We’ll stop by Port Orleans French Quarter to check in on the refurbished/re-imagined Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory, which closed back in July.
Prior to the refurbishment, you might describe Sassagoula as “a little creepy” or “maybe Josh lives here” with the various Mardi Gras props.
The oversized heads are what does it, I think.
But while the factory vibe remains with the exposed beams, there are very few props to be found now with none hanging down from the ceiling.
Another change is the removal of the usual fountain beverage machines in favor of a total of eight Coke Freestyle machines.
And yes, they are RFID enabled.
One thing that occurred to me is that my dad would never be able to figure out how to use this thing even if you gave him all day and an instruction manual. It’s just not happening. It might have been beneficial to keep one of the legacy dispensers even if it required having a different set of syrups etc.
Not everyone is after Barq’s Diet Lime Root Beer.
Here’s the previous ordering area – it’s perhaps a bit drab with the kind of tile you would expect to see in the attached bathrooms and just a couple purple accents here and there. Do note the small size.
I was kind of shocked to see the size of the new central kiosk, which is part cooler, part shelving unit. It does not leave a lot of room to move around.
And because each station serves a completely different menu, you’re probably going to need to do some moving to see what’s available.
Here’s the dinner menu:
Breakfast features several interesting options as well, including:
- Grilled Steak and Scrambled Eggs – served with Breakfast Potato Casserole – $12.99.
- Wolferman’s English Muffin Breakfast Sandwich – House-smoked Ham, American Cheese, Scrambled Eggs and Maple-Bacon Jam – $6.49.
- Jumbo Sweet Potato Belgian Waffle – topped with Toasted Pecans, Whipped Cream and Apple-Cranberry Compote – $8.99.
- Breakfast Flatbread – Scrambled Eggs, Sausage Gravy, Andouille Sausage, Onions, Peppers and Red Pepper Aoïli – $8.99.
- Pain Perdu – Baguette French Toast, warm Fruit Topping, Powdered Sugar, with choice of Bacon, Sausage or House-smoked Ham – $8.99.
The full menu is available here: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/port-orleans-resort-french-quarter/sassagoula-floatworks-and-food-factory/menus/.
Disney has increased the number of registers, which will hopefully reduce waits. It took me and others more than ten minutes in line holding hot food that was much less hot by the time we completed our transaction. We are decidedly in “count the smiles” territory. And spoiler: there aren’t any.
But the good news is that I think the menu and food are improvements across the board. Keeping in mind that I have literally tried one new entree, but the Prime Rib was cut right off the bone and everything else looked to be fresh. The fried chicken, shrimp & grits, and other items all looked fantastic as well.
I ordered the $12.99 Create-Your-Own Signature Rice Bowl – Choose Pulled Pork, Catfish or Shrimp; Choose Red or Black Beans; Choose Cajun, Dirty or White Rice.
And I can’t remember the last time I was this impressed by a resort quick service. Like Art of Animation, Disney has moved to “real” plates, bowls, and silverware, which are nice touches that add a bit of class to the meal.
I expected the catfish to be a previously frozen, deep-fried afterthought, but it was perfectly poached – flaky and still somehow hot. The red beans and dirty rice had an appreciable spice to them – usually Disney goes mild to reduce the number of returned entrees. But this was fresh, flavorful, and there was a lot of it. And as before, they take Tables in Wonderland, which drops the price 20% if you are a card carrying member.
Overall, eliminating the majority of the hanging props perhaps reduces the character of the space. Disney being Disney, you would think they could have come up with something a little more interesting than “it’s just a factory now.” While Tiana’s Place might not make much sense, perhaps her restaurant was so successful that she opened a hole-in-the-wall fried chicken and gumbo place across town. Maybe next time.
Logistically, hopefully the quick service won’t be so busy that space becomes a bigger issue. Once the cashiers get everything under control and literally every single thing isn’t “new,” it should work itself out. The website will return to see how things are progressing.
But the good news is that the outlook is bullish on the menu and food quality. My signature rice bowl was fantastic.
We’ll take a quick look around while we’re here. One of the reasons why you typically see French Quarter recommended is its small size and single bus stop. Caribbean Beach and Coronado Springs in particular are so spread out.
At French Quarter, you shouldn’t be more than five minutes away from any point of interest, including the bus stop, boat dock, and feature pool.
The addition of the water play area helps elevate the pool complex, though French Quarter remains a step down from the other Moderate pool areas.
But there is perhaps something to say for quaint:
We’ll return to see how things are going and also stop in at Riverside, which also has some interesting things going on.