Sunday, November 27, 2011

PI Update: Remembering Celebrate Tonight

The night of September 28, 2008 was an unusual night on beautiful Pleasure Island. It was the first night that there were no clubs open, it was off-season and it was thus mostly empty. Those traversing the Island reported an eerie feeling. Crickets could be heard chirping. An unanticipated development of the club-closings had immediately surfaced; the silence was scary! Something had to be done. And that something was a spin on Disney's 2009 Celebrate Today! advertising theme: Celebrate Tonight! (CLICK ON ANY ONE PHOTO TO ENLARGE ALL PHOTOS)

The initial set-up (above left) in April, 2009 and what it looked like later, complete with hut. West End Plaza became Celebration Plaza.

DJ's and dance staff were hired. Initially the process involved stopping passers-by and asking them, on microphone, "What are you celebrating?" Invariably most people weren't celebrating anything and the conversations often went nowhere. It was excruciatingly painful to watch. During the 14 months of Celebrate Tonight's existence, the spiel evolved into games, music and dancing. There could be decent crowds in-season and on peak nights.

Of course stiltwalkers were mandatory at such events.

Celebrate Tonight took place on cold days in winter as well as the hot sweltering days in summer. There were cancellations only for rain (and once for snow!)

A variety of DJ's were on the Celebrate Tonight staff in order to keep this operating every evening. There were usually two on duty during each celebration with one up in the booth and the other working the plaza. DJ Willie (The Groove) & DJ Talie (Atlantic Dance Hall)(with J.B. from Mannequins) are among those pictured above.

The Save Pleasure Island Blog was the first to mention the possible shut-down of Celebrate Tonight when it noticed that CT was no longer listed in the Downtown Disney Guidemap. Sure enough, the celebration came to an end in June, 2010 with DJ G-Clef (Red Coconut Club) closing it out.


Anonymous said...

OH WELL!! is all I can say!!!

71 said...

A dumb concept, apparently thrown together to avoid a mandate from Burbank to re-open the clubs. (Really, those first couple weeks with closed buildings and no music made the place downright creepy, apparently a VP felt the same.) The music was cheesy and repetitive. And yeah, it was often painful when guests had nothing to celebrate, or just kept walking by.

But wow, some incredibe CMs polished this turd to a shine many nights. DJs Lon, Hollywood Bob, Tallie and G-Clef were amazing, as were the dancers (Katie's "HoeDown Throwdown" remains a thing of beauty). Despite the inherently weak concept, they were entertaining as often as not, and they always gave it 100%, even when it was 40 degrees out and the place was dead.

Great DJs, talented dancers, party music in the was almost like classic PI all over again.

KingBob said...

71, watching it was often VERY painful. DJ Lon is in one of the posted pics but I could not find one of Hollywood Bob. I think the other guy is Dangerous Dave. The latter is the one who stared at me one night as I stood taking pictures and on his microphone announced, You're the guy from Save Pleasure Island, aren't you?

Yes, the staff worked pretty hard to keep it going but unfortunately had very little to work with, especially compared to what it replaced!