In early 2020, Disney+ announced that it was bringing back The Quest, the hybrid scripted/reality competition format that first aired on ABC in 2014, but with teenage contestants, rather than adults.
And then, of course, C0VID-19 happened. But it turns out that didn’t actually stop The Quest season 2, which filmed in Napa Valley with a crew of 300 people in the middle of a pandemᎥc.
The same producers reunited for season two: Amazing Race creators Elise Doganieri and Bertram Van Munster, and Mark Dziak, of New Media Collective; Mark Ordesky and Jane Fleming of Court Five; and Rob Eric, Michael Williams, and David Collins of Scout Productions, which also produces Queer Eye.
In an interview with Deadline about Race to the Center of the Earth, Van Munster and Doganieri’s new NatGeo competition series, said the show completed production. “Doganieri said that they were able to get through the shoot, which consisted of 300 people, without any Covid cases,” according to Deadline.
Season two filmed in the United States, not Austria
Season one filmed at Kreuzenstein Castle, a privately owned castle north of Vienna that also served as a filming location for Nicolas Cage’s Season of the Witch. In 2014, the producers told me they chose that castle—despite its lack of running water—after considering 1,500 different castles, and because it was surrounded by forest.
Disney+’s announcement said that it’d be “filmed at a castle outside Vienna, Austria,” so it sounds like the production planned to return to the very same location for season two.
While Deadline reported that the producers “shot [season two] in a castle outside of Vienna, Austria,” that’s not accurate. Instead, it was filmed at an estate in Napa Valley.
Specifically, season two filmed at the Castello di Amorosa, a winery in Calistoga, Calif., that was built in 2007. (One of its buildings was damaged by a wildfire in the fall of 2020.)
The Napa Valley Register reported that “restrictions scotched original plans to use Burg Kreuzenstein castle in Austria.” Castello di Amorosa’s owner, Vintner Dario Sattui, told the paper that “It looks so authentic, that’s why they wanted it.”
Production took place starting Nov. 19, and filming was scheduled to conclude Feb. 13, but was extended to March 10.
Napa County’s Board of Supervisors approved the production because of the economic impact it would have on the area. The paper reported that “Producers estimate the film production will provide a $6-million benefit to Napa County, including 30 temporary jobs, local fire and security contracting, $2.5 million in purchases of goods and services and $1.7 million in hotel taxes”
Recommended: Behind the scenes of The Quest
Will restrictions affect any other part of the production? In early 2020, Disney+ said it was keeping the show the same. Its announcement said:
…The Quest is an innovative reality competition that takes place in the fantasy world of Everealm. Teen contestants will compete in an unfolding drama where they encounter mystical beings and magical encounters that rival their favorite books, games and movies. They will be embedded in a fully immersive, 360-degree world complete with seamless technology, creature design, practical effects and scripted characters who interact dynamically with them.
Season one was terrific reality television, and the best example to date of hybrid scripted and reality formats, and I hope season two will be just as good.
Disney+ has not yet announced an airdate for The Quest season two.
This story has been updated to correct the inaccurate filming location reported by Deadline, and to include additional details about the production.