After our welcome breakfast on Monday, we set off on a tour of the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. We had a lot to see!
Office Max Business Lounge
The office Max Business Lounge is a quiet getaway for the team’s families and supporters. They can sit, recharge, make cheer signs for their athletes, and use the free computer to access and print important documents.
I think phone recharge stations are just as important at business centers as computer access is. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to find a random outlet to charge my phone at (even in Disney world). If you happen to forget your charge cord at home, the lounge has a few options you can borrow. You also have the option of locking your phone up and returning when it’s fully charged in an hour or so.
Does this space next to the Office Max Business Lounge look familiar?
That’s the space in Josten Center where the runDisney Expos are usually held. Just to give you some perspective on how huge the expos are (they take up all the space), there were SIX basketball games going on in the divided space. Impressive, right?
Champion Custom Tee Center
Also located in the Josten Center is the Champion Custom Shirt center where athletes can design custom shirts based off of the sport they’re competing with at WWoS.
Athletes pick the sport (or tournament) for the front, then customize the shirt with patches on the sleeve and their name and number on the back.
Shirts are printed right in front of them and can be a tech tee, cotton tee, or long sleeve.
Opened in 2010, the Welcome Center is one of the most recent additions to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.
The Welcome Centers is in place to help families who are not as familiar with Disney World as other visitors. Most families that come through the WWoS are there to compete first and play second. That doesn’t mean they can’t play like a champion on the field and celebrate like one off the field.
Since most teams’ schedules shift day-to-day based on wins and losses, the Welcome Center is specifically set up to help families with last minute plans with time constraints. The Welcome Center is one of the few places on property that sell discounted after 2:00pm parks tickets. The half-day tickets are only good for the day they’re purchased. They also highly recommend water parks and DisneyQuest for teams with kids that need to burn off energy. Both aren’t as highly trafficked and allow the kids to run around a bit.
The ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex has photographers for hire on a team or individual basis. For $169, a team can hire a photographer to shoot an hour of game time. That hour includes XX amount of actions photos that are delivered on a CD 30 minutes after the game ends and can be shared or printed as the team sees fit.
Do you think $169 sounds like a lot? Yeah, me too. But if there are 10 members on your team that breaks down to roughly $16 per kid. Considering you can take the photos home of CD and print and share as much as you’d like, that seems pretty reasonable.
The team also has the option of posing for a panoramic team shot for an additional cost.
Photographers can also be hired on an individual basis for $99. Instead of shooting the entire team, the photographer would just focus on a single athlete.
Oh, and just for fun, athletes can pose for a cover shot of ESPN in their gear.
Remember the Disney CUP International Youth Soccer Tournament teams we had the honor of partying with the night before at Animal Kingdom? We had the pleasure of catching a bit of the game on Hess Fields.
The tournament is in it’s 14th year and features teams in the U9-U18 categories. All together there are 220 teams, 3300 athletes, 900 coaches, and 6600 spectators that will make an appearance at WWofS between July 15th and July 20th. <– WOW! This is just one of the 350 events that the WWoD will host through the year.
New Balance Track & Field Complex
The New Balance Track & Field Complex is one of the latest additions to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. They actually incorporated it into the 2013 Walt Disney World Marathon for the first time this year. It’s a beautiful rubber track that had me itching to put my running shoes on and take it for a little spin run.
The New Balance team was on hand to introduce us to the track. They’re really excited about their new partnership with Disney Sports and can’t wait to see where it takes them. We asked about the wildly popular special edition runDisney shoes that sold out in minutes at the race expos this year and they’re happy to announce they will have more shoes available for the fall races and they promise the shoe for 2014 is going to be awesome.
We were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the Tom Shaw Speed Camp doing drills on the track. Those runners were FLYING.
Champion Stadium is home to the Atlanta Braves Spring Training. When the Braves aren’t spring training it’s Disney’s big league stadium with signature sports that include baseball and fast pitch softball.
We caught a little bit of the USSSA Elite Baseball World Series, which features 10U, 12U, 14U teams. From July 14th – July 20th, 100 teams will compete with 1250 athletes, 200 coaches, and 1300 spectators in attendance through the course of the series.
Packed lunches are available for competing teams at an additional cost. The lunches are customizable (usually made up of a sandwich, snack, dessert, and a drink) and can be delivered right to the field for a quick, easy bite between games.
We sampled some of the sandwiches available for lunch. I really liked the Italian and the grilled veggie.
Mobile food trucks are also available around the complex for quick and easy access to food (that way spectators don’t need to walk clear across the complex to grab a bite). What’s better on a hot day watching soccer than a froze Orangeade?
Man, did that take me back to my youth! Seriously nothing better on a hot summer day! Especially after winning a big game!
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!