Expect a party of epic proportions when you bring international athletes from Columbia, Mexico, Costa Rico, Panama, Canada, Trinidad &Tobago and a bunch of other countries to Disney World.
Sunday kicked off Day 1 of the ESPN Wide World of Sports Festival and I was invited to Walt Disney World to learn about the spirit of international competition at the state-of-the-art ESPN campus. The festival boasts a monster lineup of fun events for families, from character meet and greets, on site DJ dance party, celebrity athlete appearances, team parent info sessions, movie thrills plus ESPN broadcast experiences. This was my very first time EVER visiting the ESPN Wide World of Sports facility. I know, I know how is that possible when I’ve been to Disney so many times? I don’t know but I can tell you this: I’ve discovered a whole new world!
There are some 220 teams and 3,300 athletes who converged on Walt Disney World for the Disney Cup International Youth Soccer Tournament and they represent the countries mentioned above as well as the Honduras, Brazil, Guatemala, Cayman Islands, US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Aruba and of course the USA. The festival also included USSSA Elite Baseball with more than 100 teams and AAU Boys Summer Basketball with more than 1,136 teams. And get this: they have athletes from second grade up to high school! Even your littlest kid can get an early pro experience at the ESPN facility.
Day 1 was party day – Disney style. We headed to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, DinoLand and “got down” with a DJ Dance Party.
The park was our playground and hundreds of families and athletes played and freely enjoyed the Disney facility. Most were visiting Disney and the USA for the first time. So imagine Disney being your first introduction to the way of the USA. What an awesome intro! The Animal Kingdom party was a melting pot of happiness and togetherness that crossed cultural lines and was void of the air of competitiveness that sometimes can make sports less fun for kids.
DinoLand USA Highlight
Expedition Everest: Legend of the Forbidden Mountain
Ride a speeding train through the Himalayan mountains while avoiding the clutches of the Yeto
Fossil Fun Games
Play carnival-style games in the heart of DinoLand USA
Fly high on a friendly dinosaur above DinoLand USA
Spin and Slide through curves and drops on this time-machine coaster
Take off on a rip-roaring prehistoric tour in the dark to save a dinosaur from extinction
I will tell you a lot more about the ESPN complex in my next post where I outline a tour of the facility.
Earlier in the day we took a family bike ride on the Boardwalk! We’re staying at Disney’s Boardwalk Inn, a hotel that is a throwback to the look and feel of Atlantic City. I’m a Philly gal so I truly enjoyed every bit of walking on the boardwalk while catching a breeze by the water and eating some delicious fare. We had pizza, a Lobster roll sandwich and a cupcake that was heavely! It was truly a fun Day 1!
Disclosure: I particicpated in a Disney ESPN Wide World of Sports tour and was invited to Walt Disney World, given complimentary accomodations, park tickets and other perks. All opinions about my fab experience are my own.