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Huge Crowd Gives Heartfelt Send-off to Adventurer’s Club

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A Night of Surprises
Last night, the doors closed at all six clubs on Disney’s Pleasure Island including the beloved Adventurer’s Club, where fans began standing in line as early as 9am. The night was full of drop-in guests, tears, and a rousing Hoopla (Hoopla!) finale that lasted almost 75 minutes.

One of the biggest surprises was the appearance of Sutter Bestwick, a character often referred to in the Club over the years but never seen. At least not before last night. Before the doors opened, he came out and mingled with the waiting crowd and even inducted new members.

In addition to Sutter, other highlights of the evening included a total of four maids performing throughout the Club (there are usually two), the Colonel’s seldom seen puppet friend Slappy stage diving, and the character of Otis T. Wren finally winning the Balderdash Cup. (This show almost always ends with Emil Bleehall winning, but the crowd votes and this time they chose to honor the actor they’ve affectionately nicknamed “Blondie.”)

Fans’ Reactions
It was the type of special send-off fans such as Jeremiah Good was hoping for. “We flew in last night from California and got in line at 9am today. I love the Club — it’s like a classic Disney attraction of yesteryear.”

Sci-fi and comics writer Peter David flew in from the other side of the country (New York) just to be part of the final night. “How could I not be here? This place is unique. Not just in its shows and interactions with the audience, but in the incredible devotion of its fans.” David was also one of the first people to use the cast to propose to his wife back in 2000. “My wife is a puppeteer and I’m a writer. So it seemed only fitting to write a script and let the Colonel (who is a puppet) read it. It was wonderful and the entire cast really got into it. Several still talk to me about it.”

Three UCF students showed up dressed as Pamelia Perkins, Hathaway Browne, and the Colonel. “It’s the final night,” said Pamelia look-alike Beth Phillips. “We had to do something big.” Nathan Kohlun said choosing to dress like Hathaway was easy. “Everyone loves this character, especially the women. It’s just all really fun.”

About an hour before the doors opened, many of the actors came out in their street clothes to loud cheers. They posed for photos, answered questions, received gifts, and thanked as many fans as they could for their support over the years.

Cassie Cameron, who wore a hand-made Hathaway shirt, brought a snapshot to give to the cast showing her at age 9 in the Mask Room. The now 24-year-old said she’s just sad she won’t get the chance to bring her own daughter to the Club. “She’s three and can already sing the Adventurer’s Song and even Toast! I had really hoped to share this with her some day.”

Shannon M. made sure she was one of the first in line. “I’ve been here since 8:45!” She was later joined by other family members including her son Christian, who wore his own Junior Adventurer outfit. He has recently become something of a celebrity due to the wildly popular video posted on You Tube of him performing on stage with Emil. “He fell in love with it the first time he was here this past summer and has been back about 6 times. He loves to fight with Otis, he has a crush on Sugar Snap, and Emil is his friend. The actors definitely made this club extremely family friendly.” Once inside, the characters welcomed Christian like he was one of their own, including him in a “Three generations of Bleehalls” photo with Emil and Emil Sr. “I just wish we could convince Disney to keep this precious gem of a club open,” sighs Shannon.

The End — and a Possible Follow-up
Throughout the evening, several of the characters came out to talk and entertain guests who couldn’t get into the building, due to being filled to capacity. In addition, a TV monitor was set up outside so the waiting line could watch the final shows. After a full, jam-packed night, the Club finally closed its doors to the public a little after 2:30am.

Already, several fans are starting to discuss ways to honor the club on the one-year anniversary of its closing. At the Adventurer’s Club Yahoo group, several have even mentioned the possibility of a “Con-Galoosh” meet-up on September 27, 2009 to “hoist a glass and sing together once more.” For them, the spirit of the Club will go marching along.

Read all about the Club, including interviews with two of its popular cast members, in Issue 6 of Orlando Attractions Magazine. (article pictured above)

Click play below for a video of Sutter Bestwick inducting new members:

Here are more photos from the line outside before the final night of the Adventurer’s Club.

Blog entry and photos by Orlando Attractions Magazine and freelance travel writer Deborah Brauser. Visit her online at www.orlandotravelwriter.com

15 comments

Brian Martsolf September 28, 2008 - 4:40 pm

Deborah, Thanks for sharing your report and photos here.

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Robert Ashburn September 28, 2008 - 6:00 pm

Thanks for your brilliant report, along with the brilliant photos!

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Cinema Dave September 28, 2008 - 6:51 pm

Deborah, stay in touch.

Two journalists putting our heads together can not be a bad thing for the Club.!!

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Hypermommy September 28, 2008 - 7:17 pm

Thank you so much for such an informative article!!!! I so wished I could be there last night but reading your article was the next best thing.

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Buckly September 29, 2008 - 12:37 pm

What a drag that they closed this place down. Hopefully Disney releases what a popular and unique property they have with the Adventurer’s Club and will bring it back in some capacity.

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Cassi September 30, 2008 - 8:36 pm

I am the Cassi it mentions, I just wanted to say thank you for making me a part of your blog, but I was 5 when I first visited the club, not 9, and I have brought my daughter there and she did get to make it the final night, I was worried she wouldn’t.

Sad note is one manager said they will not be in the “nightclub business” anymore.

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Scott October 2, 2008 - 9:25 am

Thanks for the great post! I’d love to see more of these photos…

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Kelley October 2, 2008 - 9:45 am

Thanks much for this! I was disappointed I couldn’t be there. The Adventurers’ Club is unique and I agree – Classic Disney. Please bring it back in some form!! The interaction made it fun for old and young!

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jason hubbard March 14, 2009 - 8:22 pm

This is a disgrace to the fiber of human beings. Shutting this club down is one of the biggest Disney mistakes ever made. Walt would roll over in his grave if he knew such an establishment as The Adventurer’s Club being shut down, and keeping open instead such relics of yesteryear such as It’s a Small World After All and Buzz Lightyear. If I could get anyone to comment on this, please feel free to do so at jasonhhubbard@yahoo.com.

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Tanner Holecz December 23, 2010 - 11:29 pm

Nice Post. Actually it’ll assist good deal of people today nowadays.

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