It’s no secret – Americans love sports. Baseball, soccer, football, basketball, hockey, golf… the list goes on and on. You name the sport, and you can bet your bottom dollar there’s a club, league or group somewhere in the U.S. dedicated to it.
Yes, we are a country full of ball kickers, throwers, catchers, runners, jumpers, and everything in between. What’s more is we start young. Plenty of adults play sports competitively, but plenty more kids do the same. To achieve great success one must start young and practice, practice, practice.
Every kind of sport, for every age range, is exactly what ESPN Wide World of Sports Center is dedicated to. It’s one of the biggest and most professional sports centers in the U.S., and it happens to be located in the heart of Walt Disney World. ESPN Wide World of Sports features the most sporting events in Orlando, with over 200 events that took place in 2016, and even more on deck for 2017.
Perhaps you have a child who’s set to compete at one or more events in 2017, or you’re just a mega sports fan and can’t wait to head to Orlando to watch some fierce competitions! Either way, here’s a brief sneak peek at a few of the events happening in the first few months of 2017 at the Center.
Sporting Events in Orlando
Disney Girls Soccer Showcase
December 31 – January 3, 2017
One part of the Center is the role it plays in helping to showcase young talent to the big leagues – Universities and the like. The Disney Girls Soccer Showcase is an event to show off the top soccer clubs to hundreds of college coaches looking for talent.
Diamond 9 Sun Classic Winter Showcase
January 12 – 15, 2017
Similar to the above event, this is another chance for athletes to be seen. The top softball travel teams in the country will play in front of college coaches in this premier showcase event.
National College Cheerleading & Dance Championship (UDA/UCA)
January 13 – 16, 2017
This is the most prestigious college cheerleading championship in the country. If you’ve ever wanted to watch a professional cheerleading or dance competition, this is the one to check out.
Disney High School Spring Training
February 27 – April 29, 2017
High school spring training for those teams ready to take it the next level. Featuring: Baseball, Golf, Lacrosse, Rugby, Softball, Tennis and Track & Field.
Contest of Champions National Championship
March 3 – 5, 2017
An event for those who love to dance, drill, and thrill the crowd. This is an open event, meaning you don’t have to prequalify, allowing you to compete against all sorts of performers! This is for boys and girls of elementary age. For more information, visit here.
ICU Cheerleading and Dance Worlds Championship
April 26 – 28, 2017
For boys and girls ages 15 and up, this is your chance to strut your cheerleading and dance talent. ICU is the governing body of cheerleading, and there will be thousands of competitors at this event. Bring your “A” game.
Know Before You Go
If you’ve never been to the Center before, here are a few tidbits you might find useful before your trip:
– You can hire a photographer on site if you’d like professional photos of your child.
– There’s a very big parking lot, so you can drive if needed.
– There are multiple dining options available on site.
– For any and all questions during your time at the Center, there’s a Welcome Center on site, located in the central hub, where you can ask questions.
Now – for the (even more) fun stuff! If you’re coming from out of town for an event at the Center, it’s a great opportunity to turn your event into a vacation. Without a doubt, Orlando is the fun capital of the U.S., probably because it features more theme parks than any other city. Come a few days early, stay a few days afterward, or just try to fit in some fun time during the event.
As far as accommodations go, to keep your event/vacation as relaxing as possible, we recommend staying somewhere close to the Center. Also, it’s always useful to stay in a suite rather than just a basic hotel room. More rooms which will help everyone sleep better (every family has a snorer or two in it), plus the ability to cook from time to time will make life easier.
Without a doubt choose a hotel or resort nearby the Center. Most nearby resorts will offer transportation to and from the Center, so you won’t need to rent a car.
One resort that is both close to the action and features all suites, is the brand new, soon-to-open Grove Resort & Spa Orlando. Located just minutes from Walt Disney World and ESPN Wide World of Sports Center, it’s the ideal place to both enjoy the events at the Center, and enjoy an Orlando vacation. In fact, in honor of the grand opening happening soon, you can enter into a sweepstakes here to win insanely awesome prizes such as a 5 day 4-night stay at the hotel with passes to Disney World.
We hope you’ve found this blog helpful, and that you have a fantastic Orlando getaway! If your kids are competing, we wish them good luck!