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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
The renovation also brought the introduction of Coke Freestyle machines to Sassagoula Floatworks.
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.
The menus at Sassagoula have something for everyone from the Chicken Nugget Set to the Foodie… and all of the Beignet lovers in between!
Create-Your-Own Pasta resides alongside Cajun Bayou Pizza at the Pizza & Pasta Station.
A Power Salad keeps company with Gumbo and Po’ Boys.
And Hand-dipped Ice Cream cozies up to the Beignet Sundae.
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.
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.
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.
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…)
Have you been surprised by a Disney Resort Quick Service meal or treat? Tell us about it in the comments!