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Disney Golf Has Your ‘Passport’ To Play Golf ‘Around the World’

posted on January 22nd, 2016 by Darrell Fry, Sports Media Director, Walt Disney World Resort


This is high season for golf in Florida, so getting a good deal for a day at the links may still be a few months away.

Unless you’re looking to play at Walt Disney World Resort.

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Disney Golf recently launched a new promotional deal called “Play Around the World” that offers golfers special rates on a four-round package.

Here’s how it works: If you play a round of golf on each of our four Disney courses (Magnolia, Palm, Lake Buena Vista and Oak Trail), you can save up to 30 percent on your green fees. And you’ll get a souvenir “Disney Golf Passport” booklet.

Just swing by any Disney golf course and be sure to play all four rounds within 30 days of your first round to qualify for the “Play Around the World” deal.

And this is the perfect time to take advantage of this promotion. The Magnolia course recently reopened after being redesigned with powdery white sand bunkers and more forgiving fairways.

Plus, Disney Golf has implemented several new features to help speed up play, such as fixed food and beverage locations instead of roving food and beverage carts, more visible drop zones on holes with water hazards, and signs throughout the course with tips from Jiminy Cricket on speeding up your pace of play.

If you need to tune up your game before you hit the links, Disney Golf offers all-day and half-day golf clinics with Michael Schlager, our PGA Director of Instruction.

To sign up for a clinic or the “Play Around the World” deal, visit www.golfwdw.com or call (407) 939-4653. Or stop by the pro shop at any of our courses and tell them I sent you.

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Costa Does It Again at the Walt Disney World Marathon

posted on January 10th, 2016 by Darrell Fry, Sports Media Director, Walt Disney World Resort


Fredison Costa is only about 140 pounds soaking wet, but he said he felt very heavy on Sunday. Maybe it was from the weight of five – count them, five – Walt Disney World Marathon medals he now has in his possession.

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Costa, the Brazilian runner who trains at Walt Disney World Resort, continued to pile on the victories Sunday morning, winning his third straight Walt Disney World Marathon and his fifth in the last six years.

Costa’s win, along with Natasha Yaremczuk’s victory in the women’s division (2:52:23), capped the 23rd Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna. The signature runDisney event drew more than 100,000 runners and fans for races of all levels, a Health & Fitness Expo and the first-ever runDisney Race Director Series for race executives from around the world.

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Costa, 38, provided the perfect punctuation to the weekend and is quickly gaining on Adriano Bastos for the title of winningest runner in Walt Disney World Marathon history. With his fifth victory, Costa is only three behind Bastos, who is an eight-time winner.

It’s been anything but easy, especially Sunday. His win – he crossed the finish line in 2:33:24 – was the slowest of his five victories, roughly 15 minutes slower, in fact, than his winning time last year (2:18:06). That’s because he was coming off a recent calf injury that forced him to suspend his training for 10 days. And it didn’t help that it was a warm and wet morning, which also zapped some of his speed as he navigated the 26.2-mile course through all four Disney theme parks.

Nevertheless, Costa said he achieved the one thing he wanted more than anything. He won.

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“I was not happy with my time,’’ said Costa, who trains with former Olympic track & field coach Brooks Johnson at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort. “But I’m the happiest man on earth.’’

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The Florida Cup Brings The Beautiful Game to Walt Disney World Resort in January

posted on January 4th, 2016 by Darrell Fry, Sports Media Director, Walt Disney World Resort


You don’t have to travel halfway around the world to see many of the biggest names in international soccer. Just come to Walt Disney World Resort in January.

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Several marquee soccer stars from Latin America and Europe will be here for the second annual Florida Cup soccer tournament at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Some of the elite players expected to play in the tournament include Chicharito Hernandez, the Mexican National team star playing for Bayer Leverkusen, Brazilian soccer legend Ronaldinho, who is playing for Fluminense FC and Renato Augusto, the reigning Brazil League MVP who leads SC Corinthians, plus Santa Fe’s Omar Perez and SC Internacional’s Anderson.

That’s quite likely the most significant collection of international soccer talent ever in Central Florida. In fact, the field is noticeably larger than last year, expanding from four teams to nine and featuring top clubs such as two-time FIFA World Champion SC Corinthians, four-time Brazilian Champion Fluminense FC and Champions League club Bayer 04 Leverkusen.

The action starts January 10 with a doubleheader at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex between Santa Fe (Colombia) and Bayer (Germany) followed by Schalke (Germany) against the Fort Lauderdale Strikers. The tourney continues through January 20 with matches taking place at Florida venues such as Boca Raton and Fort Lauderdale in addition to Walt Disney World Resort.

The tournament also will involve a panel discussion featuring club and league representatives discussing a variety of soccer-related topics, including youth development, sports marketing and global league structures, among other subjects.

Tickets, which start at $35, are available for all matches at all Ticketmaster outlets, including Ticketmaster.com. Check out www.floridacup.com for the schedule, plus other information, and get yourself close to the action.

