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.)
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!
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…
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!
Ah well. We’ll see if Disney brings them back or not.
Various industrial touches put further emphasis on the factory over the floatworks.
You can still spy, though, some of the old props lining parts of the wall near the ceiling, but they are used sparingly.
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.
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.
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.
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?)
Here’s a close-up of two of them.
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!
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.
The early bird catches some new breakfast items at Sassagoula!
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.
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.
The Cajun Grit Bowl with Shrimp can be spotted on the menu just under the Freshly-made Custom Omelets.
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!).
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.
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.
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.
I couldn’t resist starting my visit with one of the new items on the breakfast menu: the 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.
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).
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.
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).
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…
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It also differs in that there wasn’t a ton of cinnamon in between the layers, making the molasses the truly prominent flavor.
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.
I really enjoyed every breakfast item I tried. But, alas, when the clock strikes 11:00 am, you know what that means…
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.
Among standard Burgers are also a couple of new specialties: the Cajun King Burger and the Crawfish Mac & Cheese Burger.
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).
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).
Aside from the toppings, the brioche bun in particular stepped this one up a notch.
The flavors came together great, but I couldn’t really taste the sausage, which got lost among the other toppings.
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!
It’s served with a slice of 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.
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…
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!
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.
The Sundaes automatically come topped with raspberry sauce, but you can specify if you’d prefer something different; hence, the caramel you see here.
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.
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.
I went for the Chicory Coffee Mocha Mousse, the Strawberry Shortcake, and Apple Crumble. The Chicory Coffee Mocha Mousse is topped with whipped cream.
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.
The Apple Crumble is actually a small bit of Apple Crumble Cake surrounded by whipped cream.
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!
Oh, wow. The praline had that perfect caramelized brown sugar texture with plenty of pecans mixed in.
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.
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.
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!
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!