The area of Walt Disney World now known as Disney Springs has gone through a lot of changes over the year. “The Landing,” in particular, has seen a lot of new developments debut over the last year including “The Boathouse,” “Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar”, and “Morimoto Asia,” to name a few. In fact, not too long ago, this district went by a different name inspired by an infamous location from Walt Disney feature-length adaptation of “Pinocchio”: Pleasure Island.
Walt Disney World’s “Pleasure Island” debuted in 1989 as a nighttime entertainment district designed specifically for adults. The area featured several uniquely themed nightclubs and entertainment venues as well as New Years Eve fireworks every night at midnight. The majority of these offerings were removed in 2008 with the name officially changing to “The Landing” in 2015. While the atmosphere was more grown up and party-oriented than a day at the Magic Kingdom, it was not nearly as out of hand as the Pleasure Island Pinocchio encountered.
In the animated classic, the villainous Coachman collects naught boys and brings them to an isolated location known as Pleasure Island. Upon arrival, these children were encouraged to take part in a number of vices including fighting, vandalism, gluttony, drinking and smoking. Seeing Pinocchio take part in such pastimes certainly did not sit well with the puppet’s conscious, Jiminy Cricket. However, things went from bad to worse when they realized that the actions of Pinocchio and the other boys were turning them into donkeys, just as The Coachman planned.
A tribute to this memorable scene can be found in Disney Spring’s massive “World of Disney” store’s plush animal department. This carnival-inspired space features a variety of murals and artwork inspired Disney’s 1940 film, including this image on a dismayed Jiminy Cricket searching the island for Pinocchio. While the name “Pleasure Island” is no longer used to describe an entire area of Disney Springs, this little piece of the original animated Pleasure Island lives on at Walt Disney World’s shopping and entertainment district.