7/14 Denise’s Corner – New Bowling Alley for Downtown Disney, Q & A – Refillable Mugs, Fantasyland

Hi everyone!

It’s been a pretty busy week, and we have another great one coming up!  We will be attending an opening event at the new Dave & Busters in Orlando, meeting Dreamworks characters at the Gaylord Palms Resort, and we have a special resort tour scheduled.

We’ll also be checking out the new refillable mug test at the Disney’s All Star Sports Resort once it officially starts, you can find an article I wrote about it on a special midweek Denise's Corner.

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Refillable Mug Fountain, Disney's All Star Sports Resort

Our other articles for the week include photos and video of the Saratoga Springs Resort Paddock Pool; Disney’s Hollywood Studios (including the Cars 2 Meet & Greet); and a Magic Kingdom update.

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Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort Paddock Pool

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Cars 2 Meet and Greet

Disney announced future changes to Downtown Disney this week. It seems the Hyperion Wharf idea is on hold right now, but a new bowling alley was announced for the former Virgin Megastore/current Ridemakerz building.

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Former Virgin Megastore

Splitsville, an upscale bowling experience that originated in Tampa's Channelside, has signed on to finally be a permanent tenant in the building vacated by the Virgin Megastore in 2009 (a Princess Diana exhibit also spent a brief time there). Construction is to begin this fall, with the result being a 50,000 square foot entertainment center that includes billiards, bowling, dining and music.

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Concept Art for Splitsville

I'm pretty excited about having yet another entertainment option at Downtown Disney. With the new AMC Dine-In Theaters already adding to the growing West End offerings, a bowling alley in an area that we already enjoy visiting is just another reason to spend more time at Downtown Disney. The menu options range from pizza to sushi and even filet mignon, the latter which I've never seen in any bowling alley I've ever visited. Big Bowl Drinks are advertised on the website for $23.00.

On the flip side, I wonder if Splitsville will stick with the dress code and age limit that it's known for.  At the closest location, which is Tampa Channelside, there are pretty stringent rules that don't really jibe with Disney and the tourists that visit. After 10pm on Friday and Saturday nights these include: no jerseys, sleeveless shirts (men), athletic wear, white t-shirts (men), knickers (not sure what those are!) or capri shorts. It says on the website that a dress code is enforced after 7pm daily, I'm not sure if it's the same one as after 10pm.  Plus, from 8pm nightly, Splitsville in Tampa is only available to guests 21 and older.  I've always thought of bowling as a family sport, it was the only one I could share with my father (who is blind). 8pm seems a little early to close off to younger guests in a major tourist area filled with families, so it will be interesting to see if the rules that govern the Tampa location will also be put into place here.

Of course, any rules can be tweaked. When Rix opened at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort, I had been following the construction and tried to get some pictures when it opened. I was told that the sneakers I was wearing weren't allowed in. I believe that rule changed after that, but I've never tried to go back.

We may check out the Tampa location if we have time next weekend.

What are your thoughts? Post below!

And for anyone who is wondering about the 100 lane bowling alley announced a few years back for the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, apparently those plans are still on the drawing board.

I had many questions this week on the refillable mug test, but most should be answered by reading my column. One question I don't know the answer to is from Diane:

Q:  I noticed that even the water dispenser has the special levers. Does that mean that even water is under the new restrictions?

Diane – I would assume that water would be for anyone, but that is a question that I asked that wasn't able to be answered definitively. The fountains certainly have much better water than at the water fountains, and hydration is a safety issue, so I can't imagine that it wouldn't be available. We'll let you know this coming week how the test goes!

 I also have a question from reader Tonya about Fantasyland:

Q: My little girl's Make A Wish is to visit when Fantasyland is opened. I hope fall 2012 will have some things opened or else there will be (a smiley for tears)! Do you have an idea of what attractions will be finished by then?

Tonya – I've seen late 2012 as when this area of the park starts opening, but I've not seen any exact dates. Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid is currently targeted for fall of 2012.  If you can hold off until late fall (I don't know what your situation is), that may give you a better chance at seeing more of the new Fantasyland expansion. I hope your daughter is able to enjoy some of new offerings!

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Fantasyland Expansion

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That's it for this week, check back next Friday for a new Denise's Corner!

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Sunset on the Seven Seas Lagoon, from my Fantasyland Update 

Denise