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MVP Joe Flacco Celebrates Super Bowl Win at Magic Kingdom Park

posted on February 4th, 2013 by Darrell Fry, Sports Media Director, Walt Disney World

Magic Kingdom Park had a distinctive purple haze to it this afternoon as Baltimore Ravens fans joined other park guests and Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco in celebrating the team’s big win with a parade down Main Street, U.S.A.


Flacco rode in the parade along with Mickey Mouse, who dressed for the occasion by wearing his own football uniform, as confetti and balloons swirled around them amid cheers from the crowd.

Flacco, who was accompanied by his wife and other family members, is appearing in the famous “I’m Going To Disney World” commercial that is airing this week. Flacco threw three touchdown passes to lead the Ravens over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII and become part of our 26th “I’m Going To Disney World” campaign.

In case you missed it, here are some photos from the parade.

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Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco Coming to Disney World

posted on February 3rd, 2013 by Darrell Fry, Sports Media Director, Walt Disney World

The world just saw quarterback Joe Flacco lead the Baltimore Ravens to a Super Bowl win tonight in New Orleans, so the only question now is what Flacco is going to do next. Unless you have been stuck inside Space Mountain the last 20 years, the answer is pretty obvious: He’s going to Disney World, of course!

Yep, immediately after Flacco and his team beat the San Francisco 49ers tonight 34-31 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, Flacco stood on the field, stared into a camera and shouted those now famous words: “I’m Going To Disney World!” The iconic moment is being used as part of a national TV commercial that, over the years, has become woven into the very fabric of the Super Bowl.

Flacco was the hero of the game, throwing three touchdown passes – all in the first half of the game – and completed 22 of his 33 passes for 287 yards to lead the Ravens to victory in front of a packed superdome crowd and a worldwide TV audience of more than 100 million. The performance earned him the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player (MVP) award.

More importantly for Walt Disney World Resort guests, the performance means Flacco will be coming to Magic Kingdom Park on Monday for a celebratory Super Bowl parade down Main Street, U.S.A., featuring balloons, confetti and Disney characters such as Mickey and Minnie. It’s the perfect way for Flacco and fans to spend some “Disney Time” which very likely will become magical memories that will stay with them for a lifetime.

Check back on the Disney Parks Blog late Monday afternoon and I will have pictures and video from the parade to share with you.

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Splitsville Hosting Super ‘Bowl-ing’ Party at Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on January 21st, 2013 by Darrell Fry, Sports Media Director, Walt Disney World

The Super Bowl is less than two weeks away and if you haven’t decided where you’re going to watch the big game, I’ve got the perfect suggestion for you: Splitsville Luxury Lanes at Downtown Disney.

Splitsville Hosting Super 'Bowl-ing' Party at Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort

Sure, it’s normally all about family-friendly bowling, food and entertainment, but come Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 3), it’s going to be one of the hot spots to catch the game. That’s because Splitsville is hosting what it calls the Clean The World Super Bowling Party that day. It’s a fun way to watch the game while also helping impoverished areas around the world.

Here’s how it works: Admission is $75 per person (must be 21-and-up) and that includes complimentary appetizers and open bar from 6 pm-9 pm (open bowling is an additional $20) and part of the proceeds from the event will go to the Orlando-based Clean The World Foundation, a non-profit organization that collects and recycles soap and shampoo products from the hospitality industry and distributes them to impoverished communities worldwide.

And Splitsville has plenty of TVs – 40 flat-panel screens total – to watch the game, plus there are three full bars and indoor/outdoor seating.

The only thing left for you to decide is whether the 49ers and Ravens are going to win the Super Bowl. If you ask me (and I know you aren’t), I say go with the Falcons/49ers.

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Bastos Regains Disney Marathon Title in Magical Fashion

posted on January 13th, 2013 by Darrell Fry, Sports Media Director, Walt Disney World

One way or another you had to figure the Walt Disney World Marathon presented by Cigna was going to turn out this way. After all, it was the 20th annual event, so it was only fitting that Brazilian runner Adriano Bastos, the greatest name in Disney Marathon history, would break his two-year drought and win on Sunday. I mean, what else would you expect from the place “Where Dreams Come True?”

So, after fending off another fierce challenge from his fellow countryman and training partner Fredison Costa, Bastos made it back home Sunday – a la to the finish line ahead of everyone else for his seventh Disney Marathon win in the past nine years and eighth overall.

He wants to get to 10.

It was a day of former champions winning again. Virginia’s Renee High won the women’s division for the second straight year, easily finishing ahead of the rest of the field which included more women (57 percent) than men for the first time in the event’s history.

Among the more than 25,000 runners who trekked through all four Disney theme parks were former pop star Joey Fatone, who had never run so much as a half marathon previously, yet completed the half marathon and the full marathon this weekend at Disney.

The race capped a magical weekend of running events, parties and family entertainment that commemorated the 20th annual event. The four-day event drew more than 65,000 runners, including celebrities and famous running legends, that culminated with the 26.2-mile marathon Sunday that included new course enhancements, a new finisher’s medal, a post-race party at Downtown Disney and spectacular entertainment along Mile 20.

