Disney World Has Finally Found A Use For The Empty NBA Experience Building

NBA Experience at Disney Springs, Walt Disney World
(Image credit: Walt Disney World)

In August of 2019 Walt Disney World opened a massive new building at Disney Springs in conjunction with the National Basketball Association. The NBA Experience was full of displays and interactive elements meant to entice any basketball fan to the resort. Unfortunately, the location was met with a lukewarm response, which was then followed by a pandemic closure. Last summer it was announced the NBA Experience would not reopen, despite not even being open for a full year, but the space it occupied is about to finally find some use, and it’s perhaps a fitting follow up considering what else that space used to be. 

According to WDW Magic, beginning on May 2 and running through July 27, the NBA experience building will become home to The Meta Quest Virtual Reality Experience which will showcase ILMxLAB's Star Wars: Tales from Galaxy's Edge VR game for Meta’s Quest VR headset. An identical pop up VR experience ran 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 considering that before the basketball themed entertainment option was there, the same building housed DisneyQuest, a sort of indoor theme park experience that included interactive games and very early VR experiences. DisneyQuest was supposed to be the first of a chain of similar locations, most of which never opened. The one at Disney Springs closed in 2017 to make way for the NBA Experience.

DisneyQuest was largely left to go into disrepair when it became clear the broader concept would not be moving forward. Eventually attendance in Orlando dropped off significantly, but there are a lot of people who loved what DisneyQuest was, or at least what it could have been, and were sad to see it go.

This also isn’t the first VR experience to exist at Disney Springs or Downtown Disney. Both Disney resorts previously housed locations for The Void, which designed fully immersive VR experiences based on Star Wars, Marvel and even Wreck-It Ralph. Unfortunately, The Void was forced to close its Disney locations following serious financial difficulties caused by pandemic closure. 

This VR experience certainly isn’t going to be quite at the level of The Void, but Tales From the Galaxy’s Edge is a fun game inspired by Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, found at 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 for people. It gives Disney Springs something to do with this space, and certainly Meta may sell more than a few headsets if guests who try it out decide they must have it.

What will take over the NBA Experience space in the longer term has yet to be announced. Many in the cult of DisneyQuest would love to see Disney take another swing at an arcade/VR type experience. Maybe, if enough people show interest in this VR experience, Disney will consider doing their own Void like location. They’ve got the perfect building for it. 

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.