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2019 Room and Package Rack Rates released

Posted Tuesday 19th June 2018, 6:00am (EDT) by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The 2019 Room and Package Rack Rates have been released for bookings made with Walt Disney World. The prices were showing on the online calendars from 6am Eastern 19 June 2018. More details will follow, but you should probably expect the website and app to be somewhat flaky today. [Note: Post updated with pricing information and graphs on 27 June]

There are two new room categories for Port Orleans Riverside bookings for stays commencing from 1st January 2019 onward. Because the resort had been getting more and more pre-arrival requests from guests wanting to ensure they get an extra fold-down bed — just as in the past building 14 was a highly-requested option which led to the creation of the Preferred Location category — Disney has decided that there is enough demand to make it a premium offering, so people can pay extra to guarantee getting an Alligator Bayou room with that extra fold-down bed. Previously, it had only been possible to guarantee an Alligator Bayou room by booking Preferred Location, or by having a party of more than four people aged 3+.

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“Standard View – 5th Sleeper” and “Garden View – 5th Sleeper” are pretty self-explanatory in that they assure you of getting a Standard or Garden room in the Alligator Bayou section, giving you the fold-down bed no matter how many people are in the room. The pricing premium varies a bit throughout the year, but on average the new categories are about $13.50 (just under 5%) more expensive than their regular Standard/Garden counterparts.

I initially assumed that the old Standard View and Garden View options would not be displayed for parties exceeding four guests (aged 3+), thus forcing you to select the two new categories for any parties of five, but oddly that does not seem to be the case as yet. It’s possible the new options are still propagating their way through the system though.

These new options should make it easier for the room allocation team when assigning parties of five to Alligator Bayou — except for Pool View and River View bookings, for which guests will still need to submit pre-arrival requests which will be managed on a booking-by-booking basis.

The one downside is that people who don’t book these categories might conversely assume that they are 100% guaranteeing themselves a mansion building room, however since the original categories will now be less expensive these may well get overbooked and the team might need to juggle some groups into the more expensive 5th sleeper category rooms anyway — meaning Alligator Bayou, which in some cases may not be regarded by the guests as an upgrade.

Other than those two new Riverside categories, the pricing structure has risen somewhat less markedly than it has in previous years, averaging just under 3% higher than 2018. For the past few years, average increases have been between 5% and 7% annually, so this is a welcome change. The lowest nightly price (Standard View for weekdays in January) is $232, and the highest (Christmas week in a Royal River View room) is $422.

As with last year, Disney have split the rates for most seasons into three nightly pricing bands — the cheapest being Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday, then Thursday/Sunday, and finally the most expensive nights are Fridays & Saturdays. This makes the old tidy tabular layouts more confusing than ever, although the folks over at MouseSavers.com have made valiant efforts with their Riverside and French Quarter pages.

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If you want to see the complete list of daily prices for all 17 Port Orleans room categories for 2019, please download our 2019 Rack Rate Spreadsheet. This was accurate as of 25 June 2018, but it›s not unheard of for Disney to make minor adjustments after the annual prices have been set.

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My Disney Experience mobile app adds live bus wait time information

Posted Monday 18th June 2018, 5:00pm (EDT) by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Good news! According to the Disney Parks Blog, the My Disney Experience mobile app is being updated to provide hotel guests with live bus wait time information, the same content that you would see on the wait time boards at the resort's bus stops.

The app should regularly update in real time to provide the most current estimates for buses heading to all four theme parks, two water parks and the Disney Springs area. Guests can access the feature throughout their stay by tapping “See Bus Times” when viewing an active Disney Resort hotel reservation associated with their account.

The update should be available via the Apple Store for iOS devices and Google Play for Android.

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June 2018 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules are now available

Posted Thursday 31st May 2018, 8:30pm (EDT) by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The June 2018 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.

The main feature swimming pool operating hours are currently 9am—11pm and will stay that way throughout the summer months. These hours are enforced and the feature pools are gated and locked when there are no lifeguards on duty, however the five Riverside leisure (quiet) pools are generally available at any time, within reason.

Movies Under the Stars will be screened at 8:30pm on Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays at Riverside, or Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at French Quarter. Please note the revised dates; there is now a movie scheduled for every day of the week at one resort or the other, so feel free to try both! On Saturday 2 June, both resorts will show a special presentation of Peter Pan in celebration of this classic film’s 65th anniversary.

