/ Monday, December 17th, 2012

Plus…News on Kodak and their sponsorship inside the parks, Update on Splash Mountain, and more!

by Don Myers

The Holidays are upon us, and all around the World last ditch efforts to get onto Santa’s good list are in full effect. Whether you’ve been naughty or nice this year, it’s time to curl up by the fire, get warm and cozy, and enjoy the latest edition of the WDW Radio Newswire……

We begin this edition of the Newswire with an exciting bit out of Downtown Disney’s West Side, as we are now just days away from the long awaited Grand Opening of Splitsville. But before we get started, get any ideas of a typical bowling alley out of your head and let me paint a clearer picture of what you can expect to find. Most bowling alleys feature a dozen or so lanes, but when Splitsville opens up its doors on Wednesday December 19th, you’ll find two floors of bowling lanes, ten on the main floor and twenty on the upper level (30 lanes in total). But bowling is just the tip of the iceberg, as Splitsville also contains a plethora of drinking/dining options inside the complex. In total, there’s nine locations to choose from: five bars, two sushi bars, and two outdoor patios. You’ll also find arcade games and billiards to keep your senses occupied. And you’ll never miss a big game at Splitsville, as the complex is loaded with over 60 tvs! But the atmosphere wouldn’t be complete without a little live entertainment, and Splitsville’s got you covered there too, as rockin’ bands will be jammin’ out tunes every night of the week. Splitsville will be open daily from 10:30am-2am, and prices are as follows:

$15 per person between the hours of 10:30am and 5pm

$20 per person between the hours of 5pm and 10:30pm

$15 per person between the hours of 10:30pm and 2am These prices allow you 90 minutes of bowling, and shoe rental costs are included in these prices as well.

Time for some sponsorship news now, and this one’s a bit of a bummer. On Monday December 31st, the lengthy partnership between Disney and Kodak will be ending. This means that as of Tuesday January 1st, Kodak will officially be phased out of the Disney Parks. Sadly, this will mark the end of a 57 year partnership between Disney and Kodak, a partnership that began when Disneyland opened its gates back in 1955. Kodak had previously been the sponsor for Epcot’s Journey Into Imagination pavilion, but that sponsorship ended back in 2010. Kodak still maintained sponsorship of several attractions and shops around the parks after pulling out of the Imagination pavilion, but this will all be coming to an end on December 31st.  Mickey’s PhilharMagic and MuppetVision 3D, as well as Cover Story and Garden Gate Gifts will all drop the Kodak logos from their locations, and the same goes for the Epcot Camera Center. The guidemaps and picture spots will also be affected by this change, as all mention of Kodak will be removed from existence. This is sad news from a personal standpoint, as I have some very fond memories of Kodak around the parks. It may sound funny, but it’s gonna feel like something is missing come 2013. The parks and even the guidemaps just won’t be the same now. Kodak on the back cover of the guidemap is all I’ve ever known as long as I’ve been coming to WDW, so it’s gonna take some time to get used to the removal of that familiar logo.

Okay, time to venture into Frontierland now for a quick reminder on an upcoming attraction closure. Splash Mountain is scheduled to close down for its annual refurb work on Wednesday January 2nd. The closure is scheduled to last just under eleven weeks, as the refurb is slated for a completion date of Tuesday March 19th.

For more news out of Frontierland, let’s make a quick stop by the Golden Oak Outpost. The Outpost has been abandoned for well over a week now, and there’s no word yet on when we can expect to see a re-opening of the tiny snack spot.

There’s one more stop to make today, and for this one we board the Monorail and head over to WDW’s Flagship Resort: The Grand Floridian. In the December 3rd edition of the Newswire, I detailed the re-opening of the GF’s gift shop Sandy Cove. Well, on Tuesday December 18th, the Grand Floridian will see its quick service spot Gasparilla Grill & Games re-emerge from a lengthy refurbishment. The restaurant had been closed since Friday August 24th, so this will put the total downtime for Gasparilla at just under four months.

Well, that’s gonna do it for today’s update. But before we call it a wrap, let’s take a look at the results of our last poll. The question was:

Which future WDW project are you looking forward to the most?

. New Fantasyland (Magic Kingdom)

. Test Track 2.0 (Epcot)

. Avatar Land (Animal Kingdom)

. Splitsville (Downtown Disney)

. Grand Floridan DVC Expansion

And the winner is……

New Fantasyland with 55% of the total vote! Avatar Land finished in second with 34% of the votes, and Test Track 2.0 rounded out the Top 3 with 11% of the total vote. Once again, a big thank you to everyone that took the time to vote! Okay, on to this week’s question:

What is your favorite World Showcase pavilion?

View Results

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Don Myers covers news and recent events in Walt Disney World.  He has been enamored with the World of Disney since his first trip to WDW in 1986. As they say, the rest is history!  Don also has been a contributing writer for Celebrations magazine since 2009.