Category: Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler

2014 Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler Registration Is Now Open!

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler Weekend is returning for its 3rd year and is open for registration…will you be traveling into the 5th dimension?!?

015 Tower-Starting-Line

This nighttime race begins at 10:00 pm in Disney’s Hollywood Studios and takes runners towards Animal Kingdom, to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex and back to the Studios.  Runners will re-enter the park at the Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show, wind through the Streets of America and finish in the shadow of The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.

The race is followed by the Disney Villains Hollywood Bash, which will begin at 10:30 pm.  Spectators can purchase tickets to this party and enter before the race is over.  Not only will runners and spectators have exclusive access to the Studios, but most headliner attractions will be open.  The attractions include: Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror (obviously), Star Tours, Muppet-Vision 3D, The Great Movie Ride, and Toy Story Mania!

Last year they made great improvements to both the race and the after party, so I’m hopeful that this year will be even better.

Also taking place on the race weekend is the Disney Happy Haunted 5k Trail Run and Kids Races, both of which will be taking place at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

Click here to register!  Pricing for the events are as follows (these events sell out VERY quickly, so register as soon as possible!):

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror™ 10-Miler

  • $145 by March 25, 2014
  • $160 between March 26 and May 27, 2014
  • $175 on or after May 28, 2014

Disney Happy Haunted 5K Trail Run

  • $55 by May 29, 2o14
  • $65 on or after July 30, 2014

runDisney Kids’ Races

  • $15 by July 29, 2014
  • $20 on or after July 30, 2014

runDisney 1-Mile Run

  • $30 by July 29, 2014
  • $35 on or after July 30, 2014

Disney Villains Hollywood Bash

  • $55 by May 28, 2014
  • $65 between May 29 and September 3, 2014
  • $75 on or after September 4, 2014

As usual for most runDisney events, packet pick-up will be required at the race Expo held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex beginning October 3, 2014.  Visit the runDisney event page for more information on all of the events taking place that weekend.

036 Tower-Medal

I had hoped to be “Perfectly Terror-ific” (I totally just made that up!) but I think I am going to pass on this race for 2014.  While I love the theme, the medal and the after party, I just don’t enjoy the course and it is still too hot that time of year in Orlandao.  But having said that, many people LOVE this course and find the distance to be very manageable.  I think for this year, I will be opting to cheer on all of the runners and just have fun at the terror-ific after party :)

Want to see my recaps from prior years?  You know you do! ;)

2013

2012

Will you be registering for the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler?

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Happy Haunted 5K Trail Run Recap

I’m excited to welcome Sarah Norris from Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free in WDW back for another runDisney 5K recap!  Today she takes us along on the Happy Haunted 5K Trail Run, which was her first race ever!  I’m beyond proud of Sarah for completing her first race and I know you will be too…

If you had asked me a year ago if I would be running a race, I probably would have looked at you like you were nuts. The idea of running used to be a completely foreign concept to me, but this past year – as many New Year’s resolutions are started – I wanted to try what I thought to be an unattainable fitness goal. I have to admit that running scared me, but I was quickly encouraged by Sarah who was inspiring me with her own running. Like Sarah, I also suffer from IBD and it was so inspiring to see her pursuing her fitness goals and dreams. She really did give me the courage to pursue my running.  (Thanks so much!!!)

I decided to sign up for the Happy Haunted 5K held during the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler Race Weekend. A 5K seemed like a reasonable goal and with my training using Jeff Galloway’s walk/run method, I was ready to embark on a journey with running! I eagerly anticipated this race and was excited when the big day finally came.

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The Happy Haunted 5K for the 2013-2014 race season took place in the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. It was considered a “trail run” meaning that it took place partially on a trail surrounding the perimeter of the complex. The race was scheduled for 7:30 a.m.

The day before the race, I headed over to the expo center at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex to pick up my bib, race shirt, and check out the expo. Some of my favorite fitness places were there, like Sparkle Athletic (they have awesome sparkle skirts!), Fit2Run Fitness store and of course official merchandise. I got to the expo around 12:20 p.m. on Friday, and the expo center opened at noon. It was already really busy there! Of course, later I heard that this wasn’t bad at all, but as a first timer, I was definitely not sure what to expect. I waited in line outside to get into the center for about 10 minutes, and then they let me in.

