Disney opened the doors to its new “ultimate interactive adventure” yesterday at the Walt Disney World Resort in FL, with American Express providing a key entry element. The opening of ‘DisneyQuest’ in a 100,000-square-foot, five-story facility offers four zones of adventure namely: explore, score, create and replay. ‘DisneyQuest’ utilizes an American Express stored-value card, which is charged upon entering and is rechargeable inside. The “DisneyQuest Card” can be initially purchased at one of several entry options ranging from $7-$20. The card is then used at any of the attractions or games in four zones. Play units and card balances can be checked throughout the facility with special card readers. Beyond the payment function the ‘DisneyQuest Card’ can keep track of attendance and monitor attraction usage. American Express is providing the cards and system while Compaq provided the server computer for the STV system.
American Express today announces an innovative stored value card and system uniquely designed for Disney’s newest breakthrough in family entertainment, which opens to the public on Friday, June 19th at The Walt Disney World Resort. DisneyQuest is a 100,000-square-foot interactive theme park for guests of all ages. The Walt Disney World site will be the first, followed by Chicago in Summer 1999. The American Express stored value card system allows guests to experience the adventures of DisneyQuest with their DisneyQuest Card at any one of the attractions and games in the four zones of adventure: Create, Score, Replay and Explore.
At the gate, guests select the initial value they desire, which is then loaded onto the DisneyQuest Card. Guests then use their card to activate the attractions and games they choose. Additional “play units” can be added to the card and balances can be checked throughout the DisneyQuest facility. The Card is ideal for families and other groups who want to provide children, friends and colleagues with the freedom to enjoy their quest with their own card. The American Express stored value card can be purchased with a variety of payment options.
The system also allows DisneyQuest to keep track of the number of people inside the facility, monitor attraction usage, and provide flexible payment options for families and groups.
“We’re extremely proud to be associated with this extraordinary entertainment concept and to have developed the payment system for DisneyQuest,” said Anne Busquet, president of American Express Relationship Services. “It is an excellent example of American Express’ ability to provide key industry partners with innovative payment solutions. Stored value is just one of the many technologies that we can offer. We expect to develop additional payment solutions for industry partners in the future.”
“DisneyQuest is pleased with our technology partnership with American Express,” said Art Levitt, president of Disney Regional Entertainment. “We had very specific needs and requirements for a pay-for-play system that American Express was uniquely able to deliver to us. Our goal was to develop a payment system that would provide fast, easy and convenient access for our guests, while allowing us to run the business as efficiently as possible.”
American Express currently offers other stored value products, including the IncentiveFunds Card for corporate rewards through American Express Incentive Services a joint venture with Maritz, and the TravelFunds Card, an electronic travelers cheque, which is being tested in the U.K. and will soon be piloted in the U.S. American Express is expected to announce other stored value partners and products in the near future.
In addition to technology support, American Express will be a marketing partner for DisneyQuest providing special promotions for American Express cardmembers.
American Express Company, based in New York City, is a diversified worldwide travel and financial services company founded in 1850. It is a leader in charge and credit cards, Travelers Cheques, travel, financial planning, investment products, insurance, accounting and international banking.
The Adventure Begins! DisneyQuest Challenges Guests to Explore, Score, Create and Replay
With grand fanfare and a foursome of superheroes leading the way, Disney Regional Entertainment Thursday officially opened the doors to DisneyQuest, the “ultimate interactive adventure” for all ages combining the magic of Disney with the most engaging technologies.
The opening of the 100,000-square-foot, five-story flagship facility, located at Downtown Disney West Side at Walt Disney World Resort, will be followed by a Chicago site in summer 1999 and future sites planned in 20 to 30 other major domestic and international destination markets.
Art Levitt, president of Disney Regional Entertainment, explained the mission of the new concept: “Within a two- to three-hour visit, guests can embark on adventures that let them actually ‘enter the story’ and become a part of it. DisneyQuest showcases many of our beloved characters and places and presents them in a bold new way using advanced technology to turn fantasy into reality.”
True to the spirit of Walt Disney himself, DisneyQuest began with a dream…and a dare. “We saw this new concept as a tremendous challenge,” recalled Joe DiNunzio, vice president of new ventures for Walt Disney Imagineering, who spearheaded the creative development of DisneyQuest. “Our Imagineers have spent the last two years answering that challenge. I am confident we have succeeded in creating an entirely new kind of entertainment experience for our guests.”
