Review: The NEW Sassagoula Floatworks & Food Factory at Port Orleans Resort, French Quarter

Are you ready to Let the Good Times Roll? Then join us at the newly reopened Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory!

This Counter Service option for Disney’s Port Orleans Resort — French Quarter closed down for a refurbishment in July. Though not much was known regarding plans for the space, it was assumed — given the four-month closure — that some major changes could be in store. So we were excited to check things out when it opened again to guests on Saturday morning.

Excited… and very curious. After all, Sassagoula Floatworks & Food Factory is known for having one of the most interesting atmospheres of all the Disney Resort food courts. As the name implies, it was themed as a warehouse storing larger-than-life parade props for Mardi Gras, fitting in well at the Resort that pays homage to New Orleans. (If you’d like a little refresher, you can take a tour of what the space looked like here.)

Sassagoula Floatworks & Food Factory Sign

Sassagoula Floatworks & Food Factory Sign

Louisiana cuisine also influenced the menu with unique choices like a selection of Po’ Boys and Gumbo among more standard Counter Service offerings. And no visit to Sassagoula is ever complete without those famous Beignets! (Spoiler Alert: they’re still here! :) )

So let’s check out the updated scene — and FOOD! — at Sassagoula Floatworks & Food Factory!

Atmosphere

Turns out, what we assumed is true. Some major changes have taken place at Sassagoula. What was once home to all sorts of huge, majestic, over-the-top, and, yes, sometimes even a little creepy Mardi Gras parade float props now looks like…

Sassagoula Floatworks & Food Factory interior

Sassagoula Floatworks & Food Factory interior

THIS. Obviously, the warehouse theme is still intact, with the exposed beams and strips of signature French Quarter brick (and the empty ceiling fixtures do help the space seem larger and quite bright). But if those floats really are gone for good, I’m super sad. Yeah, they were creepy; but they added so much atmosphere!

Ceiling

Ceiling

Interior

Interior

Interior

Interior

Ah well. We’ll see if Disney brings them back or not.

Various industrial touches put further emphasis on the factory over the floatworks.

Lighting fixture

Lighting fixture

"Float Crew Only"

“Float Crew Only”

You can still spy, though, some of the old props lining parts of the wall near the ceiling, but they are used sparingly.

Props Near the Ceiling

Props Near the Ceiling

Props Near the Ceiling

Props Near the Ceiling

Longtime French Quarter guests will recognize items such as the enormous strings of Mardi Gras beads, the chess game pieces and playing cards, and the huge crown tucked near the high center.

Props Surrounding the Seating Area

Props Surrounding the Seating Area

Of course, there is a little more to it than that. A look at the walls reveals some New Orleans-themed decor, drawings, and photographs.

Mardi Gras Masks

Mardi Gras Masks

Artwork

Artwork

Closeup on Artwork

Closeup on Artwork

Artwork

Artwork

But overall, the difference is striking compared to what was previously in place. Even the seating has changed from the former mismatched chairs to all-silver.

Table and chairs

Table and chairs

Table and chairs

Table and chairs

Ledge Table and Stools

Ledge Table and Stools

There is one very fun feature that many folks might be excited to see: the Coke Freestyle machines that were available at the temporary food court while the restaurant was being refurbished are now part of the regular options at the redecorated beverage bay. (I have to wonder if we’ll see more of these when Gasparilla Island Grill reopens from its current refurbishment next month?)

Beverage Bay in the Center

Beverage Bay in the Center

Artwork above Beverage Bay

Artwork above Beverage Bay

Tiles on floor by Beverage Bay

Tiles on floor by Beverage Bay

Here’s a close-up of two of them.

Coke Freestyle Machines

Coke Freestyle Machines

And there you have it. I gotta say, I’m surprised that I kinda miss that scary ol’ clown and certain decor items where you just couldn’t miss the obvious, over-the-top Mardi Gras theme. But let’s remember that sometimes Disney adds more touches after they’ve re-opened a space. The ceiling looks pretty stark right now, so I wouldn’t be surprised if we see some decor elements going back up there. Fingers crossed.

Now, the New Orleans vibe was always present in two aspects here: the theme AND the food. So, let’s check that out, too!

Eats

Fortunately there is a LOT more to say about the updated menu at Sassagoula! Since we hit up two meal times — breakfast and lunch — we’ll take this in parts.

Breakfast

The early bird catches some new breakfast items at Sassagoula!

ordering-area_sassagoula_16-04

Cast Members Preparing Breakfast

Okay, you don’t even have to be all that early, since breakfast doesn’t end until 11 am. And that’s good news if you’d like to try some of the new additions tucked in amidst some Counter Service breakfast standards.