In my personal opinion, the expo seemed rather small (smaller than I expected) and there were not a lot of booths. Because this is a smaller runDisney event the bib pick-up was also held in the Jostens Center as well. As I would learn later, bib & packet pick-up is typically housed in the HP Field House next door. I heard someone say that there were about 14,000 runners at the Tower of Terror Ten Miler and 5,000 at the Happy Haunted 5K.

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Because bib & packet pickup were housed in the same facility, it was a little crammed. Thankfully, I was so excited to see it all the long line didn’t faze me. Once I got my bib, I got into the line to get my race t-shirt. I wasn’t planning on wearing this for the race, but I did want to make sure I picked it up. It was a really cute shirt too and makes for a great souvenir. While the packet pick-up and t-shirt lines were long, perhaps the longest lines were at the official race merchandise station. I have heard that they often run out of the merchandise, so it’s best to get there early. I have to say, based on the lines I believe that is probably true!

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I tried to take it easy the day before the race, but I admit I was too excited! I was thrilled to see Sarah at her RAD meetup that afternoon and catch up and chat with lots of runDisney enthusiasts. There’s just something really special about other runDisney folks. I also got to enjoy dinner with some blog readers and just enjoy the evening. Early bedtime was mandatory.

My family & I got up at 5:30 a.m. and got to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex around 6:15 a.m. That gave us time to get in, look around, and get settled. We got to see all the fun entertainment, though I didn’t get a photo with Mickey who was greeting runners in his festive Halloween garb. Rudy Novotny and John Pelkey were busily keeping the race crowd pumped up with lots of music and fun, though I have to admit I’m never quite ready for dance music at 6:30 a.m. At about 7 a.m., I headed into the runners only section where the corrals were while my family waited outside. I was placed in corral C which was the middle of the road for corral placement. The corrals at this race were A-F, so I was glad I wasn’t dead last. They base corral placement on your time of registration, not your pace which is nice.

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At 7:30 a.m. we had one spooooky surprise! The headless horseman came bounding through the stadium, at full tilt too. This is not the slow trot that the Headless Horseman does during MNSSHP! It was really cool to see and the music was just awesome! Once the Headless Horseman was off…ha literally with his head…it was time for corral A to go through. Then, soon came the time for corral C to head off. This was it! My family caught a great video of me leaving. I tried to stay to the side 1) because I’m slow and 2) because my family was over in that direction.

HH5K_Corrals

The race take-off went really smoothly I thought. There was minimal bottlenecking. The track was really good, so it was nice to run on. Once we ran through a portion of the track, we headed into wooded paths. These were definitely both fun & challenging. The sand on the paths can make it harder to run, especially if you aren’t used to running in sand. The paths weren’t too horribly narrow and thankfully, it was light outside so you could see well. Despite the tough trail for a newer runner, I felt really good and ran the entire first two miles—something I had not even done at home, as I was still utilizing walk/run in my running. It felt really empowering to be other with other runners of all levels and just out there having a good time. It was also a really hot and humid Florida fall day, so I made sure to take it easy on my pace and not push it. I also made sure to stop at the 2 water stations to drink. I knew that would be important given the heat.

Happy_Haunted_5K_Trail

Once you hit the last stretch of the race, you head back to the track again. There were tons of photographers there taking official photos. There were also a lot of opportunities on the trail and track to take photos with Disney characters, some villains and some in Halloween costumes. I didn’t get one photo with a character on this race. I was nervous I would be too slow and be swept by the race sweepers but thankfully, I finished right about the middle pace, clocking in around 55 minutes. It was amazing to see how people just cheer you on through these races and encourage you. From the fantastic volunteers to the folks watching, each of them went out of their way to cheer everyone on!

Sarah_Medal_HH5K

As soon as I finished my race, I made sure to get my medal (which was adorable), my water, banana, and fitness box. It’s nice that Disney provides these to runners after they finish. One thing I learned as someone with dietary restrictions (I can’t have gluten or dairy in additions to my Crohn’s disease restrictions), that I needed to bring some of my running nutritional support from home. I also enjoyed a big breakfast at Kona Café after the race!

