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The Edison Opening Night Review

Discussion in 'Disney Springs' started by SeventyOne, Jan 1, 2018.

  1. SeventyOne

    SeventyOne Veteran Member

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    Some friends and I went to the New Year’s Eve gala opening of The Edison in Disney Springs, housed in what was once the Adventurers Club. It was a $150 ticket but came with an open bar and tons of food samples from what will be the menu.

    Tl; dr: A unique, fun space while it lasts, but overpriced and doomed to fail.

    Outside looks amazing. Goes for the restaurants in the complex as well, has the feel of a 1950s/60s PanAm airline terminal next to an old power plant. Once inside, the Edison still largely mirrors the general shape of the AdvClub, just with all the walls removed, making the space feel cavernous (in a good way). The library stage and bar are in basically the same location, but can now be seen from the main bar. A new front stair cases has been added and the back stairs remain roughly where they were. The back patio was also expanded, for more relaxed lakeside sitting.

    The décor is definitely “steampunk”—comparisons to Toothsome are obvious, but it feels more lived in and realistic. Not a perfect analogy, but if Toothsome is the Jungle Cruise, Edison is Harambe. It feels unique in the area, and is very well done. Design team hit a home run. Costumes fit the theme perfectly.

    In addition to the two expanded bars downstairs, there is another bar upstairs. Current plan is 11 bartenders per night. A truly staggering selection of whisky, and a wider variety of tequila, rum and vodka than you’re going to find in most bars. I sampled the Air Pirate cocktail, a nice tropical punch, before moving onto Old Fashioneds and beer. Would definitely order it again, especially in Summer.

    Food is phenomenal as well. Best cannoli and tiramisu I’ve had in Florida—makes me think I need to try that $7 pizza (I imagine all the venues share the same kitchen). Had a slider version of the Edison burger that strongly suggests it will be a contender for best burger on property. And the truffled mac & cheese could probably win the 2018 Mac Down in Kissimmee.

    As good as the food and drink are, tho, the main draw is the entertainment. I can only go on what I saw last night—I assume the plan is to repeat nightly but, as you’ll read, not sure that will last long.

    The first half of the night is a mix of three shifts. A Post Modern Jukebox-style band plays actual 30s/40s standards as well as jazzy interpretations of current hits (Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space” works remarkably well as a 1930s torch song). There’s also a DJ who does sets of similar period music. And finally a rotating series of live acts—a silk dancer who actually did acrobatics with a metal cube and a full-on burlesque trio. The trio was … entertaining. Also highly sexualized in a way I can’t see Disney being comfortable with. I suspect they will end up limited to private events, which is a shame, they add a lot to the atmosphere.

    Later on, probably around 10 (remember: open bar), the entertainment changes. Alternating shifts between a standard corporate cover band—think Dre C or Herb Williams or any other local bar band who covers Journey—and a wedding DJ playing radio-edit top 40 cuts. Yes, as the evening progresses, we go from boas between live girls’ legs to bleeping out the b-word in “Sorry Not Sorry.” It does nothing for the theme of the place, basically turns it into Atlantic Dance Hall 2.0. The burlesque girls stuck around to do photo ops but again, the vibe was now completely gone.

    [Also, random thought, but for a bar with 300 capacity, they have one mens room with a stall and two urinals. I hear ladies room had four stalls.]

    As for the much discussed dress code, at open, was about 1/3 in steampunk cosplay, 1/3 dressed up (suit & tie or cocktail dress), 1/3 more casual attire. But as the night went on, became about 1/2 in casual attire. If that was a grand opening gala NYE, I imagine by Spring Break we’ll be lucky if they still require collared shirts and closed shoes.

    Overall I had fun, tho much more fun earlier in the night. But I still think it’s doomed. Prices are ridiculous even by Springs standards--$11 for a Sam Adams (16 oz at most, ,maybe 12). I’m sure it’s to compensate for lack of a cover, but the lifestylers who will be drawn to this place will be nursing a Coke all night (as happened to another venue in this same location). Also, as I said, the unique vibe disappears after 10 and the place turns into Red Coconut. I don’t think Springs supports enough people looking for that to keep this place open until 2:00 seven nights a week—not when everything else is only open until 11:00.

