What Saved & Killed Pleasure Island

What Saved & Killed Pleasure Island

In our last Disney at Play podcast we spoke of Pleasure Island and it’s offerings. We talked about the clubs, the food & beverage, the retail and other entertainment. And we spoke of how it came to be and how it competed against Church Street Station. In this podcast we look at how well this concept was accepted by the public and how initially the nighttime entertainment venue failed to deliver. We talk about Michael Eisner’s own “Funmeister”, Art Leavitt, and how he turned around the club, creating what was a fairly successful venue for the better part of a decade. And then we talk about what factors led to the end of Pleasure Island. Join us in this podcast as we talked about what saved and killed Pleasure island

The following is an outline of our remarks, but you get the entirety when you listen to our podcast. The podcast carries the narrative and is available on PodbeaniTunesSpotify,  and ListenNotes. Please subscribe to the podcast and to this website so you can be notified of upcoming posts and podcasts! 

What Saved Pleasure Island

Initially, guests didn’t know what to make of Pleasure Island. And it’s individual club entry was confusing. In Realityland by David Koenig, we talk about the initial challenges in how it was received, especially as it related to pricing. In Michael Eisner’s Work in Progress, we see how Art Leavitt, a furniture store dealer, was selected by Michael to turn around Pleasure Island to make it the party destination. We discuss all this in our podcast.

What Killed Pleasure Island

September 27th, 2008 was the last day of operation for Pleasure Island. What led to its ultimate ending?

  • Poor Design. Going from the Walt Disney World Village Marketplace to Disney’s West End was painful–especially at night when the Island closed for business.
  • Poor Revenue Generation. Some of the most popular venues were frequented by annual pass holders.
  • Church Street Competition Died. A key reason for its creation
  • More Options and Offerings. By the 2000’s, Walt Disney World had many additional offerings such as Disney’s Boardwalk and Disney’s West End. Meanwhile, Universal Orlando came out with City Walk. All those offerings were free.
  • Leadership Change. Michael Eisner, who was the force behind this, left the company.
  • People Grew Up. Baby Boomers got too old. Gen X’ers ended up with families. Millennials party different than those who are Gen X.
  • Off Brand. It was never an intellectual property that aligned with Disney’s legendary heritage and brand.

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