Wondering where to watch the Super Bowl at Walt Disney World? In this post, we cover the best places for the big game, from popular sports bars with huge screens to more obscure options that won’t have huge lines or ridiculous crowds.
Last year, we were in Walt Disney World for the Super Bowl. Coincidentally, we started out at Planet Hollywood Observatory in Disney Springs, which went from a ghost town in mid-afternoon to quite crowded by the time we left. Also worth noting that part of the restaurant was reserved for a private event that night–presumably a Super Bowl viewing party. Private events consuming space in popular venues is something to be mindful of when choosing a place to watch the game.
After that, we ended up watching part of the game from Gurgling Suitcase Libations & Spirits at Disney’s Old Key West Resort. For those unfamiliar with Gurgling Suitcase, it’s a smallish bar in the pool area, and not the first (or thirty-first) place that would come to mind for many people when choosing where to watch the big game at Walt Disney World.
Because of this, Gurgling Suitcase actually was a good choice for watching the game–a good crowd to give the event some energy, but not unpleasantly crowded. There was also no line to get inside.
We’d hazard a guess that the situation will be similar at other random bars, lounges, and pool bars at hotels that are not within walking or boat distance of one of the theme parks. (Think places like Saratoga Springs, French Quarter, and Riverside. I’d probably steer clear of Coronado Springs, but that’s a total guess.)
At Old Key West, and every other Disney Vacation Club Resort to our knowledge, you can also watch the Super Bowl in the Community Room. This tends to draw a modest crowd, with a large television broadcasting the game, plus food and beverages available for purchase. This is a great route for families, particularly if you don’t want or need the sports bar atmosphere.
Along these same lines, many of the Deluxe Resorts have spaces like this. For example, the Solarium at Beach Club now has a large television, potentially making it a good option for the Super Bowl. We don’t have any experience with these resorts during the Super Bowl, so check with your hotel’s front desk to see what options, if any, they have (and report back in the comments!).
Aside from those, your hotel room is the obvious place to watch the game, and the only place where you won’t encounter a crowd (unless you want to) or a line to get in (unless something goes terribly wrong). Of course, that’s not really a helpful tip, since you (hopefully) already knew your hotel room has a television with broadcast stations in it.
Here are a few of the ‘big name’ bars for watching sporting events (Super Bowl and otherwise), at Walt Disney World, followed by a couple of under-the-radar choices…
ESPN Club – You might be thinking that if you have to be in Florida during the Super Bowl, what better venue to watch the Super Bowl than in ESPN Club? You could enjoy the first half of the day at Epcot, and then sneak back through International Gateway to BoardWalk in the late afternoon for the game. It’s the perfect crime! Well, you’re not the first or even five-hundredth person with that same idea who will head to ESPN Club on a whim, and be summarily turned away.
ESPN Club draws huge lines on normal weekends when Alabama plays Fresno State. Just imagine how busy it would be for a Super Bowl between two teams with huge followings from states that are big demographics for Walt Disney World. With open seating or even regular Advance Dining Reservations, it’d be chaos. They’d have to grease the light poles at BoardWalk.
ESPN Club is not open seating for the Super Bowl, nor can you line up for a spot at the bar. Rather, it’s booked via special events in advance as a ticketed event. Some same-day availability might end up being available, but that will quickly disappear.
If you are reading this in advance of the big game and are dead-set on ESPN Club, there are two seating categories: “Super Sports Central” and “Super Bowl Sidelines” with the price starting at $100/person plus tax and gratuity. This amount goes against whatever you order (effectively making it all-you-can-eat and drink…unless you can eat and drink a lot).
If you can put down a lot of ribs or beers, it’s not necessarily a poor value…but we’ve never spent close to that amount of money per person at ESPN Club. This cannot be booked online–call 407-WDW-DINE to make a reservation for ESPN Club’s Super Bowl packages.
Splitsville – Normally a pretty under-the-radar-spot to watch sports, Splitsville will be very busy for the Super Bowl. It’s the first place Walt Disney World reservations recommendations to people who don’t want to fork over the $100+ per person, and it’d be popular irrespective of that.
It’s nonetheless a good option so long as you arrive early or score an Advance Dining Reservation. The atmosphere won’t be quite the same, but it’s definitely a good option with a surplus of televisions and a sports bar vibe.
End Zone Food Court – If you’ve ever spent any amount of time in the food court of All Star Sports during any given breakfast rush, you have a rough approximation of what this is like. Why anyone would seek that out is beyond us, but it’s definitely an option that will have the Super Bowl (projected) on a big screen.
Also perfect for Cleveland Browns fans who would be uncomfortable with a viewing experience that doesn’t include some degree of unpleasantness. (I kid, but I’m a long-time Detroit Lions fan, so I know your pain.)
ESPN Wide World of Sports Grill – We should preface this by saying that we have zero experience watching any big game at the Wide World of Sports Grill, which is essentially the ESPN-branded counterpart to the ESPN Club, but on a significantly smaller scale.
There are 7 big screens in the ESPN Wide World of Sports Grill, so it has you covered in that regard. The question is whether it’s worth going so far out of your way to watch the Super Bowl? However, that same question–plus the relatively unknown nature of the restaurant–might help keep others away.
Martha’s Vineyard or Crew’s Cup Lounges – Particularly if you’re a Patriots fan (or potentially if you’re an Eagles fan who likes being a fly in the ointment) as New Englanders seem to flock to these locations for an ‘on-theme’ venue for watching the game.
In our experience, this applies any weekend, not just the Super Bowl–but perhaps that’s partially because there’s an inordinate number of Pats fans at Walt Disney World, and they’re actually everywhere. Nevertheless, these are more intimate lounges that will have a certain atmosphere of watching the game in a friends’ place. Seating in both is extremely limited, so arrive early.
Ultimately, there are a ton of viewing options for the Super Bowl, or any sporting event, at Walt Disney World. Which is the right option depends upon how much you’re willing to spend, the kind of crowds (or lack thereof) you want to deal with, and how much time you’re willing to dedicate to the experience.
Have you watched the Super Bowl at Walt Disney World? Where’d you view it, and what’d you think of the experience? Do you agree or disagree with our game-day viewing tips? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing feedback about your experiences is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!