Breakfast Menu

Breakfast Menu

Kids' Breakfast Menu

Kids’ Breakfast Menu

These include items like the Crispy-Fried Chicken on a Biscuit with maple-bacon jam and the Jumbo Sweet Potato Belgian Waffle topped with toasted pecans, whipped cream and apple-cranberry compote.

Breakfast Menu

Breakfast Menu

Sweet Potato Waffle ©Disney

Sweet Potato Belgian Waffle ©Disney

Kids' Breakfast Menu

Kids’ Breakfast Menu

The Cajun Grit Bowl with Shrimp can be spotted on the menu just under the Freshly-made Custom Omelets.

Breakfast Menu

Breakfast Menu

More sweet starts to the day include the Molasses-Cream Cheese Cinnamon Roll and House-made Coffee Cake (and, as you can see, it’s still totally your call if you’d like some Beignets for breakfast… or at any other time of day!).

Breakfast Menu

Breakfast Menu

The new Breakfast Po’ Boy is made with scrambled eggs, Andouille sausage, and sautéed peppers and onions. And the Pain Perdu is a French Toast made with a baguette and warm fruit topping.

Breakfast Menu

Breakfast Menu

Pain Perdu ©Disney

Pain Perdu ©Disney

No matter the time of day, grab-and-go options still exist, though on our visit it was pretty much the bare minimum with chips, cereals, and a few pre-packaged salads.

Grab-and-Go

Grab-and-Go

Grab-and-Go

Grab-and-Go

Oh, and the only bottled beverage was water, so if you’re in the mood for a soft drink, it’s got to come from the Freestyle machines in the beverage bay. That’s also where you’ll find the usual coffee, hot cocoa, and iced teas, too.

Beverage Bay

Beverage Bay

Beverage Bay

Beverage Bay

I couldn’t resist starting my visit with one of the new items on the breakfast menu: the Cajun Grit Bowl with Shrimp.

Cajun Grit Bowl with Shrimp

Cajun Grit Bowl with Shrimp

This large bowl of grits mixed with cream sauce is also filled with shrimp, onions, peppers, and tasso ham, then topped with two soft-poached eggs.

Cajun Grit Bowl with Shrimp

Cajun Grit Bowl with Shrimp

I was SUPER impressed with the sheer amount of shrimp and ham (the latter of which was especially flavorful diced into small but thick cuts).

Cajun Grit Bowl with Shrimp

Cajun Grit Bowl with Shrimp

Considering the amount of meat and the thick sauce, this is one seriously filling dish. And because it’s so heavy, I really think this could be shared between two people. It tasted fantastic, and is one of the best quick-service breakfast items I’ve had in some time.

My second savory choice was the new Crispy Fried Chicken on a Biscuit with Maple-Bacon Jam.

Crispy Fried Chicken on a Biscuit

Crispy Fried Chicken on a Biscuit

Fried Chicken

Fried Chicken

Mine is obviously plated, but you can receive it wrapped in paper as well for a grab-and-go-type option (and the texture of the biscuit, which was a little less soft and more grainy than a typical biscuit would also make it easier to handle as you go).

Crispy Fried Chicken on a Biscuit

Crispy Fried Chicken on a Biscuit

OK, so you might be wondering something at this point. “Hey AJ,” you’re asking, “we saw the menu picture of this sammie earlier in the post and it looks like they forgot your Maple-Bacon Jam!!”

Agreed, dear reader. It does look like they forgot it…or that I requested the sandwich sans jam. But neither of those is true! Here, my friends, is the maple-bacon jam on my sandwich…

Maple-Bacon Jam on Biscuit

Maple-Bacon Jam on Biscuit

Wha?!? Hoping this is opening day jitters for the cast members! Ha ha!!!

In any case, they were more than happy to give me more on the side when I asked. And I am really glad because this stuff is seriously good!

Maple-Bacon Jam

Maple-Bacon Jam

The sweet-salty combo elevated this dish from your regular chicken (which tasted great, but wasn’t as crispy as I expected, given the name) to a step above a typical breakfast sandwich. I really enjoyed this one as well.

Crispy Fried Chicken on a Biscuit with Maple-Bacon Jam

Crispy Fried Chicken on a Biscuit with Maple-Bacon Jam

For something sweet, I chose two items, starting with the House-made Coffee Cake. I selected cheese, while the other options are berry or peach.