For those runners who are craving the opportunity to run another Disney event, they won’t have to wait long. The Tinker Bell Half Marathon is next weekend at Disneyland Resort in California. Meet you at the starting line!

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Italian Soccer Club AS Roma Announces Upcoming Winter Training Schedule at ESPN Wide World of Sports

posted on December 18th, 2012 by Darrell Fry, Sports Media Director, Walt Disney World

You may remember that back in March, we announced that famed Italian soccer club AS Roma would be coming to Disney for their winter training. We now have details on where and when you can catch the three-time Serie A champions later this month at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.
Francesco Totti and the Rest of AS Roma Will Train at ESPN Wide World of Sports

International soccer superstars Francesco Totti, Daniele De Rossi, and U.S. National Team member Michael Bradley, among others, will kick off their training December 29, with their first session at 11 a.m., and continuing through January 1.

At the same time, America’s top youth players will be taking the ESPN Wide World of Sports pitch as well. The Disney Soccer Showcase presented by AS Roma runs December 27-30, and features top teams from around the country. During a special clinic, the dream of taking the pitch with the pros will come true for two youth teams. Players from Orlando’s FC America (girls) and Atlanta’s Concorde Fire Soccer Club (boys) will train together with AS Roma in a 30-minute clinic.
Michael Bradley and the Rest of AS Roma Will Train at ESPN Wide World of Sports

AS Roma Training Schedule:

Saturday, December 29, 2012

  • 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM

Sunday, December 30, 2012

  • 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM
  • 4:00-6:00 PM

Monday, December 31, 2012

  • 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

  • 4:00-6:00 PM

All training sessions are open to the public with paid admission to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

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Brees to Host Prestigious Football Academy at Disney

posted on December 12th, 2012 by Darrell Fry, Sports Media Director, Walt Disney World

NFL star quarterback Drew Brees shouted those famous words “I’m Going to Disney World’’ after his team won the Super Bowl in 2010. Now, he’s coming back to Disney, this time during the summer to launch his first high school football academy.

The Drew Brees Passing Academy and Tournament will make its debut at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort, June 27-30, 2013. The academy is open to all skill levels but is expected to attract some of the most highly-ranked high school players in the country and will involve elite-level instruction from Brees and other marquee NFL players and coaches. The academy participants will learn insider tips related to virtually every facet of the passing game, from the proper throwing motion to throwing on the run to taking command of the huddle, from one of the NFL’s elite quarterbacks.

Also, the athletes will immediately get to test what they have learned by taking part in three days of intensely-competitive 7-on-7 competition, a format which has been widely credited with helping accelerate the development of several current young NFL starting quarterbacks. The 7-on-7 competition will be run by KSA Events, the nation’s premier host of high school sports events.

The unique part of the academy is that the proceeds from it go to benefit Brees’ charitable foundation, the Brees Dream Foundation, established in 2003 by Brittany and Drew Brees to help improve the quality of life for cancer patients and provide care, education and opportunities for children and families in need.

Teams can sign up for the academy at

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Splitsville Almost Ready to ‘Roll In and Rock Out’ at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on November 13th, 2012 by Darrell Fry, Sports Media Director, Walt Disney World

Construction has been underway on the new Splitsville Luxury Lanes at Downtown Disney for several months now, and I bet you’ve been wondering how things are going over there.

Me too.

So, I decided to pop by there the other day to check out the place and find out firsthand what’s going on behind those construction walls. Splitsville founders Guy Revelle and Mark Gibson, two of the driving forces behind the project, suited me up in a hard hat, vest and safety glasses and allowed me to take a look around. Afterwards, they talked to me about what we can all expect when the doors to the place are finally swung open.

I was really interested in what they had to say. I thought you would be too, so we shot this video of them talking about everything from the construction process to the excitement surrounding the greatly anticipated grand opening later this year.

Sorry, I could only show you a little of the actual venue right now because there’s still some construction going on (some of the video you’ll see includes renderings and video from their Tampa location), but I’ll definitely have a full video tour for you once we get a little closer to the grand opening. Be sure to check back here regularly for more updates from me, in particular when I announce the official grand opening date.

Read about Splitsville at Walt Disney World Resort in these posts:

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Fairytale Ending at Disney Golf Classic at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on November 11th, 2012 by Darrell Fry, Sports Media Director, Walt Disney World

Pro golfer Charlie Beljan at Disney Golf Classic at Walt Disney World Resort

It just wouldn’t have been right if pro golfer Charlie Beljan of Arizona had won his first PGA TOUR tournament somewhere else Sunday besides Walt Disney World Resort. I mean, his performance throughout the week at the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic here was a classic fairytale story – rookie player takes early lead then falls ill on the course only to recover the next day and go on to win his first title at the last TOUR event of the season.

Only this was no fairytale, but rather a real-life dream come true for Beljan, 28, whose $846,000 winner’s check was nearly double what he had earned so far this year. And then there’s this: he joins Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus in the fraternity of eight players to win this tournament the first time they played here.

