Walt Disney World Review – Splitsville Downtown Disney
BY MIKE WARING – FEBRUARY 2013
Once upon a time, over in Downtown Disney, there was this enormous two-story Virgin Megastore. Virgin has been getting out of the music, movies and books business for some time, because they now have spaceships, which are way cooler. So the Megastore closed in 2009, and has sat empty for most of the time since. Thus it was with mostly idle interest that we watched to see what they’d do with this enormous space. To our surprise, they went with a bowling alley: specifically, a bowling alley by the high-falutin’ name of Splitsville Luxury Lanes & Dinner Lounge.
We decided to check it out, even though the last time Mary went bowling, I believe they were playing Saturday Night Fever in the theaters. Myself, well, I spent pretty much every Friday night during my high school years bowling at the local alley, because that was the only legal activity available in the small rural community where I lived, and it was before the Internet. So I did it a lot, I didn’t do it well, and it’s been decades since I’ve last hefted a garish acrylic orb.
Splitsville is really rather cool. I’m quite impressed. Rather than taking all that space and just lining up the alleys side by side, they have separated them into a bunch of different areas, each with four lanes or so, on two floors. The pleasant result that it’s not obvious how many total lanes there are. There’s a multitude of bars and snack bars and sit-down areas to eat, not to mention an outdoor bar area, so on the food and drink front you’re pretty well covered. There are also free pool tables.
Gotta say, the Splitsville thing is pretty entertaining. For three of us, bowling on a weekday afternoon, it was $45 for an hour and fifteen minutes, including shoe rentals. They drop all the shoes in a basket, and someone takes you to the lane you’ll be using. There are lots of servers around to fulfill your drink and snack or even full meal needs.
The decor is resolutely retro. Lots of vinyl booths, chrome, vintage posters and it’s all pretty chill. Very Fifties and Sixties era vibe, though you can get sushi and a glass of pinot grigio. This would be a fun place to go just to have a bite or a beer. I can think of worse ways to spend some time outside of the parks.
We sampled some sushi rolls, just for the sake of research. They were a little overly fancy, with lots of sauce and fried stuff on and in them, but Mary and her friend pronounced them “fun” and we ate them all up.
The gals (you have to get in the proper Fifties mood by using period slang) got ICEE’s and I got a beer. The beer was for research of a sort. All those formative years ago during my adolescence, I spent my time in bowling alleys, wishing I could have a beer or three, but alas, I was too young. So I had one beer, just for old time’s sake. The second was just because I wanted it.
I recommend Splitsville unreservedly, as a nice place to have some non-park fun. Combine this with a movie at AMC Downtown Disney and you have the makings of a pretty good evening’s entertainment.