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

It’s not every day that I am surprised by a Quick Service meal at Walt Disney World.

But Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory at Port Orleans Resort — French Quarter has done just that!

French Quarter is the sister Resort to Port Orleans, Riverside, and while both are located along the picturesque Sassagoula River and share boats that carry guests to and from Disney Springs, the Resorts’ personalities are markedly different.

Riverside has a down-home, relaxed, on-the-bayou feel, with the Riverside Mill Food Court capturing the industrial spirit of New Orleans. The French Quarter, on the other hand, features the ornate wrought iron and colorful architecture of the French Quarter in New Orleans, while dancing jesters and musical alligators dotting the landscape provide more than a hint of whimsy.

The French Quarter’s primary dining option — alongside Scat Cat’s Club, where you can often catch live tunes along with your drink, and Mardi Grogs, the pool bar — is Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory. This quick service food court used to wow (and kinda creep out) guests with its massive Mardi Gras float decor suspended from the ceiling. It was colorful and busy with something new to discover on every visit.

Sassagoula Floatworks

Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory

A 2016 renovation gave Sassagoula Floatworks a total overhaul, so let’s check out what the space looks like now once again before we grab a bite to eat.

Atmosphere

The colorful, oversized Mardi Gras props that used to hang from the ceiling from wall to wall still take some part in the Floatworks decor, only on a much more subdued level. Last year’s renovation delivered a more simplified and industrial design to the food court. Guests were torn about the change, with some lamenting the loss of such over-the-top theming, while others appreciated the streamlined and less markedly terrifying look. Either way, there is still color in concentrated amounts, and Mardi Gras details remain present (if much less conspicuous).

Mardi Gras decor makes an appearance

Mardi Gras decor makes an appearance

We visited the newly renovated spot on its reopening day, and since then, further enhancements have been added to the decor, with the introduction of some art installations and Mardi Gras beads, all hung from the open, ‘factory-like’ ceiling.

Glass bottle art

Glass bottle art

More glass bottle art

Glass ‘bead’ artwork

Umbrellas

Umbrellas

It’s fun to see a touch of those “larger than life” accents return.

The ordering area itself was likewise simplified (though it’s always been smaller than other Moderate Resort food courts). Black and white tile floors lead to arched food stations, each with an LED menu board.

Food Court

Food Court

A Grab and Go island in the center of the court contains a variety of drinks and snacks, plus the Resort Refillable Mugs, of course.

Grab and Go Island

Grab and Go Island

The renovation also brought the introduction of Coke Freestyle machines to Sassagoula Floatworks.

Coke Freestyle Machines

Coke Freestyle Machines

But while the food court saw a dramatic change, the menu at Sassagoula Floatworks stayed true to its N’awlins roots while enhancing some of its regular offerings.

Eats

The menus at Sassagoula have something for everyone from the Chicken Nugget Set to the Foodie… and all of the Beignet lovers in between!

Menu Highlights

Menu Highlights

Create-Your-Own Pasta resides alongside Cajun Bayou Pizza at the Pizza & Pasta Station.

Pasta Menu

Pasta Menu

A Power Salad keeps company with Gumbo and Po’ Boys.

Salads and Sandwiches

Salads and Sandwiches

Po'Boys

Po’Boys

And Hand-dipped Ice Cream cozies up to the Beignet Sundae.

Sweets

Sweets

And HERE is where Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory surprised me. Because, frankly, neither of the items I ordered really looked all that appealing when I received them. But, thankfully, I pressed on…

For my entree I went with Jambalaya, a traditional Louisiana rice dish featuring chicken and andouille sausage. I love Jambalaya, and the version at Boatwright’s next door is one of my favorites. Upon presentation, it looked dry and bland.

Jambalaya

Jambalaya

However, upon hitting the taste buds, it really delivered some terrific flavor! I love the Cajun seasoning of the rice, and the andouille sausage carried a hint of spice. Though it may not quite live up to the Jambalaya at Boatwright’s Dining Hall, for a Counter Service option? I say, heck, yeah! I couldn’t stop eating it!

For dessert, I snagged a House-made Mickey Praline. When we enjoyed this previously, it had a nice, golden hue, and I was looking forward to it again. But this time, it appeared that the sugar had crystalized, which I expected would give the Praline an unpleasant gritty texture.

