Tuesday, June 30, 2009

This Thursday Night & Into The Weekend

Since the 4th of July is on a Saturday this year, many people have Friday the 3rd off which makes partying on Thursday night July 2nd an option. For those of you who "don't get out much" on Thursday nights, I thought I'd publish a short listing of options. Keep in mind that nearly everything is open on Thursday nights so if you're aware of something better, please post it in the Comments below.

At Walt Disney World, Atlantic Dance Hall is an option. Located at the Boardwalk, this place is a lot of fun when it's full and with many sold out hotels on Disney property for the holiday weekend, there could be a big crowd on hand. The music is Motion-style; Top 40 & hip hop and whatever you want to request. At Pleasure Island, all clubs will be dark. If you're a glutton for punishment, stop and watch Celebrate Tonight for awhile.

Over at Universal, it's the increasingly popular 80's Night with former 8TRAX DJ Doc Wells in The Groove. A holiday weekend could make this their largest crowd since the Night began. Latin Quarter has Ladies Night and Hospitality Industry Night, and the famous DJ Leony at the helm. Blue Stone Circle is the live band at Margaritaville. It's also Ladies Night at Red Coconut Club with free admission for the Ladies. Friday Update: The Groove had the largest Thursday 80's Night crowd ever last night! LQ was so packed that it was next to impossible to move and it got really hot in there.

Downtown Tabu has it's regular "Pay at the Door and Pay No More" night. A $20 cover charge gets you an open bar for 4 hours with lots of hip-hop and Top 40. Famous local DJ Jimmy Joslin is spinning techno, house and dance at Vixen. Next door at Vintage it's DJ Kid Nemesis playing Top 40 and hip hop.

For the 4th itself, there apparently will be no free fireworks at Downtown Disney this year. The theme parks will have them, of course. For Universal's Summer Concert Series, the O'Jays will be singing Love Train, For the Love of Money and other hits. There will be a huge fireworks show afterwards followed by Universal 360 at 10pm. A new nightclub called Gloss Ultra Lounge opens Saturday night on the 2nd floor of the Cuba Libre Restaurant at 9101 International Drive. Ads refer to the music as House, Hip Hop and Classics.

Hope to see you all down at da club!

Monday, June 29, 2009

AAA Members Get CityWalk For Half-Price

If you're a AAA member, you can now buy CityWalk (All-Club) Party Passes for just $5.95! This new benefit was just added. That's HALF PRICE! They must be purchased in advance at AAA offices, not at CityWalk. The AAA website says this offer is only in conjunction with the purchase of a Universal Annual Pass or Season Pass however when I called the AAA office in Heathrow today, there was no mention of such a requirement. So I'm going to try to buy 20 of them tomorrow and I'll update the blog with my success. Stay tuned!
Update: One does not need an AP to buy these but they did limit me to just 10 tickets.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Groove, How Do I Love Thee?

It's been quite a few years now since you could visit The Groove for a night of techno dance music. With Pleasure Island clubs closed indefinitely or forever (we don't really know), CityWalk offers a similar multi-club for one-price experience. Downtown Orlando's diversity can be had for a similar price but it's hard to discount the convenience CW offers in one location.

And then there's Lindsey! Great looks and great drinks in one package.

Where else can a spontaneous Moonwalk contest break out?

We didn't have the Dancing Security Guard at Pleasure Island!
(Of course we didn't have the half-hour trek from the parking lot either.)

And no shortage of fine looking girls too. Like Pleasure Island, many of them tourists which is always interesting. So while ALL of us would migrate back to PI if they reopened anything, The Groove makes for a decent enough substitute.

Saturday Night Report: Red Coconut Club was crowded early while it took to close to midnight before TG and LQ got full. DJ Doc was spinning at RCC after the band ended. Michael Jackson songs brought cheers at both The Groove and Latin Quarter. Rising Star had a long line but I didn't see any lines at Bob Marley's or Pat O'Briens.

Friday, June 26, 2009

DTD One Year Later: Bravo Dewayne Bevil

You should read this article in the Calendar section of today's Orlando Sentinel. In the article, "Theme Park Ranger" Dewayne Bevil points out that one year ago tomorrow, Disney made its shocking announcement that all of the comedy and dance clubs would be closing at the end of September.

