Angela Dawn

Now is the Start

All singed up for Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend

Angela DawnComment

I guess I will be ending my one-year race journey at Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend in Disneyland. It's very fitting that they moved Tinkerbell, as with Star Wars in January, I'll have done every race offered between mid-January 2014 to mid-January 2015 (aside from Castaway Cay 5K, which I did consider, but it wouldn't put me back for the 5K during Star Wars anyhow). 

As expected, the race registrations went fast. While there are only a limited number of spots for each race or challenge set aside for AP (annual passholders) or DVC (Disney Vacation Club) members; I expect the trend to be the same come Tuesday, June 10th. The amount of slots of the race in its entirety, how many are given to Charities and travel agents , and how many are set aside for pre-sale are up for speculation, and people do speculate, but RunDisney has never officially offered amount for any of them. Not even how many registration they'll sell in total (i.e. Star Wars Half Marathon will be 15,000 spots). Though, you can guesstimate based on past races, finishers, bib numbers, etc. 

I'm happy that I can type fast and was already signed into Active. I signed up for the Rebel Challenge (10K on Saturday, Half on Sunday) and the 5K within 3 minutes of go time. Which is good, considering I've read (conflicting reports) of the Challenge selling out in 8-10 minutes. Some people started at 12:08 (est), but weren't able to finish, but you aren't confirmed and do not take a spot until you pay, so it could have sold out at 12:10, and those people didn't finish until 12:12. Either way - those signing up during regular registration should be ready to sign up the second it goes on sale. Refresh, refresh, refresh.

May the Force Be With You (of course, I had to say it).

Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend announced

Angela DawnComment

No sooner am I home from Star Wars weekends, but what we've been hoping (and waiting for) has finally been announced -  a Star Wars Marathon weekend. This was always under speculation by many. But, many thought it would be Walt Disney World, that it would be May or something different than what it is: January (old Tinkerbell weekend) in Disneyland. I figured something (not necessarily Star Wars) would take over that slot, as Disney already has the permits in place for the roads, and knows they can make money. And it's a holiday weekend. It would have been very unpleasant if they had announce a half marathon in Florida. In May. Could you imagine? Anyhow, RunDisney teased throughout the morning hours with these sly pictures and video (all from RunDisney's Instagram or Facebook page). 

Ewoks in front of the Sleeping Beauty Castle - indicating Disneyland

More details can be found on the RunDisney Blog or the RunDisney Website. Registration for AP/DVC is June 4th and for everyone else June 10th. This wlil go fast, so be ready

So I leave you with this: #letthewookieewin.

The Art of Animation Resort

Angela DawnComment

The Art of Animation Resort Review - warning, this is a very Picture Heavy Post. I took pictures of everything!

The art of animation cupcake found in the food court. It was yum, so that's a bonus!

The Art of Animation Resort is the newest Disney Resort Hotel, and considered a Value Property (though, the Suites they offer are more moderate to deluxe priced). There are four different areas: The Little Mermaid (with standard rooms) and The Lion King, Finding Nemo, and Cars (all Family Suites). I stayed in a Little Mermaid room for my stay, so I can only review on that. 

Once you arrive to the resort, check-in is located in this beautiful lobby:

Giant light fixture with sketches.

This one is signed by Jodi Benson, the voice of Ariel (and Tour Guide Barbie!). 

For someone who loves drawing and animation, you could easily spend a few hours (if not more) in the lobby just looking at the details and all the different pictures. I love the (mostly) concept art, as it's not something we always get to see. What was the original sketch that spurred the characters we know and love? 

Keeping with the resort theme, the pictures are of the movies I mentioned above.

The vastness of the lobby

I had to get a picture so that you know I was there - and to show the size of the all the drawings/sketches/pictures on the wall. The layout is wonderful, too.

First up, and just to the left when exiting the rear of the lobby/food-court, is the Lion King Area. The Lion King area houses Family Suites inside buildings. Whereas most values have a motel-like setup, the suites are inside, so you have to go into a building/hallway to enter your room. All of the suites are like this; and The Little Mermaid standard rooms are motel-style like the other values. 

I walked through this area both at night and during the day, and I love the way the Elephant Graveyard and Scar look in the dark - oooooo, Mufasa, ooooo. 

The Elephant Graveyard is also a play area for the kids. There is no pool in this area.

If you exit the lobby and go to your right, there is the Cars area. It's the farthest to the right; but really about the same distance as the farther Lion King rooms. The Cars area is all suite-style living, too.

While there's no official play area in the Cars area, I think there are a lot of fun opportunity for the kids to play. Even I had fun taking pictures of and with all the cars. 

The above shows one of many large murals that face the Pop Century resort on the other side of Hourglass lake. That mural is 3 stories tall, against one of the buildings. The sidewalk you see in the pictures is the path that goes all along the interior of the resort, looping around Hourglass lake, going to Pop Century, and coming back again. There is also a bridge dead-center to walk to the Pop Century. This is a really nice jogging trail if you are (or are not) racing and want to get some exercise in. The bridge itself was nice as it's the epicenter of a visual of every area of both resorts, and has benches on which you can sit and enjoy.

Dead center on the backside of the Lobby and Food Court is the Nemo area. This is where the Resort's main pool is. There is also a play area here with slides. 

Above is a water play area. The area requires gate access to get in, you must be staying at the resort. I'm not sure why I do not have more pictures of the pool area. It's amazing. It really is. Maybe pictures just couldn't do it justice and you are required to visit it yourself. It has a little bar area near the pool, and you can hear Nemo & Friends (and music!) underwater. 

The above is the slide and play area - this is accessible to anyone.

And finally, to where I stayed - The Little Mermaid area. The rooms were generously sized for a standard room, and the beds (well I only slept in one - a king) comfortable. I was in the King Triton wing, and my only (only!!) gripe was my cell phone service. I'm not sure why, but I couldn't get any access in my room; I had to leave the room and walk a good ways before I'd get a signal. This is definitely not fun if you're expecting a phone call or trying to meet up with someone and need to be in your room. I would say maybe it was my carrier issue, but I received a survey form Disney about my stay and a couple of the questions specifically asked about cell service; which I didn't get for other resorts I had stayed at. So I'm not sure, I think it's a known problem and hopefully they try to fix it. 

Overall this is a great resort, and much better than any of the other values, in my opinion...and I've stayed at all of them. I wouldn't pay the price for the Suites - as I would much rather stay at a deluxe. However, the suites might be required if you have a family of 5 or more; or if you just want to enjoy a really well-themed kids area. I mean, I love the Contemporary, but kids might not when they can swim with Nemo and see Lightning McQueen. 

Princess Goodbye

Angela DawnComment

We had to leave mid-afternoon for our flights on Monday. My friends didn't have park tickets, but we decided to enjoy breakfast at the Polynesian, finish packing and wander our resorts (they were staying at Pop Century, myself at Art of Animation) until time to leave. So we headed to the Poly in the morning and off to Kona Cafe.

The wonderful, amazing, spectacular choices of breakfast at Kona Cafe: 

I hope Kona never changes. The Macadamia Pineapple Pancakes & the Tonga Toast are To. Die. For. Sugary goodness that are wonderful meals at Disney are. It was a nice way to say goodbye (until May, when I would be back)

Wandering around the Pop Century Resort we saw Mr & Mrs Potato Head and mimicked them. 

And I had to say goodbye to my friend Stitch before leaving. I'm posting separately about the Art of Animation, so all the wonderful pictures taken this day (and some at other times during my stay) are there. I really enjoyed the resort; and think it's the best if you're staying value (and maybe even moderate). Read that post for a full review.

For now, it was goodbye Princess Half Marathon weekend. Ready for my next adventure.

Showing off my bling to the Princesses - Day 5

Angela DawnComment

After the half marathon, I went back to my resort, showered and napped and then made my way to the Magic Kingdom. Had to get out and show off my bling! First up was an obligatory photo near the Castle. Note to self: photoshop out the crane at some point - it's not very "magical."

Ariel had already seen my Enchanted 10K treasure, but I had to share all the sparkly, gold, trinkets with her again - since there were four now.

Continuing with the princess theme, I talked to Snow White. We talked about my shoes more than my medals, though. We both were wearing golden shoes. Yay, Tieks.

I saw Aurora again. The pink of my ribbon matched her dress. This was before Merryweather turned it blue, of course.

And then Rapunzel. And I thought my hair was long. This gal would have a heck of a time racing with that much hair.

I met with Princess Tiana and Naveen last. 

After leaving the Liberty Square area, I made my way to Adventureland. No trip to the Magic Kingdom is complete without a Dole Whip, of course. 

Then, I grabbed a spot for the Main Street Electrical Parade. It was lovely, as always (and shiny!).

After the parade, I grabbed some popcorn and moved to a different, more comfortable spot, for the fireworks (one of the Rose Garden Paths). I was able to watch the show on the castle & then the fireworks themselves.

On my way out, I stopped by to see Mickey Mouse. I took video instead of a picture, and this was the result: A blurry picture. :)

Goodbye Main Street USA. See you in May!

The Wicked Race of the East... or the Princess Half Marathon

Angela DawnComment

Well I suppose this title could be taken one of two ways: Wickedly Awesome or Wickedly Awful. I'd say I felt it fell somewhere in-between. Read on for my (always) lengthy recap...sorry for the lack of pictures, I didn't stop too many times:

After another morning wakeup call, I was primed & ready to go. I put on my Belle “provencial” outfit and mosied on down to the bus area at the same time I did for the 10K. Quite different.

Me in the early hours of the morning.


A nice lady in a golf cart picked up 6 of us runners so we didn’t have to walk from the Little Mermaid to the Lobby area, but dropped us off just short, because the line was from the bus area, through the lobby, wrapped down by the Nemo pool and towards The Lion King. I’m actually not quite sure how long I waited. I guess that’s what happens when you have 25,000 runners versus the 15,000 from the day before.

