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    When it opened on March 22, 1975, the Lake Buena Vista Village was the first official shopping area in Walt Disney World.  Nestled
within the area of the "official hotels", the shopping area became popular with guests seeking a quiet night, or someplace simply to dine, still within Disney World, but not in the Magic Kingdom.  Eventually it was renamed the Disney Village Marketplace, up until the area became known collectively as Downtown Disney, and it became the Downtown Disney Marketplace.
    The marketplace had its own particular flavor to it, and as a child I remember that I couldn't wait until the night when we'd visit the marketplace.  One of my favorite places to visit was Mickey's Character Shop.
At the Character Shop, they had every imaginable Disney character doll, as well as a plethora of other things.  I remember getting things like CD's there (official soundtracks), as well as magic tricks.  Actually, following the closing of the Magic Shop on Main Street, they were the only shop I remember in WDW that continued to sell magic (unless you count the cart outside the Haunted Mansion).
    The Marketpalce also featured various craftspeople doing such things as drawing, or cutting glass.  I remember the china shop they had there, which was close to the Empress Lilly, before it became part of the entrance of Pleasure Island.  But, in addition to that, there was a shop where people acutually cut, and molded the glass.  I remember them making things like elephants and the like, and for me as a child I was particularly impressed with the quality, speed, and most of all, what seemed to be the danger of it all.  There were little wheels that spun very fast, as well as flames from bunsen burners, that burned extremely hot blue flames.  For me as a kid, it was a very exciting experience to visit the market place.
    One of the things you'll notice about this shot over the Marketplace, especially if you're farmiliar with the way the area is currently situated, you'll notice that Pleasure Island had not yet been built.  As you'll soon see in a picutre below, the entrance to the park from the Marketplace is right off the side of the Empress Lilly.
    Speaking about the Empress Lilly, the story of this famous ship is perhaps the most tragic of all the changes that have ever been made over the course of WDW history.  The name of the ship came from Walt Disney's wife, as a tribute to her.  Sadly, about a year or so ago, both the name and the theme of the restaurant were changed, a sad ending to a lost era of the Disney Village Marketplace.


    Some of you at this point may say that the Marketplace is not much different, or any changes that have been made have been made for the better.  I disagree.  This page about the Marketplace is about change, but not about changes to buildings or anything like that.  Its about changes in the way the Marketplace was, the flavor of the Marketplace from a quiet little shopping village, to a loud and bustling place.  It has lost its quiet, its specialness, and most of all, its innocence.  It is a sad testament to the changes that have been made to WDW.


    In order to respond to the increasing demand for night life at WDW, in 1989 Pleasure Island opened.  It was also a response to Church Street Station, a popular night spot for visitors close to the city of Orlando.  The ticket policy was much the same as Church Street, one price gets you into all of the clubs in the park.  But, there have been a lot of changes to the Island since it opened.
    Eventually, night time celebrations started popping up in Pleasure Island at the end of the night (translate as somewhere near 12:00, even thought the park doesn't close usually until 2:00).  First starting with a Mardi Gras theme, then a Conga Line Party, then the park then began running with their still widely popular New Years Eve theme.  Every night, up to today, continues to be New Years Eve on Pleasure Island.
    The nighttime celebration was not the only thing to change at PI, though.  When it first opened, The Pleasure Island Jazz Club did not exist. Rather, in its place was the Merriwether's Food Court.  Recently the Pleasure Island Jazz Club moved, and changed its theme to coincide with BET.  It now sits in the building that formerly housed the Neon Armadillo,which moved to a newly build building, and chanced its name to the Wildhorse Saloon (I believe)
    One of my favorite clubs in WDW though is the Rock and Roll Beach Club, which I continue to this day to call the XZFR Rockin'
Rollerdome.  When it first opened, it was an exclusively an Oldies club, with a dance floor on the bottom most level, and a rollerskating circle track on the second floor.  Particularly notable about this club was that you could go there to rollerskate on Saturday and Sundays during the day (I never did, but I'm sure that it was fun).  Sometime before 1992, though, the Rollerskating was disbanded, and the club became simply the XYFR Rock and Roll Club, centering on both oldies and modern rock and roll. Now, as previously mentioned, it is simply the Rock and Roll Beach Club.
    The building that houses 8-Trax has also seen a lot of action.  Fans of Disneyland will recognize the name Videopolis, from the stage they have near Tomorrowland, where entertainment occurs daily.  When this club opened it was originally called Videopolis East.  Then it closed down for a short time, and reopened without changing any of its music or decorations, simply changing its name to the Cage.  The building became 8-Trax around 1994, and continues to play its disco music until this day.
    One of the most little known features of Pleasure Island is its original theme story.  The following is from the 1990 edition of Birnbaum's Guide to WDW.  "Imagineers tell us that right beside the Empress Lilly and the Disney Village Marketplace, an island was recently unearthed where an enterprising, larger than life 19th century ship merchant, one Merriweather Adam Pleasure held court.  Though the merchant sailing trade was in a decline at the time of his residence, the upsurge of leisure yachting assured the success of Pleasure's Canvas&Sailmaking, Inc.  The booming business spawned Pleasure Island, a community developed to abet Mr. Pleasure's pursuit of adventure and excitement...According to local legend Pleasure turned his entire operation over to his sons while he circumnavigated the globe, but he was lost at sea in 1939.  Pleasure Island soon fell into disrepair due to the neglect of his lazy offspring.  Enter Disney Imagineers".....So the Legend Continues.