It’s a move that some Disney-goers were not too surprised to hear: Disney’s indoor, interactive theme park DisneyQuest would be closed in 2016.
Featuring 5 floors of classic arcade games, virtual reality experiences of yesteryear and some exclusive “rides,” DisneyQuest was technologically impressive upon its opening in 1998. Today however, in 2015, many of its flagship attractions remain untouched. Many have said that it was time for Disney to overhaul the park or tear it down. They’ve apparently chosen the latter.
As someone who spent a large majority of their childhood free time in arcades, I had to check it out before it closed its doors. I’ve had a Disney World annual pass for a couple years now and, even though admission is not a part of my pass…..arcades + Disney seemed right up my alley. And for the most part: I was right.
The park is divided into four different zones that manage to work a number of rides, games and experiences into matching themes. These are Explore, Create, Score and Replay.
In Explore, for example, you’ll find the Virtual Jungle Cruise which lets your party travel into the dinosaur age and paddle through the rapids. There’s actually an inflatable surface the raft sits on. You jump in the raft and the surface inflates and deflates to make it feel like you’re moving down a river at high speeds. Unfortunately, the paddles are not very responsive and the graphics are dated.
That’s generally how the rest of the proprietary experiences feel. Aladdin’s Magic Carpet Ride gives you a virtual reality helmet and puts you at the controls of a magic carpet. But the control are not the most intuitive and, again, the graphics are dated.
I could go on all day listing each “ride” and it’s pros/cons, but they all generally suffer from the same problem – They’re fun if you can look past the fact that they’re all very dated.
One stand out is Cyber Space Mountain, in the Create Zone. With Bill Nye the Science Guy at your side, you’ll get to design your own coaster by selecting pieces of track….and then ride it! It can be a tad claustrophobic when you’re sitting in the simulator watching a projector screen play out your creation, but it’s rather enjoyable – Again, if you can look past the grainy images and poor graphics.
While Disney’s own creations have not changed much, the park does include top-of-the-line arcade games, similar to ones you’ll find at a Dave & Busters. As someone who still enjoys rhythm-based music games, it was neat to play the latest American iterations of games like Dance Dance Revolution and Pump It Up.
At the end of the day, if you miss hanging out with your buds at the local arcade and wonder what a little bit of Disney magic could add to the experience, DisneyQuest is for you. If you don’t mind being taken back to 1998.