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Downtown Disney is about to undergo its own extreme makeover into Disney Springs, so June 15-16 may be the last year to really enjoy the great atmosphere of Car Masters Weekend until about 2017. If that’s not a good enough reason to get you out to see the cars, there is always the merchandise, special meet and greets, and the Pixar Cars themed fun. Plus this year they’re throwing in new fun from Splitsville and La Nouba by Cirque du Soliel and more.

Car Masters Weekend, now in its third year, is also the perfect way to celebrate Father’s Day. The Downtown Disney West Side area will be filled with classic cars and special entertainment as only Disney can arrange. Featuring all things “Cars,” the event showcases meet and greets with Disney•Pixar “Cars” and “Cars 2″ characters, a sock hop at Splitsville, select discounts on food and shopping, and more exciting entertainment for the whole family.

Editor: Please welcome new guest author Paula Garcia!

My husband, 5 year old daughter and I recently visited Orlando. We arrived on New Year’s day settled in to our hotel. It was a nice night out and we were starving so we decided to take a walk to Downtown Disney and find a restaurant there. There were so many people it was difficult to walk around much less find a table at any of the restaurants.

We didn’t give up and kept walking all the way down to about the end of Downtown. Just when we were about to walk back to our hotel my husband walked into Splitsville Lanes and to our surprise they had open tables with no wait.

Although there were many people inside, I didn’t get an over crowded, claustrophobic feeling. We were greeted by a young lady and taken up the escalator to our table. We sat down and were handed our menus. My daughter received her own kid’s menu and some crayons. As a mom I really appreciate this. It took a little while before our order was taken. Many people were being seated in our area at the same time. Our server was right on top of it he was very attentive, fast, kind and apologetic about the delay.

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Guests of the Walt Disney World Resort’s Downtown Disney entertainment and shopping district will soon be able to rack’em up and knock them down at Splitsville Luxury Lanes. The boutique bowling venue missed its early December goal and is now targeting later this month on the 19th for a full opening. There was, however, a media preview this morning.

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The upscale, retro-style bowling venue is the largest in the bowling brand’s fleet and will offer two-levels with 30 lanes, billiards, live entertainment, a balcony bar with a wonderful vista, and upscale dining options.

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As co-founder Guy Revelle says, this is not your father’s bowling alley.

“Splitsville is a perfect fit for Downtown Disney,” said Keith Bradford, vice president of Downtown Disney. “From a new twist on a beloved sport to an impressive menu you’ve never expect to find in a bowling facility, Splitsville offers a great experience that complements our other unique offerings at Downtown Disney. I’m sure it will quickly become a guest favorite.”

There have been a lot of random Disney news stories appearing recently, so I thought I would bunch them all together so you don’t have to go searching! This will cover Parks, ABC, Disney Channel, Consumer Products…and MORE! (I realize I sound like a Ronco Rotisserie ad…after you read this you can set it…and forget it!)

  • Electric Holiday– This has become one of my “I am the only Disney fan that is SUPER EXCITED for this” moments (along the same lines as the Hercules 15th Anniversary Pin and the unveiling of the new Disney Parks promotion “Limited-Time Magic”). If you are unfamiliar…Barney’s NYC partnered with Disney this year for their annual holiday window display. This year follows Minnie and other Disney characters as they get ready to hit the runway wearing some of Barney’s most popular designers. This did get some controversy when the concept art was released and it revealed Disney characters in stereotypical super skinny model bodies. Personally, I feel like since this is animation, there is no argument (everything in animation is over-the-top anyways…), but it still sprouted over the interwebs. The teaser looks wonderful and I am overall excited to see the products and the full short!

Unless you are living under a rock (which would be incredibly uncomfortable), you realize the affect that The Wizarding World of Harry Potter has had on the Orlando tourism community. Everyone is filled to the brim with new projects that, they hope can match and/or topple Harry Potter in the themed and immersive environment category… or the bring in millions of people and billions of dollars category too! I thought, you can never look too far into the future… so here is a preview to what will, supposedly, make you travel to the Orlando area in the coming years!

Positive Coming Attractions:

  • This December 6th, the east coast’s Carsland equivalent will finally be unveiled in the Magic Kingdom. New Fantasyland containing: Enchanted Tales with Belle, Gaston’s Tavern, Be Our Guest Restaurant, Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid, Ariel’s Grotto, Pete’s Silly Sideshow, and officially, Storybook Circus, will FINALLY open after years of “looking-over-the-wall” photo updates. In 2013, the Princess Fairytale Hall will open, in the former Snow White’s Scary Adventures building. And the expansion will finally be ending (unless they announce a phase 2 with Pixie Hollow…I wish!) with the opening of the Seven Dwarves Mine Coaster. Can you believe that this was all announced back at the first D23 Expo in 2009?! If feels like so long ago!
  • Test Track will re-open at the end of this year after a rather extensive rehab and rethemeing. The concept of being inside of a computer seems like a great fit for an aging Future World attraction that needed a lift (and a nip…and a tuck…). We will see how Tron-y this new Test Track looks this December.
  • Although not at a theme park, I am super excited for Spiltsville to be coming to Downtown Disney. We have one in Tampa and it is an awesome place. This incarnation will be a two story, 36-lane bowling alley version of the usual 1 story, 12-lane concept. The uniqueness of Splitsville comes from two factors, first being that while you bowl, a waiter comes to your table…as it is a sit-down (or play-up?) restaurant as well as a bowling alley (BTW, best chicken tenders anywhere!). The second factor comes from the design of the place, the lanes aren’t set up in the normal long, side-by-side fashion of the old-fashioned alleys, they are scattered throughout the building giving it a much more personal experience. Get ready to bowl your brains out in late fall of this year.
  • Seaworld has also jumped on the immersive environment bandwagon by announcing Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin. This will take the place of the former penguin exhibit at the park. Not a lot of details have been announced about the project as of now, but the concept art is astounding. A publicity photo was recently released and has led to speculation that the ride in the land will be using a trackless ride system similar to the one used on Pooh’s Hunny Hunt at Tokyo Disneyland. I am really excited to check it out in the spring of 2013.