Princess Weekend at DisneyWorld

What a fun weekend! There were definitely a lot of women at this race, and also a lot of great costumes. My personal favorites were the Prince Charming holding his Cinderella’s sparkly running shoe on a little red velvet pillow, and the “extra” dwarves. I don’t even remember their names, but we make up our own characters in my house too, so I got a big kick out of their cute costumes. My other favorite: the guy with the shirt that said “why are all these princess chasing me?”

I finally got a decent picture (okay, a little toothy) in front of the Geosphere. This photo opportunity is always at the end of the race when we’re sweaty and tired, and I have a terrible habit of running with my head back. My turtle pose. I worked extra hard for this photo and it was exhausting! Oh, d-dear.

I LOVED running through all the countries in EPCOT during the 10k. But… note to self: sometimes they close the A corral early. And then you have to sweetly ask to move all the way through the B corral to try to get into the A corral, and you receive many ugly looks.

(Another note to self: it’s gonna be hot in April. And bright. Wear cool clothing. And sunglasses.)

During the halfie, the Magic Kingdom castle was lit in pink and it truly made the morning magical.

We had a great time, and as always, all of the events were managed well, there were tons of helpful cast members, and the green army man kept me going!

EPCOT was making preparations for the Flower & Garden Festival, so we had a little preview of some of the topiaries. Can’t wait to be there next month!

Hollywood Studios had some areas open that were previously blocked, and we were glad to see the life-sized poster of Star Wars Land. We’re training for the Star Wars Dark Side Weekend – one of our FAVORITE runDisney events!

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WDW Marathon Weekend

Yep, January can be cold, even in Florida. (February too, of course, but it was warm for the Princess weekend, just 6 weeks after the freezing temps for the January runs! More on that in my next post :))

It looked like everybody had to rethink their costumes. Thank goodness Disney gathers all the items we discard as we run and donates them.

It was so cold that before the race started, we all huddled together in little groups for warmth. People were wearing the blankets you get at the end of races (some people taped one on each leg and used another around their torso or shoulders), bathrobes, hats, gloves, scarves, ear muffs… you name it, we were wearing it to try to stay warm. It was crazy! Once we started running, there was no way I was throwing away my jacket. Still too cold!

On the morning of the 10k, there was a huge empty tent, and we all stood inside like cattle. The next day, the tent had merch in it and we had to “shop” in order to stay inside. “I like this jacket! Look at that hat! Ooooooooh, whaddya think about this shirt? Cute, right?!?” I did actually buy something.

We really enjoyed the 10k route. Running through EPCOT in the dark with the light of the torches is one of my very favorite parts of any runDisney race. We also ran through Animal Kingdom and Pandora in the dark and it was so beautiful! And seeing the Mickey hot air balloon against the beautiful morning sky was lovely!

The walk to the half marathon corrals seemed to add an additional mile (really, it was a long walk), but the entire weekend was well planned and ran efficiently.

Personally, I’d like to have nutrition earlier than mile 8 – for me, that’s too late. So I bring a gel or sport beans with me.

One of my favorite parts of this run is the green army man at the top of the hill (yes, for a gal from sea level, an overpass is a hill, and this one comes after a loooong, slow, uneven climb up the ramp) who encourages us to keep moving! He’s funny and gives me a boost at just the right time.

This was our first time to run during the marathon weekend. We may be inclined to run the full marathon someday, but we’re not ready yet. Doesn’t matter – we LOVE our runDisney weekends!

Wine & Dine Weekend

We skipped the W&D weekend in 2016 so that we could experience a running adventure in Disneyland, and we thrilled to be back for this year’s events.

 

 

We used a wine theme for our 10k costumes (wore them for the shorter race since we didn’t really want to run 13.1 miles with grapes on our heads).

 

 

 

Our half marathon theme was tea cups and we had so many comments on these cute leggings from etsy.

 

 

 

Finally, the after-party was another opportunity to enjoy the food and wine festival, which we love. It was so nice to enjoy the rides without any lines, but it was a loooooong day.

 

RunDisney did a great job with everything that we experienced. Lines at the Expo were short, transportation was smooth, courses were fun, and the cast members were wonderful! We especially adore the Tower of Tower cast members who creepily directed us as we ran by.

