Big news this week is that the Orlando Sentinel is reporting that the six nightclubs at Pleasure Island will soon shut down, as Walt Disney World redevelops this part of Downtown Disney. Aimed squarely at adults, although children have recently been allowed in this section of the DTD area, clubs including the BET SoundStage Club, Mannequins Dance Palace, 8Trax and three others will close after Sept. 27.
Over the next couple of years Disney will reopen the Pleasure Island area with a broader mix of restaurants and shops, aimed at a broader family market.
The 19 year old PI has gone through some changes through the years, but nothing on this level, in that the entire landscape and theme will change quite dramatically. Disney is calling this â€œa bold new visionâ€ for all of Downtown Disney, and that this is in response to Guest requests for more broad-based dining and retail opportunities throughout the 120-acre area.
Although the area is located between two other dining, shopping and entertainment areas known as the MarketPlace and the West Side, PI’s location has sometimes been in question, as it is directed towards young adults, and for many years did not allow access to children at all.
Certain businesses on PI such as Raglan Road, Fuego by Sosa Cigars, Curl by Sammy Duval, Orlando Harley-Davidson and the outdoor food and beverage locations, will remain open during the transition. But more importantly, many NEW venues will be added to the landscape and offerings.
Over the next year, in addition to new shops, dining experiences and clubs, Downtown Disney will even get its own iconic attraction, in the form of a giant, tethered balloon that will take guests 300 feet into the air to get incredible views of Walt Disney World, similar to Disneyland Paris’ PanoraMagique.
Additionally, in fall 2008, T-Rex: A Prehistoric Family Adventure will open, which is a dinosaur-themed family restaurant and interactive playground for kids and adults. Also this fall, a design-your-own t-shirt store from Hanes will give Guests another way to truly personalize their vacation merchandise.
As rumored earlier, E-brands Restaurants will open its newest concept at Downtown Disney in spring 2009. It will be a high-energy, casual eatery will feature authentic Central and South American cuisine, specialty drinks and live music along the waterfront.
There is also discussion of new shopping experiences, leading to much anticipation and speculation among Disney fans.
Other locations will be rethemed and enhanced, including the Portobello Yacht Club being transformed into a Tuscan Country Trattoria this summer. The refreshed menu features authentic Italian dishes and signature favorites and a re-designed interior along with an outdoor dining space.
Goofyâ€™s Candy Company will add a special new room that will enable families to host one-of-a-kind birthday parties at Downtown Disney beginning this fall.
The Marketplace Stage will be completely replaced with a larger, covered stage this fall to welcome even more entertainment to Downtown Disney and serve as a new premier venue for Disney Magic Music Days.
Fultonâ€™s Crab House, home to the original Empress Lily, will update its interior fixtures and furnishing and exterior in Spring 2009. The enhancements include a refreshed third floor deck dining area to offer additional Disney guests and larger private parties the traditional Fultonâ€™s experience.
Next year, Wolfgang Puck CafÃ© will update its interior fixtures and furnishings and will feature an enclosed glass patio offering guests a year-round outdoor dining experience.
Also, if you are a Premium Annual Passholder, beginning September 28, 2008, your Premium Annual Pass will no longer include admission to the Pleasure Island nightclubs, but will entitle you to a round a golf at Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course.