Pop Warner Little Scholars has posted information for its annual Super Bowl at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. This year’s dates are Saturday December 4th through Saturday December 11th. For those unfamiliar, Pop Warner is a serious youth football league (and also cheer and dance) with approximately 400,000 participants nationwide. They host their version of the “Super Bowl” each year in December, which brings more than 16,000 participants to the Disney World area. Unlike other major events where the participants largely stay off Disney property, almost all Pop Warner kids and their families will stay at Disney-owned resorts. This year, they are receiving discounts to stay at the All-Star Movies, All-Star Sports, and All-Star Music Value Resorts and the Port Orleans Riverside and French Quarter Moderate Resorts. If there are more reservations than rooms, overflow guests may also be placed at the Coronado Springs or Caribbean Beach Moderate Resorts. The Deluxe Resorts are not affected much at all because no specific discounts are offered.
I would highly recommend booking the Pop Century Value Resort or Caribbean Beach Moderate Resort if your stay includes December 4th through the 11th. While you can get away with just one or two days shared with the kids, you can probably imagine what it would be like to be surrounded by thousands of boys and girls between the ages of five and sixteen that are not always well chaperoned. While it’s entirely possible that you will have a pleasant stay, most people report back that they would never stay at a resort shared by Pop Warner participants again. Loud cheering early in the morning, extremely busy counter service areas, banging on doors at all hours of the night, and general rude behavior are all common complaints. It’s unlikely you will run into too much trouble if you stay at the Pop Century, Caribbean Beach, or one of the Deluxe Resorts because there will be far fewer Pop Warner kids.
Technically speaking, all players are supposed to be in their respective rooms by 10pm as indicated in the Super Bowl Manual, page 4.
All teams will observe a 10:00 P.M. Curfew. As such, all players must be in their assigned sleeping rooms by 10:00 P.M. or players, coaches, the team and/or association shall be subject to disciplinary action including but not limited to forfeiture of past or future game decisions, suspension, removal from Disney property, financial penalties and/or permanent removal from Pop Warner.
If you are staying at a Value or Moderate Resort, I would recommend printing this page and taking it with you. If worse comes to worst, you can show the paper to the players/chaperones and inform them that you will be reporting them to Pop Warner for forfeiture of games if they do not quiet down.
As far as crowds are concerned, Pop Warner does not necessarily increase the crowd level at the Parks. The majority of the players and cheerleaders are busy with their games at the ESPN Sports Complex for the first few days, but groups of young boys and girls become more common beginning December 8th because many of the teams will be eliminated after the first few days. Considering the resorts would be full of Disney vacationers planning to visit the Parks anyway, the fact that many Pop Warner participants won’t be focusing on visiting the theme parks is actually to our advantage. December 4th through December 11th is a relatively lean week as far as crowds are concerned. The current crowd estimation is average to below average crowds during that time period, which should prove to be accurate. The first three weeks in December are more crowded than they were prior to 2008, but it will still be more than manageable, especially if you follow the December Crowd Calendar.
One date we do need to be concerned about is Wednesday December 8th at Hollywood Studios. Pop Warner is hosting a private after-hours Party at Hollywood Studios, with expected attendance of more than 15,000 people. Since this is an “after hours” event, it won’t affect the crowd level in the morning or afternoon because the Party doesn’t start until after Hollywood Studios closes to the public. Around 5pm, you will begin to notice a disproportionate number of young boys and girls present in the Park. If you are planning to visit Hollywood Studios on December 8th, I would recommend arriving as early in the morning as possible and plan to complete your itinerary by 5pm and either Park Hop elsewhere or plan other entertainment in the evening. You could also plan to see the last show of Indiana Jones or Beauty and the Beast, which should be around 5:30pm. A late reservation at Mama Melrose, 50’s Prime Time Café, Hollywood Brown Derby, or Sci-Fi Diner would also work, as would a reservation at a resort restaurant or Downtown Disney.
Overall, the Pop Warner crowds are not much of a concern so long as you stay at a resort other than the All-Stars or Port Orleans. While you may see a larger-than-average number of young boys and girls traveling in groups, it won’t be much different than any other day at Disney World. The overall crowd level in the first two weeks in December is low enough that they won’t adversely affect crowds or lengthen wait times at the attractions. There really isn’t anything to worry about.
See Pop Warner Information and Pricing at http://www.popwarner.com/10superbowl/Disney%20Information%20&%20Pricing.pdf
See the full manual at http://www.popwarner.com/10superbowl/2010SBManual.pdf