Friday night, Disney announced its plan to close Pleasure Island, effective September 27th, 2008. Their "new vision" for Downtown Disney includes more shops and restaurants. I can understand a desire to revamp that area, especially as it has noticeably gone downhill, maintenance-wise, the past few years. My opinion (coming from someone with no business training whatsoever) has long been that the entire Island screams mismanagement. However, instead of investing in the goldmine that is already there, Disney seems to be interested in turning the property into yet another dime-a-dozen shopping/dining area.
For the past eight years, my best friend and I have visited Downtown Disney whenever she's been in town... The Adventurer's Club became our "place." It offered what most theme parks in the area fail to give - a place where adults can go, unwind and relax with friends. Visitors to the Club have the option of attending shows, or simply lounging in the main salon and interacting (or not) with the mingling cast. It's a quirky, fun, entertaining place where visitors can take a trip back to 1937 and meet some very interesting characters (and I mean that in every sense of the word).
I find it telling that, as a lifetime local, I've not seen ANY marketing for Pleasure Island - certainly not for individual clubs - in recent memory. The fact that some of the clubs are doing as well as they are, without the benefit of marketing OR merchandising, is a testament to the public's desire for their existence. Yes, Disney is family entertainment. For the past two decades, they've managed to deliver a nightlife for adults in a tasteful "Disney" way.
The club I will miss the most is the Adventurer's Club. The other PI clubs will be missed, but there are other nightclubs (albeit, off property) to fill the void. The Adventurer's Club is another story. It is incredibly unique - almost beyond description - and there's absolutely nothing that comes close to being comparable, anywhere around. Literally or figuratively. The Club is what's drawn me to Disney "after hours" for the past ten years, causing me to drive past Downtown Orlando and CityWalk along the way. The Adventurer's Club is the single thing that makes Downtown Disney uniquely different from other area attractions.
The press release in the Orlando Sentinel stated that these changes are "due to thousands of customer suggestions." I ask that you please contact Disney for the thousands of other customers whose voices were not heard, as we didn't realize voicing support for such a special and popular place was necessary.
I've been asked to encourage those who wish to speak up to write a paper letter to Disney, as they carry more weight than email.
Walt Disney World Guest Communications
PO Box 10040
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830-0040
The Walt Disney Company
500 South Buena Vista Street
Burbank, CA 91521-0001
However, if you prefer to email...
Bob Iger, Vice President of Operations, Walt Disney World
Kevin Lansberry, Vice President of Operations Downtown Disney
Barry Carlson, GM of Operations
Patsy Pederson, GM Guest Show
Kris Piser, DTD Finance Manager
Eric Johnason, Downtown Disney Business Relations
Christina Simeonides, Guest Service Manager, Downtown Disney
I can only hope with enough "encouragement" from the public, Disney will reconsider its decision and find a way to include the Club in their future plans for Downtown Disney.