Thursday, January 10, 2013

PI Update: There Is Finally Hope On The Island

Exciting news announced yesterday about Meg Crofton being replaced as President of Walt Disney World.  Her replacement, George Kalogridis, comes from his role as President of Disneyland in California.  Disneyland is a hot property right now that can't seem to do anything wrong.  Compare that to WDW which can't seem to do anything right.  The Blog was told previously that Crofton was very-much a player behind the closing of Pleasure Island clubs 4+ years ago.

The above move created a whole host of musical chairs lower down but we don't want to overlook a couple of them that are potentially even more important to PI fans.  First of all, Ken Potrock, current Senior Vice President of Downtown Disney & Disney Sports is being moved to Sr VP of Disney Vacation Club.  Potrock has presided over the current "situation" at Pleasure Island and perhaps is finally being held accountable.  We remind you of the original announcement nearly 5 years ago of the clubs being closed:


And of course after the clubs closed, nothing happened on the Island.  In 2011 we were finally promised Hyperion Wharf.... which also never happened:


So "highly regarded" Potrock's out.  But even more exciting is his replacement as Sr VP of Downtown Disney & Disney Sports, Tom Wolber.  You see, Wolber comes to Downtown Disney from Disney Cruise Lines.  Everyone knows that DCL caters to kids and families and everyone knows how well they do it.  But even though kids and families are their focus, they have not forsaken adults as Walt Disney World and Downtown Disney have.  Each DCL ship includes an entire adult-only clubbing zone, open each evening,  loaded with various bars and dance clubs.  With something for everyone, Disney Cruise Line is able to charge about three times the tariff compared to competitors Carnival and Royal Caribbean, for the same length of cruise!

Yes, it appears that someone is finally is being held accountable for what happened on Pleasure Island.  And we have to hope and trust that new guy Wolber will bring his successful experience quickly into play.  There is absolutely no reason that Disney World adult guests should have to go to CityWalk at night!

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

I hope they bring the excitement of DCA with them! I'd love to hit the Mad T Party and then head on over to Mannequins to dance some more!

Anonymous said...

as was SAID before by me and other(s) what will reopen? AC? CW? 8TRAX? Mannequins? the biggest club is well Mannequins! even if they do the sound and light systems will not be the same and will most likely be just like ADH!? and I am sure Disney will not FIX the floor (if it is still there) and will anyone like this? I say NO cause the 8trax people loved 8TRAX the Mannequins people loved Mannequins! now throw in a mix of that and RAP top 40 YUCK!(disappointment in the works) but that is one persons (maybe more) OPINION!!!

got to remember there are some that still have not heard PI clubs closed! now if they reopen HOW are the ones who knew it clsoed going to find out it has reopened?

KingBob said...

It may not be possible for a place like Adventurers Club to reopen and operate at not only a profit but an acceptable profit. But I think Comedy Warehouse has the ability to charge patrons on a "per show" basis and make profits. As for dance clubs, both Mannequins and 8TRAX would be hugely popular and profitable.

Anonymous said...

Where would World of Color fit in best? Any thoghts?

Anonymous said...

Of course they would fix the floor if there's anything wrong with it. The consensus is that it is still there. It wouldn't take much to bring back Mannequins better than ever and Disney certainly has the ability to do so. We should just enjoy this news and hope the the AC will return someday possibly in another location, perhaps inside a park or maybe they will put the gates back up at PI. Either way, this is the news we've been waiting forcand the whole purpose of the blog so let's give these new execs a chance.

Anonymous said...

I think it's time for a new letter writing campaign! Where is that PI questionnaire that was posted a while back?

Anonymous said...

I know it's still a long shot but this is a glimmer of hope! Maybe they can still save Mannequins, Cage/8Trax at the least?

Anonymous said...

Anon @ January 10, 2013 10:55 AM
would cost too much to fix the floor in Mannequins! and to run would cost! didn't say it couldn't be fixed!
and Disney maintenance said it was broke on the last night! BTW!

and AC I am sure was not making money when PI was open was just part of PI!

Anonymous said...

Please Bob give us addresses and or emails so we can respectfully request our amazing clubs be opened again!!!!

Anonymous said...

The new guy doesn't take over until February 1st so let's not start a letter writing campaign just yet.

Anonymous said...

George is awesome. Let's hope he can make some waves and kick WDW into shape (including P.I.)

Anonymous said...

