We finally got to experience the Red Sox Winter Weekend! My kids were finally old enough for us to feel that it was worth the trip to the Foxwoods resort for all of the baseball festivities. We were hosted during our time down there and we got to stay at Foxwoods to get a taste of Red Sox nation!
Fans from around New England attend the event. We even met some that came up from Florida! So here is our experience from the weekend to help you plan your own Sox Winter Weekend getaway!
We arrived on Friday night and just got settled into our hotel room at the Two Trees Inn located across the street from the main Foxwoods Complex. The kids didn’t attend the Red Sox Town Hall or Friday Fan Fest. We got a late start down to Foxwoods and our kids have a set bedtime. However, I made my way over just to peak at the Friday night Winter Weekend events. It was definitely for extreme baseball enthusiasts and for older children. Other than the Town Hall, the other things were similar to what we saw the next day.
After getting up on Saturday morning, the whole family made our way to the Foxwoods Resort Grand Pequot Tower where the Red Sox check in was. We arrived around 9:00 a.m. and didn’t have to wait long at all to get our tickets. They had it down to a science!
After we got our badges and the agenda for the day, we went to the Veranda Cafe at Foxwoods to have breakfast. It’s upstairs – not far from the checkin area. They have a buffet or plated meal options, and was very kid-friendly. We all thought the food was awesome. It is a great place to fuel up for the day ahead.
We then headed to the Premier Ballroom to check out the kid activities. We passed by the Celebrity Ballroom with the Kid Clinic area, but did not go in. Our family did not sign up for any of the Kid Clinics because our kids were a bit too young and too inexperienced in baseball to participate. However, it is a great opportunity for kids that are 6+ and have some experience with the sport. Real Red Sox Coaches and Alumni host these clinics. So it is a real treat for little baseball fans and dreamers. It is a must do, and on our bucket list.
We passed that and kept walking toward the Premier Ballroom. Along the way, we saw face painting and a balloon artist. The kids got their face painted to show their RedSox nation pride and got balloons of Wally and Tessie.
One tip is to get face painting early, to maximize the show-off potential, but skip the balloons until later. Otherwise, you will have to carry balloons around all day. (And you know your kids won’t do it so when I say you, I really mean, you.) So wait until towards the end for that part. The face painting and balloons are complimentary, but bring a few dollars to tip for the services.
There are also a lot of photo opportunities. You will see Wally and Tessie walking around and they stop to interact and take photos. There are also fun photo opps for Instagram and Snapchat too. The kids like posing at different spots! So allow for time to get from one place to another.
We finally got to the Premier ballroom and it was a blast. NECN and WEEI were both doing a live broadcast at one point that the kids liked watching. There was running of the bases, a batting cage, wiffle ball court, field practice, virtual reality and more. There was a place to purchase kid-friendly Red Sox gear and Fenway park food (hot dogs, popcorn, etc.) Even the trophies were on display. Kids were encouraged to run around, though it was not chaos. It was nice to see the kids be able to move, jump and be kids in this area. There was stuff for 5 year olds and 15 year olds.
We then made our way back up to the Grand Pequot Ballroom for our alloted time for autographs and photo with the players. This was the area that was packed, long and crowded. We saw several families just go from one line to another with back-to-back autograph sessions. So we realized that this was the main draw for many of the attendees.
Sometimes you would see a player walking around. Well, actually, I didn’t know it was a player, at first. Yet, you’d see tons of people start running with baseballs in one hand and a pen in another chasing after said person. Then we watched them sign autographs. (One time, people were running up the stairs trying to get an autograph of a player riding the escalator. It was funny to see.)
Our kids got antsy at this point waiting in line, so luckily I had thought ahead and had iPads, coloring books and some snacks in my bag to keep them entertained for the 45 minute wait. We didn’t bring anything for the players to autograph, but at each autograph table, there are cards available.
