13 September 2021

Walt Disney World 50 for 50: Roller Rink-Disco Emporium

Remember when Pleasure Island had a nightclub where the hottest music would play while you enjoyed an adult beverage and roller-skated around the club? Yeah, it sounds and looks like a great concept, doesn’t it? But unless you visited Pleasure Island during its first year of operation, the likelihood that you remember this is scarce to none. The reality is that giving the imbibing public a place where they could strap a pair of wheels to their feet and start dancing as they rolled through the club was probably not the best of ideas, regardless of intention.
Presented in 1987 as a "roller rink-disco emporium," the concept would eventually be known as the XZFR Rockin' Rollerdrome. According to the legend of the Rollerdrome, one of Merriweather Pleasure’s passions was the idea of life beyond our planet. In this warehouse he built experimental aircraft and beamed messages, including a beacon that used Morse Code to spell out W-E-L-C-O-M-E, to reach out to intelligent life elsewhere.

Having opened with Pleasure Island in 1989, the XZFR Rockin' Rollerdrome lasted less than a year due to safety concerns in 1990. It would be replaced by the Rock ‘n’ Roll Beach Club, which would stay open until the nightclubs of Pleasure Island shuttered in 2008. With roller skating making a comeback this year, this is definitely a concept that should not be revisited. To paraphrase a grizzled cinematic detective, "we're too old for these skates!"

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