Thursday, July 3, 2008

Disney to close Pleasure Island nightclubs



SEPTEMBER 28, 2008

After nearly 20 years in operation, Disney's Pleasure Island is undergoing a major overhaul, including the closure of the Adventurer's Club, Comedy Warehouse, 8 Traxx, Motion, Mannequins and BET Sound Stage . . . The Rock 'n' Roll Beach Club closed as of February 3, 2008.

Pleasure Island is a section of the Walt Disney World Resort within the Downtown Disney shopping, dining and entertainment district. Pleasure Island officially opened May 1, 1989, and will officially close on September 27, 2008.

From 1990 through New Year's Eve 2005, Pleasure Island celebrated New Year's Eve with a fireworks show every night at midnight.

On June 27, 2008, the Walt Disney World Resort announced that over the next two years, Disney will replace all of Pleasure Island's nightclubs with new stores and restaurants.

Disney denied rumors that the changes are due to a drop in attendance at Pleasure Island, stating instead that the company is responding to guest feedback asking for more family friendly experiences.

Although it has been a very long time since I have visited Walt Disney World, there was a time when JR and I visited at least twice a month. As annual passholders of Walt Disney World, we wanted to get our money's worth . . . and we did!

Since JR passed away, I have not had the desire to visit and I had no idea that the concept of "every night is New Year's Eve" had been abandoned. Pleasure Island had to be the most festive party atmosphere I ever experienced.

Mannequins was my favorite dance club and many fond memories came back to me when I read that it still exists . . . at least until September of this year. Being the dance music freak that I am and a huge lover of dance clubs, Mannequins was the ultimate place to dance, enjoy music and be entertained.

The name "mannequins" set the scene for live mannequins staged throughout the club. One minute you would swear they were a mannequin and the next minute they would come to life, complete with a spotlight on them as they danced to the music. At least that was how it was back in the day when we partied there quite often.

Pleasure Island was also the home of one of my all time favorite restaurants on the Disney property . . . Fireworks Factory, which has been long gone. The comfort food served there was among the best that I have ever had . . . BBQ pork ribs that would fall off the bone, the best fresh cornbread ever and the most to die for brownie hot fudge sundae ever. Even if we were visiting on a budget and brought food from the grocery store to eat, we had to visit Fireworks Factory at least for dessert and coffee.

While most of my memories are on video and in my head, I know I have a ton of photos from Pleasure Island that I will scan and post. It brought tears to my eyes to think the place that holds such beautiful memories of awesome times JR and I shared will only be a memory after September.

I'm sure the new stores and restaurants will be as spectacular as everything else on the Disney property, but will not have the memories of those awesome days gone by . . .

If you can visit before it closes and you have never experienced Pleasure Island and the eccentric nightclubs, experience it before they are gone . . . even though every night is no longer New Year's Eve.

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