P.S. We always enjoy having our first beer at the small kiosk outside the Expo. And we’re allowed to take it indoors, so bonus!

Next up: Our first time attending the WDW Marathon weekend! We’ll still run the 10k and Halfie, and since this isn’t an official challenge, we’ll just call it our Mickey Hands Challenge (to match our new leggings… photos will follow soon)!

Star Wars Dark Side Recap

It was great to be back for the Dark Side Challenge! Already hot in Florida, but both the 10k and half marathon were great experiences for us. And although we thoroughly enjoyed our 2 run weekends in California, we missed Epcot and Animal Kingdom.

The Flower & Garden Festival make any trip to WDW so pleasant. We stayed in the Epcot resort area this time and each brought one of our kids. These cousins have always been great friends. Here they are DisneyBounding in the Magic Kingdom as a modern Cindy and Prince, while we’re the ugly stepsisters (of course).

We also DisneyBounded as modern Aristocats who apparently adore the upside down car in front of the Rock ‘n Roller Coaster in Hollywood Studios. I’m Berlioz, my daughter is Marie, my sister is Duchess, and my nephew is O’Malley. In reality, he would wake up each day and say, okay, what color should I wear? Hilarious.

My daughter was Jane at the Gorilla Exploration Falls, a place we try to never miss when we visit the Animal Kingdom.

Star Wars events are so much fun – we love the costumes of runners and the theming that WDW provides. Good character stops (though we never stop) and great music to motivate us. We were so proud to earn our Kessel Run Challenge medals since we ran the Light Side Half Marathon in January in Disneyland!

LOVE seeing runDisney official photographers at the beginning of the races for decent photos (we always hate our “after” pictures). But there wasn’t a massage tent at any of the events, so we were a bit disappointed. And we even remembered to bring our cash!

We had no trouble getting on the buses to/from resorts, the Expo was easy… everything seemed to run well this weekend. The starting line fireworks for the half marathon were amazing! And one of our favorite things was running through a woodsy area with sounds of the speeder bike chase on Endor playing over speakers. It felt like we were a part of the cast of ROTJ!

We’re legacy runners for this event, and we’re already registered for 2018! (By the way, yes, we reuse our running outfits, because money. We might keep the shirt, change the leggings, or use the same leggings with a different shirt, or add a hat, or another new item. No shame in using what you’ve got!)

 

 

Star Wars – The Light Side Half Marathon (and by light, I mean cheap)

Here’s my belated review of our January runDisney Star Wars – The Light Side weekend in California.

We registered late and weren’t able to participate in the Rebel Challenge, so my sister and I focused on the half marathon, and my hubby came along for just one night and ran the 10k. This was his first runDisney experience, so we gave him all of our best tips.

We decided to make this a shorter and more cost-conscious runDisney experience, and we did a pretty good job! We only registered for one race, so that brought the cost down. Also, we didn’t really shop. We picked up our packets at the Expo and headed straight to the parks.

We usually go to WDW in Florida, so our favorite things in California are Hyperspace Mountain and lobster nachos at Cove Bar. We also tried something new – appetizers and drinks at Carthay Circle Lounge. Delicious food, but not filling. We followed it up later by going to our other favorite restaurant, Wine Country Trattoria. Such beautiful, outdoor seating and great food.

Again, the best part of the Disneyland events is the close proximity of EVERYTHING! We stayed at an inexpensive hotel right across the street from the park entrance, Park Vue Inn, and it was a good little spot (especially for the price). Their free hot breakfast was simple but yummy.

My husband said the 10k was great – he really enjoyed seeing the runners in costume, running through the parks, and spotting Star Wars rebels. It was pretty cool in the morning for both runs, so we took throw-away jackets. We really needed those mylar blankets at the end (thank you, runDisney)!

