Walt Disney World’s DisneyQuest to close in 2016

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Even Wreck-It Ralph couldn’t save the video games at Downtown Disney’s DisneyQuest.

Disney officials announced Tuesday that DisneyQuest, its five-story arcade of video games and technology-driven activities, will close in 2016 to make room for the previously announced NBA Experience, which will include a restaurant and basketball-themed activities.

Fans and recent visitors who reacted online to the announcement cited dated technology as the main reason they thought the gaming attraction had fared poorly in recent years. When DisneyQuest opened in 1998, the virtual technology seemed like the Tomorrowland of gaming. But with the increasing capabilities of smartphones, the facility lost some of its appeal, they said. Even classic games, such as Pac Man and Fix It Felix Jr. — which was brought in to promote the animated movie “Wreck-It Ralph” in 2012 — didn’t capture the interest of enough vacationers to keep the facility full.

Still, in its heyday, DisneyQuest was a fun place not just for families on vacation, but for local kids and even couples on date nights. My family and I had annual passes to DisneyQuest for a few years when the kids were younger, and we really enjoyed it. We used those passes most often in the summer to escape the heat or the afternoon thunderstorms.

Among our favorite attractions were Mighty Ducks Pinball Slam, a life-size virtual pinball game; Virtual Jungle Cruise, where guests sit in rubber rafts and use real paddles; and Ride the Comix, which requires players to wear virtual-reality helmets and engage in 3D battles. One section of the arcade is dedicated to children ages 2 to 7, and it features age-appropriate games and smaller versions of family favorites.

As my children got older and reached the height requirements, they became more interested in CyberSpace Mountain, which allows users to design their own roller coasters and then ride them in simulators; Buzz Lightyear’s Astroblasters, which are bumper cars that pick up and shoot balls at targets on other cars; and Pirates of the Caribbean — Battle for Buccaneer Gold, which allows players to steer a pirate ship and man cannons against enemies while searching for treasure.

Plus, as I mentioned in yesterday’s blog post, there is a second location for the Animation Academy inside DisneyQuest. It will be the only remaining location after the one inside the Magic of Disney Animation at Hollywood Studios closes on July 13. On the same floor as the Animation Academy, visitors can participate in other creative endeavors, such as making music and other art projects.

DisneyQuest houses two restaurants. FoodQuest serves pizzas, pastas, sandwiches, salads, burgers, hot dogs, wraps and assorted snacks. Wonderland Cafe offers various desserts, snacks, adult beverages and ice cream novelties. For a time, The Cheescake Factory ran the food concessions at DisneyQuest, but that hasn’t been the case for years.

Disney officials have not announced a closing date for DisneyQuest, but they did stop selling annual passes. Guests still can buy a one-day ticket, good for unlimited use of all games and attractions, for $45 plus tax for adults and $39 plus tax for children ages 3 to 9.

You can see my photos of the various attractions in this gallery from when I worked at the Orlando Sentinel and when my kids were younger.


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17 Replies to “Walt Disney World’s DisneyQuest to close in 2016”

  1. Can not believe they are closing DisneyQuest. All it needs is a good clean and a spruce up with some advertising and it would be as amazing as it was when we first visited it. We have been many times and my family love it. We especially liked the fact it was included in our passes too. I agree with others the on the door price put people off. Make it part of all tickets or a reduced entry cost for ticket holders advertise it and it will be busy. Put a Star Wars Cantina style restaurant in it like on the cruise ship and the fans will flock to see it. Make sure Wreck it Ralph characters can only be seen there, etc. Lots Disney could do to try and save this amazing fun evening of entertainment.

  2. I was just making plans for a trip in June 2016 and was surprised when I chose the Water Parks and Moreoption and Disney Quest was not included. Further investigation revealed that DQ is closing. My sons love this place and not because the tech was up to date. It was the only place they could play an arcade game long enough to finish it without worrying about running out of quarters. And there are so many to chose from. I loved it because we could play together on arcade games which I never play anywhere else. Loved racing against each other on the car and motorcycle ones. We loved the Pirate ride and the raft ride too. So sad we won’t be able to make any more memories there.

  3. Extremely sad. Please say it isn’t so. What good will a NBA experince do? Do you really think that all the little princesses and pirates really want a NBA experience? I guess we won’t be buying the waterpark and more option. Very, very sad to hear about Disney Quest.

  4. That is part of our family tradition. Three generations and we all love DQ. There was something to do for everyone and was a great “down time” activity. I hope they really poll their guests, because we woukd definitely choose DQ over NBA experience which caters to a specific niche market.

