NBA Experience set for August opening at Disney Springs

March 25, 2019, 6:47 PM · Walt Disney World's new NBA Experience will open on August 12 at Disney Springs, the league announced tonight at an Orlando Magic game.

The mid-August opening puts NBA Experience just a couple weeks ahead of the August 29 debut of the Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge land at Disney's Hollywood Studios, setting up a lively end-of-summer season at the resort.

Built on the site of the former Disney Quest attraction, the NBA Experience will feature 13 interactive elements and activities across 44,000 square feet and two floors, including interactive games, photo ops, trivia challenges, and skills exercises.

Disney released a promo video tonight with Stan Dodd from Walt Disney Imagineering, along with a few NBA players, describing the attraction.

For those of you wondering, yes, there used to be an NBA-themed location at an Orlando-area theme park before. NBA City was a themed restaurant at Universal Orlando's CityWalk. It closed and the facility was rebuilt into the Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen in 2016.

Replies (13)

March 25, 2019 at 7:24 PM

As a Central Florida resident I feel like someone standing on a beach staring at a tsunami that's on the horizon ... Racing towards us.

March 26, 2019 at 12:56 AM

NBA City had some great dessert. My favorite was the giant flash fried strawberry with cinnamon sugar on it and ice cream. I haven't seen anything like it since. I'm going to reserve my judgment on NBA Experience, but I'm feeling a big meh.

March 26, 2019 at 6:39 AM

So for the last 4-1/2 months of 2019, Walt Disney World's theme parks will witness the opening of:

+ The NBA Experience
+ Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge
+ Smuggler's Run
+ Rise of the Resistance
+ Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway
+ Cirque du Soleil - Disney Show

Incredible!

March 26, 2019 at 10:52 AM

This sounds like an exciting addition. I know that my brother is very excited to see how this turns out!

March 26, 2019 at 11:41 AM

There's still very few specific details about what this is going to be and how guests will visit this attraction. You would think with a firm opening date established that Disney would be able to provide some actual specifics on this like...

1. Is there an admission to enter (like Disney Quest or WWoS) or do guests pay for each individual activity/interactive element (like Dave and Busters/ESPN Zone or other arcades)?
2. How much will this cost?
3. It's been hinted that there will be a restaurant associated with this, so what will the menu look like, and will dining be optional for guests just wanting to play.
4. What's so special or unique about this? The promo video shows kids standing at the center of a basketball court in front of a sold out arena, but doesn't really show what they're doing there. Are they playing a pick-up basketball game like they would at their local playground, or are there structured activities/games run by cast members?

The more I hear about this, the less excited I am about it. What initially sounded like an NBA-themed Dave and Busters/ESPN Zone with some unique games and experiences, is sounding more and more like the Mickey Mouse Pop Up Instagram experience at Downtown Disney except for basketball fans. It's good to hear this will be open before the Star Wars crowds inundate WDW, but even as a pretty big basketball fan, what's been detailed so far about this experience doesn't really get me excited.

March 26, 2019 at 3:34 PM

Revising my list: Over the last six months of 2019, Walt Disney World will witness the opening of:

+ The NBA Experience
+ Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge
+ Smuggler's Run
+ Rise of the Resistance
+ Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway
+ Cirque du Soleil - Disney Show
+ Disney's Riviera Resort (A signature Disney Resort)
+ Disney's Coronado Resort Gran Destino Tower (A signature Disney Resort)
+ Walt Disney World Skyliner transportation system.

Very exciting!

March 26, 2019 at 3:51 PM

And if that were not enough, Wine Bar George at the Disney Springs park is launching a brunch that will feature ... Wait for it ... Dole Whip Mimosas ... I'll leave the Butterbeer for the children.

(Chuckle)

March 26, 2019 at 3:54 PM

Russell,

Disney says that the NBA Experience ticket will include one time through each attraction in the experience. (Think DisneyQuest but with skills competitions and photo ops instead of video games.) But no word on price... or a restaurant.

March 26, 2019 at 4:21 PM

Good to know Robert. I hadn't seen that in any of the press I had read for the NBA Experience. I wonder if guests will be able to use their "water park and more" admissions here (formerly "plus options" that could be used at Disney Quest).

That sounds pretty lame if you can only do each attraction once - What if I just want to shoot 3s like Steph Curry? This does sound like the obscenely priced Mickey Mouse Pop Up at Downtown Disney, which probably means the Drones will happily pay through the nose, making the price unreasonable even for serious NBA fans.

March 27, 2019 at 8:34 AM

Nope, I have absolutely no interest in this place. Bad move on Disney's part in my opinion.

Disney would have been better served just making it an ESPN zone and calling it a day.

March 27, 2019 at 5:17 PM

"Bad move" ... Because you "have absolutely no interest"? Maybe you weren't the demographic they were expecting to show up. I mean, you're not suggesting that the only attractions Disney should develop are the ones that appeal to you, right?

March 27, 2019 at 10:36 PM

I hope the building can be retro-fitted for something else because I can’t imagine this being very successful at Disney Springs.

March 28, 2019 at 8:52 AM

@TH - Isn't Anthony allowed to have an "opinion"?

Certainly Disney can develop attractions to cater to whatever minuscule demographic they want, but it doesn't necessarily mean it will be successful.

If Disney is specifically trying to target NBA and general basketball/sports fans with this experience, then it sounds like they might be missing the boat. Forcing those guests through a specific flow of attractions may not be the way to garner repeat visits, because even the biggest fans will find parts of the experience that they love and want to do over and over, while other parts of the experience are boring and time consuming. It will be interesting to see how this experience is structured on day 1, and if any changes are made as it matures. I think Disney is taking a big risk here, and plopping it down at Disney Springs may not represent the wisest decision (probably would have done far better a WWoS), especially if there's not a full-service restaurant associated with the venue. Hopefully Disney has built in some room and flexibility to modify this attraction, because I think they may to go through a lot of growing pains to find a price, structure, and widely appealing concept to draw Disney Springs guests in the door.

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