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Wine and Dine Weekend

15 Dec

So, it’s been well over a month since I’ve recapped anything — let’s hope I remember how this works!!

I’ll start with Wine and Dine weekend – or¬†as several of my friends have dubbed it “runDisney Splash and Dash”. Yeah. it rained. Not the WHOLE time mind you, just those crucial hours where we were waiting in the corrals and then the actually running of the Half Marathon ūüôā

But before it rained, there was fun!

I got in Friday morning-ish.

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Magical Express – the first of many lines for the weekend. Even though I actually was the line ūüôā

 

My plan was to meet up with friends over at the Magic Kingdom, but it turns out that was the first night of the Very Merry Christmas Party so the line to even get on a bus was crazy! I decided then to go to the expo and grab my things instead of doing that Saturday.

After getting my loot and dropping it off at the hotel, I headed over to EPCOT for some International Food and Wine-ing instead! Met up with one of my running group friends, Sarah, to get her a key to the room since she was going to be sharing a couple of the nights there. We wandered and snacked. Snacked and wandered. Got back to the room fairly early. I had a breakfast reservation on Saturday and Sarah had a 5K to run!

Since Sarah was getting up for the 5K, I woke up early as well and decided to go out for a run myself. 3 miles around the lake at POP Century and Art of Animation – bunnies galore!! And a gorgeous view!

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Evil Bunny…or, bad lighting.

 

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I mean…really…

 

Then I got dressed and headed to breakfast.

The Breakfast. Ya’ll..amazing! And fun! This is the deal – during Food and Wine, there are different seminars and events going on. This Parisian Breakfast is one such event! For a VERY reasonable (especially by Disney standards) 39.00, you can have breakfast in France, before the park opens to the public!

We were greeted at the door to Chefs de France with a mimosa and brought to the table.

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As a ‘single’ I was seated with a few other ladies¬†who were on their own for the morning. ¬†The buffet was filled with pastries, and charcuterie and…pastries…Chocolate was also poured at the table

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Mmmmm. Note: this was definitely not a diabetes friendly breakfast but I was prepared!

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See…there’s some cheese on there too…Frangipani and pain du chocolat. And a savory palmier

 

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That’s a pumpkin danish…it was tasty.

 

Waiters continued to refill the mimosas throughout the morning. To save on sugar, I switched away from the mimosa to…

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I’m sure le garcon had a huge laugh at me!

 

Conversation was wonderful and eventually the deliciousness had to end – we were given a small “goodie bag” with a reusable shopping bag, a small recipe book and some jam!

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I wandered EPCOT a bit then headed to Hollywood Studios for a while, looking for lunch. Fail. ūüôā

Headed back to POP to take a nap/hang by the pool before finding dinner – a burger at Art of Animation – and getting ready to start the running adventure!

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Getting in the Christmas spirit!

 

I met up with some more running group friends to get the bus over to World of Sports to start the race. Had some pre-race character picture opportunities before potties and meeting up with the rest of our group!

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Not exactly a character…

 

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Me and my may-un!

 

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Our gracious hostess

 

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Head Chef Mickey

 

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Chip and Dale. And Me.

 

Since we’d had such fun at the Princess Half, Vanessa (from seevrun) and I had decided to tackle this one together. Head over here and read her recap of the event! When we headed to the corrals, Vanessa¬†and I found it nearly impossible to get into place so kind of just followed the crowd. OR…maybe one of us suggested we slip in at the back of the corral in front of our assigned corral (let the haters hate now!). By now it had started drizzling, then raining, then drizzling….thankfully I had a plastic poncho so managed to stay dry most of the time – I eventually threw it away around mile 10 though!

Running Disney at night is a completely different experience than running in daylight! For Wine and Dine, one of the BIGGEST and BEST differences is the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights. And, it must have been an early Christmas miracle, because for the briefest moment, the rain stopped and we were able to get some pictures!

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Just playin’ it cool….

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V and I and the lights. Picture from seevrun.blogspot.com

Before the lights, though, there is the¬†“Disco Tunnel” — part of the course takes us through a service corridor in the Prop and Costume area and Disney fancies this up with a couple of disco balls and of course some disco music. This is where I learned that I cannot dance and run at the same time. It’s actually quite possible that I can’t dance, period. ūüôā

We met up with friends at the end after changing into dry-ish clothes. My bag had gotten a hole in it so some things were a bit damp! We didn’t venture much farther than Mexico — and our post-race supper was nachos!

