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!)

 

 

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Wine & Dine at last!

Wine_DineDespite a busy few months, my sister and I made it Orlando for the Wine and Dine Half Marathon in November! We had such a blast on our sister trip. Here are a few highlights.

Resort: We absolutely loved the Beach Club, mostly for its proximity to Epcot and Hollywood Studios. The Beach Club rooms are bright and airy, and our balcony looked right out onto the lake. Great resort!

Expo: It was fine, but I’ve attended the music teacher conventions in Texas for many years, and it’s hard to top those. We visited some of our favorite vendors, but we were saving our $ for the parks. The line to get our packets was short, but the line for commemorative items was pretty long. We talked to some runDisney staff members who were aware of the problem and promised upcoming changes for future events.

Run: This was the part of the weekend that was unusual… The weather was mostly great and we wore shorts the whole time we were there. But on the night of the run, there was lightning in the area and the race was delayed for an hour, and therefore shortened to a 6.7 mile run. Disappointing, yes, but we were still so happy to be at Disney World again. Hanging out for an hour inside the Wide World of Sports was kindof fun. We got to see all the costumes up close. I really hope the guy in the head-to-toe thick fur outfit didn’t faint from heat exhaustion!

Parks: We made a family trip to WDW in June and were planning to run in November and April, so we purchased Annual Passes in June and have thoroughly enjoyed the benefits. On all of our previous family trips, we only went to 1 park/day. But with our APs (and the flexibility of moving around without 6 other people in tow), we were able to enjoy Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival each day. We ate almost all of our meals there! And we went to other parks each day for our favorite rides and other experiences.

Overall, I loved my experience and want to participate every year. I especially liked running at night and the (mostly) good weather. This was my first runDisney experience and they put on a great event. I do hope that they might consider adding a challenge to this weekend in the future.

I was in one of my favorite places with one of my favorite people, doing something together that we love and that challenges us. :))

Hollywood Studios favorites

Big HeroAhhhhhhh we managed one day of DisneyBounding together as the Big Hero 6! So fun.

We saw Baymax and Hiro in The Magic of Disney Animation at Hollywood Studios, and they were adorable. Of course, we turned around and saw a family that really did look like the characters. We were pretty lame in comparison. But it was fun, so no worries.

This was our first time visiting The Magic of Disney Animation, and I just read that this area closed in July. :(( (My sad faces and happy faces always have double chins.) Maybe some new Star Wars attractions will be moving in? Not sure.

We like to change up our Disney World trips by trying some new things on each visit. One year we discovered a pavilion down by the lake past the Flame Tree BBQ restaurant in Animal Kingdom – a peaceful and beautiful place to eat our meal!

Back to Hollywood Studios. Besides the obvious favorites, Tower of Terror, Rock ‘n Roller Coaster (single rider line), and Star Tours, we like the Writer’s Stop for snacks and funky souvenirs, the Great Movie Ride (good place to sit down, cool off, and enjoy scenes from terrific movies), Lights, Motors, Action (great show!), and Indiana Jones (fun and nostalgic).

Hollywood Studios has wonderful theming with funky signs and characters throughout the park. It’s a good place to watch cast members at their best, such as The Citizens of Hollywood, who are talented and hilarious and engage the guests.

Our other favorite thing in HS is the 50’s Prime Time Diner. We always eat one of our special meals here – the food is great and the waiters and waitresses seriously get into their roles in this Mom and Pop restaurant. Soooooo funny. If you go, just make sure to keep your elbows off the table!