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  1. #46

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    Re: 7/3: The Party's Over

    Does anybody remember the villas that used be over by the Marketplace? There were a variety of accomodations -- the Treehouse Villas, Fairway Villas, and I think something called "Club Lake Suites." We often stayed in the latter. Once Pleasure Island opened, the midnight fireworks and live music from the West End Stage really got to my mother when we were in a villa that faced the Marketplace and PI. (Granted she's, shall we say, more sensitive than normal people...but you could hear the music and fireworks in the villas.)

    There have been a lot of comments about the elimination of the fireworks and live music on the street simply being due to budget, but has anybody considered that some of these cutbacks may have been (also) driven by the building of Saratoga Springs - where people don't just stay for a few nights, but actually (may) have an ownership stake?

    Brett

  2. #47

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    Re: 7/3: The Party's Over

    Quote Originally Posted by brettb View Post
    ...There have been a lot of comments about the elimination of the fireworks and live music on the street simply being due to budget, but has anybody considered that some of these cutbacks may have been (also) driven by the building of Saratoga Springs - where people don't just stay for a few nights, but actually (may) have an ownership stake?
    Interesting theory, Brettb, however there is no ownership right entitled to DVC members. Disney has gone to great lengths to make sure that they maintain full autonomy over their land, and they pride themselves on not needing to need any public approval before launching new projects. Anytime that there was a risk of the general public getting a say in what Disney does, that area was quickly deannexed (e.g., the college program apartments, Celebration) so the only people living on Disney property are actually Disney management employees.

    Now even though Disney has no legal requirement urging them to respond to the noise concerns from people staying at SS, I really can't see how someone deciding to spend their annual vacation week at SS didn't notice the major nightclub/shopping district directly across from where they stay. Even if a few guests complained to management about the noise, Disney would more than come out ahead by moving their home resort to Old Key West rather than eliminate the ability to collect alcohol sales after midnight. Also, if this theory held, then what of those that stay at the Boardwalk? It too is above an entertainment district.

    As I stated above, the only way I see any of this making sense is if they clearly want to make the new Western Way project the one that serves the locals.

  3. #48

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    Re: 7/3: The Party's Over

    Quote Originally Posted by gatorgrad View Post
    Now even though Disney has no legal requirement urging them to respond to the noise concerns from people staying at SS, I really can't see how someone deciding to spend their annual vacation week at SS didn't notice the major nightclub/shopping district directly across from where they stay. Even if a few guests complained to management about the noise, Disney would more than come out ahead by moving their home resort to Old Key West rather than eliminate the ability to collect alcohol sales after midnight. Also, if this theory held, then what of those that stay at the Boardwalk? It too is above an entertainment district.
    I didn't mean to imply that the shuttering of all the nightclubs was a decision influenced by Saratoga Springs - just that two specific features, the nightly fireworks, and the *outdoor* musical entertainment were eliminated sometime around the opening of SS. I'm not at all sure of the time line, but if you were trying to sell ownership interests in a new resort, having DJ's or bands going thump-thump-thump just across the lake isn't the best selling point. (Yes, I know DVC is a long term lease, but in many ways it does resemble an ownership interest, and it's not at all in the same league as booking a hotel room for a week.) It's not about people noticing the "the major nightclub/shopping district" across the lake and Disney's responsibility after the fact. It's about Disney being aware that guests at the Villas complained about the noise after PI opened and somebody thought it might make good business sense to address that (i.e. the fireworks and outside music) when opening a new DVC property within thumping distance. And the elimination of those PI features contributed to its decline, which Disney finally responded to by closing the clubs....

    As for the Boardwalk, I have no idea what the noise levels are like there at midnight. But it seems to me that the entertainment district at Boardwalk is a feature, not an undesireable intrusion from a distant outdoor ruckus, which is what PI could have been to SS owners.

    Brett

  4. #49

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    Re: 7/3: The Party's Over

    My husband referred me to Kevin's article, and I just read it for the first time today.