As far as theming and organization, this race was really well done. The Halloween touches and overall ambiance really made this race special, and I was really pleased that this was my first runDisney race experience. Disney really knows how to put on a race, and I have to say, I officially have the runDisney bug now!

Make sure to read Sarah’s recap of her second race, the Jingle Jungle 5K, and cheer her on in January for the Disney Family Fun Run 5K!

The 2013 Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler Race Recap

Last year’s 10-Miler was not my favorite race and I actually wasn’t sure I was going to run it again this year.  But after seeing that the race was pushed back a week I was hoping that might make it a bit cooler, plus I always like to give things a second chance.  So I registered and crossed my fingers for cooler temperatures.  Imagine disappointment when I woke up the day of the race to this:

Heat-Advisory

Sigh…  Looked like I was in for another hot one, but what would a Disney race be without heat right?!  So I was just going to make the best of it.  And what better way to start off your day than with a giant breakfast at Kouzzina.  Allergen-free waffles, bacon, sweet potato hash & fruit…perfect fuel for race.

01 Tower-Kouzzina

After breakfast, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do.  I knew I would go stir crazy if I just went back to the hotel and rested all day, but I didn’t want to go crazy at the parks and tire my legs out.  A few friends were heading over to the Food & Wine Festival for the afternoon so I decided to do that.  I could slowly stroll around World Showcase and keep my legs loose…and maybe meet some fun characters.

02 Tower-Sarah-Aladdin

I headed back to WorldQuest Resort around 4pm to get some rest before the race.  I showered, took a quick nap and heated up my leftovers from breakfast that morning.  Sweet potato hash is some awesome pre-race fuel!

03 Tower-Leftovers

Amanda’s hubs was meeting some of our other non-runner friends for dinner on the Boardwalk, so we hitched a ride with them to the resort.  The runners took off down the path towards the Studios and the non-runners headed towards Kouzzina for a tasty dinner.

04 Tower-Group

Walking to the Studios was exciting.  You could hear the music in the distance and we were talking strategy for the race course.  It was the first runDisney race for my friends Rick & Leslie so we were going over all the logistics with them.  When we arrived to the Studios parking lot, it was CROWDED.  The bag check area was a big hectic, the bathroom lines were super long and there wasn’t much room to move.

05 Tower-PreRace

So we headed straight for the Runners Only area where there were NO lines for bathrooms and plenty of room to sit and chat.  We had about an hour to kill before the start of the race so we found a spot and relaxed our legs.

06 Tower-Corrals

07 Tower-Group

Like my Team Sparkle skirt?  It actually matched my KT Tape!  Finally it was time to head to the corrals and get this thing started.  I was in Corral G for this race, but I decided to drop back to Corral I and run with Rick so he wasn’t alone for his first race.  It meant so much to me to run my first race (and so many after) with Amanda, so I wanted to pay that forward.  Besides running with friends is just more fun.  So we headed into the corral and waited some more…

08 Tower-Corral-I

We watched the other corrals empty out and shortly before 10 we started to move and begin the trek to the starting line.

09 Tower-Empty-Corrals

Along the way we met some fun people, saw the starting fireworks in the distance and always my favorite, a TON of spectators cheering us on!  I got a big hug from my friend Cindy, but sadly no photo this time.

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011 Tower-Starting-Fireworks

013 Tower-Sarah-Rick

012 Tower-Starting-Spectators

013 Tower-Go-Sarah

Oh hey thanks for the sign random stranger!  Finally around 10:25pm it was our turn to get moving.  Carissa and Rudy counted us down and we slowly made our way into the 5th dimension.

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016 Tower-Carissa-Rudy

015 Tower-Starting-Line

One of my biggest issues with this race last year was the lack of entertainment on the course, but within the first mile I could see that this was already improved.

As we rounded the ramp onto Osceola Parkway there was a HUGE fireball coming out of the pond in the center.  It as seriously cool!!  I tried to get some photos, but it was only going off every so often, so it was hard to have the camera ready.

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018 Tower-Fireball

Then at the top of the ramp was the Evil Queen from Snow White…you very rarely see her out.

019 Tower-Evil Queen

We got on Osceola to make the looooooog trek to Animal Kingdom.  We were keeping at a steady pace, but Rick is a bit faster than me so I was struggling to keep up with him at times.  Add in the heat and by mile 2 I was already feeling myself getting very hot.

