Port Orleans News

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Hurricane Irma Advice and Preparations

Posted Saturday 9th September 2017, 6:15am (EDT) by The Sassagoula Sentinel

After barrelling though the offshore islands and Cuba and causing huge devastation and some loss of life, Hurricane Irma is now heading northwards towards Miami and then up into the rest of Florida. Current predictions show the eye will most likely track very slightly to the west of Orlando (most directly over the St. Petersburg/Tampa area) during Sunday night, and will probably still be at Category 3 or 4 level by that point which poses a severe threat of damage to buildings and personal injury. Orlando International Airport will be closed from 5pm on Saturday.

Although this will be a very serious event, remember that Disney takes the safety of its guests extremely seriously and has a whole range of contingency plans are already in place. Also their building construction is second-to-none in the area and generally the work is significantly above locally required specifications. Walt Disney World will be one of the safest places to ride this out.

Disney will be closing all of its theme parks on Saturday night, with no evening entertainment or fireworks scheduled, and nothing is expected to be reopened until Tuesday. Blizzard Beach and ESPN Wide World of Sports are already closed, and Typhoon Lagoon will shut on Saturday afternoon. Disney Springs will close at 9pm on Saturday. The planned Night of Joy at ESPN on Saturday and Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party on Sunday are cancelled, and exchanges or full refunds will be offered for these and any other pre-booked activities. All dining cancellation charges are also being waived until Tuesday. For more detailed information and advice, see Disney's dedicated Irma page, https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/hurricane-irma-info/ and their general hurricane policies at https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/faq/hurricane-policy/ or tune in to Channel 3 on your in-room television if you are already on site.

There may need to be a mandatory room curfew (in line with any local policies) which could potentially last from 24 to 48 hours, and there will probably be no housekeeping services available for the duration of the storm, so please ensure that you are as prepared as possible. Disney movies will be complimentary on Channel 31 of the in-room television system to help to keep the kids occupied.

Port Orleans is advising guests to stock up with water, snacks and non-perishable items for their rooms, ideally purchasing from the theme parks or Disney Springs as resort services will be severely stretched as all guests return to the resort to hunker down over the weekend. Distribution of emergency food packages will commence at 5pm on Saturday from the main buildings, but from previous experiences you should expect lengthy queues. Disney is providing flashlights for all rooms, and you would be advised to fully charge all of your necessary battery-powered devices in advance in case of power outages.

Our thoughts and good wishes are with everyone in the path of this unprecedented hurricane, and we hope that all our friends, cast members, and the "hunkered down" resort guests stay safe.

[Update on 10 Sept] Orange Country, FL - which covers almost all of Walt Disney World, including the Port Orleans Resorts - has announced that a mandatory curfew will take place from 7pm tonight (Sunday 10th September) until 6pm on Monday. This will exclude emergency services, medical personnel and critical services staff. See https://newsroom.ocfl.net/2017/09/orang ... -10-7-p-m/ .

This means that guests will be unable to leave Port Orleans for the duration of the curfew, and given the external access nature of the accommodation buildings, people will effectively be confined to their rooms from 7pm tonight. Make sure you have sufficient provisions for you and your family and hunker down!

I've also heard from someone I know at the resort that Port Orleans is hosting about 400 rooms of emergency electrical teams from all over the country, and 110 rooms of nurses and doctors to assist with relief efforts. There are apparently many more at the other resorts too. As noted in previous posts, the main parking lots are packed with emergency and maintenance vehicles too. When you need to accommodate a lot of people in a single geographical area with good access to where they are going to be needed, I guess Disney is the place to be.

A few photos posted via the Disney's Port Orleans Resorts - A Magical Guide Facebook Group (thanks to the admins for the permission to repost here):

In-room information flyer.

More In-room information communication, with a complimentary flashlight.

Emergency maintenance vehicles waiting in the Riverside parking lot ready for the aftermath.

More Preparation around the resort.

Update at 5pm EST Saturday. The packaged snack bag at resorts is much cheaper than the one that they offered during last year's hurricane, looks like they took note of some rather disgruntled feedback from guests:





September 2017 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules

Posted Tuesday 29th August 2017, 8:26am (EDT) by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The September 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.

The main feature swimming pool operating hours are currently 9am—10pm, but expect those to be reduced soon as the summer season ends. 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 Monday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday at Riverside, but only on Friday & Saturday at French Quarter. The evening campfire activities will take place from 6:30pm-7:30pm on the same evenings as the movies. There are no movies or campfires scheduled at either resort for Sunday, Tuesday or Thursday. On Sunday September 3, French Quarter will be running some extra poolside activities for Labor Day weekend.