The article then goes on to describe all that is new at Downtown Disney ranging from the tethered helium balloon ride on the West Side to the Hanes Design-a-Tee in the Marketplace. In reading this one does realize that there have been quite a few changes since PI closed.

But what I love about the article is that Bevil is not afraid to point out what is all too obvious to us Pleasure Island fans. I've circled it above; click on the image to view it. Bevil concludes the article with, "But it must be said: All of them could have been opened without closing nightclubs." Bravo Dewayne for saying it the way it is!

Read the entire article at:

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Michael Jackson Dead at Age 50

All major news organizations have confirmed that Michael Jackson died this afternoon (Pacific Time) after suffering cardiac arrest. His comeback was poised to begin in London next month with 50 sold-out concerts. Of course MJ songs were a staple at 8TRAX and when some of his older videos were played, the club would come to a near-standstill as people stopped what they were doing and just watched the screen.

Friday Update: Last night at The Groove former 8TRAX DJ Doc played a LOT of Michael Jackson music and videos. It's what the crowd wanted. Another large crowd on hand for 80's Night.

YouTube has disabled the embedding of Michael Jackson videos at this time so we give you this link instead. Arguably one of the top music videos ever made but one of just one hit after another on MJ's Thriller album. Spend about 13-1/2 minutes watching this:

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Rumors Rumors Rumors

Every few months the rumor mill cranks up again about Pleasure Island. We're never really sure if old rumors are just recirculating or if these are actually new rumors. Certainly all those buildings sitting empty when they could be earning revenue, even temporarily, does lend itself to speculation. So since it's been awhile since we've visited the mill, I thought it would be a good time to do so.

1. The Adventurers Club reopening in some form (dinner show?) rumor is still floating around out there.

2. The 8TRAX/Mannequins reopening in some form rumor is still out there. We know the clubs have been gutted but that doesn't mean someone couldn't put new, modern electronics in and reopen it. Supposedly the dance floor in Mannequins is still there. The latest version of this rumor had 8TRAX reopening again as a 70's Club and Mannequins reopening with the dance floor but perhaps with a different music format. The magic in Mannequins has always been that revolving floor!

3. A source says the rumor about Disney Quest shutting down to be replaced with an ESPN Zone is true.

4. Soundstage and Motion become restaurants under the latest rumors.

5. Sources indicated that there might be a PI announcement in July.

6. Finally, and this is really whacky beyond belief....the Virgin Megastore is going to house a display of gowns formerly owned by....get this...Princess Diana. No, quit laughing! That's the rumor.

So there you have them. And all of them (except #6) are viable possibilities! :)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Club Reports: Vintage, Antigua, Roc Room, Tabu, I-Bar

Although this Blog is purposely fixated on Pleasure Island, our other mission is to report on alternate clubbing venues that you might enjoy. Downtown Orlando is full of them. Pictured above is Vintage which along with next-door neighbor Vixen features House/Dance music. Former Mannequins DJ Dominic spins Saturday nights at Vintage. The music was awesome...just like Mannequins....but the dance floor is small and most people were drinking and not dancing. The lower picture shows the "hole" in the upper wall which is where the DJ is located upstairs. It's impossible for the DJ and crowd to have any interaction. A manager told me they hope to have the DJ downstairs within six months. A big thanks to Dom for playing our Mannequins-favorite The DJ Made Me Do It by Robin (Dave Aude remix) last night!

DJ Nova at Antigua normally plays Top 40, mashups and a few oldies on Saturday night but I was told that radio advertising this week said they would be playing 70's Disco. And sure enough, they really were. The dance floor was full but the back of the club was relatively empty which is unlike most Saturday nights. I don't know if this was a one time thing or if future Saturdays will be Disco too. But it was fun and guys drink for free until 11pm, ladies until midnight.

Hidden in an alley upstairs and behind Antigua is Roc Room. Very upscale and also playing a House mix, it was too crowded to ascertain the location of their dance floor. It was also too crowded for me to locate a friend's birthday party I was looking for!

And then there's Tabu Night Club, likely the most famous of Orlando clubs. Owned by attorney John Morgan, most nights at Tabu are hip-hop oriented and Saturday is no different. Buskers out on Orange Avenue were handing out "Free Entry" cards for the ladies and I already have a permanent Friday/Saturday pass. It was packed inside. I didn't recognize the DJ. He did play Black Eyed Peas' Boom Boom Pow so it wasn't 100% hip hop.