Evening Campfire Activities will take place from 6:30pm-7:30pm on the same nights as the movies at French Quarter, and daily at Riverside. You can roast marshmallows for free, or you can optionally purchase full s’mores kits, all in the warm glow of a night-time campfire.

Some other specific activities to watch out for (on select days, see schedules for details):

  • “Beignet Dash” Fun Run ($) (French Quarter, 8am Sundays) — Craving beignets? Join us on Sunday Runday for a quick 1½ mile dash around the Resort. Complete your race with a tasty beignet! Check-in begins at 7:30am on the Riverwalk between Building 5 and Doubloon Lagoon Pool and the run begins at 8am. Be sure to share your photos with the hashtag #FQBeignetDash. Cost is $15+tax, including three beignets and a souvenir “medal”. To reserve your spot, please call 407-WDW-PLAY or visit the Concierge Desk.
  • Painting on de’ Bayou (French Quarter, 6pm—8pm Wednesdays) — Learn to paint at at Port Orleans French Quarter! Join us in Scat Cat’s Club on Wednesdays for an instructor-led painting class to design your own take-home masterpiece. Our instructor will help you walk away with a painting you’re proud of, whether you’re a beginner, an expert or somewhere in-between! The class is for guests aged 12 and up, and costs $35 per person, plus tax. Registration is limited to 16 guests per evening, please call 1-321-347-0750 for additional information or to reserve a spot in the class. Share your masterpiece with the hashtag #PaintingOnDeBayou.
  • Glow with the Flow Pool Party (Tuesdays, Thursdays & Fridays at Riverside; Mondays & Saturdays at French Quarter. 8:30pm-9:30pm) — Dance on down to the pool for an exciting evening of party games and dancing that will light up the night!
  • Arts & Crafts or Mickey Tie-Dye T-shirt decoration — Explore your creative side with themed poolside arts & crafts / Create your own Mickey Tie-Dye shirt to commemorate your Walt Disney World Resort vacation (cost is $18+tax, including the T-shirt).
  • SassagoulaSelfie Scavenger Hunt (Riverside, 9am—5pm daily) — Grab a map and join in on an exciting selfie scavenger hunt around Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside. To get started, visit the Riverside Levee from 9am—5pm. Be sure to share your selfies with the hashtags #SassagoulaSelfie and #PortOrleans.
  • Summer Sing-A-Long Scavenger Hunt (French Quarter, daily) — It’s Summer at Port Orleans French Quarter, and we are inviting you to join in as we celebrate some of our favorite Disney songs! We’ve hidden 13 music notes around the Resort, each one representing a favorite Disney movie with songs that keep us humming and singing along. To join in on the fun, visit the Front Desk to pick up your clue guide. Return your completed clue guide to the Front Desk to collect a summertime surprise!

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 (Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday).
Note: Bob will be away on a personal trip to Helsinki (Finland) from 13 June to 23 June, returning to the Port on 27 June.

Port Orleans French Quarter’s Scat Cat’s Club does not currently have "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. Occasionally when one of the boys is not available, Greg Hayworth (from Mulch, Sweat & Shears) will sit in. The dates are only announced a month or so in advance (generally most Saturdays, Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays) but if you happen to be around for any of their evenings (8:30pm—11pm) do yourself a favour and pop along, they are highly recommended.


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Mother's Day Brunch at Boatwright's Dining Hall, Sunday 13 May 2018

Posted Thursday 10th May 2018, 8:55pm (EDT) by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Boatwright's Dining Hall at Port Orleans Riverside is offering a special three-course Mother's Day Brunch on Sunday 13 May 2018 from 10am to 1:30pm. Dining Reservations are recommended.

