The U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command has announced that the 2022 DoD Warrior Games will take place at the Walt Disney World Resort this August!
Disney shares a deep appreciation for the Armed Forces, their families and veterans. It’s an appreciation that started with Walt and Roy and has continued throughout our nearly 100-year history. We’re honored to continue that proud tradition by welcoming these heroic wounded warriors and their families to the Most Magical Place on Earth for this inspiring competition.
The Department of Defense Warrior Games is an annual event, first held in 2010, that celebrates the resiliency and dedication of wounded, ill, and injured active duty and veteran U.S. military service members.
Hundreds of elite athletes, including those from international allied nations, compete in adaptive sporting events such as wheelchair basketball, cycling, indoor rowing, and wheelchair rugby, among others.
The DoD Warrior Games serve as a way to enhance the recovery and rehabilitation of wounded warriors by providing them exposure to adaptive sports. Participation in the Warrior Games represents the culmination of a service member’s involvement in an adaptive sports program and demonstrates the incredible potential of wounded warriors through competitive sports.
The games are open to the public, welcoming the community and the world to be a part of the excitement and support of these heroes.
The Walt Disney World has a long history of supporting our country’s military service and will continue this legacy by hosting the 2022 Veterans Institute Summit presented by Disney Institute on August 19-20 also at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex.
The summit is designed to empower companies to build effective veteran hiring, training, and support of their own.
The two-day forum will include speakers from Disney’s Heroes Work Here initiative, U.S. government officials, veterans, and military spouses, among many others.
Award-winning 4R Restaurant Group has expanded its food offerings at Walt Disney World Resort with the addition of two new eateries – The Grill by 4 Rivers and The COOP by 4 Rivers.
Both concession venues are located in The Arena at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, which attracts nearly two million athletes, coaches and fans annually for world-class competitions.
The Grill by 4 Rivers is a new concept from the brand inspired by the popular food of America’s classic roadside eateries. The Grill specializes in cooked-to-order items including Angus Cheeseburger, Chili & Cheese Footlong Hot Dog and Corn Dog Nuggets.
The Grill also offers a Beyond Burger, which is made using a 100 percent plant-based patty and is served on a vegan friendly bun.
The COOP is a walk-up version of 4 Rivers’ beloved Southern-inspired restaurant located in Winter Park, FL.
The new Disney venue is the only other location of The COOP, offering a variety of the restaurant’s most popular dishes, including its famous Chicken Tenders, Signature Grilled and Fried Chicken Sandwiches and Chicken Tender Salad.
Both locations will operate only during events being held in The Arena.
“It’s a tremendous honor to expand the 4 Rivers offerings at Walt Disney World Resort with the debut of The Grill and The COOP at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex,” said John Rivers, 4R Restaurant Group Founder and CEO. “We are proud to offer the athletes and fans that come to this world-class sports destination authentic homestyle cuisine from a local brand during their time here in Central Florida.”
In addition to the two new eateries, 4R Restaurant Group also operates walk-up versions of its 4 Rivers Smokehouse and 4 Rivers Cantina Barbacoa in The Arena at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, and a Cantina Barbacoa location at Disney Springs.
The Ripken Experience at Walt Disney World Resort to Bring Premier Youth Tournaments to ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in 2020
ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex and Ripken Baseball announced they are bringing the Ripken Experience premier youth baseball tournaments to Walt Disney World in 2020.
Ripken Baseball, known for delivering big-league baseball experiences to youth ballplayers, will launch with top-level youth baseball tournaments next year for ages 6-18 at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort.
The Ripken Experience at Walt Disney World Resort will encompass 11 ballfields – six youth-sized baseball fields equipped with lights for night games and five professional-sized fields, including The Stadium at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, which hosted big-league spring training games for more than two decades.
“One of the core pillars of Ripken Baseball is to remember to have fun, so what better place to compete and maximize the family sports travel experience than right here at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort,” Ripken said. “We are thrilled to be working with such an iconic and internationally-respected brand as Walt Disney World to provide teams and their families with the most memorable experiences.”
Leveraging the world-class guest service and entertainment that visitors have come to expect from Walt Disney World Resort, Ripken Baseball will offer participants many opportunities to have magical experiences away from the ballfield. For instance, youth baseball participants will be treated to a dazzling opening ceremony and have free time in the Disney parks to experience new and popular attractions, such as Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, which opens Aug. 29.
