Well, we made it. 19.3 miles of fun running through the parks at Disney last weekend. After all the training we did, our legs and joints actually held out pretty well!
We arrived at Disney Thursday night. We drove down, so along the way I watched on Facebook how much drama was occurring at the Expo. Sadly, it appears that Disney puts out a certain amount of merchandise that would be loved by the runners, such as tumblers that say Glass Slipper challenge, jackets, Disney Douney and Bourkes, etc… and personal shoppers and such were showing up and purchasing boxes of these items, essentially cleaning the place out of good stuff by 2pm on Thursday, then tripling the price to sell on Ebay. Good stuff…not.
Anyhow, the Expo was our first stop as we got to Disney. It was actually pretty crowded still at 6pm at night. I did pick up a couple items and we walked through the expo. Got a great picture with Jeff Galloway. Let me tell you, after taking pictures and talking to people all day long, by the time I came along that evening, he was still in an amazing mood, happy and talkative. Great guy!
Dinner, then hotel check in. Sleep, check.
Friday was our day at Magic Kingdom. As resort guests, we were able to partake in Extra Magic Hours and show up at 8am rather than 9am with the rest of the non-resort guests. This was great because we were able to get on the 7 dwarfs mine train immediately, since I had not gotten a fast pass for it. We spent the entire day there until everyone was tuckered out by 8:30pm, so we headed back after fireworks to our hotel.
3am wakeup call Saturday morning for the Enchanted 10k. Left the boys in bed this morning because we knew this race was not as big a deal. Hopped the resort bus to Epcot with many runners. I found my charity I ran for (Teaching and Learning Collaborative) and thanked them and got a quick picture with them as well (PiRATE princess). My training partner, Jenny, found me there around 4:15ish at Epcot. We dressed as Ursula and Ariel for the Under the Sea theme. We were lucky to be in corral A for the 10k, but almost lost our corral spot due to the long port-a-potty lines. Luckily we were able to talk a security guy into opening our gate for us so we could get in our line just in time!
The 10k was gorgeous. Knowing we start at 5:30am, most of this race is in the dark, so as we hit mile 4 and were running through the foreign countries in Epcot, it was beautiful. We continued onto the boardwalk, making a loop back to the front of Epcot, running past the Nemo Ride and around SpaceShip Earth to reach the finish line in front of Epcot. Fun fact: There were approximately 11000 runners in this race, around 10k of them were women.
After a few photo ops and goodbyes, I went back to my hotel to rest until lunch. I chose to not schedule a park day Saturday so that I didn’t wear my legs out between races. We went to Disney Springs, Rainforest Café, Resort hotel pool, and rode the monorail. I found an awesome cupcake to commemorate the trip at the Contemporary by Chef Mickey’s. After a pasta dinner at the resort hotel, we hit an early bedtime to prepare for yet another 3am waking.
Sunday morning, 3am waking for the half marathon, I’m dressing to be Pocahontas this day. I had come up with the clothing idea, however my husband is a master at costume design, so I had let him sew it together. He was nervous it might fall apart over the course of 13 miles (spoiler, it didn’t fall apart), but we pinned it up in many places so we would be set. He woke up in time to help me make sure it was perfect before I walked out of my room at 3:35am. Quick oatmeal breakfast in the cafeteria with a bunch of sleepy eyed princesses and off to the buses. Bit more of a line today, had to wait for a bus to arrive to take us. Makes sense since 20k runners ran this race!
Met up with an old friend around 4am and exchanged hugs and quick catchup talk. Met up with Jenny around 4:15 and for fear of racing to our corral again, we got moving to get set up and all, quicker today. Excited we got to start in Corral D this year. We submitted the same time last year and were in Corral E. Expected them to move us to F just because we were running the Glass Slipper Challenge, but instead we moved up. So we were very happy.
And we’re off. The first few miles usually include fans cheering, and a band, then we passed UP in the hot air balloon and the ‘Heros’ or princes (there were sadly only a few this year compared to last year). Running into Magic Kingdom through the ticket gate is very magical. We passed a few other characters, but the longest line was at around mile 4 when we stopped for Jasmine for a photo. We probably took a 5 minute stop here for this picture.
And for those wondering, the photos are taken by Marathonfoto, but there is a castmember beside them that will take a photo with your phone as well.
Passing the Contemporary, we slowly move into the streets of Magic kingdom, running down main street with the Castle in full frontal view. Our husbands and kids were there to wave at us as we passed. (My husband got on one of the last buses that left the resort around 4:45/5am and rode to Epcot, then the monorail to Magic Kingdom to be able to do this). We continue through Tomorrowland and around through Fantasyland to the back of the castle, then through the castle, which is one of the most exciting parts about this race. We follow out through Frontier land and out to the main road again for the long stretch out. We leave the park itself around 6.5miles. The long stretch back includes many water breaks, the golf course, Mary Poppins, The Genie, The Glass Slipper princes, and Toy Story Army men yelling at the runners as they go by. The first Clif Shot/bar/gel is at around mile 8.
To finish out the race, you run into Epcot, to the lake, turn around for a perfect shot of Spaceship Earth, and out to the finish line.
As you finish the race, Mickey, Goofy, Minnie are at the finish line. Your name is called from the loudspeaker as you come around the bend. After going through the finish line, you have pixie dust placed on your head, you get your medal, you get your RunDisney Mylar blanket, and continue around the corner for powerade and waters.
To ensure you are the bib-owner, a picture is taken with your bib on- we are then ushered into a tent for the Glass Slipper Challenge medals, then another picture is taken.
We get our food, the standard pre-packed Run-Disney food box and a banana and we are done!
Stretch, back to the hotel, shower, and back to the parks we go. Hollywood Studios! The boys are already there riding rides, I play catchup and rush around the park with them. Their favorites are Toy Story mania and the Jedi Training. (Yes, after we ran through Magic Kingdom, my husband and boys left on a bus from Magic Kingdom straight to Hollywood Studios to be there before Extra-Magic hours rope-drop so they would get signed up for this). The day ended with Fantasmic and then Star wars Fireworks.
The best thing about Fantasmic was that we signed up for the Dinner package, so lunch was at Hollywood and Vine and our seating for Fantasmic was front and center, and there was no extra cost!
Monday- finally a morning to sleep in… til 6am :). Breakfast at Akershus at 8am in Epcot meant we were first people in the park, since it doesn’t open until 9am. We rode every ride we wanted to (except Soarin because it was closed until this summer :(). Got fastpasses for the fireworks after we had used every fast pass we could use up, which was a great idea btw.
Tuesday morning, up at 5:30am to get a move on home.
It was a great trip. Very busy, but fun!
Being this was year 2 of this race, we may choose a different run-cation next year, just to change things up. We’ll see. Disney is getting more expensive annually, the race gets more costly annually, the expo gets worse each year (more personal shoppers coming and taking the good stuff before runners can even get there) and the freebies are less each year.
In 2 weeks is our 2nd half marathon of the season. Running the Asheville Half Marathon at the Biltmore Estate. There are still marathon spots available as well, so if you are looking for something soon, check http://www.ashevillemarathon.com and use my invite code INVITEDBYCRYSTALAMA.