The night was really winding down – or the morning was winding up! – and it was time to catch a bus back to the resort. Turns out, our bus driver didn’t know where she was going so it took us a little longer to get back — once in, I hung up all my things to dry and hopped into bed for a few hours of not-exactly-sleep before a couple more days in the parks!!

All in all it was a fantastic weekend! Great times, with great friends. Now looking forward to spending time with these folks in a few weeks when I head back down for #Dopey15 (can’t believe THAT is almost happening!!)

 

Getting Over the Hump. Day.

6 Nov

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I had this all planned to post¬†yesterday but then…I didn’t! So ya’ll are missing out on the great Geico Camel clipart! But, you do get a cute baby instead!!

Things are starting to get busy and I need to take a break and organize my thoughts!

So far this week I’m¬†1 for 2 on my training this week — woke up feeling pretty crappy yesterday so I pushed my 7 miler to today. In the rain. Heck, should be good training for the expected rain at Disney this weekend right?

And. I’ve actually started packing for runDisney Wine and Dine Half Marathon -and I don’t even leave til tomorrow!!

On top of everything else, my current job contract comes to an end on the 17th. Or the 13th depending on whose records you’re going by. Which means, I should’ve started looking for a new job months ago!! But I didn’t. Now¬†a couple of things have kind of fallen into my inbox which is good.

Of course,¬†none are as good as my current working in my pjs situation. But still, it’s nice to have options.

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Though I suppose that getting up and dressed thing is good for morale!

And now, I need to figure out my packing situation… The forecasts for Orlando are all over the place so¬†I want to¬†be prepared for anything! Except snow. I won’t prepare for snow ūüôā

I am really excited about this weekend — and can’t wait to tell you all about it!

But really, now I need to find something to wear!! After all, I have a date with some Dwarfs tomorrow evening!!

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Disney Bound!!

2 Oct

Last year when I ran #alltheraces that runDisney could throw at me, I spent a LOT of time in both Florida and California! So, it’s a little surprising to me that when I head down to Orlando this morning¬†it will be only my second trip all year! And, for the first time EVER – Phred gets to come with me since we’re staying with friends and not a Disney Resort. (seriously Disney, join the pet-friendly generation!)

Note for those who like to bring their 4-legged kids along on planes — If you book a Southwest flight but you end up flight sharing with AirTran, you cannot make advance reservations for your pet! Which can cause much stress no matter how many times you call both AirTran and Southwest…I’m not highly trusting of the “just show up at the airport with your pet” method of planning!!

One day I will learn to plan and pack ahead, where “ahead” is not as I should be going to bed the night before travelling. Or the morning I leaave!¬†Postponing packing leads to overpacking that’s for sure. And forgetting things. And stressing about that little bag of Disney gift cards that you KNOW is in the office but the office hasn’t been cleared up in a while and vowing that I WILL find it before I go down for Wine and Dine!!!

On this trip, I’m not participating in any races (I am volunteering instead!), though¬†should get in at least 2 runs since I have not been so good on the training front this week… so no costumes being packed – just Ears!! Plus some of Phred’s things! A

nd I’m using my brand new suitcase!! It’s tiny on the outside but holding a lot of stuff now!!

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I might even bring that neck pillow I won also! Give it a test run ūüėČ

But first I’ll log in at work and make sure I’ve sent out everything I need to send out, and set up my “Out of Office” email message!!

 

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!!

Saturday at Disney = Race Day!!

18 Mar

Today is the Inaugural Enchanted 10K — Step one in completing the Glass Slipper Challenge!

This morning the alarm is set to go off a bit earlier than yesterday – since the event is starting a bit sooner! And again, no matter how much time I think I give myself I am once again tearing across the resort to get in line for a bus! ¬†Didn’t see Jackie but hoped we’d at least get a good luck chat before heading to the corrals!

Again, got my bag dropped off and headed to the meeting sport to catch up with my running friends! More costumes, more pictures more fun! And Jackie found us (which wasn’t hard since we were in the same spot as the day before!!) I know I didn’t go into my corral alone…but I was really REALLY taking it easy to make sure I could do today’s 10K and tomorrow’s Half so ended up running my race on my own. Always keeping an eye out for friends!