“At Disney Sports, we create the best possible experience for all of the athletes who walk through our gates,” said Faron Kelley, vice president of Disney Sports. “Working with baseball legend Cal Ripken Jr., and his outstanding youth baseball academy, we will be taking the baseball experience at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex to a new level of excellence.”
ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex joins Ripken Baseball’s lineup of youth sports destinations, including the Ripken family’s hometown of Aberdeen, Maryland; Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Across its facilities and national clinic tours, Ripken Baseball last year hosted more than 70,000 ball players from 42 states and eight countries.
Ripken earned the nicknamed “The Iron Man” because he set the Major League Baseball record for most consecutive games played (2,632). Ripken spent 21 seasons with the Baltimore Orioles where he was a 19-time All-Star shortstop. He was a two-time American League Most Valuable Player (1983, 1991) and elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007.
The Ripken Experience at Walt Disney World Resort is one of several major youth sports experiences held annually at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Others include the Disney Soccer Showcase, Disney Spring Training and the Pop Warner Super Bowl Dance and Cheer Championship.
About Ripken Baseball
Ripken Baseball brings teammates, coaches and families together through its Big League Experiences, while teaching the values of the game, and how to play it the right way – the Ripken Way. Ripken Baseball continues to innovate the game through onsite tournaments, camps and clinics hosted at their state-of-the-art youth baseball and softball facilities – The Ripken Experience Aberdeen Powered by Under Armor (Maryland), The Ripken Experience Myrtle Beach (South Carolina), The Ripken Experience Pigeon Forge (Tennessee), and The Ripken Experience at Walt Disney World Resort (opening in 2020 in Florida).
This year’s Spring Training game lineup will showcase some of Major League Baseball’s marquee teams, including the reigning World Series Champion Boston Red Sox and National League Champion St. Louis Cardinals.
This year’s roster retains many of the players on the 2013 National League East champion squad, including a core of strong young players, first baseman Freddie Freeman, right fielder Jason Heyward, left fielder Justin Upton and shortstop Andrelton Simmons. The Braves’ pitching staff remains mostly unchanged (excluding the loss of Tim Hudson) from the league-leading ERA lineup of last year. The projected rotation includes Kris Medlen, Mike Minor, Julio Teheran, Brandon Beachy and Alex Wood, with Craig Kimbrel, Jordan Walden and Luis Avilan in the bullpen.
Information on the Braves’ Spring Training season tickets, suite/hospitality, group tickets and mini-plans is available by calling our Premium Sales team at 407/939-GAME (4263) and online at www.espnwwos.com/atlantabraves. The popular mini-packs are now on sale, featuring four separate three-game options in 2014 and giving fans their first opportunity to purchase tickets to specific games on the Braves’ 2014 spring training schedule.
Jump, Squat and Press! Disney Fit Challenge Lunges into Competitive Fitness at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex
Inaugural event at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex open to elite, intermediate and recreational participants; Three-day event will test competitors’ speed, strength, endurance, balance and power; Registration opens March 18th
The sport of competitive fitness, which is growing rapidly nationally and internationally, is coming to ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort, the site of the inaugural Disney Fit Challenge this September.
Disney Fit Challenge will be a three-day event (Sept 26-28) involving athletes competing in different fitness challenges that test a participant’s speed, strength, skill, endurance, balance and power. Challenges are designed based on age and skill level with more experienced athletes competing in movements such as muscle-ups and double-unders while recreational participants compete in movements that may include box jumps, kettle bell swings, push-ups, squats and broad jumps. Competitors with the highest scores in their division and age group from the first two days advance to the final day of competition.
A Health & Fitness Expo will feature the latest fitness merchandise, products and apparel during the competition.
“Competitive fitness is one of the fastest growing sports domestically and internationally with hundreds of thousands of competitors with more and more getting involved every day,’’ said Mike Millay, Director of Sports Development for Disney Sports. “We have uniquely designed the Disney Fit Challenge so that there are a variety of skill levels and age groups which will allow every competitor to test their true fitness abilities while also having plenty of fun, and then celebrate their achievements with a family vacation at Walt Disney World Resort.’’