020 Tower-Animal-Kingdom

As we passed through the gates and made the turn to head back down Osceola Parkway towards the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex (WWOS), the dread started to set in.  This is where things started to fall apart for me during the Marathon and I was feeling very hot like I did on that day.  Thankfully this GIANT spider was there to distract me a bit…how cool is this?!

021 Tower-Spider

022 Tower-Spider

By the time we hit the 5K mark I had to slow down.  I could feel myself overheating and I needed to stop pushing myself.  We had a long way back and I had to be smart about this.

023 Tower-Osceola

At all of the following water stops I started pouring water into my headband and the REALLY helped to cool me down.  I’m never a huge fan of pouring water over me because of the chafing issues it causes, but this was necessary and smart.  I was already starting to feel better by the time we reached to dark trail entrance to WWOS.  Last year there were a ton of complaints about how dark this area was, so I was glad to see that it was lit up very well.

024 Tower-Trail

025 Tower-Trail-Lighting

Entering WWOS meant that we were more than halfway through the race.  WWOS is definitely my least favorite part of the course and more so now after the Marathon.  For some reason there isn’t any air flow in there and it just feels hotter than it actually is.  However I was looking forward to seeing a bunch of my friends cheering at Champion Stadium…that always gives me a HUGE boost!  In the center of field there was this giant Tesla coil spitting out bolt of lightning.  Super coil to see, but the sound was pretty annoying.

026 Tower-Champion-Stadium

When we left WWOS and got back on Victory Way, the rush of cooler air was such a relief.  Both Rick and I picked up the pace a bit and headed on towards the Studios for the home stretch.

027 Tower-Studios-Sign

Notice anything on top of the sign for the Studios?  Maleficent was up there warning runners about what lie ahead…she was pretty badass!

028 Tower-Maleficent

029 Tower-Lasers

Just before mile 9 we entered the Studios through a side entrance and immediately enter into Lights, Motors, Action!  This is one of my favorite photo spots :)

030 Tower-Rick-Lights-Motor

031 Tower-Sarah-Lights-Motor

Even though the Studios is a small park you cover a great deal of it.  Down the Streets of America, through Pixar Place and around the Backlot…I love this park!

032 Tower-Streets-of-America

033 Tower-Pixar-Place

And after running through some backstage areas, we crossed the finish line!  Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler number 2 in the books!

034 Tower-Finish-Line

036 Tower-Medal

Now began the mile long trek from the finish line, through Fantasmic! and out to Hollywood Boulevard.  This was a much better route than filtering onto a crowded Sunset Boulevard.  Also, this allowed for a MUCH easier route to get to back check at the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular.  We crossed Hollywood Boulevard and entered through a backstage area right onto the stage…so much better than going up and down those stairs.

036 Tower-Indy-Bag-Check

The heat was getting the best of some people.  I saw at least 4 people puking by this point and a bunch more just sitting on the ground looking exhausted.  I was hot but I was thankful that I was smart early on in the race to keep myself as cool as possible and not push myself to the point of exhaustion.

I headed to a nearby bathroom to change out of my sweaty clothes and then met up with my friends on Hollywood Boulevard.  We headed to Toy Story Midway Mania for a ride, but the wait was 40 minutes.  Blech.  I was not up for standing that long, so a few of us headed to Backlot Express for some food.  I did a repeat of last years meal…chicken nuggets, fries and a Yuengling.  All that salt is glorious!

037 Tower-Post-Race-Meal

We headed back toward Hollywood Boulevard and found a spot to sit and rest our legs.  I think this was probably my favorite part of the whole night.  I love people watching, especially when they enjoy life as much as this guy…

038 Tower-Beer

Did I love this race?  No.  I’m glad I gave it a second chance, but I still think this time of year is too hot for a race in Florida.  I’m also not a big fan of the course.  If we were able to run though Animal Kingdom instead of WWOS, I feel like that would be a huge improvement.  I was very glad to see all of the added entertainment on the course and the other improvements that runDisney made based on runner feedback.  The after party was a lot of fun and I still think this is one of the best medals you can get.

Will I run this race again?  Probably not.  Only if some significant changes are made to the course and if it’s held later in the year.  I really don’t enjoy the out and back on Osceola Parkway.  However I do think this is a great race for newer runners to wet their feet without taking on a half marathon.

