Monday, July 25, 2011

Blog Response to Orlando Sentinel Article

PICTURED ABOVE:  Club Motion a few weeks after closure. Click to enlarge.
KingBob responds to Sunday's Orlando Sentinel article about Pleasure Island:
1) First of all thanks to the Sentinel for publicizing the absolutely sorry situation out there on Pleasure Island. While the Blog has attempted to cover it as best as possible and while the situation has been the subject of endless discussions on various on-line forums, this is the first real analysis by a major print publication.

2) Agree that there is a long-running debate within the Disney company about whether adult-only entertainment fits with Disney's family-entertainment brand. Given WDW's location within a community where the number one radio station is one that plays only music that is safe for the little ears, this is not surprising. Disneyland, watch out!

3) The resort's bragging that the club's closings have not harmed DTD guest ratings is laughable since the people who would disagree are no longer there to be polled. And they brag of financial growth? Unfortunately the losses in revenue are easily hidden and blamed on the horrible economy rather than the truth. Thus, no one has been held accountable for the disaster.

4) They say the night club business is a "low-margin business?" Everyone knows that alcohol-revenue is legal stealing; there's a reason liquor licenses routinely sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars. It ain't because the business is low margin.

5) Disney really did not know how much each club was making. PI made money as a whole from ticket sales, drink sales and merchandise sales. The latter two could be attributed to the clubs that sold them but ticket sales were not tracked. When the Island was gated your ticket was scanned at the entrance, you were given an armband and away you went. We don't really know if ticket sales got allocated to the clubs and if it was, in what manner that was calculated. After the Island was opened the first venue visited scanned your ticket and gave you your armband. Tickets were not scanned after that no matter how many venues you visited.

6) The fact that representatives of existing venues on the Island would not comment for the Sentinel article speaks volumes.

7)  No doubt the collapsing economy and credit crunch caused initial plans to falter. After more than 2 years Hyperion Wharf was offered up but apparently attracting few takers. So the fact that it's on indefinite hold and may never be coming back is taken by PI fans as a sign of hope! Splitsville is a sign of hope.

8) We just want our clubs one form or another.

10 comments: said...

Great read Bob! Not sure if you have a journalistic background, but I've always appreciated your approach to the blog. Kudos to Jason Garcia, Orlando Sentinel!! It's undeniable, the mouse knows that this blog exists.

Anonymous said...

It's good to know that the article has some good responses form the Sentinel, hopefully it will encourage some good things to come to P.I.
Like reopening the clubs, and letting the adults Party!

Kudos again to Bob, and Jason.

Anonymous said...

I am SORRY! but after what Disney did to us I will not be going back! t waste my money on Disney! I WISH USF and or other park would open a PI like clubs! I would be more than happy to spend my money there to SHOW Disney that fucked up BIG time!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

The fact that the amazing Trader Sam's is packing them in in California shows that the Disneyland management gets it. Not just that, but they are also looking at serving drinks with poolside servers in Anaheim...something that all luxury resorts do anywhere in the world, except at WDW. Wake up Team Disney Orlando. Bring back what people are asking for and stop trying to open more stores with the same merchandise found two doors over at the next shop. People want adult experiences with Disney quality. That's why PI was successful in the beginning and forced Church Street Station to close.

71 said...

Well put, Bob.

Excellent points about the fallacies of guest surveys and the laughable idea that nightclubs are "low-margin". In addition to the huge Disney mark-up on booze, don't forget that the majority of employees don't even make minimum wage (comedy clubs excepted).

I've said it elsewhere, but the idea that the economy has been hindering development in the touristy parts of Orlando for the last year and a half is also ridiculous.

I-Drive: Sea World Fridays/hotels, D&Bs, Brick House, Tilted Kilt, Joes Crab Shack...

West 192: BWW, Tailhouse, Wild Side, Applebees, Bahama Breeze, Flippers, Sweet Tomatoes...

535: Sweet Tomatoes, Applebees, Flippers

The failures at DtD (and Flamingo Crossing) are strictly on Disney management, not the economy. Would you want to lease space in PI when the existing tenants won't even talk about their experience?

Paul Contreras-Chandler said...

I am a former cast member who has lived back home in Saint Louis since 11/2003. I used to visit WDW 6-8 times a year. I flew down for the closing night of PI to be there for those last few Magical Moments. The last time I visited WDW was 01/2009 to run the marathon, which I registered for before the announcement of PI closing. Between the closing if PI, and some other closures in the parks, my Magic for WDW is gone.

Anonymous said...

Excellent points Bob! They purposefully made attendance fall by not marketing Pleasure Island at all after the year 2000 and removing all the special events and concerts that would attract a larger audience. Those clubs never lost money. Even the vice president of DTD said so when he announced the closing of the clubs. He admitted the clubs were still profitable but they wanted to take Downtown Disney in a new direction with a bold new vision. Well, as Dr Phil would say, how is that working out for you? Pleasure Island should have never been closed. It was open for 19 years. Don't you think the damage would have already been done to their family image by then? A little late to try and use that excuse for the closing. The best solution now is to allow third parties to lease the clubs and run them. That way Disney can always point to the vendor if a problem happens (like they do at HOB already) and they can provide the guests with the entertainment they want and deserve when they are at Walt Disney World.

KingBob said...

Thanks everyone!

Brian said...

Just found your blog. Interesting reading. I visited Pleasure Island pretty much once a week for ten years and spent enough money there that I probably could have retired if I had saved it. Miss it everyday. Back in the days when the island was gated the greeters at each club had hand clickers to count the number of guests going in.

KingBob said...

Brian, thanks for writing in! I think I could have retired by now too were it not for all those bar tabs. Regarding the hand clikers, I think that was more for capacity control rather than counting net attendance.