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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


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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Top U.S. Military Surprise Reunions at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on July 1st, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Families make memories at Disney Parks every day – but for a handful of our guests, Walt Disney World Resort is a place where they’ve experienced magical surprise reunions with loved ones returning from tours of duty abroad.

In honor of the Fourth of July, we’d like to share our favorite U.S. Military surprise reunions that have taken place within our “world” over the past few years. Get ready to get the tissues out!

  1. Young guest Adisen Kallas is reunited with her father, Navy SEABEE UT1 Scott Kallas, at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex after his 11-month tour of duty.

  1. Watch as SPC Scott Halquist of St. Cloud, Florida, surprises his three young children at Epcot’s American Adventure attraction.

  1. Mickey Mouse helps one military family reunion come true for the Liddell brothers – Jacob, Joshua and Jackson.

  1. Check out the magic that CW2 Travis Myers created for his wife, Kim, during the 2014 Disney Princess Half Marathon – all the way from Afghanistan.
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Disney Sports Style: Show your #DisneySide – Father’s Day Gift Guide

posted on June 17th, 2015 by Aubrey Hang, Sports Marketing Community Manager, runDisney


With Father’s Day around the corner, ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex has the perfect gifts to thank sports dads and coaches for all they do.

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Check out some of my favorite picks for Father’s Day:

All items can be found at the ESPN Clubhouse Shop at the ESPN Complex. Stop by and pick up some of these great items to celebrate the sports dad in your life!

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What will you get your dad or coach to show their #DisneySide?

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#DisneySide Sports Style: Disney Memorial Day Soccer Shootout at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex

posted on May 20th, 2015 by Aubrey Hang, Sports Marketing Community Manager, runDisney


With the Disney Memorial Day Soccer Shootout presented by Danimals coming up at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex athletes have the opportunity to show their #DisneySide during competition.

This Minnie Mouse hair bow is a great look for on the field and celebrating off as well!

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One of the best things about playing at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex is the fact that it is located right in the middle of Walt Disney World Resort. Athletes can walk off the field and celebrate in their favorite theme park.

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#DisneySide Sports Style: Atlanta Braves Spring Training Style

posted on March 18th, 2015 by Aubrey Hang, Sports Marketing Community Manager, runDisney


One of my favorite spring activities at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida is to attend an Atlanta Braves Spring Training game at Champion Stadium at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

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There’s nothing like mixing Disney magic with baseball. There are new culinary creations to enjoy this year. You can grab a blanket and watch the game from the lawn; with the perfect Florida spring weather makes for a great afternoon filled with great food and even a craft brew or two complementing the out-of-market club. For Braves fans, Atlanta’s own SweetWater Brewing Company’s 420 Pale Ale will be on tap on both the first and third base patios.

My hometown is Michigan, and friends and family can never believe that Champion Stadium is able to secure Bell’s Oberon for their games against the Detroit Tigers before it’s even available in Michigan!

Now most importantly, what is the perfect way to show your #DisneySide at a spring training game? Here are a few of my favorite picks:

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The Mickey Mouse and ESPN Wide World of Sports baseball cap can be found at the ESPN Clubhouse Shop and the Atlanta Braves shirts can be found at the shops in Champion Stadium.

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Individual game tickets are on sale at all Ticketmaster outlets and at the sports complex box office for as little as $14. Get more information at www.espnwwos.com/atlantabraves.

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ESPN’s ‘Baseball Tonight’ Comes to Walt Disney World Resort

posted on March 17th, 2015 by Darrell Fry, Sports Media Director, Walt Disney World


Baseball spring training is already in full swing at Walt Disney World Resort and now it’s about to get even better. ESPN’s popular “Baseball Tonight” show, which airs nationally on ESPN and ESPN2, will broadcast live from ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex all week starting March 23.

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Guests are welcome to join hosts Karl Ravech, Aaron Boone and Tim Kurkjian for six shows over five days and be a part of the live audience outside Champion Stadium at the ESPN sports complex. The shows, which will include a variety of interactive experiences with the audience, will take place through March 27 during which the Braves will play the Phillies (March 24) and the Boston Red Sox (March 27) at Champion Stadium which is the team’s spring training home.

Shows will take place Monday through Friday, 6 p.m.-6:30 p.m. And for you night owls: there’s a special broadcast on Thursday, 10 p.m.-11 p.m.

The “Baseball Tonight” show is just the latest in a growing lineup of ESPN events held at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Last week, the “Mike and Mike” show celebrated its 15th anniversary here with live broadcasts at the ESPN sports complex and Downtown Disney Marketplace. ESPN also staged its “Fantasy Football Now” show at the ESPN sports complex as a part of the ESPN Fantasy Football Convention last summer.

