by Debra Martin Koma
Some of you may know that I visited Walt Disney World during ESPN The Weekend for the first time last year, and that my son came away a winner after participating in the Dream Job Experience (read his blog a see video about the event HERE).
Well, he's twisted my arm, so I'm taking him down for the event again this year -- we'll be heading to WDW later this week!
While I was in the World LAST week, though, I had the chance to speak about ESPN The Weekend to Jason Dobbins of Disney's product marketing. For those of you who also might be going to the see the star athletes and ESPN personalities, here's what he had to tell me about this year's event.
The format for the event will be the same as last year's -- as Dobbins noted, it was so successful last year, they didn't see any reason to change anything this year. So you'll still see the motorcades with the athletes throughout the day, and they'll still have conversations under
the Sorcerer Mickey Hat.
There will also be live broadcasts of popular ESPN shows like "NFL Live" and "1st and 10," live ESPN Radio broadcasts, and interactive game shows like the returning Dream Job Experience and Stump the Schwab for fans to take part in.
In the former show, members are selected from the crowd and have a chance to act as broadcasters of a major sporting event. The
audience votes who does the best job, while the participant gets feedback from some celebrity athlete judges. (That's the one my son the ham participated in.) In the latter, select members of the audience team up with an athlete to answer trivia questions, hoping to outscore ESPN personality Howie Schwab.
Dobbins added that they have been trying to add on another new interactive experience with one of the athletes scheduled to appear, but details weren't quite ironed out when we spoke... so keep your eyes peeled for something new on the schedule!
Shows like these and other activities will again be spread out all over the park, some taking place in the Theatre of the Stars (working around showings of Beauty and the Beast), others possibly in the Sounds Dangerous theater. One of last year's venues, the ABC Theater, is now home to the new American Idol Experience attraction, so instead some shows will be held in what's now called the Premiere Theater, back in the Streets of America area of the park. That theater, former home of the Hunchback of Notre Dame show, is now fully enclosed and air-conditioned.
The theme park will also host the ESPN SportsZone, located behind Rock'n' Roller Coaster and the Soundstages. You get a really cool perspective of the park from back there, plus there's lots going on -- basketball and baseball "clinics", autograph signing... you won't be bored, that's for sure.
Sort of a random note: attendees will be treated to the introduction of a new Powerade product -- apparently, Coca-Cola is giving ESPN The Weekend guests an exclusive first taste.
A tentative list of attendees for the weekend's festivities can be found HERE, but remember -- it'll be changing up until the last minute, as details are being finalized. (But Steeler Lamarr Woodley had better show up, or I'll have one disappointed Pittsburgh fan on my hands!)
If you're heading south for the event, have fun! And if you spot me in the park (I'm sure I won't get out of Disney's Hollywood Studios all weekend!) be sure to say hi!
Watch for a report on the weekend when we get back.
The previous post in this blog was American Idol Experience Press Event.
The next post in this blog is What's New, What's Next at Downtown Disney.