DisneyQuest – A Marginal Thumbs Up

Rex and I have visited DisneyQuest at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Flordia at least 3 times together and 3 times individually that I can remember. I think I can speak for Rex when I say that we always leave the interactive indoor theme park with mixed emotions. First, a little history.

DisneyQuest is an interactive indoor theme park located in Downtown Disney at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida (an area soon to be renamed and remade as “Disney Springs”). The building is a 5-story complex that has no windows and consists of arcade games, virtual reality attractions, a food court, and some “rides.” For the price of admission, all of this good stuff is free, so you are not popping quarters into arcade machines, etc.

Sounds cool, right? Well, Rex and I sure thought so the first time we stumbled across DisneyQuest during one of our adventures to Orlando. We quickly decided to check it out. After buying an admission ticket, you are placed in an elevator that takes you to the third story of the complex. This elevator ride at that time was actually one of the coolest parts of DisneyQuest. Once inside the elevator, the space darkened and the mirrors on either side of the elevator began to show the “Genie” from Aladdin. There was a neat 1 minute film of the Genie entertaining you and getting you excited for when the doors open to the third floor.  The elevators are still there, but the Genie attraction has been removed. These elevators are only for getting you started, you cannot ride them back down to exit. (In fact, finding the exit can be somewhat of a trick!)

Once you step out of the elevator, it is a little overwhelming. You are at an atrium where you must decide where to go to start your adventure. Staircases go off in all kinds of directions. If you have never been to DisneyQuest before, you basically just have to decide where to start and go from there. The layout is somewhat confusing, which actually makes it pretty cool. You never know exactly where you are in relation to anything else in DisneyQuest. There is a “classic arcade” level where gems like Donkey Kong, Asteroids, and Space Invaders are just ready to be played. Then, of course, there is a large section of modern arcade games. One of our favorite attractions at DisneyQuest is the Buzz Lightyear’s Astroblaster. This is basically bumper cars, except a gunner is launching foam balls at other cars and a direct hit sends the other car into a tail spin. Our first time on this attraction was a classic RexandtheBeast memory. We dominated. Rex was driving and managed to keep us from being hit. I was the gunner and basically landed direct hits on everything I shot at. It was great. The second time we tried our luck, we were unsuccessful. We stayed in the “black hole” the entire ride, which means we were spinning for 4 straight minutes. Rex and one of his sons went to DisneyQuest recently and really enjoyed Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for Buccaneer Gold, which can be a fun multi-player game (especially for the 6-10 year old crowd).

The attraction to avoid at all costs is “Ride the Comix” located on the 5th floor (there is also another one on the 4th floor). It is a cool concept, but after playing for just a couple of minutes, you want to visit the DisneyQuest bathrooms for a good puking session. Plus, there is always a decent line. However, Cyberspace Mountain and Animation Academy are two attractions that are good fun and let you create the attraction, either by building your own roller coaster (virtually, of course) or by trying your hand as a Disney animator.

The “Pinball Slam” game where participants are actively involved in a game of pinball doesn’t really seem to work in the manner that is should. We have a theory that this is just a way for kids to rock and jump around and it has zero effect on the actual game.  Young kids still seem to enjoy it though.

Rex and the Beast give DisneyQuest a thumbs up because it is somewhat unique and has some fun games. It does seem like they could improve some attractions and keep things fresh. Wikipedia says that originally, the idea was that no attraction would ever go unchanged for more than two or three years. However, after the Chicago location and the DisneyQuest project overall were closed, the one location in Florida has been unable to financially merit a complete attraction overhaul. This makes perfect sense. The biggest complaint we have always had is that it seems the complex begs for updates and new attractions. If the original plan had been able to follow through, we would be much more optimistic about DisneyQuest. Nevertheless, people who have never experienced it and are not concerned with another $24-40 per person should check it out.

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