Playing in a tournament at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at the Walt Disney World Resort is a dream come true for many athletes, and getting there is often a labor of love for Team Parents! Disney Sports Solutions helps make the process so much easier! From fundraising support to photography to custom event merchandise, they have help for you and your team.
Gene Kousoulas, Head Coach of Tappan Zee Softball Team, has brought several teams to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex over the years, and always looks forward to returning.
“The team is always excited to be traveling away from New York, and the fields at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex are always great” say Kousoulas.
Mr. Kousoulas also encourages teams to communicate as much as they can with their Disney Travel Coordinators, because they are there to help and are always ready with solutions.
At a Team Mom Breakfast held in the ESPN Wide World of Sports Grill, Marybeth, a specialized Cast Member, helped several Team Moms whose teams were playing at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex get to know some of the facilities and services offered at the Complex better. Also, they held some pretty great giveaways that were special bonuses for the teams.
The first thing that Marybeth introduced us to was the Welcome Center. The Welcome Center is really the heart and soul of the ESPN Wide World of Sports. It is centrally located in the Complex, and is available to help in any way that they can. At the Welcome Center you’ll find Cast Members who are solutions oriented with extensive training in Sports Travel, Guest Relations, and Event Planning. If you have questions about what to do before and after your competition, this is your one stop for purchasing Disney Theme Park Tickets, making Disney Dining Reservations, finding Recreation Options, Golf Reservations, Planning Celebration Events, and Transportation Tips just to name a few.
If you are out on the fields and need information, help is never too far from even the outermost field! Welcome Center Cast Members are always at the fields and for larger events there are mobile stations set-up around the complex.
There are several dining options at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, but for busy teams on the go there are several ways to make sure that your team is fueled with healthy food that doesn’t take away from their time at the Complex. The first option available is box breakfasts and lunches. These meals are made fresh daily ($6.99 per breakfast and $7.99 per lunch), can be ordered online prior to arrival, are customizable for team members with allergies, and most importantly can be delivered directly to the field where you are playing.
We got to have a breakfast box during the Team Mom Breakfast, and it was a good amount of food that was great fuel for the day. However, you can also have pizzas delivered to your field, there are several quick service options, and there is always the ESPN Wide World of Sports Grill.
The ESPN Wide World of Sports Grill is a quick-service restaurant located near the entrance of the Complex. The Grill is perfect for large groups, and is a high energy environment with six HD displays playing sports and sports news, a full-service bar, and even a replica of the ESPN SportsCenter Desk for fun photo opportunities for your team! My favorite feature is the bank of Coca-Cola Freestyle Machines…but I am a sucker for Cherry Coke!!!
ESPN Wide World of Sports Gameday Photos provides teams with photo solutions that are extremely unique and high quality!
The Gameday Photos photographers are highly trained to catch just the right moment in your athlete’s game, and are available for individual or team pictures. The best part of the Gameday Photography is that once you purchase the CD of images, which are guaranteed to have at least 150 photos, the rights to those pictures are yours and you can print out and share them as much as you can with friends and family!
If you want to take part in this really personal photography experience, you will want to make arrangements in advance. It is also important to know that the sessions are pre-paid and scheduled by the game, however there are multiple game discounts available. Individual Gameday Photos start at $99 for a single game and Team Gameday Photos start at $169 for a single game.
Events at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex are recorded and broadcasted in several different ways to really make athletes feel like they have really made it to the big leagues!
The dedicated video department at Wide World of Sports is truly a Disney-Sized ESPN with a control room, editing bays, and bustling camera operators. It is truly an amazing thing to see!
Parents, coaches, and athletes are able to watch game highlights on a channel 25 in their Walt Disney World Resort hotel room, often games are broadcasted live on ESPN3.com, and highlights are shown on various ESPN platforms such as ESPN.com, ESPN2, and SportsCenter.
The Custom Tee Center by Champion® is a way to customize your experience at the ESPN Wide World of Sports! After purchasing an event or customizable t-shirt, visit the Custom Tee Center by Champion® to really make the shirt your own. With more than 50 designs available to commemorate your accomplishments, the Center located inside the entrance to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Grill is a must-do in the Complex!
A visit to the Playstation® Pavilionis a great way to keep the game going! These seventeen PS3™ systems on 40-inch HDTVs are fully stocked with new game titles. The cost to play is $5 per 30 minutes, and is a fun way to wind down from an exciting event.
Business Center coming soon, and will provide access to computers, printers, charging stations, etc, for those busy parents and coaches who want to communicate about their team’s competition through email, websites, social media, and keep up with their careers while on the road.
The Disney Parks Mom’s Panel is a great way to get pre-arrival planning advice from two ESPN Wide World of Sports Specialists. These Mom’s Panel members provide team moms and coaches with tips, advice and direction to make their youth sports travel easier.
I got to speak with Angie Gregg from Hummelstown, PA, whose daughters love Disney and have competed in several soccer tournaments, and even won the Disney’s President Day Festival in February 2012, at the ESPN Wide World of Sports!
Angie’s family loves how they can add extra days on to their team stay to make these tournaments into vacation opportunities for the whole family. She also encourages Team Moms to play a year ahead for their fundraising events to ensure that as many team members as possible can make the journey for this amazing sports opportunity.
The ESPN Wide World of Sports team understands how important Fundraising is to teams, and offers a wide variety of Fundraising Assistance Programs.
The Dream Team Donation Program – Teams are given the opportunity to raffle off a Disney vacation as well as keep 75% of proceeds from raffle ticket sales. Teams also have the opportunity to sell ESPN The Magazine subscriptions and keep 75% of all profits. And a rebate program with Enterprise Rent-A-Car and Alamo Rent A Car which allows a team to earn fundraising dollars by gaining 5% of every rental car purchase through the team’s fundraiser site
Equipment Drop-off is a really great service that ESPN Wide World of Sports offers! Coaches can drop off their team’s equipment at the front of ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex and it will be delivered to the team’s field of play.
Little Champions program offers fun games and activities available on-site for younger siblings, freeing parents and coaches up so they can stay focus on the competition.
With so many great Disney Sports Solutions, beautiful grounds, and helpful Cast Members at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex it is easy to see why it is a premier sporting destination that you will definitely want to check out!
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