Click here to see my YouTube channel video on this destination
Growing up in Canada we are pretty much born with a hockey stick in hand. I’ve always loved pretty much any kind of sports, but always had a special place in my heart for Hockey. But in Canada we do have a few weeks of warm weather from time to time and during that warm time I did play quite a bit of baseball. During middle school and high school I played basketball, volleyball and even some Rugby for a very brief time. I think it was partly due to the competition I loved, but also the camaraderie with my team mates and the satisfaction with improving your playing skills. When I was young the facilities we played at were pretty limited, but they did the trick and we enjoyed playing wherever we could.
Flash forward years later and now that we are living down in Florida hockey is around but not like it was in the Great White North. So what is a sports fan to do. Of course with the internet and TV I can still watch all my favorite teams, but there is still something about amateur sports. During a conversation with my parents about Spring Training Baseball they mentioned the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Disney.
I’ve mentioned in the past that for the last few years they started coming down to Florida to see their beloved New York Mets over in Port St. Lucie. Usually they would try to visit other teams in central Florida and a few times came to the ESPN complex to watch some games. I looked up the complex online and was amazed at how big this place was, and it isn’t just baseball/softball fields.
There are fields for Soccer, Track and Field, Tennis, and indoor arenas for Basketball and Volleyball, plus I’m sure a lot more I didn’t even notice.
After parking in the lot you walk up to a central hub with the complex logo in the middle. This is a big photo-op for the athletes, their family and all fans looking to document their trip here.
Just up a little walkway from the hub is the main entrance that takes you to the different fields and restaurant inside. Tickets are required to get into this area, but for most of the events the prices are pretty inexpensive.
Back down by the hub is the ESPN Clubhouse which is like the souvenir shop for the complex. No admission is needed to access this store.
As with all the other gift shops on Disney property there is a lot of character merchandise, but also a lot of ESPN stuff as well from t-shirts to shots glasses.
In the back of the store near a Cast Members only door/backroom area in among some sweatshirts was the main reason for my visit this morning.
This machine has had the same designs for a few years now. I remember visiting this machine years on a previous trip and it was located at the front of the store near the cash registers. When visiting keep and eye out for it as they seem to move it around from time to time.
The machine is a three design electric model. The images on each of the pennies included the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex Logo, Minnie & Daisy, and Team Mickey.
Also during some special events there is an additional penny machine located in the J Center Arena. I went during the Wine & Dine Half Marathon weekend to use this machine. You can read out it here.
This is a cute little set of pressed coins. Getting to the complex without a car can be a little difficult, but there are Disney buses from time to time taking guests over there or of course you can take a cab or uber. You can check the complex website to see a schedule of games that are going on year round. Be sure to buy some tickets and support the young athletes (and some professionals) as their teams play here. This is kind of a hidden gem but a really nice place to take in a great morning or afternoon of sports. The competition is great, the complex is fun and there is even a penny machine for a quick souvenir of your visit.