The NBA and Disney are working together to bring a new level of basketball fandom to Orlando. What do we know about the coming NBA Experience at Disney Springs?
The Walt Disney Company is currently taking over the world. And for most residents of said world, that’s a perfectly acceptable outcome. Now their world dominance goes one step further, with a partnership between the NBA and Disney that should have basketball fans thoroughly excited.
For those familiar with the “Happiest Place on Earth,” the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, FL is more than just amusement parks. The ESPN “Wide World of Sports” complex is on property, and hosts a number of sporting events each year.
Disney World is also home to an area of shopping, dining and entertainment called Disney Springs (Disney vets may remember it by its former name of “Downtown Disney”). There is no admission charged to this area, it’s simply a combination outlet mall and entertainment district on Disney property. And coming soon it will have a basketball-themed upgrade.
In the summer of 2015, it was first announced that Disney and the NBA would be partnering on a new venture, and over the past two years more information has slowly been released. The building will replace the popular “Disney Quest” indoor gaming complex on the West Side of Disney Springs.
Labeled the “NBA Experience,” this massive building will be the site of a multifaceted and unprecedented fan interaction with all things basketball. The exterior itself will be based on modern NBA arena designs, with the concept art showing a colorful facade featuring a large screen and marquees to display NBA content.
Inside visitors will be surrounded by “immersive video content” that engages various parts of the sport, from live games and replays to behind-the-scenes videos and more. There will also be interactive areas, where fans of all ages can play games and otherwise engage with basketball in new and exciting ways.
The building will also feature an NBA store similar to the popular location in New York City, and an NBA-themed restaurant will also be on-site, a replacement for a restaurant closed some years ago in the area that allowed patrons to compete in 3-point shootouts and watch their favorite NBA teams.
“This one-of-a-kind experience is sure to be enjoyed by basketball and Disney fans of all ages who visit Disney Springs from around the world,” Sal LaRocca, NBA President of Global Partnerships recently said.
The project had been delayed as the two companies worked out details of the arrangement. Disney was rumored to want control over the building’s facade, and ideally use the existing building of Disney Quest. The NBA wanted to completely demolish the existing structure and replace it with a cutting-edge building inside and out.
Eventually the NBA won out, and the project is back on track and ready for a 2019 opening. While the popular Disney Quest has finally closed, it will take around two years for the project to be completed. Perhaps the Warriors will have a true challenger by then.
Both Disney and the NBA are companies with their eyes focused fully forward, and this partnership makes sense. Disney has other partnerships with the NBA, including sponsoring a jersey patch on the Orlando Magic. But this time, their most ambitious collaboration to date will bring a new kind of Magic to Orlando.
We’ll meet you there in 2019!