DisneyQuest to close Sunday

ORLANDO, Fla. — DisneyQuest will have its last full day of operation Sunday, closing for good two weeks after its 19th anniversary.

It is open from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.

The attraction opened on the west side of then-Downtown Disney on June 19, 1998, to ambitious plans.

In the mid-90s, the Walt Disney Company spun off a subsidiary, Disney Regional Entertainment, to create and manage regional entertainment complexes across the country.

The subsidiary would be responsible for Club Disney play areas, the ESPN Zone restaurant franchise and DisneyQuest.

“DisneyQuest is a new form of family entertainment, where within a two-to-three-hour time period, you will be able to not only enter the story, but interact with it as well,” said Art Levitt, president of Disney Regional Entertainment at the time.

“It showcases Disney’s beloved characters and places, but in a bold new way using technology to turn fantasy into reality,” he said.

According to a marketing film for the attraction, the Walt Disney Company planned to build between 20 and 30 total DisneyQuests in major cities in the U.S. and around the world.

“DisneyQuest is going to stay fresh because every year, we’re going to be able to introduce a new attraction and increase or enhance some of the existing attractions that are already there,” said Mel Bilbo, the VP and general manager of DisneyQuest when it opened, on the tape.

“In fact, the Imagineers are already at work on the next new attraction for DisneyQuest right here in Orlando,” he added.

But that’s not what ended up happening. DisneyQuest only opened up one other location in Chicago in 1999, which closed two years later.

The only major attraction added to DisneyQuest was Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for Buccaneer Gold to replace Hercules in the Underworld.

Disney Regional Entertainment became defunct after it turned over management of the remaining ESPN Zone restaurants to other companies in June 2010.

Now, DisneyQuest is closing to make way for The NBA Experience.