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The Magic Years
Disney through the eyes of teens
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Adrienne Krock, editor

Publicity photo  Disney
Publicity photo Disney

During the last week in September, there was a two- day holiday in my local school district, so my family took the time to go to the Disneyland Resort. While I was there, I went to check out the oh- so- famous ESPN Zone. I thought it was a great place. The atmosphere is super! The sights, the music, and the pictures and silhouettes of athletes are wonderful, if you're a sports fan.

You must be 18 to get into the ESPN Zone, unless you're accompanied by someone who is 21 or older. My dad came along with me, so I was able to experience this great place. Parents are great company, especially if you need to borrow $5 or so.

When you walk inside the huge building, it's like you're stepping out of the dugout into the middle of a stadium. Above you on the ceiling is a picture of a bright blue sky, and there are people in the stands all around you. It gives the effect that you are in a baseball game and you're on the field. Straight ahead is a place where you can get dinner and there's another place where you can just watch sports on TV. Of course, there is a shop where you can buy all sorts of ESPN merchandise.

ESPN Zone is a terrific place for anyone who likes to watch sports. TVs are absolutely everywhere. There is a TV in every corner and in every place imaginable. Even in the men's bathroom, there are TVs above the facilities so you don't have to miss a moment of the action (now that's what I call the Happiest Potties on Earth). I don't know about you, but I think this is a wonderful use of technology.

In the Screening Room, there is one TV that looks like it's as large as a movie screen. There are also many state-of-the-art high-tech TVs such as flat screens and projector screens. Each one of these TVs is large, and its picture is superb. Each one shows a sports event; there is at least one TV bound to be showing a sport you'd like to see. The sheer number of TVs is amazing. It's a very cool sight if you get a chance to go there just to see it. There is also a video wall that has statistics such as the latest scores; the video wall also has sports trivia information.

But that's not all you can do at the ESPN Zone. Just a few stairs away, up on the second floor, there is the most wonderful place of all. It's called the Sports Arena. It has so many video and interactive games that it's too hard to count them all. The Sports Arena is huge; I read that it's more than 10,000 square feet. Before you can start playing, you have to buy a card, which has point values. You use the points to play games; certain games charge more points than others. You can also use the card to buy food and drinks.

Card prices
$5 15 points
$10 40 points
$20 90 points
$25 125 points
$50 300 points
$100 700 points

The card itself costs $1 in addition to the point fees, but you don't have to buy a new card every time you go to the ESPN Zone; you can keep adding points to your existing card. It is the same size as a credit card, and it has a magnetic stripe on the back. The front shows the ESPN Zone logo and its motto, "Eat, Drink, Watch, Play." Once you pay for a card, you can't get money back but the points on it don't expire for a whole year.

But I haven't talked enough about the Sports Arena yet. There is such an amazing variety of games. There is everything from the thrill of alpine surfing to the monotony of bass fishing to the challenge of a rock climbing adventure on an artificial glacier. I played so many games that I don't think I could name and talk about all of them in this column, but I will tell you about a few of them.

My personal favorite game is called NHL 2 Night. This game lets you step into a mini Mighty Ducks hockey rink, and you actually play hockey. It's like a shoot-out. There is a machine that shoots pucks to you, and you try to score on a goalie who is moving around. The goalie is made of wood or another hard material so that when a puck hits him, nothing happens. The trick to scoring on this goalie is to shoot in the open corner away from him; the further back you stand, the more points you get.

Another fun game is NASCAR Deluxe, which is a video game where you can choose to be a famous NASCAR driver character and drive their car in a race. You sit in a seat and "drive" while you play against the computer. It really feels like you are driving. The wheel has a realistic feel because it doesn't just spin around but has some tension when you make turns.

I really liked the Hot Flash Air Hockey tables. These tables look neat because they are neon green on the outside and neon blue on the inside of the table itself. These tables are fun to play because they are large and these games are actually very reasonably priced. I played my dad twice and beat him. Yay, Casey!

Publicity photo  Disney
Publicity photo Disney

There is one more game, RPM 2 Night, that I want to tell you about. This is the most expensive game in the whole place because it costs 24 points per person. It's definitely the most elaborate game that I played when I visited. The setting is like a racing pit, and you actually get inside a Formula One race car to play the game. It's just like a real car.

Once you're inside, the top closes, which locks you in. As you look around the cockpit of the car, there are so many buttons. There are orange buttons, red buttons, and green buttons. There is a button to let you choose whether you want to use either automatic or manual transmission. If you choose manual gear, you can use a small stick shift. There are even buttons on the steering wheel; it is really overwhelming.

When the game starts, it's amazing. There is a huge screen in front of the car and it projects the images of where you're going in the car while you're on the race track. The rear-view mirrors show you what is behind you on the track. You might think that driving this car looks easy but no siree.

Once the game starts, drive very slowly or you will spin out. I found this out the hard way! After much frustrating work and a little luck, you just might get out of the gate. The game is fun but the steering is very sensitive so if you turn suddenly, you will either spin out or crash... but for me, it was both. Overall, it is a hard game. It was pretty spendy for something that I didn't really succeed at, so I don't think I will do it again. But I still think that you should try it at least once. It is definitely worthwhile.

If you like sports or playing video games, then the ESPN Zone is for you. It is located in the heart of Downtown Disney across from the AMC Theater. I know that I'll be going back there again on my next visit to Anaheim!

C'ya later on MousePlanet!


Have any questions, comments or suggestions for future columns? Drop me a line at I'd really enjoy hearing from you!



Hi there!
My name is Casey.

I have always loved amusement parks, but I especially love Disneyland. It has always been my favorite place. I live in Northern California, about 400 miles away from the Happiest Place on Earth. I like to go to Disneyland all the time.

I have two sisters and one brother. I love them dearly. I also have a great mom and a great dad. I love them a lot too. I am in 8th grade, an honor student, and a complete jock. I have been on more than 25 trips to Disneyland, and I do not plan to stop going there.

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