Tag Archives: Disney Animal Kingdom

Expo Day!!!

12 Nov


Expo Day!!! It’s here! It’s here!

So, at my last runDisney half marathon, the expo was, well, kind of a disaster – for me at least! So I was prepared for the worst when I headed up to the Wide World of Sports center. In a car, not the bus! Missed a turn and was headed toward Tampa! Okay, actually we were headed towards the Animal Kingdom. An interesting note: Heading towards the park, there are really no places to make a U-Turn. Different story going away from the parks! I guess they don’t want to give you a chance to change your mind when you’re going TO the park but hope that you do change your mind when you’re leaving!!

Eventually made it to the expo, parked and – as is now my habit – hit the runDisney merchandise booth first. Grabbed the goodies I wanted (Magnet, wine glass and lanyards for my nephews’ runDisney vinylmations!).


The loot!

No problem at all! No line and the shelves still fully stocked!


What? Where’d all the people go??!

I was picking up 2 5K bibs and 3 Half Marathon bibs and 1 after party ticket/gift card so my first stop was the line-less 5K booths! Piece of cake – got the bibs and then headed towards the lines to pick up the half marathon bibs. And, I have to say that I have never waited in a line to pick up a bib. Luckily 2 numbers were right next to each other and the great kid handing out bibs let me pick them both up!!


A-ha! Here’s where all the people are. Buying stuff!!


And waiting in line for bibs!

Next up – the big line to pick up the after party gift card. It was a long line but it moved pretty quick! By the time we had picked up everything my friend Jennifer had arrived and we all walked back to the car. The plan was to drop Christine and the bags at the resort and then J and I would go to the Animal Kingdom and meet everyone else for lunch.


Tusker House Lunch with Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy

We had a great lunch at Tusker House. It’s a buffet with loads of great food! And, well Mickey, Daisy, Donald and Goofy – four of my faves. (My absolute favorite Disney character is, of course, Winnie the Pooh!)


Daisy stopped by to say Hello!


Then Goofy came to hang out for a bit.


Finally, Mickey came by

Anyway, midway through lunch our waiter brought out a cupcake with a birthday candle and a card signed by all of the characters!



Jennifer and I decided to hit some more rides while everyone else was heading…wherever they were heading!! I think they were going to Downtown Disney for a little shopping and partying!

After Animal Kingdom we hopped in the car and headed to Hollywood Studios (brilliant idea by the way – no bus to resort to bus to park). Hit a couple of the rides and went to see the Osborne Dancing Lights – my most favorite thing in this park at this time of year.


By now I was starting to wind down so we headed back to the hotel to wait for the last two arrivals! Plus, tomorrow was an early day to get out to the Jingle Jungle 5K at Animal Kingdom. Christine, Jenn and I headed to the bar to grab something to eat and wait for Kathy. When she arrived we headed to back to the room to sort out where people were sleeping and wait for Cate, who showed up almost just as we got back!

After chatting a while and then making introductions when my sister-in-law and the other girls got back it was definitely time for bed – my alarm was going off at 3:45 so it was already going to be a short sleep! And tomorrow was a big, long day!!


Yeti? I thought they said Spaghetti!!

9 May

So, this is the year I’m running all of the events at runDisney which means I’m doing lots of races I’ve never done before – but always wanted to! One of these is the Expedition Everest Challenge that took place this past weekend. Some great firsts for me! First night race, first “obstacle” race (more on that!) and first race with an official “after party”!

Since the Everest Challenge is a short run I wasn’t expecting the big expo that you usually see at a runDisney event and that’s okay by me! Since I’m doing so many of their events this year, I have kind of committed to just buying a coffee mug and a wine glass so the less expo the less temptation I have!

Heading into Packet Pickup

Heading into Packet Pickup



I was excited to wear my new costume – Isabella from Phineas and Ferb – and got dressed and headed over to the Animal Kingdom Parking Lot!! Race night weather was great – a little warm, a little humid but it’s Florida in May so I was a little concerned about wearing a hat the whole way! Got some pictures taken at Base Camp and then headed over to my corral. Since I was in a slower corral, I was going to have a half hour after the first gun went off! Time went by pretty quick and soon we were crossing the starting line!