Disney Sports is collaborating with I AM CrossFit, one of the leading competitive fitness organizations in the Southeast, on the staging of Disney Fit Challenge. The event is the first of its kind held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, which hosts more than 350 sports events each year, and builds on the complex’s wide variety of athletic events geared towards athletes of all ages and abilities.
Registration opens March 18, with competition slated for indoor and outdoor venues at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Daily admission for spectators is $16.50 for adults and $11.50 for children and can be purchased at the sports complex box office.
About ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex
ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, which hosts more than 350 events a year, is the leading multi-sport venue for amateur and professional sports in the nation, accommodating 70 different sports and athletes from more than 70 countries. Designed to take youth sports to the next level, the 230-acre facility features multiple competition venues, including Champion Stadium, the HP Field House, the Jostens Center, the Hess Sports Fields, a track & field facility, a tennis complex and a baseball/softball sportsplex. It is also home to the ESPN Innovation Lab, a real-world testing ground for the ESPN Emerging Technology Group that develops ground-breaking on-air products like Ball Track and ESPN Snap Zoom. In addition, the complex features 56 high-definition cameras and 40 high-definition video screens, including three jumbo screens, which can capture and display footage from any event taking place at the complex. The ESPN Production Center produces over 700 hours of live sports programming for consumption around the world. The camera and video screens, as well as a 20-zone audio system, are controlled through the state-of-the-art HD Production Center with direct links to ESPN facilities in Bristol, Conn., New York and Los Angeles. For more information, visit www.disneysportsnews.com for press releases, photos and videos. Follow us on Twitter at @DisneySports and find us on Facebook.Follow us for more updates:
Orlando City Finishes Pro Soccer Classic in Third Place
After a draw in regulation, both sides forgo routine penalty-kicks
In the Walt Disney Pro Soccer Classic third place match, Orlando City SC drew the New York Red Bulls 4-4 on Saturday, March 1, at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. With Orlando and New York electing to forgo a decision by penalty kicks, both sides will finish the Pro Soccer Classic in third place.
“Despite allowing two or three poor goals, there were a lot of pleasing moments for us, especially going forward,” said Head Coach Adrian Heath after the match. “As their coaches just said, we’re difficult to contain with the way we move the ball.”
After controlling possession early in the match, a miscommunication in the New York defense would provide a golden opportunity for new signing Corey Hertzog. Going against the club who drafted him in 2011, Hertzog was in pursuit of a long-floated ball from Darwin Ceren.
Ceren’s ball seemed to be an easy clearance for the Red Bulls defense, but Defender Kosuke Kimura accidentally headed it past Goalkeeper Luis Robles who was on his way to clear the danger away. Hertzog was lurking in the area and slotted it home to give Orlando a 1-0 lead.
In light of Hertzog’s early goal, Orlando would get into their rhythm, and Molino and Hertzog would create a few opportunities that kept Robles honest.
On the other end, the 2013 Supporter Shield winners weren’t shy of going forward either and showed why they were one of the best sides in MLS last year. In response to a cracking effort from Molino that hit the cross-bar, New York progressed their way down the pitch and equalized the match in the 28th minute.
After receiving the ball on the right-hand-side, Midfielder Lloyd Sam whipped in a driven cross to the near-post and Bradley Wright-Phillips was there to place it past Gallardo.
The equalizer from New York was arguably a fair reflection of the first-half, as neither side was ever in full-control of the game. Nevertheless, despite not having as much time on the ball in comparison to the matches in the group-stages, Orlando still looked dangerous in spurts.
Midfielder Darwin Ceren has quickly become a fan-favorite for his contributions on the pitch, and was a key facilitator in City’s attacking plays. As a result, Orlando would create the best chance of the match, in the 43rd minute, after several probing efforts.
After good build-up play on the left-hand side, City worked the ball across the edge of the area to Yordany Alvarez who hit a powerful volley that forced Robles to push it over the bar and into the supporters section.
The play leading up to Alvarez’s effort was almost an identical replication of Darwin Ceren’s first goal for the Lions against Columbus Crew.
To begin the second half, Heath brought on Dennis Chin for Hertzog as his only change during the intermission.
