Last year’s race sold out quickly, with more than 17,000 runners registering for the various events during the weekend, all of which are geared toward women. Kellie Nickerson of New Mexico won the inaugural race, which also featured a few celebrities, such as Megyn Price (“Rules of Engagement”) and Sean Astin (“Lord of the Rings” and “Rudy”).
The second annual event should be just as entertaining. In addition to running through Disneyland park, Disney California Adventure park and the streets of Anaheim, runners will also get to run through the new Cars Land at Disney California Adventure park. Like all runDisney events, the 2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon will feature events for the entire family, plus music, entertainment and beloved Disney characters along the 13.1 mile course. The reward at the end is a coveted Tinker Bell medal with its own set of “wings”.
The Olympics are a little more than a month away and everyone is getting into the Olympic spirit – even other megastar athletes like soccer legend Kaká. The Brazilian soccer great stopped by the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex today and couldn’t resist checking out the handful of Olympic contenders who regularly train at the complex with renowned track coach Brooks Johnson.
Kaká, who apparently won’t compete in the Olympics but will compete for Brazil in the 2014 FIFA World Cup soccer tourney in Brazil, mixed and mingled with several Olympic hopefuls including Olympic bronze medalist David Oliver, as well as Mickey Mouse who didn’t want to miss out on all of the fun. Kaka posed for a few photos, autographed a few soccer balls and donned a Disney Cup International Soccer t-shirt.
After several days of vacation at Walt Disney World Resort, Kaká will head back to Brazil. Meanwhile, the Olympic track stars will continue preparing for next week’s US Olympic Trials, which determine who will make the US team that will compete in the Summer Games in London starting in late July.
The countdown has begun to the 20th anniversary of the Walt Disney World Marathon on Jan. 13, 2013, and not surprisingly, our runDisney folks are hard at work putting their creative juices together to come up with some fun new twists for the race.
So far they have added some special entertainment along the 20th mile to commemorate the 20th anniversary and added a post-race party at Downtown Disney. They are also working on the creation of a special 20th anniversary medal, which I’ll reveal later.
But the latest development that I can share with you now involves some unique twists to the course. Here’s a hint: the 2013 Walt Disney World Marathon is going to have some “high-speed’’ elements that will knock this race “out of the ballpark.’’
Think you have it figured out?
Well, just check out this video for all of the new details about the fun enhancements to the 26.2-mile course that will go through the four Walt Disney World Resort theme parks – and a few other places you probably never dreamed about.
This new Splitsville is going to be their first two-level venue and, at 50,000 square feet, will be the largest one in the country – in fact, almost twice the size of any of the other four locations. And it’s going to feature 30 bowling lanes, again nearly twice as many as at any other Splitsville.
This Splitsville will also have a balcony with outdoor seating, as well as billiard tables and live entertainment, making it an ideal place for some family fun outside of the theme parks. Like other Splitsvilles, this one will serve upscale food and beverages, including sushi, amid a stylish interior that features both hip and retro décor elements. Suffice it to say, this is not going to be your father’s bowling alley.
Construction is already well underway at its location in the heart of Downtown Disney near the AMC Downtown Disney 24. Expect a grand opening sometime this fall to mark the arrival of the newest entertainment option among the stream of fresh and fun family experiences that have been added lately to Downtown Disney.
In the meantime, here’s the newest rendering of the location’s exterior and a video that will give you a feel for what it’ll be like inside.
Check out these other posts about Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort:
With the swing of a bat, the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort officially opened 15 years ago today. It was an Atlanta Braves spring training game under the lights against the Cincinnati Reds that featured the likes of superstar Deion Sanders, Hall of Famer Barry Larkin and former All-Star Fred “Crime Dog’’ McGriff.
Were you there?
Back then, the place was called Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex. But over the last decade and a half, the venue has undergone extraordinary growth, including being re-imagined with the ESPN brand, and today stands as the leading multi-sports venue in the nation for youth and pro athletes.
In all, more than 200,000 athletes, coaches and fans visit the 270-acre complex each year to compete in more than 350 different events, which over the years have included Tampa Bay Bucs training camp, the NBA Pre-Draft Camp, the Major League Baseball Draft, the World Cheerleading Championships and the Pop Warner Super Bowl.
To mark today’s 15th anniversary, here’s my unofficial look at some of the most memorable moments in the sports complex’s history:
See the posts below for another look at just a few of the past events held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex:
Famed Italian football club AS Roma is teaming up with ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. As part of the new agreement, the sports complex becomes the official winter training home of the three-time Serie A champions, along with AS Roma serving as presenting sponsor of several Disney-owned youth soccer events. The Rome-based professional team will also have one of its youth academy teams compete in Disney’s Soccer Showcase.