Finally, no visit downtown is complete without a visit to the smoky, gothy Independent Bar. The music is New Wave/Old Wave but this place is more about people-watching than anything else, at least to me. I still hope to report on Sky 60, Suite B Lounge and Bliss in the near future!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Annagrace Tonight At HOB

Formerly of Ian Van Dahl, Annagrace plays tonight at House of Blues at Downtown Disney West Side at 9pm. Her current release is Let The Feelings Go which is climbing Billboard's Hot Dance chart and follows previous hit You Make Me Feel. Prior hits as Ian Van Dahl included Where Are You Now?, Castles In The Sky, Will I and Reason. I will unfortunately miss this as I'll be in downtown Orlando getting club updates for the Blog.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Unemployed Mannequin Needs New Home

Up for auction over at Disney Property Control is this currently unemployed Mannequin. She would make a great live-in partner to the right person. Long and lean, she's the quiet-type who is not likely to mouth off at you. Best of all, she loves techno music. Master Card and Visa accepted. Void where prohibited by law.

Club Reports: LQ / RCC / TG

Notwithstanding having to go to work on Friday, it's tough to stay home on Thursday nights anymore! DJ Leony had Latin Quarter packed last night with his awesome mix of techno/house, reggaeton and freestyle Latin music. Ladies drinking free till midnight doesn't hurt either! Hospitality industry employees get in free. You can also hear DJ Leony's hour-long progressive house mix on Sirius 36, XM 81 BPM every Friday night at 1am ET.

The Herb Williams Band continues to make the Red Coconut Club a hopping place, even on Thursday nights! They've been playing at the club since late January and their popularity has been growing with their ability to replicate popular hit music.

And then there's 80's Night at The Groove. Beginning in obscurity on January 29th with a handful of patrons, the crowds continue to grow and grow. Last night started off slow but by midnight the place was absolutely mobbed as former 8TRAX DJ Doc spun his mix of that fun music from the 80's. There was actually a long line at 1am this morning as shown above. The upstairs is closed on Thursday nights but downstairs it felt just like a Saturday night but with a slightly older crowd. Since it's been many years since The Groove had much going on on Thursday nights, Universal has to be pretty happy with this. If only they would allow some late-70's Disco to be played too! No one else in town is playing it and I think even more people would come out!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Britney Coming To Orlando

Britney Spears' amazing Circus tour comes to Orlando on Tuesday, September 1st at Amway Arena. Tickets go on sale this coming Friday, June 19th. Like her Tampa visit this past March at the St. Pete Times Forum, this is a definite sell-out as the album continues to pump out new dance hits.

Important Note: Pussycat Dolls was touring with Britney earlier in the year but it is not clear that they will be playing at the Orlando concert too.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Princess Diana Gowns Coming to DTD

This past week the website Disboards posted a rumor (since removed) that the former location of Virgin Megastore in Downtown Disney West Side would be replaced with an exhibition of Princess Diana's gowns! The rumor stated that a contract had been signed between Disney and Maureen Rorech Dunkel, the lady who bought 14 of Princess Diana's gowns a few weeks before the princess died in a car wreck in August 1997.

Save Pleasure Island can confirm that this rumor appears to be true. The following is an e-mail sent to students at the University of Central Florida's Rosen College of Hospitality Management:

> Date: Fri, 12 Jun 2009 13:04:37 -0400
> From: hospitalityjobs@MAIL.UCF.EDU
> Subject: Unique employment opportunity for Rosen Students in Downtown Disney
> Our Foundation, The People's Princess Charitable Foundation, Inc., will be bringing the magnificent tribute to the late Diana, Princess of Wales, to Central Florida! We are planned to be open 7 days a week, from 11am - 11pm, beginning at the end of June and running through November.
> Due to the aggressive move-in timeframe, WE ARE HIRING NOW for this incredible experience honoring one of the most iconic figures of our time. Full and part-time positions include greeters, floor monitors, cashiers, and various other team positions.
> Having worked with Rosen students before in 2008, we are confident we will be able to find our team members from the highly qualified pool of Rosen candidates.
> WHEN: 11am - 4pm
> WHERE: Rosen College, Three Pillars Cafeteria
> WHAT TO BRING: Personal ID and resume, including references.
> We look forward to meeting any interested Rosen student this Monday.
> Thank you for your help in getting this word out to Rosen students. To learn more about our incredible journey, please visit our website www.PrincessDianaDresses.com.
> Sincerely,
> Bob Singerman
> President
> The People's Princess Charitable Foundation, Inc.

