The NBA Experience at Disney Springs is now officially open, bringing the fun of the NBA to Walt Disney World. Disney CEO Bob Iger, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, a host of NBA and WNBA stars and of course Mickey and Minnie were on hand to open the new attraction.
The question now is: just how much of an experience is the NBA Experience? Let me start with this. If you don’t find basketball fun, you will most likely not enjoy this new attraction. If you don’t enjoy dribbling, shooting or dunking a basketball, this probably isn’t for you.
If you are a fan of basketball on the other hand, you can certainly have some fun here. There are plenty of different interactive activities to participate in. Some aren’t so exciting, but a few of them are really fun. For example, have you enjoyed playing basketball all your life? Are you also 5’4” and can only dream of touching the very bottom of the net? The Dunk Experience is perfect for you.
This experience allows you to lower the rim to as low as seven feet, making a highlight-reel dunk suddenly attainable (trust me, I can’t do that on a 10-foot rim). You can choose any height you want between seven and 10 feet, and you can change the height throughout your time. You then have 60 seconds to throw down as many show-stopping dunks as you can. This one is my favorite activity at the NBA Experience.
Another fun activity, which has very little to do with basketball, is the Slingshot. It’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like. You get a station with your very own slingshot and you try to sling foam balls at a basket to rack up points. This is another fun experience and you don’t need to be an all-star player to enjoy it. I will say however, if you have a competitive edge, you’re going to need to leave it at home. The scoring on this seems to be arbitrarily made up. So if you think you won, you probably didn’t. And if you think you did terribly, stick around to see the final scores. In the end though, it’s still fun.
There are a few other fun experiences as well. The Combine measures your wingspan and vertical and shows you how you stack up against NBA and WNBA stars. The Shoot Experience gives you spots on the floor to shoot from to test your skills. Both experiences have their flaws though. The measurements in the combine seem to be a little off from time to time and Shoot only gives you 15 seconds to hit all four spots, a nearly impossible task and a bit frustrating if you wait in line a while for the experience.
The other experiences – like Draft, Trivia, Champions and Players – are not much more than little games and photo ops. They’re not exactly something I would stand in line for. Dribble is a video coaching experience to help with you ball-handling, but it also appears to be inaccurate at times.
Overall, the NBA Experience isn’t exactly a hit, but it’s also not a total miss. I think people who are really into basketball will enjoy this new attraction, for a little while. It seems to me to be about an hour to two hour experience and at a cost of $34, I could see how some would be hesitant to pay the price of admission. I’m interested to see if all the bugs get worked out and if that price comes down over time.
The NBA Experience may not be the most exciting new addition to Walt Disney World, but it is a new entertainment option at Disney Springs, and to me that’s a win.
Mike is a writer that has covered comic cons, theme park events, video game showcases and other fun events. He is a fan of theme parks, sports, movies, Marvel Comics and is a self-proclaimed “nerd.”