Within two minutes of entering the game, the Chin would score his second goal of the preseason. After Molino earned a corner, Alvarez whipped the ball to the near-post for Chin who nodded it past Robles Robles.
However, Orlando had very little time to celebrate as Wright-Phillips tapped home his second goal of the game in the 50th minute. Wright-Phillips, the brother of former England-international Sean Wright-Phillips, used his pace to get in behind the Orlando defense on several occasions but Gallardo maintained his excellent form with notable key saves.
But in the 68th minute, New York would get the better of the Mexican goalkeeper when Ibrahim Sekagaya scored a tap in. Gallardo made a quality save on the initial free-kick from Orlando-native Dax McCarty, but Sekagya was there to tuck it away after City failed to clear it away.
In the ensuing moments after Sekagya’s goal, Orlando would not lose their fighting spirit and Adama Mbengue, who came on as a substitute in the 57th minute, provided an equalizer in 76th minute.
Stemming from another Yordany Alvarez corner-kick, Mbengue blasted a screamer from the edge of the area that flew into the top-corner.
Nevertheless, Midfielder Jonny Steele would respond with the Red Bull’s fourth goal of the match, only two minutes later.
Steele’s goal marks the second consecutive game in which Orlando has allowed four goals. However, similar to the Columbus match, City would respond and level the game at four goals apiece.
Orlando’s goal occurred after beautiful build-up play in the midfield that allowed Mbengue to release Molino in behind. The Trinidadian quickly latched on to the ball and dinked it by Robles.
“We played a pretty good New York side tonight and I think we made a good account for ourselves by finishing the tournament unbeaten,” added Heath.
With neither side being able to break the dead-lock in regulation, the match would finish as a 4-4 draw. After the final whistle, both clubs opted to forgo the routine penalty-kicks and conclude the Pro Soccer Classic with a tie for third place.
Orlando City’s next preseason match will take place on March 8 against Florida International University (FIU). Kick-off is set for 3 p.m., and the match will occur at Seminole Soccer Complex.
Orlando City SC- GK Miguel Gallardo, D Mason Trafford (Trial), Rob Valentino, Luke Boden, Tyler Turner (Jordan Cyrus trial 48’), M James O’Connor (Anthony Pulis 57’), Yordany Alvarez, Austin Da Luz (Adama Mbengue 57’), Darwin Ceren, Kevin Molino, Corey Hertzog (Dennis Chin 46’)
New York Red Bulls- GK Luis Robles, D Ibrahim Sekagya, Armando, Kosuke Kimura, Chris Duvall, M Lloyd Sam, Jonny Steele, Dax McCarty, Eric Alexander, F Peguy Luyindala, Bradley Wright-Phillips
Time of Match: 6:00 p.m. EST
Weather: — Clear
About Orlando City Soccer Club:
Orlando City Soccer Club (OCSC) is Major League Soccer’s newest expansion team. The club will begin play in MLS in 2015, becoming the league’s 21st club. The Lions’ first team has won two USL PRO regular season titles and two postseason championships and will continue play in USL PRO in 2014 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Outside of the first squad, OCSC also has a youth club, Orlando City Youth Soccer (OCYS) and a U-23 team that participates in the PDL. For more information on the pro and youth clubs, visit www.OrlandoCitySC.com and www.OrlandoCityYouth.org.
One of my favorite times of year is just about a week away! Although it may be snowing where you are, the lawns are neatly manicured, the lines are ready to be chalked, the sun is out, and it is almost baseball season! Pitchers and catchers begin reporting to Major League Baseball Spring Training locations in Florida and Arizona in the next few days. My favorite team, the Atlanta Braves, report on February 13th. That means the beginning of Spring Training is not far behind, starting for most teams on February 26th.
I cannot wait to get back to see my team at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports at Champion Stadium. I absolutely love Spring Training and the access it gives you to some of your favorite stars as well as giving you the opportunity to see the up and comers. You can read about some of my previous Spring Training experiences with the Atlanta Braves in particular as well as other teams here.
The great thing about living in Florida this time of year is the opportunity to catch the Atlanta Braves around at several different stadiums within a couple hours radius of my house. I’m hoping to catch at least one game at Walt Disney World since it is their home field. I am looking forward to the season even more now knowing two of our return players, Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman, have been locked into contracts for at least a couple of years each.