With no disrespect intended to Priness Diana, this is just a travesty that Disney is so desperate to fill empty space that something like this needs to be brought to Walt Disney World.
Update: It's now official. This exhibit is coming!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Paradiso 37 Is Open

When it was announced last summer that the comedy and dance clubs on Pleasure Island were going to be shuttered, Disney officials announced just ONE new venue coming to the island: a Central and South American restaurant and bar. After many delays, Paradiso 37 finally opened this past Thursday. It is impressive and it was close to capacity this past Saturday evening when I visited the island. There is a lot of outdoor seating both on the east side adjacent the water taxi landing and in front across from 8TRAX. Tables also face Village Lake itself. The indoor and outdoor bars are very cool.

Extensive renovations were done to the waterside building which formerly housed the Missing Link Sausage Company, DTV and other shops. And it turns out "Street Foods of the Americas" is really just a nickname for the theme of the restaurant rather than a separate food court as originally speculated. And the "37" in the name apparently comes from the number of countries in North, Central and South America. (I'll have to do my own count sometime.)

This is an outsourced restaurant operated by e-Brands. But this is it folks. Unless there are new announcements, nothing else is coming to Pleasure Island.

Wednesday Update: Got to try out the restaurant this evening. Menu is pretty extensive and the items are themed to represent some of the 37 countries in the Americas. For instance, beef skewers are called "Bolivian Beef Skewers". Not sure how Bolivian they really are. Average tab is probably around $15/person including a soft drink so I didn't feel prices were as high as MouseSteps was insinuating. There are some more expensive items; alcohol will run up the tab too. I noticed a lot of people were ordering multiple tapas and making a meal of them. A lot of the food items are presented on unique plates, bowls and glasswear. I give Paradiso a thumbs-up.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Club Report: Motion (Pleasure Island)

Well the first thing obvious about Motion being open last night was that Disney wanted to make sure it was very clear that Motion was not really open again but only that a private event was taking place "over there". There was an opening in the hedges to allow access but before you could get past the hedges you had to get past Disney Security who would only let pass those who appeared to know about the event. So that kept out any passersby and made it highly unlikely someone would just stumble upon the club and decide to attend. Those who knew about the event were allowed to pass through.

I arrived very early to get photos and there was only a few dozen patrons in the club before 10pm. But oh what a GREAT feeling to be in a Pleasure Island dance club again! And I was immediately reminded about what a great sound and lighting system Motion has. It puts The Groove to shame! And of course, Mannequins' systems were even better than Motion.

The early DJ was Orlando's own DJ Joanie. DJ Manny Lehman would come on much later.

The Blog will be updated later once I have more details of how the evening went. Early reports are that DJ Manny played a lot of hard house (house music without vocals) which caused a large exodus of patrons around 12:30am. This is really unfortunate because what makes techno popular in the year 2009 is Dance music with vocals like (Kaskade, Tiesto, Ferry Corsten) and Top 40/Hip Hop remixes (Britney, Lady Gaga, Flo-Rida, Rihanna).

Update: Our roving reporter Thommy was at Motion on Saturday night and confirms the above. He says DJ Manny Lehman just didn't understand the Orlando techno crowd; only 3 songs with vocals were played: Poker Face, Sorry & Womanizer. That sent many leaving relatively early. He also thought the drink ticket system wasn't good because you couldn't put tips on a credit card and some people did not have cash with them to give cash tips. He reports many of the bartenders were very stingy with their liquor pours. He agrees the sound and lighting systems blow other Orlando clubs out of the water but that the lighting tech on duty did a poor job using what was available to him. Thanks Thommy!

Erin from 8TRAX and Adventurers Club was selling drink tickets. The bars were staffed by Catering people who can't handle money or cash registers so Erin would take cash and credit cards and give out the drink tickets which could then be used for purchases at all the bars. Good to know how this works in case I ever am given the opportunity to rent the place.

