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2018 Rack Rates released for direct US bookings

Posted Wednesday 21st June 2017, 6:12am (EDT) by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The USA ‘rack rates’ for Rooms and Packages in 2018 were released on Tuesday 20 June 2017, roughly the same time that they have been issued for the past two years. You can now book rooms and packages with Disney online or via the Disney telephone Reservations Center for 2018 vacations, up to the normal maximum of 499 days in advance.

For the first time ever, the highest daily rates at Port Orleans — a ‘moderate’ resort — exceed $400 per night, which is over the Christmas period in a Royal Pool View or Royal River View room. Ouch! It looks like at French Quarter, King Bed and Pool Views are still considered the premium options now, way higher than River View. Also the variations within the four Royal Room categories often remain fairly minor, so if you’re planning on splurging on a Royal Room then you might want to consider the excellently-located Pool View, or River View, options.

Overall, room prices have risen by an average of 5.54% from last year’s rates, which equates to +13% from two years ago, and +18.4% since 2015. See the Room Rates Page for more details.

I’ve been having real difficulty trying to understand and differentiate the seasonal grouping blocks this year, as many of the blocks now seem to include up to three weekly price points (Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday being the cheapest, then Sunday & Thursday, and finally Friday & Saturday at a really hefty premium). This is what is causing all the wild fluctuations in the graphs below. Once I know the seasonal grouping dates I can create average weekly rates for each season type, which should make the graphs more readable and useful.

In the meantime, I’ve created a spreadsheet covering each of the sixteen room categories at Port Orleans for every day in 2018, which you can DOWNLOAD HERE. I did observe that some of the initial prices released on 20 June had changed two days later, so while that list is accurate as of 22 June 2017 there may be some further modifications over time.




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Evening Campfires due to resume from 19 June

Posted Friday 16th June 2017, 8:18am (EDT) by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The evening campfire activities, which were temporarily suspended on 14 April due to extremely dry weather and local wildfire risks, are scheduled to return next week, commencing 19 June. They will be included in the July schedules, but for the rest of June:

Port Orleans Riverside will hold its Campfire on de' Bayou events on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday evenings from 6:30pm to 7:30pm.

Port Orleans French Quarter will hold its Cajun Campfire events on Friday and Saturday evenings from 6:30pm to 7:30pm.

Campfire on de' Bayou at Port Orleans Riverside

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Arneil the French Quarter Greeter Celebrates 30 Years at WDW

Posted Sunday 11th June 2017, 4:32pm (EDT) by The Sassagoula Sentinel

[Posted by friend-of-the-site Steve Denney]

Congratulations Arneil!

On June 20th, Arneil, the instantly recognizable and very popular Greeter at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort French Quarter, will be celebrating 30 years as a Walt Disney World Cast Member. Arneil, who is a Viet Nam veteran, came to Disney from Illinois in 1987. He began working at EPCOT Center as an Attractions Host in Future World at what was then called World of Motion (which later became GM’s Test Track.) He also worked at the much-missed Horizons attraction before that too closed.

In 1990, when the Walt Disney World Yacht and Beach Club Resorts first opened, Arneil became one of their original Bell Services cast members. He remained there for sixteen years, subsequently transferring to Disney’s Wilderness Lodge in 2006.

After nearly five more years at Wilderness Lodge, Arneil was encouraged by his friends in Disney management to take on the role for which he has since become so well known. In 2010, Arneil created the colorful “Monarch of the Mardi Gras” persona for the many guests arriving, departing or just passing through the lobby at Port Orleans French Quarter.


Anyone who takes a few minutes to stop and chat with Arneil will quickly appreciate that he loves people, and particularly enjoys the opportunity to interact with all of the diverse cultures and backgrounds that are represented by Disney guests.

Although his first name is of Scottish origin – he is named after a family friend in Glasgow – Arneil is primarily of Dutch heritage. It doesn’t take much encouragement for him to share his Dutch roots with anyone who is interested, and you’ll find that he has some interesting, and famous, ancestors.

