The history of Downtown Disney. - Orlando / Florida Guide
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To trace the history of Downtown Disney we need to go back 36 years (are you surprised to hear that? ) This was when the Lake Buena Vista Shopping Village opened.
Two years later this was renamed as Walt Disney World Village. As we shall find out later this was not to be the only name change.
The next big change occured during the stewardship of Michael Eisner. He was envious of the Church St Station area of Downtown Orlando and determined to create a Disney rival. This would not only add an extra attraction but also keep their guests on Disney property and therefore capture yet more of their dollars.
And thus was Pleasure Island conceived and this was a mix of shops, clubs and restaurants. This new night spot opened on may 1st 1989 which was also the opening date of M. G. M.
And along with this change, the original shopping village was re named Disney Village Marketplace.
I well remember one family holiday when we visited Pleasure Island 14 nights in a row (if I remember it was included in a 14 day pass) We particulary liked the outdoor ever changing group with a dance floor and also the comedy club. In fact we liked this club so much we went to all the shows as they changed for each performance. This is where they celebrated New Years Eve every night of the year which although a little hokey sent you home on a high.
10 years later and, guess what? the shopping village was re named for the 4th time and it became Downtown Disney Marketplace.
This was also when Disney Downtown West Side opened and this is where La Nouba and Disney Quest were located.
In 2004 Pleasure Island ceased charging a cover all entrance fee and instead there was a fee to enter each club. This was not enough to stop the rot and 2 years later it closed down altogether. This really tugged at my heartstrings but maybe it had served its time.
One of the newer attractions to this area of the Disney is Character in Flight. This is the largest tethered ballon in the world and it takes you 400 feet in the air where you are rewarded by a 10 mile view that affords you wonderful views of Disneyworld.
This costs $18 for adults and $12 for a child and the ride lasts about 10 minutes.
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Page added on: 3 October 2011
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