Quick comparison between 2 runDisney event weekends:

  • The route for the Disneyland Half Marathon in September had too many bottlenecks and part of the race was on a narrow path next to an empty cement ravine (not very pleasant, and a little scary), BUT it did have tons of supporters, from dance groups to classic cars to scouts, AND we ran through Angel Stadium (but it was very crowded).
  • The route for the Light Side Half Marathon in January wound through pretty little neighborhoods and, of course, through the parks with plenty of cast members, marching bands, and cosplay folks cheering us on. We love it when the rides are running and music is playing in the parks – so festive! There were also plenty of Star Wars characters urging us to “move along.”

Cost review: we saved money by staying at a cheaper hotel with free breakfast, registering for one race, staying fewer nights, needing fewer tickets to the parks, and not shopping. But… we love running, we love a challenge, and we love Disney World, so we’ll be there next month to run the Dark Side Challenge.

Can’t wait to earn the Kessel Run medal in SIX WEEKS!

Running in Disneyland!

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My sister and I spent 4 glorious days in Cali for the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend in September. We ran in Florida in the Fall last year (Wine & Dine is one of our favorite events), but this year decided to try an event on the West coast. It didn’t disappoint.

Some thoughts and thank you notes:

-the route for the 10k was perfect; we spent a lot of time in the parks and cast members really supported us – thank you!

-LOVED the fact that the parks had the rides running with music blaring as we ran through – this little touch really brought the Disney magic

-for the Half Marathon, we spent time in the parks again, and also a lot of time on streets

-LOVED the cars that lined the streets; they went on and on and on – thanks for coming out!

-LOVED the dancing groups and cheerleaders and scouts who lined the route and cheered us on – thanks for sharing your time and talents!

-running through Angel Stadium is crowded but very special

-the Dumbo Double Dare is a great challenge and we adore our shirts and medals

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A few more highlights:

-in Florida, there are race photographers available BEFORE the races start, and let’s face it, that’s when we look our best – we’d like to see that feature in Cali

-please provide snacks before mile 9 or 10 (it’s my own fault; note to self: put a gel in your rooSport for longer runs!)

-one of the best things about visiting Disneyland is the close proximity of the parks, hotels, packet pickup, race start/finish – being able to walk everywhere is great, and we enjoyed hopping back and forth between the 2 parks (park hack: you can get FPs in one park and go over to the other park to get another set)

-lobster nachos and craft beer at Cove Bar

-pasta and wine at Il Trattoria (don’t miss the tasting terrace upstairs)

-Grand Californian for so many reasons (the fireplace, the park entrance, the beautiful accommodations)

-HYPERSPACE MOUNTAIN (FP must) and RADIATOR SPRINGS RACERS (single rider line)

To wrap it up, we love runDisney. Combining a few of our favorite things (Disney parks, running, dressing up, beer and wine and good food) makes this a special sister retreat for us, and we’re making plans to see you real soon!

California preview

We wanted to visit a nice place with cooler temps, relax a bit, and explore something new to us, and we gratefully used hotel and airline points to make it happen.

After driving around for a while unsuccessfully looking for parking near some crowded beaches, we decided to look around a cozy little neighborhood. Every once in a while, we’d see a local in swimwear walking by, no shoes, maybe carrying a surfboard. Hmmmm, where could they be headed? So yes, we stalked them. Parked easily and tracked those innocent folks to a hidden pathway which led to some steep stairs down to a beautiful beach! This little gem was covered in smooth rocks that tinkled as they came into shore. I think my husband told me one time about this strange effect, but I couldn’t imagine it at the time. It’s quite lovely.

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One of the highlights of the trip was waking up my teens the next day with the words, would you be interested in going to Disneyland today? It was a complete surprise to them, and their reactions were so charming. We loved our day in the park, and I was even able to scope out my digs for the next runDisney event, the Dumbo Double Dare. I love this part of DL California Adventures which represents national parks, always high on my list of favorite places to visit and explore. I’ll never forget seeing the Grand Canyon as a kid and hiking in cave dwellings at Mesa Verde.

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Next stop was the immense and lush San Diego Zoo. It’s incredible! I highly recommend taking the bus tour to get an overview of the zoo and to learn some great information. I fell in love with an animal I’d never before seen, a Gerenuk (which means “giraffe neck”). The tram ride is also a good way to get a bird’s-eye view and rest for a bit.

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We wanted to spend so much more time enjoying the climate and the lovely surroundings. We will return!

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