The NBA is expected to head to the Happiest Place on Earth (TM) to finish the season and award the Larry O’Brien Trophy. The 40 square miles of Walt Disney World Resort are massive, but so are the differences in attractions and accommodations available for everyone arriving.
And it’s already point of concern for players and teams before even getting on their chartered jets to Orlando. So, on the recommendation of Greg Auman of The Athletic...
We need a full ranking of all Disney properties, stat. Also, good chance NBA players can get into parks an hour early some days and avoid the longer lines. https://t.co/t2qm0Pou5Y— Greg Auman (@gregauman) May 27, 2020
Fortunately for the best basketball players in the world, we’re here to assist. We found four Florida Men living along the I-4 Corridor to help you make the decisions you need to have the best two months or more of basketball quarantine possible. So we decided to hold a mock draft for the teams looking to pick a hotel to stay in for the balance of the NBA season while playing at Disney’s Wide World of Sports this season.
Your hotel GM’s are all current or former Disney Annual Pass holders, and people that frequent the parks enough where they are experts in the field. A couple of them even have kids!
Robert Steeg: Meme and recruiting coordinator, The Daily Stampede, @robertsteeglife
Nathan Bond: Editor, The Daily Stampede, @BullsNathanSBN
Ken DeCelles: Co-Founder, The Daily Stampede, Titusville Resident @AstroBull67
Anthony Vito: Production specialist, @StampedeSBN and @trystoryboard, @anthonyvito_
- Teams were selected by current regular season record, with the best overall team selecting first.
- Three round snake order draft (we would have gone longer, but your GM’s have jobs and kids so we did just did the top-half of the potential 24-team playoff).
- Any hotel on Disney property is eligible, even the ones not operated by Disney (e.g. Swan & Dolphin, Four Seasons).
Let’s see what our experts say
#1 Milwaukee Bucks (Robert Steeg): Animal Kingdom Lodge
“It’s iconic, a legendary resort, and a once-in-a-generation talent. You get animals, you get exotic food, you are living within an explorer’s dreams. Get that credit card out, stay here at least once in your life with the Savannah view.”
Vito: “AK lodge fits perfectly for a team called the Bucks tbh”
Steeg: “For my first pick i totally did not put myself in the shoes of being someone from Milwaukee but then again AK Lodge is by far the best resort you would be stupid to try to justify your choice with anything except ‘It’s amazing’”
#2 Los Angeles Lakers (Nathan Bond): Polynesian Hotel
“Lakers will take the Polynesian Hotel. IIRC there are 20 bungalows, and each have two bedrooms for families (or “friends”). Every player will have his own room on the beautiful Seven Seas Lagoon with Cinderellas Castle as their backdrop. It’s the perfect place for The King and company to chase a title.”
#3 Toronto Raptors (Ken DeCelles): Fort Wilderness Lodge & Campground
“The Raptors will take Fort Wilderness Lodge & Campground. The champs will get to relax in the spacious Copper Creek Cabins, which is the nicest place to stay at Walt Disney World. Magic Kingdom is just a quick boat ride away and who honestly doesn’t enjoy watching a movie while making s’mores.”
#4 Los Angeles Clippers (Anthony Vito): Grand Floridian Hotel
“Kawhi Leonard and the best team in LA will pick a jaunt through Old Florida and the Grand Floridian Hotel. Much to the chagrin of the Celts, who end up retiring in Florida anyway, the Clippers get to experience the early 20th century decor and exquisite fine dining in Victoria and Albert’s. Home to the largest rooms - which is good for guys like Kawhi and Paul George - Disney’s flagship hotel adds an extra measure of luxury with Club Level rooms in the impressive main building.”
#5 Boston Celtics (Anthony Vito): Disney’s Yacht Club
“The Boston Celtics choose a cozy and familiar atmosphere in the grand New England-style Yacht Club. The C’s will feel at home with the vaulted ship-like ceiling and oak-fire grill of the Yachtsman’s Steakhouse, and an opportunity to rent a variety of watercraft from Bayside Marina.”
