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Disney’s ESPN The Weekend Update

posted on July 22nd, 2011 by Darrell Fry, Sports Media Director, Walt Disney World Resort

One thing that’s always struck me is our commitment to regularly reviewing the experiences we provide to our guests and challenging ourselves to bring new opportunities to life. Occasionally, this results in something coming to an end, as is the case with what I’m sharing today. In order to focus our efforts on ESPN’s growing year-round presence at Walt Disney World Resort, we have decided to no longer host ESPN The Weekend.

As you may know, the event was first created in 2004 in support of ESPN’s 25th anniversary and, along with ESPN Club, served as ESPN’s first significant presence here. While the event has continued for seven more successful years, our relationship with ESPN has evolved significantly and positively. This has resulted in new branding for the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, new opportunities for millions of athletes, coaches and fans, and hundreds of hours of ESPN programming, making our guests part of the show. In addition, the sports complex has become home to the ESPN Innovation Lab, which is the official development hub for ESPN’s 3D network.

Moving forward, our focus will be on creating events like the new ESPN RISE Girls Showcase and the ESPN RISE Games, which provide a stage for tens of thousands of athletes from around the country, and providing opportunities for guests to be part of events they’ve only before watched on television, such as the Home Depot College Football Awards and the Old Spice Classic.

We have just scratched the surface of what Walt Disney World and ESPN can do together and look forward to sharing information about new projects as they progress.

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Vikie on July 22nd, 2011 at 5:38 pm

I can’t believe it. I was a teacher for 35 years and I retired. I was looking forward to attending ESPN the Weekend for a retirement gift. It was what I told everyone I was really looking forward to doing. BooHoo!


Tom on July 22nd, 2011 at 5:48 pm

That first sentence is really awkward.


Douglas from MS on July 22nd, 2011 at 6:32 pm

The ESPN The Weekend quickly made a name for itself as a great time at the Studios Park every spring and was something to look forward to. Disappointing news!


Luanne from TN on July 22nd, 2011 at 6:52 pm

Darrell, this is Steve from Nashville, Tn, my friend George and I played golf with you and your friend last October at Orange County National. I am sad to hear about the cancellation, but I know Disney doesn’t make these decisions without a lot of study. I hope you guys will find a suitable replacement. I will be on property Labor Day week, Wine and Dine Half, CMN Golf, and Marathon and Princess Half weeks as well. I need more excuses to visit!


Ann marie from MA on July 22nd, 2011 at 7:30 pm

I’m so disappointed – my son and I have been planning this as a special mom and son trip before his high school graduation.


Dan from FL on July 22nd, 2011 at 7:39 pm

Does this mean the end to the Champions 5k altogether or will it be re-themed and continued to be run?


Walter on July 23rd, 2011 at 8:24 am

My wife and I attended each and every event, and my wife ran the 5k the last 3 years and enjoyed them very much. Sorry to see this event go away.


Jennifer on July 23rd, 2011 at 7:51 pm

I’m so disappointed! My older son loved this event, and it even helped me sell my husband on a second trip to Disney both this past year and the one before. (We also go every summer.) We will miss this weekend quite a bit.


Melanie on July 23rd, 2011 at 9:27 pm

I’m curious to know about the Champions 5K as well. Can you please give us some kind of indication of replacement, etc? Thank you! And for what it’s worth, I’m also very sad to see this event go. It’s a unique opportunity for fans to interact with pro athletes that can’t be paralleled elsewhere.


Dottie from MA on July 25th, 2011 at 1:46 pm

I cannot believe that they are cancelling ESPN The Weekend….We are Annual Passholders & have been going to ESPN The weekend for the past 4 years..planning our winter vacation around it….We’re seriously thinking about NOT renewing our Annual Passes…as it appears that Disney keeps taking things away!!!!! We are VERY DISSAPOINTED !!!!!!!!!


Alan from FL on July 26th, 2011 at 12:58 pm

Very sad to see it go. I finally got to go this year and was looking foward to next year. :(


Andrea on August 17th, 2011 at 9:37 am

Hi, I was about to start planning for March 2-4, 2012 for my son as he always enjoyed the interactive area, as well as seeing and meeting the ESPN hosts. Very sad that you canceled another great event.