05:18:51 am on
Tuesday 22 Aug 2017

A Different Goodbye
AJ Robinson


Over the years, I've said goodbye to many things: family members, friends, homes and cherished pets. Just recently, my daughter, Alexa and I bid farewell to something not quite standard. We made our final visit to Disney Quest, at Walt Disney World Resort, Lake Buena Vista, in Florida. The attraction opened on 19 June 1998 and closed as of 2 July 2017.


It was five floors of electronic fun.

It was Disney's foray into the world of video games, post "Tron," but before "Wreck-It-Ralph." Located in Downtown Disney, here in Orlando, it was five floors of electronic fun. Originally, the idea was that you bought a sort of game card, which you swiped in each game and could then re-fill it as needed. The place had loads of old classic games: Qbert, Space Invaders, Asteroids, Pac-Man and so on. Disney Quest had all the Star Wars games, racecar games and Dance Revolution, which gave you quite the good workout. Then, in true Disney fashion, they had the new games based on Disney movies.

There was the Mighty Ducks human pinball game; the Buzz Lightyear Bumper Cars, a virtual jungle tour, Aladdin's Magic Carpet Ride, a VR light saber duel where you fought comic book villains, an alien encounter and, eventually, a Pirates of the Caribbean 3D adventure. I say, eventually, on that last one because the place went through changes over the years. The swipe cards quickly gave way to one-day passes; a remote control car in a maze game became a Hercules interactive game and then the pirates; oh, and no Captain Sparrow.


Naturally, we got annual passes.

Alexa and I loved going there. Disney Quest had a fire fighter game we could play together; she loved it as it reminded her of her Aunt Jackie. Naturally, we got annual passes. All through grade school, we made a point of going there once a month. It was our special father and daughter time, as Jo Ann, my wife, didn't like video games. Sometimes father and daughter played for hours; leave to get lunch and, maybe, a movie and then go back, staying until after dark.

Both Alexa and I became quite the experts at some of those games. I could sit at the Star Wars game; go through all the levels,–including duels with Vader and Boba Fet, all on one life! Yes, the Force was strong with me.

Many happy memories burn bright in my mind because of our times spent there. Disney Quest seemed one area where the company couldn't make a go of it; finally, it announced that the place was closing. When Alexa heard, she called me and asked if we could make one last visit to the place. Of course, I said yes.


One last day at Disney Quest.

We went the day before it closed and managed to hit all of our favourite games, except the fire fighter, as it had been retired much earlier. We also avoided the VR roller coaster, another unique item. Alexa was never one for those. I reminded her of the first time she tried it. The system let you design your own coaster and then ride it. She made a low hill and a long straight ramp and that was it. As she was only about eight, I think that was a decent effort for an eight year old.

Overall, I think the whole place was very decent, and I am saddened to see it go. Thank you, Disney, for giving my daughter and me many years of fun.m

 

Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Most of the time he writes, but sometimes he works at Disney World to renew his fantasies and get a few dollars more. AJ writes, with insight and passion, about his family and his dog. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true.

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