My husband liked the mix of athletes: retired, former and current Red Sox players. He also enjoyed the music, broadcast replays, former sport announcer clips etc. It really got you in the baseball mood. Even the kids thought it was fun. (They enjoyed when the announcer saying…Going, Going, Gone! Ortiz hits another homer and the Red Sox win the game.)
We got to meet Derek Lowe and Blake Swihart for autographs – (note you cannot take pictures of those you are getting autographs from) – and got our family photo taken with Austin Maddox and Ben Taylor.
After our autograph session, we made our way to get lunch. At this point, it started getting really crowded because the regular Foxwoods guests were now arriving for the weekend or waking up from their Friday night activities.
Since we did not have reservations for lunch (highly suggest doing so since Foxwoods does have an easy reservation system for most of their restaurants) we went to the food court to Starbucks. However, Starbucks was sold out of a lot of their food. So we didn’t eat much for lunch. Many of the restaurants don’t have kid-menus at all (since the whole complex is really 21+). So your best bet is to hit the food court early or head to naturally kid-friendly places like Dunkin Donuts, Fuddruckers and California Pizza Kitchen, and get reservations if you can.
As we regrouped, we noticed that the Red Sox Winter Weekend activities were in the far part of the Foxwoods Resort so we really did not smell smoke too much and did not have to walk by at lot of casinos. So at times, you almost forgot where you were. I did find the air to bother my eyes. A worker mentioned that the recycled air in the complex (to minimize the second hand smoke) can be drying, and does bother a lot of people. So if I ever go ahead to Winter Weekend, I am going to bring some eye drops as she suggested. Otherwise, we would plan to take more outdoor breaks to get fresh air.
Another part of Red Sox Winter Weekend are the Panel Discussions. You can sign up for to attend a session to hear from Red Sox pitching staff, coaching staff and past/current players. My husband and I would have liked to have gone to a couple of them, but our kids are too young to sit through too many of them. However, if your kids are older or really big baseball fans, this is a treat to hear from and see legends.
Kids Press Conference
We attended the Kids Press Conference as our one option as the best bet for our kids to be interested. My son took it all in and even wanted to ask a question of the Red Sox Panelists, but he was turned away. They started late and did not have enough time for all kids to ask questions. However, the kids that did ask questions were funny and cute. They asked everything from why did you stink last season to who has the best dance moves.
Some asked question like why they were inspired by the sport to who their favorite baseball player was when growing up. The panelists were good sports and really seemed to enjoy being there. Not many players had any airs about them, and enjoyed being with the fans. So it was good to see as you would hate to have your son or daughter finally meet their favorite player and be turned off by them!
By this point, the kids were tired and hungry. So we found a restaurant, called the Red Lantern, that had reservations still available. The food was just okay and would not be something we would recommend generally. But it did the trick on a busy Saturday night! We wanted to head to the complimentary movie the Red Sox Winter Weekend were playing that night, but we knew the kids would not make it through.
Thus, we then headed back to the Two Trees Inn. It took up to 35 minutes to get back due to the busy Saturday night. When we got back to the room, we needed to decompress. So we took the kids to the pool where they had fun for 30 minutes or so. Some quick showers after that, and I think they fell asleep within minutes of hitting the bed!
We didn’t get tickets to the Wally and Tessie breakfast on Sunday morning and didn’t see anything listed on the schedule. So we packed up. We tried out the Two Trees Inn restaurant for breakfast and it was pretty good. Lots of Boston sports fans and it was fun chatting with them about their experiences at Winter Weekend, and at Red Sox games and events over the years.
We headed out knowing we loved having the opportunity to finally see what the Red Sox Winter Weekend was all about! If you are interested in going, make sure to follow the Red Sox on Facebook and Twitter for when next year’s Winter Weekend Tickets go on sale (they always sell out.) They make for great Holiday gifts FYI! Then check out this blog post with some FAQs for families to make your trip Red Sox-tastic! Then check out my Instagram page with short video clips from our experience!