Huge bowling alley planned for Disney World

Posted Monday, September 29, 2008 9:42 AM | Contributed by Jeff

One of the country's largest bowling alleys will be built at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex on the grounds of Walt Disney World Resort, executives said at a business briefing Wednesday. The 100-lane bowling center represents a bid for Disney to capture a largely ignored and potentially gigantic piece of the sports tourism market.

Read more from Florida Today.

Monday, September 29, 2008 12:08 PM

They should have Bill Murray on hand for the grand opening. ;)

I heard that there was an immense bowling alley next to Disneyland for a long time. I think it was double the size of a normal alley.

Monday, September 29, 2008 12:15 PM

Being a College Football season ticket holder for a few years and attending a few pro football games (we have the Redskins as my 'local' team and I refuse to buy season tickets for them yet), comparing sports attendance numbers and the sheer excitment of the game, Im thinking there's a very good reason that Bowling is a "largely ignored" part of the sporting market. Although, I think they beat Hockey one year.

So seeing how much money (Ad dollars, sponsorships, my highly expensive 2 1/2 foot seat) is dropped into things like football and even basketball, the adding of a 100 lane alley wont bolster Bowling's popularity that much, nor draw people by the thousands consistently to Disney. Bowling is more a "what do we do tonight where we can drink beer and be indoors" kind of sport IMHO.

Now drop a football stadium in there for a decent college or pro.. then watch the attendance.. But thats going off on an unrealistic tangent.

I guess at the very least its another place the PBA can play on TV and get Disneys name out there yet again.

Monday, September 29, 2008 1:44 PM

I think you missed this part...

More than a year before its 2010 opening, the bowling center has already allowed Disney to strike a deal with the United States Bowling Congress, which said it would hold its men's and women's tournaments at the new facility. Potrock said the arrangement could bring as many as 85,000 bowlers to a national event.

Not to mention that the alley would be there for people visiting the resort for a week as their "what do we do tonight where we can drink beer and be indoors" activity.

Monday, September 29, 2008 2:04 PM

janfrederick said:
I heard that there was an immense bowling alley next to Disneyland for a long time. I think it was double the size of a normal alley.

It's a few miles away, but I wouldn't call it "immense." It's a 40 lane bowling alley open 24 hours.

There's also a 41 lane bowling alley at the Anaheim GardenWalk, which is almost apart of the Disneyland Resort. This alley just opened a few months ago.

Monday, September 29, 2008 2:54 PM

These are tidbits from my Bowler Journal Magazine.
When Osceola County agreed to pay $13 million to the United States Bowling Congress to stage 13 of its national championship event from 2011-2029 at the proposed 100 lane arena in Orlando, it didn't fret about the money. It would come from the 6 percent tourism fee levied on Osceola hotel guests. Since the site is on the Osceola/Orange county line, though, some wonder how many will actually stay in Osceola. The agreement requires the USBC to prove the events will generate the room nights it says they will; if they fail to do so, Osceola is within its rights to scale back the $13 million incentive, according to the Orlando Business Journal.

I'm not sure if the PBA has a multi-year deal with Six Flags or not. SF has hosted PBA summer series programs for the past 2 years.

I'm a bowler, so I could now kill two birds with one stone and go to the National Championships and take my family on vacation at the same time.

Monday, September 29, 2008 3:40 PM

I am a bowler and I love the idea of bowling in large tournaments and being able to visit amusement parks on the same trip! :) I bowl in the winter and ride coasters in the summer. Most of my friends usually play golf in the summer and just do not understand my love for coasters. Living here in Erie bowling is a huge winter sport. We have had some pretty good pro bowlers come from this area. I usually take a couple long trips every year to bowl in tournaments. Bowling for some of us is a lot more than just drinking beer and going out bowling because we have nothing better to do! I never drink and bowl at the same time as I take my bowling way too seriously than that. For me its a sport where money can be made. And as far as Bill Murray goes that movie was very insulting too many good bowlers! Those actors should have been givin some bowling lessons before they made that movie. They had no clue on how to bowl!!!

Monday, September 29, 2008 4:13 PM

Chris M said:
It's a few miles away, but I wouldn't call it "immense." It's a 40 lane bowling alley open 24 hours.

