Updated: Aug 5, 2019
Many of you that follow along on TMR's adventures know that we often will greet you with an energetic 'Kungaloosh!' but not too many still know what that means or where it came from.
What is The Adventurers Club?
Kungaloosh! comes from a night club, called the Adventurers Club, that opened in Pleasure Island in Downtown Disney on May 1st, 1989. It was themed as a private club for adventurers and explorers and was so much more than a night club! The walls of the club were covered with artifacts and photographs from various explorations and there were a cast of characters, puppets and animatronics who would perform shows and improvisational comedy while mingling with the club's patrons.
Shows and conversation were often laced with innuendo, and the patrons might have been welcomed as guests, given fictitious names and "recognized" as fellow adventurers, or simply referred to as "drunks". Kungaloosh was the official greeting and beverage at the club.
You could experience all of this throughout a series of rooms:
The Zebra Mezzanine: The club entrance at the top floor, leads into the mezzanine, which forms a circular balcony around the Main Salon. The walls feature many artifacts, and a framed parchment of the Club Creed. This area featured a rarely used extra bar near the staircase into the Main Salon that was only used during particularly busy nights.
The Main Salon: This was central room of the club, the primary bar, and also has a small stage from which the adventurers often speak or lead shows such as the New Member Induction Ceremony. The centerpiece of the Main Salon is a larger-than-life statue that some say is titled "Zeus Goes Fishing", but alternatively referred to as "God with Rod". It is a replica of the famous Artemision Bronze. The walls of this room are filled with even more artifacts than on the Mezzanine, and many have placards giving their history and importance to the fictional former owner of the island, Merriweather Pleasure.
The Mask Room: So aptly named for the many animatronic, masks from around the
world that cover the walls. It was a small room off the Main Salon that features several shows throughout the night. Two large Bacchanalian-inspired masks at the front of the room, Arnie and Claude, also talk and move their eyes.
The Treasure Room: Also a small room off the Main Salon, the Treasure Room contains additional artifacts gathered by the club, and also hosts several shows throughout the night which feature the genie-head-in-a-lantern special effect.
The Library: As the largest room in the club, it was where the larger (and mostly scripted) shows, many of which are musical in nature. This room also includes an additional bar, and is the home of Fingers Zambezi, a piano that was inspired by the self-playing piano that takes verbal requests at the world renown, Magic Castle.
What made this place a special experience for guests, and kept them coming back, was the combination of the unique atmosphere and the quirky interactive actors.
Good-Bye to The Adventurers Club
Sadly, all good things must come to an end. Disney made the decision to close Pleasure Island and all of its bars, revamping the the area to make it more family-friendly with shopping and restaurants, renaming it Disney Springs. On September 27, 2008, patrons at the Adventurers Club witnessed the final public performance at the venue.
The building that housed The Adventurers Club remained untouched for a large period of time while the transformation started. Many even wondered if Disney would bring it back since there was much outcry to do so, but sadly they did not. The Edison restaurant is now in the shell of the former club.
But not to worry! Like a lot of attractions that close at Disney, Imagineers found ways to 'recycle' some of the props from the club so that it could live on in memory and through hidden easter eggs.
Here are some places around WDW where, if you have a keen eye, you can find artifacts from The Adventurers Club:
- The queue of the Jungle Cruise
- Jock Lindsey's at Disney Springs
- Trader Sam's at the Polynesian Resort
- Skipper Canteen restaurant in Magic Kingdom
The Adventurers Club & The Disney Universe: Disney S.E.A
Just as The Adventurers Club lives on in other areas of the Disney universe that is known as Disney S.E.A - The Society of Explorers and Adventurers. The Adventurers Club pre-dates any mention of Disney S.E.A. but clearly served as the inspiration for S.E.A., and elements of the attraction’s decor and storyline have subsequently spread to other Society-related establishments across the globe.
Tokyo Disney: Tokyo Disney has a several attractions that are tied heavily to Disney S.E.A including Fortress Explorations, a walkthrough experience that challenges guests to solve a series of challenges in order to join the S.E.A., whose backstory is spelled out on provided maps.
Magellan’s Restaurant, which served as the Society’s meeting place, and features a secret wine cellar hidden behind a bookcase.
The story of the Tower of Terror ride in Tokyo was re-written around S.E.A. member Harrison Hightower III. Hightower collected exotic artifacts in his New York Waterfront mansion, including the cursed Shiriki Utundu statue that caused his mysterious disappearance!
Hong Kong Disneyland: Mystic Manor is Hong Kong's version of The Haunted Mansion and also based around a story of another S.E.A. member; Lord Henry Mystic and his mischievous monkey Albert. The attraction contains numerous references to the S.E.A. storyline, including a group portrait of the club’s members in the queue.
Aulani Resort - Hawaii: Now this one is a real gem as most adults will over look this one easily as it is located inside the kids club at this tropical resort. Inside the Aunty’s Beach House kids club hangs a painting that once graced the Adventurers Club, accompanied by a letter from Pamela Perkins that references S.E.A. member Harrison Hightower III.
Disney Cruises: Each cruise ship has an Oceaneer's Club which is themed to S.E.A member Mary Oceaneer. The kid's area is decorated with artifacts from her adventures and has many ties to Tokyo's DisneySEA attractions and Hong Kong's Mystic Manor.
Walt Disney World - Orlando: As already mentioned, you can find Adventurers Club artifacts, pictures, props and other memorabilia throughout the parks and resorts but two other places where the Disney S.E.A. story has been inserted.
With the refurbishment of Big Thunder Mountain in 2013 also came the introduction of S.E.A. members Barnabas T. Bullion (modeled after Imagineer Tony Baxter) and inventor Jason Chandler. You can even see Barnabas's portrait in the queue.
In March 2017, the Miss Adventure Falls attraction opened at Walt Disney World’s Typhoon Lagoon. The new rafting attraction’s queue is chock full of references to Mary Oceaneer!
So even though The Adventurer's Club is gone, we continue to see its influence on Disney today as more and more interjections of Disney S.E.A. are added into attractions all over the world. Until next time adventurers, Kungaloosh!
We climb the highest mountains, just to get a better view.
We plumb the deepest oceans, cause we're daring through and through.
We cross the scorching deserts, martini in our hands.
We ski the polar ice caps, in tuxedo looking grand.
We are reckless, brave, and loyal, and valiant to the end.
If you come in here a stranger, you will exit as a friend.
~Merriweather Adam Pleasure Club Founder 1927
Did you ever go to The Adventurers Club?
Do you want Disney to bring back the club? Let us know over on our social media!
Article By TMR Tours