Monday, January 9, 2012

PI Update: Hyperion Wharf Apparently Is Not Dead

There has been an absolute dearth of information and rumors lately about what may be coming to Pleasure Island.  You'll recall that in November, 2010 Hyperion Wharf was announced as PI's replacement but then in April, 2011 those vague plans were put on indefinite hold.  There were well-sourced rumors that indicated that third party operators could reopen the former clubs as clubs, as long as they used a different name and a different concept.  But that was months ago with zero progress towards that end.  

PI fans got excited in December when a one time only party for longer-term Disney Cast Members featured original Adventurers Club performers, characters and props and shortly thereafter original CM's from Comedy Warehouse returned to reprise CW at Disney Hollywood Studios. All those shows had standing room only crowds.  But other than those glimmers of hope, it's been silent until last week's rumor that it's going to be at least a couple more years before anything happens out there! 

This weekend while scouring the internet for any chatter at all I came across these entries off WDWMagic's© Forums. I would call these postings news:

WDW Administrator: There are some plans that include demolition of the AC building. 
WDW71FAN: Indeed... Actually.. of the 3 proposals for reinventing Hyperion Wharf that I've seen.. 2 include the removal of the AC and Soundstage structures.. The 3rd one removes the soundstage only, but renovates the AC building into an administrative facility.. Containing offices and a small computer datacenter for DtD.. This would allow for relocation of two other facilities in the DtD complex into the solitary location... It's important to note ,that this would included the demolition of the midway level structure of AC, not the ground levels... 'capping' the building off, if you will.  I can tell you, that no matter what.. AC will never reopen .. (you can read that as 'in that location'.. but I am not informed that it would be built again anywhere). I can also tell you that the name 'Hyperion Wharf' is not dead... nor is the project.. 

But I liked this entry much better from Jason71, a reader and poster here on the Blog:

71JASON: The news lately is that major stockholders are pressuring Disney to quit making major capital investments in the parks. This only makes a revived PI make more sense. It would cost tens of thousands, at most, not tens of millions, yet would bring headlines, tons of free PR, and a lot of good will among guests (including locals). Re-opening PI is about the only thing I can think of that will rival the Potter Land expansion for buzz, but it can be done for a fraction of the price. (And will pay for itself within months.) 

If  only Jason! If only.     (CLICK ON CONCEPT ART TO ENLARGE)


Anonymous said...

I certainly do not believe either of the first two statements. For one thing, there would be WAY too much of an uproar if they even considered taking the Adventurers Club down again. Secondly, you do not see administrative buildings anywhere "onstage" at Walt Disney World, and I highly doubt that the Adventurers Club will become that.

71 said...

To explain the original poster's point, the offices would not be "onstage". They would be downstairs in what was the Main Salon and Library, but the Zebra Mezzanine (or more importantly, the walls surrounding it) would be destroyed. They would probably even put seed and mulch over what would now be the ceiling of the new office space to hide them. At least, that's how I understood the plan.

Just to build on my post that King Bob reposted, clearly WDW has music and light systems somewhere. They used them NYE in EPCOT! Liquor license paid for, rent clearly a nonissue. Sure you'd have to train staff, but there are plenty of WDW bartenders, and I know managers who would quit their jobs to go back to bartending at PI. The comedy clubs might cost a bit more, but they were able to throw an emergency DHS show together fairly cheap, and this time they could see their costs recouped directly.

Tons of free positive PR in the news media and the blogosphere for less than the cost of a new daytime parade. And it would make money. The mid-level TDO guy who suggests this has a fast track to Burbank.

Jeff -Gainesville said...

I have to respectfully disagree that re-opening P.I. would rival Harry Potter - perhaps I was reading that wrong.

I feel certain that the new Fantasy Land expansion and Avatar will foot that bill.

I maintain that the closing of PI was not and is still not a money issue for WDW. At least not in terms of their revenue generated. Of course they want money - either by making it themselves or by charging a third party.

