The entertainment side of Disney Springs will grow on Monday with the opening of The NBA Experience, a place where fans young and old can get on the court, learn how to dribble and shoot properly, show off their best dunk, and get photographed in a championship game with their favorite team, a virtual crowd cheering them on.
The NBA Experience, a creation of Disney Imagineering in collaboration with the NBA, is on the West Side of Disney Springs. It has an NBA store — already open — on one side, and the City Works Eatery & Pour House sports bar, opening late this year, on the other.
The venue has 13 different interactive experiences arranged around a hard court, accessed by the Player Entry Tunnel. Some involve light coaching, others are intended as backdrops for photos or highlight reels, such as an adjustable rim set for dunking at different heights. You can research championship games and teams, play arcade or trivia games, watch basketball films, get drafted by your favorite teams or have your photo taken with an MVP trophy.
In designing the experience, “we wanted to put you on the court as much as possible … to tap into that part of you that is a player or a fan,” said Stan Dodd, executive producer with Walt Disney Imagineering. “The cool thing that I love about basketball is it can work if you’re an individual playing on the driveway or on a professional team.”
With some activities, you can play for your favorite team, and you choose the size ball you’re most comfortable with — NBA, WNBA or youth league. Footwear is required; you provide your own, and athletic shoes are recommended.
“We try to connect them as much as possible to the NBA life,” Dodd said.
A one-day ticket for anyone age 10 and up is $34; admission for age 3-9 is $29.
The NBA Experience was built on the spot where Disney Quest used to be, on the West Side, Disney Springs’ most entertainment-oriented area. It’s a few doors down from Splitsville, close to the theater where Cirque du Soleil is supposed to reopen in the spring. Disney Springs is a dining, shopping and entertainment district in the Disney World resort.