Mouse plays games

Rollout set for entertainment centers

Disney Regional Entertainment, formed late last year, has announced its first project: DisneyQuest, a “virtual entertainment center” concept that Disney executives plan to introduce in Orlando, Fla., and Chicago during the next two years and expand to upwards of 30 locations around the world.

Walt Disney Co. chairman-CEO Michael Eisner announced Wednesday that the DisneyQuest franchise will marry the latest entertainment technologies and the Disney name to state-of-the-art location-based entertainment. Art Levitt, who has helmed the Disney Regional Entertainment unit since its inception, noted that Disney will have some significant partners in the DisneyQuest adventure: American Express, Silicon Graphics Inc., Hughes/JVC Video Technologies and Tandem Computers Inc.

Each subsequent DisneyQuest location will likely follow closely the model of the first installation, set to open next year at Disney’s Orlando resort location. That facility will take up nearly 100,000 square feet, include a restaurant and four separately themed play areas, and have a strong Internet-based theme.

Like GameWorks, the DreamWorks-MCA Inc.-Sega America joint venture already launched in three locations in the U.S., DisneyQuest will work on the “smart card” technology and will aim for a wide, diverse target audience.

Disney Regional Entertainment is also responsible for the gradual rollout of the Club Disney franchise, begun earlier this year in Thousand Oaks and set to expand on a national basis over the next decade.

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