Best Places to Watch a Game at Walt Disney World
As I type this, the playoffs are happening. I won’t say for which sport because we’ve reached an age when somebody’s playoffs are always happening. Whichever sport you love, you don’t want to feel disconnected while you’re on vacation. You want to keep up with the score and maybe even watch the game, preferably with a group of other enthusiastic sports fans. Here are six places at Walt Disney World to catch the big game.
Big River Grille & Brewing Works
You’ll notice a couple of things about the places listed here. The first is that Disney doesn’t have a lot of restaurants with televisions. It’s an intentional stylistic decision. Since so many eateries at Walt Disney World are detailed with their theming, having televisions in plain sight would ruin the immersion. The lack of outside world perspective is a continuation of the famed Disney Bubble.
The other is that your best bets to catch a game are Disney’s entertainment complexes. At the BoardWalk and Disney Springs, the company relaxes the rules a bit on the Disney Bubble. Many restaurants have televisions on display, and we’ll highlight a couple of them here. When in doubt, you can walk into a place and look at the walls to see if they have TVs. Alternately, ask the host/hostess. They can advise you about other places to catch the game.
Out of the suggestions here, Big River Grille & Brewing Works is admittedly the thinnest. This place is on the BoardWalk behind Epcot. I like it better as a sitting area rather than a sports bar. Your best case scenario here is to have the view of one TV, but it’s countered by the fact that you do get to look at Crescent Lake. Much of the restaurant’s sitting area faces the water. It’s a relaxing spot that doubles as a way to watch your favorite sporting event.
When you go to the BoardWalk to watch a game, the best bet is ESPN Club. While I prefer the seating selections at Big River Grille, its lack of high volumes of TVs is problematic, at least for the purposes of this list. At ESPN Club, it feels like there are more TVs than people.
Part of that is because the restaurant is quite small. For major sporting events, you could easily get shut out of a seat. When you know that you’ll travel during the playoffs, I strongly suggest Advanced Dining Reservations, especially for the NFL playoffs or March Madness.
Something else to remember is that Disney is home to two different ESPN Clubs. The other one is at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Technically, this one is called ESPN Wide World of Sports Grill. It has an extensive menu and several gigantic TV screens. This place has a larger capacity, too. The only downside here is that getting over to ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex isn’t as easy as the BoardWalk. I recommend a Minnie Van.
Geyser Point Bar and Grill
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge hosts a sneaky-great restaurant for sporting events. Their latest expansion on the campus includes Geyser Point Bar and Grill, which sits right by the water of Bay Lake. It’s a covered Quick Service bar and grill that has hidden protection against the elements. An enclosure drops down when wind and/or rain prove problematic.
Geyser Point doesn’t have a lot of TVs. Since the restaurant is rarely crowded, however, you should have no problem getting a good seat for the event. Out of all the places listed, I also prefer the food here. Combining the view, the cuisine, and the TVs, it’s an excellent option for sporting events. Not many people think of it, either.
Rix Sports Bar and Grill
One of the best-kept secrets at Walt Disney World is the one true sports bar at a Disney resort. Guests and visitors to Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort can eat at Rix Sports Bar and Grill, one of the strangest combination restaurants you’ll ever see.
Rix maintains the theming of Coronado Springs. The exterior mimics the Mayan buildings that populate the resort campus. The middle of the restaurant has one of these structures as well. The rest of the restaurant ignores its presence and looks exactly like a random sports bar. A goodly number of televisions are here, giving you plenty of ways to watch the game. And the bar food is unexpectedly good. It’s a fantastic noshing spot when you want to spend a couple of hours rooting on your team.
Yes, Splitsville is a bowling alley inside a restaurant. Don’t let that description fool you, though. This place has as many televisions as any sports bar in Atlanta. The sheer volume of them will blow your mind. When you want to be sure that you can watch a game on television, this is absolutely the place to visit. The happy bonus is that you may find that bowling is a pleasant distraction if you’re like me and get too dialed up during close games.
A Resort Pool Bar
Something else to consider is the pool bar at your resort. Several of them have televisions that show huge sporting events. You can check the official Disney site for each resort to see if they have a pool bar. The ones that do will probably have a television. Just to be safe, you can check by doing a YouTube search for the pool bar. Watch the video to verify that the place has a television.
Then again, rather than watch the game while you’re at the pool, you could always order room service and turn on your hotel television. Disney’s room service is really, really good at some resorts. At others, it’s no different than ordering delivery from a mid-range place in your current city of residence. Watching the game in your hotel room means that you can lounge around and engage in whatever game day rituals you like.