Cheese Coffee Cake

House-made Cheese Coffee Cake

That little wrapper-box-thingy is pretty much a necessity with this one, due to the abundance of crumb topping which falls off fairly easily.

Crumb Topping

Crumb Topping

The mess, though, is well worth it. The whole cheese danish/coffee cake hybrid gives you the best of both worlds, and you could tell it was very freshly made, to boot.

House-made Cheese Coffee Cake

House-made Cheese Coffee Cake

My final breakfast treat was the Molasses Cream Cheese Cinnamon Roll, which is smaller than most regular cinnamon rolls you’ll find around Disney World.

Molasses Cinnamon Roll

Molasses Cream Cheese Cinnamon Roll

It also differs in that there wasn’t a ton of cinnamon in between the layers, making the molasses the truly prominent flavor.

Inside the Molasses Cream Cheese Cinnamon Roll

Inside the Molasses Cream Cheese Cinnamon Roll

As per usual, I could’ve happily done with more of the icing ;), which was delicious and gave this the end result of tasting like a cinnamon roll without being uber-sweet.

Closeup on Icing

Closeup on Icing

I really enjoyed every breakfast item I tried. But, alas, when the clock strikes 11:00 am, you know what that means…

Lunch

Now, who’s ready for lunch ;) ? Once again, you’ll see plenty of returning choices like the Create-Your-Own Pasta and Pizza on the menu.

Lunch Menu

Lunch Menu

We were also super happy to see the Po’Boys and terrific Gumbo listed along with the new Sassagoula Power Salad and French Quarter House Salad.

Lunch Menu

Lunch Menu

Catfish Po'Boy

Catfish Po’Boy

Chicken Gumbo Close-Up

Chicken Gumbo Close-Up

Kids' Lunch Menu and

Kids’ Lunch Menu and Picture of Power Salad

Among standard Burgers are also a couple of new specialties: the Cajun King Burger and the Crawfish Mac & Cheese Burger.

Lunch Menu

Lunch Menu

Crawfish Mac and Cheese Burger ©Disney

Crawfish Mac and Cheese Burger ©Disney

Kids' Lunch Menu

Kids’ Lunch Menu

I opted for the Cajun King Burger with the Bean Salad and Macaroni Salad as my side choices (other options include French fries, potato chips, and coleslaw).

Cajun King Burger and sides

Cajun King Burger and sides

Bean Salad

Bean Salad

Macaroni Salad

Macaroni Salad

The Cajun King is your standard Counter Service burger patty topped with cheddar cheese, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pickles, andouille sausage and a Creole mustard aioli (this is mayo-based and carries some great garlic flavor).

Cajun King Burger

Cajun King Burger

Cajun King Burger

Cajun King Burger

Aside from the toppings, the brioche bun in particular stepped this one up a notch.

Cajun King Burger

Cajun King Burger

The flavors came together great, but I couldn’t really taste the sausage, which got lost among the other toppings.

Cajun King Burger

Cajun King Burger

A bit unfortunate, since when I tried it on its own it tasted great. All in all, though, a fun addition.

Next up we’re going from a twist on Cajun to a classic: Jambalaya!

Jambalaya

Jambalaya

It’s served with a slice of cornbread.

Cornbread

Cornbread

This classic Cajun dish features diced pieces of chicken and andouille sausage mixed in with peppers, onions and rice, all cooked in a spicy red sauce.

Jambalaya

Jambalaya

I love how they didn’t shy away from the spice here! Similar to the new Grits dish, you get a lot of meat with your portion, but I did think the overall amount of plated Jambalaya was on the small side.

I guess they wanted me to save a little room (ha!) for dessert

Bakery and Gelato Menu

Bakery and Gelato Menu

Tarts in Bakery Case

Tarts in Bakery Case

Cookies in Bakery Case

Cookies in Bakery Case

Mickey Brownies in Bakery Case

Mickey Brownies in Bakery Case

Okay, so we — and pretty much anyone who has ever paid a visit to Port Orleans French Quarter — have had their signature dessert a bajillion-and-one-times: the Beignets!

Beignets and Dipping Sauces!

Beignets and Dipping Sauces!

So this time… we couldn’t resist having them again! We had them in a more recent twist, the Beignet Gelato Sundae. The gelato choices on my visit were vanilla, double chocolate, caramel sea salt and pistachio.

Beignet Sundae

Beignet Sundae

The Sundaes automatically come topped with raspberry sauce, but you can specify if you’d prefer something different; hence, the caramel you see here.

