Tuesday, October 19, 2010

PI Update: Where Are the Rumors Taking Us?

The news yesterday that construction permits have been filed by Disney for Pleasure Island construction is the biggest PI story since the announcement in June, 2008 that they were closing the clubs. But the permits filed so far are scant on details so everything is still up for speculation and rumor. Here is what is known so far, and I will make reference to the photos above as Photos 1 through 5.

1. Per writers Dewayne Bevil & Jason Garcia's article in the Orlando Sentinel today, a Disney spokesperson has stated that they will reveal some details within a matter of weeks.

2. PI changes originally were to be completed within 2 years (2010) and then that was bumped to 4 years (2012). You'll recall the Orlando Sentinel reported finding something in an Annual Report that indicated restructuring would not be finished until 2013. That would be 5 years. Well if you click on those Construction Permits I published yesterday, you'll see that they don't expire until December 31, 2013. So don't expect a brand new Island anytime soon.

3. We've had a couple people supposedly "in the know" comment here on the Blog in opposite directions. One said demolition on the Island would begin in October and the other said there were no demolitions planned and there was no money in the budget for it. We've not seen any club buildings come down yet but the demolition has definitely begun as shown in Photos 1 & 2 above. Let's talk about that.

4. The rumors out there have construction beginning on the east side and working their way west. The eastern side of the Island begins at the #1 Bridge and we've seen the east span demolished and replaced with a brand new span and now we're seeing the west span demolished and being replaced. (Photo 1)

5. That area where niche music groups and choirs used to perform, located in front of Portobello, has now been demolished. (Photo 2) If you look at last Saturday's article I said we'd watch closely to see if they were demolishing or rebuilding. Progress so far shows it being demolished! It's in the way of the new pathway. I also pointed out a second walled-off area in the background. Look at today's photo and you can see the two construction areas are now walled-off into one much-larger area.

6. The rumored walkway will travel into the current backstage area between Portobello and Raglan Road. (Photo 3) The construction permit refers so that area as a "Service Yard".

7. Motion is going to have to come down....and relatively soon, as the walkway must come through there and enter what is now Funmeister Plaza. Photo 4 shows the current employee-only walkway there now between Motion and the PI restrooms. Thus, will be looking for construction permit(s) regarding the demolition of both Motion and Rock'n'Roll Beach Club. This is where a different rumor had a restaurant/bar/lounge being built in the form of a lighthouse on the water. Expect a nautical theme to all the coming changes and a name change from Pleasure Island to something nautical such as "x Harbour". Insert your own name into x.
8. The Mannequins/8TRAX building cannot be demolished but it can be re-used. I have no clue to what.

9. Sadly, Soundstage and Adventurers Club are coming down! (Photo 5) But with these buildings at the far west end of the Island, we might not see this for another couple years! Stay tuned!


Anonymous said...

So if the walkway behind Raglan is true, I wonder how the Raglan folks like the idea of all the foot traffic from the Marketplace going behind them!

Anonymous said...

Mannequins 8TRAX building can come down OK not the whole thing but can be mostly taken down! just because there is a power grid inside doesn't mean that the whole place has to stay!!!!

SoCalGal said...

Great island news, love the breakdown of information.

Joe said...

Another (minor) issue with the MDP/8TRAX building are the Harley and Curl shops in there. They can be moved elsewhere...but that'll have to happen before any demolition to the MDP building.

Anonymous said...

Let's keep hang'in in there hopefully they'll reopen Manniquins & 8 Trax

Bill said...

I'm curious about the reference to valet parking in area #5. As some of you may remember, PI had valet parking once upon a time. There's no point reviving it there unless there's something worth going to. I suppose Bob's report of the lighthouse-theme reference might fit the bill, but part of me hopes there's more to it than that...

71 said...

My take, I think "valet parking bridge" is just a name for the bridge that dates back to the 90s. Kind of like Bob had a receipt from a cash register that still thought it was in "Mannequins Alley Bar" or whatever it was.

The "lighthouse" is just going to be a fast food joint with a Laffers-like bar. Strictly a walk-up joint, I think with only outdoor seating. Not the kind of place that would warrant valet parking.

My only other guess--pure speculation here--is that valet parking might be a sop to Raglan Road, if they really are taking away 80% of their foot traffic.

Anonymous said...

None of this is exciting news unless they re-open a club or two. If they're putting in more themed restaurants with bad food, who cares? Worst mistake they ever made. Re-open the clubs and keep the kids and strollers out. Damn!!!

KingBob said...

As 71Jason has stated, DTD cannot support 7-8 more restaurants, even if they're on the Disney Dining Plan.

The rumored new walkway does appear to divert foot traffic behind and around Raglan, coming out on the far side of Sosa Cigars whereas currently every one of those people have to walk beside and in front of Raglan Road. If this is true, I can't see how Raglan is ok with this.

Mannequins & 8TRAX cannot be torn down without huge infrastracture expenses. That's not happening.

Thanks, SoCalGal!

Anonymous said...

I'm prepared to be UNDERWHELMED whenever Disney makes the big PI announcement.

Most things they've done in the past 10 years have been a big disappointment.

Jeff - Gainesville said...

Anon 10/20 10:11 - I feel your frustration and I would like nothing more than to walk into that revolving dance floor one more time with no kids and strollers in my way! But, it's not going to happen. If WDW uppers thought it were to their advantage, they'd have had the turnstyles runnin' a long time ago. We'd best get used to a new "re-imagined" space. Or, not go there anymore. It's surely not to resmble what it was 2 years and one month ago. Personally, I want to see it finished before I form an opinion. But I still support the effort and kudos to KindBob for the up to the minute photos and report!!!

Anonymous said...

I grew up in Central Florida and as such Disney was a huge part of my life and I was a fan. I just haven't been back since PI was destroyed and I don't see me going back.

Now when I want to party I vacation to NYC or Bangkok (I prefer Bangkok).