Several venues in Disneyland’s Downtown Disney District are closing to make way for the construction of a new Disney-owned hotel. ESPN Zone is one such venue on the chopping block. The restaurant, themed to all things sports, is closing on June 2, 2018. Follow along as we take one final look at what ESPN Zone had to offer.
Since word of the restaurant’s closing has spread, the lines at opening have been unusually long. This photo, taken on May 26, 2018, is from the line as guests are being welcomed in.
For guests waiting outside, various sports were shown on a trio of very big, very loud televisions near the entry doors.
So you don’t miss a second of the match/game, there are also multiple TVs at the desk where guests sign in for a table (or seat at the bar).
This American flag display is made of different colored baseballs. You can find it along the wall of one of the dining areas.
On the stairs leading to the arcade, which we will discuss in detail later on, you will find black and white photos of sportscasters and other people behind the production of ESPN shows.
Apparently sports are pretty quotable. Who knew? The stairwells and the walls leading to one of the dining areas are lined with different quotes from players and commentators.
There was also a collage of screenshots from different ESPN shows.
Wherever you sat, it was impossible to forget that you were dining in a spot dedicated to ESPN.
Dining at ESPN Zone
The menu for ESPN Zone is posted at the restaurant’s entrance (not to mention handed to you at your table). It is pretty standard American fare: burgers, fries, salads with meat in them.
To the left of the entrance is a small bar set-up, again with loads of televisions.
Continue past the bar and you will see a large seating area with a view into the restaurant’s kitchen. Yes, there are televisions here, too. They hang from the ceiling and along the walls.
The path on the right leads to a theater-like area with a huge amount of large TV screens (plus one enormous one). The seating in this room is varied. There is a bar set-up, as well as tables and chairs.
Shopping at ESPN Zone
There is also a small store in the right corner on the first floor (the second floor is the arcade, which I promise we will get to).
The store mostly consists of ESPN-themed merchandise. From shirts and hoodies to coffee mugs and beer mugs, they’ve got it.
If you ever wanted a sports-themed Mickey silhouette on your shirt, this is the place to buy it. It could even be personalized!
Local teams like the Anaheim Angels and the Los Angeles Dodgers are also represented in apparel sold at the store.
With pressing pennies being a Disney Parks past-time, it makes perfect sense that a machine for doing just that would be found at ESPN Zone.
You can also have a custom I.D. tag engraved at the store. There are several ESPN-themed backgrounds to choose from.
Playing at ESPN Zone
The arcade area, The Arena, takes up the entire second floor. A sign is posted by the game card dispenser stating that when the location closes on June 2, all points and tickets stored on those cards will no longer be valid.
Game plays are charged on point cards. The card also saves “tickets” earned from playing that can be redeemed for prizes.
They must have begun preparing for closing because there is a large vacant area in one corner of the arcade.
Being a sports-themed venue, it makes sense that some of the arcade games would have a sports vibe. There is a miniature bowling lane, as well as a row of basketball hoops.
Classic arcade mainstays like air hockey are also available.
If competing against others is more your thing, there are several racing game set-ups like H2Overdrive, seen above.
There are a few options based around mobile games like Fruit Ninja and Cut the Rope, the latter of which is a crane game (also known as a UFO catcher).
The prizes that you can grab are a little bizarre. I spotted a pedometer mixed in with a deck of Pokémon trading cards.
Speaking of prizes, remember those tickets that are saved to your game card? You redeem them at the Prize Hub. And let me tell you, those are some disappointing prizes.
Even the “big” prizes are pretty lame. Sumo Bumper Boppers? Really?
And so we close another chapter in the book that is the history of Disneyland’s Downtown Disney District. Do you have any memories of visiting?
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