Disney Springs, News

Farewell to DisneyQuest

Walt Disney was a man who believed in innovating and always moving forward, so it should come as no surprise that changes are always being made around the Walt Disney World Resort. Today, a big and emotional change is happening as we say farewell to DisneyQuest.

DisneyQuest

DQ Animation Academy Donald
Animation Academy Donald Duck

DisneyQuest opened on June 19, 1998 as a part of a large expansion to Downtown Disney West Side. When it opened, DisneyQuest was ahead of its time. Spawning over 100,000 square feet and five floors of electronic games and virtual attractions, there was something for everyone. Guests could paddle down the river on a virtual Jungle Cruise, score big points on the life size pinball game Mighty Ducks Pinball Slam, jump behind the wheel on one of eight linked Daytona USA racing consoles, and learn to draw popular Disney characters at Animation Academy. Guests could even design and experience their very own roller coasters on Cyberspace Mountain, or practice their aim on Buzz Lightyear’s AstroBlasters.

 

AstroBlasters

DQ AstroBlasters Area
Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters

Few Disney attractions hold as many positive memories for my family as Buzz Lightyear’s AstroBlasters. Best described as a cross between bumper cars and dodge ball, players would board their enclosed vehicle, collect asteroids (AKA foam balls), and fire them at other vehicles to disable them. This attraction wasn’t one we would typically put on our list, but all of that changed after our first time playing. AstroBlasters became one of our favorite attractions in all of WDW.

Personally, I love this ride because my daughter loved it and it was something that we could do together, as a team. I was the pilot and she was the very hungry gunner. We didn’t just play, but we were students of the game. We studied the best way to maneuver around the arena, most efficiently fire our asteroids, and even pick out newbies to shoot at. We loved the disappointment on their faces as their vehicle would light up and spin out of control. Occasionally this would result in retaliation, but that was the price of playing. We would spend hours and hours in those ride vehicles, stopping only for the occasional mango-strawberry smoothie, or to take a picture picking Buzz Lightyear’s nose on the rules sign in front of the game.

DQ AstroBlasters Buzz Nose 2
Picking Buzz Lightyear’s Nose

Future

All of these times are just memories now as we are forced to say “so long” to this once iconic place. Unfortunately, years of falling into disrepair, and more technologically advanced attractions going in elsewhere around property, have driven attendance numbers down and have forced DisneyQuest to close its doors for the final time. However, in true Walt Disney fashion, a new attraction is planned for this space on the Disney Springs West Side. Work will begin on a multi-year transformation from DisneyQuest to the NBA Experience. According to the Disney Parks blog, the NBA Experience at Walt Disney World Resort will be, “a one-of-a-kind basketball-themed experience featuring hands-on activities that put guests of all ages right in the middle of NBA game action. There will be immersive NBA video productions and numerous interactive experiences, as well as a restaurant and a retail store.” On the heels of news that Walt Disney World will be the jersey sponsor of the Orlando Magic, this attraction appears to be a perfect fit and will appeal to basketball fans young and old.

Tips

5 Tips for Staying Cool On Your Summer Disney World Vacation

Sun Cropped SmallWe’ve often heard people ask how hot it really is in the summer at Walt Disney World. Answer – it’s very hot – all day. Imagine waking up at your resort, taking a shower, feeling nice and clean, then stepping outside to head to the parks. The heat and humidity hits you in the face. It feels like you just opened an oven door, and you can’t see through the steam on your sunglasses.

Before long you wonder what the point of taking a shower was, because you’re already sweating through your clean clothes. We know this because our vacations are always in the summer. But we still love it! There are ways to beat the heat during your summer trip to Walt Disney World, and we want to share our tips for keeping cool.

Stay Hydrated

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Drink That Water!

Step number one for staying cool and feeling good is to stay hydrated. Your best choice is water. Fill a few bottles at your resort and keep them in the freezer overnight to help them stay cold during the day. All quick service locations in WDW will give you free cups of ice water. Don’t like the taste of Florida tap water? Try bringing instant flavor packets or liquids, or if you prefer no flavor, get your free water from Starbucks! They use special filtered water so it doesn’t affect the taste of their coffee.

Take an Afternoon Break
Avoid the hottest part of the day, from around noon to 4:00, by taking a break from the heat. Our favorite way to do this is to head back to the resort to freshen up and try to rest. We’ll head back to the parks around dinner time and stay until park close. If you don’t want to leave the park or it’s not convenient, take a “break” by planning to experience the indoor rides midday. Every park has multiple indoor rides and shows that will help you cool down. Our favorite is Carousel of Progress at Magic Kingdom!

Choose the Right Clothes
Wearing light colored, loose clothes will definitely help you stay cool. Dark colors absorb the heat and make you feel hotter, and tight clothes don’t allow and breeze or other air movement, keeping the heat in.

Walk Through Gift Shops
There are several opportunities to walk through gift shops on your way to your next attraction. Pop in to browse the merchandise and get a quick cool off in the process. TIP: the stores on Main Street at Magic Kingdom are all connected. You can start just after Casey’s corner and walk all the way to the beginning of Main Street without going back outside.

Get Wet

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Our Laughing Place (I’m in yellow.)

One good thing about the Florida summer heat is that you can ride water rides and play in splash pads without worrying about staying wet all day. Trust us, you’ll dry off quickly. Consider taking a plunge on Splash Mountain at Magic Kingdom or braving Kali River Rapids at Animal Kingdom – warning – you could get drenched on that one.

Looking for something lighter? Bring a water misting fan. You can get them outside of WDW for under $10; they’ll run you about $20 in the parks.

Finally, don’t forget your sunscreen! The Florida sun can sneak up on you even on overcast days. Apply before you leave your resort, and reapply during the day.

So, go ahead and plan that summer Walt Disney World vacation! What tips do you have for staying cool? Let us know in the comments.