DisneyQuest – Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?

 

Rex and I have visited DisneyQuest at least 3 times 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. The building is a 5 story complex that has no windows and consists of arcade games, virtual reality attractions, web terminals, a Cheesecake Factory cafe, 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. (thanks to Wikipedia for some of the info in this paragraph)

Sounds cool, right? Well, Rex and I sure thought so the first time we stumbled across Disney Quest 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 is actually one of the coolest parts of DisneyQuest. Once inside the elevator, the space darkens and the mirrors on either side of the elevator begin to show the "Genie" from Aladdin. There is a neat 1 minute "film" of the Genie entertaining you and getting you excited for when the doors open to the third floor. 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. As mentioned in a recent Audio Journeys with RexandtheBeast, 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.

The attraction to avoid at all costs is the "Ride the Comix" located on the 5th 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, located on the same floor as "Ride the Comix" is "Invasion!" This is a great game where you are trying to rescue astronauts from attacking aliens. We always play this one at least twice.

The web terminals are basically useless. Not only are all the terminals usually occupied, but if you do manage to find an empty one, the navigation on the computer is near impossible. They have it set up where you have to use their own "mouse" and it just doesn't work well at all. In addition, the "Pinball Slam" game where participants are actively involved in a game of pinball doesn't really seem to work either. I 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.

I 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. Apparently, from what I have read, that was exactly the original concept. But, after a location in Chicago, IL had to close because of poor attendance, the energy behind DisneyQuest waned. 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 Rex and I 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, I think I would be much more optimistic about DisneyQuest. Nevertheless, people who have never experienced it and are not concerned with another $30 per person should check it out.

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