Tickets are available for purchase now to individual games or in what are called “mini plans” with blocks of three games bundled together. You can buy tickets through Ticketmaster online or by phone, or in person at the Champion Stadium Box Office from 9am to 5pm seven days a week. I like the relatively new feature on the website where you can pick out individual seats, which is handy if you are trying to meet up with friends for a game if they’ve already got tickets.
Have you been to an Atlanta Braves Spring Training game? Are you as excited as I am to get back to America’s pastime? Hope to see you there!Follow us for more updates:
Orlando City and Defending Champion Montreal Impact Return for Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic
Lions and Impact among first to commit to the February soccer event at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex; Additional teams expected to be announced soon
Major League Soccer’s Montreal Impact and local favorite Orlando City Soccer Club will compete in the Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex this spring. Additional teams will be announced in the next several weeks.
Montreal, which returns for its third straight appearance in the tournament (Feb. 19 – Mar. 1), is back to defend the Disney Pro Soccer Classic title it won over the Columbus Crew a year ago when it blazed through the event undefeated. Montreal is led by Marco Di Vaio, who was third in the league in goals scored last year with 20.
In just three USL-Pro seasons, the Orlando City Lions have won two regular-season titles and two postseason championships, including last year’s championship. This will be the club’s fourth straight appearance in the Disney Pro Soccer Classic, which will sort of be home games for the Lions because they will play their final USL-Pro season home games at ESPN Wide World of Sports this spring before joining the MLS in 2015.
“We are delighted to once again be competing in the Disney Pro Soccer Classic,’’ said Phil Rawlins, president of Orlando City Soccer Club. “Over the past three years, the Disney Pro Soccer Classic has proved invaluable in giving us game time against the very best teams in North America and preparing our players for the season ahead.”
“We’re excited to have two marquee teams to be among the first to participate in the Pro Soccer Classic. We fully expect this to be the best field in the Pro Soccer Classic’s history. This tournament further shows we are committed to the sport of soccer and now recognized as one of the top training and competition facilities in the world,” said Mike Millay, Director of Sports Development at ESPN Wide World of Sports.
Entering its fifth year, the Disney Pro Soccer Classic is designed to boost interest in soccer throughout Central Florida and establish the area as a prime training and competition destination for pro soccer clubs. Last year, the event at Disney attracted fans from across the U.S. and Canada and gave them a unique opportunity for an intimate fan experience at a world-class facility.
The tournament is just one of more than a dozen popular soccer events held annually at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, which is the leading multi-sports venue in the nation and the official preseason training home of the AS Roma soccer club.
For more information on the Disney Pro Soccer Classic, visit http://espnwwos.disney.go.com. Travel packages are available through GetTravel.com. The packages may include accommodations near Walt Disney World Resort, game tickets, ground transportation, and discounted Disney theme park tickets.
About ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex
ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, which hosts more than 350 events a year, is the leading multi-sport venue for amateur and professional sports in the nation, accommodating 70 different sports and athletes from more than 70 countries. Designed to take youth sports to the next level, the 230-acre facility features multiple competition venues, including Champion Stadium, the HP Field House, the Jostens Center, the Hess Sports Fields, a track & field facility, a tennis complex and a baseball/softball sportsplex. It is also home to the ESPN Innovation Lab, a real-world testing ground for the ESPN Emerging Technology Group that develops ground-breaking on-air products like Ball Track and ESPN Snap Zoom. In addition, the complex features 56 high-definition cameras and 40 high-definition video screens, including three jumbo screens, which can capture and display footage from any event taking place at the complex. The camera and video screens, as well as a 20-zone audio system, are controlled through the state-of-the-art HD production center with direct links to ESPN facilities in Bristol, Conn., New York and Los Angeles. For more information, visitwww.disneysportsnews.com for press releases, photos and videos. Follow us on Twitter at @DisneySports and on Facebook.Follow us for more updates:
Orlando City Soccer Club to Play 2014 Seasonat ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex
2014 season ticket holders guaranteed first choice of seats for 2015 season
Orlando City Soccer Club announced today that the team will play itshomes games at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort during the 2014 season. For the Lions, who aim to finalize plans this year to start play in Major League Soccer (MLS), the complex will serve as a one-year temporary home during renovations of the Florida Citrus Bowl, the Lions’ primary home stadium.