    If anyone understands and appreciates the four "Indiana Jones" movies, combined with British dry wit and exaggeration about travels and exploits in the African bush, or did dangerous but exciting archeaology and told tales of that over drinks, especially tall tales and highly embellished tales, if anyone ever had stories to tell but couldn't afford to join a "private, exclusive club" or had the "connections" to join such a club in order to find like-minded others, that is the basic "high concept" of what The Adventurer's Club is supposed to be about. Only with this club, they are not so choosy as to who "joins". If you're there, smiling, enjoying yourself, then surely you are "one of them" and you are inducted into the wink-wink nudge-nudge of it during one of the regular skits they do. It's easy to belong here, they just welcome you in, and if you like it, they swear you in as a member, and that's it. Usually takes about two hours or so of staying in there, taking in the skits, knowing they do the same thing every night, Walt's "wink" is there telling you to not take this seriously or personally, just roll with it. After two or three hours, and even under the influence of Sprite or Coke or water, you can "get it" well enough. Helps if you've seen "Indiana Jones" and like the rich detail of the characters in those movies, or old time movies where safari goers pause for a brandy after a long day in the African bush, or Lawrence of Arabia, or if you understand the thrill of discovery that Carter had when he found King Tut's tomb in Egypt. And dry British wit kind of a thing. If you spent that amount of time in there, still didn't get it, it might be you've never seen explorers' exploits or the tales of those exploits being built up and exaggerated, dry British type wit and storytelling spinning, movies of a certain world explorer nature. Or maybe if you had none of that in your pop cultural background or if you did it just wasn't your cup of tea. In which case it's just a matter of "you can't please 'em all". That's fine. If you still had to work to understand it, it maybe other clubs in the district would have appealed more. So something at Pleasure Island may have been there for you if Adventurer's Club lacked appeal. Then again, maybe Adventurer's Club was a place to go for a segment of audience who like storytelling and humor and don't want to move club to club, but skit to skit and explore an interesting building as well as have adult beverages. Adventurer's Club filled a needed niche, and I beleive had and still does have a place for adult visitors.

    Probably a mix of stuff going on: "It's a museum, not a theme park" kicking in and Disney didn't work to keep the concept fresh when new generations of audiences were changing, due to "bar hopping" if you don't get a concept right away move on to the next bar rather than invest the longer term time into viewing all their skits, other areas of Orlando building better competitive mouse traps, families not willing or affording to use and pay for on-site child care services for a night out without the kids, probably other things happening, too.

    The last time husband and I were at Adventurer's Club was in March-April 2005, and we had our then 9-year old son with us. I was embarrassed, at the time, son had to hear some of the language, but son was savvy and otherwise got into the dry British wit "balderdash" style of telling tall travel tales and that the artifacts of expeditions on the walls talked and that the bartender worked "magic" on the barstools. Son never saw a public place like that appeal to the imagination like that, and he overall loved it in there, despite the adult language (he overlooked it and tuned it out).

    But the Adventurer's Club of March-April 2005 was not the Adventurer's Club I remembered and loved from the early-mid 1990s. Something, I don't know what, was missing. The dry wit and winking humor just wasn't the same as it was when the concept was first opened to the public. It didn't sell souvenirs, either, like the original version of the Adventurer's Club did. Used to sell very cool T-shirts and shirts and hats and other souvenirs, it's own marketing. That stopped, apparently, before March-April 2005. Souvenirs are a form of more extensive marketing. You advertise the place when you don the attire. If they stopped selling souvenirs, the appeal of the club may have been waning before that time frame. And it was a matter of time until 2008 and this decision from Disney was made to make changes. No one wearing the merchandise to who others how cool the place was, the marketing disappeared, the public education what the club was about eroding... No wonder a new generation of patrons may have been confused or bored and felt left out of it.

    Having a night club with a twist to it, not just the customary "sitting, listening to live music, dancing to anything, and drinking" can have it's own appeal to a certain type of audience.

    Market it right, and they will come if it's meant to be. Hide it under a bushel basket, no one will grasp the concept of it as unique and different, and they might visit, but then leave and not return.