Elsewhere, sources on the island mentioned that there may be an official announcement about Pleasure Island during July. Stay tuned!

Club Report: Celebrate Tonight

Well of course Celebrate Tonight is not really a "club".....but it is an experience. And Laffers Cantina is right there in case you need a drink. We've been following the progress of Celebrate Tonight and the weekend version is definitely more popular than the weekday version. The summer tourist season has begun and Downtown Disney was pretty packed last night. There was a large contingent of tourists doing the Cha Cha Slide live in Celebration Plaza. But with Paradiso 37 now open and Celebrate Tonight taking place in Celebration Plaza, the island doesn't seem to be that dead anymore despite all the empty buildings.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Tonight At The Groove!

HURRY! For the next 15 minutes only, there are $2 Kamakazi's in the Red Room!!!!

All The News That's Fit To Print

Our roving reporter Thommy was on the Island last night, scouring the crevices looking for news stories. Here is the latest from Pleasure Island. First of all, two reliable sources say that the dance floor inside Mannequins is still there. You'll recall prior rumors that it had been sold and shipped away. Unfortunately, Mannequins will NOT be open tonight.

The Pleasure Island water taxi stop is again operational. It's free and you can use it to go to Downtown Disney Marketplace or to Downtown Disney Westside near the House of Blues. The stop is adjacent the new Paradiso 37 Restaurant & Tequila bar, which opened for business this past Thursday. Thommy reports that it is really cool inside; they had a guitar player playing. Supposedly it will not be a night club later at night.

The club formerly known as Motion will be open tonight for techno DJ Manny Lehman. Tickets are $40. The famous Motion DJ booth is back place on the stage and ready to go. I have no idea how many advance tickets have been sold but they're competing with other long-scheduled activities. Maybe they'll offer a lower price at the door but $40 is just way too much, IMO, since it does not include any drinks. Motion still looks pretty much the same except that "Motion" sign at the entrance is no longer there.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Club Report: Atlantic Dance

It was a disappointing night at Atlantic Dance Hall last night. A cavernous facility, unless you have at least 300 people in here, it feels empty. At it's peak I counted around 150 patrons and it never got hopping. The large expected crowd just never materialized; all the bodies which indicated they would be lining up at opening time must have found something else to do! And DJ Cruz just never delivered on the promised night of techno. I finally went to him and introduced myself and inquired about the Dance music promised by management. He told me that he had purchased a lot of new songs (with videos) just for the night but when the big groups never came, he didn't play them. I told him that there were a large number of people still there (that hadn't already departed!) that wanted it and he immediately put on 3-4 back-to-back techno songs but then reverted to his Top 40 and 80's mix. To be fair, DJ's at AD are obligated to play requests and the crowd that was there was requesting what he was spinning. So if you like a Motion/Groove mix, it was an ok night. If you came expecting a large crowd of dancers moving to techno, you went home sad :(

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Motion Is Open This Saturday Night!

Have you wondered if you'd ever set foot in a Pleasure Island dance club again? Well this coming Saturday night is your chance because Motion will be open with techno/house DJ Manny Lehman. Tickets are over $40 though....ouch! Meanwhile hip-hop DJ Skribble will be featured this Friday night over at Destiny Night Club. Destiny is located on Universal Blvd. behind Wet'n'Wild. Tickets are $20. Tickets for both events are $50.

PS-Yes, I am quite aware that Disney took my idea to hold a techno concert in a Pleasure Island club, turned me down and said they couldn't allow an event where advance tickets were sold and then they allow someone else to do the exact same thing!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

PI Update

The Adventurers Club was open this past Saturday night for some type of private event. We don't think it was a private rental but more like an award ceremony of some sort for an employee. About 30 people came out afterwards. The photo shows some of the lucky attendees prior to the club opening. PHOTO BY THOMMY

Rumor has it that Paradiso 37 will have a soft unadvertised opening this Thursday and that the next project on Pleasure Island is the demolition of Rock'n'Roll Beach Club.

My fortune cookie today stated that I will have FULL CONTENTMENT BY SUMMERS END. This is a very good omen since summer doesn't end until late September which kind of coincides with the PI closure last year......and perhaps a club reopening or two this year? Fortune cookies are accurate, aren't they?