Tickets for the 2014 season will go on sale immediately. Season ticket holders for 2014 receive first choice of seats for the 2015 season, which Orlando City expects to be its inaugural season in MLS.
“We hope our fans are as thrilled as we are to call ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex our home field for the 2014 season,” said Phil Rawlins, president of Orlando City Soccer Club. “With professional sporting event experience, premier soccer fields and world-class amenities, this facility will enable us to play all of our home games in one location and in a venue where our fans will be closer to our players than ever before. We look forward to next year’s possibilities before hopefully heading into MLS for the 2015 season.”
To enhance the experience for spectators, additional stadium seating is planned to surround all four sides of the soccer field at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. With increased capacity of approximately 5,200, the stadium will be one of the largest soccer venues in Central Florida, expanding capacity foreven more fans to attend the Lion’s matches in 2014. Other amenities include free parking and a wide variety of food and beverage offerings.
“The team has really enjoyed playing on top-class, grass surface during Disney’s Pro-Soccer Classic for the past three years,” said Head Coach Adrian Heath. “We’re very excited and hope that our fans will enjoy every match in 2014 from beginning to end.”
The Orlando City games builds on the growing portfolio of professional and youth soccer events at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex as well as adds to the list of major pro sports events held in recent years at the complex, including the Disney Pro Soccer Classic, Atlanta Braves spring training, the Tampa Bay Bucs training camp, the NBA Pre-Draft Camp and Tampa Bay Rays regular-season games among other events.
The Florida Citrus Bowl is expected to re-open in early 2015 after undergoing more than $200 million in renovations.
For more information on the Lions’ 2014 season, please check OrlandoCitySoccer.com.Follow us for more updates:
Sportlifestyle brand becomes official equipment sponsor of Disney Soccerat ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex
Sportlifestyle brand PUMA and ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort have teamed up in a multi-year agreement that will showcase PUMA soccer and elite soccer players, giving the legions of soccer athletes who compete at the complex early exposure to PUMA’s latest soccer products.
As part of this collaboration, PUMA will become the official soccer equipment sponsor of Disney Soccer, which hosts tournaments for tens of thousands of players from around the globe each year. The agreement also includes a co-branded soccer ball created by PUMA that will be used for all youth tournaments, matches and events at the ESPN World Wide of Sports Complex. In addition, PUMA will also help promote Disney Soccer and have a major presence at select soccer events and tournaments including a PUMA retail area offering soccer apparel, footwear and accessories.
“We couldn’t be more thrilled to be working with Disney Sports on this exciting venture,” said Jay Piccola, President of PUMA North America. “We are looking forward to teaming with one of the country’s leading organizations for world class youth soccer programming and bringing this combination to young soccer players and fans alike.”
The widely acclaimed ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex is the leading multi-sport venue for amateur and professional sports, providing one-of-a-kind memorable experiences for athletes, coaches and their families. Having hosted more than 8,000 soccer teams, 100,000 athletes and some 200,000 spectators, coaches and enthusiasts over the past five years, Disney Soccer has expanded, becoming the most popular sport at the complex. Disney youth soccer tournaments include elite events such as Disney Soccer Showcase and Disney Cup International and other events, such as Disney Soccer Academy, that are open to all ranges of athletes.
“We’re excited to work with PUMA, which is known for its innovative approach and commitment to athletes who have a passion for soccer,” said Tom Wolber, senior vice president of Disney Sports Enterprises. “The addition of PUMA’s soccer equipment will complement the Disney Soccer experience for the athletes who play on our fields.”
As the official soccer equipment sponsor for the facility, PUMA will also host special events at the complex, including PUMA soccer equipment launches and retailer events with appearances from special guests and athletes that will bring their unique take on sport and lifestyle.
For PUMA’s first official event at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, PUMA brought the Women’s Elite Showcase to the Disney Cup International event this week. PUMA’s Women’s Elite Showcase brings the nation’s top high-school aged female players and their coaches together for a unique opportunity to play in front of the soccer community and many college scouts. This program is in its third year and for the first time is being played at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.
