Like most runDisney participants, my first experience with the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex came as a runner while attending Disney’s Fit for a Princess Health & Fitness Expo. I remember I was immediately taken aback by the caliber and quality of the facilities and was very excited to finally be seeing them for myself. My thoughts: It’s a magical “World” of sports! A total touchdown, home run, and goal in my book of athletics and I didn’t know half of what exciting things really happen in this unique, first-class 220-acre complex. Then, as part of the inaugural 2012 Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler I had the opportunity to actually tour the Complex....Ok, run through the Complex as the course for this race had us weave through various walkways in and around several of the Hess Sports Fields. As a soccer mom, I was very impressed with the condition of the soccer fields. Oh, how I wanted take off my shoes and run barefoot through the immaculate grass!

A few months later I was back again for another Disney Health & Fitness Expo; this time as a Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge participant during the Walt Disney World® Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna®. As I stood in the central courtyard area, near the Welcome Center, a highlight reel featuring Disney Soccer played on the jumbotron between two race segments and we stopped in our tracks to watch. At that moment I longed to be able to give my son the opportunity to play a sport he loved, in a location that serves as a source of magical vacation memories for my family.

As an adult, my son will most likely forget many of the places he’s played during his fleeting childhood, but he’ll never forget the times he played in the heart of Walt Disney World® Resort at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. It’s the only place in the world where you can be on the fields with Mickey in the morning, and on Splash Mountain by evening.

That experience is what sent me on a journey of learning not just about Disney Soccer, but about the Complex itself.

Faith is the runDisney Mom on Disney Parks Moms Panel, who experienced the ESPN Complex as a Team Mom recently.