Pecan Praline

Pecan Praline

But that wasn’t the case! It wasn’t gritty at all. It was still crazy good, with that sweetness of the brown sugar balanced by the nutty pecans. Small, but rich and even a bit decadent. Plus… MICKEY! My personal favorite pal to join me down here in N’awlins :) .

Nosh or Not?

You’ll want to float on over to Sassagoula Floatworks & Food Factory if:

  • You’re staying at Port Orleans — French Quarter or Riverside and want to grab a tasty quick service meal.
  • You never skip Beignets on your Disney vacation, and want to try some additional Louisiana-inspired eats.
  • You enjoy leisurely boat rides and find yourself on the Sassagoula River Cruise from Disney Springs.

You might want to go another direction if: 

  • You don’t plan on spending time at the Port Orleans Resorts.
  • Quick Service, even when it’s nicely amped up, isn’t your thing.
  • You want to try the more diverse offerings at nearby Disney Springs instead.

Overall

On this trip, I ate at both Riverside Mill Food Court and Sassagoula Floatworks & Food Factory. And while Riverside’s meal looked a whole lot more impressive, I have to say that my meal at Sassagoula is one that I would actually make a point to eat again, even if I’m not in the area for any other reason. My sentimental side may miss a bit of the old design of the food court itself, but as far as the food goes? I’m still totally down with the renovation here one year later. We’re all still rollin’ in the good times at Sassagoula Floatworks & Food Factory!

(Oh, and if you were wondering what was so scary about the previous incarnation of the food court…)

Look familiar?

Look familiar?

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Have you been surprised by a Disney Resort Quick Service meal or treat? Tell us about it in the comments! 

Comments

  1. Lindsay says

    Hi AJ! This is really exciting to see because we are staying at the French Quarter in April! Do you know if the Coke Freestyle machines have timers on them for the refillable mugs like the previous fountain machines did? I’m trying to understand how they will work with the mugs, and if you will be able to switch and mix flavors before it times out and blocks you for a few minutes.

  2. says

    While I absolutely LOVE Coke Freestyle machines, these things seem like a TERRIBLE idea in Disney theme parks and resorts. These restaurants/food courts/etc. are having to serve thousands of people an hour, and the Freestyle machines are NOT conducive to quick service. Are Freestyle machines the norm everywhere now, or just at hotels, not theme parks? Can you speak to how traffic is around these machines?

  3. DebC says

    What they are calling a king cake is nothing at all like a true king cake. They have a bundt cake with a bit of colored icing, no purple, gold and green sugars at all. King cake is not a bundt cake.

    I also had the jambalaya and thought it was pretty good. I also like the sweet corn bread that was served with it.

  4. says

    Reminder for plant-based eaters from another DFB review that you can get vegan beignets here and even Tofutti to have the whole beignet sundae. There are also Beyond Meat burgers available. Can’t wait to try both treats this coming week! Thanks, AJ!

  5. Essie says

    I can believe that a lot of kids are quite glad that huge face is gone! We have Coke freestyle machines in convenience stores where I live. They move good now that people are used to them, but some elderly and immigrant people are confused by them.

  6. DFB Sarah says

    Lindsay, they do respond to the RFID on cups and mugs. We didn’t see anyone having trouble with timing out, but that’s a good question. We’ll dig into it.

  7. Eric M says

    Do you know if they’ve changed the waffle recipe in the last couple years? We were just at FQ last week and both the kids and fullsize waffles had exceptionally hard exteriors. Not crispy, hard like a rock. The interior texture seemed OK, but it took some serious effort to break into them. After a couple attempts the first few days, no one ordered them the rest of the week.

  8. DFB Sarah says

    Eric, we haven’t heard of any changes. Maybe there’s something up with the execution at FQ. Bummer!

  9. says

    While we haven’t been to Disney French Quarter in about 2 years, I do remember the food being quite good then. And the beignets were comparable what you could get in the real French Quarter.

    Tyler @ The Traveling Toddler

  10. Zumatree says

    One thing I would add to your “not” list: If you live in New Orleans. I’ve seen worse dishes with labels like “Cajun” or “Creole,” but I can’t imagine wasting a Disney dining experience on mediocre attempts of what I can get here at home!

  11. JeffM says

    I’ve noticed the Disney World website does not list the Po Boy Shop for lunch/dinner at Sassagoula Floatworks.
    I will assume this is an oversight? I’m really looking forward to having a Po Boy (or two) when I visit in mid-May.

  12. DFB Sarah says

    JeffM, it was still on menu boards on our last visit, but we’ll be checking this out again soon!

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