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Walt Disney World Invests in More Cheerleading Events

February 5, 2016, 3:42 PM · If you didn't see enough cheerleaders on your last visit to Walt Disney World, get ready to see even more. Disney announced today that it will build a 286,000-square-foot venue at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex to host cheerleading and dance team competitions.

Plans for the venue were revealed in public documents last month, but the facility's purpose was not known until today's announcement. Construction will begin immediately for a planned opening sometime in the middle of next year. The facility will be able to accommodate up to 8,000 spectators and will include space for practice, warm-up and competitions.

The new venue allows Disney to create a single home for cheer and dance events, reducing the need to host them in other venues such as the Indiana Jones stunt theater and various soundstages at Disney's Hollywood Studios, where such events have been held in the past. Cheer and dance events have become another source of big business for Walt Disney World, as groups from all over the country book trips to the resort, thanks to the increasing number of events that Disney hosts. And starting next year, with a large, dedicated facility for cheer and dance events, Disney World will be able to host even more.

"As our sports business continues to grow, we're thrilled to work alongside Varsity Spirit to create a sporting and entertainment venue that will not only complement our existing venues, but will be a model for cheerleading and dance team competitions," Maribeth Bisienere, senior vice president of ESPN Wide World of Sports, said in a statement.

Replies (19)

February 5, 2016 at 4:34 PM · Why not? Makes sense!


ESPN Wild World of Sports is hosting the Invictus games too!

February 6, 2016 at 1:11 AM · Groan. That's all we need. Yet more cheerleaders to try to avoid when making our travel plans...
February 6, 2016 at 5:46 AM · I remember 2 years ago I was at the magic kingdom with my friends and we met a group of 6 cheerleaders and we just started talking to them and went with them in a couple of rides, it was awesome so I'm all in for more cheerleaders .
February 6, 2016 at 6:25 AM · Last time I stayed at Disney, the hotel was overflowing with cheerleaders. They were everywhere, and practicing everywhere, cheering, chanting, yelling, running around the grounds, and generally being teenaged girls.

I have to give credit where credit is due, though. At 9:00 every night, it all went silent. I don't know if its Disney's rules, or just those groups' chaperones, but I would always be worried that my kids wouldn't be able to get to sleep when the time came, and instead it all calmed down just in time for bedtime.

So, with the exception of a few headaches on the buses, when they would decide to clap, giggle and sing (when I would rather just sit in silence on my return back to the hotel), I can't say they caused me any actual problems. Impressive considering the number of them.

February 6, 2016 at 7:35 AM · They should build a hotel for all the Barzillians.
February 6, 2016 at 8:32 AM · Actually, this is a brilliant move. I have some experience in this arena, and by them doing this, it's a win-win. A win for the teams, who will now have their own dedicated and private area. And a win for park guests, because it will actually contain nearly all the participants to the venue, and largely out of the parks (though many still hold the awards events inside parks). But at least the bulk of the activity would presumably occur out of sight of the typical park guest. Though yes, hotels could be a different story.
February 6, 2016 at 9:07 AM · I'm surprised they haven't sponsored soccer as this is a world sport. That's a place for Brazilians.
February 6, 2016 at 11:17 AM · NO! Just no.... I hate staying at a hotel and having cheerleaders swamp the place and walking all over the parks. Disney should be investing in Disney related stuff, not sports related stuff.
February 6, 2016 at 4:44 PM · Geez louise... Disney is a public place. Everyone is plopping down big bucks for their tickets. It's not your own private playland, so like it or not, people different than you may just want to go there, too, including loud teenage girls with high energy levels. If that's enough to "ruin" your trip to Disney... I don't know what to say. Maybe go to a deserted island? And I get it - YOU'RE paying big bucks, too, and you want the pristine, library-like experience you remember from some bygone time. But if you can't relax and accept different people than yourself in a massive, ever-expanding vacation "community" like Disney, then stay home, you grumpy Gus or sad Sally. If they're being genuinely disruptive and destructive next time you see them, dime out those cheerleaders to a cast member and watch the problem go away. If they're just having a great time at a different decibel level than you are, be a grown-up and a good neighbor and live with it. You're at Disney, and you're paying those big bucks for the privilege, right? So. Lighten up.
February 6, 2016 at 5:18 PM · Never had a problem with the cheerleaders . They are there for their own thing . Always been respectful of other vacationers
February 6, 2016 at 8:07 PM · "Disney should be investing in Disney related stuff, not sports related stuff."

Youth sports, cheerleading, runs, and music sells lots of hotel rooms, food, and a few park tickets. They have 10,000 value resort rooms during the off season to fill. Thanks to these types and keep their overall occupancy rates above 85%. Youth sports, music, cheerleading are all important activities for kids. It's incredibly good business.

February 7, 2016 at 12:47 AM · The only thing worse are the South American tour groups...
February 7, 2016 at 9:22 AM · The cheerleaders are even worse when staying off property, at least they will listen to the Disney hotel people if they are being told off for being loud and obnoxious. Off property? Forget it.

And don't even get me started on the Brazilian tour groups. I have had one too many bad experiences with them at that Walmart on Turkey Lake Road to the point that I refuse to shop there nowadays.

February 7, 2016 at 11:30 AM · Disneyversal, the reason Disney is doing this is because when Hollywood Studios is redone, many of the former sound stages will be removed or repurposed. So while this may lead to a slight increase of events, they will now be at a dedicated facility, and no longer in underutilized space at Disney World's least attended theme park.
February 7, 2016 at 1:43 PM · Does Disney restrict these teenaged (and younger) groups to specific resorts? I would love to know this as we would like to avoid them for reasons explained by previous comments.
February 7, 2016 at 7:21 PM · All of you older folk can moan and groan all you want, but being a teenage boy who is single and only lives 90 minutes away from WDW, this news makes me really happy and really excited! ;)
February 8, 2016 at 5:58 AM · I avoid the Allstar hotels because that's the top choice for cheer groups who practice outside your room late in the evening and early in the morning. No thank you.
February 8, 2016 at 9:33 AM · It's a big money maker, but a big nightmare in the parks, so I'm glad Disney has decided to contain the activities at Wide World of Sports.
For a couple of years I was a Manager in Park Services at Islands of Adventure. At the time, we hosted Cheerleading competitions at the Toon Lagoon Amp. There is a set of restroom to the right of the entrance to the theater. I'll never forget when we discovered that a group of chaperons had commandeered the men's restroom as a place to let their team change, put on make up and prepare. These women simply stood outside the entrance, telling men that the restrooms were reserved for the cheerleaders and sent them away. We busted that up quickly, but it took my team HOURS to clean all the glitter off the floor and around the sinks.
February 10, 2016 at 11:14 AM · I think this a great move. The world's largest and most prestigious cheerleading competition, aptly named "The Cheerleading Worlds" takes place in here and they had to move it to the baseball stadium because they could not hold all the participants and spectators. As a former allstar cheerleading coach, thanks DISNEY!

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