Open 10:30 a.m. until midnight daily, DisneyQuest utilizes a stored-value card, which is charged upon entering and is rechargeable inside. The “DisneyQuest Card” can be initially purchased at one of several entry options ranging from $7-$20.
The DisneyQuest experience begins by riding a seemingly out-of-control “Cybrolator” guided by Aladdin’s madcap Genie of the Lamp. The doors open, and you are standing at the Ventureport, an awe-inspiring crossroads of adventure leading to four distinct worlds of entertainment: the Explore Zone, Score Zone, Create Zone and Replay Zone.
The gateway to the Explore Zone is the tiger’s head from Aladdin’s Cave of Wonders, which leads to a 150-foot slide that drops three stories. A “dimensional rift” slashed through a comic book by Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty grants passage into the Score Zone. A digital artist’s palette is the entrance to the Create Zone. An energetic collage of classic 50’s moon-crazy symbols leads to the retro-future of the Replay Zone.
A range of adventure awaits in the Explore Zone, a portal to experience where time is no barrier. Navigate a primeval world in Virtual Jungle Cruise, where dangers include hungry dinosaurs and a cataclysmic comet. Drive a camera-equipped, radio-controlled car on a hunt for Treasures of the Incas beneath the glass floor of Explore itself. Fly through the streets of Agrabah on a hunt to release the Genie in Aladdin’s Magic Carpet Ride. Join Hercules and his friends and battle Hades in Hercules in the Underworld.
The Score Zone offers a “competition city” where experiences are fueled by adrenaline, fast reflexes and quick thinking. Go sword-to-sword with super-villains as you fly through a 3-D comic book world in Ride the Comix! Rescue Earth colonists under attack while piloting a planetary walker in Invasion! An Alien Encounter. Jump onto a life-size joystick motion base and hip-check your friends in Mighty Ducks Pinball Slam.
Imagination is the key to the Create Zone, an Imagineering studio where it takes only a child’s sense of wonder to realize an artist’s dream. Design the roller coaster of your dreams, or nightmares, then buckle up and ride your creation on CyberSpace Mountain, a 360-degree, pitch-and-roll simulator. Learn the secrets of Disney animation at the Animation Academy. Create a toy from a vast menu of parts at Sid’s Create-a-Toy, then take it home for real! Indulge in a virtual makeover at the Magic Mirror. Create a painting of color and movement at the Living Easels.
The excitement of the 50’s space craze sets the mood for the Replay Zone, three levels of classic rides and games with a futuristic twist. Climb into a bubble-top bumper car, choose your role as driver or gunner, and shoot it out with playground-sized balls in Buzz Lightyear’s AstroBlaster. Discover a trove of custom redemption games, from Dumbo’s Water Race to Mickey’s Lunar Rally and other treasures old and new.
Adventurers can enjoy a respite in two areas operated by The Cheesecake Factory through a new Express concept: FoodQuest, which offers a quick gourmet fix of fresh salads, sandwiches, pizza and fun foods; and The Wonderland Cafe, featuring indulgent desserts and drinks. While dining at the Wonderland Cafe, guests can experience a one-of-a-kind Internet-based attraction, the Wonderland Web Adventures.
Even in its logo graphic featuring “Hurricane Mickey,” a swirling variation of the classic mouse icon, DisneyQuest promises to be something dynamic, forward-moving and altogether different from the company’s previous entertainment experiences.
Joining Walt Disney Imagineering in the execution of DisneyQuest are its key technology providers:
American Express, developer of the DisneyQuest stored-value-card system, the primary payment method throughout the facility; Compaq Computer Corp., provider of high-end personal computers and server provider for the stored-value system and The Wonderland Cafe, and principal content provider for the Internet-based attraction and the DisneyQuest Web site; Hughes-JVC Technology, provider of high-performance video and graphics projection systems; and Silicon Graphics Inc., provider of high-end work stations for the delivery of real-time CGI attractions.
Disney Regional Entertainment, a new division of The Walt Disney Co., was established in 1996 to create breakthrough entertainment concepts for metropolitan and suburban markets, in the United States and abroad. These businesses are built on Disney’s creative talents and the popularity of Disney and its affiliated brands. Currently under the banner of Disney Regional Entertainment are DisneyQuest; ESPNZone, a sports-themed dining and entertainment venue; and Club Disney, family playsites located in Thousand Oaks and West Covina, Calif. For local, public information about DisneyQuest, call 407/828-4600. Visit DisneyQuest on the Internet at http://www.disneyquest.com.