The Bucs have enjoyed the first-class surroundings at Disney the past two summers
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will travel over 20,000 miles during the course of the 2004 NFL season, visiting such cities as Oakland, San Diego and Phoenix.
It will all start, however, with a little, 80-mile trip up the road to Orlando.
For the third straight summer, the Buccaneers will hold their training camp at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex. The team announced on Thursday that it has signed a contract to return to the spot that launched their first championship season in 2002.
The Bucs will also house their players, coaches and staff at the Celebration Hotel for the third consecutive year.
The Buccaneers were the first NFL team to conduct training camp at the Walt Disney World Resort, making great use of the 200-acre sports complex that also plays host to the Atlanta Braves during spring training.
"We are very excited to head back to Disney and we are looking forward to another great year at the complex," said Buccaneers Senior Director of Business Administration Mike Newquist. "We have received first-class service the last two years and we are thrilled to continue training in one of the nation's premier facilities."
The Buccaneers will announce a complete training camp schedule later this spring, but workouts are tentatively scheduled to begin in late July and conclude in mid-to-late August. All dates are subject to change.
While Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex has a daily admission for its events, Buccaneer practices at training camp will be free to all fans and open to the public, as it was during the last two years. On most days, the Bucs hold one practice in the morning and another in the afternoon, and all of the workouts have been heavily attended over the last two summers.
"The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' training camp has become one of the most highly-anticipated events on our schedule at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex," said Reggie Williams, vice president of Disney Sports Attractions. "We look forward to welcoming the Buccaneers players, coaches and fans back to Central Florida this summer as the team begins preparations for the new season."
In addition to the 2002 and 2003 Buccaneers camps, Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex has housed training events for the Braves (spring training, 1998-present), Orlando Magic (training camp, 1997 and 2003), the University of Florida football team (2000 Florida Citrus Bowl), the North Carolina State football team (2001 Tangerine Bowl) and Scotland's Celtic Football Club (mid-season training, 2001 and 2003). World-class athletes such as Tracy McGrady (Orlando Magic), Daunte Culpepper (Minnesota Vikings), Gail Devers (track & field Olympian) and members of the British Olympic Association (BOA) also continue to use the complex as a training destination.
Prior to moving to Disney, the Buccaneers trained at the University of Tampa for the better part of two decades. The team's first camp destination was actually its own complex, One Buccaneer Place, and a hotel that used to stand next door.
Last year, the Bucs were one of only three teams in the NFL to hold training camp at a location other than a university or their own stadium or practice facilities. The Oakland Raiders moved to the Napa Valley Marriott while the Dallas Cowboys traveled to San Antonio and utilized the Alamodome and the Riverwalk Marriott.