Port Orleans News

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Port Orleans Riverside Reopening Summary - 14 October 2021

Posted Saturday 16th October 2021, 12:00pm (EDT) by The Sassagoula Sentinel

It’s now been a few days since Port Orleans Riverside reopened its doors to guests after a 572 day closure. Here's a summary of what happened, and what we know so far.


Port Orleans Riverside reopened at 6am on Thursday 14th October, when room confirmation text messages went out to guests who had already registered via online checkin. The first guest to walk down the ceremonial red carpet and check in at the front desk was vlogger GooToYou (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4-s59-gjLI) who received a Welcome Basket from the cast members. He was followed by friend of our site Stefanie D’Oria, and the next but one was regular Port Orleans stalwart John Schmidt.

By 9am around 70 rooms had checked in, and by the end of the day around 420 rooms were occupied (planned for approx 21% of total potential occupancy). Building 80, and of all of the ‘30’s Alligator Bayou buildings, have not yet been reoccupied. There will be a gradual ramping up of occupancy to around 90% over the coming days.

The Riverside Mill food court was open from 7am with both in-person selections and mobile pre-ordering via the My Disney Experience app available. The Muddy Rivers pool bar opened at 11am, and the River Roost Lounge started serving at 5pm. Fulton’s General Store opened at 8am, but with several empty wallbays awaiting the arrival of new stock. Boatwright’s Dining Hall is not expected to reopen until Christmas or early next year.

The Sassagoula River Ferries were running from 10am on opening day, connecting Port Orleans guests with the Marketplace Dock in Disney Springs (the only dock currently open). The service to French Quarter will recommence on 28th October with the opening of the resort.

“Ye Haa” Bob Jackson performed his first show back at the River Roost Lounge in 19 months to a huge and rapturous crowd. The first tables were taken by around 9am, and by 2:30pm most of the Lounge was full. By showtime, there wasn’t a seat to be had and people were standing around the edges of the Lounge and in the corridors. Multiple vloggers and streamers were present, and you can watch a full replay of the show at https://youtu.be/jd_WkrJgSCE?t=9346. Bob will be performing his regular nights at the River Roost, Wednesday-Saturday at 8:30pm.

Most Recreation activities were operating from day one, including poolside games, craft activities, hair braiding, the Fishin' Hole, Cycle and Surrey Bike Rentals, the Campfire on de’ Bayou, and Movies Under the Stars. One notable exception was the horse-drawn carriage rides, which are not expected to return until perhaps February next year.

The Royal Room refurbishment programme, which was due to have started back in April 2020, did not continue during lockdown and it is still on hold. They have taken the opportunity to do refresh work all the buildings, paintwork, etc. There has also been some fairly major landscaping work undertaken, mostly in the Alligator Bayou area where a lot of older/denser trees have been removed and replaced with new vegetation or saplings.

There were a few minor teething difficulties with some of the EPOS till systems and supplies to Muddy Rivers pool bar, but overall things went very smoothly for what amounted to a completely fresh resort opening.
Cast Member energy was described as “off the chart” on opening day, and it was contagious. So many returning CMs seem genuinely excited by their return to the Port.

Congratulations to all the Management and Cast Members who made this all happen, and WELCOME BACK!


Sassagoula River Cruise ferries confirmed as returning for Port Orleans re-opening

Posted Thursday 30th September 2021, 8:15pm (EDT) by The Sassagoula Sentinel

We've now received confirmation of the news we reported a few weeks ago via our Facebook group: the Sassagoula River Cruise ferries will commence operations again from 1st October, initially running from Disney Springs to Saratoga Springs Resort and Old Key West Resort.

The Port Orleans service will recommence as soon as the resorts reopen - so from 14 October for Port Orleans Riverside, and 28 October for Port Orleans French Quarter.

The operating timetable will be as before, 10am-11:30pm.

"Ye Haa" Bob Jackson will be returning to Port Orleans Riverside

Posted Thursday 9th September 2021, 4:00pm (EDT) by The Sassagoula Sentinel

After a long, loooong, 18 months away from Port Orleans Riverside during the resort's closure, we can confirm that popular evening entertainer "Ye Haa" Bob Jackson was officially contacted by Disney a few hours ago, and he will be back on stage at the River Roost Lounge for his usual sets right from the re-opening date, Thursday 14th October.