Franco Baldini (photo, right), director general of football operations for AS Roma, and the club’s Chief Executive Officer Mark Pannes (photo, left) recently visited the 270-acre multi-sport complex, and anticipate many benefits to training at Walt Disney World Resort.
“The facilities are tremendously impressive,” said Franco Baldini, director general of football operations for AS Roma. “The ability to come here to train at this state-of-the-art complex in good weather during the Serie A winter break will be a big advantage.”
AS Roma’s involvement underscores the sports complex’s stature as the nation’s top youth soccer venue, which annually hosts pro soccer events as well as many of the country’s most prestigious youth soccer tournaments.
The joint venture also integrates the Italian football club, winner of nine Coppa Italia titles and two Supercoppa Italiana crowns, into the U.S. youth soccer market, where it hopes to expand its fan base.
Over the weekend, Atlanta Braves spring training, in its 15th year at Disney, enjoyed a pair of visits from two big NFL names – both literally and figuratively. On Sunday, Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher got the Braves-Blue Jays game off on the right foot, firing a perfect first pitch strike to Atlanta’s Brandon Beachy. With the help from a couple Disney friends, of course.
One day earlier, as the Yankees came to town, New England Patriots running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis attended his first-ever baseball game, and showed he’s got the natural skill set to have been a two-sport star himself.
Braves spring training at Walt Disney World Resort runs through April 2. New this year is the for Family Field Day Package (four lawn tickets, four hotdogs, four bottled sodas and four chips) for $69 – available for the following dates: March 16, 17, 18 or 30, or April 2. For more information visit espnwwos.com, or call 407-939-GAME.
The fact that she was able to run three yards, let alone 3.1 miles, made her unique when you consider that it was about this time last year when she was in a car accident near her hometown of Winter Haven, Fla., that left her as a virtual quadriplegic. A C-3 incomplete spinal cord injury is what doctors called it that day in April when she was rushed to Lakeland Regional Hospital. She couldn’t move her arms and could barely move her legs.
Yet, after several months of exhaustive and painful rehabilitation at Shepherd Center, she regained the use of arms and legs and set a goal of running in the 5K during Disney’s Princess Half Marathon Weekend. Her doctors called it “remarkable.’’ I would argue it was a little magical too. I mean, this is the place where dreams come true, right?
In typical Disney fashion, her entire rehab team decided to run with her. And yes, they all finished the race. Together.
Say this for Rachel Booth: she sure knows how to make a grand entrance.
Booth of Mandeville, La., signed up to run her first Princess Half Marathon at Walt Disney World Resort this weekend and made quite an impression by not only winning the 13.1-mile race in record time but she also achieved a “coast-to-coast’’ milestone. The reigning two-time winner of the Disneyland Half Marathon in Anaheim, Ca., Booth became the first person to capture women’s titles at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts.
It was quite a feat. Booth didn’t just win; she dominated, leading the race from start to finish. In fact, she likened the race to a “good morning run.’’ About the only thing she didn’t do Sunday was beat herself. Her winning time of 1:18:11 was just a tad slower than her winning time of 1:18:01 at the Disneyland Half Marathon last fall.
Still, she crossed the finish line amid a blizzards of confetti, music, cheers and Mickey and Minnie Mouse. And in typical Disney storybook fashion, it wasn’t the record time or the bi-coastal milestone that mattered to her the most, but rather having her family – her husband, daughter and son – on hand that made the moment memorable.
“This was a lot of fun to have my two children there to enjoy the whole experience and just to see mommy cross the finish line with Minnie and Mickey,” Booth said. “…It definitely has a little bit of a special place in my heart.’’
At the sports complex here at Walt Disney World Resort, fans will get to see eight pro soccer teams, including Major League Soccer (MLS) Cup finalist the Houston Dynamo and reigning USL Champion Orlando City Soccer. That’s twice as many teams competing as last year. The other MLS league teams are Sporting KC, FC Dallas, Montreal Impact, Toronto FC and Vancouver Whitecaps FC, who will be joined this year for the first time by Sweden’s B.K. Hacken.
This pre-season event starts Friday with an MLS Eastern Conference rematch between Houston and Sporting KC – the first time the two have faced each other since last season’s playoffs. The championship game is Saturday March 3 at 8 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at all Ticketmaster outlets and at the sports complex box office.
If you can’t make it out to the sports complex for the games, check out the action online as all games will be streamed live on MLSsoccer.com except for the championship game which will be shown on ESPN3.com, ESPN’s new broadband channel.