for a showing of The Princess and the Frog.

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Watch the annual Pargo Parade LIVE at 10am EST via the Eyes-on-Ears website.

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First refurbished rooms re-open at Port Orleans French Quarter

Posted on Friday 9th February 2018 by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The first of the refurbished rooms on the top floor of building 2 at Port Orleans French Quarter re-opened to guests today. The new design is very understated - some on Facebook have even gone so far as to say it's a bit bland. The colours are more muted and the refreshed curtains are much more subtly 'New Orleans' themed than they were before. And of course there's still plain white bed linen, rather sterile in both the good and bad senses of the word.

Hard wood flooring with an attractive inlaid design effect has replaced the old carpets (which will now be much easier to keep clean) and the chest-of-drawers features a new top panel including power and USB sockets, and the chairs have been reupholstered. The over-bed lights have new oblong shades with subtle fleur-de-lys designs, and the switches have been replaced throughout. The lovely decorative borders along the ceiling edges are all gone too, just plain walls now.

There are some nice new touches such as a larger single main mirror and a repositionable round shaving mirror in the bathroom, and a wall-mounted TV (sadly with obtrusive white plastic conduit concealing the cables, shame they could not have channelled the wall during the refit). The wall safes now appear to have combination locks rather than physical keys.

Toiletries are now provided as large wall-mounted dispenser bottles in the bathroom rather than the small individual bottles which somehow always seemed to end up in guests' suitcases... :)

Most other fittings appear to have remained unchanged, such as the bed headboards, green bench seat, bathroom tiling and shower, hand basins and countertop, coat rack, and the single imagineering painting on the wall.

Many thanks to Jenni Lee over on the Port Orleans Magical Guide Facebook Group for her first photos. Please see our Gallery Page for lots more images and higher resolution versions too.


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