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Today’s the Day Princesses!!!

15 Jul

016Get those registering fingers ready!!

Today, regular registration for the runDisney Princess Half Marathon events opens up. And, chances are there will be a couple of quick sellouts!

First of all, rumor has it that the theme for the 5K is going to be everyone’s newest favorite Princess adventure, Frozen. Actually, by the time you read this it should probably not be rumor anymore…So, chances are this one will go fast (which will save me from a last minute bout of FOMO!)

(Gratuitous “Let it Go” clip…cause you need a song in your head while you’re going about your day!!)

Second, this is the second year for the Glass Slipper Challenge (do a 10K on Saturday and the Princess Half Marathon on Sunday). I did this this year (recaps….here, and here, and here!!)  If you aren’t up to #Goofy or #Dopey15 then this might be more your speed! It’s still darn challenging ya’ll!! And remember if you want the Challenge Medal you need to register for the challenge — just doing the half and the 10K won’t get you the bling! (Hint: Pre-registration for this sold out in a bit under two hours last week so if you want to Challenge yourself, get in early!)

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So, have your Active.com account logged in – and your credit card ready to go at Noon Eastern today (Me? I’ll be on a call with my manager so no temptation!) and get in there!! It’s a fun girls weekend. And seriously, it’s at Disney World so…really, it’s not like it’s a hard decision.

I am acutally not registering this year. WHAT??! You say? Well, my Spring is already pretty darn full what with finishing up #Dopey15, the Houston Half Marathon, the Georgia Half Marathon and then…oh yeah…Marathon de Paris. But who knows…I could show up on the sidelines cheering my tiara off!!

Tiara

The Main Event – runDisney Princess Half Marathon!

19 Mar

It was here, and I was ready. Well, I was ready for it to be here but knew it was going to take my innate stubbornness to cross the finish line standing up!!

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All set! MagicBand, Glass Slipper wristband and Race Retreat wristband

Once more, the alarms went off. I set them a little extra early since someone had very kindly given me entry to the Race Retreat for the Half Marathon. The good part of this is that I didn’t need to worry about making sure I had food in my room for breakfast – there would be bagels and water and coffee and fruit. On top of that, special “private” porta-potties, a separate bag-check, cel-phone charging lockers, mats for stretching and special character appearances!

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The Mad Hatter and I made breakfast plans for later in the weekend…

I found my group, we settled in at a table to wake up and get nourished! Before we knew it it was time to head out to meet up with the rest of our group to grab some pictures and then start the trek to the corrals. Unfortunately, we missed some of our folks but managed a couple of pictures with the ones still hanging around.  Then it was off to the race!

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The starting line…no real turning back now!!

I was lucky to be starting the race with friends, even if we weren’t going to be able to stay together the whole time. It makes the time go a little more quickly in the corrals if there are people to talk to. As is customary at runDisney events, each corral is sent out with their own special fireworks (and one of these days I’ll manage a good picture of it!!)

My plan was to take as much time as I needed – walk when I had to but run when it felt good. I was comfortable with this idea and my only concern was finishing in time to get my challenge medal! Since the course was familiar to me, I felt like I knew what to expect and when I might end up in trouble!

As always it was great to head up Main Street USA and see the castle in the distance!

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Foggy day — which means you can’t see the crane behind the castle!!

Fortunately, I was able to keep up a fairly decent, though slow, pace and was never in any danger of getting swept. It was nice to be able to make a couple of stops for pictures with one or two of my favorites along the way!

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Really, one of these days he WILL grant me a wish!

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A crowd favorite! And I got him to smile!!

Throughout the course, I was leap-frogging with several of my friends and it was always nice to get the encouragement when needed! Around Mile 8 or so, V and I kind of got together and were both ready to be finished! So for the last few miles we pretty much stayed together – talking, encouraging, planning… This was the first time I’d run with someone and I liked it! It was nice to have someone to cross the finish line with! And, to keep me from accidentally quitting (not that I think I am even able to quit — I might have to be seriously injured and hauled off of the course!)

And of course, the other motivation to finish quickly was to get breakfast!

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Okay…maybe I had Diet Coke for breakfast…

Again, the Race Retreat came to the rescue! Scrambled eggs, bacon (thanks to the fellow runner who dug some crispy bacon out for me!), muffins, bagels, coffee, fruit, oatmeal, yogurt…If I wasn’t already planning lunch at Be Our Guest (travel hint — FastPass+ for lunch! and ps – I still want to do dinner there at least once!) I could have completely overdone it !