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Latin Baseball Festival to Be a Cultural Affair at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on October 22nd, 2015 by Darrell Fry, Sports Media Director, Walt Disney World Resort


The Puerto Rican professional baseball games coming to Walt Disney World Resort next month are about to become more than just baseball games.

The Latin Baseball Festival, featuring two Robert Clemente Professional Baseball League teams, is going to be a true festival, a cultural affair surrounding the baseball games at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, November 20-22.

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Before each game in the three-game series at Champion Stadium between the Cangrejeros de Santurce and the Indios de Mayaguez, there will be a festival atmosphere inside and outside the ballpark filled with Latin-inspired entertainment and activities, such as music, food, beverages and vendors, as well as a post-game jam after the Saturday November 21 game.

Among the musical acts expected to perform are Fusion Beat, the Leslie Cartaya Quartet and children’s musical group Atención-Atención, plus additional Orlando-area bands.

Single-game tickets range from $17.50 for lawn seats to $30 for lower level seating. Two-game packages (Saturday and Sunday) are $45 (upper level) and $54 (lower level). Group tickets are also available ($24-$27) as well as suites ($250-$2,000). Tickets can be purchase at www.latinbaseballfestival.com and all Ticketmaster locations, including www.Ticketmaster.com. And the best part is your ticket purchase includes access to the festival.

The games start at 7:30 p.m. Friday November 20; 3 p.m. on Saturday November 21; and 1 p.m. on Sunday November 22. The festival begins at 4:30 p.m. Friday; 3 p.m. on Saturday; and 11 a.m. on Sunday.

This is the first time Roberto Clemente League teams are playing regular-season games within the continental United States, so if you want to experience a taste of Puerto Rico and some big-league baseball in a magical sports setting, this event figures to be a real home run.

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Latin Baseball Festival Coming to Walt Disney World Resort

posted on October 1st, 2015 by Darrell Fry, Sports Media Director, Walt Disney World Resort


When it comes to baseball, there’s professional baseball and then there’s Latin professional baseball, which comes with a cultural flare, and festival atmosphere that’s rarely found anywhere else.

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That unique brand of baseball is coming to Walt Disney World Resort with the debut of the Latin Baseball Festival in November. And tickets are on sale now.

The inaugural event features two marquee Puerto Rican teams – the Cangrejeros de Santurce and the Indios de Mayaguez – playing a three-game regular-season weekend series inside Champion Stadium at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, November 20-22.

Both are accomplished teams in the famed Roberto Clemente League in Puerto Rico which has produced many current and former Major League Baseball players, including Roberto Alomar, Bobby Bonilla, Edgar Martinez, Ivan Rodriguez, Juan Gonzalez, Bernie Williams, Ruben Sierra and Clemente.

More details about the games at Disney will be announced soon, but tickets are on sale now at all Ticketmaster outlets. Single-game tickets range from $17.50 for lawn seats to $30 for lower level seating. Two-game packages (Saturday and Sunday) are $45 (upper level) and $55 (lower level). Group tickets are also available ($24-$27) as well as suites ($250-$2,000).

Play ball! Or should we say, a jugar pelota!

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Playing in the Sand With Disney Golf at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on August 10th, 2015 by Darrell Fry, Sports Media Director, Walt Disney World Resort


No golfer likes hitting their ball out of a sand bunker. But if you have to be in one, the bunkers at Walt Disney World Resort’s courses are some real beauties now.

That’s because we are redesigning key elements of Disney’s Magnolia Golf Course, including the bunkers. We have removed more than 40 trees from the back nine alone and are repaving several cart paths and the parking lot.

The most noticeable difference, though, is around the sand bunkers. In addition to getting an improved drainage system, various bunkers are being resculpted and/or repositioned with all of them being filled with soft, powdery white sand, which really makes them visually appealing. The work will include the popular Mickey-shaped bunker on Hole No. 6, which will be slightly elevated to make it even more visible.

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More trees will be removed on the front nine and those bunkers will also get the same powdery, white sand. All work is expected to be complete by early October.

Many of these tweaks are being made to create a more playable experience for golfers, especially those high-handicappers like myself. After all, having to hit your ball out of a fairway bunker is tough enough without also having a huge tree blocking your shot. To follow the construction progress, check out Disney Golf’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/WDWGolf and get more information at www.golfwdw.com.

In the meantime while the work continues, golfers can take advantage of a special promotion through October 9 when golfers can play nine holes after 10 a.m. for only $25, plus tax, or play the same nine holes all day, plus get a complimentary beverage, for only $39, plus tax.

With all of that golf, chances are your ball will find its way into a sand bunker at some point. But at least now it’ll seem more like a day at the beach.

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‘Beautiful Game’ Returning to Walt Disney World Resort

posted on August 6th, 2015 by Darrell Fry, Sports Media Director, Walt Disney World Resort


On the heels of the FIFA Women’s World Cup, soccer continues to grow in popularity, particularly in the United States. And Walt Disney World Resort guests can see it played at its highest level January 9th-21st when the Florida Cup returns to ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in January for the second straight year.

