Thursday, October 1, 2015

PI Update: Dinner At Mannequins

When we walked out of Mannequins at 2:40AM on September 28, 2008, who would have guessed that walking back in wasn't going to happen for over 7 years?  And so it was with long-building anticipation that I approached Morimoto Asia on their opening night!
The nicely-lit entry way is located in Mannequins southeast corner where the downstairs bathrooms used to be.
The inside foyer upon arrival where waiting hostesses take you to your table.  The lighting fixture is made up of glass water bottles from the old Disney Springs water bottling company.
And the main dining room, where Mannequins dance floor used to be, is now filled with tables and booths!
And there she is, the home of that former revolving dance floor! One of our prior sources told us the floor was too expensive to remove so they planned to build Morimoto's floor right over it.  That remains a possibility.
Our waitress Brittany knew a lot about Mannequins but didn't know the disposition of the floor.  But according the Morimoto Asia General Manager Paul, the floor was removed!  He told me it was rotten, filled with water and had to be removed in sections with the hole filled.  I'm skeptical!  But even if it's there, it's not accessible and there sadly doesn't appear to be any nightlife aspect to this place.
Mannequins elevator is still here.  On the first floor it faces indoors instead of outside but here on the second floor it lets you out near where the DJ booth used to reside.
And adjacent the elevator there are bars on both the first and second floors.  Music played inside was Electronic Downtempo.
Many of the former purple load-bearing steel pillars from Mannequins still exist, painted anew!
And although the decor has changed significantly, you can still feel Mannequins original design such as this raised area along the north wall, above where Dawn used to bartend!  It's just that now when you stare down from up there, you see diners instead of dancers.
Upstairs along that north wall is the home of their sushi bar.  You can access this through the restaurant or directly from outside via a separate entry door across from Raglan Road.
Looking west towards the new kitchen downstairs and that private dining area upstairs, this seems to fit where the old stage used to stand.
Food was very good; I liked it better than The Boathouse. Not sure about 8TRAX as this kitchen area may be deep and extend into it. Will inquire further.  So nightlife here may be a bust, but as a restaurant, you'll definitely like it.


DJMadManRay said...

Sad. Glad the food was good, the place looks great, but it's still sad. Great post Bob! The comparisons of what's where, and what used to be, are perfect. I love that you asked about the floor! It doesn't matter what they ever do to the building, Mannequins memories will always come back every time we walk in!

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for the photo update! The place looks fantastic! Too bad I don't like Asian food.....

Any chance we can get a side-by-side "then and now" photo montage with images from inside both the club and restaurant taken at the same angles etc? Would be a lot of fun to compare.....

Troy said...

You know, the more I look at that tree in front of the old Mannequins entrance, the more it makes sense to me. Disney doesn't want people seeing that as the "entrance" anymore, or even remembering that was the entrance. Best way to do it? Put windows there, cover it with a tree.

Anonymous said...

I believe the tech booth, is now part of a new staircase. From the photos I've seen, there appears to be a new staircase leading up to the 2nd level, with a odd "lower" half portion to it, that would be the tech booths old floor.

The floor being removed, does jive with a photo once shown of a small bobcat inside the building. The weight of that bob cat, would have easily cracked the transparent portion of the floor and as far as removal's go, filling it in with some rock and concrete would have been a simple overnight job.

No doubt the kitchen is taking over some of 8Traxes area. If you were on the other side of the existing back stage wall, it was only about 10 feet of depth. The photos I see of the kitchen show it MUCH larger than that.

Now the big question. Were is the 3rd floor? There should be if you remember a large "Bridge" going over the center of the dance floor (the unused 3rd floor) that you used to be able to look out over and down the dance floor. From the photos I've seen, this appears to no longer exist.

Anonymous said...

funny I heard the ROUND floor was still there. so they covered it? the cost of that floor and they just covered it! not likely the old floor would NOT carry the weight of all what happen inside

Anonymous said...

The new floor appears to be poured concrete. No way you can pour that over top of what was there, if the new floor is indeed poured concrete then the old round floor is 100% gone.

Anonymous said...

Well Bob, too bad that there's no nightlife at 10:00 pm for the adults.
Seven years ago P.I. rocked with nightclubs, and people were partying and dancing.
Too bad that Disney Springs is not going to have the same experience.
Just think City walk will have all the nightlife.

FN said...

Great photos! Yup, I don't think you can leave the floor and just cover over it. The pit could accumulate water, mold, insects, etc. so I think removal was absolutely necessary.

Glad to hear the food was good, I still can't bring myself to pay the high prices at Boathouse or Morimoto, so I'm not sure what special event will eventually have me eating there. I do love good sushi!

My only concern with Morimoto's is that it appears too modern to fit seamlessly into the retro and relaxed "Springs" look and feel. But for Disney, and for the Springs development, it's definitely a good anchor tenant. I am looking forward to seeing it.

I will be visiting the Springs on November 1st, the morning after doing Universal's Halloween Horror Nights VIP experience. Morimoto, and Jock's, are on my "explore" list among many other new things there.

Bob, you're right, City Walk and I-Drive has all the nightlife. But if Disney makes enough money on dining and shopping, then I don't think it's an issue for them to give that segment away. Disney management and imagineers back when PI was developed seems to have been "party" and "nightlife" oriented. That does not seem to be so much the case today.

Anonymous said...

It's also great to see our beloved elevator still there!

KingBob said...

Thanks everyone for your Comments and opinions! If we go with what the Morimoto GM told me, then it confirms that the revolving dance floor was indeed there until the renovations began to convert the building from club to restaurant.

Anonymous said...

Were there three floors to the elevator buttons?

KingBob said...

I did not get on the elevator; I'll check it next time. I don't think there's a third floor. The ceiling in Morimoto appeared to go all the way up to above where the 3rd floor used to exist. Also, the elevator may be in its original shaft but the cabin might be brand new. Remember the old lift used to have doors front and back with one door used on the ground floor and the other used upstairs. This elevator appeared to have a door just on one side.

FN said...

Nooooooooo! They changed MY elevator? Say it isn't so!!!!


KingBob said...

It's so, FN.