    Downtown Disney in California doesn't have night clubs, but they do have bars in the restaurants and some outdoor bars, and live music placed here and there along the promanade of shops and eateries and the movie theatre. People can stop, listen for as long as they are enjoying, then move on. Families with children can get some entertainment, or keep walking as they might choose. It wasn't rowdy when we were there in March 2008. It was low key but far from boring, but it was much more "sedate" than the Pleasure Island concept is/was. Maybe this is what Disney might want to move Pleasure Island more towards: A promenade at night to listen to a variety of styles, also to relax and unwind and get a drink, do interesting shopping, get dinner.

    "Comedy clubs" have a reputation as being potty mouthed, whether deserved or not. Maybe some audiences were reluctant to patronize Comedy Warehouse, thinking it was crude, when maybe it wasn't all that "adult" in nature. Comedy Warehouse used to put some satire and poking fun at Disney, at least that is how it was in the early-mid 1990s the last time I was there. If it's changed since then, I don't know what it's like today. Used to be it was "adult" but not "dirty" in tone, but that was a decade ago or more. The place used to be filled back then.

    I hope there is support to preserve Comedy Warehouse and Adventurer's Club. If those who liked these places wrote to Disney or signed the online petitions at least Disney would know there is some ardent constituency in their audience for these places, and maybe could find a way to reinvent those concepts in other places that might work out better.

    Find the petitions and addresses within either Kevin's article or this chat forum, and if you are so moved sign, or write letters, and let's see if Disney will respond to many fans making similar requests.

    But no one asked me if I wanted even more dining at WDW than there is now, or more shopping. I think they have plenty of both already.
    Last edited by CarolKoster; 07-06-2008 at 03:57 PM. Reason: Correct typos and spelling errors, add some lines and words.

  5. #50

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    Re: 7/3: The Party's Over

    When I was at WDW in May, I spoke to several people who told me that there may be an answer to all those who love the entertainment for adults without children, that is bars, comedy clubs and dance clubs and the fact that Pleasure Island is changing thier focus. There is info swirling about that there will be a new Park, a night time Park just for adults, no kids allowed and that this will include the bars, dance clubs and comedy clubs as well as restaurants. I don't know how true is it, but I heard this from several reputable sources. Maybe just another wishful thinking rumor, but I did hear it not just once or twice, but several times from different people. We'll see. That would kind of cool. Interesting thought....

  6. #51

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    Re: 7/3: The Party's Over

    Maybe Disney discovered that PI was once Native American land and thereby allows them to build a gambling hall? Ha...Goofy's Poker Room! Whoo...hooo!
    Hello everyone!

  7. #52

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    Re: 7/3: The Party's Over

    Interesting. Perhaps they built the Adventurer's Club over the site of an old burial ground.

    "You moved the headstones but you didn't move the bodies! You DIDN'T MOVE THE BODIES!!!"

    [/obscure 80s movies]
    Kevin Yee
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    “The press [should be] a watchdog. Not an attack dog. Not a lapdog. A watchdog. Now, a watchdog can't be right all the time. He doesn't bark only when he sees or smells something that's dangerous. A good watchdog barks at things that are suspicious.” – Dan Rather

  8. #53

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    Re: 7/3: The Party's Over

    My unanswered questions:

    What's going to happen to the Portabello Yacht Club? It's technically "on" Pleaseure Island, without being "in" Pleasure Island. So, will it be going away too?

    Where will all those CMs and Intl Exchange frequenters go? If they have to go all the way out to Universal, won't that increase the risk of drunk driving on the highway? Or will the local off-property hotel bars start filling up? Will we start to see Cast Member night at the Vistana?

    I wonder also if this move bodes well or not for most of the Boardwalk area as well? Is Jellyrolls making enough money?

  9. #54

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    Re: 7/3: The Party's Over

    I have to say PI holds a special place in my heart so I had to register and post something about its demise.

