On July 12, Disney Parks Blog announced two additions to Downtown Disney (DTD) at Walt Disney World. The dining, entertainment and retail district will be the future site of Splitsville, a venue that will feature billiards and bowling, and Apricot Lane Boutique, a specialty retail store.
Splitsville at Downtown Disney West Side
Splitsville is more than a bowling alley or billiards room. Billed as “an upscale entertainment center that combines bowling with billiards, dining, music and nightlife,” the venue is more akin to a nightclub with bowling and billiards than a traditional bowling alley.
Splitsville currently operates four locations: Fredericksburg, VA; Fairview, TX; and Miami and Tampa in Florida. The venues offers “grouped” lanes of bowling, has a bar and restaurant area, takes reservations, and can serve as event space for parties and celebrations. At the proposed DTD location, it will offer 50,000 square feet of space.
Because of its varied entertainment and dining options, Splitsville positions itself as a destination in itself. In this way, it is similar to the AMC Dine-In Theater that opened at DTD in May, a venue which combines a bar, dining and movie-going experience.
Splitsville will occupy the DTD West Side area that currently houses RIDEMAKERZ, the former Virgin Megastore building. RIDEMMAKERZ will relocate to DTD Marketplace and a smaller space, most likely within Team Mickey.
Construction of Splitsville begins this fall, with no opening date set at this time.
Splitsville and Pleasure Island
Will Splitsville offer another entertainment destination for families at Walt Disney World or will it be designed to appeal primarily to vacationing adults and a local audience?
While Disney did not identify a specific target audience for the venue, the announcement was combined with updates about Pleasure Island:
“Over on Pleasure Island, we’ve completed removing some of the buildings that aren’t part of our future plans. During the course of this site work, we identified opportunities to further refine our master plan and are pausing to evaluate them. What does this mean for you? While we’re moving quickly, it will admittedly cause a delay in construction. But we’re willing to bet that any delay will be worth the wait once we’re able to share details about the exciting work we’ve been doing.”
In the Disney Parks Blog update, no explicit mention was made of the announced Hyperion Wharf makeover for Pleasure Island, the former night-time district that offered clubs, music, dancing, drinks and an overall more adult-oriented experience. Hyperion Wharf, announced in November 2010, was to add more dining options and specialty boutiques as well as transform the area into a waterfront district.
Disney’s announcement yesterday did include mention of the addition of Apricot Lane Boutique, a specialty store featuring apparel that has a counterpart in the Downtown Disney at Disneyland Resort. Opening later this summer, it will occupy the space formerly held by the Harley-Davidson Store that has relocated to DTD West Side.
But Hyperion Wharf’s absence in the DTD updates, and the inclusion of Splitsville in the DTD West Side warrants a closer look at what Splitsville offers in its other locations.
A Closer Look at Splitsville
Of course, Splitsville does offer bowling. And at some of its current locations, the price can be as little as $3 per game, a special offered during slow periods. Reservations can also be made for bowling, with dining and drinks available as part of the experience. (These elements are not included in the price per game.)
Splitsville’s restaurants serve mostly upscale versions of casual American cuisine for lunch and dinner. Roadhouse Nachos, French Fries with Chive Dip, a variety of burgers or pizzas occupy menu space alongside Spicy Edamame, Shanghai Shrimp, Seared Ahi Tuna, and Steak Oscar. Items run between $4 – $20. Specialty drinks are also part of the menu, including drink “bowls” that start at $21. (Menu and drink items and prices vary with location.)
Although there has been no word on the operational plans or look for the DTD version of Splitsville, it’s worth noting the venues encourage and sometimes enforce a dress code at night. The centers also enforce a 21-year and over policy for night-time entry (times vary with location) and stay open until into the early hours of the a.m., especially on weekends (hours vary).
Given that Walt Disney World is considered a family destination, the addition of Splitsville and how it develops will become a strong indicator of Disney’s vision for DTD and Pleasure Island.
It’s possible that the Orlando version of Splitsville will develop into a family-friendly place for all hours of its operation. On the other hand, if its other locations’ policies hold, Splitsville’s addition to DTD West Side might be a strong indication of Disney’s commitment to revitalizing the DTD/Pleasure Island area as a place for night-time entertainment for adults.
- Downtown Disney Construction Update (chipandco.com)
- Disney World Trip Given As Prize to Extreme Makeover Winner (chipandco.com)
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