It’s no secret that I identify as a sport mom. Both of my boys live, breath and play sports from the time the sun comes up until it goes down. They have yet to meet a sports ball that they didn’t love and in truth, a good portion of my life is spend on the sidelines cheering them on. For some time now, I’ve thought I knew it all when it comes to be a sports parent. I’ve researched travel leagues. I’ve made sure they had the right equipment. I’ve driven then to and from what at times feels like endless hours of practice. But recently, when I was invited to spend a few days at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney, I discovered that when it comes to youth sports, this is THE place to be….the place where sports magic comes to life in the way only Disney can do it and the place where the best young athletes in the country come to play, train and have fun. After my time spent in the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex, I couldn’t wait to share an insider’s view with you and let you know why this is the pinnacle that all young athletes should be shooting for where youth sports soar to new heights and dreams really do come true.
Now, before we get started, let me tell you two important things. While my oldest son (he’s my basketball player ya’ll) was with me on this trip, I was a spectator only at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. I can only image the thrills of seeing your child on the field or court but even as a spectator who had no child playing in the event, watching the reverence Disney gives to youth sports really gave me chill bumps! So, first point, I was NOT here as a parent of player. Second thing, I saw so much over the last few days that it will take me more than one post to tell you all about it. However, I’m so excited about what the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex here at Disney is doing that I had to pull out my little travel laptop, attempt to edit some of my pics and tell you all about it right away. So, I’ll try to be concise and if you’re a sports mom (or dad) make sure you check back in the coming days and weeks for more information.
What Is the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex?
Now, it’s likely that you’re familiar with the ESPN name. My son watches the channel and so does my husband. In fact, even I know that ESPN is synonymous with sports. What I did not know is that the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney boasts 220 acres that cover over 60 different sports. Instead of simply being a place to visit, it’s a place for athletes to train, excel and achieve their dreams. While their facilities are the choice of professional athletes and Olympians when it comes to training, what they really excel at is providing a once-in-a-lifetime experience for youth athletes through their tournaments, training facilities and events.
While I was in town I had the chance to witness the Disney Cup Invitation Soccer tournament that has teams from over 20 countries participating as well as their AAU Basketball Tournament and while I know this is only two of the 60 sports that they offer, it was enough to convince me that when it comes to youth sports, the Disney and ESPN way is the best way! Yes, their facilities are amazing. Yes, they have chefs that work to create dishes that fuel the young athlete. Yes, the have the ability to capture sports reels and pinpoint future stars. But more than that, the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex has mastered the task of making each young athlete feel like they are a start at the highest levels of sports during their stay in Disney.
What Do Young Athletes Gain By Visiting the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex?
Let me start by saying that while everyone can visit the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex (and I highly recommend you do cause it’s crazy impressive ya’ll!), not everyone can play there. However, they do have an amazing amount of sports event each and every year for a variety of skill levels and players. In fact, just for the Disney Cup Invitations, there were approximately 3000 athletes ages 9-19 on site (that’s a lot of kids ya’ll and the picture below is just a small portion of them).
If (OK, let’s just say when) your child’s team gets an invite or is accepted at a ESPN Wide World of Sports event, they can expect next level facilities that allow them to train, learn and perfect at the top levels of youth sports.
They can expect the red-carpet treatment where they feel like stars. They can expect meals and programs designed specifically for YOUNG athletes.
And above all, they can expect to pair their performance with a sprinkle of Disney magic that is unlike anything else they will even experience.
While saying your child went to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex to complete is amazing in itself, the experience they have while here is one that is unforgettable in more ways that I can even begin to explain!
How Can Your Child’s Team Get Involved?
So, while I have SOOOO much more that I’ll be sharing on the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex with you, I just couldn’t wait to hop online and tell you that if this facility is not on your child’s travel or sports team radar, a little birdie (that’s you!) needs to make sure that it is now! To start, head to the ESPN Wide World of Sports website to find out more about upcoming tournaments, events and training! With a variety of options that cover a variety of sports, there is truly something to help take every young athlete’s game to the next level.
Finally, if your child is a young athlete playing at a competitive level, talk to their coaches today to determine if the clinics, tournaments, training and more from ESPN Wide World of Sports are something that can help take your team to the next level!
Tell me, have you ever visited the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney? Or has your child perhaps competed there? Share your experience below!