While leading the tournament, Beljan’s blood pressure spiked during Friday’s second round when he also developed a shortness of breath, causing him to nearly collapse at times during the final few holes. After getting medical attention, he returned the next day and continued his blistering play the final two rounds – he had 22 birdies in all – to notch one of the most emotional and inspiring victories in the Disney tournament’s 42-year history.

“Every day I drove underneath that Disney sign coming here (and) it said ‘Welcome to Disney World, Where Dreams Come True,” Beljan said after his win. “And that’s just what happened this week.”

Of course it did.

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All-Stars Tee Off at Walt Disney World Resort for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic

posted on November 9th, 2012 by Darrell Fry, Sports Media Director, Walt Disney World

Funny things can happen when you mix together pro athletes from different sports for a golf tournament such as the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic at Walt Disney World Resort this week.

For instance, former Major League Baseball all-star pitcher Heath Slocumb is playing with PGA TOUR golfer Heath Slocum. Kinda funny, right?

Both Heaths are among the field of TOUR stars and marquee athletes from the NFL, MLB and even professional boxing participating in the season-ending TOUR event on Disney’s Magnolia and Palm golf courses. Among the big-name sports celebs in the pro-am field are Minnesota Twins superstar Joe Mauer, former light-heavyweight boxing champion Antonio Tarver, Tampa Bay Rays pitcher David Price, former Tampa Bay Bucs great Derrick Brooks and former Green Bay Packers star Ryan Longwell.

They are teeing it up again today on the Magnolia and Palm courses with the TOUR pros if you want to come out and watch. There are also food trucks and big-screen TVs to watch all of the big college and NFL games this weekend in between watching golf.

If you can’t make it out, here’s a quick video look at what you’ll be missing.

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runDisney and the ‘Diet Diva’ to Host Meet-Up and Warm-Up for Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend

posted on November 1st, 2012 by Darrell Fry, Sports Media Director, Walt Disney World

UPDATE: Click here for a complete list of attendees. If you are on the list and did not receive a confirmation email, please contact us at Please note that we will not be responding to questions via this email address. If you have questions, please ask them on the Disney Parks Blog, and we will do our best to answer them.

UPDATE: We have reached capacity! Thanks for everyone’s interest in the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend Meet-Up and Warm-Up, and we appreciate your quick responses. At approximately 12 p.m. ET, we will send the meet-up attendees a confirmation email. If you are on the list and did not receive a confirmation email, please contact us at By 1 p.m. ET, we will post a link to the complete list of attendees. Stay tuned to the Disney Parks Blog for additional unique opportunities in the future.

If you’re looking to gain tips and training advice from Gidus and Galloway, they will also be available at the upcoming Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend Expo on Friday and Saturday. For more information, and for additional Galloway and Gidus training details, please visit

What better way to get ready for the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend than by hanging out with runDisney’s newest consultant, Tara Gidus – or as she’s affectionately known, the “Diet Diva.”

If you’re looking for better ways to fuel yourself, before or during a race, or how best to recover, this meet-up is for you. Along with serving as official nutritionist for runDisney, Gidus is also an author and team dietitian for the Orlando Magic.
Tara Gidus, 'Diet Diva' and Official Nutritionist for runDisney

In addition to Gidus, there will be a short training run led by runDisney training consultant Jeff Galloway, plus a couple surprises along the way. Anton Van Zyl, winner of the past two Wine & Dine races, will also be on hand for the morning event.

Galloway, who has run all 19 Walt Disney World Marathons as well as other runDisney events, is well known for his popular Run-Walk-Run training method, and the expertise he’ll share with the 40 selected applicants has helped thousands of runners complete their first marathons and improve their race times.
RSVP for the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Meet-Up and Warm-Up

If you don’t want to be left in the dust, RSVP right now to Only 40 qualified runners will be selected to participate, so be one of the first to apply.

In the meantime, here are a few things you should know:

  • All participants must be available for a 7 a.m. ET start time on Friday, November 9.
  • Qualified applicants will be selected on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • A valid ID is required. Participants must be 18 years of age or older.
  • Limit to one RSVP per email address.
  • Valid RSVPs must include your name. RSVPs that include more than one person or are missing information (e.g. incomplete names) will not be accepted.
  • Admittance to the event is non-transferable and limited to the selected applicant; no additional guests please.
  • The event and individual appearances are subject to change or cancellation.
  • Because this is a running-oriented event, we ask that applicants be experienced runners, able to maintain a 12-minute per mile pace (qualified).
  • Selected applicants attending the meet-up are not required to purchase admission.
  • We will send an email to selected qualified applicants who sent their valid RSVP via email before we reached capacity to confirm their attendance for Friday. We plan to send this email at approximately 2 p.m. ET today, and we will also post a link on the Disney Parks Blog that will include a list of names of all selected qualified applicants. If you do not receive an email from us confirming your reservation and your name does not appear on the list of selected applicants, you were not selected.
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