On one of my last visits there a Brillion years ago, I saw three people get arrested and one woman drunk off her ass screaming at folks (and yes dare I say the dreaded word - FAMILIES).

It just does not seem like the vision and the plan to bring that type of activity back there.

I don't know what that Splitsville thing is all about but it sounds like a more mixed use facility. Again, I'm not an expert on it. Nor am I a Disney exec, cast member or insider in any way shape or form.

My opinion is simply that if they wanted those buildings open as clubs they would have kept them open as clubs. Or, reopened them when whatever grand plan fell through back in 2008.

It does not seem as though they are afraid to reopen a building or re-purpose it, as evidence from other places on the property.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. I loved P.I. and I would be the happiest man on earth if I could spin aournd on that dance floor one more time. I'm a fan! I appreciate KingBob and other folks' work and posts.

But I sadly resign to the fact that those walls won't ever be the same again.


Anonymous said...

The plans did show that adventurers club was going to be demolished so to say there would be too much of an uproar doesnt matter to Disney.

Anonymous said...

OK 1st things 1st! DISNEY the OLD DISNEY did NOT want PI in the 1st place PI was Michael Eisner's BABY!!
so after it opened Disney maid money on it! after Michael Eisner was gone it failed and used this to close it! and this is why PI will never reopen! get it got it good! well maybe NOT some of you still do not want to believe this you can or you can not I do not care! but go do some research on Michael Eisner and see!!
but i do believe that some of the Disney uppers liked the money it brought in and wanted it to stay! but the long time disney uppers didn't!

Anonymous said...

I agree with Jason 71 and you already have clubs and buildings ready to be fixed up, and reopened.
Also there are lots and lots of people waiting with baited breath for this will happen.
So come on let it be a great new year, let it have some surprizes with music, dancing and partying for everybody.

Anonymous said...

House of Blues still runs club nights at Downtown Disney and it works fine. Most families don't even notice as they have long gone to bed.

As long as the security presence was heavy, there's no reason why PI couldn't thrive in the same way the adult clubs on Disney Cruise Line or at CityWalk do.

KingBob said...

Jason71, thanks for clarifying as the original description was rather confusing. The original Hyperion Wharf plans published here on the Blog did show BET/AC demolished and "seed & mulch" on the top level. And yes, I agree, for relatively few dollars, Disney could get HUGE amounts of free publicity and goodwill by reopening most of PI.

Jeff, I don't think 71 was saying that reopening PI would rival Harry Potter in itself. I'm pretty sure he was referring to the free publicity that such a move would generate. FLE will be nice but it's not going match up to the Potter expansion and Avatar is so far off into the future that it's meaningless now. But you're probably right about PI not coming back, at least anywhere near how we knew the place.

Anon at 8:19pm, I believe you are factually correct on the PI history. And given the Z-crowd who currently runs TDO, there aren't going to be any concessions towards adult-only activities such as dancing, heaven forbid.

Anon at 12:52am, CityWalk segregates their clubs into a separate area to minimize families intermixing with partiers. PI is right in middle of DTD and it's much more difficult to segregate it. But it could be done.

71 said...

@ Jeff-Gaineville: I'm talking strictly in terms of publicity--and yes, I am probably exaggerating a little. But still--it would be "above the fold" front page news in the Sentinel (and probably the Tampa and Daytona papers), it would be lead story on the 11:00 news, and it would EXPLODE in the online fan community. Almost all positive, especially if the AdvClub was included. It would dominate the social media conversation for months, like Potter did when it opened.

KingBob said...

I agree. The Disney decision to close their Pleasure Island operation made it into a number of newspapers nationwide. A decision to reopen it in some form would do the same.

Jeff - Gainesville said...

Thanks for the clarification 71 and KingBob. I agree with you in that it would be big news, for heaven sake, I'm willing to travel there from Gainesville on the weekends if it were to re-open!! I'm not trying to be a complete downer on the issue. I still hold a glimmer of hope. It could be done, if it's done the right way. Thanks for the continued updates and the Blog.