Many of us see the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex and think of it as the place where we pick up our RunDisney Race Packets or where the Atlanta Braves hold their Spring Training each year, but this often overlooked part of the Walt Disney World Resort plays home to much, much more!
Walking past the globe and up to the gates, you find yourself immersed into a world of sports…no pun intended. But it is really amazing to see so many talented kids and adults in one place playing the games they love!
When you first walk up to the complex, you will notice that there is a large Box Office where you can purchase your tickets for events at the complex. It is important to note that guests, who are not athletes or coaches participating in an event, require paid admission for entrance. General admission prices for Adults (Ages 10+) $16.00 and Children (Ages 3-9) $11.00, and for many events length-of-event admission tickets are available. Also Premium and Special Events may require additional charges. If you are planning on visiting the complex for a specific event, you can go to the ESPN Wide World of Sports site, and search by event for ticket options.
The one thing that totally blew my mind when I visited the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex is just how many venues they have for almost any sport imaginable!
The first thing I think of when I think of ESPN Wide World of Sports, is their fields, all 28 of them, that feature surfaces for signature sports. For baseball, there is the Baseball Quadraplex which is home to four professional sized fields and one practice field. Fields 7 and 9 are more versatile grass playing surfaces for soccer. In Diamondplex 10-15 you will find baseball and fastpitch softball fields. While the Hess® Fields 16-30 feature versatile grass playing surfaces for sports including soccer, baseball, field hockey, and lacrosse.
Champion® Stadium is Disney’s Big League Stadium, and is home to the Atlanta Braves Spring Training. This stadium is also used for baseball and fastpitch softball. It is a great stadium! It’s just the right size to make you feel like you are at a big-time game, while still having the fun and intimate feeling that is so unique to MLB Spring Training!
The HP Field House is a multi-sport facility; they have even laid down ice for ice skating competitions and ice hockey games! But mostly you will find the HP Field House playing host to cheer, basketball, and volleyball competitions.
The Jostens® Center is another multi-sport facility, and where the RunDisney Expo and Race Packet Pick-Up are usually held. The day I visited ESPN Wide World of Sports, it was host to 6 basketball courts for the AAU Basketball Tournament. It is a HUGE facility that is also home to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Grill and Custom Tee Center by Champion®.
The New Balance Track and Field Complex is a Premier competition and training facility for state, national, and international events. If you ran in the Run Disney Tower of Terror 10-miler, this is where the Haunted Mansion Grave Diggers were waiting for us.
And finally, at the Tennis Complex you will find ten clay courts, including a stadium court! These courts can accommodate anything from a youth clinic to a professional tournament.
If you think that getting around the ESPN Wide World of Sports would be confusing and overwhelming you would be wrong!
With the Welcome Center conveniently located in the heart of the complex, you are never far from help! In the Welcome Center, you will find Cast Members who are extremely knowledgeable about not only the Complex but all of the Walt Disney World Resort. You can do anything from finding event information to purchasing tickets (even for La Nouba) to help scheduling large group reservations and activities. And if you happen to be far away from the Welcome Center, there are several mobile units and Cast Members deployed to fields around the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.
ESPN Wide World of Sports also makes use of video displays throughout the complex. There are also four screen hubs, where four large LED monitors show you event highlights, information, weather, and general information about the complex. These hubs are soooo useful, and if you are lucky you might even catch your team featured in the highlights!
Also, for events you will find maps where you least expect to find them…on the ground giving you an easy way to find your field or venue!
If you want to grab a bite to eat, you have a ton of options!
The most fun option is that you can have pizza delivered to your field. Seriously…how cool is that???
You will also find a mobile ESPN Food Truck where you can buy anything from a snack to a beer, and when the Complex is really busy you will even find local food trucks!
Also, inside of the HP® Field House there is an almost mini-food court with several options available.
But if you are looking to get away from the hustle and bustle, you may want to visit the ESPN Wide World of Sports Grill. You’ll find Burgers, Salads, sandwiches, and even a full service bar to relax in after a fun event. They have coke freestyle machines inside the Grill, which is always a fun bonus!
There are also three really unique offerings at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.
The first is the Custom Tee Center by Champion® where you can customize an event T-shirt with more than 50 designs available to commemorate your accomplishment or you can design your own shirt, like I did! This is a really cool area of ESPN Wide World of Sports, and one that you definitely don’t just want to pass by! I opted to make a shirt that was perfect for training for my upcoming RunDisney races, but there were tons of other shirt styles and designs I could have chosen from. For me, the best part is that the shirts are ready in a snap (mine was ready in about 30 minutes) and if you can’t pick up your shirt until the next day they make sure it stays safe until you can come and get it from the Tee Center.
The second really amazing service offered at ESPN Wide World of Sports is the Gameday Photo Experience. Here you can view your Gameday Photos, create custom photo keepsakes, and take amazing green screen pictures. You can even make posters and fully personalized ESPN The Magazine covers. The quality of these photo products are incredibly high and they are produced with little to no turnaround. It really is perfect for the hectic schedule of sporting events.
Also, you will find the PlayStation Pavilion where athletes between and after games can wind down by playing the ultimate PS3® gaming experience. There is an additional charge to use this area, but it is a great way to bring a team together or celebrate a big win!
As you can see, the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex is much more than what meets the eye and I can’t wait to share more about teams can make the most of their time at the Complex and how to make sure you don’t miss any great opportunities to visit.
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