The line to get on the bus

Once on the bus, there was traffic on the highway to get to Epcot, again not something during the same time the day before. I couldn’t imagine not using the Disney transportation and driving yourself. You’d have to leave well in advance.

By the time we arrived, walked through the designated security areas, and onto the pre-celebration area, they announced it was time to move to the corrals. I think this was around 4:45; as the race started at 5:30 and it was about a 20-25 minute leisurely walk to where they were set up. They split A-H and I-P; I think I-P had to walk farther (thanks, Disney. Ha).

The security checked to make sure you were in the right corral – though I’m not sure why you’d try to sneak into “N.” I did see two ladies, one in N and one in E. What a nice friend to move back. You’re allowed to move back corrals, but not move forward. I sat down on the ground after moving through some bubbles of people – they weren’t packed tight, but everyone was huddling in groups and I wanted to be as far forward as able. It was going to be almost a full hour (54 minutes) between the starting corral and ours, N, so I figured sitting down would be alright. They actually made us stand up with about 35 minutes left, even though we didn’t start moving for another 15.

Fireworks gunned off every corral, and Disney kept to the minute of release times. I never endured the previous corral system at Walt Disney World, but it looked like this more-corral-less-people thing was working well. It wasn’t as crowded at the front as it could have been and there was a good distance between the start of Corral N and the end of Corral M.

It was misty for most of the race, thankfully, but for those of us that started later, and ran or walked slower, the sun did come upon us towards the end of our run. Despite being misty though, it was still muggy. Very muggy. Towards the end it was around 75 and 98% humidity. Someone told me RunDisney had extended the per mile rate of 16 minutes to 17 minutes to accommadate for the weather, but I’m not sure how true that is – haven’t been able to confirm. Would have to ask a balloon lady.

I did not enjoy the weather.

There was an on ramp that we went up near Epcot at about mile 2. At that point, the wheelchair frontrunner was going up the the opposite side, edging towards the finish. I heard, and it makes sense, that a female runner was before him, but we didn’t see her. We all rooted on the guy in the wheelchair as he raced by on his Mile 11, whereas we still had that many to go.

Around Mile 2-3 Jack Sparrow & Captain Barbosa were out for pictures. The line was long, but I knew (from reading previous blogs), I’d be able to take pictures with them on the way back, around the same mileage (9-10). Same thing with the Good Guys (i.e. Aladdin, Hercules, Flynn Rider, Eric & John Smith).

Dressed as Belle, I pushed myself for the first few miles, knowing I’d want to stop for Belle & Gaston in the new Fantasyland; and for a picture in front of the Castle; and depending on my bladder, a bathroom break. I thought I’d walk a good deal of it by that point because of the heat, but wanted to make sure that I gave myself enough lee-way. I was waiting no matter how long those lines were.

Next up I could see the Villanesses on the right side of the road (not in median, so probably meaning they wouldn’t be out for the opportunity for pictures on the way back). And while my eyes might not have seen everyone, I only saw two villains. Previous years have had 6 – at least I’ve seen pictures with six (Maleficient, the Snow Queen, The Queen of Hearts, Lady Tremaine & Anastasia & Drisella). This year, I saw Maleficient, the Snow Queen and large Mirror. Nada else. I wasn’t stopping, but slightly disappointing to see that downsize.

A couple race car drivers next to 2 cars near the speedway were out – I forget which mile. I’m not sure if they were just “dressed” in costume, or if they were famous drivers. I don’t really follow racing at all. I imagine they were jus the Car Experience employees.

Once we passed approximately mile 5, we were going under a bridge near contemporary that I remember reading about. Only a short bit until the Magic Kingdom. We ran through a backstage area for about one minute before seeing a door open on Main Street, and we were down Main Street and into Tomorrowland. Unlike Disneyland, Main Street is open for visitors (the park was not open officially yet, but Crystal Palace was for breakfast, and people who had bought the cheer squad I think could come in, too). So, one side of the street is for runners and one side of the street is for visitors/cheer squad. This made it quite crowded to run down Main street. I much preferred the completely bare street with no runners that Disneyland has. Granted, it’s nice to have people cheering you on, but not when they take up so much room & kind of “ruin” the experience of running down the center of the street and seeing the castle in the center ahead of you. Plus, people were seeing loved ones and cutting each other off to run to the family member for a picture. Or stopping completely when they saw someone. Not the best race etiquette – but only possible because of this cheer squad.

 

We turned the corner into Tomorrowland and towards the back Buzz was awaiting visitors. His line was not too long.  Just around the corner, going into Fantasyland, the White Rabbit was also out – he only had about 5 people in line. I think most people didn’t know he was there because he was just coming back from a “break.” While I know the characters need to have their breaks – enjoy their carrots and all, check the time, make a pie – I think there should be some designation of who is where. If the character is not out when you run by, how are you to know they are available at all? That’s why his line was not very long, I suppose.

Just around the corner, a very, very long line with Mickey & Minnie. There was a person out here available when I asked who the line was for. I’d estimate if I had gotten in line I would be waiting 10-15 minutes. It was that long. But I had plans – Belle should be next. And I continued and looked; and no Belle. And no Gaston. I can’t express how disappointed I was. Totally deflated that they weren’t there when they had been there the previous year. That was the only character I wanted. Alas, I continued on (obviously) and we were going through the Castle. There was a stop here before moving through, because it was a narrow path and everyone was taking pictures of the back of the castle. I don’t think anyone (at least where I was standing that I could see) ran through the castle. All walking.

Once through the castle, people picked up pace a bit. I stood in a (short) line to get my picture taken in front of the castle once we weaved through. The couple behind me were kind enough to take my picture & I reciprocated. The official photographers took one, too. Though, I’ve seen some people who had the whole Castle in view, the top 1/3 is pretty much cut off in mine. So while I’m very happy to have a Castle pic, it’s not the best.

My Castle Pic (trying to hide my disappointment of not seeing Belle)

Heading back towards Frontierland, we passed by Woody (I think) & over a Train track with the Magic Kingdom Train & a Conductor available for pictures. Then, before you knew it, we were backstage. So that was what – maybe three fourths of a mile at most inside the park. Backstage, Snow White & her Prince were taking pictures with a large float. I’ve read other posts that Princess Aurora & Prince Philip were out, so they must have switched every 30 minutes.

Once out of backstage we ran along a long stretch of road. Just before the Grand Floridian there was a picture opportunity with 3 men in tuxes holding a glass slipper on a pillow. Another stop as we were passing was with Mary Poppins, Bert & a Penguin. Continuing on, the Polynesian came into view and Lilo and Stitch were out for pictures. Just past them, Genie & a Mickey golf cart were also available for pictures.

Then came the long stretch of road with absolutely nothing. I believe around Mile 7 there was a stereo blaring “Let It Go.” It was also at this point that course seemed to narrow, but I’m thinking it was the same as it was when we ran past the Grand Floridian. Around mile 7 there was a runner down. As I went past, it looked like she was unconscious & other runners were attending to her; while myself & many other runners (while still continuing on the course) tried to flag down a medic. Security was flagged down & I’m hoping a medic came shortly after. I wasn’t really certain what to do in this situation. There were about 4-5 other runners already attending to her. I felt bad & wanted to stop, but if all runners had done that, we would have clogged the course. I do hope she was able to get the attention she needed.

Around Mile 9 there were 2 groups that were also on the way into Magic Kingdom: The Princes and Jack Sparrow (and his ship). The lines were much shorter now, but I still didn’t stop. Though, it was nice to know that option would be there in case I didn’t want to stop at the beginning but did later. At that point, I just wanted to finish.

The boring course continued until around Mile 10 where we started to have to do inclines. A curved on ramp, and a couple overpasses took us through the next mile before going into Epcot. I walked these, as there was no way at this point, in this heat, that I could run up a hill. We did have Sarge from Toy Story urging us along these ramps.

We ran in the front door of Epcot past bystanders and people actually going into the park (it was 9am by this time and park-goers were going about their day).  I saw a cute sign that I enjoyed that said “Hurry up, we want to eat.” Knowing how good the food at Epcot is, I understood their frustration.

Once in Epcot we ran through a backstage area where Princess Sophia was out for pictures. Then, into the park and I stopped for a restroom break. I didn’t have to go, actually, at this point, but knew if I waited I would have to use a Port-o-pottie in the reunion area and the Park restrooms are so much better.

Back on track, we ran all the way to the entrance of the World Showcase and turned around back towards the front of Epcot. Through another backstage area, past a Gospel Choir, and we were in the home stretch.

I was so happy to finish. I did have fun, but not as much as I was expecting, nor as much as I had at Tinkerbell. It was a combination of the heat and the inconsistencies that Run Disney had with last year’s princess race. I guess I shouldn’t have assumed they’d have the same characters out, but I really expected more princesses. It was a Princess Half Marathon after all.

The first of many

It did; however, feel really good to get the bracelets cut off my wrist and receive 3 medals at once. They were so lovely. Half Marathon, Pink Coast to Coast and Glass Slipper Challenge. I had finished. Thankfully.

With all 3.

I was excited for the reunion area – as Belle had been out previously. But, as I approached, Ariel was out and the line was closing. Thanks, Run Disney. Us slower runners, who may/may not be able to stop along the course for pictures, do not even get any in the reunion area? This perplexed me. In addition to, why have the most princesses (a total of 4 – Cindrella, Rapunzel, Belle & Ariel) AFTER you finish? The reunion area is open not just to runner, but specators & friends and family. You didn’t have to be a runner to get in line. Why not put these princesses along the course?

It seems like I’m complaining...and I am. There are many things I do not think Disney got right on this one. I’ll post the pros and cons below.

