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.