Posts Tagged by boardwalk resort
|February 28, 2013||Posted by Running at Disney under Princess Half Marathon Weekend, runDisney Meet Ups|
Disney’s Princess Half Marathon Weekend is full of tutus, tiaras and sparkle unlike any other race out there. With all of these runDisney fanatics in one place (myself included), it’s no surprise that the coveted runDisney meet up/ tweet up was a seriously hot ticket. So hot in fact, the Disney Parks Blog was brought to a screeching halt a week before the event! I mean it’s understandable, right? Where else can you run through an empty Disney park being led by some seriously elite runners?!
The meet up began at 6:30 am with check-in at the entrance to Epcot. I love this time of day at Walt Disney World. Everything is quiet, peaceful and just coming to life…a stark difference from the throngs of people that would be arriving in a few short hours.
We all checked in, signed
our lives away to Disney waivers and were given a runDisney t-shirt. I LOVE these shirts…the women’s cut is great!
What a gorgeous morning, despite the insane humidity. There is something different about Florida skies that we just don’t have up here in Connecticut. The clouds are breathtaking…what a treat!
Before the morning started, we had some time to chat with the runDisney folks, celebrities and fellow runners. It was great to see a lot of new faces at the meet up and also reunite with some old friends from past races.
Before I knew it, it was 7:00 am and we were ready to start our run! We were briefed by the runDisney team on the course, a 3-mile run around World Showcase and Crescent Lake finishing in the Germany pavilion.
There were two groups that went out. The first was a faster group keeping a 9 minute mile pace and led by reigning Princess Half Marathon champion Rachel Booth. I’m nowhere near fast enough to keep up with that crew, so I decided to stick with the group led by Jeff Galloway. I’m a huge fan of Jeff’s, so any chance I get to run with him I will. Plus, the 30 sec run/ 30 sec walk intervals are more my speed.
We went through Future World and clockwise around World Showcase Lagoon…and look we saw some Princesses along the way!
When we reached the International Gateway, we headed out towards the Boardwalk Resort and around Crescent Lake. This is a gorgeous area for a morning run, but running around there was bringing back some painful memories of the Walt Disney World Marathon a few weeks prior!
We entered back into Epcot and circled back towards Germany where a nice breakfast (they still need some healthier options!) and some much needed cold water were waiting for us. We were welcomed by Bob Hitchcock and Faron Kelly of runDisney who told us a bit about the history of Disney’s Princess Half Marathon and gave us ladies some serious props for making running so popular. Did you know that this race has grown from 7,000 runners in 2009 to 27,000 in 2013?!? Go ladies!
Jeff Galloway and Tara Gidus, official nutritionist for runDisney, took the stage next to give us some helpful tips for the race. A heat advisory had been issued for the weekend and they helped prepare us for dealing with that, including proper nutrition, hydration and pace. Rachel Booth, two time Disneyland Half Marathon winner and reigning Princess Half Marathon winner, also made a brief appearance. What an amazing athlete!!
Next up were the truly inspirational moments of the morning. Ali Vincent, the first female winner of The Biggest Loser, spoke about her weight loss journey and how adopting a healthy lifestyles completely changed her life. She had a few gym towels to give away and had a very unique way of choosing who received them. She asked everyone who had ever lost weight to raise their hands and then asked people to put down their hands based on how much weight they had lost, getting up to 100 pounds. It was quite amazing to see how many people had lost significant amounts of weight and be able to congratulate them for their accomplishment.
Most inspiring of all was April Holmes. Wow…just wow. After a train accident 12 years ago resulted in April losing her left leg below the knee, she set out to be the fastest Paralympic athlete in the world and accomplished that many times over. April has won numerous gold medals in the Paralympic Games in both 2008 and 2012 and continues to break World Records every year. Her story of loss and overcoming the odds almost brought me to tears and motivated me to try and be better in everything I do. She left us with this: “Your gold medal comes from being better than you were yesterday.” From now on when I’m having a tough day, I will think of April and her strength. Simply amazing.
