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The date was March 28, 1997 and pop singer Jewel had a hit song climbing the music charts. Meanwhile, another “jewel” was taking off as Walt Disney World Resort swung open the gates for the first time to its new sports complex.

Celebrating 20 years of Sports at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex

Now, 20 years later, that sports venue, ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, continues to attract youth, college and professional athletes from around the world to a magical place where sports dreams come true almost every day. With more than 100 sports events held there annually, the sports complex stands as the preeminent venue for youth and professional sports in the nation.

Celebrating 20 years of Sports at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex

Celebrating 20 years of Sports at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex Celebrating 20 years of Sports at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex

We celebrated the 20th anniversary of the sports complex today with commemorative 20th anniversary merchandise, nostalgic entertainment from 1997 and a special moment during the Braves-Orioles spring training baseball game when we recognized the 18 cast members who’ve been a part of the venue since it opened.

It was a fitting tribute to a pioneering vision that blazed a new trail in youth sports tourism, spawning the proliferation of countless other youth sports complexes around the country that are part of what now is an estimated $7 billion youth sports industry.

But the 20th anniversary celebration won’t end today. There will be more tributes throughout the year that commemorate the anniversary and emphasize the positive impact of youth sports. Additionally, there will be new sports-related initiatives announced that will continue Disney’s long-standing support of youth sports nationally and that will continue to drive tourism in Central Florida for the next 20 years and beyond.

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One of the best things about staying at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa is partaking in the many on-site activities offered each day. Most of these experiences celebrate the Hawaiian culture, from learning to play ukulele to building miniature canoes for racing. And best of all, most activities are included with your stay!

In the next episode of “Meet Aulani’s ‘Ohana,” you’ll meet Michelle, one of our entertainment activities cast members who leads arts and crafts, games, pool parties, movie nights and more! Our entertainment cast members can be easily identified throughout the resort by their bright green aloha shirts — and equally bright personalities.

Meet Michelle in the video below:

For a list of activities at Aulani Resort, check out the Daily ‘Iwa. What are you looking forward to on your next Hawaiian vacation?

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Book your Disney & Orlando vacation with a local travel agency. World famous services, free gifts, guaranteed lowest prices, and all at no cost to you! Book your vacation with the local experts - we live where you're traveling! Call 877-918-8941 or visit us online

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