The History of DisneyQuest
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.
This innovative indoor theme park opened on June 19, 1998 as part of a major expansion to Downtown Disney which today is known as Disney Springs. It was housed in a five-story, windowless building. Guests entered the first-floor lobby and were transported via a “magic” elevator to the third floor atrium as the start of their visit. DisneyQuest contained numerous virtual reality attractions for all ages, as well as classic and recent arcade games.
When my family and I would take our annual trip to Disney we would make it a point to visit DisneyQuest. We loved how different it was and separated itself from other arcades.
Genie from Aladdin is an unofficial mascot of DisneyQuest. Upon entering at ground level, one is brought by an elevator (here called a “cybrolator,” which, until 2011, formerly contained a short and humorous animation of Genie, voiced here by Dan Castellaneta, welcoming you) up to the center of the third floor (the “Ventureport”), where one’s visit begins. He is also heard on the end-of-day closing announcements. When a game or attraction is down, a sign reading “The Genie has spotted a technical problem…” is displayed.
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for Buccaneer Gold: 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.
- Virtual Jungle Cruise: Paddle an inflatable raft (with real paddles) as you make your way down a prehistoric river, avoiding dinosaurs and occasionally getting sprayed with water while you seek out Wayne Szalinski’s time machine to find a way back to the present.
- CyberSpace Mountain: Guests design a roller coaster on a design kiosk, then sit in a pitch-and-roll simulator and “ride” it.
- Aladdin’s Magic Carpet Ride: Players wear an HMD (head mount display) as they ride a magic carpet through Agrabah, collecting gems to find The Genie, who has been hidden away in the Cave of Wonders.
- Animation Academy: Regular sessions throughout the day teach how to draw characters, with lightpens on computer screens. Guests can purchase a printout afterward.
- Sid’s Create-a-Toy: 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 actually buy it later.
- Living Easels: 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 later.
- Radio Disney Song Maker: Where you can create your own song, and then buy it later.
- Mighty Ducks Pinball Slam: Based on the Disney Afternoon cartoon, players “become” a pinball in a gigantic projected pinball game; 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.
- Buzz Lightyear’s AstroBlaster: Players board bumper cars and attempt to navigate over foam balls (“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.
- Ride the Comix 4: Players wear an HMD (head mount display) to “enter the comic book world.” Players battle with super villains by using a laser sword. Up to six players can be on a team at a time.
- Ride the Comix 5: Players wear an HMD (head mount display) to “enter the comic book world.” Players battle with super villains by using a laser sword. Up to six players can be on a team at a time. (This attraction is identical on both the 4th and 5th floor)
- Invasion! An ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter: Four players ride inside a rescue vehicle to save astronauts: one player drives, the other three shoot enemy aliens. Based on the now-extinct Magic Kingdom attraction, ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter.
Closure and Replacement
DisneyQuest was closed in 2017 to make way for an NBA sponsored sports pavilion where official sporting events may likely be held. On August 16, 2021 it was announced that the NBA Experience would not re-open at Disney Springs, according to reporter Scott Gustin. Disney will continue to partner with the NBA in other endeavors, but the venue will remain shuttered. The NBA Experience replaced DisneyQuest in August 2019. It closed in March 2020 for the pandemic, and all Cast Members were laid off last October. Now, the venue is officially permanently closed. A replacement has not been announced at this time.