Arneil is an avid reader with a keen interest in history and languages, so it should not surprise anyone to know that he speaks several languages fluently, including Dutch, Flemish, German and Afrikaans. But what may not be so obvious is that he is also able to greet guests in more than a dozen more languages. Saying “hello,” “goodbye,” or simply exchanging well wishes in such diverse tongues as Spanish, Hindi, French, Filipino, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Greek, Polish, Italian, Vietnamese, and Arabic has become second nature for him, and an integral part of his Mardi Gras persona.

Arneil, with his plume-adorned top hat and clad in the bright green, gold and purple of Mardi Gras, has become an iconic presence in the French Quarter lobby, often the first cheery face that you see on arrival, and the last to wish you “Bon Voyage” as you depart.

I encourage you to stop and chat whenever you have the time, and especially if you happen to be at French Quarter on Tuesday June 20th don’t forget to congratulate him on thirty years with Walt Disney World, a milestone certainly worthy of recognition and appreciation.

Incidentally, although Arneil may not be a member of these forums, he does read the posts from time to time - so, if you have any comments, memories or well-wishes for him, post them here or on this Facebook thread and we’ll make sure he sees them.


Last summer, I wrote a short song for Arneil which I presented to him at the end of one shift, along with a copy of the lyrics as a keepsake. The acoustics of the glass and tile lobby were not exactly conducive to getting a studio-quality recording with non-professional video gear, but a few attempts later in Scat Scat’s we got something that while maybe not technically perfect seemed to capture the spirit nicely. You’ll note that Arneil was quite familiar with the lyrics by then, and started acting them out as we went along!

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June 2017 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules

Posted Monday 29th May 2017, 5:05am (EDT) by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The June 2017 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.

As from Sunday 28 May, the main feature swimming pool operating hours are 9am—10pm which will continue during the peak summer months. These times are enforced and the feature pools are gated and locked when there are no lifeguards on duty, however the five Riverside quiet pools are generally available at any time (within reason).

Movies Under the Stars will be screened at 8:30pm on Monday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday at Riverside, but only on Friday & Saturday at French Quarter. There are no movies scheduled at either resort for Sunday, Tuesday or Thursday.

The evening campfires are currently still suspended due to local dry conditions and fire hazards.

Riverside is adding some new activities into the mix this month in a similar vein to those introduced at French Quarter in May:

  • Swashbucklin’ Saturdays — A fun-filled day of Pirate activities. The activities start at 1pm on Ol’ Man Island and wrap up with the screening of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl at 8:30pm.
  • Sunday, Tuesday & Thursday, 8:30pm—9:30pm: Glow with the Flow Pool Party — Join us on Ol’ Man Island as we Glow with the Flow of the Sassagoula River into the night! The parties occur on evenings when there is no Movie Under the Stars showing.
  • Daily: #SassagoulaSelfie Scavenger Hunt — Grab a map and join in on an exciting selfie scavenger hunt around Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside. Guest may visit the Riverside Levee Marina from 9am—5pm daily to get started.
  • Continuing Daily: Arts & Crafts ($), Mickey Tie-Dye T-shirt decoration ($), Ol’ Man Island Pool Party, and other regular poolside activities. Times vary, see schedule.
French Quarter’s new activities continue this month too, with slightly less emphasis on poolside games and Movies Under the Stars than Riverside:
  • Sunday 8am: “Beignet Dash” Fun Run — A quick early morning dash around the resort, finished with a tasty beignet (payment required). Check-in begins at 7:30am on the riverwalk between building 5 and the Doubloon Lagoon Pool. The run begins at 8:00am.
  • Monday & Tuesday, 7:30pm—9:30pm: Doubloon Lagoon Glow Party — Come glow with the flow at the Doubloon Lagoon Glow Party.
  • Wednesday 7pm—9pm: Family Game Night — Join us in Scat Cat’s Lounge for a night filled with games and fun for the whole family.
  • Thursday 8pm—10pm: Mardi Gras Musical Mixer — Bebop on down to Scat Cat’s Lounge for a night filled with your favorite musical activities.
  • Friday & Saturday 8:30pm: Movies Under the Stars (Jungle Book (2016) and Cars this month).
  • Daily: Mardi Gras Pool Party — Bring the whole family for fun and exciting games during our afternoon pool party! Also Disney Trivia or Name That... on select days. Times vary, see schedule.
  • Daily: 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 (payment required). Times vary, see schedule.

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).

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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