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!