Tuesday, December 30, 2008

CityWalk Article in the Orlando Sentinel

For those of you who don't read the Orlando Sentinel, there was an excellent article in the paper yesterday (Monday) describing Universal's quest to get the business of those of us who formerly patronized Pleasure Island. Read the entire article at: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/trave...,4387699.story

I think we all agree that their free pass offer was an excellent way to get our business. That was a brilliant move and it is appreciated. But I make these editorial comments:

1. They need to follow-through on a CityWalk Annual Pass to replace our free passes once they expire at the end of March. The cost should be comparable to what PI charged for their AP. Hard to believe they've never offered one in the past. But no one I know is going to pay $11.95+tax every weekend for CityWalk. Sure PI charged $24 but that was tourist money; all of us locals had AP's for $55/year and we were the bread & butter that supported the place during the non-tourist/non-convention seasons.

2. I've met many former PI patrons out at the CityWalk clubs over the past 3 months but few are consistently there and it's definitely begun to wane. I don't know where everyone has drifted to but CityWalk is not holding on to what they gained. I think this is because:

3. CityWalk has made close to no effort to capture our hearts by even remotely replicating any of the things that made Pleasure Island unique. Hip hop clubs are a dime a dozen in this town and that is basically what the Groove has become over the past few years. Red Coconut Club is interesting but most of the music played is exactly the same as what you hear in the Groove. So in that regard both the Groove and RCC are good replacements for PI's Motion. But the 3 most popular venues at PI....the ones whose closure has stirred the most emotions....are Adventurer's Club, 8TRAX and Mannequins. I don't think AC can be legally replicated but the music of 8TRAX and Mannequins can be yet there has been no effort to do so. Those PI patrons that I know, the many on this blog's e-mail list, were incredibly excited when we learned DJ Doc and DJ Peapod were going to be spinning their music at CW yet it didn't happen. So many have moved on. Yet this business is there for the taking, Universal!

4. CityWalk didn't EARN our business, Disney basically GAVE it away to all takers. Universal was clever enough to divert a lot of it to them but are they clever enough to keep it? I'm having my doubts. BK's Burger Bar may spare me the 2am run to McDonald's on I-Drive but unless the music improves, it may not matter. I know a lot of people who feel the same way.


Ken said...

From what I observed recently is that the Magaritaville club plays 70s & 80s music a lot. Often times, it's up to the crowd because the band and/or the DJ accepts requests. Also, the Herb Williams Band will be performing there on the weekends through January which typically plays old school music. From what I heard, the Herb Williams Band use to play at Pleasure Island years ago. They were the house band at City Walk's City Jazz club for years until they converted the club to the Rising Star club. The multi-level layout of the Margaritaville club somewhat resembles 8 Trax. My only problem with the Margaritaville club is that they need to move the dining room tables out of the way after 9pm to expand the current dance floor space.

So far, only the Red Coconut club on Tuesday nights offers the type of music (techno) that was played at Mannequins. I wish that Disney would have "techno nights" on Friday and Saturday nights at the Atlantic Dance Hall, preferably with guest DJs like Baby Anne. Atlantic Dance Hall has a lot of potential for becoming a great club.

Save Pleasure Island said...

Ken, thank you for the comment. I did not realize Margaritaville had a DJ; everytime I've been in there the band has been playing. And I so agree about the tables. It's horrible. Clubs are about music but they're also about mingling and meeting people. That's next to impossible when everyone is sitting down at dining tables and booths.

I'm going to pay a first-ever visit to Atlantic Dance tonight. Thanks again! KINGBOB

Ken said...


I never visited the Atlantic Dance Hall on Thursday nights but I have been there on a Friday and Saturday night several times since PI closed. I have seen an average of about 3 PI regulars when I was there after 11pm. The crowd level is inconsistent; some nights there's only small crowd and on other nights there's a large crowd. The club normally closes at 1am, however, if there is a large crowd it will stay open until 2am; it's happened twice so far when I was there. Some of the the things I like about this club are the large dance floor, the large video screen, no cover charge, a nice water side patio deck behind the center bar, clean spacious bathrooms, free parking, good security (you have to show your ID to a Security Guard at the gate entrance)and a DJ that is open to requests. The things I don't like is that it's hard to get a drink because patrons congregate around the center bar making it hard to place your order. The remedy is to open one or both of the side bars but I have never seen that happen yet. The drinks are kind of pricey but I kind of expect it because they don't charge a cover.

KINGBOB said...

As you can see from my 1/1/09 blog update, couldn't get near the place on New Year's Eve because they sold out. Will have to try to sample it some other night.