Did you run the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler?  What did you think?

2013 Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler Expo

ToT-Expo-Sign3

After a less than stellar experience at the Disneyland Half Marathon Expo (so bad I didn’t even write about it…when you have nothing nice to say…), I was looking forward to the smaller, more relaxed expo for The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler.  Since there wasn’t anything I was dying to get at the expo, I spent the early afternoon enjoying Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival and headed over to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex (WWOS) later in the day.  By the time we arrived, there weren’t many people there at all.   Ahhhh…breathing room :)

ToT-Expo-WWOS-Walkway

ToT-Expo-WWOS

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No lines…woohoo!  For this race weekend, packet pick up is in the Josten’s Center with the rest of the Expo which makes for a much easier experience having everything in one place.

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ToT-Expo-Entrance

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I headed towards the back of the Expo to pick up my race bib first and then moved on to the shirt/bag pick up.  I always like to get that out of the way first before hitting the various vendor booths.

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ToT-Expo-Checkin

After getting all of the official business done, I headed to the runDisney booth to get an up close and personal look at some of the new medals.  I of course had to see the new ribbon for The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler that I would be getting the next day.

ToT-Expo-ToT-Medal

And then the new design for the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon…can’t wait to get this one!

ToT-Expo-W&D-MedalAnd a look at the two Coast to Coast medals for 2014.  There’s the pink version for those running the Tinker Bell Half Marathon and the Princess Half Marathon and then the regular Coast to Coast for any other combination of races.  This one looks like it got a new ribbon for 2014.

ToT-Expo-Pink-C2C-Medal

ToT-Expo-C2C-Medal

While I was at the runDisney booth I ran into Jeff Galloway and had to say hi.  He’s such an inspiration to me and my friends.  If you ever get the chance to say hi to Jeff in person, do it…he’s amazing!

ToT-Expo-Galloway

My next stop was the official race merchandise area to see what I could spend my money on.  I didn’t love any of the shirts for the race (yellow really isn’t my color), but I was glad to see the new runDisney headbands there!

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I ended up just getting a new Vinylmation with the Tower of Terror medal and a pin to add to my collection.  Before heading out, we checked out some of the vendors and made a final stop at the Sparkle Athletic booth to say hi to my friends Kelly and Krissy.  And guess what I got??  My first Team Sparkle Skirt!  I’ve never considered myself a sparkly kind of girl, but I have to say I was kind of excited to wear this for the race…thanks Kelly!

ToT-Expo-Team-Sparkle

I was only at the Expo for a little over an hour, but I managed to see a lot of the vendors and get a lot done.  These smaller expos are SO much more enjoyable :)  Next stop…The Fifth Dimension….

Heat Advisory for The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler

Heat-Advisory

Are you planning on traveling into the 5th Dimension tonight?  Well it sounds like it’s going to be another sweat fest getting there, so be prepared!

Yesterday runDisney issued the following heat advisory to all participants:

Due to warmer weather than anticipated, we encourage all participants to closely monitor their pace and not overextend. This may not be the event to attempt your personal best. We encourage you to be well-hydrated prior to the race and maintain fluid status with alternating water and electrolyte based hydration options throughout your race and entire race weekend. Slow down and ask for assistance at any and early signs of heat illness. Heed these warnings seriously.

Please review the race program for more details, but as a reminder all medical stations will have the appropriate flag color displayed according to existing heat conditions:

  • GREEN FLAG – Good conditions. Enjoy the event but stay alert.
  • YELLOW FLAG – Less than ideal conditions. Participants with high risk of heat stroke should withdraw.
  • RED FLAG – Potentially dangerous conditions. Heat injury is possible. All participants urged to slow their pace and hydrate adequately.
  • BLACK FLAG – Extreme and dangerous conditions. All participants advised not to compete. Course may be shortened and no times recorded.

Race Director John Hughes also offered the following tips to help you prepare for the race tonight:

Remember to HYDRATE, HYDRATE, HYDRATE!  This means all day today and on the course tonight.  At the water stops, mix PowerAde and water together to get some added fuel and those very important electrolytes.  And basically just try to have fun!  This is not going to be the race to try for that PR, so just go out and enjoy the entertainment!

See you on the course!

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