Getting the Best Spot for the Big Game: Strategizing and NEW VIP Seating at Disney World’s ESPN Club

So apparently there’s a this thing that happens in the winter called football.

It’s not my personal bag of chips, but my husband is all but obsessed with it. We’ve spent many an hour during our Disney vacations strategizing about how to make sure he’ll get to see his beloved Giants games on TV while we’re in Florida. (Well, probably not such an issue this year … but I digress.)

The finest place at Disney World to watch any big televised sporting event is the ESPN Club, located on the Boardwalk, just past the International Gateway exit from Epcot. And they’ve just introduced a brand new VIP seating option for game day… . More about that in a minute.

They’ve got cold brew on tap, the best wings in town, and most importantly, approximately a billion television sets tuned to sports channels.

ESPN Club -- With a line to get in on Game Day!

Heck, they’ve even got TVs in the bathrooms.

Restroom Stall TV

And like any good sports bar, there’s lots of friendly banter among fans of rival teams.

Sounds perfect, right? The only problem is that because it’s such an awesome place, and because the number of venues to watch non-market games at WDW is fairly limited, the ESPN Club tends to fill up quickly. Without a plan, you’ll end up shut out of ESPN, scrambling to find a cab to watch your game at an off-site Applebee’s.

Don't Miss The Chance to See the Game in Disney World!

Here are some tips to make sure that you get in to watch your game in style:

NEW VIP Seating and Reservations

During football games, ESPN is now offering a VIP seating option.

With VIP seating, you can make reservations for your game of choice. This is particularly notable, because this is the only way to secure a reservation at ESPN Club. Theoretically, you can do this through the main Disney Dining Line (407-WDW-DINE), but when I called to give it a shot, they had no idea what I was talking about. I had much better luck calling ESPN Club directly at 407-939-1177. The cast member who answered there was super knowledgeable about game times and was happy to take a reservation.

The restaurant is open from 11:30 a.m.-1:00 a.m., so that’s when they’ll be [Read more…]

2011 Wine and Dine Weekend Events in Disney World

Register now to participate in the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend events September 30 – October 1, 2011. Runners registered for the half marathon or half marathon relay will be able to eat and sip their way through select areas of the 2011 Epcot Food and Wine Festival at a private party after the race.

The race will begin at the ESPN World of Sports Complex and travel through two Disney parks before heading to Epcot’s finish line. Along the way, you’ll enjoy on-course refreshments and Disney entertainment.

There’s lots of fun events over the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend! Click on the links for all the details on each race and event!

Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon
This 13.1 mile race begins at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex and winds through Disney parks to finish at Epcot. The Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon is run at night (hopefully it’ll be cooler!), and you’ll encounter plenty of entertainment along the course. Runners get to enjoy the Wine and Dine Half-Marathon Finish Line Party at Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival after the race. See below how your family can join you, too!

Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Relay
Not ready to run the whole 13.1 miles on your own? Share it with a friend in the Wine and Dine Half Marathon Relay! Runner 1 will take on the first 4.8 miles and your relay partner will finish the last 8.3 miles. Medals will be rewarded to both runners, and then it’s off to the after-hours party inside Epcot.

Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Finish Line Party
Cheer for your favorite runner, then hit the after-party at the finish line! This year’s party will be tougher to get into than last year’s, but tickets will be available. Details here.

Disney Family Fun Run 5K
The Disney Wine and Dine Family Fun Run 5K is for everyone — grownups and kids alike — including children in strollers! Race through Animal Kingdom park and don’t forget to get your photo taken with the characters along the way!

Disney Kids’ Races
Kids 8 and younger flock to these races. There’s even a race for crawlers! After the Disney Disney Wine and Dine Weekend Kids’ Races, kids are awarded medals and can enjoy after-race refreshments. These races are held at the ESPN Wild World of Sports Complex.

Run to Eat!! Are you running this year? Let us know in the comments below!

2011 Disney World Wine and Dine Half Marathon Registration Open

On your mark, get set, Register! Registration is now open for the 2011 Wine and Dine Half Marathon, which will take place at the beginning of the 2011 Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

The race, scheduled for Saturday, October 1, 2011, will feature Disney entertainment along the course. Runners – and foodies – will be able to run a half marathon at night through three inspiring Disney parks! You can even split it up into a relay with a partner! Do not miss this motivating Runners’ Night Out, which rallied over 11,000 runners to participate last year and sold out two months in advance!


Once again, the marathon takes place at night, the first Saturday of the Food and Wine Festival. Prices, times and marathon features are subject to change.

Date: October 1, 2011, 10PM
Start: ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex
Finish: Epcot® World Showcase
Costs for Half Marathon:
$145 by March 27, 2011
$155 between March 28 and May 8, 2011
$165 on or after May 9, 2011


Participants must be 14 years of age or older. Currently, registration is open only for the half-marathon. Registration for the half-marathon relay and 5K will open soon.

With registration, runners receive: [Read more…]

ESPN Club Review: Preserving What We’ve Got

Editor’s Note: As of May 2013, hot dogs are no longer being offered and the nachos are served with BBQ Pork.

In light of the news that the Walt Disney Company has already closed or will be closing most of the existing ESPN Zone restaurants, I thought it was timely to pay homage to the ESPN Club in Walt Disney World. This place happens to be a favorite of ours here on Disney Food Blog, seeing as it’s one of the only places to get my favorite food: Buffalo Chicken Wings.

Located on Disney World’s Boardwalk, the ESPN Club is more than a restaurant — it’s a sports fan’s dream come true. With televisions everywhere showcasing current ESPN sports, classic sports, and more; a live studio right in the restaurant; and a huge game arcade under the same roof, there’s really no reason to leave once you arrive! Speaking of arriving, be sure to do so EARLY on game days — this place fills up fast.

The Place Can Get Pretty Busy on Game Day

Once you enter the restaurant, you get to choose whether you’ll sit in the dining room or the bar area. How to choose? Easy: if you want the potential to watch Mike and Mike in the Morning do their ESPN show, sit in the Dining Room, which doubles as a studio. If you want to play computer games and have your own personal [Read more…]

The Best Hot Dogs in Disney World

Hot dog, hot dog, hot diggity dog! I am sooo excited to finally have pictures of all of my favorite hot dogs in Disney World! How excited, you ask? So excited, that I decided to do a blog post about it.

Now, some of you might not think that hot dogs (or “hotted dogs,” as Michael Crawford would say) are that big a deal. “So what?” you say. “A hot dog’s a hot dog.”

Not so, my friends. My mother is a hot dog enthusiast, and I must have gotten some of her hot-dog-lovin’ genes. Not every dog tastes the same, and Disney World has a few that are outstanding (in spite of their new beef/chicken-ness*). Below are my favorites, in no particular order…

Best Hot Dogs in Walt Disney World

Casey’s Corner

Casey’s Corner is synonymous with hot dogs. There’s just no getting around the fact that they’re the epitome of the Disney Hot Dog Empire, so we must begin with them. Sitting at the end of Main Street, right in sight-view of every parade, firework, and Castle show that happens in Disney World, Casey’s also provides [Read more…]