NBA Teams Report To Disney World: What Life Will Be Like On and Off The Court

The NBA is sending 22 teams to Disney World to resume the season with eight regular-season games, which will begin July 30, before heading into the playoffs. The first wave of teams arrived in Orlando on Tuesday and the second on Wednesday. The final eight will get there Thursday before workouts begin.

The league sent out a memo to teams about entertainment within the NBA bubble at Disney World. And I must say, it doesn’t seem all that bad. It’s almost like a vacation, minus your family. Of course not being able to see your family for upwards of 3 months is the main factor of making this bubble city difficult, but the league has done it’s best to set up activities to keep the athletes busy when off the court.

Entertainment Off The Court

Beginning in late July, Walt Disney World will open for after-hours experiences (Usually after 11 pm). Up to 40 guests at a time (so, mostly a full team considering each organization is bringing about 40 people) will be allowed to go to Expedition Everest at Animal Kingdom, Rock ’n’ Roller Coaster at Hollywood Studios, Test Track at Epcot and more.

Some people have questioned if this is a good idea considering the theme parks will be open during the day to the public, but guidelines have been set in place to ensure the parks will be disinfected and safe.

Starting in mid- to late July, the second floor of Splitsville Luxury Bowling Lanes can host up to 100 bowlers for private NBA events.

Those on campus have the option to book golfing at one of three courses starting July 9: Palm Golf Course, Lake Buena Vista Golf Course and Magnolia Golf Course. Up to four golfers per tee time are allowed. The courses are open to players every day, except on Saturday.

Worried about players being unable to get their haircuts and pedicures? No worries necessary as barbers, braiders, manicurists and pedicurists will begin taking appointments in mid- to late July and will be available in all three NBA hotels.

At each hotel there is a players lounge which features ping pong and pool tables, arcades, and gaming systems. Expect a heavy dose of card games and gambling to take place as well.

Alcohol consumption has been limited to on the campus, and at bowling alleys. When out on guided fishing excursions and motor boat rides, alcohol use is forbidden.

On The court

Players will go through three weeks of training camp and three scrimmages after arriving on campus. Each team has their own practice court. There will be set time periods to get in work to prevent overcrowding. 6 of the 22 teams will leave the bubble after the 8 game regular season after not qualifying for the playoffs.

For the teams good enough to make the NBA Finals, we are talking about a 3 month stretch of living in a Disney hotel, under restrictive guidelines.

Expect Changes

The first reports back of the bubble experience were mixed at best. The main issue was with the food options. The NBA and Disney said the food options will change in a few days, as they work to safely bring in chefs and new menu items.

At some point I do expect some of the rules to either tighten up or loosen depending on the pandemic. If a player or coach ends up contracting the virus in the bubble, the league will have a potential crisis on their hands. So expect the freedom of going to golf courses and theme parks to vary as the virus surges or dies down in Florida.

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