In August 2019, Walt Disney World opened a massive new building in Disney Springs in conjunction with the National Basketball Association. The NBA Experience was full of displays and interactive elements meant to draw any basketball fan to the station. Unfortunately, the location was met with a lukewarm response, which was later followed by a pandemic shutdown. Last summer it was announced the NBA experience would not reopenalthough it hasn’t even been open for a full year, but the space it used to occupy is about to finally find a use, and maybe that’s a fitting follow up considering what was that space.
According to Magic WDWStarting May 2 and running through July 27, the NBA Experience Building will become home to the Meta Quest Virtual Reality Experience which will feature ILMxLAB’s Star Wars: Tales from Galaxy’s Edge VR Game for the Meta’s Quest VR headset. An identical pop-up VR experience took place at Disneyland Resort between November 2021 and last January next to the Star Wars Trading Post at Downtown Disney.
The decision to stick a VR experience inside the NBA Experience building is somewhat fitting given that before the basketball-themed entertainment option, the same building housed Disney Quest, a kind of indoor theme park experience that included interactive games and very early VR experiences. DisneyQuest was supposed to be the first in a string of similar locations, most of which never opened. The one in Disney Springs closed in 2017 to make way for the NBA Experience.
DisneyQuest was largely abandoned when it became clear that the larger concept would not move forward. Eventually Orlando’s attendance dropped significantly, but there were a lot of people who loved what DisneyQuest was, or at least what it could have been, and were sad to see it go.
It’s also not the first VR experience to exist in Disney Springs or Downtown Disney. The two Disney resorts previously housed locations for The Void, which designed fully immersive sites VR experiences based on Star Wars, Marvel and even Wreck-It Ralph. Unfortunately, Te Void was forced to close its Disney stores following severe financial difficulties caused by the pandemic shutdown.
This VR experience certainly won’t be quite on the level of The Void, but Tales From the Galaxy’s Edge is a fun game inspired by Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, found in both Disneyland and Walt Disney World. If you don’t own a Quest headset and want to try it out, this is a cool way to make it available to people. It gives Disney Springs something to do with that space, and Meta can certainly sell more than a few helmets if customers trying it out decide they must have it.
What will occupy the NBA Experience space in the longer term has yet to be announced. Many in the DisneyQuest cult would love to see Disney take another swing at an arcade/VR-like experience. Maybe if enough people show interest in this VR experience, Disney will consider creating its own Void-like location. They have the perfect building for that.