PROS

Were there any? Ha.

-Good amount of water stops

-Though park time was little, there were characters spread throughout the course

-Security was easy to flag down for the injured girl, I just hope she got the medical attention she needed

-Someone told me they extended the 16 minute mile pace to 17 because of the heat, that would be a pro if that’s the case

-Some runners were very encouraging to complete strangers – nice to see that


CONS

-The heat/humidity – okay, Disney still can’t control the weather, I know

-The inconsistencies of characters (no Belle & Gaston – can you tell I’m annoyed)?

-The lack of Princesses on the Princess course

-Princesses in the reunion area leaving even before the 3:30 time had past for last corral runners.

-The amount of time actually in the parks – both Backstage and inside, I would say was only a mile and a half.

-Some runners being inconsiderate – though I think you’ll find that at any Disney race. And again, something Disney can’t control

-Requiring runners to be in their corrals by 5am. And the last corral not starting until closer to 7am. That’s a long time to wait. I’m not sure what the answer is here – as they’ve already spread out the corrals.

-The road being un-even. It’s hard to run on that kind of surface

As I’ve mentioned in my previous posts; do not think I did not have fun because of all the sour words I have to say. I did! I just know there’s always improvements. And having Tinkerbell to compare the Princess to, I also could see more things I liked and did not like. Look for a post comparing Disneyland to Disney World when it comes to racing, too.

There was no cupcake truck that I could find (boo) and the bus line took about 40 minutes to go through and get on to head back to the resort, so I was a bit more Grumpy & Sleepy than Happy & Dopey when I was finally back to my hotel room.

I had a good rest, and headed back to the park later. Stay tuned for that post...here's a picture preview!


Bring on the Bling!

Magic Kingdom Mania!

Angela DawnComment

After the 10K (and a shower, and some eats), I headed off to the Magic Kingdom. I actually hadn't really seen the new Fantasyland in depth yet, so I was excited for that. I planned on taking more (and better) pictures on upcoming trips, so I didn't use my Nikon camera (I actually didn't bring it). All these are through the iPhone lens.

I made my way back to Fantasyland, walking by the Mad Hatter's teacups:

I love that the construction walls are finally down. Beautiful with all the towers and "stone," as well as this clear view of the Carousel and Pinocchio's Village Haus.

These new entrance gates are lovely - and provide a good foreground to the Beast's castle area; as well as a background to Cinderella's castle (although, technically the front-side of the castle is on the backside, and so forth, but we don't want to get into that).

Speaking of Cinderella - I met up with her. Look at the bling around my neck. Maybe my gold medal rivals her glass slippers?

And the lovely Princess Aurora (Sleeping Beauty, Briar Rose....this lady has so many names).

The new Dumbo area - with TWO Dumbo rides. I really like the theme they put on here with a more circus feel to it - not just in the name of the area, but the ride itself is designed aesthetically different.

By this time I had met up with my friends, mind you, and we rode the new Little Mermaid ride. Which turned out to be exactly like the Mermaid ride at Disneyland. Oh well - here's a picture of Scuttle.

And then we met up with the Mermaid herself, Ariel, and she asked me all about my treasure.

When we made our way to Tomorrowland, my friends took the opportunity with a short wait line at Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin. Now I do like that ride, but I'm horrible at gaining points on it, so it bugs me. And I opted to rest outside instead. Because I did, I saw Stitch and was able to get a picture with him. 

I had made reservations for us at Be Our Guest, and we headed that way. We ventured past Gaston's Tavern and this statue built in his honor (though, if you ask me, he probably had it built himself - demanded it in fact).

The bridge everyone waits on for Be Our Guest

Where we would be eating.

What they've done with this area is fantastic. And to put another full service restaurant in Magic Kingdom is just what it needed to spread guests out. It's hard to get into this place, but I imagine it might die down once it becomes less "new." Though, Cinderella's Castle meals are still hard to get into, so maybe not. 

The Castle in the Distance. This is really gorgeous.

Stone Lion guarding the doors.

Place setting with Napkin rose.

The interior of the restaurant is just as grand as the exterior. Three rooms each with their own theme. We were in the area where there were pictures of Belle & her friends on the walls, as well as a giant wood music box that Maurice made for the Belle & Beast.

I decided on the steak and french fries for my main meal; as well as a glass of wine. And then of course, I also had to get dessert, despite everything being fantastic and filling. And I got TWO desserts - had to try at least 1/3 of the 6 options. :)

After dinner, we roamed around each room and took pictures (above); and made our way to the Beast's study for a picture with our host before we left.

I told the Beast "Thanks for having us for dinner," then quickly corrected myself "Well, not having us for dinner, but allowing us to eat there." He gestured a chuckle at that one. I know, I'm a dork.

Our dinner was early - about 6:30, and good thing, too. I had a half marathon the next morning to wake up at 3am for. So, after dinner, it was back to the hotel for me.

Hulk Smash!

Angela DawnComment

RunDisney announced today a new Disneyland Race! It will be Avengers themed. This had been rumored in the community for a little while, but most thought it would replace the Tinkerbell weekend in 2014, or be in the fall of 2015. So, it's great to add another November race.

It'll be November 14-16th, and I'm traveling to WDW for Wine & Dine the weekend before. But, of course, I'll have to sign up. This one will go fast. I anticipate even quicker than Dumbo. I'm thinking it will sell out in 20 minutes or less. Be quick like the Flash!

AP Presale will open on March 19th, with Public Registration opening on March 25th.

With this Rumor being true, I wonder if the Star Wars themed Half has any merit. Many have mentioned, myself included, how it would be nice for Disney to have one during Star Wars weekends in May at Walt Disney World. Though, thinking about that after running Princess, I'm not sure I (or many) could handle the heat and humidity of a May race in Florida. I'm leaning more now towards Disneyland replacing Tinkerbell with Star Wars. They'd have to put something in there, why waste a time slot? Until then...

AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!

The Enchanted 10K - Mermaid Style

Angela DawnComment

I had to get up a little earlier for the 10K, because the start time was earlier. Hey, that makes sense, right? I walked to the bus stop at Art of Animation this time, as my friends were sleeping still (lazy bums) and not doing the 10K. It was a rather short line, and I was there about 4:15. Got on the first bus that arrived past when I took my place in line.

With Eric...isn't he dreamy (or is it that he's out of focus)

Prior to getting in the bus line, I stopped for a quick picture with Prince Eric. Though, it was a badly aimed selfie, and I only got part of him. But you get the gist. I dressed as Ariel, in case you couldn’t tell. Well, I didn’t wear a seashell bralette and fins; just purple & green (and a starfish with some seaweed all up in my hair).

This time upon arriving, I was there at about 4:40. So, considering the race didn’t start until 5:30, and I was in Corral E (ahem, the last one), I had a good amount of time to wait. I have a friend that’s in Spain right now, so it was nice to be able to message while I was waiting (since who else would be up at 5 in the morning on a Saturday aside from us crazy Disney runners).

In my Corral I found another spot to sit down. I did meet a couple of people to talk to while waiting to take off. We saw the A corral go by and cheered them on. It would be another 40 minutes before we started (about 8 minutes between corrals). Why Disney, did you put me in the last corral. Oh yea, I forgot to submit a time. Silly me. Though, I’m not sure my submitted time would have done me any better. Ha.

A is starting.

So, at 6:10-ish, we were off. And I was really at the front, see me with the run banner tape:

Ready to go (and apparently be ran over)

Though, once we turned the corner to go toward the start line, it narrows. And let me tell you, princesses be pushy. While I was holding on to the tape, I was quickly pushed back and out of the way. No more tape holding. Apparently, manners are out the window as soon as you start walking toward the start line. No matter, I was still near the front, and like at the 5K, was able to get a good start ahead of the corral.


We started off in the lovely parking lot, and headed out onto a ramp. Elsa was hovering on an overpass, spreading cheer (and SNOW!) down upon runners. That was a nice little surprise at the beginning of the race. I didn’t think the Frozen sisters would appear at all. I mean, if they had showed up for a character stop, the race would have frozen still (hardy, har har), because everyone would want to stand in line for them.

Going into the 10K, I wasn’t going to stop for a picture unless I saw Ariel. At least that’s what I told myself. But, right around mile 1.5, Pocahontas and Meeko were out and only about 5 people were in line. I told myself “go ahead” and I did. It was only about a minute wait, so not too much time off my race. I’ve read the White Rabbit was out, but I didn’t see him.

Meeko & Pocahontas (and Percy is in there, too)

Before I knew it, we were past the half way mark and in Epcot’s World Showcase. This place looked familiar… I was just here yesterday. I picked up some much needed water in Japan and headed around the World.  I saw Jiminy Cricket and just had to stop. In all my years of going to and working at Disney, I had never took a picture with Jiminy. I was really happy with taking this picture, which I think you can see by the wide grin on my face.

Love this pic. Let your conscience be your guide!

That made me motivated more for the remaining 3 miles. Tiana, Prince Naveen & Louis were in America, but I didn’t see them. I guess a bunch of characters had to go take their break (the White Rabbit always seems to be late for something, and Tiana probably had to freshen up) when I was going by. Bummer on that. So, on that note, I didn’t see too many characters out. But, I think I just missed them. And I wasn’t planning to stop, right?

I did see Marie in France, and passed on her. She’s a pretty little kitten, but I was ready to finish and get going with my day at Magic Kingdom. After leaving the World Showcase, we ran along the corridor to the Boardwalk Resorts and took a nice circle around the water.

Boardwalk runners.

