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Two years after opening to less than stellar reviews, Disney is closing its NBA Experience at Disney Springs. Disney reporter Scott Gustin tweeted Monday that the NBA and Disney made a “mutual decision” and that employees found out about the news via an email.
With an admission price of $34 plus tax, the NBA Experience was supposed to be a “slam dunk of fun for fans of all ages,” but was described by at least one Disney expert as “a huge fail” and that was during a media walk-thru back in July 2019. Add in a pandemic closer and the layoff of all cast members, and Disney had a big loser on its hands.
It was announced in 2015 that Universal Studios wouldn’t renew its lease with the NBA for its NBA City location. That’s when Disney jumped into the mix and announced it would try its hand with the basketball league on the NBA Experience. Here we are in 2021 and the NBA has now flamed out of both Orlando theme parks and appears to be finished in the city.
The NBA Experience couldn’t even survive when they were handing out comp tickets left and right just begging people to go. At least DisneyQuest had more than 3 paying attendees per day. What a loss, and what a laughably stupid story on Disney’s part.
— DreamfinderGuy (@DreamfinderGuy) August 16, 2021
“I want to thank Bob Iger and the Walt Disney Imagineering team for capturing the authentic NBA experience at this landmark destination at Disney Springs,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in 2019. “Disney creates memorable experiences better than anyone, and we are thrilled to share the excitement of NBA basketball with fans and Walt Disney World guests from around the world.”
Less than a month into its existence, word was spreading that it was pretty much a “shitty Dave and Buster’s but with only basketball games.”
I feel like the only people that got to experience the NBA Experience were the bloggers and vloggers that got invited for free when it first opened. https://t.co/1RBA1ySJNT
— Mrs. Ashley Marie (@CraftyAshley_) August 16, 2021