Splitsville is a large bowling alley that is part of Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney), part of Walt Disney World in Florida. Disney Springs is a large shopping and entertainment district that is currently free to enter and free to park.
Splitsville is a relative newcomer to Disney Springs – there wasn’t any bowling available in Downtown Disney. Like many of the places there, it isn’t a Disney operation, more a concession operating on the Disney property. I can see that Splitsville has seven other US locations, including Miami and Tampa.
Disney Springs is always busy and so I decided to try and book our bowling – after all how difficult could that be? The Splitsville website has a button for booking a lane. My local bowling alley in Europe has an online system, where you can choose a lane, time and duration – with availability shown. So I was disappointed to see this message:
Followed by an online reservation form. Some time later I received an email:
Thank you for your interest in Splitsville! Our Walk-In and Priority Bowling Rates are outlined below. Due to the large amount of reservations we have for this specific evening we cannot book a lane at 7 p.m. as all our lanes have already been purchased. We are more then willing to accomodate you before 4 p.m. on Tuesday the 15th or any other day this week:
(Only valid on a first come first served basis.) Bowling time allotted is based upon number in bowling party, 4 people receive an hour and 15 minutes on the lane.
MONDAY-FRIDAY (Pricing includes shoe rental.)
OPEN-4PM: $15 per person
4PM-CLOSE: $20 per person
SATURDAY-SUNDAY (Pricing includes shoe rental.)
OPEN-CLOSE: $20 per person
EARLY BIRD BOWLING (Walk-in only):
EVERY DAY Open-12:30PM:
$12 for Adults/$8 for 9 & Under (Pricing includes shoe rental)
*Priority bowling must be set up a minimum of 24 hours in advance.
Additional $10 per person, based on walk in rates and times shown above.
A couple of emails later and I realised that the only way to book was to accept the Priority Bowling rate for an additional $10 per person – making $30 per person. Well what a complete rip off that is! I would probably pay $10 to reserve a lane, but not per person. I’m also still amazed that what purports to be a modern bowling alley doesn’t have a modern reservation system to match.
We decided to just turn up early one evening and see what happened. As it was there wasn’t much of a line and we were allocated Lane 1 pretty quickly.
The seating area was pretty comfortable and our server arrived quickly and took our drink orders. We didn’t order food although there was a full menu service that looked good quality and the area at our lane was suitable for eating. I’m sure Splitsville would like it if you simultaneously bowl and dine – but really why would you do that when you are paying $20 per person for lane time and could easily eat before or after?
A coke was $5.25 with free refills. I can’t remember how much a beer was.
There was an odd sign to remind bowlers not to overdo their ‘victory dance’. I guess they have to protect any kids from inappropriate gestures, but I’m not sure why pregnant women were included in the list:
There were plenty of balls available, all highly greased – so much so that they tended to slide, rather than roll, down the lane. The floor was also slippery from the grease and I nearly fell over on my first bowl. The pins reset really quickly which meant we could have more games.
Lane 1 is probably the worst lane if you don’t like spectators as it’s right by the window. There was usually a few random people watching our play.
Our hour and 15 minutes was almost up and we still had a few frames left. We were given an extra 10 minutes to finish our game which was great. That meant that our party of four played three full games.
So this was a pretty mixed experience. I’m not saying I’d never go again, but I wouldn’t rush back.
Splitsville Luxury Lanes
AT DISNEY SPRINGS™ WEST SIDE
1494 East Buena Vista DriveLake Buena Vista, Florida 32830