Hyperion Wharf is out at Downtown Disney (maybe) and bowling is in (for sure). While Disney announced major changes to its onsite-shopping complex in November 2010, it’s having a change of heart. Pleasure Island – the portion of Downtown Disney that once offered adults a theme-park-like experience with cocktails and dancing – was slated to become Hyperion Wharf, a scaled-down version with less drunks and more upscale dining.
But things changed, and Disney says it will “pause” and reconsider the Hyperion Wharf concept in light of some new projects.
At its heart, Downtown Disney faces the same realities as all neighborhood malls that lease space to outside companies. However, the Disney complex needs more than kitsch and lights – it must offer activities, shopping, and restaurants that draw in a crowd. There’s simply too much competition outside the Disney walls. Guests choose Downtown Disney to take in Cirque du Soleil, enjoy Disney Quest, or have dinner on the fake steamboat.
If looking at Downtown Disney that way, the recently announced additions fit the theme. The biggest intro is Splitsville, a bowling complex located a stone’s throw from Disney Quest. But Splitsville is a high-end version of a traditionally blue-collar complex, complete with a retro styling that includes “billiards, dining, music, and nightlife” located in 50,000 square feet of space.
Meanwhile, Disney’s official blog says that the company “identified opportunities to further refine our master plan and are pausing to evaluate them.” In corporate-speak, “opportunities” generally means some kind of money-generating idea – perhaps a major corporation wants space in the area. Still, it’s not just about money. Whatever Disney finally puts into the ex-Hyperion/ex-Pleasure Island space should attract crowds as well as dollars.
In the meantime, visitors can go bowling.