The Boardwalk was interesting in that a lot of guests were getting started with their day and just casually watching; while others were holding up signs and cheering us on. We were running on different types of wood and street, too, so different than the paved road we had been on earlier. Goofy in baseball regale was the only character I saw along the Boardwalk. I’m realizing now that even if I don’t stop for pictures with characters, I could always stop and take a picture of them…or other interesting items along the way.  In fact, heading around the loop, towards the end, I saw the Chimney Sweeps (Patty of Margaritas, Miles & the Mouse & I believe Julie from the Disbroads) run quickly on the beach to take some pictures on the swing. Why didn't I think think of that? These recaps should be much more picture-laden. And I totally failed (especially with the Half Marathon).

I’ll make a note of my favorite costumes that I saw at this race: Mulan and Mushu. A woman was dressed as Mulan in her training uniform, complete with plates around her wrists, and her companion all in red was Mushu. I loved these, and snapped a picture as they passed. Sorry complete strangers for oogling over your nicely done costumes.

Fabulous costumes.

Making our way back into Epcot there were huge puppets of Lumiere and ....I forget the other one. And of course I don’t have a picture.

I asked someone to take a picture of me in front of the Epcot ball. Of course, I had to. Again, friendly staff and people along the way are always so great in getting you pictures if you’re flying solo.

Final mile.

I passed up getting a picture with the Duck himself, Donald, and continued on. I will say there is a point where you run near the building where the Character Stop is, and under a structure that the pavement changed and became quite slippery. I was walking at that point, but it wouldn’t have really been condusive to a fast run.


Finished with Race Numero Dos.

And, before I knew it, I was at the end. It felt nice to put this medal around my neck.


I happened to see that Belle was out in the reunion area, but asked a Character Greeter and heard that Ariel would be coming out shortly, they were trading spots every half hour. So, I waited in line (and actually let people go in front of me), so I could get a finisher’s picture with Ariel. Little did I know how much I’d be missing that Belle picture the next day, but I wasn’t dressed as Belle either. I waited with a few other “Ariels” too while in line.

A picture with my doppleganger

Back at my resort, I took another picture with Eric. So, a before and after. This time I asked a stranger to do it. I would have probably done the same in the morning, but nobody else was crazy to be out at 4am. We were actually at a decent hour, so normal people were going about their vacation.

not sure what is up with my weird head tilt

Back to my room to shower, and then it was time to head to the Magic Kingdom with my friends!

Post 5K Park Fun

Angela DawnComment

After the 5K, my friends and I went back to our adjacent hotels & cleaned up for a fun-filled day at Epcot. They had one-day, one-park passes, so Friday we settled on Epcot, and I'd meet them at Magic Kingdom on Saturday after I was done with the 10K (and a shower, so I smelled decent). 

We stopped by the familiar Epcot ball on our way in:

We looked around and spotted some areas that were getting ready for the Flower and Garden Festival; and made our way to Italy so we could have lunch at Via Napoli. I chose a pasta dish that was recommended by our server; though I forget what it is called. Oops. It was delicious, though. I have eaten here several times, and at some point will do a review - I promise!

My friends loved meeting characters - which is awesome, because that's one of my favorite things. The meet & greets are always a goal of mine to have EVERY single character I can possibly have. So, we met up with Snow White in Germany.

Going through America, we saw a patriotic routine being performed.

One of my favorite things in France is the Grey Goose Lemon Slushie. This drink is amazing and totally worth the $10 price tag. I mean, seriously, if you haven't tried it, you're really missing out.

We greeted Alice outside the little house in the United Kingdom.

And Daisy Duck made a surprise appearance behind the "The Gates" that are normally closed. Epcot opens these up every so often. They're located between UK and Canada, but are usually closed. When open, characters meet for short periods of time, and it's always random characters.

We made our way to the Character greeting spot and had some girl time with Minnie Mouse.

Then, we made our way to Turtle Talk with Crush, and The Living Seas with Nemo & Friends. This ride isn't very crowded anymore, but I always enjoy it and seeing the real fish in the aquarium swimming around with Nemo and his gang.

Jellies!

One of the last things we did in Epcot was meet Mary Poppins. She was polite, as always. It was raining outside, so they had moved her indoors. Just a light rain, though, and it was short, too. It wasn't raining by the time we met her.

And so, knowing that I had to wake up extra early for the 10K, I left my friends at Epcot and headed back to the Art of Animation for some rest & relaxation (and sleep). Until tomorrow...

The Royal Family 5K (fun, fun, fun!)

Angela DawnComment


The morning of my first run at Disney World had come. I woke up a little earlier than I needed to, and headed over to the Pop Century to meet up with my friends and head on their bus to the 5K. Both my friend & I were decked out as Minnie, while my other friend (her mother) had decided to be Snow White.

2 Minnies ready to race

The setup for the 5K here was different than at Disneyland. Well, for one, it didn’t start in the Magic Kingdom. But, that point aside, you were actually corralled off. At Disneyland, they suggest you line up according to pace, but you are corralled by when you arrive, not by the letter Disney decides.

 

For the 5K, I was in D and my friends were in B. I knew there would be a good 10 minutes difference between us. We waited outside the corrals for a little while; watching people dance to the music and viewing some of the awesome costumes as they passed us. Then, we said our goodbyes and I headed back to my lonesome in Corral D. I was planning to try to catch up to them. They were walking entirely and I was going to run a little.

I made my way to where the corral would start off, the back corner, and sat down. We still had a good 30-40 minutes before the race started; and then I’d have another 20 before my corral would lead off.

 

Once it was finally time to start, I was near the beginning and was able to get off with a good pace in front of a good portion of my corral (a good pace to me is about 12 minutes). It was slightly hot, but knowing I was trying to move through the first mile quickly, it didn’t seem to swelter too much. And the first mile through the parking lot, though not scenic, went by fast. The first character that runners came upon was Princess Atta from a Bug’s Life. I decided not to stop for her, though, and continued on and into Epcot. I snapped a lovely pic by the World Showcase and made my way to China where Mulan & Mushu were out. I saw my friends in line, too, so I had mostly caught up with them. I didn’t jump in line, though, and went to the end.

With the World Showcase behind me. Having fun!

Tangent rant, I don’t mind people jumping in line to take pictures with their friends, but it bugged me a bit when three people jumped in front of me to get in line with two of their friends and they all took individual pictures. A group shot, certainly would be good (they got one of those, too); but if your number of pictures increase then you are cutting. And that’s a big no-no. End Rant.

With Mulan & Mushu - so wonderful!

It was in line I saw Patty of Margaritas, Miles and the Mouse pass & I shouted out to her & she waved. Celebrity sighting. Haha. :) The Disney community is so lovely. So, I took a picture with the lovely Mulan & Mushu and ran on. My friends were taking some pictures with the shrubbery, out for the nearing Flower and Garden Festival, so I did catch up by the time we made it to Morocco. The landscape set up for March was great – and I’m glad I’ll get to experience the festival when I come back in May.

Genie did not grant my wish to run faster. He must have been all out of them.

In Morocco, we waiting in line for Genie and Jasmine, then walked to the end of the line to get a picture with Beast (the two lines ended in the same place). The lines were rather long. About 5-10 minutes each. We took our good old time. I know they recommend a 16 minute pace for the 5K, but we finished WELL beyond that. I like that they extend the “family” run so I can get pictures and don’t have to worry about stopping on the longer runs when I might not be able to.

And the mighty (giant) Beast.

To the end we were finally, and we received our beautiful Cinderella & Fairy Godmother laden medals. Now this race was fun. I enjoyed myself. I actually do not have any cons. There were plenty of characters out. The first mile was in the parking lot, but not bad, and the remainder was pretty much in the park. Of course, I prefer the 5K course at Disneyland where you are running through more park  (and two at that), but I did enjoy this run.

All done!

Just going to point out my hair here. Curls at the beginning and a hot mess at the end. Haha.

We mosied back on a bus and were back to our rooms rather quickly and ready for the day at Epcot. A post to come soon about that. 

The Medal

Princess Expo Mania

Angela DawnComment

I woke up early enough to get to the expo upon opening, 10 in the morning. The buses were supposed to start leaving your resort from a half hour before. The bus showed up about 9:35am. 

The Expo was held at Wide World of Sports which is just across the street from the Art of Animation and Pop Century resorts. Ironically, our buses were the ones parked farthest from the entrance. Thank you, Value. I should have cabbed it. 

I wasn't sure what to expect with a Disney World Expo. The pickups were spread out, though well organized. It was quite different than it was for Tinkerbell. 

I ran into the Official Merchandise station first, which I didn't even have a line for. Isn't that crazy?! Since there was no line, I took pictures for some groups on Facebook, and then went to packet pickup. I'd come back to this later. 

I picked up my Glass Slipper Challenge Packet in one place, then had to head upstairs to get my 5K packet, and Glass Slipper Shirts/bag. The 5K shirts/bag was in a different building - the one with all the vendors for the Expo. It didn't take too long at all to pick up the packets. I was picking up 5K packets for my friends, too, since their flight arrived late Thursday evening, and we had the race on Friday morning. All went smoothly with that. 

Back downstairs to the merchandise. I'm posting a gallery of all available. The pictures were taken quickly and are not the best. But you'll get the idea.

I didn't see any of the "I Did It Shirts" - asking around, I found that they were at the other "official" Disney vendor in the building where I'd pick up my 5K bag. No big deal. I was really amazed at how less crowded this seemed. Though, it's a larger space than the Disneyland Hotel, that's for certain. And, I did get there early. Some people wouldn't be arriving until Saturday if they were only doing the Half Marathon, anyhow.

I bought 2 magnets - one for the Half Marathon, and one for the Glass Slipper Challenge. That was it. I did like the shirts that said "Run Like a Beauty, Train like a Beast," but I was getting 4 shirts for the weekend with my race fees, so I didn't need anything additional unless it stood out to me and I had to have it. Which, wasn't the case. I wanted more color. It was mostly pink, white and blue. Maybe for the Dumbo they'll be more colorful items. 

