Monday, July 15, 2013

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. 🙂

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!

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