Wednesday, November 30, 2011

PI Update: Will Island Remain In Limbo?

Earlier this week Disney announced that it was not going to build a stand-alone hotel at the property it purchased at National Harbor just outside Washington DC back in 2009. According to Orlando Sentinel reporter Jason Garcia* who specializes in the financial end of the Walt Disney Company, investor pressure is on the company to cut-back on its capital spending as soon as it finishes current capital commitments such as the second new cruise ship, Shanghai Disneyland, the Fantasyland expansion, AvatarLand and the stand-alone but problematic Aluani Resort on Oahu, Hawaii.

But what does this have to do with Pleasure Island? Well we know that whatever was planned for the Island after the clubs were shut-down in September, 2008 never happened.  There were no takers for more restaurants and shops, at least at Disney's asking prices. One year ago Disney tried to jump-start interest by unveiling the Island's conversion to a place to be called Hyperion Wharf.  That plan was shelved or at least indefinitely postponed this past Spring, to be reworked.  A well-sourced rumor at the time indicated that outside vendors would be allowed to reopen the former clubs as clubs, just with different names.  Yet that hasn't happened and here we are right now with a lot of unused buildings.

With Disney apparently facing scrutiny for any large projects, Hyperion Wharf can't happen for years as it's way too expensive. The simplest solution is to proceed with allowing outside sources to reopen some of the Island's clubs and start paying rent. No serious renovations would be needed to reopen Mannequins, 8TRAX, Soundstage and Comedy Warehouse.  In fact, new state-of-the-art lighting and sound systems would be cheap outlays in Disney-terms and could be generating revenue within months of a green light.  The prior rumor had new vendors operating under Disney's blanket liquor license, something allowed under Florida law. So that's not a stumbling block either.  Disney needs to get on with this. Because if they don't, we're looking at many more years of nothing on Pleasure Island.
See the full Orlando Sentinel article here: Jason Garcia     


Anonymous said...

There is STILL no sold anything on the clubs reopening. Limboland seems to be the theme of 2012.

Remember how long Horizon's sat at Epcot, closed, in plan view of guests... same thing happening here.

Anonymous said...

Limboland? I love it!!!! I gotta use it when I am walking around downtown Disney. LOL. Too funny.

KingBob said...

Unfortunately, things remain bleak down on Pleasure Island.

Jordan said...

A concept that I cannot believe Disney would ignore is the idea of "Opportunity Cost" This means that Disney has a whole bunch of acres of land just sitting there, not making any money. Every moment those clubs sit there empty is a moment of lost income.

Coming up on 3 1/2 years now. 3 1/2 years of lost revenue. I can't believe they'd be this stupid. Bummer. It's in their best interests to re-open the clubs. Morons.

KingBob said...

Fortunately for local Disney management, profits at other divisions have been so high that the lack of profit for the PI space has been overlooked.