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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!!

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 🙂

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