Beignet Sundae

Beignet Sundae

It’s every bit as messy and delicious as you’d imagine. I will say, the beignets themselves on this visit were not the best I’ve had — they were very doughy this go ‘round.

Beignet

Beignet

I’m chocking it up to opening day; it won’t keep me from ordering them again… and again… and again.

And though the Beignets will always top my list of recommendations for Sassagoula treats that should go on your Disney Food Bucket List, I still ordered up a few of the new Dessert Shots, too! You receive three for $6.00, or one for $2.50 if you just crave a small bit of something sweet.

Dessert Shots

Dessert Shots

I went for the Chicory Coffee Mocha Mousse, the Strawberry Shortcake, and Apple Crumble. The Chicory Coffee Mocha Mousse is topped with whipped cream.

Chicory Coffee

Chicory Coffee Mocha Mousse Dessert Shot

The Chicory Coffee Ganache that is an option for the Beignet Dipping Sauces is much more potent than the mousse version. Though you can taste the coffee, it’s not nearly as bitter as the dipping sauce. It comes off with a more subtle mocha flavor.

The Strawberry Shortcake is the classic take: layers of shortcake, sliced strawberries, and whipped cream.

Strawberry Shortcake Dessert Shot

Strawberry Shortcake Dessert Shot

Yum!

The Apple Crumble is actually a small bit of Apple Crumble Cake surrounded by whipped cream.

Apple Crumble Dessert Shot

Apple Crumble Dessert Shot

It was my favorite of the dessert shots, thanks to all the terrific apple flavor in the middle with bits of apple and cinnamon.

One more? Sure, why not? Our final item is the House-made Pecan Praline… a new one to add to the Mickey-shaped Foods file!

House-made Pecan Praline

House-made Pecan Praline

Oh, wow. The praline had that perfect caramelized brown sugar texture with plenty of pecans mixed in.

House-made Pecan Praline

House-made Pecan Praline

It is so good, but also SO sweet. Even though I loved it, those who aren’t SUPER sweet lovers will need to share.

With such a popular item as the Beignets, the dessert choices at Sassagoula have not strayed much outside the norm in previous years, so to see them really expand the choices — including a new Mardi Gras King Cake — is a lot of fun.

Mardi Gras King Cake

Mardi Gras King Cake

Dinner

Again, our visit was midday during the breakfast-into-lunch time. But dinner also includes new options such as a Create-Your-Own Signature Rice Bowl which starts with your choice of Pulled Pork, Catfish, or Shrimp. Next add red or black beans atop your final choice: cajun, dirty, or white rice.

Catfish Bowl

Create-Your-Own Catfish Bowl ©Disney

Also look for the Southern Classic — Meat & Three.  Your choices of Prime Rib, Pork Rack, a Roasted Sustainable Fish option, Fried Chicken, and Barbecue Ribs are accompanied by three side items. Choices here include Mache Choux (roasted corn and pepper), collard greens, mashed potatoes, glazed carrots, macaroni salad, red beans and rice, and mac and cheese.

No matter what you get at dinner, though, be sure you save a little room for dessert. I know I will when I come back for dinner. I still have to try that Warm Chocolate-Caramel Bread Pudding!

Overall

Welcome back, Sassagoula Floatworks & Food Factory! For what the new version of this Counter Service choice lacks (in my opinion) in its updated atmosphere, it more than makes up for with the food. In particular, it was especially interesting to see the creativity behind the new breakfast entrees. But, really, every meal time now offers items that make Sassagoula a place that truly has dishes outside the norm (and if you like this place, you’re gonna love its Riverside Resort neighbor, Boatwright’s!). The chefs and cooks at Sassagoula have come to impress, and I think they’re doing the job with some unique and tasty Counter Service options that offer some real value in terms of food-theming and the amount and quality of ingredients used in the meals.

Even if you’re not staying at Port Orleans Resort, the French Quarter is fairly easily accessible from Disney Springs by a fun boat ride or bus transportation. This updated dining option could provide just the reason you’re looking for to do a little Resort-visiting and enjoy some good food in the process.

What do you think of the new Sassagoula Floatworks & Food Factory? Please let us know with a comment!

Comments

  1. says

    It’s a shame about the atmosphere. That new food court looks dull. But some of the food choices show promise. I guess that’s more important. Hopefully at least some of the old floats can be returned.