    Ultimately, this place suffers what I’m terming “the Ice Bar Effect.” Ice Bar Orlando is a blast—but it’s not the kind of place you randomly hit up after work or before a movie. It’s a special event to go there, when you want to enjoy the experience and know you’ll drop a lot of coin. Birthday, anniversary, bacherlotte party (my friend is looking to have a PG-13 bachelor party in April, Edison has sprang to the top of that list). But you’re not going to attract locals on a regular basis, and it’s not family-friendly enough for those with kids. Putting a lot of stock in convention business, but not sure how many will go for the concept. To say nothing of Disney pulling the plug on the burlesque numbers sooner rather than later. I used the analogy before, but don’t be surprised to see this become Atlantic Dance 2.0. And then replaced within a couple years.
     
  2. UNIrd

    UNIrd Premium Member

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    Thanks for the review, although it left me more confused with what this is or trying to be than before. :lol:
     
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  3. SeventyOne

    SeventyOne Veteran Member

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    They seem confused themselves. But at its heart, a venue to rent for corporate buy-outs.
     
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  4. GadgetGuru

    GadgetGuru Veteran Member

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    Thanks for the review!

    I’m curious how much of your experience could be chalked up to this being a NYE event. It’ll be interesting to see what regular service looks like.

    I really hope this doesn’t get too watered down. I think Disney could completely get away with something more adult under the guise of being edgy. They’d probably get huge props for it.
     
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  5. ReelJustice

    ReelJustice Premium Member

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    At least I’m going before the burlesque gets cut (presumably)
     
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  6. Nick C.

    Nick C. Staff Member Moderator

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    Great review.

    As @GadgetGuru said, I do wonder how your experience will compare to a normal operating night, however. As you said yourself, it seems to be a place that at it's core is for buyouts/special events, which is what you were at.

    I think a place like this in DS can work, they just need to get good word of mouth going. I fear that this is going to turn into a CP hangout though. I wouldn't be surprised if they start doing CP nights much like House of Blues used to do. CPs are actually a much better audience to be targeting money wise than lifestylers since they want to get drunk (HOB made a killing), but they're also sloppy and are a risk (i.e. why HOB doesn't do CP Club nights anymore).
     
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  7. SeventyOne

    SeventyOne Veteran Member

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    If anything, I would've thought they would extend the "old timey" (for lack of a better term) entertainment opening night--you know, when a chunk of your crowd is actually in steampunk attire and presumably receptive to it. Top 40 seems aimed squarely at attracting a mass audience Thursday - Saturday nights. In other words, if anything gets cut in day-to-day operation, I fear it will be the original content first.

    I think their worst nightmare is this becoming a CP hangout. CPs aren't buying multiple drinks at $20 a pop (guesstimate as to price of signature cocktail with tip, if you're getting $11 for a Sam). They'll show up after pre-gaming then nurse a drink. I see the jokes about Twitter about everything being overpriced at WDW--but this is STK/Boathouse overpriced, not Jocks/Homecomin' overpriced. I do wonder if they implement a cover at some point.
     
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  8. SeventyOne

    SeventyOne Veteran Member

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    Tomorrow is official public opening. I'm very curious what remains of the entertainment.
     
  9. Nick C.

    Nick C. Staff Member Moderator

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    No that's what I was meaning sort of - if this turns into a CP hangout and The Edison embraces it - that's almost a sure fire sign they're struggling.

    I think we'll probably see a lot of different things tried out withing the first few months of operation in terms of entertainment. Top 40 will play better to the masses, but i'd rather they stick to the Steampunk theme with the cabaret entertainment and such. I'm very skeptical on how well that entertainment will play out though.

    I'd imagine the stricter dress code will be the first thing to be dropped. They'll pretend to have one, but if they want to stay in business it will almost have to go. I don't even blame guests, really. If you are a couple on a honeymoon for example at Disney Springs but went to the parks earlier in the day, even they are likely to be casually dressed at the most because of the intense heat and humidity most of the year. If people just wander in, they aren't going to know there's a dress code either since no place else in DS has one. Why would they expect one at The Edison? They'll really have to rely on conventions and buyouts imo.
     
