Bar Wars: Disney revamps Pleasure Island
Published: May 10, 2006 at 3:25 PM
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."