I gotta admit: sports confuse me. I've tried since I was little to learn the rules of football, baseball, tennis...nothing seems to stick. So when my friend invited me to see an Atlanta Braves Spring Training Game at Disney, I was a little nervous.
I love my friend, but would I love this game? I love Disney, so would seeing it at the ESPN Wide World of Sports make it better? What if I ask too many questions in the stands and she gets annoyed? But most importantly: does this place sell Dole Whips?
Regardless, I was all too happy to hang out with my pal in the beautiful Florida sunshine and explore a park I'd never had reason to visit before. Wide World of Sports is a beautiful expanse of property that's expertly maintained, as you would imagine, and all of the Cast Members are as friendly as you would find them anywhere else on Disney property.
General Parking is free and you can even hop on an 8-seater golf cart and they'll haul you from the parking lot to Champion Stadium.
Because I know nothing sports-wise, I had no idea the Braves had been using WWOS at their home for Spring Training for TWENTY years! And lemme tell ya, that stadium was PACKED! We saw the Braves vs. the Yankees and the only empty seats were a few waaaay up top! The entire stadium can hold roughly 9,500, so that's a lot of sports fans, sports fans!
We got there a few hours early and were glad we did: parking was awesome and easy; crowds were light; and lines were short for the FOOD!
You can see construction going on behind third base; we were told by Cast Members that they're working on a new, indoor arena that will host cheer competitions, volleyball games, and other events. It's expected to open by the end of 2017, and it looks MASSIVE!
We decided to take advantage of the short lines and hit the Concession Stands before the game started. Another option would have been to have a sit-down meal at the Wide World of Sports Grill next door, but we decided to go with the quick and easy concession stand. There are a few different stands around the concourse, with nearly identical fare, and additional popcorn carts and ice cream stands on the perimeter of the concourse. Beer and frozen cocktails are available, as well.
But what I went face down in was this delicious 100% Angus Barbecue Slaw Dog! Awww, yeah! Bun, Beef, Pork, Slaw: Boom! It was delicious. And it came with oh-so-hot-and-delicious fries. The kind you DON'T even need ketchup for; they're just that good. And another thing I decided to indulge in was the refillable souvenir mug. Refills were $2 each for soft drink or Powerade. Since we were coming back the next day, it seemed like a good deal for us. You can do the same thing with beer, although the color of the cups for that change daily, so you can't do the bring-your-cup-back-the-next-day scenario for that situation. Rats! But for Diet Cokes? All. Week. Long.
My friend got a Beef Brisket Sandwich from another stand, which she said was just okay. Bummer, because my hot dog never stood a chance. Notice those fancy tablecloths underneath my beautiful lunch? Well, we found those atop the 16 COVERED tables we found in the outfield! It really was nice, just to sit out there in the cool breeze, watching the guys warm up and talking to fans from all around.
Then it was time to Play Ball! A fun surprise was seeing Goofy come out to throw the first pitch! Unfortunately, about four guys stood up in front of me to let someone in their row RIGHT as Goofy was throwing. I did manage to catch a quick shot of him exiting the field, though.
They played a full game, which was over a little after 5 pm, and the first pitch was thrown at 1:05. We had great seats, in a covered section, which I highly recommend. It can get super hot sitting that long in the Florida sunshine! And although I never did find me a Dole Whip, I am happy to report that they have Mickey Premium Ice Cream Bars on the premises! Just as good on a warm, spring day!
If you are looking for something a little different on your next Disney Vacation, consider giving a Spring Training Game a try. It's a great excuse to just take a load off and chill in the beautiful weather and give your legs a break from the parks. Disney also offer Travel Packages so you can pay one price for your baseball and park tickets along with your room reservations.
The Braves 2017 Spring Training Season is February 25-March 29. Tickets start at $15 for the Berm (lawn) to $59 for Lower Level Reserved Seating, plus you can get discounts for groups of 10 or more. Also, Annual Passholders can participate in AP Suite Day, where you get special goodies like a buffet breakfast and time on the field during batting practice.
And one of the coolest things is you don't know have to know ALL the rules of baseball to watch. They'll let you in the gates anyway, and you JUST might enjoy it! I'm already looking forward to next season!
TICKET INFO: If you're not doing a vacation package, just buying game tickets, you can get them here, through Ticketmaster.
Thanks so much to our friend Jen for sharing this experience with us. If you want to find out more about her Disney obsession, head on over to MickeyFix.com where she's got all the Disney stuff you never knew you needed.