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Disney's Dixie Landings Resort
Disney's Dixie Landings Resort
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This moderate-category resort opened on February 2, 1992. It was opened in phases with phase one the opening of the Cajun-inspired Alligator Bayou. The Magnolia Bend plantations followed in the second phase. Dixie Landings was paired with a sister resort next door called Port Orleans. The latter represented the French Quarter of The Big Easy while Dixie Landing was more the rural area, with the plantation buildings and backwoods bayou.
(Photo courtesy of Brotherdave.)
The "Colonel" of Dixie Landings
During the early years of Port Orleans and Dixie Landings, the resorts both published wonderful elaborate "newspapers" that told the backstories of the resorts, as well as information about resort services. The Dixie Landings paper was called "The Sassagoula Times" and featured the story of Jonathon "J.C." Peace. Jonathon got the nickname "Colonel" from his family after he wore his father's army uniform and paraded around the family home. Colonel J.C. married his long time sweetheart Millie and the two moved from Port Orleans and established Magnolia Bend. His home was known as Acadia House, which was the main check in area for the resort. The paper reports that in 1850, the Colonel "with the dedicated assistance of a couple of dozen family men" built the Cotton Mill which later housed the resort's food court.
On March 1, 2001, Dixie Landings became known as Port Orleans Riverside. The original Port Orleans was now referred to as the Port Orleans French Quarter. Letters were sent out to guests explaining the name change but not the reason why. Despite the back story created about the Cotton Mill that stresses it was built by family, there was some speculation that Disney was trying to downplay the plantation setting due to concerns that it might hearken back to slavery days. The Cotton Co-Op Lounge name was also changed during this time to the River Roost Lounge.
The photo above is an example of the name change on the outside food court sign. The top picture was taken in May of 1999. The bottom picture was taken in June of 2002. The photos below show the name makeover on the interior food court sign. This change was accomplished in multiple steps. The top photo was taken in 1998. The middle picture was from March of 2001 and the bottom one was taken in June of 2002. The reference to the resort name was changed first and then the mention of Colonel's Cotton Mill. Notice that the date says 1875, which contradicts the timeline of 1850 listed in the "Sassagoula Times". Also notice that the Riverside Mill photo has a magnolia flower replacing the cotton boll and the cotton bales have been replaced with what looks like hay and other barrels.
There was also some speculation that Dixie Landings was a more popular resort that Port Orleans and had a higher occupancy rate. Perhaps Disney changed the name so it would be easier to book guests into the original Port Orleans, while claiming that both hotels were the "same" since they had the same name. A variety of merchandise was made with the old resort name, including a refillable Song of the South mug. t-shirts, coffee cups, drink glasses, keychains and pins. Early issues of "The Sassagoula Times" are also highly desirable due to the detailed backstories they provide on all the buildings.
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See ya real soon!