Steeg: “BOLD to take Yacht Club over Riviera.”
Vito: “You think Brad Stevens and the Bostonians are worldly?”
Steeg: “You’re right, Yacht is #OnBrand for them.”
#6 Denver Nuggets (Ken DeCelles): Contemporary Resort
“The Denver Nuggets select the Contemporary Resort. It’s the resort that you think about when you think of Disney Hotels. It’s been there from the beginning, and is a short walk to Magic Kingdom. The famous frescos that line the resort walls can take your breath away and there are enough restaurants and shops to make your stay enjoyable. You’ll be able to have a front row view of the nightly fireworks while having dinner at California Grill.”
Steeg: “And the parking lot/park area is a prime spot to smoke the dank kush.”
Editor: “I’m using that Steeg.”
#7 Utah Jazz (Nathan Bond): Coronado Springs Resort
“While on the surface it doesn’t make sense to have a team from Utah stay in a Spanish-Mexican themed resort, it also doesn’t make sense that a team from Utah is still called the Jazz, so it makes perfect sense. It’s also a huge convention resort, and would be the perfect spot of the LDS General Conference.”
#8 Miami Heat (Robert Steeg): Boardwalk Inn
“The Miami Heat are going to take the Boardwalk Inn. I would have gone with the Beach Club resort, but I can only imagine the comparisons between South Beach and a man-made beach in the middle of the state wouldn’t go over well. The Boardwalk is also conveniently located next to the very few nightlife areas of Disney, including the Atlantic Dance Hall, which is about as popular as you can imagine a dance hall at Disney would be.”
Editor: “I’ve seen your Instagram stories: You just want to be walking distance to Jellyrolls and belt out some Billy Joel and Jimmy Buffett like the basic human you are.”
#9 Oklahoma City Thunder (Robert Steeg): Riviera Resort
“With OKC I’ll have them take Riviera, mostly because it seems like they are need of a fresh bit of air, and the Riviera is brand new. No preconceived baggage or experiences, just new beds, new dining, and new resort amenities. It’s also got the newest means of transportation with the Skyliner to help take them around the Bay Lake/Lake Buena Vista area.”
#10 Indiana Pacers (Nathan Bond): Wyndham Garden LBV
“Wyndham Garden Lake Buena Vista in Disney Springs. It makes perfect sense for a Midwestern team to go to a “Disney” property and pretend it’s an exclusive resort. It’s got a great pool, and hot tub area. But it is Midwestern as hell.”
#11 Houston Rockets (Ken DeCelles): Saratoga Springs
“The main resort is fine but probably the worst deluxe resort at WDW. But the treehouse cabins are spacious, secluded and one of the cooler places you can stay anywhere on site at Disney. Add in the fact that there is a spa at the resort and direct ferry service to Disney Springs, and it will be a great place for James Harden to recover after a game.”
#12 Philadelphia 76’ers (Anthony Vito): Beach Club Resort
“The Philadelphia 7-or-6-seeds are taking the Beach Club Resort because nothing says Philadelphia vacation like a man-made beach in the middle of Florida. Character breakfasts, exquisite dining, pools, lagoons, spas; Joel Embiid can even rent a mini-powerboat and sail around Crescent Lake on off-days. Which will be convenient as it shares manny amenities with the Boston Celtics’ Yacht Club. No love lost.”
There you have it. That’s our draft, and your editor is absolutely stunned the Swan and Dolphin didn’t get used here. I mean, have you played the Fantasia Gardens mini-golf course?? It’s delightful, and it’s a shame Steph Curry might not even make the trip because there can and should be mini-golf gambling on the premises.
But use the above information wisely, NBA player reps. Because where you stay at the Mouse House is almost as important as what you do every day.
P.S. Don’t spend too much time at The Edison, but don’t miss The Edison either. It’s the perfect place for Drake, Rihanna, and the rest of the NBA fans to perform at night. Just put us on the list, please.