Pleasure Island [Looking Back]

Ahhh, Pleasure Island. It still technically exists at Downtown Disney, but it's definitely changed over the years.

Pleasure Island officially opened on May 1, 1989. The entertainment district housed stores, restaurants and nightclubs. Its 19-year heyday came to an end in 2008, when Disney announced that it would be closing all of the area's nightclubs, and did so a few months later. In 2010, Disney announced that what was Pleasure Island will become Hyperion Wharf, with new shops and restaurants.

In the beginning, restaurants included the Empress Lily (which opened in 1977, and has since become Fulton's Crab House), Portobello Yacht Club (Now Portobello Restaurant), and Meriweather's Market (later Pleasure Island Jazz Co., then Raglan Road). In recent years, T-Rex Cafe and Paradiso 37 were added as restaurants to the area.

A number of small shops were located on Pleasure Island at the start, but have recently been replaced by Orlando Harley-Davidson, Curl by Sammy Duvall, and Fuego by Sosa Cigars. More should be introduced to the area as it transforms into the new Hyperion Wharf.

But the real draw of Pleasure Island was the nightclubs. Over the years, there was the Rock 'n' Roll Beach Club, the Wildhorse Saloon, Fireworks Factory, Motion, Mannequins Dance Palace, Videopolis East, Cage, 8TRAX, Comedy Warehouse, Neon Armadillo, BET Soundstage Club, and the well-known and much beloved Adventurers Club, which deserves an entry of its own.

What's your take on Pleasure Island? Are you looking forward to the new Hyperion Wharf? Do you miss the closed nightclubs? Share your thoughts below.

Ryan keely wrote on Wed, 06/08/2011 - 14:40:

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I never have understood why Disney closed Pleasure Islands nightclubs? They were among the best. Disney likes to be diverse and offer services to everyone, so why discriminate against people who like to go to nightclubs? I know it's not very family oriented, but then again, neither is Gay Days, but you continue to do that. I also know there are certain problems associated with nightclubs, but if City Walk can do it, so can Disney. And turning Mannequins into an IHOP? What a stupid idea. Was someone at Disney smoking crack when they decided ti go ahead with that? And the Adventurers Club. They better bring that back. They have PLENTY of land, they could have built more shops and restaurants elsewhere. I have and still do think Disney made a seriously bad mistake closing Pleasure Island.

katrina1122 wrote on Wed, 06/08/2011 - 15:04:

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I miss the comedy warehouse and especially Adventurers club. I enjoyed the dance clubs a few times too, but not as much as the first two.

I liked the smaller non-brand stores as well. DTD has gotten way too many over priced name brand stores in now, so hyperion wharf doesn't really interest me.

dan wrote on Wed, 06/08/2011 - 16:14:

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Every year a large following of (mildly crazy) people spends thousands of dollars to celebrate the good times and good memories they had at the Adventurers Club and the other nightclubs at Pleasure Island.
If there any other Disney attractions that have closed and can still attract such a large group of people with that kind of disposable income, I haven't heard about them.
And everything Disney prints up only mentions more dining and shopping... nothing about Entertainment is ever offered. Three years later, tourists coming to Downtown Disney are still asking bartenders what time the nightclubs open, unaware that Disney shut them down, but clearly they were looking forward to an evening in the clubs.
Hyperion Wharf will probably attract lots of curious people, as Downtown Disney does now,... but not lots of money. Church Street in Orlando was a ghost town 5 years ago, complete with tumbleweeds and abandoned properties. Today, it's thriving. Lights and entertainment, and lots of it. And that's where people are going.
When people leave Harry Potter world at the end of the day, they don't go to Downtown Disney... they go to Church St. and CityWalk to spend their night time cash.

shayes46373 wrote on Wed, 06/08/2011 - 16:44:

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I miss the New Years fireworks everynight at midnight. The comedy warehouse was a blast as well.

Debbie Conn wrote on Wed, 06/08/2011 - 17:05:

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Since the Adventurers Club closed I rarely even go to Downtown Disney. There is just nothing there of interest. Hyperion Wharf, as described by Disney, as dining and shopping experiences is just more of the same that I can find in other areas on property as well as other nearby off property locations...

kimmy wrote on Thu, 06/09/2011 - 13:32:

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i really miss the adventurers club - what a dumb idea to remove that one!and the rock n roll beach - it was nice to have an adult place to go to in the evenings. Now we will go to citywalk instead

Kristen H wrote on Fri, 06/10/2011 - 04:57:

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Great thoughts everyone. Consensus definitely seems to be that at least a couple of the clubs should have remained open.

I never had the pleasure of going to the Adventurers Club myself -- I hear so much about it!

worldfanatic wrote on Fri, 06/10/2011 - 18:17:

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I am someone who loves to party and enjoyed myself at Pleasure Island many times. Especially the Adventurers Club.

Unfortunately, at times Pleasure Island tended to attract a segment of locals that can only be described at "amatuer hour clowns". Namely "early twenty somethings that don't know how to handle their liquor yet and behave like idiots".

I'm no prude, and as I said, love to party.
But dealinng with these "kids" was really annoying, and not something you expect on Disney property.

A more refined party atmosphere, much like they're already doing with Raglan Road and the Paradiso 37 bar is much appreciated.
I really look forward to Hyperion Wharf!
I know I'll be getting my drink on!

worldfanatic wrote on Fri, 06/10/2011 - 18:23:

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Hopefully Hyperion Wharf will cater to those of us who like to party, but not with the Pleasure Island "amatuer hour-early twenty something clowns who can't handle their liquor" crowd.

Raglan Road and the Paradiso 37 bar are great starts.

Tank wrote on Sun, 06/12/2011 - 04:28:

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AngelaS69 wrote on Tue, 07/12/2011 - 22:07:

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My family was very disappointed when PI closed. we celebrated our honeymoon there. I took my sister to Disney for her 21st B-day just to celebrate there.
This winter we are taking another long awaited all adult trip to WDW and are working to find entertaining ways to spend our after park hours. City walk and Church street are being discussed. I understand wanting to upgrade a little but keep the comedy club and the ADVENTURER'S CLUB!!!

Bstory wrote on Wed, 04/11/2012 - 01:59:

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there was other clubs other than Mannequins Dance Palace? really? ok ok ok I did go see the others but would spend all of my time in Mannequins!!
Mannequins had the BEST bartenders, lighting, sound system! and oh yeah and the floor that would go round!!!!! I Know there is a club in Ybor (Tampa area) but they have a SMALL floor!!!

Frankie Fontana wrote on Fri, 05/09/2014 - 03:20:

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No Venue Has Ever Been More Fun Than The Adventures Club....I Am So Very Disappointed That It Is Gone....The Actors Were And Are The Best!!!! Fantastic Effects And Scenery...... Nothing In My Travels Compare With It!!! At Least. Disney Has Opened Trader Sam's Tiki Room In California.... Soon In Florida..... Our Evenings Are Not The Same In Disneyworld Without The Adventures Club......KUNGALOOOOOOOOOSH!!!!!

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