Around October 17th, an email showed up with the heading “You’re Invited: On the Road to Disney Parks”. Of course the word Disney had me. I quickly opened it and discovered Disney Sports would be traveling to Atlanta to discuss what ESPN Wide World of Sports (ESPNWWOS) has to offer to youth athletes, their coaches and their families.
The dinner reception was held in the SunTrust Club at Turner Field, home of the Atlanta Braves. It was a very intimate group of team moms and local bloggers. Appetizers and drinks were served as we took pictures with Mickey and Minnie, talked with members of the runDisney team as well as other Walt Disney World Cast Members. I had the opportunity to stand on Turner Field and take in the magnitude of the stadium. I also got up close and personal with the race medals on display. There is nothing like touching the race bling for motivation to continue training for the Walt Disney World 10k and Half Marathon in January.
After partaking in dinner and a variety of desserts, the presentation began. Michael Cain, ESPN Commentator & Sports Event Manager at ESPN Wide World of Sports, was the Master of Ceremony.
Tina Trybus, Marketing Area Manager for Disney Sports Attractions, informed us about how ESPNWWOS strives to “put the young athlete in the limelight”. She informed us about Disney Sports Solutions, programs and initiatives to assist parents, team moms, and coaches in the “expanding” world of youth sports. Tara Gidus (@DietDivaTara), runDisney Nutritionist, spoke to us about healthy eating for our youth. She has also written a new book Flat Belly Cookbook For Dummies available for purchase at The Diet Diva. Angie Gregg, one of the Team Sports Specialist for the Disney Parks Moms Panel , was also in attendance. She was able to give insight to families who go to ESONWWOS for sporting events. We had a special guest Warrick Dunn, former running back for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Atlanta Falcons. Mr. Dunn spoke about his mother, playing football as a youth, and his charities.
Here are some ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex highlights I learned:
- The complex is 230 acres and hosts more than 300 events a year.
- The Welcome Center acts as the “concierge” to assist team and their families with theme park information as well as dining reservations.
- The complex has several indoor and outdoor competition venues such as the New Balance Track & Field facility, baseball/softball sportsplex, and a newly resurfaced tennis complex.
The following are examples of the Disney Sports Solutions:
- Fundraising assistance
- Food (boxed lunches, snacks, stocked coolers can be delivered to the athletes, coaches, and parents at the teams’ competition venue)
- Transportation (free transportation from the airport to the Disney resorts as well as chartered bus service from selected Disney resorts)
- Equipment drop-off (the team’s equipment can be dropped off that the front of the complex and delivered to the field where the team is playing)
- Little Champion program (Disney provides activities for younger siblings, while parents and coaches are focused on the competition)
- On-site Athletic Trainers