The Adventurers Club will go down in history as one of the greatest attractions to ever grace Disney property. Thirteen years later, there are still many fans who are desperate to see this marvelous entertainment return. Let’s take a look back at this amazing club and why it was so special to so many people.
The History of the Adventurers Club
You can’t say the words Pleasure Island without thinking about the Adventurers Club. It was the place to be when stepping foot into Downtown Disney at night. My family often spent many nights at the club enjoying lots of laughs by the amazing performers.
There is so much history behind this beloved attraction. It all began with some very creative Disney Imagineers: Roger Cox and Joe Rhode. The original idea of the Adventurers Club stemmed from an annual British colonial costume party that Imagineer Joe Rhode hosted for Cast Member friends. Other influences for the design of the club included movies, theatre shows and real-life society clubs.
The main backstory of the Adventurers Club was that Merriweather Adam Pleasure (Creator of Pleasure Island) created the private club for adventurers, explorers and world travelers to congregate. Every room had a different theme. Throughout the night animatronics and puppets adorning the walls would come to life and take part in the fun along with very talented performers.
The Club Adventurers would perform various improv shows in different rooms throughout the night and each show was full of laughs and plenty of Disney safe innuendos.
Over the years, there were many traditions that became nightly staples of the Adventurers Club including the Club salute, the Club Creed, the Club greeting, and the Club theme song. Knowing these important traditions separated the true “members” from the newbies.
The Club Greeting
True members of the Adventurers Club would greet each other with a hearty “Kungaloosh!” According to the Club, Kungaloosh could be mean anything from ”Hello”, “Goodbye” or “Your pants are falling off”.
Kungaloosh also became the official beverage of the Club and was a frozen cocktail that contained Captain Morgan Spiced Rum, blackberry brandy, orange juice, and strawberry daiquiri mix topped with whipped cream.
The Club Salute
The official way that members of the Adventurers Club could distinguish fellow members from non-members was by using the Club Salute. The Salute was a three step process and was taught every night to visiting patrons.
- Step 1: place the heel of your right hand just above your navel and wiggle it like a swimming fish.
- Step 2: raise that hand to your mouth and take a drink from an imaginary beverage of your choosing.
- Step 3: raise your hand above your head and say: ”Kungaloosh!”
The Club Theme Song
The Adventurers Club theme song was sung at all major club shows including new member induction ceremonies and radio broadcasts. The song finished by performing the official Club Salute and shouting “Kungaloosh!”.
Marching along we’re adventurers
Singing the song of adventurers
Up or down
North, South, East, or West,
An Adventurer’s life is best!
An Adventurer’s life is best!
The Club Creed
The Club Creed, written by Pleasure Island’s fictional creator Merriweather Adam Pleasure, was displayed on the upper floor Zebra Mezzanine of the Club. It was taught to patrons each night by the Adventurers Club Cast Members as part of the Induction Ceremony.
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
The Club Motto
The official Club Motto of the Adventurers Club was:
“Some days you eat the bear, some days the bear eats you, but always dress for the hunt!”
Adventurers Club Characters
There were many iconic characters that performed at the Adventurers Club over the years. Each had a designated backstory and costume to match.
Hathaway Browne was the club aviator (and ladies man) who would wander around the Club with a drink in his hand and make jokes at the club patrons.
Otis T. Wren
Otis was the Club Treasurer and ichthyologist (fish zoologist). If you were lucky, he would teach your his song about ichthyology.
Fishing Fishing, that’s the job for me
I get high on Ichthyology
You cast them out your reel them in
You cast them out you reel them in
Be sure to wear your gloves or else they’ll cut you with a fin.
Fletcher was the oblivious Club Curator.
She was the Club President and matriarch.
Samatha was a female explorer and cabaret signer that resembled Amelia Earhart.
Emil Bleehall was a bumbling Junior Adventurer from Sandusky, Ohio that dressed in a green boy scout uniform and would compete in the Balderdash Cup Challenge.
Graves was the Club Butler. You could often find Graves wandering outside the club recruiting new members or hanging around the upstairs Zebra Mezzanine.
The maid was the only character whose name changed based on the performer who played her. She would often have a ditsy persona, run around with a duster in hand and participate in various shows throughout the night.
There were many non-human characters that would take part in different shows throughout the night in the various rooms of the Adventurers Club.
Colonel Critchlow Suchbench
The Colonel was located in the Main Salon. He was a controlled puppet that would stand on duty throughout the night and come to life to lead new club inductees in the club song.
The Yakoose was a yak/moose hybrid animal whose head was mounted to the wall outside of the Treasure room. Because it had been accidentally sent to the upholstery shop instead of the taxidermist, it could come to life and converse with guests and the goddess statue Babylonia.
Beezle was a genie whose head was imprisoned inside a lamp in the Treasure Room. His main desire was to have a body and go on a date with the club maid that dusted his lamp. Often times the character played by Hathaway Browne also played the genie via a special behind the scenes mirror contraption.