Disney hasn't confirmed yet whether the shows will continue to be the same regular four nights as before - Wednesday to Saturday - but currently that is the assumption. Also it remains to be seen how many of the usual activities and fun shenanigans will be possible during the shows to start with. There could well be restrictions on audience participation, and even potentially the need for Bob to wear a mask. More information should be available closer to the re-opening date.

[Update] Bob's shows have been confirmed as being on Wednesday to Saturday, 8:30-midnight, exactly as before. What is not clear yet is whether guests from outside the Port Orleans resorts will be welcome, as some resorts are still only allowing their own hotel guests into their secure parking areas. That probably won't stop external guests from arriving via the Disney bus system though.

Note: Bob has a prior work commitment on Saturday 16th October so won't be on stage at the Port that night.

Bob has said that he will also continue with his Sunday afternoon live-streams for fans who cannot attend the resort in person. See the live video announcement on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/yehaabob/video ... 8981734059



'Lightning Lane' on Disney Genie+ replaces FastPass+

Posted Thursday 19th August 2021, 6:58am (EDT) by The Sassagoula Sentinel

We were all expecting it of course, but Disney has now confirmed via a Blog Post that booking up to three attraction times 60 days in advance via the free FastPass+ service is now officially a thing of the past.

Instead, Disney are "incredibly excited" to let guests know that they will now have the opportunity to pay an extra $15 per person per day to be able to reserve the next available ride time at a variety of attractions during their visit. Unlike FastPass+, only one reservation can be active at any given time, and the ability to make your first booking will commence at 7am for on-site hotel guests, or upon actual park admission for anyone else. The ability to reserve a ride time for another park (if you plan to park hop) is included.

There will also be a further 'opportunity' to pay an additional extra surcharge - varying by attraction, park and date - to reserve slots for up to two specific high-demand attractions that are not available via the regular Genie+ service. As an example, the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at the Magic Kingdom was mentioned, but further details and prices will be released shortly before the system goes live sometime in the Fall. Just don't expect it to be any sort of a bargain.

I suppose it was inevitable that Disney would need to find ways to recoup some of the millions it lost during the COVID closures and restrictions beyond just ramping up the hotel prices, and in all honesty we all knew who was going to end up picking up the tab.

Booking Category Changes - no more 'Royal Room Pool View'

Posted Wednesday 18th August 2021, 12:00pm (EDT) by The Sassagoula Sentinel

When bookings became available for the Port Orleans Resorts last month (Riverside for stays commencing 14 October, French Quarter from 28 October) there were a couple of anomalies that we initially discussed in our Facebook Group.

First, for Port Orleans Riverside rooms, the old Garden View booking category has been replaced with a Woods View option instead. This appears to simply be a direct name change, and you will probably still get the same rooms as you would have done before. Port Orleans French Quarter rooms retain their original Garden View naming.

Presumably some guests who booked a "Garden" view were disappointed when they got an Alligator Bayou room overlooking a swampy forest area instead of seeing neatly manicured courtyard lawns out of their window. I suspect the reverse may happen now though if anyone was hoping for a wilderness style experience, but short of creating two separate categories the wording change probably manages expectations rather better than before.

The second change seemed initially like a database glitch, but it now seems much more likely to be a permanent change. When post-COVID bookings first went live, the Royal Room Pool View category did not show any availability at all for any dates in 2021/22. Even when checking sample dates throughout that whole period the room type was always shown in the results list, but never with any booking availability - not even for a single night. This sort of issue has occasionally happened before when the reservations system releases large blocks of inventory at one time, but several weeks later the issue had not been corrected and the category was still showing with no guest availability at all. I contacted WDW to ask about this, and after looking into it they recently came back to me saying that the category no longer exists on their internal systems either. Since then, even the name has been removed from the online booking pages.

It is now fairly safe to assume that booking a specific Pool View for a Royal Room is no longer a possibility, and I've updated the site info and pricing pages accordingly. Most likely these rooms will have been re-categorised as Royal Room Woods View like their neighbours. In some ways this is a pretty trivial change as it was by far the smallest booking category, covering only 36 individual rooms, most of which didn't even give particularly good access to the Oak Manor/Parterre Place leisure pool. However because of the layout of the Royal buildings it was a handy way to secretly guarantee a short walk from a mansion building to the main buildings, rather like the Preferred Location category for the Alligator Bayou rooms. I somehow doubt it will be missed much in the grand scheme of things though.


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