DisneyQuest was a chain of indoor interactive theme parks in the United States operated by the Disney Regional Entertainment subsidiary of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.

Walt Disney World's DisneyQuest as it appeared in Disney Springs when the district was known as Downtown Disney
LocationWalt Disney World Resort, Lake Buena Vista, Florida and Chicago, Illinois, United States
Coordinates28°22′13″N 81°31′20″W / 28.37033°N 81.52211°W / 28.37033; -81.52211 (Walt Disney World)
OpenedJune 19, 1998 (Walt Disney World)[1]
June 16, 1999 (1999-06-16) (Chicago)[2]
ClosedSeptember 4, 2001 (Chicago)[3]
July 2, 2017 (Walt Disney World)[4]
Operated byDisney Regional Entertainment (1998–2010)
Walt Disney Parks and Resorts (2010–2017)
ThemeIndoor Interactive Theme Park

The DisneyQuest project was designed as a way for the Disney brand to reach populations that may not have the chance to travel to its various theme park destinations.[5] It was meant to target large cities and urban areas. Had the project continued, Disney would have had plans to construct locations in many major cities in the United States, like Philadelphia and Baltimore. However, only two locations were built; one in Walt Disney World and a much shorter-lived one in Chicago.[6]

History edit

DisneyQuest first opened on June 19, 1998, as part of a major expansion of the Downtown Disney entertainment district (today Disney Springs) at Downtown Disney West Side, and was intended as the first of a larger chain of similar facilities.[1]

The first DisneyQuest outside of a resort was opened in Chicago on June 16, 1999, with plans for more locations worldwide.[2] The Chicago location was in a development, North Bridge, where ESPN Zone, a fellow Disney Regional chain, opened about a month later.[7]

On December 9, 1998, Disney Regional announced Philadelphia as a new location as a tenant of the Pavilion at Market East project developed by Goldenberg Group on the former location of a Gimbels Department Store.[6]

The Chicago location permanently closed on September 4, 2001, after 2 years and 3 months of operating due to low visitor numbers as well as other, broader issues. While the location was generating income, it was not enough for Disney.[3]

After the failure of DisneyQuest Chicago, the DisneyQuest project was officially brought to an end. Construction that had begun in Philadelphia was scrapped, leaving a giant hole in its place for several years; the hole has since been filled and the space later became a parking lot.[8] A DisneyQuest at the Disneyland Resort in California never proceeded past the planning stage. After the closure of the Chicago location, Disney Regional Entertainment turned over control of the remaining location to Walt Disney World operations.[5]

On June 30, 2015, Disney officials announced that the Walt Disney World location would close in 2016 as part of the continued redevelopment of Downtown Disney into Disney Springs.[9] A spokesperson for the labor unions that represent Disney employees who work at DisneyQuest stated that displaced workers will be relocated to other positions. The property was set to be redeveloped into a new attraction themed to the NBA after they left their previous location at Universal CityWalk.[10] In November 2016, Disney officials announced that DisneyQuest would remain open for the remainder of the year and into 2017, with no definitive closing date. They further stated that they had no update on the status of the NBA attraction other than it was still planned for the site.[10] On January 30, 2017, the Disney Parks announced that DisneyQuest would close after July 2, 2017, so work on the NBA Experience attraction could begin.[11] DisneyQuest's final day of operation was on July 2, 2017, and was demolished a few months later.[4]

Its replacement, the NBA Experience, officially opened on August 12, 2019. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the venue closed in March 2020, and all guest actors were laid off in October the same year. On August 16, 2021, Disney announced that the venue would not reopen, with a replacement not being announced yet.[12]

Former attractions edit

Name Opened Closed Description
Aladdin's Magic Carpet Ride 1998 2017 A VR attraction where attendees wear a head-mounted display that simulates a magic carpet through Agrabah. Players collected gems to find The Genie, who has been hidden away in the Cave of Wonders.
Animation Academy 1998 2017 Regular sessions throughout the day teach how to draw characters, step by step. In this version of the attraction, attendees draw characters on computer screens using lightpens, and can purchase a printout of their creation afterward.
Buzz Lightyear's AstroBlaster 1998 2017 Modified Bumper Car attraction, similar to that of Sega's "Mad Bazooka" ride system. Attendees board bumper cars and attempt to navigate over foam balls, called asteroids on the floor. By doing so, the asteroids will be sucked up into the cabin where players can then load them into a cannon and shoot at the other cars. If hit in the correct spot, one's car may spin around uncontrollably for ten seconds. Usually, there are two players in a car; however, it is possible for one person can pilot and shoot at the same time.
CyberSpace Mountain 1998 2017 Motion Simulator attraction. Attendees design a roller coaster on a design kiosk, and then they sit in the pitch-and-roll simulators and ride it. Guests may also ride pre-built coasters. It is hosted by Bill Nye the Science Guy, who instead refers to himself as "Bill Nye the Coaster Guy". This attraction is based on the ride Space Mountain.
Invasion! An ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter 1998 2017 A 3D shooting attraction based on the former Magic Kingdom attraction, ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter; with actor Jeffrey Jones reprised his role as Chairman Clench. In the attraction, attendees ride inside a rescue vehicle to save astronauts: one player drives, and the other three shoot enemy aliens.
Living Easels 1998 2017 An interactive touch screen program where guests can place various images onto several selectable backgrounds. A full-color printout of a guest's design may be purchased.
Mighty Ducks Pinball Slam 1998 2017 A virtual projected pinball-type game where the attendees become the pinball.[13] by rocking their "duck" back and forth, up to twelve players at a time control their corresponding pinball on the screen, attempting to collect the most points.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for Buccaneer Gold 2000 2017 Arcade shooter attraction with 3D projections where attendees man a pirate ship and destroy other ships, sea monsters, and fortresses to collect gold. One player captains the ship by steering and controlling the throttle, while up to four gunners control the cannons to destroy other ships.
Radio Disney Song Maker 1998 2017 Guests can create their own song and then they can buy it on a CD later throughout their visit.
Sid's Create-a-Toy 1998 2017 A program featuring the evil Sid character from Toy Story that allows one to custom design a toy out of parts of other toys, and then it will be available for purchase.
Virtual Jungle Cruise 1998 2017 Guests paddle an inflatable raft (with real paddles) as they make their way down a prehistoric river, avoiding dinosaurs and occasionally getting sprayed with water. It is based on Jungle Cruise.