After relaxing a bit, V and I celebrated with a glass of champagne and went out to get on our respective buses. But not without these babies!!

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The reward.

I had hoped to meet up with some folks on my way to my BOG lunch but it took me longer to clean up and re-dress than expected! But I made it back to the Magic Kingdom in time for my lunch – which was a completely different experience from your usual Quick Service lunch!

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This was pretty easy — ordering on the kiosks

It starts out when you check in and are brought into the Beast’s Study — this is where you are going to make your menu selection and get a “rose” — You touch your MagicBand to the kiosk, make your selections and then touch the rose to the kiosk. Easy Peasy.

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So it has a picture of a rose anyway!

The room is seat yourself and feels really large and loud. Beverage stations are against one wall, silverware is in carts around the room. Your meal is brought to you on carts — pretty fancy to see my lone turkey sandwich and strawberry cupcake riding in a huge cart all alone!

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The main dining room is gorgeous!!

Lunch was good, my illegal cupcake was even quite good — fresh strawberry tasting!

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Strawberry cupcake! Next time I need to try some Grey Stuff though!

Once I was done, I was ready to spend some Magical time in the Magic Kingdom! Tomorrow I was heading home, but there was still fun in store!!

Time to Shop!!! Princess Half Marathon Weekend – Part 2

13 Mar
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This is where things start to get exciting….

Yeah…if you know me – and if you read along long enough you’ll know me more than you probably want to! – I’m not a big shopper. Seriously, I have clothes in my closet that I bought when I moved to the East Coast. TEN YEARS AGO!! 🙂 And I have no problem with that!! Really, there are a couple of reasons I hate shopping and one of them is that I’m not a huge fan of spending money!! (I prefer to spend on experiences, not things!) The other is way more personal!

ANYWAY. I got up early Thursday morning to get to the Expo. Lately, at runDisney events, the expos have been kind of out-of-control frenzies…and I don’t deal well with that! And, really people, all I want is a magnet, a wine glass and a coffee mug (yes, if you’ve read my race recaps you already KNOW this is what I’m going in for!)

When I got to the bus stop I saw a “familiar” face. I was FINALLY able to meet fellow CT runner/#runnerslove(r) Meg (aka @WarsawMermaid, AKA Runaway Royalty Meg). I am almost ashamed to admit that we’ve been at some of the same SMALL events in CT and never managed to meet!! Those days are gone though. Sorry Meg! 🙂 I also got to meet #runnerslove(r) Kristy (aka @KristyrunsKato, AKA Kristy Runs Kato ) and we chatted on the bus over to Wide World of Sports.

We were probably on one of the first buses to head over to Wide World of Sports and when we got there the expo seemed to have opened early. I had a very small moment of panic but then took a deep breath and headed in!

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Gotta love an empty store!! Well..as much as one can love a store 🙂

My first stop was the runDisney merch booth (as usual) but after picking up my wine glass(es)! and coffee mug

both wine glasses 2014 Princess

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Cute mug!!

I realized my hands were full and I would need a basket. A basket people!!! There’s a tear in the matrix or something…

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What??!!

We had been looking at some things on the interwebs on the bus ride over and I had to look at the really cute zipper hoodies. They are really soft inside.

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This one is mine 🙂

And. The “I Did It” t-shirts. Not a purchase I usually make….but these were pretty cute!!

I Did It Princess 2014

And, well of course, my magnet!

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Let me say, Thank you Disney Visa for your 10% off – hey, every little bit helps!!

Then it was off to pick up my bibs and gear! Things were really pretty conveniently set up — All Glass Slipper Challenge could be picked up in almost one spot! The 5K pickup was more spread out but…a second spin though the expo floor isn’t a bad thing!

I mean, one can get their ankle taped up at the KTTape booth…

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New England legs in the winter!

One can even become a fairy…

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I tried to walk away with the pretty tiara but I didn’t get very far….

But — I had a lot planned for the afternoon so it was time to bring my belongings back to the room and head out to visit a park or two!! Then there was a meetup later that evening that I was really looking forward to!

On the way out, I stopped by the Oikos van

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— hoping to pick up a little John Stamos for the afternoon but, alas…they were just offering yogurt…

stamos yogurt

Talk about disappointing…

See ya on the road!!!

