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First Look: NBA Experience
at Disney Springs is a Slam Dunk!
by Jeremy Schoolfield, Managing Editor, Walt Disney
World Resort Public Relations
Last week I had the good fortune to step inside the
new NBA Experience at Disney Springs as part of Disney cast member
previews. I’m here to share some of my first impressions, as well as
our first official photos from inside! This one-of-a-kind
destination was created by Disney in collaboration with the NBA to
make you feel what it’s like to walk in the footsteps of NBA and
Ahead of its Aug. 12 grand opening, I had a blast
trying out the venue’s 13 basketball-related activities. Dribble,
for example, works on your ball-handling skills, while Dunk!
features an adjustable rim so you can make a highlight-reel slam.
Over in the Arcade, you can challenge your friends and family to get
the high score in the classic Pop-A-Shot game, or check out Trivia
to see who knows the most about the NBA and WNBA.
You can participate in these activities in any order you choose, and
return to them throughout your visit to NBA Experience to improve
your scores and skills.
To get you pumped up for the debut of this new destination, here are
five takeaways from my preview of NBA Experience:
All About the Guest – This place is all about you – almost every
activity encourages you to be an active participant. I recommend you
complete the optional registration once you’re inside; this allows
you to customize and personalize your experience by adding your own
nickname and choosing your favorite NBA or WNBA team. Your team’s
logo will be associated with you throughout your stay on various
leaderboards and signage, and when you try the Shoot! activity, the
court magically transforms to make it feel like you’re in your
favorite team’s home arena! Plus, you can choose different
basketballs to best fit your hand size (NBA, WNBA or Youth) and set
your own skill level – if you’ve never even picked up a basketball
before, don’t worry, NBA Experience has you covered.
Environment – Walking into NBA Experience feels like
stepping onto center court of an arena, complete with huge
overhead video monitors, pulsing music and swirling lights.
Whether you’re a huge NBA fan or wouldn’t know what the inside
of a basketball arena looks like, you will get swept up in the
energy. That stunning entry sets the tone for the whole place; I
lost track of time as I moved from one activity to the next,
completely absorbed in what I was doing.
Authenticity – Walt Disney Imagineering worked closely with the
NBA to ensure NBA Experience is authentic. The hoops are
regulation size (unless you need them adjusted to dunk!), and
team and league logos are all over. Everything just feels right.
For those new to the game, this is a great way to learn all
about the league, its players and the game as a whole, straight
from the source. If you’ve ever been curious about the NBA or
WNBA, let your journey into fandom begin here!
Technology – For how physically fun NBA Experience
is, it’s also a high-tech environment. When I first entered the
building, I immediately went over to the massive touchscreens in
the Champions area and started looking up my favorite
championship teams. You can dive deep into league history, with
notes about each of those legendary teams along with photos and
video highlights. I also thoroughly enjoyed Replay, the activity
that challenges you to make the right call in three different
scenarios using your own personal interactive replay station;
you can view the play from different angles, zoom in on key
moments, and move the video forward and backward before deciding
to confirm or overturn the call. Going back to my earlier point,
Replay feels so real – I could easily imagine NBA or WNBA replay
officials sitting at a very similar setup every night of the
– After spending a good amount of time inside NBA Experience, I
realized there’s a fundamental principle that runs throughout
the entire place – it’s inspirational. Everyone around me was
constantly encouraging me to do my best. Or, sometimes, the
activity itself is the inspiration all its own, such as Dribble.
Here a virtual coach kept saying things like “Good job! Keep it
up! Keep going!” as I was working my way through a series of
ball-handling drills. NBA Experience focuses on your successes,
and always encourages you to do better.
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