Watching the Game at Disney – 7 Best Disney World Sports Bars
Whether hordes of fellow theme park guests or a raging pandemic, one of the best ways to escape the stress of it all for a bit is watching your favorite sporting event. After all, there’s nothing quite like seeing a football soar through the uprights or a soccer ball streak past a goalie’s fingers to set your mind at ease or, if things go badly, have you thinking that it’s time to change teams.
But, that’s not what this guide is about. No, we’re talking about the best Disney World sports bars and other places to watch the game at Disney. So, if you’re wondering where to watch football at Disney World (or golf, basketball, baseball or whatever else you’re into), keep reading as we break down our top picks – and give you some tips for making it happen.
How to Watch Sports at Walt Disney World
No matter what sport you’re into, gameday is often the perfect excuse to cozy up on the couch with some tasty food and a hoppy brew. But what if you’re going to be at Walt Disney World on vacation at the same time as the big game? Are there TVs at the Disney theme parks? Where is the best place to watch sports at Disney World?
Relax, whether you’re managing a fantasy team, monitoring your bracket or simply need a break from the pixie dust-induced chaos, it’s easy to catch the game at Walt Disney World – if you know where to go. From football and March Madness to baseball spring training and the Stanley Cup Finals, read on for our top tips on how to watch sports at Disney World.
Can you watch the game from any of the Disney World theme parks?
Hoping to see the score between rides? Although you won’t find any TVs inside the theme parks, sports fans visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom can get an update by taking a quick jaunt to the Rainforest Café at the front of the park. The bar is hooked up with a few TVs which will typically be playing the most prominent matchup.
Does Disney World do anything special for big sporting events?
Unfortunately, you shouldn’t typically expect any Super Bowl or March Madness viewing parties at Disney World. Although some Disney World hotels may offer viewing events or tailgating-inspired menu items on occasion, it’s very infrequent. And when they do have them, they’re not widely promoted.
Watching from Your Disney World Hotel Room
Although it lacks the infectious energy of a crowded bar or restaurant, your hotel room can often be the best choice when it comes to where to watch football in Disney World or any other sport you follow. Not only can you turn on whichever game you please with the volume up (and cheer loudly whenever your team makes a play), but you can even watch from the comfort of your bed – all while snacking on room service and drinking a cold one.
Best Channels for Watching Sports on the Disney World Resort Television Network
Whether you’re a football fanatic, golf enthusiast or anything in between, chances are you’ll find it on Disney World’s resort television network. Pro football fans can catch the game on CBS, NBC, FOX, ESPN or the NFL Network, while college football airs on the network’s collection of ESPN channels, as well as the Big Ten Network, SEC Network and FS1.
Of course, if you’d rather watch something else, Disney has you covered there too. Follow up a round of Disney mini-golf with some time watching the Golf Channel, turn to TNT for basketball and hockey or flip to TBS to watch baseball and dream about when spring training for the Atlanta Braves used to be at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.
7 – ABC
8 – NBC
9 – CBS
10 – FOX
17 – ESPN
18 – ESPN2
19 – ESPN NEWS
20 – ESPNU
22 – ESPN Deportes
24 – NFL NETWORK
25 – Big 10 Network
26 – FS1
27 – SEC Network
Sorry, Your Favorite Team’s Game May Not Be on Local TV
Just like when you watch the game on your TV at home, if you catch sporting events from your Disney hotel room, you’ll be limited by what teams are popular in the local market. For example, televisions around Disney World are more likely to show Florida teams, so expect it to be harder to find screens showing games from the Midwest-based Big 10 or the West Coast’s Pac-12 Conference.
Streaming the Game from Your Own Device
Of course, one way to solve this problem is by streaming from your own device. However, it depends on where you’re planning on streaming from. Most apps offered through your cable provider must be connected to your home wi-fi to stream channels with live football. So, you’re better off with services like NBC’s Peacock, the Fox Sports app or even Amazon Prime Video.
Additionally, keep in mind that although it has improved through the years, Disney World’s free guest Wi-Fi tends to be spotty and laggy at best. (Just think of all those poor people trying to connect to My Disney Experience to book their reservations at once!) In other words, you’re more apt to get annoyed trying to watch the game than hyped up. Consider setting up a mobile hotspot with your own cellular network instead.
Never Miss the Game with the 7 Best Disney World Sports Bars
If you’re traveling to Walt Disney World over Super Bowl Weekend or any other sports milestone, you might be wondering, where is the best place to watch the game at Disney? Does Disney World have a sports bar?
Well, you’re in luck! While the popular ESPN Club at Disney’s BoardWalk is sadly no more, there are still quite a few places to watch sports in Disney World, and many of them even offer some of the Central Florida resort’s best dining, drinks and atmosphere.
