Merriweather Adam Pleasure is a fictional character created as part of the lore to the Pleasure Island nightclub district that formerly existed at Walt Disney World, and the founder of its Adventurers Club. Though the attractions he was created for have been removed, he has since been incorporated into the ranks of the Society of Explorers and Adventurers.
Mr. Pleasure, nicknamed "The Grand Funmeister" by those that knew him, was a "wise fool, mad visionary, scoundrel, scalawag, and seeker of enjoyment" that used wealth generated from industry and sailmaking to indulge his spirit of adventure and zest for life before he mysteriously disappeared at sea.
Merriweather Adam Pleasure was born on November 18, 1873, in New South Frewsberg, Pennsylvania. He was the son of August W. Pleasure, a free-wheeling millionaire nicknamed "Gold Rush Gus", and Lydia LaMarr, a stage actress known as "The American Venus". In 1891, Pleasure rejected his father's offer to set him up in business, wanting to try and make it on his own. He lies about his age, brokers commodities on the New York Curb Exchange to make his first million and establishes the most advanced steel foundry in the world in Pittsburgh. In 1898, he would meet Isabella Domenico and after a three-week courtship, they would marry and have two sons: Stewart (born in 1901) and Henry (born in 1905), with both sharing a birthday on the Fourth of July.
Pleasure was an avid world traveler and adventurer, having become a member of the Society of Explorers and Adventurers around 1900. While in Mexico, he experienced a mystical vision of a moon-faced spirit known as the Funmeister and sold his industrial empire to begin anew in central Florida. In 1911, after discovering an ancient totem of the Funmeister there, he would purchase land on the Federber Peninsula to establish his new sailmaking business and would buy a retired showboat known as "The Bailey-Finortner Floating Arts Palace" and have it transported at great expense to be docked at the island. A third child was born on July 3rd, a daughter named Merriam, though Pleasure would legally change her birthday to match that of her older brothers. The showboat would serve as their home and Pleasure's offices for the first few years.
Over the next few years, the construction of Pleasure Canvas and Sailmakers would go into full swing, with the power station, sail making factory and canvas works fabrication plants going up in 1912 and starting full production by Christmas of that year. In 1917, to celebrate the end of World War I, Pleasure set off the "World's Largest Firecracker" and accidentally destroyed the remaining land link and turning the peninsula into an island, with Merriam coining the "Pleasure Island" name. On July 4, 1918, the family would move out of the showboat into a proper family home on the island. However, Isabella was feeling this new home had become cramped by Merriweather's extensive library and archaeological collections and in 1921, he would build the Adventurers Club to house said collection and entertain his fellow explorers and adventurers in what would become his personal SEA chapter. In 1937, Pleasure would give his wife an anniversary gift of an even larger home north of the island, which was eventually transformed into the Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.
The reach of projects and developments on Pleasure Island would expand beyond the sailmaking business in the years to follow and eventually end sailmaking in 1931 to focus on yachting. In 1922, after moving the canvas works to a far part of the island, a Fireworks Factory would be established in the old building and provide for annual Fourth of July fireworks spectaculars until 1927 when it was accidentally destroyed by a spark from Pleasure's pipe. Advanced technological experimentation was also explored on the island, with Henry developing an Artificial Intelligence lab in 1929 and experimentation with new forms of transportation in the mid-1930s such as prototype "steam-magnetic" train engines and the experimental "X-Thing" flier, which would crash into Lake Buena Vista on its first and only flight in 1940.
Merriweather and his daughter Merriam would disappear at sea aboard the ship Dominoe in 1941 during an expedition to the Antarctic, leaving the Island businesses to Henry and Stewart, who ran the business into the ground in the 1950s until Hurricane Connie destroyed much of the island in 1955. The Adventurers Club was sealed shut immediately after Merriweather's disappearance. Isabella would pass away in 1949 on Christmas Eve. Pleasure's legacy would eventually be revived when Disney "found" the island and redeveloped it into an entertainment district in the spirit of Merriweather's zest for life and adventure.
Merriweather Pleasure and his family were created in the late 1980s to reinforce Pleasure Island's design concept of being a industrial district repurposed into a nightlife district. All the buildings at Pleasure Island would feature "historical plaques" explaining their origins as parts of Pleasure's business and home life, with a more extensive timeline being included as part of a set of documents known as the "Pleasure Island Papers" distributed during early press previews. Pleasure's story would reach further into contemporaneous attractions, with the hurricane that destroyed the island also creating Typhoon Lagoon and the Grand Floridian having been another product of Pleasure, though the latter connection has mostly been forgotten. The story would be slightly expanded and revised in 1991 to better explain the continuous New Year's Eve celebration and Funmeister mascot, but the plaques and other materials were never updated accordingly. This variation of the story placed Pleasure's birthday on New Year's Eve and generally switched the recurring Fourth of July motif, as well as having Pleasure present for the destruction of the island by hurricane rather than disappearing in the Antarctic.
Though he had an extensive written history, visual depictions of Merriweather are scarce. A group portrait of an expedition in the Adventurers Club supposedly did feature Pleasure amongst its ranks, though this would be retconned into a young Harrison Hightower III and a group called the Pillager's Brigade when the painting was relocated to Aulani after the Adventurers Club's closure. A Disney Institute activity sheet inspired by the Adventurers Club and Pleasure would be another rare depiction of the character.
In the years after Pleasure Island's closure, Merriweather Pleasure has been referenced in the Skipper Canteen at the Magic Kingdom with a SEA fez and a book in the library written by him titled Another New Year and The Tropical Hideaway at Disneyland with a "Kissimmee River" expedition paddle on a wall with other SEA member paddles.
Aunty's Beach House
In this area is a certificate from 1930 which is signed by Pleasure to bring one Dreamy Ka'imi into the roster of the Adventurers Club. There is also a lineup portrait for the, "Pillagers Brigade" which is identified as portraying Merriweather's fellow S.E.A. member Harrison Hightower III which in the Adventurers Club was said to have also shown Merriweather.
In this Adventureland restaurant is an oar with a plaque on it commemorating Merriweather's 1900 voyage on the Kissimmee river of Florida. On the oar is the skull of an alligator, implying that Pleasure was attacked by said animal on his voyage.
Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
In the backstory for this resort, it was originally a mansion built by Merriweather Adam Pleasure for his wife Isabella as an anniversary gift.
Pleasure was the fictitious namesake for this area and was referenced throughout the district.
There is a S.E.A. fez belonging to Pleasure located in a display-case in this restaurant within the former mansion of SEA member Dr. Albert Falls. In the library of the Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen there are also multiple books authored by Merriweather including, "Another New Year", "Global Night Celebrations" and "American Prosperity Abroad".
- Merriweather had only ever been depicted visually by a Disney Institute activity sheet and the Pillager's Brigade portrait.