  5. I second an above comment made- didn’t something very similar to an NBA experience fail miserably at Universal? I know when it first opened when I was younger, we had a blast at Disney Quest, but we went recently because we were comped tickets due to losing luggage on the ME and it was very evident that the games and rides were no longer new and innovative- although 20 years ago they were, now you can have your TV do half the stuff available.
    It’s a shame they couldn’t keep up with the times, but I think they’ll lose even more money if they go with the NBA thing. Maybe just raze it and have an open “community” park/green space- something that is lacking. They could model it after millennium park in Chicago! Plenty of room!

  6. Probably compared to other parks/attractions, the work of maintaining and constantly upgrading virtual reality hardware is costly in terms of money and resources vs. the volume of people attending. That technology was really expensive back then and at some point the decline must have started to affect the bottom line. To be honest, the last time I went there it seemed like it was not as satisfying as imagined; it’s kind of sad to use technology that delivers an experience that looks dated compared to your smartphone. But I think Disney will make up for the loss with a more cohesive experience in all of Downtown Disney when it becomes Disney Springs.

  7. Very sad that this is closing, especially after “Wreck-It Ralph” (drive yet another spike into the heart of one of that movies biggest fans, why don’t you). At least it won’t be until 2016, thus it will still be around when I go in late October. I just hope the “Fix-it Felix Jr” machines and the statue of Ralph find good homes.

  8. I first went to Disney Quest with my boys aged 12 and 14. That was 10 years ago and they loved it. My little girl enjoyed it in 2013 but at 9 was a little young to totally benefit and we are going back this August and she is really excited. My lads are planning to go out with us in 2017 and are both really disappointed that DQ will not be there. We too are from the UK, and while I like all sports, I am struggling to see what an ‘NBA’ experience could possibly be that would get me to part with an anticipated significant sum of $. Basketball hoops in the US are more popular than soccer fields in the UK. (Would have said football pitches, but that means something else to you guys)

    Although Disney usually come up with amazing idea’s, I am really going to miss DQ

    Sad News 🙁

  9. I don’t understand the claim that the DisneyQuest attractions are “dated”. The technology used in many of these attractions is still not commonplace in the “real world”, years after DisneyQuest opened. The only thing remotely like Pirates of the Caribbean is Toy Story Mania, and that completely lacks the cooperative element that PotC has.

    I will grant that the place probably is not raking in enough dough to be worth the cost of maintaining it, let alone adding new elements. But surely that has to be a failure of marketing, not the “datedness” of the attractions?

  10. DQ is fun. NBA doesn’t appeal at all. As we come from England I had to look up to see what the initials stood for! Doesn’t Disney realise that only Americans follow basketball & that they have many international visitors too?

  11. We visited DQ often when we had annual passes, but without annual passes, the daily price of admission was just too much for my family to pay to “just play video games”- I am not sure if the NBA experience is the best route to go either. Maybe it would have been better to do some type of update to DQ or if it needed to close, to try to replace it with something that appeals to all travelers, not just those who are sports oriented. I guess we will all have to wait and see how it works out.

  12. I am disappointed that Disney Quest is being replaced with the NBA experience which if it has to come to WDW at all should to go ESPN Wide World of Sports. The NBA seems to have lost interest and I can’t seeing it having a big draw. Something I can skip without any reservations.

  13. Please don’t close Quest! And if you must, could you hold off until after out next trip end of May 2016? Really wish you would keep Quest!

  14. Very bummed about this !! My kids loved going to DQ and they are finally old enough where I think the older 16 and 17 yr old can take care of the 10 yr old without me being there . Parents need DQ in down town D !!! They could update this place easily !! What a shame !!! My boys like basketball …to play ( which they do enough of at home ) …they want virtual games and that buzz light year car game thing in DQ !! My kids are totally bummed and believe me when I say they are big gamers ( Xbox and PS ) , but love doing that car game and the animation academy and a couple of the virtual games !!! I’m totally bummed and so are my kids !!!! Haven’t been to DW in 3 yrs and are finally going back in 2016 , in Jan and Aug . They were just talking about how they couldn’t wait to go to DQ and had their teams picked out for that buzz lighyyear car thing and another virtual game 😂!!

  15. Very disappointed! My kids like going there. Any word on whether the annual pass prices will decrease with one less attraction?

  16. I don’t understand why close it? What if you don’t want to go to the parks where do you go? They would have been better partnering with companies who get things right like Dave and Buster’s or Chuck E Cheese. That place would have stayed filled with those 2 names listed.

  17. Didn’t that fail at Universal? I don’t think anyone really wants an NBA experience at Downtown Disney… ugh.