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  10. Nick C.

    Nick C. Staff Member Moderator

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    Seems as though Good Day Orlando did a segment there today. Could be for tomorrow since it's their opening. Their twitter account also posted a lot from the NYE Gala.

     
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  11. Rideguy70

    Rideguy70 Rookie

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    I'm an Los Angeles native, and have been to the original Edison out here a number of times. The dress code here is still very in effect. They guy who runs and operates it is known for taking quirky venues and very lovingly restoring them to their quirky selves with updates that blend it pretty seamlessly. Generally, he's very praised for his unique restoration efforts. His latest was bringing back Clifton's Cafeteria, which really has to be seen to be believed (it includes taxidermy, rivers, forests, a chapel, and neon light that been on for 77 years).

    In any case, a large part of the allure of the original Edison out here is that is was an actual working power plant built in 1910. Many of the electrical elements, while obviously non-functioning (it was flooded in the 30s, I believe), were lovingly restored for decorative purposes, creating a dizzying array of steampunk-esque mechanical features. So I've been very curious how they created a similar effect from the ground up. Or if they even tried. Has anyone been to both coasts? I'd be very curious to hear a comparison, because I'm not quite sure how they'd pull this off without the history already being there.
     
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  12. scott_walker

    scott_walker Premium Member

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  13. Joe

    Joe aka TestTrack321 Staff Member Moderator

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    Thanks for the great review @SeventyOne, always trust and love reading your food and drink reviews.

    I thought a lot of Disney Springs would blow up in Disney's face, but it hasn't. I'm not going to second guess The Edison, yet. STK is clearly struggling but Planet Hollywood has shown its existence is to be just a place for group packages and corporate events. I think the justification for The Edison project included an expected amount of corporate buyouts (similar to pre-Potter UOR).

    I think there's a place for an upscale themed bar experience at WDW that isn't the size of a shoebox (or old resort arcade or candy store). If BOATHOUSE has shown me anything it's that an upscale experience with capacity is needed at WDW. And lest be honest next trip I'll be here to 2am at least one night.
     
  14. Nick C.

    Nick C. Staff Member Moderator

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    So apparently there will be a $15 cover charge after 10pm on Thursday-Saturday. Sun-Weds it closes at 1 instead of 2.

    The Edison is now open Sunday-Wednesday from 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. and Thursday-Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. Guests at The Edison must be 21 years or older starting at 10 p.m. Thursday-Saturday nights. There is a cover charge of $15 per guest beginning at 10 p.m. Additionally, The Edison has an enforced dress code Thursday-Saturday evenings beginning at 10 p.m. Men must wear slacks, jeans or dress shorts. No ball caps, sleeveless shirts or flip-flops are permitted. Jackets are optional.
     
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  15. Nick C.

    Nick C. Staff Member Moderator

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    Also, what the hell are "dress shorts"? And it only says 3 things aren't permitted... ball caps, sleeveless shirts and flip-flops. That leaves the door WIDE open with a lot of grey area. It really makes it sound like I could walk in wearing khaki shorts and a t-shirt by the way that dress code is written.
     
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  16. ChrisFL

    ChrisFL Member

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    Dress pants cut off to be shorts? it's like Jorts, but the dress pants version
     
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  17. Joe

    Joe aka TestTrack321 Staff Member Moderator

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    Khaki, flat front, no patterns, no cargo. Think J. Crew.
     
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  18. DannyPowers

    DannyPowers Rookie

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    That one will probably be the first to get thrown out. Not because it's wrong, but because there will be a lot of grey between what guests consider to be "dress shorts", and what Edison considers to be "dress".
     
  19. Nick C.

    Nick C. Staff Member Moderator

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    Hey, if The Edison denies you at the door, there's plenty of places at DS to go buy dress shorts! ;)
     
  20. DannyPowers

    DannyPowers Rookie

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    Corporate synergy!!!!
     

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