Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Good-Bye Pleasure Island! Making Way for Disney Springs

I just read this on Thrillgeek: demolition began at the former Pleasure Island to make way for the new Disney Springs.

Sure, Uncle Walt was all about change and said his Park(s) would never be finished. I look forward to the new, but oh, the memories of the old.

The first time I went to Downtown Disney/Pleasure Island was a Disney Store Cast Member trip back in 1994 with my good friend and former Disney Store Assistant Manager, Tom. Being a huge Jessica Rabbit fan, I think for me, one of the best things to see, and come back to see, was the big Pleasure Island sign.

 During the day, it was fun to just walk around the empty streets and poke around the few shops that were there.

At night, that's when the party began. In fact, every night at midnight, it was New Year's Eve. Those of you who know I can't stay up late, also know that I only saw this a few times.

I remember that for this Cast Member trip, they hosted drinks and snacks for us at the Neon Armadillo, a country music club that only lasted a few years. I think that was the first time I spoke with a person who would turn out to be one of my dearest and life-long friends, Mike.

Two other places that would hold fond memories for me are 8TRAX, a 70's-80's dance club, which still is the soundtrack of my life; and Mannequins Dance Palace, which was a multilevel techno dance club with a huge revolving dance floor like a turn table. Boy, all the trips I spent dancing there. I wish I could go back one night and boogie the night away.

One little bit of trivia is about the name of Pleasure Island. Most Disney fans will tell you that it's the name of the island where naughty boys who do bad things go in 'Pinocchio'. That is very true, but the name for this Pleasure Island was actually based on the fictitious legend of its owner, Merriweather Adam Pleasure. Not only did he inspire the name of this island, he, of course also inspired one of its most famous clubs. You guessed it: Adventurer's Club. 

This club was a 1930's British explorers-type club filled with improv actors and actresses. I wish I spent more time there than I did. Talk about entertainment value. It was so much fun! If you want to know if anyone still remembers that club, just walk around the Walt Disney World resort and yell out, "Kungaloosh!" See what happens.

Speaking of Kungaloosh, the drink was very popular. I have to admit I'm a fan of the original recipe, but I certainly had my share of the 'newer' one. The Disney site, shows both recipes, and WikiHow shows how to make both recipes including pictures.

So while we have to wait until 2016 to see what Disney Springs has in store for us, it's time to say good-bye to an old friend. You will remain alive in our memories, our hearts, our tired eyes from staying up after midnight to see fireworks, and sore feet from all that dancing. But it was worth every precious second.

And since I'm going down memory lane, Mike actually posted a picture they took of our Cast Member trip. If you really can't find me in this picture, look for the Disney geek wearing a Lion King Shirt. Tom and Mike are in the middle row and in the middle. That's because they are stars in my book!

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