I suppose it’s better to be late arriving to the party than to have never been the at all. Such is the case with Disney’s Adventurer’s Club on Pleasure Island. My first visit to the now-extinct attraction was not until December of 2006 during MouseFest and I was not prepared at all for the shenanigans, hi-jinks, immaturity, and tomfoolery that I was about to experience. I had heard stories about the Adventurer’s Club from my best friend, Chip Kapowski (yes, just like Kelly from Saved by the Bell) but the lead-up did not compare to the actual thing.
The night started off well as I had been given a free ticket into the Club from someone who was not able to go (free is for me!) Immediately upon entering the Club, I was the subject of a few well-timed barbs from the Cast about my camera and lens, specifically about their “size”, and I knew I was going to love this place. After a shot and a beverage of choice from Chip (I swear the shot was actually rocket fuel), it was time to be sworn in as honorary members of the Club. I learned the Club Theme Song, the Club Salute, and a few minutes later I was a member with all benefits and privileges that are due a member. Kungaloosh! (I found out thirty seconds later that there were no benefits or privileges).
After a few shows, it was time for the Rhythm Ritual where I got to watch John Corigliano raising the roof while laughing hysterically and then it was into the Library for the Bon-Voyage Hoopla (HOOPLA!) Although it was fun to listen to Fletcher Hodges sing songs of Frosty and Emil Bleehall muse about how it was particularly rough for him at Christmas, the absolute highlight of my Adventurer’s Club experience was seeing Paul Barrie (Window to the Magic) become Beulah Belle’s little sister Bonnie Belle, complete with French Maid hat and feather duster. Beulah then serenaded Paul to the tune of Popular from the musical Wicked. It just so happened that I was sitting dead center with an unobstructed view of the stage, and a camera in hand for an impromptu photo shoot.
Numerous other visits to the Adventurer’s Club over the next year really cemented the place as a sentimental place for me. One night, a poor guest named Peter was absolutely TORTURED by Samantha Sterling and Beulah Belle because he admitted to meeting his wife while playing the song Tainted Love (BOMP! BOMP!) while working as a DJ in England. Sterling, Beulah, and Pamelia Perkins got a good ten minutes of material out of that one joke. Improv comedy at it’s finest.
Although the shows and skits were memorable and the decor was top-notch, the Adventurer’s Club was clearly more than the sum of it’s parts, and there is one very strong reason for this: The TOP-NOTCH cast performers. The cast could cut you up with a one-liner and have you feeling welcomed at the same time. Some of the improvisations and zingers were the stuff of legend. Happily for me, they always played to my camera and it was a lot of fun snapping silly photographs of the performers and I could tell that they had fun mugging it up for me as well.
That, my friends, was the key to the whole experience. The cast was so in tune with their characters that it really made the experience immersive and I will miss that most of all. So, in tribute to the wonderful talent that made the Club what it was and what I hope it will one day return to, here are a few of my favorite images of the performers doing what they were the absolute best in doing:
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