Where We Stayed
For this race weekend, we decided to be “economically responsible” and stay at POP Century. While we’ve stayed at some very cheap offsite hotels before (we stayed twice at one that was only about $50 a night), I’ve never stayed at a Value resort on Disney property before, mainly because I had visions of hundreds of cheerleaders or other youth sports groups running up and down the hallways all night long.
Luckily although there were lots of South American tour groups and some kind of cheerleading competition, we didn’t really have any problems as everyone seemed to be well behaved and supervised (with only one exception). We really enjoyed POP and the pool was fun and I thought the food court had a nice selection and good quality food.
We will certainly stay there again. I think the beds were actually nicer than those at the Caribbean Beach moderate resort. The only things that surprised me were that we only got one soap for the bathtub (not one for the sink) and there was one combo shampoo/conditioner. In the moderates and higher, you get two soaps and separate shampoo and conditioner. We do tip housekeeping at hotels, so after the first night, we had lots and lots of soap and bottles of the conditioner/shampoo combo.
This weekend, I had the 10k on Saturday morning followed by the half marathon on Sunday morning. We drove down on Thursday morning and spent Thursday at Magic Kingdom and Friday at Epcot. We had a great time and Eli had so many firsts (fireworks, barnstormer rollercoaster, Kali River Rapids, Electric Light Parade, first time we had to buy him a ticket $$) that I’m really glad we brought him with us (I was lobbying for a kids-free weekend because of all my race stuff).
Thursday, we packed light for the park and it was so warm that we let Eli play in the water area by Dumbo. He got absolutely drenched so we bought our first (of two) Disney beach towels and stopped by the Main Street gift shop to buy him a dry shirt and shoes. He did get to leave the MK without any pants on, which I think is a defining first moment in everyone’s life. Beach towel #2 was purchased on Friday after a double run on the Kali River Rapids. Eli and I were in the “drenched zone seats” for both runs!
It really was a great trip, and a good use of the last three days of our annual passes!
Being Social (harder than racing for me!)
I had planned on attending three meetups, but ended up only making it to two. This is a huge improvement for me, usually I plan to attend three and don’t make it to any (social anxiety + competing fun things at theme parks).
The first meetup was the DisBroads Wave on Thursday night at the Contemporary.
It was hosted by a great group of bloggers, the DisBroads. You know that any party they throw is going to be an amazing time and this didn’t disappoint. I took the bus to WDW with my family and ran (literally, I was late) from the bus stops to the Contemporary. I took a deep breath and wandered around until I found the Wave restaurant, walked back and found the private room by the bar just packed full! I wasn’t 100% sure I was in the right place until Julie hollered out at me and suddenly I was being introduced to tons of people, some of whom I’d met before, some of whom I knew from the internet and some who were totally new to me.
It was great to meet everyone and they had a TON of giveaways. I won a glittery Minnie iPad case which was adorable! The Wave bar had an appetizer and drink menu and I got a kamikaze and some crab cakes which were delicious. I had to rush out towards the end so I could meet up with Erik and Eli to join them for Eli’s first fireworks.
I’m really glad I went, although it was a little overwhelming and I always leave situations like that feeling like I acted really awkward and like I was either boring or weird. If I met you at the Wave, I promise I’m not as awkward once you get to know me, although I am pretty weird no matter how long we’ve known each other. If you want to see the photos and read about the fun, check out their post here.
The second meetup was the #RunnersLove meetup with Meg and Kristy. They hosted it at the beach of the Polynesian. I really wanted to make this one, but our park visits ran long and Eli’s nap got messed up and I ended up missing it. I’ve seen some amazing photos from the event (check them out here) and am still regretting not making it. Next time I’ll make it!!
The third and most informal meetup was just with two other bloggers, Rachel and Karen at the pool at POP. I was a little nervous, I don’t know Rachel that well and although Karen and I had messaged and emailed a lot over the last six months or so, you never know how you’ll get along with someone in real life. This meetup was in the afternoon Saturday, so I’d run the 10k then spent lots of park time and was really stinky and sweaty, so I had to take a quick shower. The blow dryers at POP are merely decorative, so I ended up going with sopping wet hair. Good thing I’m not really obsessed with my appearance!
I walked over and immediately recognized Karen. We gave each other a big hug and really quickly I felt comfortable and like we’d been hanging out forever. Rachel was a ton of fun, I’d apparently missed an impromptu dance party they had a few minutes before, luckily we got to do our own dance party in the staging area the next morning.
|Photo credit: Karen @ Losing The Glass Slippers|
We chatted for a couple of hours and dodged the raindrops a few times. Here’s Karen’s post with tons of great photos. It was really great to get to know them both better and I’m so glad I got out of my comfort zone a little.
Last year’s Expo was at Coronado Springs and it was a hot mess, super crowded and hard to navigate. I was happy to learn that this year’s expo was moved back to the WWoS. As usual, I got pretty turned around and had to follow people to figure out where to go, but that’s just me and my inability to follow a map.
On Thursday after lunch (around 2pm) I took the bus from POP to WWoS with minimal waiting. I met a couple of other runners on the bus and we had fun discussing race costumes. My first stop was to pick up the bibs and shirts for me and my son.
There was no wait and bib and shirt pickup went really well. I guess I picked a great time to go.
After bib pickup I went to check out the Dooney and Bourke Princess purses, there were still plenty to buy.
After that I looked at the map to try to figure out where to go for the rest of the expo. Because I’m terrible at map reading (unless I can put it on the ground properly oriented like Joey on Friends did in that London episode) I ended up just following people which took me to the red carpet.
And then I found the Expo. Lots of people but not too crowded.
Here’s the New Balance booth where the lucky ones were trying on their special NB shoes. I resisted the urge to get the new runDisney NB shoes but I surely do love those Cinderella ones.
I always check out the Sparkleskirts and Bondiband booths, and I also spent some time salivating over these Sports Hooks medal racks. I was planning on adding four new medals this weekend and my medal rack is already full.
The top one that is hand painted is the one I really really want. Hint hint to any friends or family who are looking for gift ideas for me!
Here’s the photo-op they had set up for pre-race photos. Pretty cute, I wish I’d asked someone to take my picture here.
The Official Merchandise area also had no waiting. I showed considerable restraint and only bought one shirt and nothing else in the whole Expo. This was very difficult, but I powered through and walked out with just my one Glass Slipper t-shirt. I love it because on the back it says “Sorry Charming, Got To Run!”
After picking everything up, I listened to one of the panels that had Dimity and Sarah from Another Mother Runner. They have a good mix of comfort in public speaking without being all “rah rah” and overly peppy. I have to say I like them a lot.
I also met up with another runner from a Facebook group I’m in to pick up my awesome winnings. I donated to her LLS fund and was entered into a raffle to win a Princess Dooney and I actually won! So she met me at the Expo so I could pick out the one I wanted. Here’s my winnings!
I haven’t been able to bring myself to use it yet, I’m thinking of saving it for my own raffle if I end up running a race for charity someday (yes I’m starting to think about it!).
All of our pre and post race activities were really fun on this trip. I had a great time meeting people even if it was hard for me and Eli was just perfect on the trip. We did just find out that he probably caught Fifth Disease while we were there, it’s got a long incubation period and we’ve been dealing with a sick and rash covered kid all week, but he’s almost better and I’m just grateful he was healthy while we were there!