The park was owned and operated by The Coachman, who made a fortune from his crooked deeds, and is seen in the film when the Coachman brings Pinocchio, Lampwick and a coachload of other boys to the park.
It is implied to be an illegal theme park, hinted by Honest John during the meeting in the Inn, where he reacts in horror at the name.
On its surface, Pleasure Island seemed like any other amusement park, except that it was one where the young boys brought there by the Coachman were encouraged to behave badly. Among the places where the boys could misbehave were the Roughhouse, where they were encouraged to fight, the Model Home, which was open for vandalism and destruction, and food, alcohol and tobacco were made freely available. Other notable features on this island include a merry-go-round, a ferris wheel, a roller coaster and a pool saloon.
The park, unknown to the children, harboured a terrible curse that turned little boys who "made jackasses of themselves" into real donkeys. After enough time spent misbehaving in the park, the curse would gradually transform the boys into donkeys; still with their human minds, but donkeys in every other way. Braying replacing normal laughter came first; ears and tail came next; then the face was transformed, followed by the extremities and torso; then the boy would fall to all fours and finally, the voice was replaced by full braying. These donkeys were then stripped of their clothing by the Coachman or themselves would break their clothes due to kicking and braying so loudly and placed into crates where they would eventually be sold into slavery in the salt mines, the circus and other places.
Apparently, being less of a 'jackass' could slow the curse's process of transformation, and presumably the island's curse did not affect those who are sensible and well-behaved, since it does not affect Jiminy at all, which was why only stupid, badly-behaved little boys were brought to the island. On the other hand the curse didn't seem to affect The Coachman or his henchman. The Coachman tested each donkey, asking each one what his name was. Donkeys who could still talk were placed in a separate pen, and presumably kept there until they either lost their ability to talk, or were kept by the Coachman to pull his stagecoach.
This curse however is implied to be temporary since The Coachman is seen barking to his henchman that "We haven't got all night", which could mean that the curse wears off at sunrise as long as the donkeys are still on the island. Or maybe he was refering to the fact that the donkeys shall be for sale at first hour in the morning.
Pinocchio narrowly avoided being transformed into a donkey, and escaped with just a donkey tail and ears. However, Lampwick and all the other boys were not so lucky, and were transformed into donkeys. The park also had an impact on Geppetto, who realised Pinocchio was on Pleasure Island and set out to sea to find and rescue him from the curse, leading to his encounter with Monstro.
In Italy, where the original story was written, the donkey is a symbol of stupidity. The moral behind Pleasure Island is that little boys who scoff at education and moral codes set forth by their parents, preachers, and authority figures, and instead engage in "jackass" behavior such as fighting, vandalism and underage drinking, are often destined to grow up to become men who have no option to make a living except through backbreaking manual labor, and there are plenty of people in the world, namely the Coachman, who will take advantage of that.
Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance
Pleasure Island appears in Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, in the world Prankster's Paradise. It includes various areas of the Island that are found in the original film, like the amusement park. Several new areas that weren't in the original film like the Windup Way, and the Circus tent were included in the game.
- The Donkey Transformation is considered one of the most notably terrifying sequences in Disney history.
- In the model home on Pleasure Island, one of the wrecked things inside was Leonardo Da Vinci's famous portrait, the Mona Lisa.
- In the original movie, the curse of Pleasure Island transforms boys who "make jackasses of themselves" into donkeys. In Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, this line was reworded as "boys who make jackamules of themselves".
Characters: Pinocchio | Jiminy Cricket | The Blue Fairy | Geppetto | Figaro | Cleo | Honest John and Gideon | Stromboli | The Coachman | The Coachman's Minions | Lampwick | The Stupid Little Boys | Alexander | Monstro
Objects: Stromboli's Puppets