This is the last spring training for the Atlanta Braves at Champion Stadium and the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex but Disney is going out with a bang, unveiling new concessions for 2019.
The Braves are set to set up shop at the end of spring training at CoolToday Park and shifting Florida ops to the North Port facility, but they’re playing one final spring at Champion Stadium. When the Braves first set up shop at Champion Stadium in 1997 with a single exhibition game, the complex and ballpark had just opened, and the Braves were seen as an anchor draw. Since that time, Disney has expanded the complex with another arena, a field house and a passel of new playing fields for soccer and football. Between Pro Bowl festivities, cheerleader and dance competitions, soccer events and Pop Warner tournaments, the complex is heavily used year-round. So it’s not surprise that the Braves are moving Florida ops to a dedicated Sarasota County complex: the team can then centralize development and rehab ops, perhaps bring in an FSL team, and spend spring focusing on spring training and the fan experience.
Still, there will be some tears shed for the team leaving Champion Stadium, as for many the combination of Disney World and a short drive from Atlanta made for an enjoyable spring-training experience. Champion Stadium also happens to be one of the nicest ballparks in the Grapefruit League, and while early indications that CoolToday Park will offer an even better fan experience, there won’t be any Disney magic in Sarasota County.
For the Braves’ last spring in the House of Mouse, Disney is offering some new concession and merchandise offerings:
- New menu items include a Thai Curry Rice Bowl and a Southern Fried Chicken Sandwich.
- A new concessions area will focus on delicacies from the home towns of visiting teams. No word on the specifics, but you can bet there will be something like a Philly cheesesteak on the menu when the Phillies are in town, for instance.
- To lessen the impact on the pocketbook, Disney is offering a $50 Shop & Dine Card that buys you $60 worth of offerings throughout the ESPN WWoS complex. That will buy you a boatload of Shiner Bocks at the Champion Stadium concession stands.
The Braves home schedule launches Feb. 25, when the Washington Nationals head up the Turnpike for a day game.