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|Food Court Rehab - Port Orleans French Quarter|
Friday, November 8, 2003
For years, the food court at Port Orleans French Quarter has been my least favorite place to eat in all of Walt Disney World, and a big part of the reason I hated staying at this resort. During my last stay, I walked to Port Orleans Riverside (Dixie Landings at the time) for breakfast after the first day because eating at French Quarter was such a miserable experience!
Diners had to decide on, order, and pay for their food before entering the area where the food was picked up. This often resulted in long lines, and prevented people from being able to see the items before ordering. While this clearly is not one of society's biggest problems, when you are on vacation, who needs the headache of starting the day in a line for the privilege of ordering what was basically mediocre and ordinary food?
Following the terrorist events of September 11, 2001, Disney made the decision to close the entire Port Orleans French Quarter Resort. Occupancy was down, with people canceling their trips, so Disney closed the resort. While closed, Disney refurbished the food court, and I was pleased to find it is significantly improved now!
The food court, called the Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory, is now much brighter and inviting. Customers walk into the food stations area and can see the actual food before deciding what to order. Payment is made on the way to the table after picking up all of the desired items, which is a big improvement. It would be nice if they had designed this food court to be like the Pepper Market at Coronado Springs, where you pay for your food after eating so it is not getting cold while you stand there paying. However, there are several registers in the area and it is not a very large resort, so hopefully the lines during peak times will not be too bad. During my visit it was early dinnertime, and the area was not busy at all.
There are still several different food stations that offer a variety of menu selections. In addition to the usual fare found in almost all Disney counter service establishments, there are also a few items that fit the New Orleans theme. Chicken jambalaya, Cajun pork loin, muffaletta, and of course, beignets are all available.
I was pleased to see Disney has made use of the electronic menu signs similar to the ones introduced in the food court at All-Star Movies. Half of the sign is a fixed menu that lists items and prices, with pictures of some items. The other half is a changing slide show that rotates larger pictures of each menu item. Being able to actually see the item makes a bid difference to me, and it also provides an idea of how large or small the item will be.
The seating area seemed a bit more attractive on this visit as well, but I could not determine if any significant changes had been made. They still have the Mardi Gras props hanging from the walls and ceiling, but it did not seem as harsh of an atmosphere as it had in the past. Perhaps the improved lighting in the food stations area was enough to change the feel of the rest of the area as well.
The beverage station is quite large, which should reduce congestion during busy periods. The food court is small enough that no table is very far from the beverages and condiments. The swimming pool is a short stroll away, making this a good place to grab a quick meal while enjoying a day in the sun.
Overall I am very pleased with the result of Disney's refurbishment, and if my future plans include a stay at Port Orleans French Quarter I will look forward to being able to enjoy a quick food court meal without having to leave the resort!
Sue has been hooked on Walt Disney World since her first visit in 1972 with her parents and younger brother. She kept returning more frequently until she moved to Florida in 1986.
After joining the Disney Vacation Club (DVC) in 1997, she now visits almost monthly. She also spends time at the DVC's non-WDW locations, and is experienced with the Disney cruise ships.
She takes many of these trips on her own, but she's also toured WDW with large groups of people, including families, the elderly, and people with disabilities.
She works as the Administrative Services Division Head for a large residential facility administered by the Florida Department of Children and Families. She currently resides in Southwest Florida with her teenage son.
Sue is one of our most prolific trip report writers. Read her trip report archive here.
You can contact Sue here.
Get the latest info about the resort at Park Update: Walt Disney World.
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