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Riverside boat rental marina to permanently close

Posted Thursday 27th February 2014, 4:00pm (EST) by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Well this one came out of the blue... the Riverside Levee boat rental marina will be permanently closing as from Sunday 2 March.

Very Bad Show, Disney - you are meant to be all about "plussing" your parks and resorts, not "minussing" them.

The Sassagoula river ferry will continue to operate to and from Downtown Disney as normal, as will the children's pirate cruises and the cycle rentals, but no more Sea Raycers, kayaks or other boat rentals. As far as I know at the moment, this will be a permanent closure. Apparently this will happen at the other Moderates too.

And so another bit of magic is chipped away. :(

Please email wdw.guest.communications@disneyworld.com if you want to make your views known, and perhaps ask for a proper explanation.


Update 2 March: I contacted my friend Denise from mousesteps.com and she and her partner Jeff took a trip over to Riverside yesterday and rented out a pontoon boat for an hour-and-a-half and took one last nostalgic trip along the Sassagoula before the service finally closed last night. Her report and photos can be found HERE, and Jeff's video of the trip on YouTube HERE. So sad to see this wonderful facility go away.


Update 4 March: I've heard mutterings that this might be something to do with an external (third-party) contractor who ran the rental service. To be honest, I'd always assumed it was run by Disney directly (certainly the staffing was provided by Disney cast members) but I've never really had the need to look into it.

According to website WDW News Today, the facility was not popular enough at the Moderate resorts and so the company has pulled out, leaving just the Deluxe Resort locations operating. I'm guessing the current closure of the DTD rental dock for the Disney Springs project won't have helped either.

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Downtown Disney Marketplace ferry dock closing 22 Feb 2014

Posted Wednesday 19th February 2014, 5:55pm (EST) by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The Downtown Disney Marketplace ferry dock (located next to the Rainforest Cafe) will be closed from 22 February 2014 until the fall for construction work related to the new Disney Springs project at Downtown Disney. In the meantime, the Port Orleans river ferry boats will still run as normal, but they will use the Pleasure Island dock in the centre of Downtown Disney instead.

The temporary new routes will be as follows:

  • Port Orleans River Cruise – Yellow Route
    Service between Downtown Disney Pleasure Island and Disney’s Port Orleans Resorts
  • Disney Vacation Club Ferry – Blue Route
    Service between Downtown Disney West Side and Disney’s Old Key West Resort, Disney’s Saratoga Resort & Spa and the Treehouse Villas
  • Internal Downtown Disney Water Taxi – Red Route
    Service between Downtown Disney West Side and Pleasure Island only

[Edit] The new Port Orleans ferry dock opened mid-August, connected to a brand new bridge between Saratoga Springs and Downtown Disney near to Rainforest Cafe. I've posted photos via the @PortOrleansOrg Twitter account and on Facebook.

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Resort Airline Check-In Service for International Travellers

Posted Sunday 2nd February 2014, 9:50am (EST) by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter will be extending their Resort Airline Check-In Service to include guests travelling on International flights as from 24 February 2014.

As with existing guests travelling on domestic US flights, the Resort Airline Check-In Service allows guests to check in for their flight directly at their hotel on their day of travel, including retrieving boarding passes and dropping off checked luggage. This is part of a gradual roll-out, and all Disney Resorts will be offering the International Airline Check-In facility by 17 March.

The airlines which participate in the scheme are Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, AirTran Airways, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines and US Airways - which given that these are all internal US carriers does seem a little ironic, but at least many of them do fly overseas too.

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February 2014 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules

Posted Friday 31st January 2014, 5:55pm (EST) by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The February 2014 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules for Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter are now available. See the main Recreation Activities Schedule page for full-size PDF versions, or click on the images below.

The outdoor movies will start at 7pm and the daily campfires commence at 5pm this month.

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Reminder: The French Quarter “Doubloon Lagoon” pool area is closed for refurbishment work until approx 28 February 2014, so activities will take place in the courtyard there instead of the pool. The pool bar and hot tub are closed too. For those who want to swim, there is a free shuttle service which takes guests directly over to the Riverside pool on Ol’ Man Island, and all guests can use the five quiet pools too.

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Key to the World cards to be phased out from 7 January 2014

Posted Monday 6th January 2014, 4:39pm (EST) by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The traditional plastic 'Key to the World' cards will be phased out at Port Orleans as from Tuesday 7 January 2014 as part of the ongoing rollout of Disney's new MyMagic+ system. When you check in after that date, each guest will automatically receive a Magic Band wrist bracelet only, with no backup plastic card supplied unless specifically requested.

The Magic Bands have been in testing for several months, and allow you to access everything that the old KttW cards did, and more - guest room door access, theme park admission, Disney Dining Plan credits, resort-wide payment facilities (charged back to your room account), FastPass+ pre-bookings for attractions, car park access, etc.

You can manage all of your bookings, customise your Magic Bands and make dining & FastPass+ reservations via a personalised account system called My Disney Experience, which can be accessed from the Disney website or via mobile devices or using terminals in the parks.

Guests who, for whatever reason, are not comfortable with the bracelet system can still request a plastic card which will do all of the same things - but it will simply mimic the tap-to-use operation of the Magic Bands (using its own RFID chip) rather than providing a magnetic stripe for swiping in the old-fashioned way. This means that you will no longer be able to reserve attraction times using the old legacy Fast Pass system - you will only have access to the new interactive FastPass+ variant. That sadly means that from now on, unless you have pre-booked you're probably not going to get a FastPass for the headliner rides such as Soarin' or Toy Story Midway Mania. Another nail in the coffin for spontaneity at Walt Disney World, I'm afraid.

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