Actually, I'm talking about a bowling alley that is no longer there. I think it was at the corner of Katella and the current Disney Way (Walnut?). From the picture I saw, it had way more than 40 lanes. But for the life of me, I can't find the picture I saw.

Monday, September 29, 2008 4:23 PM

To quote someone you have to quote them correctly..

I never said for people with "nothing" better to do.. My emphasis with that expression was more on the "Joe bowler that you see at 'Victory lanes' on saturday night" Also, You must be a minority because in the leagues Ive seen bowling, the beer was flowing quite well. But I digress as im not a pro bowler. So I dont know or see the passion that the few amateur/professionals do.

I still hold to the fact it still wont generate extreme interest for bowling. For them to "capture a largely ignored and potentially gigantic piece of the sports tourism market.". (Has the 40 lane one near DL done that? Will 60 more lanes be the cure?)

Sure there will be some families who go there in eve, especially since there's no PI to wander into for night time entertainment. Hats off for a new outlet. My point was more so Disney trying to turn it into a desired market.. I just have my doubts on that. Guess time will tell.

Last edited by ridemcoaster, Monday, September 29, 2008 4:24 PM
Monday, September 29, 2008 4:51 PM

Does DL = Darien Lake?

Monday, September 29, 2008 5:02 PM

^Disney LAND.... ;)

Monday, September 29, 2008 5:53 PM

Well, it would give the park cast to do something after work. I know during my season at CP, many a night was spent bowling with friends. It was cheap, fun, and good for some laughs.

Monday, September 29, 2008 10:22 PM

Yes, it is my understanding that this is going to be a part of a bigger sports complex that Disney is building. The project has been in planning stages for more than a year, but just like in the coaster world, those that know, don't say anything (I am on the BPAA BOD and a PBA member).

The 2011 USBC National event is scheduled to be conducted there, since the Wichita fiasco occurred, however, there are some concerns that the construction timeline will not allow that to happen, so 2014 is set as the first USBC event.

It will become the National Bowling Stadium of the east (the original is in Reno, where the end of the movie Kingpin was filmed).

Tuesday, September 30, 2008 12:39 AM

Hey ridemcoaster I never meant to quote anyone. You are right my town is the minority and as I said it is a big bowling town. From where I live there are 6 bowling alleys within 15 minutes from my house, and that is not counting clubs that still have alleys. They all have leagues every day and are busy. I stay away from those beer drinking leagues and bowl in the more competitive leagues where most bowlers have at least a 190 or higher average.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008 8:23 PM

Ok coasterfreak, I live in Erie and work at one of the lanes you say you live around. Sorry, BUT bowling in Erie is on a severe decline. Im just not talking just from the lanes I work at. I read the yearly stats for Erie and the amount of league bowlers is being decimated to a handful. I am glad to say that I will never make the business of bowling my career because I can see two or three of these closing in the future. Even that Bowler's Journal Magazine says that competitive bowling is on the decline and over half of centers from when bowling was in its prime are gone.

However, is building a bowling center worth it in Disney? Yes, only if they market it correctly. First, it should run a form of Glow, Cosmic, or Inferno bowling on several nights. Second, they should have a supporting arcade and large restaurant. Third, they shouldn't even think of leagues if this is on the Disney property and not near local residents. I believe this because I see how this business is changing from competition to recreation on a weekly basis.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008 10:47 PM

^ OK AJFelice,

Severe decline, NO! On a decline in numbers, YES! That is the economy and people cutting back! I bowl Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and every other Saturdays. All of these leagues are strong. We even gained 4 teams on Saturday. However we lost some on Tuesday night. Eastway, Eastland, and Greengarden are all doing good. True not as good as the 80s and 90s back when we had the Flagship open and Bob Learn was doing great, back when bowling was in its prime. Yes I agree those days are gone, But these lanes are surviving. We just had the Mens state tournement here! Erie was granted it because it is a great bowling town! Yes, Leagues are down in numbers in the averge Joe league. But bowling is still a huge winter sport in Erie amungst the "good" bowlers that live here! You can not tell me otherwise.

What house do you work at?


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