Natasha and I went to the Adventurer’s Club at Pleasure Island last night and while we had a great time, as always, we learned some sad news. The club is closing, along with most of the other locations in Pleasure Island.
This is something I’ve suspected would happen for a while. Pleasure Island has been around for about 20 years now, pretty much opening around the time that Natasha and I first started hanging around Walt Disney World Resort extensively. (That was before we worked there — but my parents worked there so we could get free admission to various things through them.) PI was such a radical concept for Disney back then. I mean, the Mouse opening a night club?! Shocking! Even more radical was the concept of the Adventurer’s Club.
If you’ve never been there, the club is at it’s roots, dinner theater without the food, but with alcohol and improv. But that’s a really spare description. It’s more like all of that, except the actors are right there in the audience getting people involved. I’ve heard Bob Iger call what we do in Parks and Resorts as “Immersive Entertainment”, meaning you’re not watching it, you are in the middle of it, experiencing it as an active participant. That’s really the core attraction of the club. The entertainers there draw you right into the story.
What’s the story? The year is 1937 and the Adventurer’s Club is holding an open house trying to drum up some new membership. The club is a haven for odd and unusual heroes to drop by and tell (and sing) their adventures to anyone who wants to listen. It’s wacky. It’s zany! And it’s the most fun I have ever had anywhere at Disney.
You can walk into the club and immediately be greeted by Graves the butler, who will welcome you back and offer you a piece of mail that was sent to you at the club.
You can bump into dashing and handsome Hathaway Browne, club aviator, just back from his latest crash…err…flight across the Amazon, who will charm the undergarments off most women at 30 paces.
You can get dusted up by one of the delightful domestic engineers. Nothing better than getting the dust of a bad day at work feathered off by a gorgeous girl in a short skirt and stockings with seams up the back. Smart and sassy, the club maids will sweep the gentlemen off their feet.
At some point, Pamelia Perkins, Club President, is sure to sing a long, “Hel-loooooooooooo!” There’s no one more welcoming to new adventurers than Pamelia. Her warm, friendly smile and matronly manner belie the daring and sexy tigress that stalks beneath.
Just ask Otis T. Wren, club treasurer and Ichthyologist extraordinaire. Otis and Pamelia have a love/hate relationship — mostly hate except for stolen moments in the specimen closet. Otis always has a story about the one that got away.
Then there’s Samantha Sterling, the jungle exploress who charms men with her sparkling eyes as well as she charms jungle beasts with the tranquilizer darts she always carries near her shoulder. Samantha is also quite the song-stress, vamping it up at her sexy cabaret each evening.
Need to know the history of an artifact at the club? Ask Fletcher Hodges, Club Curator. He’s mounted every artifact there and will gladly tell you the history of anything to be found there. Make sure you get a drink first — Fletcher’s descriptions could take a while.
And let us now forget Adventurer of the Year, 1937, Emil Bleehal. The young scamp from Ohio came from the relative obscurity of his mother’s basement to worldwide fame via his affinity with pigeons. Emil is as wide-eyed as anyone visiting the club for the first time, and is one of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet.
There’s a small cast of other supporting characters, too, whom I will wax on more in future articles I’m sure.
You know how sometimes there’s a book, or a TV show, or something, that you like to escape into sometimes? To just be there. Doesn’t matter if you know what’s going to happen next? You just want to be immersed in the experience? Yeah, that’s what the Adventurer’s Club is to me, and to Natasha as well.
Let this just be the first set of written, thunderous applause I issue for the folks there, every last Actor and Cast Member. I have had more laughter and fun there than I think I have had anywhere else. It’s a great loss to all of us who have enjoyed journeying off to a place where adventure is everyone’s middle name.