Downtown Disney, soon to be formally known as Disney Springs, continues to undergo renovations including the closing of its indoor interactive theme park, DisneyQuest. The five story building will close in 2016 after being in use for 18 years opening back in 1998.
The indoor theme park houses a variety of attractions including virtual roller coasters that you can build yourself in Cyberspace Mountain as well as dozens of classic arcade games like Pac-Man and Mario Bros. You could even place yourself into a giant interactive pinball game with other guests in the Mighty Ducks Pinball Slam – all safely and digitally rendered on a giant screen of course.
While most of my experiences at DisneyQuest were quite a few years ago, I did find the games and attractions entertaining especially on those soggy Florida days when no one wanted to be at the parks. I particularly enjoyed a good old fashioned round of arcade basketball and the always entertaining Buzz Lightyear’s Astroblasters. In the Buzz attraction, you teamed up with a partner and hopped into a modified bumper car that shot out Nerf-type dodge balls. If you hit other cars in designated spots, they would become immovable and spin around in circles.
So, what went wrong? Most of the blame probably goes to the new era of mobile gaming. Kids and teens now have access to thousands of games on their own or their parents’ tech gadgets for a much more affordable price than an admission ticket to DisneyQuest (roughly $45). DisneyQuest did try to update attractions now and again to pounce on box office successes, but never did enough groundbreaking changes to have staying power.
Come 2016, DisneyQuest will be replaced with an NBA-themed attraction boasting a retail store with video productions among other items for sale, a restaurant, and some interactive experiences. As an NBA enthusiast, I am excited to see what they come up with. Some of my hopes might be a small area playing the most classic NBA scenes and games from history. Or maybe a place where guests can compete in a 3 point shoot out or skills challenge like on NBA All-Star Weekend. They probably have the space to keep in at least one or two of the arcade basketball games I love so much.
What was your favorite attraction or game at DisneyQuest? Are you excited/miffed about the shift to the NBA Experience? What would you like to see Disney put in the NBA Experience. Let me know in the comments.