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Singalong Saturday! The Disney Edition

22 Feb

Okay…Genie was on the course today and now I cannot get this out of my head!!

You’re welcome 🙂

Oh heck — here’s more Disney Friendship!!

Hope you’re having a Magical Day!!

FastPass+ and the Magic Band!

18 Feb

On my last couple of trips to Walt Disney World I’ve used the new Magic Band —

A couple of months before your trip starts, you have the opportunity to “customize” your band — that is, you get to choose the color and you can have a name inscribed on the inside.  My first time I chose Blue

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You always remember your first one.

On my next trip, I was with a larger group and I didn’t make the reservations and we got the generic grey bands when we checked in to the resort.

Now that I’m heading to Princess Weekend, I decided to get all kinds of girly and got my pink Magic Band!!

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Time to get my Princess on!!

It’s always fun to get mail and this is no exception!

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What a GREAT package!!!

Now, while not actual “Magic”, the band does do some magical things! It opens doors – specifically, your resort room door! It buys you things. Well, it let you buy you things without fumbling around with credit cards or cash (though, if you’re an Annual Passholder or a Disney Visa Card holder, you may have to show those cards for any savings). It holds pictures for you — the Disney Photopass photographers simply have to scan your band and you can look your pictures up online, almost immediately!

And, it holds your FastPass+ reservations

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A Day in the Life…

You can see it also keeps track of your Dining Reservations (see Making ADRs )

But. FastPass+ — what is it and why do we care? Once upon a time, long ago, when you wanted to go on a ride at Walt Disney World, you had to wait in line. Sometimes, that line could be HOURS long! Then the Disney folks introduced FastPass. With your park ticket you could go to a machine and get a ‘reservation’ to get in line for a ride. This line tended to be a bit shorter than the normal line and you may have gotten a little smug feeling as you sped past everyone waiting in the serpentines…This was a great process – one person in your group could grab all the tickets and race to the machine to make sure you were all able to get FastPass at the same time frame.

Then, last year, they started introducing FastPass+ as part of the whole new MyMagic+ (Magic Bands+MyDisneyExperience+FastPass+). Now you can secure your place in line before you even leave home! BUT…you can only get 3 a day in one park. There are also “tiers” of attractions – so, for example, I cannot get FastPass+ for Tower of Terror AND RockandRoller Coaster. So, more decisions!!! Some people are not thrilled with the new system which I can understand.  As someone who does a lot of “single” traveling to Walt Disney World, I often use the “single rider” lines (and don’t get me started on the abuse of THIS system!!) so I end up spending less time in lines, generally but it’s nice to have the FastPass backup. Especially if there are attractions or rides that you MUST go on!!

I kind of like the MagicBand system in general. I haven’t had issues that some folks have had and it really does make life easier. For me.

Now, if only I could get it to do my packing 🙂

Who’s a Planner? Not This Girl!!

17 Feb

Unless she really has to! And, really she has to these days 🙂

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Picture taken from http://www.margaritasmilesandmouse.com – Thanks Patty!

See, in 2 days I’m leaving for one of my favorite places in THE WORLD! Yeah, that’s right…I’m going to Walt Disney World!!! And I’ll be coming home with those three pretties up there! (Well, that’s the plan!)

It is runDisney Princess Half Marathon Weekend again!!! This year they’re adding a new race and a new Challenge — The Enchanted 10K and the Princess Half Marathon run together will get you the Glass Slipper Challenge medal!

So there’s costume planning, there’s meetup planning, there’s play in the park planning. And this time, there’s Meal Planning. Yeah…usually I tend to fly by the seat of my pants when it comes to eating. Especially when I’m at Disney World.

But, occasionally I will buy a package and sometimes that package includes the Disney Dining Plan. And sometimes there are actual sit-down meals involved. Now, at Disney, most of the time you need to make reservations for these “Table Service” meals and this is where my trouble starts!! So a few weeks ago, I decided to start making my ADRs (Advanced Dining Reservations) which meant that I was going to have to decide where to eat. Like…now! A. Not so good at making decisions and 2. How do I know what I’m going to want to eat in 2 weeks??!

Anyway…I made my Round One reservations a couple of weeks ago. Then, of course, this past weekend I made Round Two. It involved lots of juggling and rearranging and finally, I think, I have arrived at a plan! For the most part, I’m trying out all new places. Though, I do plan to eat at the Whispering Canyon Cafe at Wilderness Lodge – This is a fun place to go with a group of people and I imagine it will be just as fun with one! I bring my own fun with me 🙂 This will be my only “repeat” restaurant on this trip. 

One thing you can expect during my trip is LOTS of food pictures. And lots of FUN pictures!!

Up next — FastPass+ planning and the ever popular Magic Band!

Mangia! Mangia! A Virtual Blog Hop!!

3 Feb

Carb loading. Almost every runner’s favorite part of training. Okay, so every runner in THIS house enjoys this part of training!! And when people think of carb loading, they picture that nice plate of spaghetti and a big hunk of garlic bread!! 

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Picture from Pinecrestonline.org

Often misunderstood, carb-loading does NOT occur the night before a big event – it’s a process. A process I don’t know enough about to share with you – Now…I will be studying up for my #Dopey2015 experience though and will keep ya’ll in the loop!

What I’m gonna share with you today is Carbo Loading – Disney Style!

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Meet all your new best running friends!!

At *most* of the big runDisney events (WDW Marathon weekend, Tinkerbell, Princess, Disneyland Half Weekend), runDisney offers an extra event – The Pasta in the Park Party. Now, I should insert here that I have never purchased an entry to the Party but have attended as part of a charity team for WDW Marathon Weekend (I went both Friday and Saturday) and at Princess last year a lovely couple gave me their daughter’s ticket since she couldn’t attend. So I can’t comment on the Disneyland events, but really, we’re all about the Princesses today!

In Walt Disney World, the Party is held in EPCOT at the World Showcase Pavilion (located between Canada and the United Kingdom). You party ticket includes entry into EPCOT as well as special seating for the Illuminations show after you eat and party!

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Entrance to the World Showcase Pavilion

The Food: It’s Disney, so you go in believing that at least it won’t be bad 🙂 Given that they’re cooking a really LARGE amount of food to appeal to a LOT of people, it might not be as fantastic as dinner in a smaller venue. But it’s good — and there is something for everyone. Roast chicken (my personal favorite!), vegetables, a couple of pasta varieties including a vegetarian option, bread, salad, desserts (brownies and cookies) and some bananas. All the lemonade, water and punch you can handle is included in your ticket, but there is also a cash bar. I did hear on at least on occasion, a partier asking for gluten free options and the chef came out to make sure they got something suitable (as is the Disney way!)

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Disney Brownie!!

The Seating: Big round tables! Get ready to make friends! You never know who you’ll be sitting with! Aside: I was lucky enough in January 2013 to meet a couple of running greats (thanks to my involvement with Team McGraw!) People move in and out pretty quickly for the most part and the Disney folks are quick to clean up and make room for new people.

The Entertainment: Now this is where you KNOW Disney is gonna go all out! DJ, Dance Party, Hula Hoop contests…there is something for everyone! It’s loud. There are flashing lights! It’s fun!! And, of course there are characters! We were lucky enough to get to meet Mickey, Minnie and Donald!!

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Another part of the entertainment is the special seating for Illuminations (the amazing fireworks show on World Showcase Lagoon). I don’t know about you but the night before a half marathon or a full marathon, I need to get to bed! Especially at Disney when I know I have to wake up around 2:30 or 3 to get on a bus!! So I have never taken advantage of this perk of the Pasta Party since Illuminations tends to start around 9 pm!

The Price: For Princess Weekend, the Pasta in the Park party is USD52 and you can choose to go on Friday or Saturday. Is it worth it?  If you want to make it a party, then this could be a fun way to do it! You *do* get entry into EPCOT for a couple/few hours which is a nice perk and if you have non-running folks with you they can stay for Illuminations (hey, runners can stay for Illuminations too, but..dang you’ll be tired in the morning!!)  I’ve seen groups and families making it a party – the kids do love the dance party!!

Personally, left on my own, I tend to go for a quicker, smaller dinner on my own for less money. Or if you’re on a Dining Plan then you might as well use that. In fact, this year I actually *am* on DisneyDining and will be having (what is becoming my standard) meatloaf and potatoes at 50’s Prime Time Cafe early in the evening then relaxing for my 13.1!

Whatever you decide to do, wherever you decide to eat, remember that your entire weekend will be Magical!! 

Now, head into the great wide internets and catch lots more information from Princesses who *know*!!

Virtual Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Blog Hop Directory
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