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Visit Orlando's "Magical Dining Month" includes Boatwright's

Posted Monday 10th July 2017, 12:44pm (EDT) by The Sassagoula Sentinel

Visit Orlando's annual "Magical Dining Month" will be occurring in September, and this year Boatwright's Dining Hall at Port Orleans Riverside will be included as one of the restaurants participating in the event.

Magical Dining is a month-long program (with a special preview week starting August 25) that ends on October 1, where participating restaurants feature three-course, prix fixe dinners at the special price of $35 per person. Each three-course dinner includes several choices of appetizer, entrée and dessert selected from the restaurant's regular menu. Tax and gratuity are not included, and you can book directly with Disney exactly as normal. No special vouchers are required, simply tell your server that you'd like to take advantage of the offer. One dollar from each meal will benefit a local charity - Freedom Ride or BASE Camp Children's Cancer Foundation.

It seems like a great deal - General Fulton's Prime Rib alone would otherwise cost you $34 at regular menu prices. For more details, see http://www.visitorlando.com/magicaldini ... all/46025/

Choice of Appetizers
Amelia’s Salad
fresh greens, seasonal ingredients, and house vinaigrette

Mardi Gras Fritters
house-made pimiento cheese fritters with pepper jelly

Crawfish Bisque
traditional-style bisque with crawfish tails, a touch of sherry, finished with crème fraîche

Choice of Entrées
Jackson Square Etouffee
crawfish simmered in rich seafood sauce over rice

Chicken and Dumplings
pan-seared chicken breast, hand-rolled potato dumplings, mixed vegetables, and cream sauce

General Fulton’s Prime Rib
slow-roasted prime rib with our specialty crafted chicory-coffee blend, mashed potatoes, seasonal vegetables, and horseradish cream

Choice of Desserts
Crème Brûlée

Seasonal Sorbet

Bourbon Street Pecan Pie


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July 2017 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules

Posted Thursday 29th June 2017, 12:19pm (EDT) by The Sassagoula Sentinel

The July 2017 Recreation Activities and Movie Schedules for Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter are now available, including Independence Day events. See the main Recreation Activities Schedules page for full-size printable PDF versions.

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 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 resumed on 19 June and 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.

Some other activities to watch out for (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).

Independence Day (Tuesday 4th July) Activities

Note: There is no afternoon Barbecue event occurring on Ol’ Man Island this year.

Ol’ Man Island (Riverside)
  • 1:00pm Beach Ball Boom!
  • 1:30pm Red, White & Water Balloon Games
  • 2:00pm Watermelon Eating Contest
  • 3:00pm Star Spangled Scavenger Hunt
  • 3:30pm All-American Pool Party
  • 4:30pm Mickey Tie-Dye ($)
  • 6:30pm–7:30pm Stars, Stripes & S’Mores! Join us at our evening campfire for complimentary marshmallows with s’mores kits available for purchase.
  • 8:30pm–9:30pm Red, White & Glow Pool Party. Join us as we light up the night to celebrate the Fourth of July with our Red, White & Glow Pool Party! There will be lights, dancing, games and prizes for all!
Doubloon Lagoon pool (French Quarter)
  • 1:00pm Beach Ball Boom!
  • 1:30pm Mickey Tie-Dye ($)
  • 3:00pm Red, White and Blue Balloon Toss
  • 3:30pm Patriotic Pool Party
  • 4:30pm Watermelon Eating Contest
  • 5:30pm Stars and Stripes Scavenger Hunt
  • 6:30pm Backyard Bash Lawn Games (on French Quarter Green, by buildings 5 & 6)
  • 7:00pm All-American Campfire (on French Quarter Green, by buildings 5 & 6)
  • 8:30pm Light Up the Night: Red, Blue and White Pool Party

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 playing all of his regular shows throughout June, July and most of August. However he 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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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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