Disney Regional Entertainment
|Subsidiary of a publicly held corporation|
|Industry||location base entertainment|
|Founded||July 12, 1996|
|Founders||Michael D. Eisner
|Defunct||June 16, 2010|
|Art Levitt (president)
Jay Rasulo (SVP)
Disney Regional Entertainment was the subsidiary of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts which developed and operated unique local entertainment concepts. It previously operated the Club Disney, DisneyQuest, and ESPN Zone chain entertainment concepts. The only remaining DisneyQuest, in Disney Springs at the Walt Disney World Resort, is now operated directly by the resort. The only two remaining ESPN Zone restaurants in Los Angeles and Downtown Disney at the Disneyland Resort are operated by third parties or other Disney Parks and Resort unit.
Disney Regional Entertainment was formed in 1996 to develop local based entertainment concepts. Soon after the purchase of Capital Cities/ABC Inc., which owns 80% of ESPN, Disney CEO Michael D. Eisner moved forward with his idea to having local entertainment based on Disney brands in metropolitan and suburban area. Eisner selected Art Levitt, who was previously Disney Parks and Resorts vice president of resorts and special projects then CEO of Hard Rock Cafe International. As Disney Parks and Resorts vice president of resorts and special projects, Levitt was responsible for Pleasure Island, the Disney Village Marketplace and the Disney Village Resort and spearhead the initial plans for ESPN Club, which was initial conceptually similar to ESPN Zone.
|Club Disney||children's entertainment centers||February 21, 1997||5|
|DisneyQuest||indoor arcade with traditional
and virtual reality experiences
|June 19, 1998||2|
|ESPN Zone||sports-themed restaurants||July 11, 1998||9|
Several concepts were placed in the planning stage. Club Disney was the first to be launched on February 21, 1997 at the Westlake Promenade in Thousand Oaks, Califorina with another in Southern California opened later that year.
On June 19, 1998, Disney Regional Entertainment opened its first DisneyQuest, a location-based entertainment venue, at Downtown Disney West Side in Walt Disney World. The company opened its first ESPN Zone on July 11, 1998 at Power Plant in the Inner Harbor, Baltimore.
On August 28, 1998, Disney Regional announced a expansion for Disney Club for late 1998 and 1999. In December 1998, Disney Regional Entertainment was transferred with a couple of other units into Walt Disney Attractions.
The first DisneyQuest outside of a resort was opened in Chicago on June 16, 1999 with plans for more locations worldwide. In October 1999, Disney announced that the Club chain would be shut down with their last day of operation being November 1, 1999. On September 4, 2001, the Chicago DisneyQuest closed leaving only the Disney World location left.
ESPN Zone lasted longer than the other chains. As a chain it was closed down as of June 16, 2010 with five of its locations while two other continued operating under other companies.
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- Arney, June (March 8, 1998). "ESPN's fun zone Entertainment: The first ESPN Zone, a venture with Disney, promises to be on the cutting edge of interactive sports entertainment.". Baltimore Sun. pp. 1–3. Retrieved February 2, 2017.
- COOPER, KATIE (November 1, 1999). "Club Disney Ends Run as Parents Lament, Kids Play". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 2, 2017.
- Sachdev, Ameet (July 6, 2001). "DisneyQuest falls short of goals". Chicago Tribune. Tribune Publishing. Retrieved February 2, 2017.
- Ryst, Sonja (June 10, 2010). "ESPN Zone to close five ESPN Zones, including D.C. and Baltimore restaurants". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 2, 2017.
- Folmar, Kate (February 22, 1997). "Club Disney Draws a Crowd at Opening". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 2, 2017.
- Matzer, Marla (August 28, 1998). "Disney to Build More Club Disney Centers". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 2, 2017.
- Pecho, Bruce (May 31, 1998). "Virtual Reality Rules At Disney's Newest Theme Park". Chicago Tribune. Tribune Publishing. Retrieved April 18, 2016.
- Gunts, Edward (July 9, 1998). "In the zone". Baltimore Sun. Tribune Publishing. Retrieved February 2, 2017.
- Lancaster, Cory (December 12, 1998). "Disney's Nunis To Retire". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved August 20, 2015.
- Bigness, Jon (June 16, 1999). "Disney's Daring Concept". Chicago Tribune. Tribune Publishing. Retrieved April 18, 2016.