The first few miles of the 10k course, frankly, kind of suck…it’s out on a highway. One highlight was that Elsa was up on one of the first overpasses and she made it snow as we ran by. Magical Disney Snow!!

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Then, for me, it was a little bit of a slog…I started okay with intervals but eventually just ran when I felt like it and walked when I didn’t! I did very much enjoy the Re-Micks though!! I’m sure at one point I came to a dead stop to watch one!!

And it might have been this one….

Tell me that’s not the cutest thing ever!!

Anyway…I carried on. Again, I didn’t feel like there were any *great* character stops so I didn’t stop for many pictures. I naturally had to stop though, when I saw my main man on the boardwalk!

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Then I thought it wouldn’t be bad to get a picture of the view…

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Sometimes I wonder what I’m thinking when I take these pictures!!

And it’s always nice to get a picture with the Ball! (Yeah, I know it’s Spaceship Earth, but Ball is easier to type!!)

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Again with the arms/hands…

And I did manage to get across the finish line in one piece. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely enjoyed myself but there weren’t too many “memorable” moments for me in this one (do I need to do the 10K again to make some magical moments? Maybe)

There was a great ‘wall’ in the reunion area that listed all of the participants in this inaugural event! And of course I was on it!

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See! There I am!!

And I was in front of it too!!

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And see! Again!!

And grabbed my medal and headed over to get into EPCOT to wander through and get to my breakfast reservation at Hollywood Studios! Because in my big weekend of random firsts, I had chosen to eat at Hollywood and Vine¬†– and in my infinite wisdom chose to dine during the Disney Jr. character meal. I was pretty sure I wouldn’t know any of the characters. And I was right!!! But I looked them up online later!

To get to DHS, I took the Friendship boat from the International Gateway at EPCOT. For awhile I had the whole place to myself – then the tourists all got on!! We all disembarked at Hollywood Studios and I found my way to my breakfast spot – after a stop on the Rockin Roller Coaster of course! (Tower of Terror would have to wait til Post-Breakfast!)

I didn’t wait long to be seated, and shown to yet another buffet full of things I really shouldn’t eat – but also lots of things that weren’t TOO bad for me!!

And Princess Sophia the First (I think is her full name?) stopped by to teach me how to take a selfie with my new phone!!

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Smart girl that Sophia!! Knew where all the buttons on the phone were!!

Then Handy Manny…

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I’m pretty sure he wanted to check out my medal…

After I was sufficiently full, I headed back out into the park for a roam…and to get on my favorite rides!! But I didn’t plan to spend much time since, yes, tomorrow was another early morning and another fun runDisney adventure!!

First Up — The Royal Family 5K

18 Mar
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Bib, t-shirt and medal!

So, after a really fun meetup (details to follow, of course!) I decided to head back to Pop and get some sleep. It wasn’t the mileage the next morning, it was the first of 3 early morning wake-ups that would be the challenge!

I made plans to meet Jackie (a fellow Team McGraw-er) at the bus in the morning and so I laid out my clothes and went to bed to wait for the alarm! Bright and early – before no time had passed it seemed! – various devices started beeping and it was time to rise and shine!

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Me and Jackie…pre-race happiness!

Somehow, no matter how early I set the alarm it’s a big rush to get out the door! So I threw on my shoes and grabbed my things and headed to the bus! Saw Jackie…er…Tinkerbell…waiting in line and hopped in with her to get on, hopefully, the next bus!! Things went quite smoothly and we made it through bag check and out into the corral areas. Which can only mean one thing — DISNEY DANCE PARTY!!! Absolutely, hands down, one of my favorite things about runDisney is the pre-race festivities!!! And this time, I was finally going to meet up with some of my invisible internet friends!

Jackie and I found my peeps and there was much picture taking and meeting, seriously, some of my new best friends! Eventually we headed in to the corrals and my goal was to be able to hang with Jacks the whole time. The only flaw in this plan is that this was my first run since…oh…Wine and Dine back in November…but we would see!

As usual, it was pretty crowded at the front and after awhile Jackie got a little bit ahead of me – though we did catch up for the run through the World Showcase, and were able to grab a few pictures! Lines for the characters were massive so we didn’t make any stops there but WS in the wee morning hours is an amazing spot and there are tons of photo ops that don’t necessarily involved characters!!

