Update: It’s Official, NBA To Finish Season At Disney World

Panorama of Coronado Springs Resort across the lake

The NBA has announced that its plans to finish the 2019-2020 season has been approved. The 22-team format will officially begin on July 31, 2020 at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Teams will begin training at Disney World starting July 9-11 at the Wide World of Sports where all games and training will take place.

All teams will be housed at Walt Disney World during the remainder of the season. The players, coaches and staff will need to adhere to strict safety guidelines as the NBA navigates completing the season during the COVID-19 pandemic. While players and coaches will be allowed to play golf and eat at outdoor restaurants, they will need to maintain proper social distance while doing so. They will also receive scheduled health checks throughout the season to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. There will be no audience at any of the remaining NBA games.

According to ESPN the following preliminary plans will likely be followed in order to complete the season:

  • The regular season will extend 16 days, with five to six games per day.
  • There will be four hours between games on each individual court to accommodate overtimes, cleanings and warm-ups. The league will be using three courts in the complex for games.
  • In the eight-game regular-season format, each team is expected to play one back-to-back.
  • The NBA is expected to be aggressive in moving up the dates to start playoff series when the previous round’s series come to an end.
  • The NBA Finals format is expected to include games every other day.

Starting in July, keep your eyes peeled for some very tall guests at Disney World while the NBA finishes their season at the happiest place on earth.

Originally Posted June 2, 2020

For several weeks rumors have been circling about the NBA and Disney’s negotiations to allow the NBA to finish their season at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex at Disney World. Yesterday, additional information was released about Disney and the NBA’s plans for players to be housed at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort.

While many of us might not immediately associate Disney World with sports and likely more closely relate the mega resort to Mickey Mouse, fairytale castles and whimsical rides, the 220-acre Wide World of Sports complex is more and more sounding like the perfect locale to finish the NBA season. Disney’s Bob Chapek has stated that the huge sports complex most definitely has the capacity to host all the NBA teams as well as provide turnkey broadcasting capabilities. And to top it off, ESPN, the number one broadcaster of NBA games, is owned by Disney. 

The Wide World of Sports’ three arenas can be converted into 20 basketball courts, according to Faron Kelley, VP of Wide World of Sports. This would allow the NBA to play two professional games at once in addition to having indoor practice space for teams not playing. There is also a track and field complex as well as a baseball arena that can be used for additional training.

One of the most important factors the NBA had to consider when choosing a location to resume their season was containment. An all in one bubble for players to stay and play is ideal for the NBA. While the NBA previously considered sports complexes in Las Vegas and Bradenton, Florida, no one can provide a safer, all-in-one solution than Disney. 

Choosing Wide World of Sports to finish the season essentially ensures that all of the NBA players will be able to stay, play and dine in one ultra safe, confined area, as well as receive Disney’s top-level customer service the entire time.

Rumors had previously circled that the players would be housed at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge but today Keith Smith of Yahoo! Sports released a new bit of information via Tweet. In his Tweet he announced that Disney World and the NBA have agreed to use Coronado Springs Resort as the primary host resort. 

With the Disney World Resort being closed since March and Disney not accepting any new hotel reservations, housing the teams at Coronado Springs will not be an issue. However using multiple resorts for housing, including Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Jambo House and Kidani Village, continues to be an option. It is important to note that Disney Vacation Club (DVC) reservations are open, which may deter the NBA from using Animal Kingdom Lodge to house players as the Animal Kingdom Lodge Resort is also a DVC Resort.

No official statement has been made by either Disney World or the NBA at this time. The NBA season will reportedly resume in late July.

Check back for more details about the NBA coming to Disney World and the Coronado Springs Resort.

Looking for a Disney hotel reservation? Disney hotel and DVC cash reservations are currently suspended but DVC Rental Reservations are open! Visit DVC Shop Rentals to book your stay today!

Katherine Rand

DVC Shop Editorial Team

*Header Image: Coronado Springs Resort, courtesy Chad Sparkes

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