Prior to final Closure edit

Name Opened Closed Description
Cave of Wonders Slide 1998 1999 A 150-foot (46m) long spiral slide that took guests from the third floor to the first. It was closed in DisneyQuest's first year of operation.
Hercules in the Underworld 1998 2000 Six guests would each control their own character from Disney's Hercules with a joystick. The object of the game was to collect lightning bolts and defeat Hades. This attraction was replaced with "Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for Buccaneer Gold".
Magic Mirrors 1998 2005 Guests could take a picture of themselves and then edit their faces to appear like cartoons. The attraction closed in 2005 and was later converted to seating.
Ride the Comix 1998 2014 VR attraction where guests board a spaceship, wear a VR headset, and "enter the comic book world" where they battle with supervillains by using a laser sword. The art for the game was drawn by Wildstorm artist Travis Charest. Up to six players can be on a team at a time. The attraction appeared on both the fourth and fifth floors, with two ships each. Beginning in Early 2011, Ride the Comix 4 was "overtaken by villains" and in service only on days when the building was near capacity. However, guests were still able to play Ride the Comix on the fifth floor directly above. On September 7, 2014, the attraction closed to make way for additional seating at the FoodQuest quick-service restaurant.
Treasure of the Incas 1998 2007 Players drive small remote-controlled toy trucks through a maze in search of treasure. Along a wall were stations with a steering wheel and a video screen by which to drive the truck; the floor of the room was clear plastic through which friends could see the trucks driving around so that they could shout directions to the driver. This attraction was plagued by interference from emerging technologies such as cell phones and was finally closed after one of the vehicles caught fire. The clear flooring and mazes could still be seen near the Virtual Jungle Cruise area, adjacent to the Safari hunting games until 2007 when the floor was recovered and new games moved to the area. This area was now entirely jungle-themed and is home to several Let's Go Jungle!: Lost on the Island of Spice arcade machines.
Virtual Pirates of the Caribbean 1998 2000 Projection screen-focused shooter attraction. After closure, the ride concept was reused for "Battle for Buccanner Gold".

All the redemption games were removed from the facility in January 2015 as a cautionary measure, in response to a state law that Disney believed made the games illegal under certain circumstances.[14]

When DisneyQuest closed down on July 2, 2017, the remaining arcade games (including the Fix-It Felix Jr. arcade games from Wreck-It Ralph) were removed, and most of them were sold or put into storage.[citation needed]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b Pecho, Bruce (May 31, 1998). "Virtual Reality Rules At Disney's Newest Theme Park". Chicago Tribune. Tribune Publishing. Archived from the original on April 27, 2016. Retrieved April 18, 2016.
  2. ^ a b Bigness, Jon (June 16, 1999). "Disney's Daring Concept". Chicago Tribune. Tribune Publishing. Retrieved April 18, 2016.
  3. ^ a b Elder, Robert. "What went wrong at DisneyQuest?". tribunedigital-chicagotribune. Archived from the original on April 27, 2016.
  4. ^ a b Skambis, Chip (July 2, 2017). "DisneyQuest to close Sunday". WFTV. Cox Media Group. Retrieved July 2, 2017.
  5. ^ a b Cancelled - Disney Quest (YouTube video). Bright Sun Films. May 19, 2017. Retrieved December 16, 2017.
  6. ^ a b Gunts, Edward (December 10, 1998). "Disney to build Philadelphia theme park 'DisneyQuest' to be centerpiece of Market St. Development". The Baltimore Sun. Archived from the original on November 29, 2014. Retrieved July 18, 2013.
  7. ^ "Disney's double plans: Disney Regional Entertainment said..." Chicago Tribune. March 4, 1999. Archived from the original on October 24, 2017. Retrieved October 23, 2017.
  8. ^ Perjurer, Kevin (September 4, 2018). Defunctland: The Failure of Disney's Arcade Chain, DisneyQuest (YouTube video). Archived from the original on November 24, 2018. Retrieved November 23, 2018.
  9. ^ Sandra Pedicini (June 30, 2015). "DisneyQuest closing at Downtown Disney". orlandosentinel.com. Tribune Newspapers. Archived from the original on July 1, 2015. Retrieved June 30, 2015.
  10. ^ a b Sandra Pedicini (November 7, 2016). "DisneyQuest remaining open into 2017; no updates on NBA attraction". orlandosentinel.com. Tribune Newspapers. Archived from the original on November 8, 2016. Retrieved November 8, 2016.
  11. ^ Tavss, Jeff (January 30, 2017). "Walt Disney World's DisneyQuest to close in July". WPLG. Archived from the original on January 31, 2017. Retrieved February 1, 2017.
  12. ^ Carter, Ashley (August 16, 2021). "NBA Experience at Disney Springs will not reopen". mynews13.com. Retrieved August 16, 2021.
  13. ^ "DisneyQuest, and the Rest". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 104. Ziff Davis. March 1998. p. 110.
  14. ^ "Disney Is Removing Redemption Games And Crane Machines From Its Florida FECs". Vending Times. Archived from the original on February 8, 2015. Retrieved February 6, 2015.

Further reading edit