Check It Out: Downtown Disney’s Splitsville

Today my dad treated me to a morning of bowling at Downtown Disney’s new Splitsville.  I had first seen that this was being built last summer when Maggie and I were over seeing a Fork and Screen movie, and apparently it just opened the week before Christmas.  I had heard a lot of good things about it, so I was excited to check it out.

Splitsville Downtown Diseny

When you come in, you get in one of two lines- Dining or Bowling.  They have a full service restaurant that you can sit at, or you can get food ordered right at your lane.  We got in the bowling line, and since we were there in the first half hour of it opening (regular hours are 10 am-2 am), we got a lane right away.  They check you in and plug in your names and shoe sizes to a computer.  You then get a “lane concierge” who takes a basket with your shoes and menus over to your lane and briefs you on the basics:

1. You have an hour and a half to play as many games as you can.  They build in 10 extra minutes for picking out which bowling ball you want and getting your shoes on.

2.  Each lane has its own waitress who will visit periodically throughout your time block.  My dad and I got some fries and a Turkey Club about mid-game, and it took about 15-20 minutes for the food to come out.  Make sure you order ahead of time, so you’re not stuck scarfing down food at the end.  Here’s a peek at the menu (sorry that some parts are fuzzy- I just snapped these quickly between bowling frames and it was kind of dim).  Almost everything is between $10-$15.

Splitsville Menu 1

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Splitsville Menu 3

3. At the 15 minute mark, your screen will turn yellow as a warning that your time is almost up.  Someone will check on you then to wrap up your bill.  I’m sure you could pay more to stay longer, but an hour and a half was PLENTY of time- especially for two people.  You can always see how much time you have left by the countdown clock at the bottom of your screen.

Splitsville Time Left

I was pleased to see that our scoreboard was already set up with our names when we got our shoes, so there was no time wasted typing things into  a tiny keyboard.  My dad and I got through 3 full games, as well as the first few frames of a fourth game.  We left about 15 minutes before our time was up because we were both pretty done with bowling by then.  The family next to us had four people, and they seemed to fit about 3 games in during the hour and a half period (plus they ordered some snacks in between).

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My dad bowling his next frame. He was much better than me at aiming ; )

I am not super great at bowling and tend to go with the “throw it hard and hope for the best” strategy.  My scores went from 73 to 96 (woohoo!) back down to 71, while my dad beat me all three times with 113, 100, and 122 in the last round (that beats Sheldon’s career best at 68!).  Whenever you get any special shots, like a Strike, Spare, Split, or my go-to, the Gutterball, fun animation pops up on your screen so everyone is made aware of your skill level, haha.

Gutterball Splitsville

They had a good selection of bowling balls to choose from at each station.  I switched between 7-9 pounds with the small finger size, and my dad had a 13 pound ball with an XL finger size.  I saw other bowling balls with XS and XXL, so really, everyone’s hand is covered : )  All the bowling balls have to be Disney related, so they each sport a Mickey or Minnie sketch on the side.

The atmosphere of Splitsville is great.  They played a bunch of Top 40 music, including “Good Time”, “Somebody I Used to Know”, and “Call Me Maybe”.  The walls have a bunch of fun pop art on them, and they also include retro touches throughout the bowling alley to keep up the theme.  The place sports two levels with a total of 20 lanes (10 on each floor).  The bottom floor is always family-friendly, while the top floor turns into a night club for those 21 and up- but only after a certain time at night.  If you go before 5 pm, it’s $15 a person including shoes (obviously food and drinks are extra).  If you go between 5-10 pm, it goes up to $20 per person, and then back down to $15 after 10 pm.  Friday and Saturday might be a little more expensive during that peak time, so be sure to check for pricing.  We paid the $15 for the before 5 pm price on this Friday, though.

Splitsville Decor

You can not reserve single lanes in advance.  You can reserve two lanes if you also purchase a food package- obviously for just me and my dad this was not necessary.  Groups and parties can always reserves multiple lanes, and on their phone recording, they said they will eventually add single lane reservations this spring.  As I mentioned, we walked right in, but there was about 20 people in line to bowl when we left closer to noon.  Until they allow more reservations, I would try to get there near opening time if you want to try it out.  However, there are plenty of bars and places to sit down and eat throughout the alley while you wait : )

I’d definitely recommend visiting Splitsville on your next trek out to Downtown Disney.  I think people don’t bowl enough in general, and that may be because so many bowling alleys seem run down, smelling of cigarettes and funky smelling shoes.  Splitsville revitalizes the typical bowling alley image, and makes it a much more classy experience.  I think it’s awesome that they cater to young adults as well as families (they even have little bowling ball metal guiders for tiny kids to roll their bowling balls down the lane!).  The food is a little pricey, but you are paying a lot for the convenience of having it brought to you.  It also offers a good variety (even Sushi!) as seen in the menu pictures above.  Everyone will find something to nosh on.  And if you don’t order any food, I feel like the $15 for an hour and a half + shoes is a good deal.  I’m glad I got the opportunity to check it out, along with the free reminder that I need to brush up on my bowling skills ; )

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