The Re-Imagineering Blog brings to our attention today that with Disney’s recently announced “new vision” for Downtown Disney in Florida, one of the finest themed environments ever created by Walt Disney Imagineering — The Adventurer’s Club, is slated for demolition.
In a news release quietly disseminated late last Friday, the Walt Disney Company announced its new plan for the Downtown Disney area.
Buried within the news release was this sentence: “To make way for the new offerings, all of the clubs currently on Pleasure Island will close on September 27.” While most of the clubs in Pleasure Island are more traditional, Adventure Island is considered by many as one of Imagineering’s true crown jewels.
Just read how it is described in the Re-Imagineering post:
Some guests who enter this 1930’s gentleman’s club wander around the mezzanine, and depart without discovering the true genius this venue has to offer. Guests who descend the staircase and sit down for a drink or two are in for the time of their lives.
Throughout the evening, several amazing performers make their way through the Adventurer’s Club, welcoming everyone to a 1937 New Years Eve open house. The club president and other permanent members continually converse with the guests. An animatronic colonel (okay, he’s really a puppet) leads patrons in the singing of the club’s all-purpose theme song. Musical performances here can be of Broadway caliber, and few who stay long enough to learn the club salute are immune from the club’s addictive charm.
While the sublime execution of the club’s detailed back story and character development are a testament to the truly talented men and women who perform their hearts out each and every evening, just as incredible– and important– is the rich intricacy and superb thematic execution of the venue itself.
The walls and antechambers of the Adventurer’s Club are adorned with an almost infinite number of period photographs, artifacts and mementos from fellow adventurers around the world. This amazing attention to (and investment in) the details sets the Adventurer’s Club apart as one of the finest themed environments ever created by Walt Disney Imagineering. Consider experiencing Pirates of the Caribbean as a walk-through attraction. Would the details withstand the scrutiny? They do at the Adventurers Club. Remember, this isn’t a roller coaster or even a slow-moving boat ride. It’s a fully realized environment that has to endure intimate and repeat inspection from guests who spend several hours poring over its walls. Remarkably, the club’s interior not only endures, it envelopes, as only a classic Disney attraction can.
While it is evident that the post cries foul at even the thought of scrapping this Disney treasure, it does not say that the changes Disney has planned for Downtown Disney are not justified. It simply aims to bring two important details to our attention:
1. Disney’s idea of “bold” and “new” calls for replacing unique Disney experiences with even more third-party dining and shopping venues, a t-shirt shop, and a hot air balloon.
2. That caught in the path of the wrecking ball is one of the finest themed environments ever created by Walt Disney Imagineering.
The post ends with a plea for the capable folks at the Walt Disney Company to go back to the drawing board and challenge themselves to re-imagine a truly “bold, new” Downtown Disney, one that keeps the Adventurer’s Club in its mix.
There is an online petition that asks the Walt Disney Company to reconsider their actions regarding The Adventurer’s Club. It reads as follows:
We, the undersigned, are officially petitioning Walt Disney World to consider keeping the Adventurers Club open after the closing of Pleasure Island in September 2008.
The Adventurers Club has no equal. It is a unique treasure at Walt Disney World and does not deserve to be lumped into the same category as the other “night clubs” on Pleasure Island. We humbly request that it be allowed to stay open, even if it needs to be moved, refurbished, updated, and/or more heavily advertised. A lot of people do not know what this club is all about, but those that do find it a highlight of their trip.
Please reconsider your decision to close it. This club is so eccentrically Disney, it would be just as missed as the original Country Bear Jamboree show was and the Journey Into the Imagination ride was when they were changed and/or closed. All good things don’t have to come to an end. Thank you for your time.
I have yet to visit Walt Disney World in Florida but as one who is pretty nostalgic about Disneyland in Anaheim, I too hate to see any piece of celebrated Disney history destroyed for the sake of profits. Therefore I have joined over 3,500 others as of the writing of this post in signing the petition. Hopefully it as well as additional outcry’s will get the attention of some decision maker who can save this gem of Disney Imagineering.