Saturday, September 27, 2008

Sometimes we do cry because it's ending

On our last few visits to the Adventurers Club, during the Radiothon, Yvette said "We don't cry because it's ending, we smile because it happened." For the most part we have done that, but today it is difficult. Tonight is the last night that our fellow Adventurers will experience the magic that is the Adventurers Club.

Today I find myself thinking of the Pixar movie "Wall-E". I know that Disney now owns Pixar, but I never think of Pixar movies as being Disney movies and the situation with the Adventurers Club very clearly shows the disconnect between the two companies. On the very day that Pixar's breathtaking masterpiece was released, the Disney company announced the pending closure of the most unique and magical experience offered anywhere. At the same time they were promoting a movie that spells out the dangers of living a life based on mass consumerism and gluttony, they were planning the closure of a unique entertainment option in favor of . . . shops and restaurants. Disney, who was once the paragon of entertainment, is choosing to eliminate interactive experiences in favor of shopping and dining, calling this a "bold new vision". Typically Disney movies hold a lesson for those who watch them. The lesson of Wall-E has been hotly debated - does it encourage us to protect the environment or to forego mass consumerism in favor of experiences? Does it tell us to live life rather than simply observing it? Does it warn of the dangers of choosing the easy way rather than making an effort? In the end, perhaps the lesson Disney wants us to take from "Wall-E" is simple: Do as we say, not as we do.

Tonight, when the doors close following the final Hoopla, the world will become a much less magical place. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to experience the Adventurers Club over the years are well aware of what we are losing. After tonight, the Colonel will no longer lead us in the Club's all purpose salute. Graves the Butler will not induct new members. Hathaway Browne will not charm the ladies. The French Maid and Beezle will not entertain us in the Treasure Room, and Claude and Arnie will not reign over the Mask Room. Otis T. Wren will not spin his tales to lure Hathaway away from the Balderdash Cup. Emil Bleehall will not make the trek from Ohio. The Yakoose will not startle new visitors. Babylonia will not gain new worshippers. Fletcher Hodges will not show us his artifact. Samantha Sterling won't hear Adventure calling her name. And Pamelia Perkins will not tell us "We don't cry because it's ending, we smile because it happened."

We do smile because it happened, and we will for years to come. We will always remember this magical place, and the people we met there, with a smile. We will laugh at the memory of Emil and his pigeons or of the "nude member induction". We smile because we remember the excitement and unpredictability of that wonderful place. We will treasure each moment we spent there.

Today, though, we will cry because it's ending. We cry because something unmatched is vanishing and most people will never realize it. We cry because we are powerless to stop this, though we know what a mistake it is. We cry and we rage because Disney is taking away our favorite place, someplace with no subsitute, and giving us shops and restaurants to replace it. We are angry because Disney is taking the easy path, eliminating unique entertainment in favor of just another mall. We see clearly what a poor choice this is, but there is nothing we can do to prevent it.

Today we mark the passing of something truly magical. Those of us lucky enough to have Adventured there will always feel fortunate to have experienced it. We will smile when we remember the time we spent there. We will always have fond memories of our fellow Adventurers and the Adventures we shared.

For the rest of our lives, we will smile because of the Adventurers Club.

But today, we will cry.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A Brief Introduction to the Club

The Adventurers Club can best be described as a highly themed interactive comedy club. Set on New Years Eve 1937, an evening spent at the Adventurers Club will consist of several scripted musical comedy shows in the Club's Library as well as humorous shows in the Mask Room and Treasure Room. Some of the most entertaining moments come from the unscripted interactions between the characters and guests that occur in the Club's Main Salon. The Adventurers Club can easily be considered the "crown jewel" of Disney imagineering, incorporating not only the most talented group of actors in the Orlando area but also audio-animatronics and many other surprising and magical effects. It is, by far, the most unique place on Pleasure Island, as well as in the entire Walt Disney World Resort.

(Want to learn more? For a more detailed description of the shows and characters, just scroll down!)

Addresses and Other Resources

While emails and online petitions are good, actual letters are crucial at this point. If you choose to write, please be polite and concise. If you need ideas to get you started, there are great tips to be found by clicking through the links to the right.

Executive Addresses:
Mr. Robert Iger
Chief Executive Officer
The Walt Disney Company
500 South Buena Vista Street
Burbank, CA 91521-4873

Walt Disney World Guest Communications
PO Box 10040
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830-0040

Mr. James A. Rasulo
Walt Disney Parks & Resorts
500 South Buena Vista Street
Burbank, CA 91521-4873

Meg Crofton
The Walt Disney World Resort
PO Box 10040
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

Al Weiss
Worldwide Operations
Walt Disney Parks and Resorts
PO Box 10000
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

Executive E-mail Addresses:

Bob Iger, Vice President of Operations, Walt Disney World

Kevin Lansberry, Vice President of Operations Downtown Disney

Meg Crofton
President Walt Disney World Resort

Jay Rasulo
Chairman Walt Disney Parks & Resorts

Al Weiss
President Worldwide Operations - Disney Parks and Resorts

Barry Carlson, GM of Operations

Patsy Pederson, GM Guest Show

Kris Piser, DTD Finance Manager

Eric Johanson, Downtown Disney Business Relations

Save a Part of Walt's Legacy

Save the Adventurers Club!

Save Pleasure Island Clubs

Monday, July 7, 2008

Club Characters and Shows

Some of the Club Members you can expect to meet during your visit to The Adventurers Club:
Pamelia Perkins, the Club President
Otis T. Wren, the Club Treasurer and Icthyologist
Samantha Sterling, Daring Adventuress Extraordinaire
Hathaway Browne, Dashing Aviator
Fletcher Hodges, Club Curator
Emil Bleehall, Junior Adventurer
The Club's French Maid
Graves, the Loyal Club Butler

Throughout the evening, the Members participate in the following shows:

The Radiothon - The Club members attempt to raise the money needed to keep the Club open for another year by putting on a Radiothon. They sing and take calls from listeners offering donations, with hilarious results. Club Curator Fletcher Hodges joins the other Adventurers with a special incentive for one generous donor.

The Balderdash Cup Competeition - Each year, Members of the Club compete to win the coveted Balderdash Cup by telling their most thrilling tales of adventure. Will dashing Hathaway Browne take the Cup again this year or are things finally looking up for Club treasurer Otis T. Wren?

The Radio Broadcast - The Adventurers know the show must go on, but half of their cast seems to be missing! Will audience members be able to help fill the roles and placate the show sponser, Jinkies Cereal? President Pamelia Perkins and Otis T. Wren perform with Club visitors.

The Maid's Singalong - The Club's French Maid doesn't just keep the Club clean, she also entertains the Club visitors with song and dance.

Samantha's Cabaret - Club Adventuress Extraordinaire shares tales and songs of her thrilling adventures.

The Hoopla! - All of the Club members celebrate the end of another successful new member drive with song and dance, ending with a rousing version of "Oh When the Saints Go Marching In" with the Club's own special twist.

Guests are also invited to enjoy shows in the Club's Mask Room and Treasure Room, where there might be a few surprises in store from the many relics on the walls.

New Member Inductions are led by the Colonel, who resides on the wall in the Main Salon. Also presiding over the Main Salon is the Yakoose head, believed to be half Yak and half Moose - destined for the taxidermist but sent to an upholsterer instead - who is more lively than visitors might expect.

The Club is a not-to-be-missed, uniquely "Disney" experience unlike anything else not only at Walt Disney World but anywhere else, as well. Most visitors return again and again as no two shows are ever the same.