Walt Disney World
Pleasure Island (EXTINCT!)
(May 1, 1989 - September 27, 2008)
History and photos of the Pleasure Island area of Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World.
On May 1, 1989, Pleasure Island opened as an adult-oriented entertainment area complete with dance halls and comedy clubs. Each night there would be a countdown to midnight and a "New Year's Eve"-style fireworks show and celebration.
While growing up in the early 1990s, Pleasure Island always seemed like this seductive yet forbidden experience on Disney property. Here was a place that not only required separate admission from the theme parks, but you had to be at least eighteen years old to enter the place. The large sign featuring Jessica Rabbit from 1988's hit film Who Framed Roger Rabbit? further added to the mystery of Pleasure Island.
Walking through the streets during the day you'd find a sleepy atmosphere with shops and restaurants waking up again after the party from the previous night. Here and there you'd still see pieces of colorful confetti on the ground, an indication of the fun that adults were having late last night. It always made you wonder if the parties were as wild as how they looked in the advertisements. This was still part of Disney. It couldn't have been *that* crazy, right?
Pleasure Island initially found success as a place for the adults to party and let off steam while the children slept back at the hotel. By the late 1990s and early parts of 2000, attendance at Pleasure Island began to decline. Part of this was from the opening of Universal CityWalk at the neighboring Universal Orlando. Another reason for the decline in attendance was from the opening of the West Side here at Downtown Disney. And yet another reason for the decline of Pleasure Island was just the change in the Disney vacationers' behavior as a whole. Whatever the reason, the popularity of Pleasure Island continued to decline.
Pleasure Island's fate was sealed. Most of the original shops and restaurants had closed during the last few years of when Pleasure Island was "Pleasure Island." On September 27, 2008, all of the dance halls and comedy clubs had closed at Pleasure Island. All that remained were a handful of restaurants and shops. The days of going clubbing and dancing at Pleasure Island were over.
Since 2008, Pleasure Island has slowly been going a transformation process that has been converting the area into a completely different experience. All of the old nightclubs are gone. In their places are new stores and restaurants, many of which are, as of 2015, still under construction.
On November 10, 2010, it was announced that Pleasure Island was going to be renamed Hyperion Wharf and themed to an early 20th century nautical warehouse district. Those plans were later delayed, and the plans for Hyperion Wharf were ultimately cancelled.
On March 14, 2013, it was announced that the entire Downtown Disney shopping and dining complex would be expanded and rethemed into Disney Springs. The area previously known as Pleasure Island will become The Landing, a waterfront district with a variety of shopping and dining options.
As of the fall of 2014, most of Pleasure Island is still closed and undergoing major construction as it's being converted into The Landing at Disney Springs.
Additional photo pages for Pleasure Island at Downtown Disney include:
Adventurers Club (EXTINCT!)
Paradiso 37 restaurant
|TRIVIA #1||Much to popular belief, Pleasure Island was NOT named after the infamous island in Disney's animated film Pinocchio (1940), where boys would play, destroy property, and then be turned into donkeys. The island was actually named after the fictitious businessman, Merriweather Adam Pleasure.|
|TRIVIA #2||The old railroad cars that used to sell admission tickets were from the old Fort Wilderness Railroad that operated between 1973-1977.|
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