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.
Sharing your video highlights with friends and family at home is also easy, because ESPN Wide World of Sports makes some event games available on their YouTube channel and their Facebook Page.
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!
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.
This year the Atlanta Braves return to ESPN Wide World of Sports to play their Spring Training games in Champion Stadium for the 16th year. It’s a really great chance to see some of your favorite teams play some Spring Ball.
I grew up an Atlanta Brave’s fan, I even had a pretty sweet Dale Murphy poster in my room, and having their Spring Training games so close to me makes me giddy!
The Atlanta Braves have a full and awesome Spring Training Schedule this year, and even if the Atlanta Braves aren’t ‘your’ team chances are they might be visiting Champion Stadium for a game!
In addition to the regular Spring Training games, for the first time there will be themed games to help bring a little bit of pixie dust and magic to the following games:
Mar 10 – Princess & Pirate
Mar 15 – Star Wars
Mar 16 – Star Wars
Mar 21 – Princess & Pirate
Mar 23 – Salute To Our Troops
For these games, everyone is encouraged to dress up as their favorite characters!
When we visited Champion Stadium for the Brave’s first game of Spring Training, I was really excited to be able to be so close to the Brave’s Dugout! There are a ton of great ticket options available to see the games! Viewing the Champion Stadium seating chart is a great place to start with deciding on which ticket option is the best for your family. And during the game, there are a ton of fun games and trivia challenges that you can participate in to win tickets, fast passes, and other goodies!
I have to say that there is some pretty sweet Atlanta Braves Spring Training merchandise available at the games! I had to walk away quickly before I bought out the whole store!!! I love how the merchandise pays homage to Florida’s Spring Training history and is super fun!
Here are some things you might want to keep in mind as you make your way to Champion Stadium to see an Atlanta Brave’s Spring Training Game:
Make sure that you keep hydrated (and no beer doesn’t fully count), wear sunscreen, and dress appropriately, because you will be in the sun for quite some time!
Items NOT Allowed (NOTE: All bags will be inspected prior to entering the park)
no outside food or drinks
no lawn chairs
Smoking Policy: Smoking not allowed in seats or concourse area. Smoking is only allowed in designated smoking areas.
Children: All ages are welcome. Ages 0-2 admitted free on ticket holder’s lap (no ticket required). A ticket is required for all children 3 and older.
Box Office Hours: Monday-Saturday: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm and Sunday: 11:00 am – 3:00 pm
Will Call: Located at Guest Services (left-hand side of the main entrance). Opens 2 hour prior to the game. Customer must present the actual credit card used for the purchase, a photo ID and Ticketmaster order number in order to receive tickets.
Parking: General parking at ESPN Wide World of Sports is complimentary, however valet parking will be available for $20. I normally skip the valet parking, but I strongly encourage you to think about this option as parking can sometimes be hectic since ESPN WWoS stays busy!!!
I hope that you will travel out to ESPN Wide World of Sports to catch an Atlant Braves Spring Training game!!! I know that I will be back to take Zoe to her first Atlanta Braves Spring Training game!!!Follow us for more updates:
The Walt Disney World® Resort is teaming up with Major League Soccer to bring you the Walt Disney World® Pro Soccer Classic set to take place February 9 through February 23, 2013.
This action- packed event will feature eight professional teams competing in pre-season soccer tournaments at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. In 2012, Fans traveled from across the U.S. and Canada to get up close and personal with their favorite teams at this premiere spring training soccer event.
The participating teams are Sporting Kansas City, Toronto FC, Philadelphia Union, Columbus Crew, DC United, Montreal Impact, Orlando City, Tampa Bay Rowdies.
And Shalon and I were THERE this past Saturday to support our favorite home town team Orlando City Lions while they faced the Philadelphia Union.
While the game ended in a tie, the energy at the pitch was fantastic! Iron Lion Firm showed up to cheer on the guys and lots of fans of the other teams participating showed their support as well! Orlando City Played a fantastic game and while they didn’t come out with the win, the tie was totally fine with us!
PLEASE make sure you follow along with us on Twitter @OnTheGoInMCO for live tweeting of the games! The next Orlando City Game is Wednesday night against the Toronto Football Club! And you KNOW We will be there!!!!!