By Zach Johnson
Ready for some “baller” news? NBA Experience, the brand-new destination coming to Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort, will officially tip off August 12, 2019. The exciting announcement was made Monday at Amway Center in Orlando, Florida, where the Orlando Magic played the Philadelphia 76ers. To celebrate, Mickey Mouse made a surprise on-court appearance and posed for pictures with Walt Disney World executives Thomas Mazloum and Maribeth Bisienere, plus Orlando Magic CEO Alex Martins and a group of young basketball fans.
In collaboration with the NBA, Disney Imagineers are developing NBA Experience as a one-of-a-kind environment packed with 13 interactive elements and hands-on activities across 44,000 square feet and two floors, giving guests a chance to feel like their favorite basketball superstar.
“When we were young, we played basketball in our driveways or in the park, creating those imaginary moments of making the game-winning shot for a championship,” said Stan Dodd, executive producer, Walt Disney Imagineering. “We want to take that energy and help you feel what it’s like to be an actual NBA or WNBA player.”
Upon entry to NBA Experience, guests will feel as if they’re walking through the players’ tunnel at an NBA or WNBA arena. A ticket to NBA Experience grants access to every activity, in any order guests choose, with the ability to return to stations to improve performances or learn even more about the game, players, and teams they love. In addition to the competitions and games, NBA Experience will also include a retail store stocked with NBA-themed merchandise.
Additional elements of the destination include:
- In a slam dunk challenge, guests can modify the height of a standard 10-foot hoop to as low as seven feet to show off their own special moves—captured by burst photography.
- In a shooting skills test, different spots on a court will illuminate as guests move from one location to another, all while trying to sink as many shots as possible in 15 seconds.
- Guests of all ages can discover how they stack up against some of the best basketball players in the world by measuring their vertical leap, wingspan, shooting, and dribbling.
- Various activities can be personalized with guests’ names and associating the activity with their favorite NBA or WNBA teams—and their stats will be tracked like a real game.
- Real-time technology will aggregate stats of NBA and WNBA games and players for continuous updates, while leaderboards will show top NBA Experience performers daily.