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The first teams to commit to play were just announced today and once again they include German and Brazilian powerhouses. Two-time FIFA World Champion SC Corinthians and four-time Brazilian Champion Fluminese FC, led by superstar Ronaldinho, are playing along with Champions League club Bayer 04 Leverkusen and five-time German Cup Champion FC Schalke 04.

More teams could be announced in the next few weeks, but the field is already shaping up to be a clash of international soccer heavyweights. Some of the teams are even going to train in Central Florida leading up to the tournament.

Following the tournament’s debut earlier this year featuring four teams, the 2016 event will involve more teams, more games and a greater involvement by ESPN Wide World of Sports which will jointly host the event, along with 2SV Sports, at Walt Disney World Resort for the next five years.

By then, Central Florida could become an increasingly attractive location for marquee international soccer clubs to train and compete before their regular seasons with Disney smack in the middle of the action.

In the meantime, soccer fans can look forward to next year’s Florida Cup, which will put tickets on sale starting in September. Check out www.floridacup.com for more details and stay tuned to this blog for more tournament news.

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Prince Harry’s Invictus Games Coming to Walt Disney World Resort in 2016

posted on July 14th, 2015 by Darrell Fry, Sports Media Director, Walt Disney World Resort


We have a truly royal announcement to share today. Prince Harry is bringing his Invictus Games to Walt Disney World Resort next year. See video here.

The event celebrates our wounded servicemen and women from around the world competing in a variety of sports events at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, May 8-12, 2016.

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The Invictus Games drew more than 400 athletes from 13 countries – plus some 65,000 spectators – in its inaugural year in London in 2014, which was seen by more than 10 million more fans on TV.

The Invictus Games at Disney next year will be the first time the event takes place in the U.S. and is expected to involve a similar number of athletes from up to 14 nations competing in 10 sports – archery, cycling, indoor rowing, sitting volleyball, swimming, track and field, triathlon, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair rugby and wheelchair tennis.

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The idea behind the Invictus Games is that the event uses the power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and generate a wider understanding and respect for all those who serve their country as well as their families and caregivers.

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In case you’re wondering, the word Invictus means “unconquered” and became famous after William Ernest Henley’s 1878 poem “Invictus” which is about strength during times of adversity. The word embodies the fighting spirit of the wounded service personnel who are on the journey to recovery.

We will have more details on this inspirational event in the coming months, so follow this blog for all of the latest developments.

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Actress ‘Pops In’ on Performing Arts Students at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on April 23rd, 2015 by Darrell Fry, Sports Media Director, Walt Disney World Resort


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The Franklin School for the Performing Arts students knew they were going to have a magical trip to Walt Disney World Resort when they arrived for their Disney Performing Arts Program experiences, but it had no idea just how magical it would be.

The group of performers from Massachusetts was surprised during their weekend trip by actress Ashley Brown, star of the original Broadway production of “Mary Poppins”. Brown, who was also starred as Belle in Disney’s Broadway production of “Beauty and the Beast”, spent time interacting with the students, answering questions and imparting wisdom from her long career on the big stage.

The real treat came when Brown delivered a special performance of “Feed the Birds” from the hit musical “Mary Poppins.”

The unexpected appearance by Brown was just another example of the types of magical moments experienced by groups participating in Disney Performing Arts programs, which unlock student potential and help young people make their own dreams come true. Those dreams can involve performing in front of an international audience of thousands at Disney theme parks and resorts or honing their craft in enriching workshops taught by entertainment professionals.

The Disney Performing Arts programs are open to a variety of youth groups who can sign up for a workshop or a performance opportunity at www.disneyyouth.com.

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Little League Baseball Star Mo’ne Davis Shows Walt Disney World Resort How To ‘Throw Like Mo’

posted on April 7th, 2015 by Darrell Fry, Sports Media Director, Walt Disney World Resort


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The whirlwind ride of Little League baseball star Mo’ne Davis made a stop at Walt Disney World Resort this week. The most recognizable 13-year-old pitcher on the planet visited Magic Kingdom Park with her family and got to be the honorary Grand Marshal of the “Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade.”

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Davis, who is from Philadelphia, showed her Disney Side by wearing Mickey ears and a Mickey Mouse shirt. After the parade, Davis spent some time with some little girls near Cinderella Castle, showing them how to hold and throw a baseball. She even played a little baseball with them before taking off to enjoy the rest of the afternoon in the parks with her family.

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The visit to Walt Disney World Resort continues what has been quite a ride for Davis since last summer when the Little League slugger became the first girl to win a game as a pitcher during the Little League World Series. Afterwards, she met President Obama, appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated and in a documentary directed by Spike Lee, published a book and has her jersey in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

More recently, Disney Channel announced it plans to make a made-for-TV movie about her life entitled “Throw Like Mo.’’ But Monday, Davis wasn’t focused on any of that. She was just thrilled about hanging out with Mickey Mouse.

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