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The Disney Wide World of Sports Complex

The Disney Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, was opened in March of 1997 and quickly gained a reputation as the leading multi-sport venue for amateur and professional sports in the United States.

Disney Wide World of Sports
The Disney Wide World of Sports Complex

The thinking behind the complex was for Disney to use it as a magnet to attract fans and participants to its Central Florida theme parks and other properties. When fans come to the Wide World of Sports, the Disney folks reasoned, or parents bring their children to participate in events, there's a pretty good chance they'll visit at least one other Disney theme park. They may also stay at a Disney hotel, eat at Disney restaurants, and shop at Disney stores.

But the complex has been far more successful at attracting athletes to participate in events than it has at attracting fans to watch them.

In addition to the Disney Soccer Showcase and several other Chelsea Football Club sponsored soccer events, the complex hosts more than 170 amateur and professional sports and entertainment events each year, including the Major League Baseball Atlanta Braves spring training, the Pop Warner Super Bowl, the Old Spice Classic college basketball tournament, the Special Olympics Florida Summer Games and the World Cheerleading Championships.

The 220-acre complex was built at a cost of $100 million and features the Milk House, a 165,000-square-foot field house which seats 5,500 for basketball; the 9,500-seat Champion® Stadium ballpark; 11 tennis courts, including a stadium court; a track and field complex and the Jostens Center, an 80,000 square foot multi-sport field house.

Soccer events take place at the Hess Sports Fields, which include eight multi-purpose fields, as well as baseball and softball diamonds. These fields can host a number of different sports. Two fields are equipped with lights for night play, and four are made to international soccer dimensions. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers conducted training camp at the facility from 2002-2008.

Brought to You by Chelsea FC

Chelsea FC Logo
In July of 2007 Chelsea FC and Disney announced a long-term marketing partnership, aimed at raising the English soccer club's profile in the US. Chelsea is now the official professional soccer club of the Disney Wide World of Sports as well as a presenting sponsor of the Disney Soccer Showcase series.

The club also appears at other Disney-created soccer events through coaching sessions under its Football in the Community banner. There is also going to be an annual educational exchange program where a Chelsea Soccer Academy team visits Disney's complex and a team from Disney's soccer program trains at the Chelsea football academy.

Hotels in the Area

As you can imagine, there is no shortage of hotels in Central Florida. As you might also imagine, Disney would greatly prefer that you stay at a Disney-owned hotel than one owned by another entity. So, yes, Disney does have a "stay to play" policy.

Rooms are blocked at several hotels for all soccer events held at the Disney Wide World of Sports. All teams are required to stay in one of the tournament hotels as a condition of participation, and they must make their reservations through Anthony Travel, the designated Travel Planner for all Disney Soccer tournaments. Anthony Travel can be reached at (800) 736-6377 or by visiting

Soccer Tournaments Hosted

There are eight youth soccer tournaments that take place at the Disney Wide World of Sports soccer complex. Starting in mid-February with Disney's President's Day Soccer Festival, we then have Disney's Memorial Day Soccer Shootout, in late May, Disney's Six 'n Sun Soccer Fun in mid-June, Disney Cup International Youth Soccer Tournament in mid-July and Disney's 7v7 Soccer Challenge in mid-August.

In the fall, attention turns to the Disney Soccer Showcase Series presented by Chelsea FC. First is Disney's Soccer Showcase Qualifier presented by Chelsea Football Club, which is held over Labor Day weekend, then Disney's Junior Soccer Showcase presented by Chelsea Football Club is held over Thanksgiving. Disney's Soccer Showcase (Boys) presented by Chelsea Football Club is held right after Christmas and Disney's Soccer Showcase (Girls) presented by Chelsea Football Club takes place over New Years.

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