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

  • SassagoulaSelfie Scavenger Hunt — 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 Marina from 9:00am-5:00pm! Be sure to share your selfies with the hashtags #SassagoulaSelfie and #PortOrleans.
  • Teen Arcade Challenge — Do you have what it takes to win our Teen Arcade Challenge? Guests ages 12-17 are encouraged to compete in our exciting challenges to win prizes! Join us at 4:30pm on Mondays and Thursdays in the Medicine Show Arcade at Port Orleans Riverside.
  • “Beignet Dash” Fun Run — A quick early morning Sunday Runday dash around French Quarter 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.
  • Fat Tuesdays — Let the good times roll! Join us every Tuesday at Doubloon Lagoon Pool for activities celebrating the spirit of Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter. There’s Mardi Gras magic for all ages!
  • Mardi Gras “Mask”-erade — Sashay your way down Alligator Alley to join in on Mardi Gras fun! Located near the Musical Alligators at French Quarter, our Mardi Gras fun will include dance parties and mask-making ($)
  • Family Game Night — Join us at the Mardi Grogs patio seating at French Quarter for a night filled with games and fun for the whole family.
    Glow with the Flow Pool Party — Come glow with the flow at our nighttime pool parties, at both Port Orleans Resorts.
  • 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).

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 vacation commencing Friday 25th August and returning to the Port on Wednesday 6th September.

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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Port Orleans Riverside Mattress Replacement Program

Posted Friday 25th August 2017, 8:49am (EDT) by The Sassagoula Sentinel

All of the guest room mattresses at Port Orleans Riverside have been replaced over the past couple of months with new Sealy mattresses which have the extra quilted padded layer on the top. The replacement project for more than 2,000 rooms cost over $1m, but I can personally confirm that they are really comfortable!

The project also benefited French Quarter incidentally, as the most recently-installed of the mattresses that were taken out from Riverside rooms (there is normally a rolling program for mattress changes) were moved over to French Quarter to replace the oldest inventory over there.

You may also be interested to know that in addition to daily housekeeping cleaning, and more intense cleaning between guests, there is also a rolling program to ensure that every room in the resort is refreshed on a regular basis. For example at Riverside, every weekday 24 rooms are removed from inventory and given an intensive deep clean. This includes things like carpet washing, paintwork and decor touch-ups, minor maintenance jobs, etc. That way, every room receives special attention at least once every 17 weeks.


New toiletries trial at Riverside, plus other news

Posted Thursday 24th August 2017, 9:39am (EDT) by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Port Orleans Riverside is currently trialing new wall-mounted bathroom toiletry dispensers instead of the regular small bottles of shampoo and conditioner. Alligator Bayou building 14 is being used for the tests as it is the most popular, and thus consistently occupied, area of the resort.

There are three large bottles installed in a silver/chrome press-top dispenser unit on the wall at the end of the bath (the wall nearest to the door). The product is the same range as before, featuring H2O+ Bath Aquatics "Natural Spring" separate shampoo, conditioner and body wash (the regular small bottles are currently from H2O's the "Sea Marine" line). Guest reaction is being closely monitored, especially the amount of requests that the front desk or housekeeping receive daily for in-room supplies.

In other news, towels are currently being provided at the Riverside quiet pools, with one placed at the end of each sunbed in the morning and extras available in the laundry room.

The latest update to the My Disney Experience mobile app includes a number of resort-related improvements. You can now use the app to monitor your Disney Dining Plan credits and balance, and also see your room charges and your live folio balance. The previous update added online checkin to the list of mobile features, so it seems a lot of work is going into improving the hotel guest features.

Port Orleans Refurbishment Updates

Posted Wednesday 23rd August 2017, 9:37am (EDT) by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The previously announced Riverside Mill food court flooring replacement project has been delayed by one week as the newly imported tiling got held up in customs for longer than expected. Work will now commence on Monday 28 August. The first area to be tackled will be the carpeted region closest to the door leading to Alligator Bayou as that is the smallest section and will allow the company to evaluate how long the process is likely to take. Then work will continue around the back of the food court, finishing with the section closest to Boatwright's Dining Hall. A new doorway leading directly from the food court into the Boatwright's upper seating area has been installed to help deal with the potential overcrowding issues, especially at breakfast time.

French Quarter's food court flooring is also being refreshed section-by-section at the moment, the project should take a few weeks to complete.

The waterwheel outside the Riverside Mill is currently turned off for maintenance. The water course/trough was repaired and refreshed last year, and now attention is being paid to the wheel itself. The work will take about a month, during which time there will be scaffolding erected along the end of the building. The food court windows facing into the work area have been covered with cladding.

The large carpet rugs in the Riverside lobby are away for cleaning, they should be back in place within the next week or so.

The next round of guest room "soft goods" refurbishments will commence at the beginning of 2018 starting with French Quarter rooms (one building at a time) and then progressing in the middle of the year to Riverside's Alligator Bayou section, and then on the rest of Riverside during 2019. Changes are still to be confirmed, but they will include replacing the existing carpeting with hard flooring, new larger wall-mounted TVs, and the addition of smaller details such as USB sockets for charging mobile devices. More details and dates will be confirmed later.

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