Heading out of the building and into the other, here is what it looked like: 

I picked up my 5K bag, and my friends, and then went around to explore a little. The official Run Disney store had this additional merchandise:

Going by the RunDisney area, I looked at all the medals. They had the Expedition Everest 2014 medal out. It looks the same as the previous years, but I took a picture anyhow. 

Looking forward to that race. 

I ran over to the Sparkle Athletic booth to pick up 2 skirts: a yellow in case I decided to be "Fancy Dress Belle" for one of my races, and a green one for my Ariel outfit for the 10K. I love these skirts. They're a nice overlay (I wear Lululemon speed shorts underneath), and the ladies are so lovely there. I already had a Minnie mouse skirt of theirs to wear, and would be wearing a Lululemon skirt for Belle during the half. 

I also went to the Raw Threads booth to get a "Brave" Warrior long sleeve hoodie that I had seen online. They also happened to have stock of Castle to Castle (their version of Coast to Coast) shirts, so I picked up one of those in pink. They were sold out online.

And I was done with the expo. It had been less than an hour, so I went through pretty quickly. I headed back to the bus and only one other individual was on it. The bus driver left with just us. She had arrived extra early to pick up New Balance Disney shoes. Those hold no interest to me, but they sell out very quickly, too (I'm seeing a theme with Disney, here). 

I'd like to review the race shirts here, too. I posted the sneak peek of them before arriving at Disney World. They look the same. I still like the blue 5K shirt the best. The other race shirts, while nice because they're technical material, fit weird. The v-neck fits more like a crew neck, it's not very deep, so I didn't like that. And they're short sleeve. While it's nice to have that souvenir, I'm not sure I'll be wearing them very often. I much prefer the long sleeve shirts of Tinkerbell.

Once back at the resort I dropped off my race materials in my room and headed out for the day. I'll post about Animal Kingdom later. 

Evening one and Day Two of Walt Disney World 2014

Angela DawnComment

I arrived on Thursday evening to my resort & quickly checked in. I'd be back later, but I wanted to quickly run to the Magic Kingdom to see if they had a few things: Minnie ears for my 5K, Mickey beaded ears I had seen on Tiffany of MakeupByTiffanyD, and I wanted to pick up a Tables in Wonderland card at the front gate. I had a reservation at 9:45PM at Ohana, so I was a bit constrained on time to make it there for that.

Timing was just so that the final fireworks were going off as the bus pulled up and we were walking to the front gates. 

Fireworks finishing up, outside the Magic Kingdom.

Once inside, I was able to find both sets of ears I wanted, and get something I had waited three years to get again, a dole whip:

The beloved Dole Whip.

It was as good as I remember. I think one day when I stay at the Poly, I will just continuously eat these and lay by the pool.

I took a quick selfie, and then headed toward the monorail to get to the Polynesian. 

My new ears.

The monorail for the resorts was not working. I waited about 10 minutes and then decided to hop on the "express" for the Transportation and Ticket Center. I could just walk to the Poly from there. It was a good 10 minute walk to the main ceremonial house, but I enjoyed walking around (despite construction signs everywhere) and sniffing in that artificial polynesian smell they waft in the area. It's wonderful. Once inside, I checked in (early) for my reservation and picked a seat at Tambu Lounge to have another favorite, an Island Sunset.

Island Sunset

Ohana was busy this evening, and even though the restaurant technically closes at 10pm, I didn't get in until 10:05 (for a 9:45 reservation). While I heard another lady complaining that she had been waiting past her reservation time, I was perfectly content. And then came all the yummy food. I've eaten at Ohana several times, it's always enjoyable, so the food was known to me. All except the salad, which they changed to have a passion fruit dressing and oranges in it. It was good, but I did miss the honey-lime version I had become accustomed to (and also loved).

Appetizers.

After stuffing myself full of all the salad, bread, wings and meat that I could, I had to make sure to save room for the piece de resistance. The bread pudding.

Banana Fosters Bread Pudidng

I've duplicated this recipe at home to good results. It's such a great dessert.

After dinner, I headed back to the hotel and was able to fall asleep fairly quickly. I did get a couple shots outside before heading in, though.

Hakuna Matata

Outside my room.

On Day 2, I headed out to the expo in the early morning (see a different post for that), and then headed out to Animal Kingdom once I was finished with that.

Ready to go at Animal Kingdom.

I walked over the bridge to Harambe, picked up a wonderful beverage, and went to wait in line at the Kilamanjaro Safaris.

Yummy drink, #1.

I hadn't set up fastpasses for this day, so I did so on my phone while I was on the bus to the park. They didn't have any that were right away, so I had about an hour before my fastpass for Expedition Everest. Picking up a drink and waiting in the regular line for Kilamanjaro seemed like the best idea.

The safari itself is about 20-30 minutes and we had some good animals out. There was a zebra right near the vehicle and I got a nice video of that. There was also a baby (child?) giraffe out.

Giraffes

Lion.

Once finished, I picked up another drink and started on my walk over to Asia and Everest. The second drink went down fairly quick (I'll say it had too much ice in it), so I picked up a third fruity one once I was in Asia.

Second drink.

And the third.

Probably not the best idea to have three alcoholic beverages before getting on a roller coaster, but I survived Everest. It was fun! And actually a little different than I had experienced before because of the drinks. Haha. 

Not the best picture because of lighting. On the ride. I'm on the bottom left.

I made my way back to my hotel to prepare for the evening and my dinner reservations, and took a cab over to the Contemporary. I was running late, and the lines for buses to the Magic Kingdom were just too long. 

I was ready to eat at California Grill. This would be my first time ever, and it was newly opened in the fall with a tantalizing menu that I had been drooling over from home. Pictures on the Disney Food blog didn't help. 

Wine colleciton

They had an extensive wine collection that I perused while waiting on my reservation. They have a lounge area that I was welcome to sit in, too, but I wanted to roam. You can actually come on a first come, first serve basis to sit in the lounge any evening if you aren't able to get a reservation. 

Flatbread

Salad

Bread and Butter - a must at every meal!

I started off the meal with an Oven-dried Tomato Flatbread, and continued on with the Kale Salad. I appreciated that the staff let me have a leisurely meal and didn't rush me out. I had 4 courses and two hours were able to go by so I could see the fireworks at the end of my meal without having to wait around. 

I was going to choose the Oak-Fired Filet as my main course since it used to come with (before reopening) a truffle mac and cheese, and I kind of wish it still did. But, instead I chose the Bison Strip Loin that came with celery root puree and a bread-like pudding made with a fig glaze. I preferred this to the tomato puree with the filet. The main course was very good.

The Main Course

Even though I was very full, I can never leave (or at least on most occassions) without dessert. I decided on the dessert sampler (it had the most choices), and what I was able to eat was delicious (I didn't want to make myself sick of course). 

The Seasonal Tasting

There was some kind of almond crescent cookies, a cupcake that I believe was grapefruit, creme brulee, and a liquid apple-like sauce with a rock-candy stick. I ate everything and then sucked on the rock candy while waiting on fireworks.

Before leaving, I stepped outside on the balcony to enjoy the view around the area, and also for the Wishes Fireworks show. This was a great view, though I always enjoy seeing them with the Castle at the forefront.

I walked a bit through the Nemo area of the resort when I returned as I was running to Pop Century to store my friends race bags at their front desk. Their flight was delayed and they'd be back later than I was staying up (race in the morning after all, they'd be tired). I took a few pictures of my Nemo visit, and went back to my room to sleep since I had to be up early for the 5K.

Play area.

Banner of Dory and Squirt encompassing three floors

Disney Princess 2014 Race Swag Shirts Sneak Peek

Angela DawnComment

Thanks to Amy at Pumpkin To Princess and her twitter feed, we are getting a sneak peek of the race shirts for Disney's Princess Marathon Weekend. These are not shirts to buy at the Expo, but the ones that come to you if you signed up for the race.

Amy says they are white (10K), silver (half) and light blue (glass slipper) and all short-sleeve. She has a "friend" in the know. Amy's twitter feed is:

pumpkin2princes

10K - White

Half - Silver

Glass Slipper Challenge - Light Blue

And here, a few days later, is the 5K shirt:

I like this one the best; darker color - more of a logo; but it's not a technical shirt. Just a t-shirt.

Tower of Terror 10K Weekend - AP & DVC early registration

Angela DawnComment

RunDisney photo from 2013

The Tower of Terror 10K Weekend is officially on sale today, February 5th, for DVC (Disney Vacation Club) and AP (Annual Passholders). DVC doesn't stand for Disney Visa Card, though sometimes in the past they've offered early registration, I haven't seen that yet for 2014 races. They do sometimes offer discount codes. Google "Disney Visa Run Discount Code" to see if anything comes up - it doesn't hurt to try.

I just completed my registration and I'm all signed up for the 5K and 10-miler.

With the way some of these races have been selling out (I've even seen a non-Disney, non-Boston/Chicago, etc., race go in 45 minutes!), I'd get to registering early if you're able to.

The AP links are as follows (please note, you'll have to sign in to the website and have your annual pass information stored before the direct links to access registration will become available:

Click here for Walt Disney World Passholders

Click here for Disneyland Passholders

I'm sorry that I don't have a link for DVC, but I'm not a member (yet!).

See you in October if you'll be there!

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend - Sold Out!

Angela DawnComment

Last years medals. Should remain the same, aside from the 5K medal which usually changes.

Well, that went fast. I guess I shouldn't be surprised by the popularity. RunDisney kept updating on Twitter. 

They actually opened registration up an hour early for AP holders, due to the issues they had last week. So, i'm not sure how many more spots they secured there.

