- Christopher Boyd | Scott Powers and Jason Garcia, Orlando Sentinel
- The slow evolution of Downtown Disney’s Pleasure Island continues with the recent opening of a second specialty apparel shop, the impending shutdown of a live-music nightclub, and the anticipated reuse of a long-closed building. Opening shortly before Christmas was a new, two-story shop called Curl by Sammy Duval, named after the water-skiing legend and featuring name-brand surf and skateboard fashions, boards and gear. Closing Feb. 3 will be the Rock ‘n’ Roll Beach Club, a venue known for its nightly live music. Along with Raglan Road, which often features solo musicians or acoustical combos, the Beach Club has been Pleasure Island’s live-music venue.
Nearly completed is the overhaul of a retail and venue building, along Village Lake, which has been vacant since the Orlando Harley-Davidson clothing store relocated and two other stores closed in 2006. Renovations appear to provide four retail storefronts plus side entrances for a multistory venue behind them. Disney officials would not discuss plans except to say something will be announced soon. Together, the three changes are consistent with a more than 2-year-old strategy pursued by Walt Disney World to broaden the appeal of Pleasure Island beyond nightclub patrons. Disney spokeswoman Zoraya Suarez declined to elaborate on plans for the Beach Club building, which features a panoramic view of Village Lake, though she dispelled rumors that the building would be torn down. All employees are being offered jobs elsewhere in Disney World, she said.
The Beach Club building has undergone major change before. It opened in 1989 as the XZFR Rockin’ Rollerdrome, with a roller rink inside. The rink was deemed too dangerous and was removed in favor of a beach-club theme, according to The Official Encyclopedia Disney A to Z, by Dave Smith.