Adult Meal ($32)

To Begin
Family Style Service of Fresh Seasonal Fruit & Sweet Bread Basket with Complimentary Mimosa

Main Course
Eggs Benedict with Crab, Tomato, Hollandaise and Tasso Ham with Spicy Micro Greens
Stack Buttermilk Pancakes with Seasonal Berry Compote & Fresh Whipped Cream, Bacon and Sausage
Banana Stuffed French Toast with Seasonal Berry Compote & Fresh Whipped Cream, Bacon and Sausage
Steak and Eggs over easy with Southern Honey Biscuit & house made Sausage Gravy
Cobb Salad with Avocado, Tomato, Roasted Chicken, Eggs, Bacon, Blue Cheese & house made Avocado Ranch Dressing
Southern Omelet with Tasso Ham, Pimento Cheese, Peppers, Onions, Green Tomato Salsa, and Hash Browns
Nashville Hot Chicken on a Southern Honey Biscuit & side of Collard Greens
Roasted Shrimp Salad on a Freshly Baked Multi Grain Croissant with Bibb Lettuce served with a Tomato and Cucumber Salad

Enjoy a Selection of Our Southern Sweets

Child Meal ($17)

To Begin
Family Style Service of Fresh Seasonal Fruit & Sweet Bread Basket with Complimentary Sparkling Mocktail

Main Course
Ham & Cheese Omelet with Hash Browns
Short Stack Pancakes with Fresh Strawberry Sauce, Whipped Cream, Bacon and Sausage
Steak Kabobs, Scrambled Eggs, and Hash Browns
Corn Dog Nuggets, Mac & Cheese and Garden Salad with Ranch Dressing
Mini Mickey Waffles with Fresh Strawberry Sauce, Whipped Cream, Bacon and Sausage
Pain Perdu French Toast tossed with Cinnamon Sugar, Fresh Strawberries, Whipped Cream, Bacon and Sausage
Crispy Chicken Nuggets and Mickey Waffles with Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce

Enjoy a Selection of Our Southern Sweets

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Port Orleans Riverside Guest Room “Soft Goods” Refurbishment starting in July

Posted Saturday 5th May 2018, 6:11pm (EDT) by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Now that notification letters and emails have started going out to guests who are booked in to Port Orleans Riverside during the second half of 2018, this seems a good time to elaborate on the refurbishment program that will be taking place there soon.

Once the Port Orleans French Quarter refurbishments are complete around the middle of July, work will commence on Riverside’s Alligator Bayou section, starting with building 37. This is currently scheduled to begin on 21 July, but please remember that maintenance plans and dates are always subject to change at any time. Each 64-room building should take around four weeks to complete, and there will be periods of overlap when two or more buildings may be worked on simultaneously. The entire Alligator Bayou section should be complete by the end of the year.

All of the work will be of a similar nature to the current French Quarter room refurbishments (new hard flooring, larger TVs, raised beds, new curtains instead of blinds, USB power sockets, wall-mounted soap-dispensers, etc) but since the bayou buildings are a lot smaller than those in French Quarter each one should be completely closed before work commences. There will be no major external work, just in-room redecorating, so there should be little if any disruption to anyone’s stay — if indeed you even notice at all.

I won't go into too much detail on specific start and end dates at this stage, as it's too far out to be sure that they will be accurate, but the following should be a good general guide:

  • Building 37: Starts 21 July 2018
  • Building 38: Aug 2018
  • Building 39: Aug 2018
  • Building 36: Aug 2018
  • Building 35: Aug/Sep 2018
  • Building 34: Sep 2018
  • Building 24: Sep 2018 [was Oct 2018]
  • Building 28: Sep 2018
  • Building 26 :Oct 2018
  • Building 25: Oct 2018
  • Building 27: Oct 2018 [was Sept 2018]
  • Building 17: Oct/Nov 2018
  • Building 16: Nov 2018
  • Building 15: Nov 2018
  • Building 18: Nov 2018
  • Building 14: Dec 2018
Updated 24 June: During the period when the buildings closest to the ‘twenties’ leisure pool are mostly unoccupied, that pool will be closed for maintenance. The original start date for this work was provisionally set for late September, but that has now been brought forward a little to 13 Aug until 5 Oct. Again, please remember that these dates are always subject to change. The room assignment team will be making every effort to avoid placing any guests with Pool View or Garden View bookings into rooms that are close to the twenties pool during this work, and the original September and October refurbishment slots for buildings 27 and 24 have been swapped to better fit around the new pool maintenance schedule.

Once all 16 Alligator Bayou buildings are complete, work will commence on the Magnolia Bend area. This section is expected to begin in early Spring 2019, and the four large mansion buildings should take a total of around six months to complete.

In advance of this work though, next week will see the start of installation of the new style wall-mounted amenity dispensers (shampoo, etc) in the bathrooms of the Riverside mansion buildings, starting with Parterre Place and working back to Acadian House over the next few weeks.

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