Registration opened at 9am Pacific, 12 noon my time (eastern). And, what sold out first? Dumbo, of course. I think it's a new record: 42 minutes. 

Next up was the 10K, which sold out in 55 minutes, and then the half and 5K followed within 24 hours. Even the kids races sold out in 2 and a half hours.

It's interesting to see how quickly these races are going, despite a high cost that keeps going up, and runners keep complaining about. It's bad, but I don't even look at what I'm paying anymore. I know the cost is high, but not high enough to distract me. 

Hope you were able to sign up if you wanted to!

AP Presale - Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend

Angela DawnComment

Well, last year, the Dumbo Double Dare sold out in an hour when it went on sale to the general public. But, last year, they also allowed runners to sign up at the Expo in January at Walt Disney World and Disneyland (Tinkerbell). It also sounds like they didn't limit the spots of this pre-signup at the Expo.

This year, the Expo sign up has been eliminated, but they still decided to have an AP and DVC presale. These will be limited, but Disney never seems to release the total number of slots - both in presale and in regular sale. You can always estimate, though.

I went on right at noon when the information became available and was able to sign up. So, I'm all in for Dumbo Double Dare and the 5K. Looking forward to going back in August/September over Labor Day weekend. I booked the Grand Californian last week, and plan on going back to Napa Rose (once or maybe twice).

They had some difficulty with the links being available on both the WDW and Disneyland pages, today. They (Disney) actually ended up posting in a Public forum (Facebook), which seems a bit strange since after you click the link you don't need any evidence you're an AP or DVC holder. Since I have a pass on both coasts, I was able to use the link available on the site that was working (I think it was WDW this time). 

Interestingly enough, pre-slots for Dumbo Double Dare sold out in less than three and a half hours. We'll have to wait until January 28th to see if the race goes fast to the general public. Yay Dumbo! I can't wait to get this beautiful, *colorful*, medal. :)

The 2013 medal, I should have ran last year to get the The 2013 medal, I should have ran last year to get the "inaugural" :)

Disneyland - see you in August.

Angela DawnComment

The last day of my trip (officially) was the same as the half marathon. After soaking a bit in the room, I headed out to Disneyland Park to finish up my time and try to make the most of it that I could. 

I was seeing World of Color that evening, and had made a lunch reservation at Carthay Circle Lounge so that I could have the preferred seating (more on that later). It was an early lunch (noon), and I didn't want to eat at that point, so I called the dining line at around 10:30 from my room and was able to move the time back to 3:30. That was nice, as they were full at 3:30 and not taking anymore reservations.

To save some walking, I went to Downtown Disney and took the monorail into Disneyland. I hadn't used that at this point; but was hoping for more of a leisurely day in case my feet did decide to hurt instead of just being a bit sore. As soon as I was off the monorail, I beelined to TinkerBell. I wanted to make sure I got a picture with her and wasn't sure if she'd be leaving for a parade, or how long the line was. I waited about 45 minutes. Which, considering I've waited for other characters that long (again, Disney Nerd), wasn't that bad. Other adults were in line with their medals and/or official running shirts. I didn't wear my medals, but instead packed them in my bag. I didn't want them to scratch by clinking together, so I only took them out for the pictures. Some people wear them around, and rightfully so (they should be proud), but I didn't do that. I didn't want them to scratch, mostly. Of course, I think there is a limit. Someone on the plane ride back to my home state was wearing hers. Honestly, it was a day after the race, and you were no longer in Disney - it could have gone in your carry-on. But, to each their own.

Back to TinkerBell. I was able to meet with her and Iridessa - separately. Tink was very helpful in taking some fun pictures.

Tinkerbell likes my medals.

Back to Back

Tink liked the half marathon best, because it only had her on it. Of course, she likes to be the center of attention. And she was this weekend. She also commented how she liked my hair (also in a top bun, like her). I moved onto Iridessa and we enjoyed looking at the medals, too.

Iridessa found herself on the medal.

I packed my medals away and headed over to where Merida was supposed to be to see if I could get a picture with her. It wasn't a very long wait at all. 

With Merida

We discussed running, and how I would like to take up her sport, archery. 

Continuing around the Magic Kingdom, I went on Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean. I missed going on Indiana Jones this trip. It was closed every time I went by because of the ride being down, and with having to manage times for reservations and other fastpasses, I couldn't go. It's alright, I'll be back in August.

Haunted Mansion

Pirates

That was all the time I had at the Magic Kingdom since I had to move onto California Adventure to get my dine on. I said goodbye to the Castle, since I would not be seeing it again this trip, and headed into the corridor to make it to my reservation. 

I was at the park a little early, so managed to take a picture with a Dapper Dippity Dog and Pluto before heading into the restaurant. 

Goofy, me, Pluto

I checked in at Carthay early, but still didn't get seated for about 20 minutes. I was upstairs in a balcony area overlooking the square below. I could see the Trolley and some activity. It was a nice view and atmosphere.

The view

There was a large group of ladies eating behind me, but I didn't figure out it was Patty of Margaritas, Miles & the Mouse and some other Disbroads until they stood up to leave (I recognized Patty). I didn't say hi as they were already heading out the door.

This was a nice relaxing meal, and worth the cost because of the World of Color Premium viewing ticket. I asked the cast member to bring me a glass of wine of his choice that would go with my meal (the burger), and I sipped on some red wine and ate wonderful bread. I also ordered, in addition to the flat cost for the world of color viewing menu, off the regular menu. I picked up some "biscuits" (balls of bread) stuffed with white cheddar, jalapeno and bacon. They were also served with an apricot honey butter. These were amazing. I need to eat here when I'm not using the World of Color plan, so that I can get other items off the regular menu.

Starting my meal

I didn't take a picture of my meal. I think my battery was running low. Or I just forgot. It was enjoyable. However, it made me sleepy. Food usually does. And I did run 13 miles that morning.

After finishing up, I headed back to the resort to get my nap on, and rest up for World of Color that evening. It's nice having a resort so close to the area. Paradise Pier was wonderful, but I do plan on staying at the Grand Californian for Dumbo. That'll be even better in respect to seeing World of Color by walking out the door into the park.

After I rested, I returned to the park about an hour and a half before the show was to start. I wanted to get there early to get a good spot. I ended up walking in about an hour before and sitting down on a top step near a railing. That was nice, as my view would be unobstructed once I stood up. I met a family that had a love for Disney, had ran the races, and was wearing Lululemon, too. I had actually changed back in my room, and good thing, as it was chilly. Long sleeves and pants were required for this viewing.

A Lion King Sequence in World of Color

I can't even describe how wonderful World of Color was. Thirty minutes of pure magic. Disney really hit the spot here and I think Walt would be proud. Almost made me cry how wonderful the show was. I hope everyone who loves Disney gets to experience it. I also hope they somehow bring it to Florida! The music, the visual, the atmosphere, it all just added up to the perfect ending to my trip.

A Little Mermaid Sequence 

Another sequence.

It was hard to say goodbye, but at least I knew I'd be coming back once again this year. Will definitely be seeing World of Color once (or twice!) again. 

Goodbye Disneyland, See you in August.

The TinkerBell Half Marathon Review

Angela DawnComment

Well, the morning finally came around for the Tinkerbell Half Marathon. It started at 5am, this time around, and I had a friend that is local to the area meeting me at my hotel before we'd head down together to our corral. There were six corrals for the half marathon (A-F), and we both managed to be in E. I didn't take my phone out at all during this race, instead I rocked out to my Disney playlist. Some of the photographs in this post, as a result, are from the official RunDisney Facebook page; and I've noted as such.

I wore a throwaway sweatshirt and the mylar blanket from yesterday down to the start line. It was about 45, but I was chilly. I'm not certain how much it warmed during the race. The sun did come out, but I never overheated.

Many people will wear items called throwaways, where they'll toss them to the side over the barriers, at some point. That way, they can stay warm while waiting around and get rid of the layer once they start to warm up while running. The items are donated to charities or the homeless. I threw mine off a few minutes before I crossed the start line. I didn't want it for running, just for keeping warm while waiting.

We headed down to our corral at about the same time; just a little earlier, than the 10K. So, about 4:20. People were grouped together about the same, and we were able to go fairly close up to the start of our corral. Come 5am, it took a little longer to get up to the start line and see Tinkerbell send us off. Not only was I in a farther back corral (5th versus 3rd for 10K), but there were more people in each corral, too (because the half has more people in general). I heard the Star Spangled Banner at one point; and apparently, was told someone sang. I didn't hear anyone singing back in corral E. 

Because of the amount of people, as mentioned, I didn't start until 5:33AM. So, 33 minutes after the start time, I finally crossed the start line. The time goes by quickly, so it's not a problem. Just acknowledging that detail since it takes awhile to make it to the front. And, again, we were off.

Official RunDisney photo - see, loo lat those ripped A-Team Eliters.

The start of the race took us up Disneyland drive and up a hill/overpass type road. I wasn't really looking forward to a hill (no matter how small) at this point, but I guess the energy for that first mile took me up it. And it wasn't, by any means, any sort of discouraging elevation. Small, by any means. And, being on a ramp (or whatever it was), there was plenty of room for people to spread out. I still had to weave, but I was able to get past a good amount of people.

We took an opposite route through the parks than we did with the 10K. We entered California Adventure first, and where we had exited for the 10K. It was about mile 1.75 that we went into the park. Again, my Garmin, at mile 1, said 1.1. 

Nothing in California Adventure really different too much from the 10K. Characters (Mike & Sully, and Mater & Lightning McQueen) were out in the same areas. I believe I also saw Mr. & Mrs. Incredible with their float. 

