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ESPN Club Done For Good?

aliceismad

Well-Known Member
I think all of the old ESPN Zone restaurants have closed. I know the ones in Vegas and Downtown Disney closed a long time ago. I'm kind of surprised the ESPN Club existed for as long as it did. I could see that being a hard place for a non-Disney owned business to sustain, given that the rent is probably quite high and you're competing with Disney-owned restaurants as well as Disney Springs (which offers many celeb chef places). Not to mention that there have been numerous studies and articles about a decline in popularity of many major traditional sports, most notably baseball. Even high school sports participation has gone down.
 

Club Cooloholic

Well-Known Member
I think all of the old ESPN Zone restaurants have closed. I know the ones in Vegas and Downtown Disney closed a long time ago. I'm kind of surprised the ESPN Club existed for as long as it did. I could see that being a hard place for a non-Disney owned business to sustain, given that the rent is probably quite high and you're competing with Disney-owned restaurants as well as Disney Springs (which offers many celeb chef places). Not to mention that there have been numerous studies and articles about a decline in popularity of many major traditional sports, most notably baseball. Even high school sports participation has gone down.
But Disney does own ESPN, I thought they also owned the Club, unless they sold it off. I know they used to own all the ESPN Zones, where Disney made the choice to put waiters in white chefs coats(very hard to keep that clean all day).
 

legwand77

Well-Known Member
Even though ESPN is owned by Disney, ESPN business unit is having to restructure a significant portion of their business as they are losing money and subscribers. This is probably some of the fallout, most likely will be repurposed to another brand.
 

aliceismad

Well-Known Member
But Disney does own ESPN, I thought they also owned the Club, unless they sold it off. I know they used to own all the ESPN Zones, where Disney made the choice to put waiters in white chefs coats(very hard to keep that clean all day).
Oh! No, I assumed Disney did not own that spot, so that's my error. I mean, I guess I did know in the big picture that Big Disney owns ESPN in general, but for some reason that didn't trickle down in my brain to Disney Parks/Hotels owning ESPN Club. I guess I assumed they were under different operating units. I really have no idea how all of those operating units work.
 

EPCOT-O.G.

Well-Known Member
So in fairness - and saying this as somebody who isn't enamored by the current interior - there's nothing authentic about this either. It was the same concept but viewed from a lens of late 1980s tastes, which meant extreme exaggeration and saturated colors.
I always felt it was evocative of The Max from Saved By The Bell, but since that’s a now an NBC/Peacock property (and hasn’t been a Disney one since it was retooled from Good Morning, Miss Bliss) maybe they changed it
 

doctornick

Well-Known Member
That's only possible from Caribbean Beach, Art of Animation, Pop Century, and the Riviera, though. Anyone else would have to get on a bus from their resort to DHS and then get on the Skyliner from there. It would be easier to just get a Lyft.

Yes, but that's a lot of rooms. Combine of those with the resorts that are walkable to the Boardwalk and you have a pretty decent sized potential audience. I too was hoping that the Skyliner would help to encourage more investment in the Boardwark area and make it more of a destination for guests.
 

UNCgolf

Well-Known Member
Yes, but that's a lot of rooms. Combine of those with the resorts that are walkable to the Boardwalk and you have a pretty decent sized potential audience. I too was hoping that the Skyliner would help to encourage more investment in the Boardwark area and make it more of a destination for guests.

It is, but the Boardwalk isn't really a place for kids and I would assume that's the vast majority of guests at Pop Century and Art of Animation and probably Caribbean Beach, too. Not that isn't the majority of guests at WDW period, but I would think it's an even higher percentage at those resorts.

Jellyrolls is the one of (and probably the) best night time activities for adults anywhere at WDW and probably has been since Pleasure Island closed, and Flying Fish is one of the best restaurants on property, but it doesn't seem to have made the Boardwalk any more popular.

To be fair, though, there's honestly not that much to do there. You have a few restaurants, a bakery that sells essentially the same stuff as everywhere else at Disney, Jellyrolls, and the dance hall, along with a few shops that don't really offer any special reason to visit. They did have some streetmosphere too, but who knows if that will come back post-COVID.

If it was up to me, they'd go more heavily into the turn of the century boardwalk theme and build some shops and an ice cream/candy store that actually look like they belong in that time period (they actually had the latter at one point but closed it). There needs to be something else to attract guests and theming is the best way to do it at Disney World. If you're not offering anything unique for sale and the shops themselves look generic, there's just no draw.
 

Horizons1

Well-Known Member
It is, but the Boardwalk isn't really a place for kids and I would assume that's the vast majority of guests at Pop Century and Art of Animation and probably Caribbean Beach, too. Not that isn't the majority of guests at WDW period, but I would think it's an even higher percentage at those resorts.

