Bar Wars: Disney revamps Pleasure Island
The bulldozers are hard at work on Pleasure Island, Walt Disney World's nightclub district in Downtown Disney
. The Orlando Sentinel reports
that Disney's reshaping much of the property in an effort to broaden its appeal -- while not driving away its loyal audience of hard-drinking club-hoppers. [Also known as "cast members." ;-)]
Pleasure Island opened in 1989, tacked on the west end of the Walt Disney World Shopping Village, to do battle with downtown Orlando's Church Street Station and Exchange nightclub attractions. If you just said to yourself "what are those?", well, then you see just how successful Disney was.
But when Disney expanded the renamed Downtown Disney past Pleasure Island, creating the West Side outdoor mall, that left Disney with two family-oriented shopping and entertainment zones split by a booze-fueled no-kids zone. Plus, Universal Orlando's CityWalk, with its better segeration of family-friendly and nightclub zones, provides additional competition for evening entertainment for both the park-weary tourist and the bored local.
The changes will physcially open up the Pleasure Island area, which Disney no longer requires an additional admission to visit. (Though hard tickets are required to get into the clubs.) Still, booze and kids are a tricky mix. I admit that I cringed when I read a Disney VP talk about making an area where parents can feel comfortable drinking in front of their kids.
Partyers are still welcome. But so are people seeking to relax. Or a father with children, [Disney VP for Downtown Disney Djuan] Rivers said.
"He can walk through here, and if he wants to have a drink on the street, he doesn't feel awkward with his children, and you won't feel awkward either," he said.
A Pleasure Island visitor offered a different view, at the end of the story.
"You don't want to be drunk in front of a bunch of kids," she said. "You're going to be paranoid. You don't have to worry about that downtown."
Again -- drat! -- Disney is well behind the "needs" curve of the American out-of-home entertainment consumers. What with New Orleans having had it's recent management woes (similar, if you will to what's been happening with the wacky gals and/or gals in the endless upper echelons of WDI), making it hard to find some other hot, humid, expensive place to go to pretend to attend a conerence, what America need is a place where father, drunk on their ass, can show his 2.25 children just what he is made of (of at the least, what he ate for lunch). Not just dads, but a place hwere disaffected soccer-moms can catch the "walking cup fever" as they stagger along the ill-graded main drag of Pleasure Island, berating dad and the kids for being such a drag on their lives and souls, while trying – pathetically -- to catch the eye of the Door-Member at The Adventurer’s Club.
Ah, Noticed this on Monday. Walking up I thought it was a bit darker than usual! Then I noticed, as I bought the most overpriced, smallest chicken stuffed Gyro EVER (2 piece's of small chicken, a limp piece of lettuce and a slice of tomato - $6.95, the look on My wifes face - Priceless) that the big stage up the top was missing! Where had it gone? The bulldozer gave me the clue I needed to solve the case. It had been demolished. Along with a few other buildings.
I never did like the idea that you have a seperate area for the night life. Throw it out there in front of everyone to see. Citywalk does, and its great. Sure it is segregated a little, with the clubs off to one side and the kids stuff to another, but its still intertwined together. Disney doesnt have anything to worry about, the kids are way too concerned with that new pirate shop to pay any attention to mom pretending to be intoxicated by her 9 dollar watered down margarita. No harm here folks.
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