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  • Writer's pictureChris Green

Champion Stadium – Atlanta Braves Spring Training


Photos by Chris Green, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.00

Champion Stadium 700 S Victory Way Lake Buena Vista, FL 34747

Year Opened: 1997 Capacity: 9,500

 

The Magic of Braves Spring Training

The Braves are finishing up their final season at Disney’s Wide World of Sports, but that doesn’t mean the experience has lessened any. A fan favorite destination among spring training sites since it opened in 1997, Champion Stadium is literally on Disney World property in Orlando, which provides travelers the perfect excuse to visit theme parks and take in a baseball game. As the facility frequently hosts baseball games of varying competition levels throughout the year, it doesn’t ever sit in disrepair, and consistently provides a quality viewing experience.

Food & Beverage 4

There are a ton of options at Champion Stadium for fans when it comes to food. Everything from cookie dough by the scoop ($5.25), chicken bites ($9 for buffalo or regular), and burgers ($8) is top notch. Each concession stand offers something different, including the popular smoked turkey sandwich ($10.50), applewood-smoked pulled pork ($11.25), and sliced brisket sandwiches ($11.75). The Korean fried chicken ($9) is also a hit among fans, as is the Italian beef sandwich ($12.25). The standards for baseball can also be found in the form of hot dogs with fries ($9.50) and the classic Cracker Jack ($3). Drinks are also varied, from bottled water ($3.50) and sodas ($4.50) to specialty cocktails ($12.50), local specialty drafts ($14, $8 refills) and domestic beers ($12, $7 refills).

Atmosphere 4

The spring training home of the Braves sits near the front of the Disney Wide World of Sports complex, so getting into the stadium is easy. Once you are there, the typical Disney charm greets you as Disney Cast Members make up the stadium staff here. This means, you’re destined to experience great customer service.

The interior of the stadium itself seems somewhat plain, but at the same time classic and clean. Restrooms are plentiful, as is directional signage. No detail is missed. A fan store in the lower concourse provides a perfect chance for fans to purchase Braves spring training merchandise.

The only downside would be some of the side seating in the upper levels that can be obstructed by support pillars. Some of the best seating, however, is the left field lawn and outfield berm seating, as families will frequently spread out blankets and relax under the warm Florida sun while having a great view of the action.

Neighborhood 5

The sports complex is located just off of Osceola Parkway, literally across the street from the new entrance for Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Because of this, you’re not far from pretty much everything you need on your trip.

For obvious reasons, the best place to stay would be at any of the Disney Resorts – guests of the resorts get free bus transport from the hotels to the starting gates, and then from the finish line back to their hotel. The closest hotels, Disney’s Pop Century and Disney’s Art of Animation are two of the park’s lowest priced resorts.

For food, anywhere on Disney Property is a go-to; Kona Café at the Disney Polynesian Resort is a popular stop for sushi and a south seas flavor for dinner, while California Grill at the top of Contemporary Resort is also a popular go-to for a more upscale experience.

In addition, popular tourist stops include EPCOT, Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and the Animal Kingdom theme parks. Also, Disney Springs, which is accessible via bus and car, is home to countless restaurants, bars, and shopping opportunities for the whole family.

Fans 4

The fans still pack ’em in here at Disney World. Certain days are more full than others, but games regularly hover around 70% capacity to the naked eye. Being a big family vacation spot, Braves games are a popular stop for young fans with the families. Kids are all over the stadium, and the ability to purchase cheaper tickets in the outfield, as well as special discounted days for Disney Passholders means local fans are frequently mixed in with those visiting Braves fans.

Access 3

Getting to the Wide World of Sports is pretty easy, but traffic for certain games can be a pain. Parking is free in the farther parking lots, and $10 for lots closer to the main entrance. The big issue here is the ongoing construction on the roads entering and exiting the facility that frequently backs up. The new entrance to the Hollywood Studios theme park is also along Osceola Parkway, the main route that goes to the entrance of Wide World of Sports, so arriving early can be beneficial to avoid missing first pitch. Thankfully, Disney has signs up all over the stadium notifying fans of the potential backup in traffic when leaving as well.

Return on Investment 5

Tickets to Braves games at Champion Stadium start at $15 for outfield berm seats, and reach into the $27 range for actual seating. Upper level seats also offer a great view. Some games also offer discounted pricing for fans who are Disney Passholders in the form of $5 off their game ticket when pre-purchased.

This, coupled with the option for free parking, means fans can take in games at Disney without breaking the bank. Top that with the quality food options and you have yourself an enjoyable experience at the ballpark.

Extras 3

The in-stadium host frequently boasts about the Braves having the best giveaways in sports, and he may be right. In-game contests for fans often include prices of name-brand luggage, Disney water park tickets, and sports memorabilia.

For fans who enter the game early, you can go behind Champion Stadium and catch some of the Braves spring training warm up action, sometimes even scoring an autograph or two.

Finally, the first pitch is unique, as alongside each designate is a Disney character, including the likes of Mickey, Goofy, or Pluto.

Final Thoughts

The experience at Disney’s Wide World of Sports is amazing for fans of all teams, not just the Braves. The PA announcers applaud great plays by both teams, making games at Champion Stadium a celebration of the sport of baseball and not just the home team. Without a doubt, fans should take the chance to take in a game at Disney World before the Braves move to their new home in Southwest Florida.

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