Your Disney World Hotel Room
Ok, you’re right. We’ll admit that even if you have a steady supply of room-service wings and beer to enjoy as you watch your team march on to victory, your hotel room is decidedly not a sports bar. The same goes for hotels with pro-athlete credibility like Disney’s Grand Floridian or Yacht Club resorts, which both hosted players during the pandemic’s NBA Bubble.
Although you may miss the camaraderie of being around fellow fans, it does make for a relaxing spot to watch some sports and retreat from the theme park madness for a while. Order room service, shout when your team scores without drawing nasty glares and maybe even make a thing out of it with the rest of your family. Or, just enjoy the peaceful solitude that is screaming into the void alone.
The Lounge or Pool Bar at Your Disney Resort
Just like your hotel room, this suggestion isn’t a sports bar so much as a convenient place to catch the game at Disney World. Since it’s right there at your resort, you can easily pop in to check on the score after returning from the parks or during a midday break. Plus, if your team loses, you’ll be just a short walk away from being able to mope in private.
For those traveling with kids, your hotel’s pool bar can be an especially nice choice as it allows your kiddos to splash about in the pool while you’re glued to the game. You’ll also get to soak up some of the great poolside atmosphere. Just keep in mind that not every pool bar at the Disney World hotels is outfitted with a television.
Splitsville at Disney Springs
With family-friendly bowling, live music and some impressively tasty food for a bowling alley, Splitsville at Disney Springs may seem like an unlikely place to watch the game at Disney. But in fact, it’s actually one of the most popular spots in all of Disney World to watch the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL and more. You’ll love watching the out-of-market games on Splitsville’s many TV screens, while your little ones will enjoy knocking down some pins. It’s a win-win (or rather, as long as your team does well, a win-win-win)!
City Works Eatery & Pour House at Disney Springs
If you’re wondering where to watch football, basketball, baseball or more at Disney World, consider heading over to this sports bar in Disney Springs. Attached to the now-closed NBA Experience, City Works Eatery & Pour House is still open and serving guests – and that’s a good thing because it’s a delightful place to take in a game. Touting a massive beer list and a sprawling video wall to match, as well as some yummy, elevated bar food, this Disney Springs sports bar is a win for sports fans, foodies and beer lovers alike.
Rix Sports Bar & Grill at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort
With a slate of fitness activities and the new Gran Destino Tower, which played host to Lebron James during the NBA Bubble, Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort is shaping up to be quite the destination for a moderate hotel. Most importantly for sports fans, it’s also home to Rix Sports Bar and Grill, a swanky little place serving sophisticated bar bites. Best of all, with lots and lots of televisions available, you’re just a head-turn away from your team’s match.
Looking for something with a bit more ambiance? Though there aren’t as many screens, the resort’s open-air, waterfront lounge, Three Bridges Bar & Grill, makes for a decidedly picturesque place to cheer on your team – or to drown your sorrows post-loss with some of the bar’s signature sangria.
Shula’s Lounge at the Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel
For the ultimate Disney sports bar experience, head to Shula’s Lounge at the Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel. Inspired by the only NFL team to ever have a perfect season, the 1972 Miami Dolphins, Shula’s Lounge also serves up decadent items from the attached Shula’s Steakhouse. So, kick back and relax in the lounge’s leather chairs as you tuck into a perfectly cooked steak, puff on cigars and watch the game.
Geyser Point Bar & Grill at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
Remember those hotel lounges we talked about earlier? Well, Geyser Point Bar & Grill at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge is one of our favorites. Overlooking Bay Lake, this open-air bar offers an unbeatable atmosphere for watching your favorite team. Snack on rustic pub food in between passes as you watch the game from the lounge’s TVs. Depending on when the action ends, you may even be able to see the Electrical Water Pageant as it floats on past.
Well, there you have it, sports fans. It may seem tricky to make time for watching the game during your Disney vacation, but with so many sports bars at Disney World and other restaurants showing the game, you’re certainly not short on options.
No more space available at any of the spots on our list? That’s ok. You’ll still find a few other restaurants at Disney World with enough TVs to show all the biggest games. Located at Disney’s BoardWalk, Big River Grille & Brewing Works serves up palate-pleasing pub fare, craft brews and some television screens.
If you’re looking for another Disney Springs sports bar, Stargazers Bar at Planet Hollywood and The Boathouse Restaurant both offer indoor and outdoor seating, as well as live music and TVs. Or, if you happen to be hanging out at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, the ESPN Wide World of Sports Grill is a fun pick (when it’s open anyway – it’s temporarily unavailable due to Covid-19).
Have you seen the Super Bowl or any other sports events at Disney World? Where is your favorite spot to watch the game at Disney? Let us know in the comments!