This seems like very hopeful news, it's already been five years and P.I. has been pretty dead.
Guys don't let it be another five years.
So reopen the clubs and let people dance and party.
Hopefully the new management will make that happen.

Anonymous said...

I heard from a friend of a friend and also read online in many places about what they did to the floor in Mannequins. THey moved it to the Magic Kingdom and are using it to turn around the steam trains in the back area. I think that's a great idea, to recycle and re-use, right? Too bad Mannequins now has a 43.5 foot deep hole in the middle of it where the floor used to be. Now they will never be able to turn that building into anything useful. But then I heard the hole was big and deep enough for a killer whale or dolphin show to go in, and they're really thinking about it, cuz water is so cheap and easy to find in Florida. You don't see that kind of show every day, do ya? I'd buy a ticket, heck, I'd even sit in the front row and watch the high diving acts by crazy clowns before the killer whale show starts. WOw, so cool, I can't wait...

Anonymous said...

The Mannequins dance floor originally WAS a turntable for steam locomotives that were used at Adam Mearriweather Pleasure's canvas factory.

Anonymous said...

Please provide the link to even one legitimate article written by a credible source, ie Disney, that says that the floor was moved. On another note, is there not one reader of this blog that has a friend that works for Disney that can either just open the building and go look or ask a security guard or maintenance worker to go look? This rumor needs to be put to rest. It's highly unlikely that the dance floor was removed without anyone seeing it.

KingBob said...

The only articles published on the subject are right here on the Blog.

We published photos taken from the garage door area which shows the floor in there about 2 years after the club closed.

Sometime within the past year a member of Disney Security reported to the Blog going into Mannequins when they found an unlocked door. The floor was still there.

There is no indication that the floor was broken. It did come to a halt on the final night because of the sheer weight of everyone there that night. But it had come to a stop the night before too yet was operational for the final night.

Anonymous said...

Thank you. I agree completely

Anonymous said...

The floor removal is a long-time running gag here. When you think about it, who would remove the floor and leave a big hole behind? Also, no new revolving floors have been reported elsewhere, so again, this is a dumb series of comments to take seriously. So we make jokes about it. So there. Is everyone ok now? Good, I didn't think so...

KingBob said...

We like to humor the guy who insists the floor was removed.

And I agree, if someone actually bought it, for what? As mentioned, there are no clubs advertising a revolving dance floor except for Amphitheatre in Tampa which has had one for years.

KingBob said...

>Where would World of Color fit in best? Any thoughts?

World of Color at DCA is located in an artificial lake. It costs money to attend the shows. WOC can't happen at Downtown Disney because DTD is free. More importantly, Village Lake is a live lake filled with fish, otters, etc. It would be difficult to operate a WOC type of event there.

Nonetheless, prior rumors reported by the Blog did include 5 large fountains being installed in the lake. We had no details and certainly fountains could do tricks, but nothing to the extent of World of Color.

FN said...

>...World of Color...
I agree, World of Color requires an environment which can be 100% controlled for installation and maintenance. You need to be able to drain the water completely. And you can't have watercraft running in and around the performance venue.

But I've been hearing from others that the DTD/PI parking lots are full to capacity quite frequently, so another issue is that if you build something new there and draw new crowds you'll run into problems with parking. This is not only an issue for what is currently there but also for anything which would be built in the future. This leads me to believe that re-opening the clubs or re-theming/re-purposing the area may only happen when potential parking issues are resolved. This may be a much bigger factor than we realize. I think Disney recognizes that PI is an underutilized resource with great potential, but no matter how whiz-bang the concepts are, you can't have it all in the present configuration of things.

There are definitely times when both I and my group avoid PI because we know the parking is so hellish. This has led us to discover a lot of other fun non-Disney things to do in the greater Orlando area.

One thing is certain - the future will be very interesting when we finally get to see how and what is done to this area.

I wish the Adventurers Club could return.

Anonymous said...

Interesting but still no excuse for not reopening the clubs. The clubs would attract a later crowd when parking would begin to open anyway. We must not develop Stockholm Syndrome and make excuses for the complete f-up closing the clubs was. This blog exists to bring the clubs back. We must always remain focused on that.

KingBob said...

There is nearly ALWAYS parking available to the west of Cirque. Yes, there are some peak times when even that is full, but it's very rare. Before a new parking garage is constructed, you'll see the entire DTD parking lot redone. As we all know, it's very difficult to go from one lot to the next and since the flow is all westbound, it's very difficult to go eastbound in the lots.