    A little history.....I was a PI cast member who started 2 weeks after the "New Year's Eve every night" transition (God help you if Art Levitt caught you not saying "Happy New Year" to everyone). Besides being the funest job I ever had, this was the hey day of the Funmeister, when:

    The "gates" were nothing but crates tied together with ropes

    Shooter girls rode up and down the street on horseback pouring shots

    PI had valet parking

    The line to get into Mannequins would go all the way around the block

    ....I could go on and on.

    Back then the Island was not just a colllection of clubs but an experience. The locals would come out in droves over the weekends all dressed up for a night of clubbing. It was a premier night spot with tons of class.

    The funny thing is Disney knew even at the time the PI did not fit its usual image. We did not wear the same Micky Mouse name tags as eveyone else on property. PI had their own special ones, silver with the PI logo on them, to seperate us from the rest of the Disney World brand. So to say that this is a recent realization on the part of the company is just plain wrong. It was a different set of rules back then, and it seemed from a corporate perspective, they kept us at arms length which was actually pretty cool because our operations were more like a "fly by the seat of your pants" operation rather than the scrictly regimented precision of the Magic Kingdom. That sense of spontainaity is what the Island great and gave it its flavor. I could go on all day about the way it was, but I think you get the point.

    Well enough about the history.....the truth is the Island has been dead for a long time, it just took a while to bury it. After a long hiatus, I went back about ten years ago, an even then, I remarked to my wife how much a shell the Island was of its former self. The valet parking was gone, the shooter girls were gone, Mannequins had been basicly gutted and all the carpet ripped out, the Fireworks Factory was gone (no more 21 Rum Salutes...sniff), etc, etc. The streets were empty of locals, just a few tourists here and there. The place seemed devoid of life, of the energy it once had. The air of class and electricity was gone, it felt like just another tourist trap. I talked to a few people were still working there that I knew and they told me how corporate got more and more involved and basicly cut all of the cool little things that made the place great. That "fly by the seat of your pants" mentality was wiped out and along with it that sense of spontainaity. That was about 10 years ago. It just got worse and worse, until you got what you have now....a dark lifeless place which, ironicly enough, was how the Island started off life in the first place.

    I am sad to see it go. Too many memories to count tied up in that place. But, on the same token, the concept lived its life. People's tastes change and the block party idea got old and tired. Part of me is happy to finally see it buried rather than depress myself to see what became of my Island.
    Last edited by TheSnowman; 07-09-2008 at 10:57 AM.

  10. #55

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    Re: 7/3: The Party's Over

    Quote Originally Posted by TheSnowman View Post
    I have to say PI holds a special place in my heart so I had to register and post something about its demise....
    I won't re-quote the entire post, but very well put. Captures the "zeitgeist" of what PI used to be.

    As a matter of fact, I can't remember a thread where there so many well thought out and well written posts. I'm not as regular a reader of this site as others, but this shows how unique and differrent PI was from the regular Disney model we all normally experience.

    There are dozens of factors that contributed to the demise of PI, which have been thoroughly discussed in this thread (my 2 cents...extra magical hours and the worry by Disney that "unsavory" characters were starting to frequent PI was the final dagger in the back), but it may be that its time as come. As different attractions come and go in the parks, this could be viewed as the same thing.

    The main focus should now be what will take it's place? The oppourtunity is there to make it something special, however I fear it will end up as a collection of non-Disney branded shops and restaurants that you can find in any major city or mall.
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  11. #56

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    Re: 7/3: The Party's Over

    Sorry, but every time PI comes up in a discussion either online or among friends, I spout the unpopular opinion that "Pleasure Island just doesn't belong at WDW."

    I walked through it once and that was enough. Granted I'm not a young carousing castmember, but I'n no old fogey either. I just felt so out of place as soon as I walked over that bridge. I get sucked into Disney as soon as I pass through the gateway and enter the property. As soon as I walked into Pleasure Island, it was like getting hit in the face with an uglier reality that I go to WDW to escape from. I hated it and I couldn't wait to get out. It was loud, obnoxious and tacky.

