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Bob Jackson involved in minor car accident

Posted Thursday 29th December 2016, 5:35am (EST) by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Port Orleans Riverside's legendary entertainer "Ye Haa" Bob Jackson has reported via Facebook that he has been involved in a minor car accident (rear-end shunt). He is apparently OK, but will be off work for a couple of days and is hoping to be back in time for the New Year's Eve bash.

Our thoughts are with you for a speedy recovery Bob - and don't overdo the jumping around on your first day back!

[Update: Bob was back at the Port on December 30, thank goodness the accident wasn't more serious]


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Christmas & New Year Events, 2016

Posted Monday 19th December 2016, 12:51pm (EST) by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Christmas at Port Orleans has traditionally been a time filled with extra fun and activities, especially for the children, but this year’s plans seem somewhat more muted. Indeed, the cynics amongst us might even go so far as to say Scrooge-like given the exorbitant room-rates that are charged during this period (between $300 and $376 per night for a Moderate resort!). This year's special activities appear to consist broadly of the same content that would be provided at any other time, albeit with a Holiday overlay.

From what we’ve been told so far, there will be no pre-Christmas holiday singers in the lobbies [Update: see below], no Santa or Disney Character greetings on Christmas Eve, and not even the annual Gingerbread House competition appears in the lists. There won’t even be a campfire or movie featured at Riverside on Christmas Day this year; to find those, you’ll need to head over to French Quarter just like any other regular Sunday — and even the movies are the same titles that are being shown at weekends during the rest of the month.

Hopefully some of these perennially popular guest favourites might still turn up, but so far it looks as though the same bean-counters who so heavily trimmed back on the annual Mardi Gras celebrations this year may also have pulled the budget out from under Disney’s Christmas Magic too.

Christmas Eve

  • 1:00pm—2:45pm Holiday Themed Poolside Activities
  • 3:30pm—4:30pm Holiday Craft: Character Fuse Beads ($)
  • 5:30pm—6:30pm Campfires
  • 7:00pm Movies (Riverside: Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas / French Quarter: The Santa Clause)
Christmas Day
  • 1:00pm—2:45pm Holiday Themed Poolside Activities
  • 3:30pm—4:30pm Holiday Craft: No Sew Holiday Pillows ($)
  • 5:30pm—6:30pm Campfire (French Quarter only)
  • 7:00pm Movie (French Quarter only, The Nightmare Before Christmas)
New Year’s Eve (at both resorts)
  • 6:30pm—7:30pm Campfire
  • 7:30pm—8:30pm Craft: Make your own Toast Glass, sparkling cider included ($)
  • 9:00pm—12:30am New Year’s Eve Event, including: Sparkling Cider Toast, Games, Giveaways, DJ, Mickey Tie Dye ($), Dick Clark’s New Years Rockin’ Eve viewing
Update: Apparently there was a choir singing in the French Quarter courtyard on Sunday 18 Dec and then at the Riverside Levée marina area on 19 Dec. However nothing was mentioned in any of the schedules to communicate this to guests, so perhaps there’s still hope for some character greetings or a Santa drop-in on Christmas Eve?
Photo courtesy of Mary Thomas on Facebook

There will also be a “Jolly Holiday” themed version of the Sassagoula River Pirate Cruise for kids aged 4—12. The cruises are available on Sunday 18, Tuesday 20, and Thursday 22 December and can be pre-booked by calling 1-407-WDW-PLAY. Checkin begins at 9am at the Riverside Levee Marina for a 9:30am departure, and the cruises will finish at the Fishin’ Hole on Ol’ Man Island at 11:30am. Snacks and drinks are included, and the event costs $39 plus tax per child.

I’m still awaiting confirmation as to whether the temporary "Scat Cat’s Café" table-service restaurant which operated from the old Bonfamille’s Café location at French Quarter during Christmas week last year will make a reappearance. So far it doesn’t look too hopeful though.

Update on 22 December: Sadly, the temporary table-service location at French Quarter that was opened over Christmas 2015 will not be making an appearance again this year. Apparently due to concerns that the Sassagoula Floatworks & Food Factory refurbishment might overrun its scheduled re-opening date, they felt unable to commit to using the Bonfamille’s Café space early enough to make definitive plans.

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December 2016 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules

Posted Sunday 4th December 2016, 6:23am (EST) by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The December 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.

For the next few months, the main feature swimming pools will be operating their winter hours of 10am—9pm. These hours are enforced, and the feature pools are now gated and locked when there are no lifeguards on duty, however the five Riverside quiet pool are not locked so you can use these pools at any time (within reason). The evening campfires are scheduled for 5:30pm—6:30pm (please ignore the typo on the Riverside calendar), and the Movies Under the Stars will be screened at 7:00pm, with both activities occurring on alternating days at the two resorts — Monday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday at Riverside, and Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday at French Quarter.

From 3:30pm—4:30pm daily, there will be Holiday Crafts hosted in each of the resort lobbies. These paid activities include: Create Your Own Picture Frame, No Sew Pillows, Create Your Own Countdown Plaque, Create Your Own Map Coasters or Ornaments, and Character Fuse Beads. Also, for the entire month of December, every Saturday will feature Holiday-themed poolside activities.

The format of the Recreation Calendar handout sheets has changed this month, with all of the activities for each resort now listed on one side only (a resort map is printed on the back). Please check back closer to Christmas for the specific Holiday activities.

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). During December, his shows will have a distinctly festive feel.

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.

Jason & Billy at Scat Cat’s: December 5, 6*, 11, 12*, 13*, 17, 18, 19, 20*, 26, 27* & 31. Note: Jason will be playing with Greg Hayworth* on December 6, 12, 13, 20 & 27.

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Changes to Port Orleans Bus Services

Posted Thursday 1st December 2016, 2:12pm (EST) by The Sassagoula Sentinel

According to Orlando Park News, there have been a few minor, but very welcome, changes to the bus service provided at the Port Orleans resorts.

First, there is new a dedicated Internal Shuttle bus linking all four Riverside bus stops and French Quarter. There has been an Internal Shuttle system in place since early December 2015, which ran in conjunction with the Disney Springs route, but apparently this has now been extended to use a dedicated bus. The new shuttle service starts at 6:30am and provides round-trip transportation from French Quarter to Riverside South, West, North, and East until 12:30am daily, extended to 1am on Fridays and Saturdays.

Also, in an effort to reduce bus overcrowding and wait times during the peak demand period, from approx 8am until 11am the service from Riverside to the Magic Kingdom will now operate using two separate buses. The first will stop at the South Depot only, and the other will cater solely for the three outlying circle Depots, West, North and East. This should make using the outlying bus stops a much more attractive proposition for guests visiting the Magic Kingdom in the morning.

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