I kept a good pace without making stops unless I was walking while getting water. The water stops were set up about ever 1.5 miles, with some having more distance between and others having less. There were well spaced, though. I never thought to myself "I'm dying of thirst, I need water, when is the next station?!?!" So, well done on that, Disney. Not only did they have water, but also Gatorade, and at one stop, a gel. I only took water. I had brought a small packet of Trader Joe's Applesauce for energy; which I ate between mile 8 and 9.

After exiting California Adventure, we made our way into Disneyland Park the same as the 10K had exited; through the large entry way between parks, inside a closed off section with barriers on either side for people cheering. The same 6-people distance happened. I found, unfortunately, all 6 people in front of me walking - straight across, blocking me. I tried to run around one and ran into the bannister with my arm. No big deal (though I did develop a bruise), but I was kind of irked. Just because the pathway narrowed, didn't mean everyone had to walk. I was able to get around shortly after, and was off again and going past Terk and Louie and down Main Street, with Captain Hook, Mr. Smee, and Tinkerbell to my right. Tinkerbell, yes. BUT, she was on top of a trailer spreading pixie dust & there was no way to take a picture *with* her.

Another RunDisney photo, the Castle lit beautifully.

The castle was lit up wonderfully; and we ran through it. Front to back. I didn't see any photographers near the castle. I would of thought they would like to get our picture. Maybe I had missed one (though, I didn't have any pictures online of it either). This is another spot, where it would not be good to walk in the middle of the path. ;)

Outside of the Castle and into Fantasyland, I saw the Lost Boys at the Carousel. I read some people (in an earlier corral) saw them riding the Carousel. They were near the exit gate when I was there & people were taking pictures. But, there was no official photographer or character greeter, and I didn't want to stop, nor ask someone to take my picture, so I passed them.

A lost boy riding the Carousel, RunDisney photograph

Moving on, we went around the Matterhorn and back towards the front of the Castle to go through Tomorrowland. I saw Darth Vader and some Storm Troopers out there. Their line was incredibly long. It's Darth Vader, after all. Then, we found ourselves back in Fantasyland, going towards It's a Small World. Cinderella by herself; and Rapunzel and Flynn Rider together, were just across from them. I believe it was at this point we went backstage. Again, the Custodial Staff welcomed us and some cast members were cheering us on. I believe we entered back near Splash Mountain, as we did in the 10K. Running past Pirates and out a cast member exit that would put us into Downtown Disney. I remember seeing Jack Sparrow somewhere, too... but I don't remember where - probably near Pirates. He had a good likeness.

At this point, we were at mile 5.5; and going through Downtown Disney wear the Red Hat ladies were, and a bunch of family and friends were cheering runners on. I was about 5 minutes over an hour at this point. And, by the way, way behind the leader of the pack (granted I did have that half hour starting difference). This woman rocks, and she was crossing the Finish Line while I was running past New Orleans Square:

The winner; per RunDisney's Facebook.

After Downtown Disney, we headed into Anaheim. Pretty much 7 miles in Anaheim. Which was fine, but there wasn't really a lot to look at. Family had come out for some people. Homeowners in the neighborhood were out on their porches, watching us while drinking orange juice (or mimosas?). These miles weren't hard, but they weren't too much fun, either. 

I started walking at Mile 8, and didn't really stop. It was a fast pace walk - keeping at around a 15 minute walk - but that was fine by me. There was a point around Mile 10, that I looked at my watch and thought to myself "If I start running again, I could finish this sub-3," but decided against it. I didn't want to hurt myself, I didn't want to exert myself when I wanted to roam the parks later, and it wasn't necessary. I was way ahead of pace. And, I'd still end up PRing by about 20 minutes. Somewhere around Mile 10, one of the websites/podcasts (I wish I remember who, so I could give them credit) were giving out candy and fruit. I took a handful of oranges. They were deliciously refreshing at that point in the race. Though, sticky. I washed my hands a bit at the next water station with the water I didn't drink near the trash can.

I put on a run for the last quarter mile; kind of like I did for the 10K. The setup at the finish line was the same - 3 Disney characters (none of whom you could get a picture with). I did high-five someone (I forget who it was, Donald?), but that picture isn't online. I was definitely happy to be done. I was in at 3:08. Now, I stopped my Garmin just after crossing the finish line and it said 13.37. No amount of swerving could make up for an additional 1/4 mile on the Garmin. I think the course is slightly long. Hey, thanks for making me run the extra quarter mile, Disney. 

I went up to a volunteer to get my medal, and it happened to be my friend's husband (who had volunteered all weekend). That was nice. 

Me with my medal, post race.

I've forgotten to mention my race outfit. I went with the same getup as the 10K, but in green. It's simple, but it worked well. After I obtained my medal, I headed over the medical station. I had a blister on the arch of my left foot. I could feel it starting after the 10K, but it didn't really bother me while I was running. I went to the "self-help" station and was able to pick up a bandage to put on it immediately, and grabbed another for good measure (and after my tub soak).

Then, while waiting for my friend, I headed over to the snack station and picked up the goodies. Look at quantities they had, they were well-equipped:

Another RunDisney photo.

Once I met up with my friend, we went back to my hotel room. The race ended at the same spot as the 10K, so another easy walk. Overall, a great race. Here's my rundown on the Pros and Cons:

  • Characters. There were a good deal out of the Half Marathon in comparison to the others. That was nice. However, I'll note here as I did before, where were the Fairies? They were the main theme of the whole weekend, why were they not out? And TinkerBell, while out for the Half, was high above everyone. You could get her "in" a picture, but not with you. And, I'm not sure everyone even saw her, as she was off to the side and above. I rectified this by going into the park with my medals and getting a picture with her. But not everyone has that option (a park ticket).
  • MarathonFoto. I didn't stop for character pictures, but the lack of photos is kind of depressing. While I knew ahead of time the photographers would only be in the parks and at the Finish Line, I thought there would be more of them. I understand that taking pictures in the dark, or in morning light, is difficult to rapidly fire off and catch everyone, but maybe, they could have hired more people. I have more pictures for my 5K than I do for my 10K and Half combined. Someone on a Facebook also noted that their pictures with Terk and King Louie weren't showing up. After contacting MarathonFoto, they were told that those characters had a copyright and they couldn't put them up. Why have a photographer there if you can't post the photos later? That seems kind of pointless, and confusing.
  • The Water Stops. I touched on this, but they were well placed and plentiful. The volunteers were great. I never went thirsty.
  • The race length is 13 miles and while it went by fast, only about 4.5 of those were in the park or backstage. I still really enjoyed it, though.
  • The medical station seemed on it. I was easily able to help myself. And, while I didn't witness them, I heard that a few people had life-threatening injuries or attacks and they were able to survive thanks to the medical staff. Well done, there.

Please be certain, that despite these "complaints," I thoroughly enjoyed my time. I think it's important to not "spice up" something with pixie dusts and rainbows just because I love Disney so much. And, it's important because there can always be improvements, no matter how small. 

Stay tuned for my last day at Disney - which includes meeting characters, including TinkerBell, and seeing World of Color. This was such a fun race. If it hadn't switched to May for 2014, I might have considered doing it again. But, hopefully another race (rumors are abound, but I won't post until there's something more official) takes its place and I might be interested in that one.

TinkerBell high above everyone else, overseeing runners in the Magic Kingdom.

The Inaugural TinkerBell 10K

Angela DawnComment

As I had mentioned, I stayed at the Paradise Pier Hotel. I really couldn’t imagine what a great choice this would have been. Of the three official Disney Properties, it’s the “cheapest,” and the farthest – if you can count a 10 minute walk to the front of the Magic Kingdom as far.

I also made the point on a different post that I was staying in a Standard View room on the third floor. While this did not allow me to see into California Adventure much (I could see the top of the Ferris Wheel and Tower of Terror in the distance. Though, I could also see some backstage areas – including a float after a parade.

Anyhow, on the morning of the 10K, I looked out my window and to my surprise I could see the corrals and balloons. Not only that, but I could see the Corral C balloon; and being in Corral C; I would enter right where that balloon was. The balloon indicates the “entry” to a Corral. Fairly awesome. At the point I looked (right when I woke up at 5am), not many people were lining up.

The race officially was set to start at 6am. So, I decided that I would be able to get up at 5 and be alright. I had went to bed early the night before, again. Waking up early had helped with my getting a full sleep. I had my run gear – outfit, Garmin, FlipBelt, headphones, bib, etc. – set out on the bed and ready to go. So, when I woke up, I was ready in 15 minutes. Because I was able to sit by the window and watch, I didn’t head down to the corrals until 5:30, when it looked like more people were gathering.

My outfit wasn’t as much fun as it had been the previous day. I didn’t know how I’d handle running double the mileage with anything cumbersome – i.e. fairy wings. I went with a pink theme; a Sparkle Athletic Skirt, Shorts underneath, Pink CEP sleeves and a Red Lululemon Racerback (another obsession). This outfit didn’t bother me at all during the race. Very breathable.

Being steps from the race front; it probably only took me 5 minutes to walk down to the street. And most of that time was spent waiting for the elevator (there are no stairs at Paradise Pier; unfortunately). There were four corrals for the 10K: A through D. I was in C. I’m not sure how that happened. I had submitted a “guess” of my pace (12 minute mile), but had nothing to back it up. So, I was pleasantly surprised when I received a “C” on my bib at package pickup.

Early morning at the front of Corral C; you can see the entry point to Early morning at the front of Corral C; you can see the entry point to "B" with the balloon in the picture.

This brings me to a point (and sometimes drama ensues) of Corrals. Racers care about them for many reasons. While you are required to maintain a 16 minute pace; if you start in a beginning corral, you may not get swept as quickly, even if maintaining a 18 minute pace, because the Sweepers do not cross the finish line until the last person passes. Basically pushing 15,000 runners across the start line takes time; and if you’re at the start of the pack, that’s more time for you. Of course, your time doesn’t officially start until you cross the line.

