If you are a Mom of competitive athletes, you’ve probably spent a season or two volunteering as a Team Mom. And if those athletes specialize in a sport that involves travel, you are likely in the midst of setting the tournament schedule for 2014. And if your kids love Walt Disney World as much as mine do, you just might be wondering how their team might have the chance to play in a tournament at Walt Disney World some day. Well here is the post you’ve been looking for!
Thanks to the wonderful folks at Disney Sports, I was honored to participate in the first ever Disney Sports Festival Media Event in July 2013 and while there, we were given a Team Mom’s look at how tournaments happen. But before you can plan your logistics, you need to find out how you can get your team entered to play at the happiest place on earth. The good news is there are a variety of ways to make that happen ~ check it out:
Disney Sports offers open registration tournaments throughout the year. You can also find a variety of training camps over major school holidays and during summer vacation for maximum athlete participation. Notable sports are Disney Baseball (YAY!!!) and Disney Soccer, both of which I’ve seen in action during my visits to the complex in both 2012 and 2013.
Having been raised in the midwest and a spring athlete myself, I had no idea that Disney offers Spring Training programs designed for high school and college teams. While I was a runner, I would have loved the chance to get out of the frozen tundra and travel to Florida to condition and get ready for the season ahead. Apparently Disney Sports had my number, just a few too many years later. Ahem. Even better, the program is designed to include community service projects as part of the team experience. Baseball, softball, lacrosse, track & field, tennis, golf and rugby alike participate.
Because the planning and execution of these nationally recognized events are seamless, you probably had no idea that while ESPN Wide World of Sports is home to national championships for many community-based, recreational and travel sports organizations, they are only the venue partner, not the official tournament coordinator. Both Pop Warner and AAU organize at the local level and then host qualifying regional playoffs that lead to their national championship events held annually at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in sports like basketball, volleyball, football and cheer. Disney Sports works alongside those organizations all year long making sure to provide the experience of a lifetime for athletes and the families who love them.
College recruitment is an entirely different game. As a Mom of 2 teenage athletes involved int the process, its more challenging than any previous efforts simply because so much rides on your athlete being seen by the right sets of eyes. Showcase tournaments are for elite level athletes seeking college recruitment and fortunately, ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex hosts those too. These tournaments attract attendance from hundreds of college coaches scouting top talent in soccer, lacrosse, field hockey and track & field..
So right about now you might be wondering how in the world your team can possibly afford this. You’ll be amazed at the number of resources Disney Sports has to offer to make those team dreams come true. From discounted packages inclusive of team registration, resort accommodation to theme park admission and meal options offered through a variety of travel providers specializing in accommodating youth sports groups, Disney Sports has thought of it all. They also assist with access to fundraising programs too. I’ll be bringing you more posts soon to answer those questions but for now, tell me…
Has your youth athlete ever played a tournament at Walt Disney World?
This post is the first in a series designed to show Team Moms what its like to participate in a tournament hosted by or held at ESPN Wide World of Sports. I hope you find it helpful as you plan your team’s travel tournament schedule this year. For more tips from around the web, stop by Pinterest to check out our Team Mom Tips Board ~ we hope you love what you see there. Thanks so much for stopping by ~ we’ll see you next time!
Disclosure: Special thanks to Disney Sports for inviting me to attend the Disney Sports Festival Media Event. I was not asked to post at anytime and my pixie dusted observations about the event are entirely my own. Clearly, I am a huge fan and have been since my Walt Disney World College Program Days. To see the magic of Disney encompass the passion of youth sports is a wonderful thing.