  2. Besimple says

    I went just last night and was very impressed with the overall experience. The interior is far more restrained and creates a relaxing, contemporary atmosphere with New Orleans character. I had the cat fish rice bowl with a side of collards. At the rice bowl service station, they have 5 or 6 sous-vide machines. The catfish is served from the sous-vide and was perfectly textured and quite delicious with the flavorful Cajun rice and red beans. In it’s previous incarnation, I used to get the pot roast with a side of the collards. These collards are a major improvement. Way less salty with a surprising amount of heat. Friends had the pork ribs and fried chicken, which were served in huge portions. All was enjoyed with the exception of a side of the collards my friend had, because he doesn’t care for hot food. It was several dollars more expensive, but the food quality is worth it.

  3. CraigInPA says

    Beignets will get chewy and dense with a gummy texture if you over-work the dough. I’d chalk up the poor texture to a learning experience by the maker. He probably over-mixed the dough before putting it into the sheeter and cutting it.

    Shame about them removing most of the theming from the restaurant. The exposed steel looks very industrial and reminds me of the original Pizza Planet.

  4. says

    Well, I have to agree that I’m a little disappointed by the changes in decor, as it does seem a bit stark compared to the way it used to be. But I’m hoping they will, indeed, add a bit more decor as time goes on. I’m sure getting the restaurant up and running once again was a priority over adding extra decor. That said, I’m very happy with the menu updates based on what I see here. Can’t wait to try it out on my own soon.

  5. Louise says

    I’m so upset they have taken the pot roast off the menu. It’s my all time favourite meal in Disney.
    I hope the hot chocolate hasn’t changed to as the best in the world in my opinion. And I’ve hot chocolate in many countries!

  6. Besimple says

    My understanding is that they will rotate the mains, so pot roast will be available some nights. Sort of like the ham or beef at Riverside.

  7. Ronald says

    Really looking forward to trying the new menu out. We weren’t really impressed by it and preferred eating at Riverside before but this might get us to save the trip up the river.

    Brian, in “beef debris”, debris refers to the gravy that the beef is in.

  8. Brenda says

    Ok, I am sad about the decor, it was always such a fun place to see! I am also sad that their tuna salad po boy appears to not be there – for whatever reason their tuna was awesome! But I am looking forward to a bunch of these new options! Shrimp and Grits – finally!!!!

  9. Sarah says

    Not gonna lie, I’m not all that sad to see the creepy heads go. That said, the area does look pretty sparse. Food options look great though- huge improvement! I really wish they had done this refurb before our trip this past June as I’m not sure when I’ll be back. The rice bowls are a nice option, and definitely something I would have tried. I typically get beignets for breakfast, but the chicken sandwich (with the proper amount of jam) looks fantastic.

  10. Shannon says

    Thank you so much for the updated review. My family has been keeping a close eye on this refurb since this is the resort we always stay at when we visit WDW. We were last there just before it closed in July.

    When my kids saw the photos of the updated interior they were disappointed the “floats” were missing from the Floatworks and said it looked boring now. We’re hoping they decide to put a few back in later on. I’m sure they were going for a more clean industrial look, but this lacks the personality that made us fall in love with it in the first place. Really, it now looks many of the generic industrial style restaurant we have at home.

    We’ve always loved the food here and in that respect the update looks just as good, if not better. We can’t wait to give the new options a try! I’m also hoping the crawfish mac and cheese might eventually be available as an entree or a side (fingers crossed).

  11. Jeff says

    I was going to make a special trip over there on my trip next year for lunch and to check out the new atmosphere.
    But it’s so boring now. Why bother?
    I loved those float decorations.
    What a shame!!!

  12. Jennifer G. says

    Decor is meh but the food looks great! And I am glad they didn’t use the infamous “healthy” gumbo recipe from a few months back! Haha

  13. Jake says

    You didn’t notice the price increases as well? I visited here in early June and then again 3 days ago. The price of the chicken dinner rose $3.00. C’mon, man!!!

  14. Vanessa says

    When we went there years ago my son refused to eat inside because he was afraid of the giant heads. Now he says he doesn’t mind them and we are going back next year but oh well, as long as the food is good. :)

  15. Karen Samples says

    WOW! Where is the Mardi Gras atmosphere? Our family has stayed at this resort many times and LOVED eating here. OK to move out some stuff but they went TOO FAR! Please add some New Orleans back. And no pot roast??? When staying at another resort, we came over to Port Orleans just to eat dinner for that delicious pot roast. Updating a restaurant is fine but don’t take the personality out of it. I do like the new chairs.

  16. momo says

    How sad about the atmosphere! I Stayed there in April and loved the place with all the floats, very festive however “creepy” for some. It made the place special. Now it looks like a factory assembly line I worked in for years. I visit Disney for the escape of the mundane.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *