And I officially hate strollers. Here’s a tip, if your kid’s feet hit the ground in the stroller, THEY CAN WALK. And yes, while my parents took me to Disney when I was 2… I don’t remember a damn thing. Why spend that money?!
Waaaaaaay back in 2013, my old NOVA roommate and I decided we wanted to do the Disney Princess Half Marathon if we ever got the chance. Unfortunately we missed the signup for 2014, so we made a pact that as soon as it opened for 2015, we were signing up. Well we found out after my Nike Half Marathon that Disney registration was opening in July. We were on it like white on rice. As soon as registration opened, I was online signing up and plugging in my credit card. I honestly didn’t care what it cost. I was going. Come hell or high water.
Little did I know that by the time the race rolled around, I would be in a completely different state, with a completely new job. “Hey, I’m super excited to have this new job and be in the middle of busy season, but I have a a vacation planned halfway in….” At least I told them up front in my interview so my new company has been super supportive and flexible about it. But I’m jumping ahead.
MS and I confirmed our registration, we ended up signing up for the Glass Slipper Challenge – a 2 day race event, Saturday – the Enchanted 10k (6.2 miles) and Sunday – the Disney Princess Half Marathon (13.1 miles) because, why not. we were going to be there anyway! I reserved the All-Star Movies Resort and we booked our Jetblue tickets from Reagan National because it was cheap. (tangent, I originally typed DCA (Reagan’s airport code) because my father is an Air Traffic Controller and that’s how I think of airports.)
Reminder, this is in July. By October I go to my interview, and November I’m moving to New Orleans. Tad adjustment for the flight plan. So I booked a second trip – first home, then from the original flight back to New Orleans (I of course did this all through Orbitz, because it seemed like the cheapest option, more on that later). But I was arriving at 9pm and didn’t think I’d have any time to see my nephew, who is growing so fast, I can’t keep up.
It took forever for my checked bag to come through that mom had dad drop her off at baggage claim so she could come in to see me. Surprise 1. 🙂
Surprise 2 came when I walked into the house –
NUGGET AND BIG SEESTER WERE WAITING FOR ME! I cried. like a baby. I was so happy and excited to see them. And it keeps getting harder to say goodbye. But he did have to go to bed eventually. I was just happy he recognized me.
I was able to spend some time with mom and dad too, we all finally went to bed around midnight, and then up bright and early at 6 so I could head off to the airport for my 10am flight.
I will say, we were a little more than confused driving into DC… yes, it was a snow day, but there was NOBODY on the road. We did see a cool helicopter landing though.
The flight was uneventful and staying at a Disney Resort meant we had complimentary transportation EVERYWHERE. From and to the airport on the Disney’s Magical Express (who, sends you luggage tags and picks up your stuff from baggage claim FOR YOU) so all we had to do was check-in and get on the bus. Off to the resort, check-in, Magic bands working, and our room was ready early! We dropped off our stuff and headed out to the race expo at Wide World of Sports.
The expo was massive. So much happening. But it was all extremely well run and we picked up all our race stuff with no hassles!
We had some time to kill before our Pasta in the Park Party at Epcot so we went back to the hotel to drop our stuff. The Pasta party allowed us access to Epcot at 6pm, a pre-race dinner, and reserved viewing space for the fireworks.
This was also surprisingly well orchestrated. We weren’t waiting for food, or in search of seating. Everything was spread out and they had characters available for photos! We turned into children.
Also. MICKEY MOUSE ICE CREAM!
The other great thing about our magic bands…. You can link EVERYTHING to it. Park tickets, meal plans, and FAST PASS SELECTIONS. You get 3 free every day you’re at a park. So we had 3 selections for Epcot; a Character Meet & Greet which we missed, Figment, and Testtrack.
The rides have completely changed since I last remember them. Testtrack most of all, previously it had an educational element to it, “the human head weighs 12 pounds”, “this is what happens during a crash demonstrated by the crash test dummies”. Now its totally interactive, you tap your magic band to the sensor and get to create your own car – the idea is, to create the fastest, most energy efficient car possible, and then while you’re on the ride you tap the sensor and it loads your created car into the ride. So after each test – you see how you rank against the other riders in the car.
We got back to the room around 11/11:30 that night, and took a power nap before we had to catch the bus at 3:30am… We. were. exhausted. And it was unseasonably cold in Florida that morning. Whoever themed the race weekend after Frozen is a sick/cruel individual.
We were in the last corral, which started at about 6:15 am. We arrived at Epcot by 3:30am…. talk about a long day.
We actually liked this course best because we got a significant distance to run through Epcot and the Boardwalk. Lots to look at, photo opportunities, and fun signs.
We finished, came back to the resort, and promptly put on comfy clothes to crawl into bed.
Running 6.2 miles on 3 hours of sleep is rough. We arose from our slumber around 1pm, and couldn’t believe it was still the SAME DAY. We decided we were going to bed at 7pm that night, in preparation for the half-marathon. We also ended up finding these great boxes in the food court that were “runners boxes” complete with bagel, banana, peanut butter, and water. We each bought one to take with us on the bus the next morning. PS. I have to note, we were kind of walking like zombies after this race. super slow paced, feet were achey and hips hated me particularly. But the more I moved, the better I got. That and Aleve certainly helped.
Another 2:30am alarm, and off we went on the magical race day bus.
This time the costume was Elsa, again, created magically by Mom. MS made a tank-top that was super cute & on the back said “I’m a damsel, I’m in distress, I can handle this. Have a Nice Day!” from Hercules.
They had a lot of fun distractions along the route, but this race was a lot of highway/road running…. not so much park running. Which sucked.
Running down Main Street USA was an experience in itself. At least at this pace, everyone was moving in the same direction for once! How often does that happen at Magic Kingdom! (unless there’s a parade, or fireworks). And yes, that pink sign reads “worst parade ever”.
Look! Kristof, Ana, and Elsa again! The funnel through the Castle got really backed up. Standstill. But allowed some fun photo ops!
And then you have the opportunity to get a professional photo (for additional cost later) in front of the castle, with nobody behind you. We figured, “Why not? when else are we going to be able to do this?!”
And then kept moving.
Some of the costumes people came up with were super intense. We even saw quite a few men in tutus. One guy in our corral in particular was dressed like Snow White. Skirt, Bow, the whole 9.
We were dying after we finished the race. Not so much from exhaustion, we went very slowly through the course (about an hour slower than my Nike time), but the minute we stopped running we immediately began to tighten up. We kept pushing through the throng of people to collect medals 2 and 3 because we had, in fact, completed the Glass Slipper Challenge.
We about crawled back to the hotel, changed into swim suits, and slowly/ as gracefully as possible (which wasn’t graceful at all) lowered ourselves into the cold pool for some hydro-aerobics (stretching and water resistance for legs really). When I’d had enough of that we accidentally fell asleep in the pool lounge chairs. Whoops.
It was nice to know that we weren’t the only ones feeling this way. You could easily spot the runners the rest of the week – that half-hunched, 90-year-old grandpa walk that halfway looks like you really have to go to the bathroom… but I digress.
We of COURSE made plans for dinner that night. A very expensive dinner I might add…. but it was damn good. It was a “private” chef’s meal and wine pairing.
Late to bed and early to rise, we had tickets to Universal Studios on Monday. Harry Potter World here we come! We got there by gates open just to make sure we got on all the rides. We waited maybe 5 minutes for the new Gringotts ride. PHENOMENAL.
We even got the park hopper option so we could ride the Hogwarts Express back and forth between Kings Cross Station/ Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade.
Sweet crocs bro…..
After going through the entire Wizarding World of Harry Potter, we meandered around the rest of Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. Seriously, it was so calm. The longest line we waited in was probably the Castle ride at 30 mins.
We were walking down the middle of the street and I literally almost got run over by Gru and a bunch of (human) minions. I had no idea what was happening. Talk about being in the right place at the right time!
One of the rides (Rip, Ride, Rock-it) wasn’t opening till 2pm because a movie was filming. Guest Services told us it was Sharknado 3. After we got our butterbeer’s, we decided we’d had enough as our feet were screaming at us. So we called our bus to come back and pick us up (not provided by Disney, but arranged easily through the front desk/concierge for $20 round trip/per person)
The Universal worker guarding the rope line told us it was “Vortex 3, but we don’t know if thats the working title or an indie film”. Oh come on girlfriend. That crew member’s shirt has SHARKNADO 3 printed on the front of it. How stupid do you think we are? Oh, and yeah, there’s the Cheetah Girl…. what’s her name again? aaaaaand yup. Ian Ziering. (who I almost ran into… whoops. Dude is RIPPED – enjoy that grey long-sleeve shirt in the movie ladies).
They wouldn’t allow anyone to take photos near the set, so this photo is zoomed in from CitiWalk. 🙂 My guess is that ball gets destroyed by the most massive shark you can imagine. Can’t wait to see the CGI on that one…..
Dinner, Bed, and a 7:00am alarm for MAGIC KINGDOM!!!
We got there early enough to see the welcome show & gates opening. I didn’t remember it from being little, and here came our early frustration with small children and strollers. Seriously, why do they all walk 3 across the walkway!? PEOPLE ARE TRYING TO GET BY!
They’ve added and enhanced some stuff in the 5 years since I’ve been there for sure. Half of the rides are different. Dumbo now has 2 rides operating, and a play place in the middle of the line so kids can be distracted until its their turn to ride. They give you a pager that looks like a circus ticket, and you can sit down and wait for it to buzz (like waiting for a table at a crowded restaurant).
Yes, we wore our Glass Slipper Challenge medals all day. It was fun when the Disney Cast Members clapped for us and shouted “Congratulations!” we felt super special. At gates open we ran straight for Snow White and the Mine something-or-other kiddie coaster (it’s new), and the line was already at a 45 minute wait. So we reversed course and headed towards Pirates of the Caribbean which evidently was CLOSED for the day. heartbreak. We had fastpasses for Splash Mountain around lunchtime, exactly when the sky decided to open up and dump on us. Cold, Wet, and Squeaky, we grabbed $8 ponchos and scoured for an open lunch spot. Bad combination. Rain + Lunchtime = no indoor space. We walked from splash mountain to tomorrowland and found burgers AND a table. SCORE.
We decided to try the line for Snow White again… 70 minutes. Well, its not going to get any better. We had fastpasses for Peter Pan across the street in 2 hours, and Buzz Lightyear later that night.
Actually, about 100 minutes later…. we finally got on the damn ride. We also made friends with an adorable 6 year old named Loren and her dad while in line. She was shy at first, and then she really started chatting. Her dad was just smirking the whole time, probably glad we were there to entertain her for a while.
We had to switch our fastpasses while in line because we would have missed our window, but eventually rode and hopped right onto Peter Pan. While we were in line, I opened my Disney Experience App and noticed that Pirates apparently had opened and only had a 10 minute wait!!! I’m shouting “PIRATES PIRATES PIRATES” as we board and as soon as we jump ship, we pretty much RAN to Pirates to ride. We were like giddy school children, just jumping up and down in line waiting to get in the boat. I remember them being bigger…
We stopped to try on some tiaras (of course) and noticed a ring carver. So we decided to commemorate our week by having Sterling Silver rings made that say 19.3. Much more subtle than the medals.
All in all, we spent 12 hours and 23,226 steps which equals 9.7 miles inside the Magic Kingdom.
Which clearly meant… ICE CREAM FOR DINNER!
The next adventure happened on the attempt to get home. By the time we had already checked-in and had Disney take care of our luggage, our flight was delayed from 11:50am departure, to 1:18pm…. Not helpful when my second flight was due to depart DC at 3:50pm. But of course they weren’t normal connecting flights – which meant I would have to go to baggage claim, wait for my bag, re-check it with the second airline, and go back through security to make my flight…. in 20 minutes. HA not happening.
Orbitz was less than helpful – Telling me that I could cancel the second leg of that trip and have a $132 credit, but if I wanted to use it I’d have to pay them a $230 change fee. Eff that, I’ll just cut my losses and book a new flight. Well of course with snowpocalypse happening, every other flight out was either sold out, or $700 for ONE WAY. not happening. So I had to search and book a flight back to New Orleans for Thusday, which meant missing a show, but that I got to see my family unexpectedly again 🙂
Both of my seats for the connecting flight Thursday were waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay in the back. For the first leg, to Atlanta, the woman across the aisle decided she’d had enough sitting about 30 minutes in, and had to stand for 20 minutes….
Seriously?! This plane is full and claustrophobic as it is. SIT DOWN.
I was super excited to stop in Atlanta because the last time I was there, they had this awesome shop that sold the most delicious candy covered apples. Major letdown to find out its not there anymore. So I shlumped to my last row seat appleless…. 😦
I did have a window though! or so I thought….
Nope. Fake window. My seat buddy was Spanish I think… I caught a glimpse of the Microsoft Word document on his Mac.
But I eventually made it home. So here I am back to work in New Orleans, with another Military Show tomorrow.