The “Baseball Tonight” live broadcasts are free and open to the public. And if you want to make a full day of baseball out of it, you can also get tickets to the Phillies and Red Sox games at the ESPN sports complex box office or through Ticketmaster.

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Military Heroes to be Honored at Braves Spring Training Game at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on March 13th, 2015 by Darrell Fry, Sports Media Director, Walt Disney World


Once again, Disney Sports is showing its admiration for our U.S. military veterans by hosting a Military Appreciation Day during Atlanta Braves spring training at Walt Disney World Resort.

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Disney Sports is offering half-priced tickets on select seats for military personnel for the Braves game against the Washington Nationals on Saturday, March 21 at 1:05 p.m., at Champion Stadium at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. A military hero will throw out the ceremonial first pitch and fellow military personnel in attendance will be honored in variety of ways, including a sing-along Service Anthem Medley.

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At Disney, we recognize the sacrifice, dedication and bravery needed to serve our country honorably, so showing support for members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families is part of our nature at Disney Parks. For instance, our Heroes Work Here initiative has helped employ thousands of veterans and provided support for military families since it launched in 2012.

So come on out to the ballpark next Saturday and salute our veterans during America’s pastime. It’s one of the best ways to get your spring off to a great start. Tickets are on sale now at the sports complex box office. Select seats can be purchased by military veterans at the special
price with a valid Military ID.

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#DisneySide Sports Style: Disney Track & Field Showcase at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on March 4th, 2015 by Aubrey Hang, Sports Marketing Community Manager, runDisney


Disney Track & Field Showcase, an elite high school competition held at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, is just around the corner. Here are a few ways to show your #DisneySide during the event!

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Girls will want to keep their hair pulled back while competing, so why not use a Mickey Mouse hair tie to show your #DisneySide? These would also be a perfect gift for your favorite athlete.

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There’s also a Mickey Mouse & Minnie Mouse hair tie that is stylish and functional.

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And lastly, keep your hair intact with this rhinestone Mickey Mouse headband, which is perfect for your competition and adds a subtle Disney touch to your uniform.

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All of these items can be found at World of Disney at Downtown Disney. How do you show your #DisneySide at sporting events?

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Disney and Orlando City Team Up to Make Soccer Magic at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on March 4th, 2015 by Darrell Fry, Sports Media Director, Walt Disney World


With Orlando City Soccer Club only days away from its Major League Soccer debut this weekend, Walt Disney World Resort is getting in on the fun.

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We are thrilled to announce today that Walt Disney World Resort is now a founding sponsor of Orlando City, further strengthening our ties to the area’s newest pro sports franchise which played its home games at our ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex last season.

This sponsorship deal means the soccer fever that has been sweeping Central Florida lately is going to be even more visible in and around Walt Disney World Resort. That’s because we are now the team’s official theme park and resort destination, and Disney Cruise Line and Disney Vacation Club are its official cruise line and vacation club, respectively.

When the season kicks off Sunday in front of a capacity crowd of 60,000 screaming fans at the Citrus Bowl, Walt Disney World Resort will have a significant presence at the game much like we will at all Orlando City home games this year and at the team’s new downtown stadium starting in 2016.

The soccer action will happen here, too. We’re planning to collaborate with Orlando City on a variety of soccer events at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in the coming months, further enhancing the soccer experience for athletes, coaches and fans who attend the many youth and pro soccer events at the sports complex.

Ultimately we hope to leverage our collective resources to further elevate Central Florida’s profile in key travel markets such as Brazil and other Latin American countries where soccer is king.

Hope to see you at some of the Orlando City games!

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New Tastes ‘Hit It Out of the Ballpark’ for Braves Spring Training at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on March 3rd, 2015 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


The Atlanta Braves return March 4 for spring training at Champion Stadium at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort – a fun outing in an old-fashioned stadium with throwback architecture to the golden era of baseball in the 1960s.

And what’s a baseball game without a hot dog (and a cold brew?). This season the ESPN chefs have their own triple play with three new tastes on the menu.

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If it’s not a baseball game without a hot dog, try the new Fiesta Dog, a foot-long, all-beef hot dog smothered in nacho cheese, chili, shredded cheddar, lettuce, tomato and garnished with nacho chips.

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If you have a hard time deciding, the Double Header kicks it up the hot dog idea with two takes: a mini-bratwurst and a mini-smoked sausage – sauerkraut on one, peppers and onions on the other, house-made kettle chips on the side.

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And the new Triple Play is a hefty 2 pounds – you might want to share this one, with shredded pork, ham and beef, topped with peppers and onions, shredded Cheddar and potato strings.

Here’s the challenge: these new menu items are only available during Braves Spring Training dates – but each one is worth the indulgence. And on the Disney Dining Plan.

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