I have 4 sons who are heavily involved in sports. If you read my blog regularly, you know that our lives are pretty much spent on swimming pool decks, baseball fields, basketball courts, trails and soccer fields. That’s the reality of my life and I’ll tell you what – I love, love, love it! I was an athlete throughout my youth and it’s just wonderful to see that continuation of sports – the team aspect, the togetherness, the determination, the hard work and the competitiveness now in my own children. It was something that was my anchor as a youth and it was a huge part of my life.
Seeing my sons love sports and love being active, and excelling at them… there’s nothing more satisfying for me as their mom. I will take a quick moment to brag about my oldest son William, he is one of the top 10 fastest swimmer’s in the country right now for 9 and under boys. It’s something that I’m very proud of him for because the little guy works so hard and he just LOVES swimming.
Sports, yes… it’s in our blood.
I was invited to an event this past week in Disney World that was right up my alley. Disney hosted a Disney Sports Youth Media Event at their ESPN Wide World Sports Complex and it was absolutely (ABSOLUTELY) incredible.
Let me just say, this facility is the most amazing sports complex I’ve ever seen. There’s nothing like it. I was blown away by the size, the amenities and just everything that is has to offer.
Here are some quick facts about the ESPN Wide World Sports Complex:
ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, which hosts more than 350 events and 350,000 athletes from more than 70 countries each year, is the leading multi-sport venue for amateur and professional sports in the nation, accommodating 70 different sports. The 230-acre complex is where youth athletes get to experience the “I’m Going to Disney World” moment.
Home to AAU National Championships, Pop Warner Super Bowl and National Cheer & Dance Championship, Atlanta Braves Spring Training, as well as Disney-created events, open registration tournaments and training camps.
The complex has multiple indoor and outdoor competition venues, including Champion Stadium, HP Field House, Jostens Center, Hess Sports Fields, New Balance track & field facility, a newly resurfaced tennis complex and a baseball/softball sportsplex.
The ESPN brand becomes tangible through a Production Center that provides competition footage to various ESPN media platforms such as ESPN, ESPN.com and ESPN3.com.
The complex features a 20-zone audio system, 56 high-definition cameras (42 robotic, 10 handheld and four studio) and 40 high-definition video screens, including 3 jumbo screens, that can capture any competition at the complex and display live action, game highlights, player interviews and ESPN programming.
A full-service sports-theme eatery called ESPN Wide World of Sports Grill.
The Welcome Center is an information hub for traveling teams and their families looking for sports event information as well as theme park information, dining reservation and team service. They offer on-site planning services based on the teams’ competition schedule.
The Complex is off-the-hook-amazing. As my sons and I were walking through it on Monday morning after our 1 mile run, they asked me if we had anything like this near us. It just blew their minds how cool the place was for kids to come and be the best they can be. It was an inspiration for them and I love that.
But it’s more than just the inspiration for the kids and the drive for them to be the best that they can be, it’s also amazing for the parents, too. Disney has some incredible Disney Sports Solutions that I feel – as mom – are the most attractive about the Complex.
ESPN Wide World of Sports provides solutions for Team Parents to help create magic both on and off the field of play. I mean, think about it… here these kids are competing in one of the most magical places on earth. Disney has brought together sports, competition, family, fun and together with all the magic. It’s priceless. Their amenities and tools have been designed to simplify the competitive travel process and lighten the burden placed on the volunteer parents. Through outreach and resource development, the goal is to honor, empower and respect the role the Team Mom plays as a key influencer and decision maker in the sports travel experience. Disney offers a sports concierge service that will schedule every team’s trip down to the entire last detail.
Disney Sports Solutions also offers Fundraising Assistance. The teams have the opportunity to sell ESPN magazine subscriptions and keep 75% of all profits (yes, 75%!). Also, Disney has facilitated a program with Enterprise Rent-A-Car and Alamo Rentals which allow teams to earn fundraising dollars by gaining 5% of every rental car purchase through the team’s fundraiser site.
Fueling up during competition is always something that parents have to think and worry about for our children. Well, Disney helps with that, too! Disney offers high quality boxed lunches, bulk pizza, group snacks and stocked coolers to be delivered to coaches, athletes and parents at the team’s competition venue. Disney will also facilitate dining reservations based on the team’s schedule through the ESPN Wide World of Sports Welcome Center.
Photography is always something on our minds for our kids, especially when they’re playing at a high level. Disney has a team of photographers who will take pictures of the athletes during games for parents and coaches to take back home with them. This is for a fee, but I’ll tell you what – what an amazing opportunity to have a professional photographer on hand snapping photos! And you can get some fun photos, too at Game Day Photos!
Also they can watch game day highlights from ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex channel 25 from their hotel room and broadcasted live on ESPN3.com.
You can even have your child and YOU create your very own customized item! Pick your sport of choice and last name and fave number and CREATE AWAY!
Transportation? Yes, they have they covered, too. Disney offers free transportation from the airport to the Disney hotels as well as chartered buses from selected Disney hotels. This saves the parents and the coaches time and energy from renting and worrying about traffic and driving.
Disney has certified athletic trainers on site to attend to athletes needs. This within itself is a huge lifesaver for moms and dads if something happens to their child during competition.
Equipment Drop-off is one of the best Disney Solutions, too! 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 Champion Program:
And for all those siblings coming to watch the big siblings… there’s something for them, too! There’s the Little Champion program which Disney provides activities for younger siblings, freeing parents and coaches up so they can stay focused on the competition.
If you have ANY questions before your arrival, head over to www.DisneyParksMomsPanel.com to assit with ALL planning needs.
This was such an informative event and I just can’t get over the amazingness that ESPN Wide World of Sports has to offer! Make it a destination on your next trip!
Check out the site: Disney Sports News.
Disclosure: Disney covered the expense of my trip.