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The lost (but laughable) history of WDW's Pleasure Island: Part II

The lost (but laughable) history of WDW's Pleasure Island: Part II

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The 1990 edition of the Birnbaum Guide to the Walt Disney Word resort presented a "Cliff Notes" version of the Pleasure Island story and missed many of the wonderful stories of the Pleasure family. In fifteen years, more of those stories have disappeared along with shops like "Jessica's of Hollywood where you could purchase lingerie (fortunately the giant Jessica sign with the moving leg was saved and relocated on the island) or the "Avigators Supply" shop where you could purchase merchandise featuring the Pleasure Island mascot of a flying alligator.

The mythical history of Pleasure Island was rich with detail and revolved around a waterfront manufacturing area that was restored by the Disney Company into a nighttime entertainment area to compete with Church Street Station in downtown Orlando.

To add to the enjoyment of Pleasure Island, Walt Disney Imagineering placed plaques near the entrances or exits of various buildings on the property so that clever guests could trace the imaginary history of the Island. Here are the rest of the remaining plaques before they disappear into history along with the ones for the Fireworks Factory, Neon Armadillo and others. Any reader who has the information that was on those plaques is encouraged to share them with the rest of us.

ROCK AND ROLL BEACH CLUB
(XZFR Rockin' Rollerdome-a roller skating dance club)
Building X
1937

Island founder and UFO enthusiast Merriweather Pleasure built his experimental "X-thing" here. Pleasure himself designed this super amphibious aircraft that could harness the power of the wind. The "X-Thing" flew only once-Sept. 1, 1940-with Pleasure himself at the controls. The test flight is shrouded in mystery, but upon landing Pleasure began broadcasts to outer space. Beamed from the roof of this building, the international Morse Code messages repeated "W-E-L-C-O-M-E."

Further information on the incredible doings at Pleasure Island from 1911 to present day may be found inscribed on the quasi-historical plaques at all Island entrances.

REEL FINDS
(Hammer and Fire---shop that featured titanium jewelry, stoneware, and wall hangings)
Fittings Foundry
1923

The bronze foundry for Pleasure Island Yacht Refurbishing Inc. was built in 1923. Unique custom fittings, individually cast at great expense, were required to achieve the "pleasure principle" of lavish but functional ornamentation of sailing vessels.

Further information on the illustrious and illusionary past of Pleasure Island may be found upon the plaques at each Island entrance.

YESTEREARS
Remains of Pleasure Island Ltd. Chandlery and Tool Crib
1924

One of the many support facilities for the cornerstone of Island founder Merriweather Pleasure's commercial empire, "Pleasure Canvas and Sailmakers, Ltd." A 1944 hurricane sheared off the front of the building, sending a million (more of less) bolts, screws, linchpins, lugnuts and spanner wrenches into the depths of Lake Buena Vista.

The silly saga of Pleasure Island is told in its imprecise entirety at each Island entrance.

SUSPENDED ANIMATION
Navigational Pleasure Graphics Ltd.
1924

Island founder and graphics connoisseur Merriweather Adam Pleasure rocked the art world when he lured R. North Camilpoter, America's premier gold leaf stylist to Orlando. Camilpoter spent his days peacefully hand-painting the bows of the yachts Pleasure refurbished. When Hurricane Charlotte damaged the building in 1944 only three years after his patron's demise, the graphic artist was too dispirited to rebuild.

History buffs: The incredible and unverifiable story of Pleasure Island is summarized for your entertainment at each Island entrance.

AVIGATORS SUPPLY
Pleasure Shipping and Receiving
1924

Island founder Merriweather Pleasure had this building constructed to facilitate his business refurbishing ships and yachts. It later became a clearing house and depot for the booty from his global adventures. In 1939, Pleasure befriended a group of native Floridian stunt pilots, the "Avigators" who operated a short-lived import/export business here from 1949-1951.

The entire history of Pleasure Island is misrepresented on the plaques located at each entrance to our island.

SUPERSTAR STUDIOS
Mrs. Pleasure's Music Parlor
Composed 1929

Built to store island matriarch Isabella Pleasure's gargantuan collection of 78 rpm Italian opera records. Immediately upon her passing in 1949, her two sons sold her collection (valued at $475,000) to an Orlando junk dealer for $150.

Refurbished by the Walt Disney Company and Star Trax Enterprises in 1989.
Find the fabulous fable of Pleasure Island and its founding family on the plaques at each entrance to the island.

VIDEOPOLIS EAST
Artificial Intelligence Lab
1929

Built for Island founder Merriweather Pleasure's son Henry, the "mad genius of Lake Buena Vista" and Henry's life work, the Pleasure Cellular Automaton. Henry died thinking his experiments in artificial intelligence had failed. But when the building was reopened in 1987, the automaton was alive and thriving. In fact, it directed the refurbishing of its home and designed the sophisticated computer hardware that shows itself to best advantage.

The complete and purely subjective saga of Pleasure Island is synthesized on the ersatz histerical plaques at the Island's entrance.

LOMBARD PROMENADE
1929

Designed by Island founder and incurable romantic Merriweather Adam Pleasure after a trip he and wife Isabella took to San Francisco. They both fell in love with the city's back-and-forth boulevard, Lombard Street. Isabella wanted a photograph as a souvenir, but Merriweather insisted on recreating the street itself. It later became a favorite site for the legendary, day-long hide-and-seek tournaments organized by the Pleasure grandchildren.

The fabled follies of Pleasure Island and its founding family are recorded on the histerical plaques at each island entrance.

COMEDY WAREHOUSE
Power Station
1912

This building became a storage facility when Pleasure Island was electrified in 1928. Six years later the power station became home to the Pleasure Island Thespian Players, founded by and featuring Isabella Pleasure wife of Island founder and drama enthusiast Merriweather Pleasure. The players specialized in elaborate Central Florida Historical Pageants, including the seminal "Song of the Seminole". After Mrs. Pleasure's death in 1949, the building was closed and the players disbanded.

Since its restoration by the Walt Disney Company, this site is again a warehouse, storing strange notions, again attractions and ideas slightly ahead of their time.

For further information on the legendary Pleasures, "America's First Family of Fun", please see the plaques at the entrances to Pleasure Island.

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