A brand new attraction is open at Disney Springs. The NBA Experience held its Grand Opening on August 12. There were plenty of NBA and WNBA superstars on hand to celebrate the day, including Grant Hill and Kareen Abdul-Jabbar. Also in attendance were CEO of The Walt Disney Company, Bob Iger, and Adam Silver, who is the current NBA Commissioner. Mickey and Minnie were there as well to get the party started.
I was part of a hosted media group. We were invited to attend the Opening Celebration, and then to try our hands at the various activities inside The NBA Experience. You do not have to be a basketball fanatic in order to have a good time inside! I know a fair amount about basketball, but my knowledge has to do with high school games. I am by no means an expert on the NBA. I still had a blast.
The NBA Experience is broken up into different activities. Some of these are physical, to make you feel like you are a star player. Others do not require you to try to make a basket. There are activities for all skill levels and all ages.
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Dunk! allows you to dunk like a pro. If you don’t think that you can reach the basket, that isn’t a problem. The basket is adjustable, so you can set it to your perfect height. You’ll be able to make the shot every time without breaking a sweat. If you want the challenge, move the basket higher. How you play is up to you.
Shoot! could require a little bit of skill, but anyone can have fun with it. You’ll play on a court that feels real, and shoot against the clock. There is a virtual crowd there to cheer you on.
Dribble teaches you a skill. You will warm up, and then learn the basics of dribbling. It’s actually a little bit encouraging, I did better than I thought I would.
Slingshot was my favorite activity. You will put a ball into a slingshot, and then release it and hope that it goes into the basket. This was fun and challenging. I talked with a Cast Member who told me that there is a lot of skill involved, and that she has gotten quite good at it.
Arcade has a couple of different activities. You can race the clock and try to score as many points as possible. You can play Pop-A-Shot, which is perfect for guests of all ages. You can also try your hand at some NBA related video games.
Combine was I think the hardest skill that I tried. You’ll start with being measured for your span and your reach. You’ll then try to make several shots. Your stats will show on the wall next to you. You have to get the shot just right, which I could not seem to do.
Trivia is just that, an NBA and WNBA trivia game. You’ll play against the others in the room. The questions are random, so you can’t learn the answers and then go back and beat everyone else in the room.
Champions is a great way to learn more about the NBA and the WNBA. There are screens where you can look up past championships, learn stats from the games, watch videos, and more.
Replay will let you become the ref! You will watch a clip from a game and then decide whether or not the ref made the right call.
Theaters will allow you to watch two different ten minute films. You will be able to be part of a player’s world, or experience pro basketball through the eyes of a fan.
There are also activities that are designed to make you feel like an NBA or WNBA player.
Draft will allow you to be the number one draft pick! You will learn which team has drafted you, and then there’s a picture opportunity with Adam Silver (he’s wax). You’ll then see your picture, “wearing” the team’s hat, in the My Disney Experience App.
Players will take you inside a locker room. You will then see what one looks like. During the season, you will also be able to see real time stats of current games.
Trophy Moments offers great picture opportunities. You can feel like an MVP when you have your picture taken with both the NBA MVP Trophy and the NBA Championship Trophy.
The NBA Experience is also filled with other things that you will want to check out. You can measure your hand against the size of a basketball great’s hand. You can literally measure up against a couple of players. If you’re worried about germs after touching everything, don’t be. There are plenty of Purell dispensers on hand. Another nice touch is the hooks and the cup holders that are near some of the games. This gives you a spot to leave your things as you play.
The NBA Store is located right next to the NBA Experience. You’ll find plenty of team related items, as well as Disney’s take on things. One thing to keep in mind, you will not find food or beverages for sale inside the NBA Experience. You can leave and purchase something to eat elsewhere, and then return.
Tickets for The NBA Experience cost $29 for those three through nine, and $34 for ten and older, plus tax. All activities are included with your ticket. If you’re looking for a break from the theme parks or something to do on a rainy day, this could be the answer. Remember, you don’t have to be a basketball expert in order to have a great time.