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The Disney Sports Festival Begins!

by Meghann on July 15, 2013

Greetings from the happiest place on earth!

I’m at Walt Disney World for the next couple of days learning everything there is to know about the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex! I’m SUPER excited about this because, even though I’ve been to the complex a few times for runDisney race expos, I’ve never really had a chance to explore it and my knowledge about what the complex had to offer is very limited. So follow along over the next two days as I get to know this hidden treasure of Walt Disney World a little better.

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I made the not-so-long drive from Tampa to Walt Disney World (I’ll never take for granted how close I live to Disney!) after my long run on Sunday morning and met my family for a little park hopping action before the media festivities began.

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Hi Mom! Hi Dad! Hi Sister! Hi Brother-in-Law!

I beelined it to Starring Rolls Cafe (I was borderline HANGRY) and ordered my favorite meal in Hollywood Studios: the turkey sandwich with a side of apple and a fruit tart.

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I devoured everything you see above. I really loved the fruit tart. The tart shell was coated with a dark chocolate shell that really made me go “yum.”  

We really lucked out with crowds and rain. We managed to ride just about every ride in the park (minus Toy Story! I STILL haven’t ridden it!) and, despite a few scary clouds, it never rained. It was a great relaxing day in the park with the fam. I usually try to avoid Disney in the summer due to crowds and rain, but yesterday was just about perfect.

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Kelly and I were BEAT after our long rides and runs over the weekend. After walking all over Hollywood Studios we needed a break and were thankful to have a room at the Boardwalk to crash for a couple of hours.

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We needed our rest because we had big plans for the evening.

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We were invited to the CUP International Youth Soccer Tournament’s private party at Animal Kingdom. The tournament (currently happening at the ESPN WIde World of Sports Complex) is made up of youth soccer teams from all over the world. Randomly Derek’s second cousins from the Cayman Islands are at Disney right now for the tournament (small world, right?).

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Animal Kingdom was only open to CUP participants and guests. The party included food, rides, games, dancing, and unlimited access to FUN!

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Our group headed straight to the food (what else is new?), located in Dinoland.

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The menu was definitely appropriate for the audience: nachos, chicken tenders, meatballs, corn dogs, and Mickey Bars.

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Not the most nutritious meal ever, but I’ll be the first to admit that it sure was tasty. ๐Ÿ™‚

After dinner it was time to play games!

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I can’t tell you the last time I played a carnival game at a theme park! Nothing like a little friendly competition to add some extra excitement to the evening!

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From L to R: Heather, Me, Kelly, Jen

My sister totally kicked my booty at Whack-a-Mole.

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Then it was ride time!

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Have you ever rode Expedition Everest at night?! It’s awesome! The dark skies totally amp up the scare factor here.

The event was fabulous! All of the soccer teams looked like they were having a blast burning off energy and enjoying the empty park. It was basically every little boy’s dream come true. They had a chance to experience a bit of Disney Magic off the field before pushing themselves on the field. Go team!

Have you ever played at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex?

Be sure to follow #DisneySportsFestival for the latest from Disney Sports Festival Media Week!

Psst… Disney was kind enough to cover my room and board over the next couple of days in exchange for blogging about the event. As always, all opinions are my own!

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Rachel July 15, 2013 at 9:59 pm

Oh boy, I’m away at school for the summer and this Disney post just made me SO homesick! Looks like a blast. And nothing beats those turkey sandwiches! I think my favorite Disney food is the strawberry tart in the Patisserie at EPCOT, though. *drool*

Have a blast! ๐Ÿ™‚

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2 Jan @ Sprouts n Squats July 15, 2013 at 10:12 pm

Looks like you are having so much fun! It makes me want to go to Disney Land again ASAP ๐Ÿ™‚ (I’ve not been since I was 8 years old).

That food looked delicious too!
Jan @ Sprouts n Squats recently posted..Trial Tuesdays #10

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3 [email protected] is Sweet July 15, 2013 at 10:23 pm

I played softball there a few years ago! It was a huge college recruitment tournament, and I came all the way from CA. It was really cute-the pitcher’s circles were mickey mouse heads. It was sooo cold though!
[email protected] is Sweet recently posted..Running Mistakes

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4 Sarah July 15, 2013 at 10:23 pm

Such a fun day!! I have never ridden expedition Everest at night but i do love it during the day!!

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5 Jill C. July 15, 2013 at 10:26 pm

Two words: Jeal.Ous. What a fun way to spend a few days! I’ll be interested to hear how you work in your training. I’m not in Ironman training, but I am stressing about how I’ll manage to stay on schedule when I move from Dallas to Oxford, MS at the beginning of August. Four days with moving and family might take its toll!

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6 Sara @ LovingOnTheRun July 15, 2013 at 10:35 pm

What a fun day you have had! It looks like a great time! I would love to go to Disney World and ride the rides at night – I haven’t been to disney since I was REALLY small. Enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚
Sara @ LovingOnTheRun recently posted..A Wonderful Surprise

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7 Sarah K July 15, 2013 at 11:35 pm

Looks like you guys had a blast. Can’t wait to hear more about the complex.
Sarah K recently posted..5 Songs I’ve Been Loving So Far in July

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8 Sarah July 15, 2013 at 11:36 pm

if you guys are by epcot at all, stop by the seas with nemo and friends! i work there! ๐Ÿ™‚
Sarah recently posted..Cady Way Trail

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9 Chelsea @ Designs on Dinner July 16, 2013 at 5:13 am

I’ve never actually wanted to go to Disney World before (except for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, of course), but you make it look like so much fun!
Chelsea @ Designs on Dinner recently posted..Birthday Cookout

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10 Ashley @ Eat Run Live Happy July 16, 2013 at 7:47 am

That looks like so much fun! I can not wait to visit there. It’s on my list! I think we are going to wait a couple years until the kids are older… or we may go without them. Does that make me a terrible mom?
Ashley @ Eat Run Live Happy recently posted..Food Stares At Me.

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11 Karen @ Runner Girl Eats July 16, 2013 at 8:49 am

I haven’t been to Disney in years and this made me want to hop in my car and drive there now. Looks like a blast!
Karen @ Runner Girl Eats recently posted..Three cheers for tricep day!

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12 Lauri July 16, 2013 at 9:17 am

Next time you hit Hollywood Studios, go right to Toy Story mania and grab a fast pass, that’s what we did last spring and had no problem riding the ride. It.is.AWESOME! Totally fun and worth it!

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13 Lindsay July 16, 2013 at 10:09 am

Random question, since it looks like you’re attending this conference on behalf of your blog: does work let you off for these events (and the Hilton getaways?), or do you have to take vacation?

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14 Meghann July 16, 2013 at 11:04 am

I take PTO

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15 Annette @FitnessPerks July 16, 2013 at 12:45 pm

Ahhhhh that looks SO fun! ENjoy!

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16 Andrea @ Run, Eat, Date, Sleep July 16, 2013 at 3:20 pm

I’m uber jealous of all of the fun stuff you’re always invited to do! I used to work at the WWOS back in 2004 when there weren’t too many events there. It was very sporadic!

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17 Lindsay July 16, 2013 at 3:57 pm

GAH Disney is my favorite, EVER. I try to go a few weekends per month. I’ve never stayed in the Boardwalk but am dying to. Looks like a great time! ๐Ÿ™‚
Lindsay recently posted..fitness lately: do you schedule?

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18 amyt July 17, 2013 at 10:38 am

We’ve been there for softball…..they have a awesome sports complex!!! Loved how the rooms were sports themed!

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