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American Experience – at sunrise-ish

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EPCOT gearing up for the Flower Festival!

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The Ball. Always a sign that the end is near!!

Once we headed towards Future World, Jackie booked and I dawdled… but when I crossed the finish line she was waiting for me and we got a shot of our brand new ‘bling’!

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First of several medals to be earned this weekend….

I had made a breakfast reservation over at Animal Kingdom Lodge so hopped on that bus while Jackie was going back to Pop. ¬†Breakfast at Boma was really great! As most of them are, it was a buffet and since I was in Animal Kingdom Lodge, ¬†there were some African influenced choices on the line. Since I love the buffet at Tusker House I knew I would enjoy this. And…sticky bun. Yeah, I splurged (and would pay for it down the road that’s for sure!)

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Boma!

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Sticky bun! Great with coffee…bad bad Anne!

After breakfast I headed back to Pop and planned to spend my afternoon just hanging out around the pool

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Pool Time!!

before going for Afternoon Tea at the Grand Floridian with some of my running gals! Definitely something I would do again – it’s a nice relaxing way to spend a couple of hours if you have the time to do it!

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Tea Sandwiches — My favorite was the curry-y chicken salad…

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Cozy tea pots!

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Scone, cream, jam, and a tart!

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What could possibly be under this beautiful whipped cream…?

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Strawberries! Lots of strawberries!!

Post-Tea, we all walked next door to the Polynesian Resort for another meetup. This time it was #runnerslove, set up by Kristy and Meg (who we met in the last recap!) and was VERY fun! We met out on the beach behind the pool, where there is construction going on (Poly is becoming a home to some DVC units) ¬†Lots of giveaways and everyone left a winner! Rain threatened the entire time and eventually showed up but really didn’t dampen anyone’s enthusiasm!¬†

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On the beach! At Disney! Does it get better??

Eventually it was time to head out and find some dinner – tomorrow is 10K and this girl needs her fuel!! Pop Quick Service to the rescue – Mediterranean Flat Bread yes ma’am! Another early rising day ahead so got my clothes ready and hit the sack!

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10K outfit, ready to rise and shine!!

Here We Go! Princess Half Weekend Part 1

7 Mar

So, if you read running blogs, or you read Disney blogs you know that the Princess Marathon weekend happened a couple weeks ago! And, if you read *this* blog, you know that I have not yet told you of my amazing weekend!

Now, I’m tellin’!!

I made my reservations long ago, back when there were “meetups” sponsored by runDisney. So I was coming in a day early. Just in Case. The day before I was to leave, we got some “snow”….not as bad as expected, but I still had a driveway full of ice that I was HOPING someone would take care of for me! And luckily someone did while I was taking the dog to his babysitter!

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Thank goodness for 4WD!

Woke up early Wednesday morning to …well, pack and head to the airport! Weather cooperated thank goodness!

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View from my airplane window…Sunny Florida here I come!!

After so long away, I was so happy to get to Orlando! With my MagicBand I breezed through the Magical Express (even after going down the WRONG stairs and having to walk REALLY FAR to the desk and being confused!). Got right on my bus and was on my way to Pop Century!!

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Front desk of Pop Century resort — not time to hustle yet!

My plan was to hang at the pool for the afternoon and I had made dinner reservations at the Wilderness Lodge. All worked out as planned. I spent a couple of hours out by the pool where  I met a great mom and daughter pair who were doing the half together Рof course it made me miss my mom. We had a great chat and I ended up seeing them a couple more times during the weekend!

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View from my chair at the Hippy Dippy Pool…

I love the Whispering Canyon Cafe at the Wilderness Lodge but have never eaten there by myself. Turns out that’s not so bad at all! A single person can get the “all you can eat” plate with all the meat and sides and whatnot!

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Lots of protein on the plate! Plus mashed potatoes!!

Yay!!! I enjoyed the tasty BBQ and watching the families and kids having fun! Even caught a glimpse of one of the chefs coming out to do the Disney thing where they make sure people with allergies are accommodated!

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Chef comes out to take care of special dietary needs – the Disney standard!

Since it was a late reservation, I had planned to just head back to the room and hit the hay — I had expo-mania to deal with on Thursday and there was always a chance that it would not be pretty!!

Up next — The Expo, a MeetUp and some Disney Magic!

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