The final presentation was from the folks over at Senses Spa, which recently opened at the Grand Floridian Resort. They talked about various recovery techniques including foam rolling and massage. Two lucky attendees were chosen for the demos!
Now it wouldn’t be a runDisney event without some giveaways. The folks at New Balance were on hand to talk about the success of the new runDisney shoes that debuted over Marathon Weekend and they gave away a few pairs! Look who chose the winners…Sean Astin!
New Balance assured everyone that there would be plenty of shoes at the Expo that weekend, but encouraged people to get over there early just in case certain sizes sold out. Good advice because the Expo was CRAZY! More on that later…
The meet up wrapped up with an appearance by none other than Princess Minnie! I mean obviously she would be there. We also found out that is was Sean Astin’s birthday, so everyone joined in to sing to him!
We all headed outside and were given some great giveaways of H2O products, a water bottle and other small tokens from the sponsors. Princess Minnie and a few other Disney princesses were waiting for us for exclusive photo ops…score! Minnie and I shared a few laughs and we’re now BFF. Would you expect anything less from me? The meaning of Sarah is Princess after all 🙂
And that concludes another magical runDisney meet up. These events are so fun and give you a great opportunity to learn more about runDisney and get inspired to become a better athlete! If you are interested in attending one of these meet ups, watch the Disney Parks Blog for an announcement about a week before any runDisney race weekend. The competition is fierce, so you’ve got to be quick! Hope to see you at the next event 🙂
Disclosure: I was invited to attend the entire weekend as media. My hotel expenses, meals and park admission were provided by Disney. As always, all opinions are 100% my own and I am 100% obsessed with runDisney events.
|January 18, 2013||Posted by Running at Disney under Disney Dining, Friday Feast, Healthy Eating, WDW Restaurants|
A few months ago, B and I had our first breakfast at Kouzzina. I became instantly obsessed. This is by far the BEST breakfast on Walt Disney World property and totally worth the trip over to the Boardwalk Resort.
Since our first visit, I found out that I have a severe sensitivity to eggs. I was crushed to find out that I couldn’t have either of my 2 favorite dishes.
I had recently reached out to Sarah over at Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free in WDW (a GREAT resource if you have food allergies!) to see if she had any suggestions for breakfast items in WDW. I’ve also cut gluten out of my diet so that was an added challenge. Sarah told me about these allergen-free Mickey waffles that are available at most restaurants and I got really excited!
So off to Kouzzina we went. I told our server that I had a few food allergies and he got the chef right away. I absolutely LOVE how accommodating Disney is with this. The chef will always come to the table and discuss the menu with you and recommend what you can and can’t eat. I asked him about the waffles and he said he could definitely make those for me. They would come prepared as the regular waffles on the menu with marscapone cheese, pecans and honey…YUM! I asked for all of this on the side as it sounded a bit sweet for me, but I wanted to try it anyway. He also confirmed that my favorite sweet potato hash would be a safe option for me, along with the chicken sausage. I also got a side of banana and blueberries. Look at this feast!!
I have to admit that I was skeptical about how the waffles would taste, but they were DELICIOUS! I think I might actually like them better than regular waffles. I’m glad I got all of the condiments on the side so I could use as little or as much as I wanted. The hash was fantastic as usual and I would recommend getting this on your next visit no matter what.
I was so excited about this meal that I did a little happy food dance of joy 🙂 Kouzzina still tops my list for best breakfast on property and it’s a great spot if you are dealing with various food allergies. Now if they could just work on the service!