Babylonia was a giant stone goddess face mounted on the wall in the Main Salon. She would at times participate in shows in the Main Salon.
Arnie and Claude
Arnie was the mask of Comedy and Claude was the Mask of Tragedy. They could be found inside the mask room and would participate in the shows held there.
Fingers was the haunted organ that played music inside of the Library. All of the Library shows contained musical numbers accompanied by Fingers.
Rooms of the Adventurers Club
Throughout the night, there were various shows performed in different rooms inside the Adventurers Club. All main shows were performed inside the Library because it could hold 100 members. Smaller shows were held in the Main Salon, the Mask Room and the Treasure Room of the Club. In between shows throughout the night, guests could mingle in the Main Salon and grab a drink at the main bar area.
The Zebra Mezzanine
The Zebra Mezzanine was the top floor near the entrance. It created a circular balcony that overlooked the Main Salon. In the Zebra Mezzanine you could find the famous Club Creed and run into Graves the butler. Most of the other performers rarely made their way up to the Zebra Mezzanine during the night, except for the Rhythm Ritual.
The Main Salon
The Main Salon was the center room of the Adventurers Club on the bottom floor. It had the Club’s main bar and a small stage with an old time microphone that the performers would use for smaller shows and induction ceremonies.
The Main Salon was were guests would congregate in between shows, interact with the Club performers and enjoy cocktails. You could also interact with Colonel Critchlow Suchbench and Babylonia.
The Mask Room
The mask room was a small room that fit about 40 patrons and featured several shows during the evening. The mask rooms was obviously filled with masks that adorned the walls and came to life. Arnie and Claude (the faces of comedy and tragedy) could also be found in the Mask room and participated in the shows held there.
The Treasure Room
The Treasure room was another small room located off to the side of the Main Salon and served as the club’s artifacts room. Inside the Treasure Room was Bezel, the genie head imprisoned inside a lantern who would participate in shows.
The Library was the Club’s largest room and was used for all of the main scripted shows during the night. There was an additional bar inside the Library and servers would come around to take your drink order before the show started.
Inside the Library was the famous haunted organ, Fingers Zambezi, and the Library was also where the Balderdash Cup Competition was played.
Throughout the night, various shows were performed inside the Main Salon, the Library, the Mask Room and the Treasure Room. Each show followed a loose script and some featured audience participation.
Some shows you could catch throughout the night were:
The Welcome Party
Hosted by performers Samantha Sterling and Fletcher Hodges in the Library. They welcomed members into the club and got the night going.
The Radio Broadcast
This show took place inside the Library as well and featured Otis T. Wren and Club President Pamelia Perkins as they held an old-time radio broadcast called “Tales of the Adventurers Club”. In the show, half of the cast would be missing and audience members would have to jump in and take their place.
The Balderdash Cup Competition
Inside the Library the Adventurers would compete for the coveted Balderdash Cup and become Adventurer of the Year. The Cup would be won by different Adventurers each night depending on audience cheers.
New Member Induction Ceremony
New Members were inducted into the Adventurers Club’s Main Salon three times a night by different performers. The Induction Ceremony featured three main parts: The Club Salute, the recitation of the Club Creed and the Club Song, which was taught by The Colonel.
The RadioThon was held inside the Library and ran as a variety show that was trying to raise $2,000 to save the club from losing its lease. On the last night of the Club’s run, (*Spoiler Alert*) they did not raise the $2,000 needed.
The Rhythm Ritual
The Rhythm Ritual took place inside the Main Salon and featured the Adventurers playing percussion instrument solos from the Zebra Mezzanine balcony. The performers would then come downstairs and the Colonel would jump in and shout nonsense rhythmic responses for the audience to repeat back. The Rhythm Ritual would finish and flow into the final show of the the night: “The Hoopla”.
The Hoopla was the final event of the night and would take place inside the Library at the end of the Rhythm Ritual. The Hoopla was lead by Samantha Sterling performing a sing-a-long version of “The Happy Wanderer”.
Throughout the show, various other songs would be performed and the finale song was “When the Saints Go Marching In”. It included each of the performers ad-libbing their own verse to the song. Whenever the performers would shout “Hoopla”, the audience would also have to shout back “Hoopla”.
There is so much history and nostalgia rooted in the Adventurers Club. It was a place to go to have good time and enjoy tons of laughs. I know I am not alone in my mourning the loss of this amazing club and many fans have been begging Disney for years to bring it back.
Often times, the Adventurers Club performers would return during the Wine and Dine Post Race Party to do a couple of sets at the Morocco Pavilion. I had the opportunity to catch them back in 2019 and it was like stepping into a time capsule. The joy it brought me to see my beloved Adventurers Club performers again is immeasurable.
Disney if you’re listening, please bring back this beloved and iconic club!
Did you ever get the chance to visit the Adventurers Club? Let us know some of your favorite memories in the comments below and on Facebook!