Tuesday, January 31, 2017

NFL Pro Bowl Experience 2017

This past Sunday night my husband and I attended the NFL ProBowl game here in Orlando. I thought I'd share some thoughts and tips if you'd like to plan a trip next year!

The best way I like to describe the ProBowl is that it's a bit like Fantasy Football. All of the best players across the league get voted on by fans to make the roster of the ProBowl at the end of the season. (Only the players participating in the SuperBowl don't attend because they're gearing up for the big game the following Sunday.) So, like Fantasy Football, it's all the big stars from a multitude of teams, playing together. Kinda neat!

During the week leading up to the big ProBowl game, there are different events held at ESPN's Wide World of Sports at Disney. They had a skills challenge, a 5K race, and game practices. I wish we could have gone to that, but we both were working (it was held during the weekdays). Maybe next year?

For the big game itself, it was a blast! We got to the stadium around 4pm and pulled right in to our pre-paid stadium parking. In the Fan Zone, there was so much to see! Food trucks, merchandise pop up's, plus a plethora of photo opportunities. You could take a photo with ProBowl cheerleaders, the ProBowl trophy, jersey mannequins, team mascots, etc.

My husband with Rowdy, the Dallas Cowboys mascot

Gates to the stadium opened around 5:30pm, so we hightailed it to our seats. We were third row on the NFC side, right near the tunnel. We got a great view of so many players warming up on the field and interacting with fans. The only bad part was that we weren't able to get any autographs. But I did have fun taking photos!
Richard Sherman (Seahawks) catching a football 

Travis Frederick & Zack Martin (both Cowboys) headed back to the locker room

If you are planning a trip for next year, here are some of my top tips:

  1. Buy ahead of time the clear, plastic stadium approved bag, to carry your things. I found mine on Amazon for $10. The stadium approved size is usually 12"x12"x6", but check ahead of time on the venue's website. I was on the fence about buying the bag, but I'm so glad I did. It really came in handy for holding tickets, my phone, and scarf (it was super cold that night!), and it made security a breeze. 
  2. Buy your seats right next to the tunnel, behind the goalpost, if you want autographs. It was killing me all night to be so close, but on the wrong side for autographs. The best seats for actually watching the game are not behind the goalpost, but they are the best seats for getting player autographs.  Once they open the stadium gates, run to get a spot along the wall so you can hang a shirt or poster over with a marker to have players sign. (Oh, and if you have a small child, players flock to that too. Figures, kids get all the love.)
  3. Buy the stadium parking lot parking ahead of time. Don't wait to hand over cash the day-of. It was such a wonderful experience to park so close (we were in Lot 9) and get in and out fast. The area around the stadium is super scary, so I was not taking any chances. 
  4. Take lots of photos! And make sure your phone has enough memory to take them! Don't ask me how I know this.. lol
    Dak Prescott (Cowboys) tossing a football
  5. Enjoy yourself! Most of all, enjoy yourself. Football season is just about over, and then there's basically nothing til September. Baseball. Soccer. You can tell how thrilled I am (not really). I love the Pinterest sign that says, "There's only two seasons in a year, football season, and waiting for football season." #thestruggleisreal

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