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Sue Holland

Night Life, Part 2

More things to do when the parks close early

Friday, January 23, 2004
By Sue Holland, staff writer. Photo by Sue Holland, unless otherwise noted.

Photo by Sue Holland, copyright MousePlanet.
Adults can party each night at Pleasure Island.

Walt Disney World has many options for people to enjoy when the parks close early. In Part 1, we looked at the resorts' pools, Fort Wilderness, the various entertainment-filled buffets, the AMC Theaters, and Downtown Disney. We continue our look in Part 2.

It's a pleasure

Pleasure Island is also located at Downtown Disney, and is promoted as a playground for adults. However, Disney does permit children in all but two of the clubs. Whether or not to bring a child to a bar full of adults drinking (at times to excess) with adult situations is up to the individual parent, although many guests I've spoken to would prefer Disney simply ban children from Pleasure Island.

From 7:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. Disney offers everyone the chance to enter without paying admission, but they are then limited to staying on the street or in the few shops. Entrance to the clubs is not permitted without having paid admission for the night, which is included in many park passes. Separate Pleasure Island admission is approximately $21 per person, with no discount for children. Currently Disney offers an extra five consecutive nights for an additional $5, which is an excellent value for people who plan to visit more than once during that time frame.

Recently Disney made all indoor areas at Pleasure Island completely non-smoking, which includes all of the nightclubs. Jazz lovers can enjoy great music while sitting at a table or up on the dance floor. There are dance clubs themed to a variety of musical styles, including one that features songs and memorabilia from the 1970s.


Actors improve a scene at the Comedy Warehouse. Photo by Sue Holland.

Those looking for a few laughs will enjoy excellent improv comedy at the Comedy Warehouse or a mix of scripted shows and improv comedy at the Adventurer's Club. A band performs nightly on an outdoor stage, and a short New Year's Eve celebration is held just before midnight.

It's fine to dine

Visiting another resort for a relaxing dinner is not only entertaining, but it's a great way to see the resort you may be considering for a future stay. A dinner at either Boma or Jiko at Animal Kingdom Lodge can be combined with time spent watching the animals on one of the three savannas.


The Whispering Canyon Cafe. Photo by Sue Holland.

Several resorts have character dinners, which are a great chance to get photographs without standing in line to greet the characters in the parks. Other restaurants such as Ohana at the Polynesian or Whispering Canyon Café at Wilderness Lodge can provide some degree of entertainment in addition to an abundance of good food. Downtown Disney is also full of dining venues, with a wide variety of food to choose from.

Photo by Sue Holland, copyright MousePlanet.
Horse-drawn carriage can be rented by couples or families. Photo by Sue Holland.

Horsing or putting around

If a romantic horse-drawn carriage ride is of interest, Disney has this available in the evenings at Port Orleans Riverside and Fort Wilderness Campground. Reservations are essential, and each ride costs approximately $30 for a 30-minute ride. Rides begin at 6:00 p.m. and continue until approximately 10:00 p.m. Carriages hold up to four passengers, even when all four are adults. The driver will take his cue from the passengers and provide narration of passing sights or remain silent.

Miniature golf is a favorite activity for adults as well as children, and Disney has created four courses in two locations. The courses are open all year, and a round of golf costs $10 per adult and $8 per child. Usually there is a discount for golfing more than one round in a single day, so be sure to ask the cast members if this applies.


The final hole at the Fantasia Gardens miniature golf course is Yensid, who can spout water for a successful putt. Photo by Alex Stroup.

The older two courses are located at Fantasia Gardens near the Swan Resort. As the name implies, both are themed to the movie Fantasia. The Winter Summerland courses share a parking lot with Blizzard Beach, which makes them more easily accessible during the daytime via Disney transportation. After the water park closes however, a car is needed. One course is themed to winter and plays holiday music all year long, while the other has a more summery theme. All four courses are very well done, and are probably nicer than the miniature golf courses found back home.

Entertainment bar none

In addition to the clubs at Pleasure Island, each resort has a bar or cocktail lounge where adults can enjoy a drink or two and some relaxing conversation before turning in for the night. At the value resorts guests are limited to an outdoor pool bar, but the moderate and deluxe resorts each have an indoor bar with full service. Depending on the age of the children, they can be dispatched to the resort's arcade or childcare facility while the adults unwind. In some locations appetizers can be ordered, which at times can be a substitute for a light dinner.

Photo by Sue Holland, copyright MousePlanet.
World of Disney, the largest store in the Marketplace.

Shop 'til you drop

Shopping opportunities abound in Walt Disney World, no matter where you are. While much of the merchandise can be found in many different locations, there usually are at least a few items that are unique to the particular store. The largest collection of shops is at the Marketplace in Downtown Disney, which can be very popular in the evening.

In addition to Disney merchandise in stores such as the vast World of Disney, there are a number of shops selling non-Disney merchandise. One of the three Basin shops in the USA is located here, featuring high-quality bath and body products. Once Upon a Toy is worth a visit even if you have no children to shop for, with many classic toys and games. A very large pin store is located at the Marketplace as well, and quite often pin collectors are there showing off their collections and trading pins with guests.

The West Side, also in Downtown Disney, has a unique collection of shops as well. Here one can purchase real magic tricks and the cast member will teach them to the buyer. Craving a good cigar, a new guitar, or a magnet for your refrigerator? The West Side has shops that specialize in each of those items, along with a sunglasses store, the Cirque du Soleil merchandise shop, and a place to buy celebrity-related items.

Walt Disney World is a big place, with something to please everyone. There is so much to do, even when the parks close early—hopefully this two-part series has provided a few ideas for your next trip.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sue has been hooked on Walt Disney World since her first visit in 1972 with her parents and younger brother. She kept returning more frequently until she moved to Florida in 1986.

After joining the Disney Vacation Club (DVC) in 1997, she now visits almost monthly. She also spends time at the DVC's non-WDW locations, and is experienced with the Disney cruise ships.

She takes many of these trips on her own, but she's also toured WDW with large groups of people, including families, the elderly, and people with disabilities.

She works as the Administrative Services Division Head for a large residential facility administered by the Florida Department of Children and Families. She currently resides in Southwest Florida with her teenage son.

Sue is one of our most prolific trip report writers. Read her trip report archive here.

You can contact Sue here.

Get the latest info about the resort at “Park Update: Walt Disney World.”

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