I prefer to be in a corral in the middle of the pack – because I know at least at the beginning I can maintain a middle-ground pace (12 minutes); and I will avoid gaggles of walkers, knotted arm in arm, side by side. Nothing against walking – as you’ll see later on in this post; I walk. It’s the etiquette of moving to the side, not walking more than two abreast that seems to slip by the wayside.

Corrals are set up with fastest runners in the front – elite runners who can pull off a quick mile and keep that pace for 6 or more miles. I’m talking less than a 7 minute mile here. Then, the last corral is for those who are going to be straddling the 16 minute mile pace and walkers. The setup is to keep congestion clear and as a safety measure – someone running twice as fast as another runner should be with like paced runners.

Now, as I mentioned, everyone wants to be at the front for the extra time – more time to run, more time for stops, etc. BUT, honestly, everyone should keep to the respective paced corrals. As you get farther back, it’s harder to run around people – because there are lot more; and people are walking. So, don’t be surprised if you’re given the stink eye if you’re in Corral A and do not have “Olympic Runner” tattooed on your forehead.

The course!

In the half hour I had in my corral, I started to make my way towards the front. I was expecting people to be packed like sardines, but they were fairly spread out and a lot of people were sitting on the side. I had mentally prepared myself for the race beforehand by viewing the map. I knew that we wouldn’t be in the park until after mile 1. So, plan was to run when I could and try to get a good space between myself and the others in my corral.

As 6am approached, people started packing in more tightly; but still not overwhelming. Each Corral started off by Tinker Bell coming up on a projection screen and a big "Go!” telling you to start, though you didn’t really need that – the people around you would let you know.

And we're off!

Official RunDisney picture of the start.

It was 6:02 before the first Go! was announced and the A-Team was off; leaving everyone in a trail of dust. We were shuffled by each Corral to the start line. I crossed at 6:12. As mentioned, the first mile of the race is heading north, and around to the top right corner of Disneyland Park, entering backstage through a Cast Member area. I did as I planned and ran. I did have to do a good deal of swerving, despite being on an 2-lane ramp (there is a ramp, so a “hill” first off). But, by the time we entered the parks, I felt a comfortable pace ahead of my corral and didn’t have as many people around me. Though, I will note that as we passed mile 1; my Garmin said 1.1 miles. I had pressed the start button AFTER I stepped over the start line. Hmmm..

We entered Disneyland Park near Splash Mountain and moved on past the Haunted Mansion. This is where I saw the first characters. Though, I had decided ahead of time not to stop until I saw Fairies. It was a good sized line for the two characters, as apparently a lot of people do not see them out. I had previously a few time at Walt Disney World during Halloween, so they weren’t as “rare” for me. Once I passed the Alligator escaping, tight-rope walking ballerina and the I’ll-Marry-Anyone-as-long-as-I-have-a-husband bride, I started down into the square past Pirates. I was all prepared to continue running and gasp! I saw Chip and Dale. Le Sigh. They’re my favorites. I had to go back for them. So, I turned around slightly to get to the back of the line. I waited about 4 minutes per my Garmin; and then continued on. I would have estimated the line for the Haunted Mansion characters as double that; so 8 minutes, just based on length. I will say they were rather quickly though; and it’s nice having a Cast Member there to take your camera/phone for a picture in addition to the official MarathonFoto photographer.

Who wouldn't love these guys?

Continuing on, we went past Big Thunder Railroad, behind the Castle, through Fantasyland (where I believe I saw Mary Poppins and Bert, but I didn’t stop) and onto Tomorrowland. In Tomorrowland Buzz was out and a Lightyear-costumed cheerleader was out urging us on. We moved back in front of the Castle and onward down Main Street; and before we knew it, we were out of the first park.

In-between parks there were white barriers that kept us grouped so guests and family could cheer you on from outside them. I’d estimate they were about 6 people in width. And, we were onto California Adventure!

We ran past Grizzly River Run, and then made a right at the Little Mermaid Ride. So, we were going the opposite direction on the Pier than I had during the 5K. The World of Color lights were opulent once again, so that made for a lovely visual while running around the Pier. We were then guided to Cars Land, where Mater and Lightning McQueen were again greeting everyone (but I didn’t stop); and back towards Tower of Terror.

At this point, we were just before Mile 4 and about to exit the park. Mike and Sully donned in Monsters University gear and with University Cheerleaders were waiting for pictures near a float (that I imagine they use during the daytime parade). I could have stopped. I wanted to, but then I also wanted to run. I should have, but passed it up and moved onto the 2 miles within Anaheim.

Now, this point, just before the 4-mile mark, is where I read that a gate was closed and anyone under pace was cut. I’ve also read that some people were at pace, but were cut anyhow & bussed back to the finish; or handed their medals in a different area. I wasn’t present, so I don’t know how everything went down; or if people were actually at pace, above or below. There were plenty of character stops; and if you had stopped for the Haunted Mansion (which if it was 8 minutes for me; would likely have been upwards of 10 for others), then you’re really pulling time from the 16 minutes you’re given (just a calculation, but if you had just below 64 minutes to get to that point, and you waited for every character, you may be at 44 minutes to run 4 miles – or an 11 minute mile, which might not be possible for some people in the 16-minute group). I wouldn’t be surprised if a good deal of people were below and just didn’t realize, though do speculate that some people were above and other circumstances cut them off. This was the first 10K after all, so maybe something wasn’t planned correctly.

Once I was outside the park, with 2 miles left, I made a decision. I was going to walk. I knew I was about 8 minutes above pace. And I had the half the next morning, so not pushing it would be good for me. And walk, I did. I kept still about a 15 minute pace; but the majority of the miles on the street were walked.

As we rounded the corner to the finish, I put on a light run (about 13 minute pace for me) and crossed the line! Mickey and Donald were there to high-five, just BEFORE the finish line; but you couldn’t take pictures with them (i.e. stop and smile). You had to be lucky enough for a MarthonFoto photographer to grab a picture of you at just the right moment, without people in the way, if you wanted a picture of you fist-bumping or what have you. The only photographer I saw at the finish line was sitting on the ground on the left side; and I was on the right side; so my Finish Line pictures aren’t that great. That was unfortunate.

Just after finishing. Thank you, kind stranger, for taking my picture.

I crossed in 1:28; or a 14:20 pace. Though, my Garmin said I had ran 6.35 miles, and not 6.2. I'll note this more in the half review, too. I felt good, not sore and not rushed. I was happy with that time and felt so much better going into the half the next day. The race was overall, very good, but of course I nitpicked (as you probably caught on to) a few things. I grabbed my medal from a lovely volunteer (than you volunteers!) and headed down the after-course to pick up my goodies box, a banana, and a bottle of water. I also picked up a mylar RunDisney wrap. I was going to use this in the morning to keep warm as I was kind of chilly this morning (more on weather in my half post). And back to my hotel. Despite not being sore, I was still happy to be able to walk practically right into the hotel, go back up to my room, and relax in about five minutes.

The beautiful medal. INAUGURAL!

So, looking back - here are my thoughts of the race:

  • Still not a lot of Characters - 6 instead of 4. The Haunted Mansion characters are apparently hard to come by (I've seen them in Walt Disney World a few times during Halloween, so they weren't rare to me). But, no fairies? Seriously? The medal has five of them on it - did they not think having a Fairy available for pictures during the race would be appropriate? Mickey, Goofy and Donald were at the finish line, but BEFORE you crossed, and you weren't allowed to take pictures with them. You only could high-five and hope that someone caught you on camera at MarathonFoto
  • Speaking of MarathonFoto - I'll post more about them on my half review. I didn't have many pictures at all during my 10K - "official pictures that is." 
  • The course was alright. About 3-3 1/2  miles in the parks/behind the scenes. Not too bad. So, about half the race. I knew this ahead of time, though, and was able to plan accordingly. I kind of wish the course had been backwards. I could have ran the first 2 miles without worrying about stopping for characters, kept a fast (for me, 12 minutes is fast) pace, and then walked more in the parks to enjoy them. But, something about running the parks is great, anyhow. Even if everything is passing you by.
  • There were a few places the course narrowed. The barriers between Parks, as I mentioned briefly; and more notably I remember a small archway/tunnel before entering Splash Mountain area, just before seeing the Haunted Mansion characters. I think you could only fit 4 people side-by-side. At this point, about a mile and half in, my corral was rather spread out. I didn't know how it would be for the last two corrals, though, dealing with more congestion. Again, this is fine, side-by-side as 4 people IF you can get past. Trying to keep your running pace and coming upon four friends walking side-by-side, you're forced to stop. So, that's the only complaint in regards to the narrowing. But, it has to happen to go through that area of the park (at least in the instance I remember). The only way to get things to change is to mention them. This didn't take away from any of my fun - by any means, it's just one of the "cons" of running a Disney Race - different paces mix in and can cause clusters of congestion.
  • I thought the corrals were set up well for this Inaugural race. Each one seemed to be spaced fairly even (though, again, I'm reading that the last corral was split into two groups and the balloon lady started before everyone had crossed the start line - but I don't know what of that is truth because I wasn't there). 
  • The medal is beautiful. The details of the fairies are great. Being a Disney Nerd, I can tell who each one is. It's a good weight and one of the nicest I've seen (I only own one medal from a half marathon, but I have perused other friends' and it seems Disney has the best). I'm looking forward to all the others I'll receive this year after (man)handling (my precious!) all of them at the expo.

So, overall, a great first RunDisney 10K. I had a great time, did get to see Chip and Dale, and made a better pace than I was expecting. The time does creep up on you, though. I did go out in the parks for part of the evening, and ate again at the Napa Rose bar (as relayed in my Napa Rose review). 

Onwards to 13.1 miles!

Happy, and done.