Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A Great Day for a Baseball Game at Disney!


ESPN wide world of sports
Ever wonder what else there is to do at the Walt Disney World resort outside of the four theme parks? If you visit during the end of February or the month of March, you will have the opportunity to watch the Atlanta Braves play a pre season baseball game.  When we traveled to Disney in February for the Princess Half Marathon weekend, that’s exactly what we did!  We looked into this venture months ahead of time. We were excited to see that the Braves would be playing “our team” the New York Yankees, so we promptly ordered our tickets online.  Even though this was a pre season game, these tickets sure go fast!

Anywhere from $10-22 will get you general admission seating on the lawn. Grand Stand seating is $26 -49 depending on which level you prefer ( if you order tickets from November of the previous year up till January, you will see a slight discount in the ticket rate).  These are Disney’s prices for the 2013 season. Like I mentioned before, the good seats sell out fast through Disney. We couldn’t find the seats we wanted through the Disney site, so we used another online ticket site to purchase tickets. We had to pay a little bit more, but we got great seats. We were lucky enough to get four tickets together right between third base and home plate.   According to the stadium seating chart, we thought we would be covered from the sun from the overhang above. As it turns out, the overhang was merely a pergola and provided very little shade if any at all. That’s okay though, we were in Florida. We expected to be hot! This just enticed us to buy cold beverages and icey treats they were selling at the concession stand. 


Yankees vs Atlanta braves
NY Yankees play the Atlanta Braves at Champion Stadium


If the game itself wasn’t entertaining enough ( and it certainly was), we were surely kept entertained between innings. They played trivia games with the crowd, had various contests among the spectators who volunteered, gave out great prizes like park tickets, and of course they had the “kissing cam”.

To get a sneak peek of Champion Stadium and what being at a pre season game is like, check out this brief video.    http://espnwwos.disney.go.com/events/pro/braves-spring-training/

We couldn’t ask for a better day or better weather!  We all had just run Disney’s Royal Family 5K race that morning and this was a perfect way to relax for the afternoon.  And our Yankees did win by the way!  Worth every Penny!

Two of our favorite things: Yankees baseball and Disney
 

Getting to Champion Stadium at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

If you have your own vehicle, parking is free at the sports complex.   If you want to get there quickly, you may want to call a cab a head of time. My sister and I did not have a good experience the last time we ordered a cab at Disney, so we decided on taking Disney transportation.   We were staying at Disney’s Old Key West resort and the concierge assured us that we would have no problem using Disney transportation to get to ESPN.   If you are relying on Disney transportation take this advice and leave in PLENTY of time. We left our resort by 11:30 am for a game that started at 1:05 pm. 

The plan was to go from Old Key West (OKW) to Down Town Disney ( DTD). We decided to take the boat to DTD instead of waiting for the bus.  Once we got off the boat we were already at the end of DTD near Planet Hollywood and had to make our way to the front of the Market Place ( because usually the buses near Planet Hollywood don’t start stopping there this early, at least this is what we were told last month when we were there).  So we get all the way to the front of the Market place, just to find out that those bus stops were being refurbished and that we had to walk all the way back to where we just were to wait for the buses at the stops near Planet Hollywood.  Uggh!   So we were told by the concierge at OKW  that we would need to get a bus to either the All-Stars resort or Caribbean Beach Resort because these are the only resorts that the ESPN bus will stop at.  We see an All Star bus pull up, so that’s the one we get one.   The sign on the bus says “All Stars”  but we do not go straight to the All Stars. We stop at Typhoon Lagoon first. Not one person on that bus knew that we were going to Typhoon  Lagoon, so people were starting to get a little antsy.  The girls that we were sitting beside decided that they might as well get off here at Typhoon Lagoon ( even though they were really heading to the All Stars), but the driver never even stopped. We just looped around the parking lot.  So we then finally get dropped off at the All Stars Resort.   Once there, we waited and waited for an ESPN bus. They are few and far between. By this time, we met other families that were trying to get to ESPN as well. It seemed that it wasn’t easy for anyone to get there.  Finally an ESPN bus arrives.  We think we are on the home stretch to the stadium, but no. The bus driver decides that he needs to go to the Caribbean Beach Resort.  Really? So we back track and make our way to Caribbean Beach ( which was not on the bus sign by the way, it only said ESPN). We can’t pull up under the resort portico right away because there is a delivery truck in front of us making a delivery.  By this time the passengers are really getting antsy and people start making jokes about our situation. Those of us who were going to the baseball game were okay on time, but still cutting it a bit close. There were other families on the bus who were trying to make it to a soccer game and they were starting to panic ( the soccer game started before the baseball game).  Finally we get a chance to pull under the portico and pick up passengers.  Turns out not one person got on or off. So that was a waste of about 10 minutes.   We are finally on our way to the ball game. We get dropped off in the parking lot and then have another 5-8 minute walk to get to the stadium.  We did make it before the game started, but there were a lot of empty seats until after the first inning. As people started filling in the seats, we could wear them talking about how long it took them to get here. They must have came the same way we did!

So the moral of the story is if you are taking Disney transportation to an event in which you need to be there at a certain time, make sure you leave in plenty of time.  We actually thought that we did leave in plenty of time, but we did not account for the extra time it would take us to walk through DTD and back again because of the closed bus stop, and we didn’t know that the buses would be making extra stops other than the ones that were posted.

Now normally during a Disney race weekend, there are plenty of buses that will take you right from your resort directly to the ESPN complex. This is because the Health and Fitness expo is usually held in that location.  This year for the Princess Half Marathon, the expo took place at Coronado Springs. So I wonder if this is why transportation to ESPN seemed so complicated this year?

Have you ever had complications using Disney transportation?  Feel free to share your experience.

 









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