Anon at 6:50pm, you remind me of a very valid point. PI nightlife began beyond 10pm when the shoppers were leaving anyway and parking opened up. Shopping and nightlife complimented each other at Downtown Disney.

FN said...

Got it, sounds like I'm just stuck in a "no parking" or "hellish parking" mentality. I've been of that mindset for quite a while, unfortunately, and I really do loathe parking at PI/DTD... A couple posts here have made very good points about how club crowds tend to arrive after the shopping/dining crowds have mostly left. Sounds to me that there clearly are few, if any, major impediments to bringing night life back to PI. I hereby officially request Disney to put it all back, please.

Anonymous said...

I am Anonymous. I constantly argue with myself. And I am always right.

FN said...

There may come a time when we see a traditional Disney "ride" or "attraction" built OUTSIDE of a gated Disney theme park.

Steven Krize said...

OMG....you are all wrong. First off the buildings in Pleasure Island where NEVER part of any locomotive or boat building anything. When PI was first built it was themed like all Disney creations. The story behind the island goes on about a guy named pleasure...blah blah and that the island was used to make ships in the early 1900's but later was revamped by pleasure as pleasure Island. None of it was true the plaque on the outside of the mannequins building was just part of the theme. Mannequins was no more a ship building anything than the Hollywood Tower Hotel was a real hotel. Secondly the floor is still there and no the pit isn't 50 foot. Below the rotating floor is a serious of tires that roll along the floor, much like your car tires. Only not as good, no where as good. As more weight is added to the platform the tires are pushed down and can no longer roll. This combined with Disney slowing the rotation of the platform many years back, makes the platform stop at nothing. The platform doesn't have a transmission to deal with all the extra weight. Furthermore, it was designed in the early early 90's. The dance floor is the least of the worries, they destroyed the building removing all the stainless bar equipment, and I do mean destroyed. Even worse the lights where taken to MGM and the sound system scraped. Those two systems alone are worth far more than the floor. Each moving head sells for $8000 to $10,000 each, the replacement lamp HMI575 sells for $200 each. I have worked in clubs since I was 16, and dedicated my entire life to their design and every aspect of their creation. questions email me: tiborwolfe@gmail.com

FN said...

Steven, good post, thanks for sharing with us readers. The stories of the Mannequins floor being missing is a running gag here, and the true depth of the hole underneath, I think, quoting other mysterious sources, would actually be closer to 185 feet. The number posted by the other poster was an obvious attempt to obscure the true depth and magnitude of the rotating floor and what's underneath. ;)

The "train turntable" is a reference to the actual Pleasure Island backstory. Someone here must have a photo of the old plaque which told the story as written by WDI.

You're right about the moving yoke light fixtures -- they are pricey! It makes sense that they would have re-deployed those to other parks due to not only their value, but also due to the fact that they eventually reach a point in their service lives where the manufacturer no longer produces replacement parts. Plus, at $8-10,000 each, they are depreciable capital assets and the whole accounting thing causes them to be tracked and managed differently from other consumables in the clubs. Disney, like any other large corporation, has a labyrinthine fixed asset tracking and lifecycle management system.

Bummer about the stainless steel bars, sound system, etc. I'm confident that those can all be rebuilt in the same manner that the lighting systems would be. I know that any clubs which return would have to be brought up to current and modern standards and would exceed anything we knew and enjoyed there in the past. Hint to Disney: We're ready to see and support your best efforts in this regard!

Oh, one more thing about the Mannequins rotating floor -- I don't know about the actual wheels or tires which supported the weight. I *do* know, from personal experience under the *original* floor of the Carousel of Progress at Disneyland in California, their (much larger and heavier!) floor was supported by steel wheels on circular steel railroad track and driven by large General Electric motors. I wish back then I had taken photos because there were many other interesting remnants I saw from America Sings and Carousel of Progress to be found in, around and under that structure. Had I taken photos, I'm sure they would have been extremely interesting so many years later.

And just to maintain the now well-established tradition here on this blog: The floor in Mannequins is really gone and is being used elsewhere, turning at a very high rate of speed, to spin sugar into cotton candy. I know this is true. ;)

KingBob said...

Steven & FN, thanks for the on-going discussion. The Blog published the only known photos of inside Mannequins post-closure on 1/31/10, or a little over a year after Final Night. It's possible to easily get to that article via the tree under the Blot's Flag Counter.