When Kye let us know that he wanted to skip out on a birthday party and instead celebrate at Disney, we started brainstorming ideas for ways to make the birthday special. I know going to Disney is special enough but we would go to Disney anyway around this time of the year and I did want to do a few things out of our "Disney norm" to let it stand out as Kye's birthday.
There is SO MUCH to do in the Disney area that I kinda have a personal goal to slowly work through everything we can :) This trip we did the Chip and Dale Sing A Long for the first time, ate breakfast at Ohana for the first time, and we hit up Splitsville for the first time!
Kye has been bowling a few times and really enjoyed it. In fact he listed "go bowling" as one of his New Year's Resolutions. We were pretty sure that this surprise would be right up his ally (ha. ha. pun intended ;)).
We finished up our morning/early afternoon at Disney Springs and made our way to Splitsville. We've been to Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney) a TON of times but have never even been to the entire section where the Splitsville is located. There is a lot of uncharted territory for us to explore sometime! While the area was EMPTY when we first arrived, it was getting pretty crowded by the mid-afternoon. We lucked out on weather and it was nice and sunny for our long walk. The worst storms of the day actually came through while we were inside the bowling ally :)
Kye still had no clue where we were when we walked up and when he realized it was bowling he was PUMPED. I knew nothing about Splitsville ahead of time. I called them to learn more and to see what I needed to do. I told them how many people we would have and they told me that I should pay $10 extra per person to reserve a lane. Now. I've never even entered a Splitsville. I know NOTHING about it. The way the girl made it sound to me was that I basically needed to pay that fee and reserve the lane in order to eat on our lane and to have a lane at all. Of course I went ahead with it ($50!) because I know NOTHING about how things are run there and felt like I should trust the person who was providing me with the info.
When we re-worked our entire trip on Tuesday I called Splitsville in order to make sure we could move our bowling time. She said it was no problem to switch and made the switch. I was not told any other details other than it'd be no problem to move us!
We walked into a VERY empty bowling ally. We were about an hour early for our time slot and they had no issue getting us in. Zero issue. And I was told they are NEVER crowded at that time of day. The staff member that escorted us to our lane said she couldn't believe that no one told me on the phone when I went to book that I really wouldn't need the priority reservation!
It was VERY disappointing to walk in with so much excitement to then feeling very misled. We do NOT usually take things up with a manager but Zach was very upset and I was disappointed at the situation but especially embarrassed that I had paid for something that clearly wasn't needed!
We ended up getting a manager involved because we quickly realized that every lane has a table on it so everyone can eat at their lane. My extra $50 spent was ONLY to get us to "the front of the line" for a lane. Um. Not worth it!!! Our kids are very used to waiting and even if we'd had an HOUR wait we could have easily shopped around the area to wait!
The manager offered us, after we had on all our shoes and had our game set to start, to get a refund and leave our lane and basically go wait. Which if it was just Zach and I we would have done! No one was around us and I'm sure we would have been back in a lane in no time. But how unfair would it be to have a fast pass for a ride, get to the front of the line for a ride, get the kids loaded in the ride, then tell them "nope sorry you have to get out and go to the back of the line." No way! We asked what our other options were and he told us he'd give us two free appetizers, a free dessert and extra time on our lane. SOLD! We worked it out so the appetizers covered the kids dinner which really saved us money and made us feel a lot better about the situation.
Lesson learned: DO NOT BOOK A PRIORITY LANE! Unless maybe if it's a weekend or something? I think they are more of a "late night" kind of place. It had that vibe of a place where adults go to hang out, drink, etc. So I really think that daytime hours probably never need a priority lane? I'm not saying we won't ever go back, but I am disappointed with how misled I was on the phone! I was very impressed with the manager for making up for it and we still tipped our waiter based on if we'd paid for everything and he was SUPER nice about it all as well. It all worked out and the bad taste we had in our mouths when we first got there quickly got washed away by some sick bowling and amazing food :)
Splitsville is not owned by Disney but I did love some of the Disney touches (and that they let us pay with Disney gift cards!)
In the time we had we were able to play two almost full games and eat both dinner and dessert. If/when we visit again we will just let the boys play the second game. By the second game Britt and I pretty much lost interest and just spent our time dancing ;) But Zach and Kye kept that competitive spirit through it all! Here's a video of Britt bowling and a video of Kye bowling!
I love that Kye copied Zach's "cool kid" pose :)
I don't think she ever watched a ball go down the lane...she would drop it, turn, and start dancing her way back to us ;)
I knew when I started looking into Splitsville that Zach HAD to order this MASSIVE burger!!! It did NOT disappoint!!!
Neither did the loaded fries...YUM
The struggle was real when it came to eating his burger hahaha
Dancing in the lane ;)
While Kye was still serious about his game!
When they brought out the free dessert we sang Happy Birthday to Kye!
We all agreed since Zach would clearly dominate (how many semesters did he take of bowling class in college again?!?!) that the 2nd place person would be the "winner!" And legit Kye achieved that victory pretty easily! I think it helped that one of us has really bad arthritis, another one is 4 years old and then the last one is the least competitive person on the planet ;)
Overall we all agreed that Splitsville was a winner! We had a GREAT time and were impressed with how well the manager did handle the situation when we first arrived. I do think we will go back again but this time we won't be lured into booking the priority reservations :)
We got back to our room around 5ish which worked out really well! We were all BEAT and were SO fortunate of the timing of everything. We missed the worst of the storm day and were back in the room plenty early to rest up for our big Magic Kingdom day the next day! Britt and Kye were both silly and finished up some of their leftover treats from Disney Springs as a snack since we ate dinner so early!
I kept trying to steal bites haha
We got them bathed and put them to bed at, legit, 6 pm! Haha! They didn't have any rest all day, had a late night the night prior, had a full day the next day planned, and we wanted to give them a chance to talk a little bit with each other. It worked out well and we all got a great nights sleep!