Disney World has announced a new venue being built at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex, set to open next year! While the project has been kept under-wraps for a while, Disney submitted papers with the county last year for permits related to this new building, which caught the attention of many local media outlets at the time. Today, Disney has announced exactly what they are planning for the building, much to the delight of cheerleaders and dancers across the country.
According to Disney’s new press release, they are starting construction this month on what they are calling the “world’s first venue specifically designed for cheerleading and dance.” The 286,000-square-foot facility will “include a flexible design for one large competition space that can be set up for as many as four competition areas,” as well as areas designed for team warm-ups and practices. The plans include seating for over 8,000 spectators in the new venue. To put that in perspective, the HP Field House currently holds around 5,000 people (although not all seating is currently used at competitions, due to some seat being located behind the stage), and the baseball field that has become home to Large All Girl and Large Coed finals at Worlds holds around 10,000 people.
The completion of this arena will alleviate some of the issues that have been caused by the rapid growth of competitive cheerleading and dance over the past 10 years. Currently, Disney has had to open several make-shift facilities to accommodate teams, including the Indiana Jones theater at Hollywood Studios, the World Showplace at Epcot, ballrooms at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort, and multiple pop-up tents on the soccer fields at the Wide World of Sports complex. With the Walt Disney World Resort hosting cheerleading competitions on almost every weekend from the middle of January through the beginning of May, this new venue is sure to be put to good use as soon as it opens.
The new facility is being built in partnership with Varsity Spirit, and is expected to be open for competitions for the 2017-18 cheer season.