The first mile was basically in the parking lot at Animal Kingdom. We got to the first obstacle – hay bales – shortly before Mile 1. As an inherently clumsy person, this was the one I was most concerned about. In my mind I could see myself taking a face-plant and being trampled by the (albeit slow) runners coming up behind me!! I compromised and instead of hurdling over I stepped on 007each bale and got over that way! 

By the time my corral headed into the park we were being passed by people who were already on the scavenger hunt part of the night! But the CM’s were great at keeping people on the right path!! And seeing them heading back into the park only made me want to finish faster to get to the hunt!! So I kept moving!



Before Mile 2 we headed into an out and back in the backstage area with some great views of the back of Everest, which only made me more eager to finish so I could get my butt on that coaster!! I love running out and backs since you get to pass a lot of the the other runners. Lots of high fives and “good jobs!”. And then the second obstacles – the Tires. I couldn’t help but laugh because no one was running them. There were two columns of runners walking through the staggered tires in sync just swaying back and forth! I giggled the whole way through this obstacle!!

And then we were in the home stretch! We finished up in the same backstage area and headed out to the parking lot! Obstacle 3 was right before Mile 3. It was crawling under a net. I actually skipped this one and just headed to the finish in the parking lot.


After crossing the finish line for the 5K the rows of volunteers handed out a small flashlight, a bottle of water and the first clue! At the bottom of the clue was the instruction for where we were to go next. When you get to that location, you give the answer to the CM standing there and, if you’re right, you get the next clue! I have to say, I wouldn’t have guessed the first one if I hadn’t overheard someone else! I mean, I would have gotten it, but probably not before I got to the “Oasis”!

Not the toughest clue, but I still needed a little help!

Not the toughest clue, but I still needed a little help!

Easy Peasy clue!

Easy Peasy clue!

The next 2 clues were a piece of cake for me to solve – but when I got to clue 4 I was stumped again! I thought there was a pattern to the responses so guessed. Wrong! Eventually, there were about 4 of us standing there trying to guess correctly when someone else came up with

Another super easy one!

Another super easy one!

This one was confusing and tough!

This one was confusing and tough!

the right answer – so we all said it, but I had to ask for an explanation cause I still didn’t get it!! The Final clue ended up being a puzzle we had to solve with all of our clue cards so I plopped myself down and started arranging cards. And arranging them. And. Arranging them. Eventually, the 7 of us who ended up working together had to ask for more help from the CM and FINALLY had an A-Ha moment!

009 011Once we solved the puzzle we could run again (oh yeah, no one tells you -til now that is! – that you’re gonna run a bit more than a 5K), back out the same last mile we’d already done. This time, crossing the finish line we had to point on our bibs to the answer to the puzzle we’d put together! Of course by the time I got there, no one cared!! But I was done! And it was probably past midnight and I was completely amped and ready to go!!

Grabbed my bag and some water and headed back in to the park for some After Party fun!! First stop – picture with Mickey and Minnie!  IMAG0848Second stop – beer! IMAG0850  Third stop – a ride on Expedition Everest. In the Dark! Most excellent ride – it just is tons better in the dark! Though, probably not the BEST choice post beer! Next stop was Kali River Rapids. One of my absolute favorite rides at Disney, I carry a poncho with me on every visit to the Animal Kingdom so I can ride! This time I figured it was so hot and humid that a little water would feel good. Yeah. Another poor choice! When I packed 2 days later, some of my running clothes were still damp! But we were able to go two rounds without getting out of the boat!! After the second time around I decided to head back to the resort and get a little sleep before another day in the parks on Sunday!

I don’t know what I enjoyed more the run or the scavenger hunt! I seriously loved the whole thing – runDisney really knows what they’re doing! In summary I would so totally do this one again – I’m going to try to get one of my nephews to run with me!!

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