Sitting on Top of the World
I’m more excited about this article than any others that I’ve done in the past. It’s possible that I’m still a little high on the fact that everyone can now see my work at www.wdwradio.com, (shameless plug) however this weeks post is about a point I’ve been trying to prove for a long time. Disney isn’t just for kids!
Picture this scenario. An evening out with a loved one. A lounge at the top of a hotel with a panoramic view of a brightly lit world all around. Top notch comedians, singers, and vaudeville acts performing on stage. A full bar staff, buffet style fine dining, evening gowns and sport jackets everywhere you look, and to top it all off, fireworks at a straight away view. Sounds like the Las Vegas nightlife right? What if I said that you could have found this at the Walt Disney World resort for more than 20 years.
The Top of the World Supper Club opened at the Contemporary Resort when Walt Disney World first opened and it was a prime spot for adults to see world class acts on a nightly basis. As an adults only spot, this was as unique as anything you could have found at Walt Disney World. By day, the Top was a breakfast and lunch fine dining spot with most meals ranging between $9.50 and $13.50. These days, thats a burger at Applebees, but this was the 1970s and that is a pretty penny to spend on a meal at a family resort. At night, you could see an act like Phyllis Diller or Sammy Davis Jr. performing comedy while sipping martinis with the nicest dressed ensemble of people you could see at Walt Disney World. As a bonus to the nightly show, you could see fireworks from the panoramic windows at the top of the Contemporary.
As great as the Top was, it unfortunately changed by 1981 due to Disney not being interested in some of the foul mouths of the performers taking the stage. Despite the club being adults only, Disney still felt that they needed to uphold the standards of the Disney name, for which I don’t blame them. Instead of a variety of performers on a weekly basis, they started a show called Broadway at the Top. The Broadway style show cost $7.50 for adults, and for the first time in 10 years, children could enter the supper club to see the show at $3.75 a pop. Unlike the variety of performers that were featured at the Top, the Broadway show was squeaky clean and was able to put on performances times a night.
The Sunday brunch buffet was also a big hit during the 1980s as it was a great dining oppurtunity for families to eat a big breakfast before heading over to the Magic Kingdom. The brunch featured everything from the usual pancakes and scrambled eggs, to more elegant dishes like eggs benedict. A staple of the brunch buffet, and a favorite amongst guests, was the dessert bar featuring a “make your own” strawberry shortcake.
Unforuntately for the Top of the World and for the Contemporary Resort, times changed and renovations took over the hotel. The Top of the World Supper Club closed in September of 1993. It reopened in 1995 as the California Grill, but lacked the stage, dancing floor, and the adults only atmosphere that made the Top so unique. When Disney decided to open a Disney Vacation Club side to the Contemporary Resort called Bay Lake Tower, they decided to implement the name and pay tribute to the club by opening the Top of the World lounge. What lasts only in name now, was a great place for adults to have fun at Walt Disney World.
Of course, Pleasure Island did open as an adults only area as well, making up for the loss of the previous adults only Contemporary club, and despite how great Pleasure Island also was, we area ll patiently waiting to see what the new rehab will do to the Pleasure Island area at Downtown Disney.
See you all soon for The World That Never Was post this weekend.
Posted on November 17, 2011, in Articles and tagged Contemporary Resort, Disney World, Magic Kingdom, Phyllis Diller, Sammy Davis Jr., Top of the World Supper Club. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.