    I hate to play the Walt card, but I'm reminded of his reasoning for building "The World" on such a huge expanse of land. That being his disappointment in the surrounding tackiness at Disneyland. Honky Tonk. Cheap motels and restaurants sprung up all along Harbor Blvd, I recall hearing. I felt that walking through PI, it was everything that Walt was trying to avoid and here it was on the property and under their own name.

    Yuch. Tear it down and throw it all away.

    Just an opposing thought, hope you all don't mind.

  12. #57

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    Re: 7/3: The Party's Over

    Quote Originally Posted by Wayburn Sassy View Post
    To all Displaced Adventurer's Club Fans:

    Wayburn Sassy's Blue Revue, a brand new comedy experience on International Drive in Orlando, welcomes any and all displaced AdClub fans to come and visit Wayburn Sassy in his private lounge at any time! Wayburn Sassy's Blue Revue plays each and every Friday night at 10:00pm. Like AdClub, Wayburn's shows are also interactive, hilarious and perfect for your group of friends to come and participate in. Wayburn Sassy's Blue Revue will never be the AdClub experience...but it sure is a lot of fun! ALL displaced AdClub fans will receive FREE admission to our show from the day AdClub finally closes until the end of 2008! Just email us at [email protected] or call us at 407-351-5130 to ask us to send you your special "AdClub Withdrawal" SassyPass!
    Thank you for your post. However, this strikes me as somewhat spammish.
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  13. #58

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    Re: 7/3: The Party's Over

    Yeah, as moderator it flitted across my brain to do something about that post.
    Kevin Yee
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    I am the author of several Disney books:
    Jason's Disneyland Almanac - a daily history of Disneyland
    Walt Disney World Hidden History - tributes, homages, and ride remnants at WDW
    Your Day at the Magic Kingdom
    Mouse Trap
    Tokyo Disney Made Easy
    101 Things You Never Knew About Disneyland
    Magic Quizdom (The Disneyland Trivia Book)

    “The press [should be] a watchdog. Not an attack dog. Not a lapdog. A watchdog. Now, a watchdog can't be right all the time. He doesn't bark only when he sees or smells something that's dangerous. A good watchdog barks at things that are suspicious.” – Dan Rather

  14. #59

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    Re: 7/3: The Party's Over

    When I read about the "unsavory element" discussion as a reason for closure of the Island, have I have to say that I find it incredibly ironic.

    If you all would jump in the wayback machine with me for a sec....

    When the Island opened in 1989, it was a similar operation as what you have today. Free to walk in, pay to go into the clubs. The streets were comparetively dark. The was little if any street entertainment and the place was fairly empty.

    Aside from not being too popular, the gang element moved into Videopolis ultimately leading to a kid getting shot. When I began working there I actually got the whole story from a security guard who was on the scene that night. Anyway, this one one of the driving forces, at the time, that led to the gating of the Island in the first place. They brought in Art Levitt who, besides being a heck of a good guy, masterminded the "New Years Eve" concept.

    So I find it just funny and ironic that almost 20 years later, the Island has come full circle to where it started.
    Last edited by TheSnowman; 07-10-2008 at 05:28 AM.

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    Re: 7/3: The Party's Over

    Quote Originally Posted by columnwest View Post
    My unanswered questions:

    What's going to happen to the Portabello Yacht Club? It's technically "on" Pleaseure Island, without being "in" Pleasure Island. So, will it be going away too?

    Where will all those CMs and Intl Exchange frequenters go? If they have to go all the way out to Universal, won't that increase the risk of drunk driving on the highway? Or will the local off-property hotel bars start filling up? Will we start to see Cast Member night at the Vistana?
    Portabello is undergoing some sort of refurb, but will eventually reopen, still basically an Italian restaurant. Raglan Road and Fuego (the cigar bar beneath the PI DJ booth) will remain open and unchanged. This just affects the 6 remaining nightclubs you need a PI pass to enter.

    I'm sure CityWalk will see a huge influx of WDW guests as well as CMs, tho I imagine CMs are more likely to end up at Crossroads or Kitty O'Sheas/Backstage Billards. But yes, I expect a surge in DUI arrests on I-4 and Turkey Lake Road starting in October.

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