My 13 year old son, Alex, and I signed up as a team to explore the Himalayas, outrace the Yeti and solve the clues to conquer the Expedition Everest 5K & Scavenger Hunt at Animal Kingdom. It’s my second RunDisney race and Alex’s first race ever.
On Friday, we drove down after lunch (during the toddler’s nap) and went straight to what I call the Expo, but is more properly called Packet Pickup. We parked at Wide World of Sports (which for some reason I say as Wild World of Sports which is very amusing for my family. We had a pretty short walk up to the building and saw all the packet pickups along the outside of the baseball stadium. Somehow it was very confusing for me and I wandered around in circles a few times before I found the right section.
I did manage to find the Sweaty Bands booth and bought three headbands. I love them, but (and maybe I’m just being weird) I was a little annoyed that the three ladies working the booth were more engrossed in a conversation amongst themselves than in helping me. I had to interrupt them to give them my money. I may have just walked up at a bad time because when I walked by later (circling around a little lost) they were actively helping other customers. I also bought a great “I Did It” shirt.
The back of the shirt. It’s actually a pretty bright red, but looks orange here:
Here’s what it looks like on (I wore it on Sunday after the race):
I did eventually figure out how to pickup my bibs (getting lost at packet pickup did not bode well for me getting around Animal Kingdom during the scavenger hunt/clue solving portion of the race) and shirts. The race shirt was a BIG grey unisex tech shirt:
I was really hoping they would offer early registration for the Tink Half and the Princess Glass Slipper Challenge at the Packet Pickup/Expo but it was not to be. In addition to the official merchandise section, they did also have Sweaty Bands, Raw Threads, Fit2Run and New Balance (with the elusive Disney shoes). I managed to resist getting any new Raw Threads shirts although it was a close call.
I also really wanted this shirt from the Official Merchandise section, but resisted (I kind of regret resisting it now!):
Photo Credit: RunDisney
After the Expo, we checked into the Dolphin and then went straight to Magic Kingdom. It was very wet, lots of misty rain but not so much that we got drenched. I was concerned about the weather for the race, but it ended up being just about perfect.
On Saturday, we got up early, had a big breakfast and headed to Epcot. I did make the toddler sit in the stroller as much as possible because my legs were already tired from hauling him around on my hip at Magic Kingdom on Friday. We had a great lunch at Via Napoli and ran around Epcot until around 1:30 when we headed back to the hotel for a nap, an early dinner and a swim. The weather cleared up very nicely by lunchtime. Although I really thought we were taking it easy, all the walking around really did a number on my legs and impacted my race much more than I expected.
We were staying at the Dolphin which wasn’t a race host hotel, so we drove to the Animal Kingdom parking lot around 7:45pm. In retrospect, it was a little too early, but I got to take some good photos of the staging area. This was the bag check which had new signs announcing that the bags were subject to search and that a bomb sniffing dog would be inspecting (is that the right terminology?) them as well. I did not check a bag (thanks to the awesome SparkleTech skirt pockets) but I did see the dog being walked past the corrals later on.
As you can see here, we were probably one of the first hundred people there.
Here is the Information Booth:
And the Course Map on display:
This is the stage next to the start line. Corral A lined up right in front of the stage.
The best part (other the the great parking place) of getting there early was that they had some displays set up for photos and the lines were nice and short. By 8:15, the lines had gone from 5 people to about 25 people.
And they had this display with a basket of markers where you could sign your name. Notice that someone named Will must be a descendant of John Hancock. We saw one lady get up on a guy’s shoulders to be able to sign up high.
After this photo (well before the race started!) I realized my camera’s batteries had died. Oh No!!! I am such an unprepared blogger. We hit the port-a-potties a couple of times and walked around for a while and then made our way into Corral C to wait for the start. They played terrible pop music while we waited (Taylor Swift, ugh) and we got to people watch and admire the great costumes. There were lots of Star Wars inspired costumes and a couple with Grumpy Cat shirts on and lots of tu-tus and some fun explorer themed outfits. Here are some from the RunDisney site: