Disney Removing Tomorrowland Arcade, Claw Machines and Arcade Prizes

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The Orlando Seninel is reporting that Disney is making several changes to the numerous arcades on property. The arcades will no longer dispense prizes such as those found in claw machines.

Disney confirmed they are making these changes, but would not confirm the reason. The reason behind this is believed to be related to vagaries in a 2013 law concerning the use of internet cafes. The law specifies that people cannot win more than 75 cents worth of prizes for every game played, and the games have to be operated by coins. Disney arcades utilize a card system, however speculation is that they fear litigation. Both Chuck E Cheeses and Dave and Busters have faced litigation based on this new law.

Disney's primary supplier, JFH Technologies fills and maintains many of the games at the resort. James Harhi, the owner of JFH Technologies has said that Disney will be removing such a large quantity of machines that he has had to decrease his staff. He also specified that Disney will not be reducing it's staff as a result of the changes.

The arcade at Disney's All Star Music Resort has already removed it's prize redemption counter and the arcades at the below resorts will shortly be following suit:

  • Disney's Contemporary Resort
  • All Star Sports Resort
  • All Star Movies Resort
  • Pop Century Resort
  • Art of Animation Resort

Additionally, the Tomorrowland Arcade is expected to have it's last day of operation on February 8, 2015. The games that currently exist in that space are expected to be relocated to the other arcades on property, replacing the games that dispensed tickets. DisneyWorld.com currently lists hours for the Tomorrowland Arcade for 180 days (similar to all other attractions). It is unknown what will become of the Tomorrowland Arcade once the games are moved.

The Orlando Sentinel further clarified the law with the following information:

The 2013 ban on Internet cafes came in the wake of a multistate probe into Allied Veterans of the World, an operator that billed itself as a charitable organization for veterans but which gave only about 2 percent of its profits to veterans groups.

The legislation also limited arcades that catered to senior citizens and offered low-stakes bets and paid off in things such as Publix gift cards. Many of those "senior arcades" — represented by the Florida Arcade and Bingo Association — ended up closing.

Wolf, the arcade and bingo association's attorney, has subsequently filed lawsuits against places such as Dave & Buster's. Those are on hold pending the results of a related federal lawsuit, he said.

"For the Legislature to think gambling for kids is OK but not for adults was pretty hypocritical," he said. "That was essentially what we were setting out to show."

Shortly after the law passed, the arcade association also sent an investigator to check out Disney's hotel arcades. The investigator, Carlos De Varona, made a complaint to the Orange County Sheriff's Office about the games. A report said the Sheriff's Office contacted the Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation, which said there were no gaming-law violations. Suing Disney, said arcade association President Gale Fontaine, would have been "like trying to go after Goliath."

Still, Disney is likely showing "an abundance of caution" by getting rid of games for prizes, said David Ramba, a lobbyist who used to represent the arcade association.

"If I was their lobbyist, I would have told them to get rid of the machines too," Ramba said.