Gaylord Palms Resort – NXL Paintball World Cup
Photos by Chris Green, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.00
Gaylord Palms Resort 6000 W Osceola Pkwy Kissimmee, FL 34746
Year Opened: 2015
Professional Paintball in Paradise
Thinking of professional sports in Central Florida, paintball may not come to mind first. However, the NXL World Cup features some of the best paintball athletes in the country every year just outside Disney World. Located adjacent to the Gaylord Palms Resort, the NXL World Cup is unique in that parking and access for all four days is free to all fans. Special tickets can be purchased for access to different viewing areas, but free access still gets you up close and personal to the action.
Food & Beverage 3
The food and beverage options here are limited, but what is available is solid and won’t break the bank. Food trucks are brought in with various options for guests, from local BBQ and pizza to frozen smoothies and healthy options, you have a variety to pick from. Drinks are also available at several bars around the property, with options that include water ($2), domestic beers ($6), and import beers ($7). The lines are usually never too long, but unless you have a VIP viewing ticket, you’ll find a great lack of places to sit and enjoy your food.
For an event that is assembled in what is usually a cow pasture the rest of the year, it really is transformed into an incredible facility. Vendors line the entrance on both sides, selling the latest and greatest paintball gear and merchandise. Special lounges are also there for players and family as well as vendor VIPs. On the back side of the property, numerous paintball fields are set up in a quad that allow fans to get in between them and right up close to the action. Be sure you’re doing your laundry as soon as you go home, as there is sure to be some paintball splatter when you’re this close to the matches.
The fact that you’re literally across the highway from Walt Disney World and just minutes from all the area hotels, restaurants, attractions, and shopping makes this a solid area to hold the event. Across the street is Gaylord Palms Resort, while down the street is Walt Disney World and all its hotels. Food options are plentiful as one mile away is US-192, which is full of restaurants and shopping. In the opposite direction is International Drive, another place where you can find your choice of restaurants and hotels.
The sheer number of fans who show up to this event is staggering. 2022 showcased the largest World Cup turnout yet, with teams and their families from all over arriving to watch the best of the best in paintball take on the competition. Something unique about it all is the sense of camaraderie and family. This is a fierce competition after all, but everyone cheers each other and respects the healthy competition taking place in front of them. The fans are also very knowledgeable about the sport, and are more than happy to help newcomers understand what is going on.
Parking is free on site, with $30+ VIP parking available to get you a closer spot to the main entrance. The field is massive and offers plenty of spaces to park, and signage is easy to see, to direct you where to go next. Once inside a QR code can be scanned by fans to access an event guide, and a facility map is posted to help you get the lay of the land.
Return on Investment 5
Access to general admission areas is free to all fans on all four days of the event. Tickets to the grandstand for the pro field start at $15 per day, while VIP Club access starts at $40 and goes up from there. When factoring in the cost for a family of four to enjoy a day in the Florida sun watching paintball, you’re likely to get away with just paying the bare minimum for food and drinks as well as merchandise.
The facility features several vendors for kids to keep them entertained during the event. Fans also can get up close to the fields in the back, which is equivalent to curtsied seating, for free. Finally, there is a massive party on Sunday night that features raffles and giveaways and is available for all to attend.
This may not be on everyone’s radar when looking at Florida sports, but NXL World Cup paintball is definitely a unique event in Orlando. Providing free parking and free general admission access is unique in sports and, given that this event is a yearly occurrence, showcases the fanbase that exists and helps propel the sport forward. No doubt this is a unique competition that the whole family can enjoy, whether you’re a diehard paintball participant or someone who has never watched a single competition.