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Official Review by Chris Green, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
While UCF may be known more as a football and basketball school, their softball program has grown considerably in the past decade. The team attracts some of the best talent in the Southeast and routinely has winning seasons. Their home at the UCF Softball Complex reflects that growth with a top-quality softball stadium.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
The food and drinks at UCF softball aren't anything spectacular or varied. Pretzels and nachos run $3.50, ice cream and lemon chill cost $4, and cookies or Cracker Jack are priced at $4. Popcorn runs $3.50, burgers are $8, and peanuts are $4. Drinks range from $3.50 for coffee or water to $4 for sodas and Powerade.
The UCF softball field gives you an elevated view of the field from behind home plate. The games can be a bit uncomfortable on hot Florida days, with no shade to hide in at the stadium. There is a seating area in right field at ground level under a few trees, but they aren't that big. The team does a really nice pre-game ceremony with a big American flag in the outfield during the national anthem, and an arena host tries to keep the fans engaged with games and giveaways during the time between innings.
UCF may not be in the heart of Orlando, but there are many fun things to do immediately surrounding the campus, and the campus itself is packed with lodging, shopping, and restaurants. Almost every major restaurant chain you can think of is nearby, as well as a mall and several other large shopping districts. Visitors to the campus also will notice several smaller food venues around the arena on UCF's campus. During the holidays, the area is decorated for Light Up UCF, where families can enjoy Christmas lights, ice skating and more before and after the games.
The fans who show up at UCF softball are mostly students and fellow athletes. Traveling fans usually make up a small contingency at games, making for some fun mixed discussions among fans. Everyone is usually kind and considerate, with a large group of fans also being families. The stands are usually half-filled, and the noise level is generally moderate to low, which can cut down on that electric home-field atmosphere some sports fans crave.
The college is right off of Highway 417, which offers direct access to Orlando International Airport, the greater Walt Disney World area, I-4 to the north towards Daytona, Florida's Turnpike, and the Beachline Expressway to Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral. On campus, parking is actually rather plentiful, with various garages and parking lots in the immediate vicinity of UCF Softball Complex for $5. The parking lot right in front of the softball stadium itself is free during game day,s but can fill up rather quickly. While traffic can be a bit of a pest during bigger games, it generally flows rather easily and will empty out in due time.
Tickets are cheap for UCF softball, and the fact that the stadium is in the vicinity of the school's other athletic fields means you can catch multiple sports at once. The cost of concessions is also pretty low, too, although burgers and drinks for a family of four can run you upwards of $45.
The team always has a giveaway at the games, be they team posters or baseball cards of the players.
UCF also has the school's mascot walking around the games, which is a great thing for kids who want photos.
Taking in a game at the UCF Softball Complex is an enjoyable experience, but the lack of passionate fans can leave some who visit wanting a lot more. Concessions are generally alright, but nothing special. Thankfully, ticket prices are ultra low. If you're visiting UCF and want to catch some sports, feel free to grab a seat and visit, as the quality of the product on the field is usually pretty high and very competitive.
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