Jellyrolls is the one of (and probably the) best night time activities for adults anywhere at WDW and probably has been since Pleasure Island closed, and Flying Fish is one of the best restaurants on property, but it doesn't seem to have made the Boardwalk any more popular.

To be fair, though, there's honestly not that much to do there. You have a few restaurants, a bakery that sells essentially the same stuff as everywhere else at Disney, Jellyrolls, and the dance hall, along with a few shops that don't really offer any special reason to visit. They did have some streetmosphere too, but who knows if that will come back post-COVID.

If it was up to me, they'd go more heavily into the turn of the century boardwalk theme and build some shops and an ice cream/candy store that actually look like they belong in that time period (they actually had the latter at one point but closed it). There needs to be something else to attract guests and theming is the best way to do it at Disney World. If you're not offering anything unique for sale and the shops themselves look generic, there's just no draw.
I’ve never been to Jellyrolls but I would love to visit one day.

I love the Boardwalk for the theming, but it honestly does feel like it’s missing so much. There’s a few spatterings of neat things and then nothing. The place gets sleepy at 10 pm and Atlantic Dance Hall was always empty when I went, which is a shame. I would love to see some life injected to make the Boardwalk a greater spot for nightlife.
 

aliceismad

Well-Known Member
I’ve never been to Jellyrolls but I would love to visit one day.

I love the Boardwalk for the theming, but it honestly does feel like it’s missing so much. There’s a few spatterings of neat things and then nothing. The place gets sleepy at 10 pm and Atlantic Dance Hall was always empty when I went, which is a shame. I would love to see some life injected to make the Boardwalk a greater spot for nightlife.
I think Boardwalk would be more successful if it was advertised more or if Disney Springs didn't exist. I don't think most people even know it's there unless they're staying there or they're the type to do a lot of research. Just like how a lot of people don't even think about resort hopping for dinner.
 

Notes from Neverland

Well-Known Member
Jellyrolls is outstanding and has had a large crowd each time we've visited. AbracadaBar was great, but slid downhill fast. The fun tricks they did with drinks were scaled back and some of the best cast members left. Ample Hills was a great ice cream spot that we miss. The BoardWalk has a lot of potential, but needs to round itself out to be a true destination.
 

Lilofan

Well-Known Member
At the Boardwalk I recall there was an art gallery. Does anyone go on vacation or a business conference at Disney and looks and buys a painting?
 

bennyw01

Active Member
It would be great if The Boardwalk received a quick service upgrade, there is so much potential for the ESPN spot being the closest to the park but I feel like the area lacks easily seated, air conditioned quick service. Whether thats ESPN or Atlantic Dancehall I am not fussed.
 

dreamfinder

Well-Known Member
At the Boardwalk I recall there was an art gallery. Does anyone go on vacation or a business conference at Disney and looks and buys a painting?
Yup, a Wyland gallery. There also used to be one at the Poly, but I think that space was taken over for the Dole Whip stand.

I'd ask the same question about the 35,000 crystal castle, or heck, even just hundred dollar pairs of sunglasses. You would be surprised what people will buy. And people who attend conferences may indeed need to buy extravagant things to help appease family members back home. It happens.
 

Bocabear

Well-Known Member
Why not revisit the Adventurer's Club concept at the Boardwalk... Timeline it is not too far off from the Boardwalk theme era...In this iteration there could be a restaurant as well as the club...Keep the club for adults only and theme up the restaurant like the old club used to be, so it is a fun engaging environment for families as well... It would be a good way to bring the well loved club back to WDW... and would be a real draw for the Boardwalk... Like Trader Sam's is for the Poly.
 

Rambozo

Active Member
I'd love it if they got rid of ESPN and Big River. They don't fit the Boardwalk's theming, and aren't good enough to make you go out of you're way for.

Perhaps La Nouba (themed to a carnival) or some boardwalk/carnival games would fit.
 

disneygeek90

Premium Member
The problem with Boardwalk is that most people don’t even know it’s there.
And yet it's nearly impossible to just visit. I haven't been there in over a year, it's just such a hassle to just park there and the things open are always kinda odd. I guess the skyliner helps but only if you're coming from HS or the resorts.

ESPN Club should be better than it was. Their menu was overpriced even for Disney standards and the food was mediocre.
 
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TJ Vazquez

Well-Known Member
In the Parks
No
I always felt that the Dance Club opposite of Jellyrolls would make a great waterfront restaurant, perhaps not higher end like Flying Fish but to attract the mid-level spender, they could easily add an outdoor deck so you can view Spaceship earth along with some of the nightly fireworks.
 

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