The Opening of The Arena at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex

Yesterday we welcomed the opening of The Arena at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, which continues to celebrate its 20th anniversary year with this exciting expansion.

The 220-acre ESPN Wide World of Sports venue is wildly regarded as the leading facility for youth sports in America and hosts 100+ sporting events throughout the year, including NFL Pro Bowl Week and the Atlanta Braves Spring Training.

Among those attending were Maribeth Bisienere, Senior Vice President of ESPN Wide World of Sports and Disney Springs; Faron Kelley, Vice President of Sports; and Jeff Webb, Founder & Chairman of Varsity Brands; along with Minnie Mouse who arrived cheering and wearing her new cheerleader outfit.

(Jan. 12, 2018) – Walt Disney World Resort officially opened The Arena at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, continuing the growth and expansion of the 220-acre Disney sports venue during its 20th anniversary celebration. (From L-R) Varsity Brands Founder and Chairman Jeff Webb, ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex and Disney Springs Sr. Vice President Maribeth Bisienere, Disney Sports Vice President Faron Kelley and AAU President Dr. Roger Goudy participated in dedicating the 300,000-square-foot indoor venue.

We were also excited to see Meg Donnelly (ABC’s “American Housewife”) and Milo Manheim (“Ghost Whisperer”) who we will see as Addison and Zed from the upcoming Disney Channel Zombies movie that premieres on February 16th!

See what Meg and Milo had to say here:


The Arena becomes the third indoor venue at ESPN Wide World of Sports and is one of the largest in the country for cheer and dance events. This state of the art facility will host events such as basketball, volleyball, gymnastics, and wrestling in addition to being specifically designed with cheerleading and dance competitions in mind.


With its focus on these sports, it is only fitting that the inaugural event at The Arena at ESPN Wide World of Sports is the legendary UCA and UDA College Cheerleading and Dance Team National Championship, which runs through this Sunday, January 14, 2018.

This prestigious event is celebrating a milestone of its very own. “We are thrilled to have our 35th College Cheerleading and Dance Team National Championship as the inaugural event in the new arena,” said Varsity Brands Founder and Chairman Jeff Webb. “This year, we’ll host seven premier events and welcome nearly 70,000 athletes to ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Our athletes and coaches are going to be very excited when they see the space, the warm-up areas and all of the other amenities that truly make this building one of a kind. We’re looking forward to a fantastic event, in a great building that’s being hosted by a terrific partner in Disney.”

One of the most fascinating features of this venue is flexibility, as the General Manager of Sports Operations, Jose Mola, shared with us at the event. He spoke about how the venue can adapt to the various events they will host there and how even the bleachers can be retracted and adapted to the needs of each event.

One of the little things I am most excited about is how the bleachers have seats attached, providing an extra level of comfort for spectators! If you’ve ever sat through long days of sporting events or competitions without a back on a seat, you will definitely appreciate the design team going the extra mile to make sure this place is great. The Arena can seat more than 8,000 guests and has the ability to host six regulation basketball courts, six regulation volleyball courts, and/or concert configurations. For dance and cheer events, there can be one large competition space that can be adapted to as many as four competition areas.

If food is your preferred sport, have no fear! They have introduced a few new items at the 7 concession stands surrounding the main arena with 35 additional concession points of sale. There will be some specialty items including hazelnut churros (can we say, “Nutell-a-ll your friends!”), chocolate banana empanadas, donut crusted chicken, Greek Dogs, and an Adobo Chicken Rice Bowl. With all these options you can keep yourself pepped-up and ready to cheer all your favorite teams on!


If you would like to catch a glimpse inside, The Arena will be hosting the runDisney Health & Fitness Expo for Disney’s Princess Half Marathon Weekend presented by Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals this February 22-25, 2018.

What sporting event or sporting event treat are you looking forward to the most? Tell us below!



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Chip and Co Past Writers and Friends