|"Disney has said in the past that it expects to complete its redevelopment of Pleasure Island by 2012."|
-Jason Garcia, 2010
©Orlando Sentinel. All rights reserved.
The shocking news came on June 27, 2008, and many fans were in disbelief. The Adventurers Club was the most beloved club on Pleasure Island by fans. Most took it for granted as if it would always be there. But if history has taught us anything, nothing is safe in a theme park. If you need examples, you need look no further than Jaws, Horizons, and Mr. Toad's Wild Ride. No club would be spared.
Why were the Pleasure Island clubs closed? Kevin Lansberry said guests demanded more "shopping and dining." If you search Disney forums, you will read tall tales of gangs, drugs, shootings, and other vile things. Others will tell you that the clubs lost money, and they will use the tired "Disney is a business" line. From Parkscope's experience, and you can be assured we are well-experienced when it comes to Pleasure Island, we never once witnessed any such violence. As far as profitability, we have been assured that the only real loser was Comedy Warehouse. The Adventurers Club was profitable as were others like Mannequins.
Source: Attractions Magazine, 2008
Part of what made Downtown Disney and Pleasure Island third parties so successful was having night clubs there to attract business. Surely, Paradisio 37 envisioned a vibrant nightlife district when it signed its lease with Disney. Since closure, it has been rumored that Raglan Rd was very unhappy about the lack of foot traffic that resulted from the loss of the clubs. Harley Davidson has since moved to West Side. Pleasure Island is not so pleasurable anymore.
|Hyperion Wharf: Bold, New, Dead|
©Disney. All rights reserved.
Today marks four years since the announcement of the "bold new vision" and all Disney has accomplished is the demolition of two buildings and irreparable harm with fans. Pleasure Island fans will never get over the botched closure, and Disney fans should not be so quick to overlook it either. The ineptitude shown in the handling of Pleasure Island transcends this one instance, it permeates throughout Team Disney Orlando where no one is accountable and every single entity in the resort must justify its existence through profit. The Adventurers Club was never meant or designed to make World of Disney level profits, it was intended to enhance the guest experience while making money (yes, it is a business.)
Walt Disney World built its reputation on special experiences like the Adventurers Club. It was one of those things you could not experience anywhere else. When Pleasure Island first opened, it was full of things you could not experience at your hometown nightclub district. It was chock full of Disney details. There was live music, fireworks, and it was New Years Eve every night. Not everything needs to drive profit or see tremendous gains every year. Some things just need to be there to enhance the guest experience.
Safety, Courtesy, Show, and Efficiency are the four keys of Disney service. Notice, show comes before efficiency or at least it is supposed to. Closing things like Pleasure Island puts efficiency before show, and what does Disney have to show for it? Empty buildings and angry patrons.
To those of you who revel in the closure of Pleasure Island and never miss a chance to remind fans that it is gone and never coming back, what have you gained from this? You have gained nothing, nothing at all. Fans who enjoyed Pleasure Island lost something important to them, and no one got anything in return. Think about that next time you begin to troll someone over Pleasure Island. Reveling in nothingness just makes you look silly. Yes, Disney is a business, but no good business has buildings collecting dust for four years.