Have you had the allergen-free waffles in WDW?
|November 27, 2012||Posted by Running at Disney under Race Recaps, runDisney Races, Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend|
I hope you like photos because you’re going to see A LOT here! What can I say, I get photo happy on Disney races 🙂
This race is by far my favorite runDisney race to date. The atmosphere, the entertainment, the course and the after party were just great! But let me not get ahead of myself. Here’s how the day went…
Fueling for night races has always been something I’ve struggled with as far as timing and what to eat, etc… We got some great tips from Jeff Galloway and Tara Gidus at the runDisney Meet Up the day before, so I was feeling a little more comfortable going into this one. I decided to start the day off with a late breakfast at Kouzzina, one of my favs! I got the spinach, tomato & feta scramble, bacon and substituted the potatoes with their yummy sweet potato hash and the toast with blueberries and bananas. Great pre-race fuel!
After breakfast, Amanda and I were headed over the the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Golf Tournament being held at Shades of Green to cover the event. This was a lot of fun and a great way to spend an easy afternoon. I’ll have more to come on the event soon. Oh and look who I ran into there, I haven’t seen Donald since the Princess Half Marathon! 😉
After walking around for a while, we decided to head back to our room at the Boardwalk to rest our legs for the race. But we made two quick pitstops. First was a quick drive through the Walt Disney World Speedway to see where we will be running for the 20th Anniversary Marathon in January, followed by a smoothie stop at Landscape of Flavors at the Art of Animation Resort. We stopped there for a small lunch and I was pleasantly surprised that they had a fresh fruit smoothie bar there. Just was I was craving!
Figuring we had a long night ahead of us, we took a nap to rest up before grabbing dinner. There are many dinner choices at the Boardwalk, but I was looking for something that would fill me up, be gluten free, yet still not be too heavy. After looking at menus, we settled on the ESPN Club for what we thought would be a quick bite. I went with the Champion Chicken Sandwich with no bread and all the sauces on the side. While the food was good, the service and the atmosphere were not so great. It took forever to get our food and the crowd was a bit loud watching college football. It probably would’ve been better to order dinner and take it back to the room to eat in peace.
We started getting ready around 6:30 pm so we could get on the bus over the the start line at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex (WWOS) in time since the last bus was at 8. We headed down around 7:30 pm and were greeted with a HUGE line that wound almost back to the hotel. This was very different from the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler when we walked right on the bus around the same time pre-race. There wasn’t any explanation for the delay, they just must have been short on buses, but we ended up waiting in line for about 40 minutes before we finally got on a bus. Not the ideal situation for runners to be standing around this long before a half marathon.
We arrived at WWOS around 8:20 pm and the holding area was packed! I headed straight to bag check and it was pretty chaotic. The lines were long and the volunteers were yelling at us to hurry up and tie our bags properly, but wouldn’t tell us what that meant. They all seemed very frazzled and didn’t instill a lot of confidence that my bag would arrive safely over to Epcot. Once my bag was checked, we headed into the crowd to find our friends who were in the insanely long line for pictures with Chef Mickey.
Since I had already had my photo taken with Chef Mickey at the meet up the day before, I was more interested in getting in the LONG line for the bathrooms and getting into our corral for a good starting spot. I’m glad I decided to do this because we ended up waiting in line for another 30 minutes to use the bathroom. This was turning into the pre-race of lines, lines and more lines.
Sarah-Irene (Sid), Amanda and I moved into Corral C at about 9:20 pm and slowly made our way to the front. Our friend Jim caught up with us and we all decided to stick together for the race and have a good time. The four of us started this running journey together back in 2010 with the inaugural Mickey’s Halloween Fun Run 5K and thought it would be fun to do this race together.
Before we knew it they were singing the National Anthem and Corral A was off with the usual runDisney fanfare of fireworks. I popped a Gu and we started making our way up to the starting line….this is when the nerves start kicking in! Or was it just excitement?? It’s really hard to tell the difference!
Then 10 minutes later we were off! Here’s a quick video of our start 🙂
Right off the bat, I knew this race was going to be better than the ToT 10-Miler the month before. The first character stop came less than a mile into the course right on Oceola Parkway with Chip & Dale all decked out in tuxedos in front of a sparkling piano. Not far after that was a live band that had such great energy…I couldn’t help to stop and dance 🙂
Somewhere between mile 2 & 3 I saw a bunch of motorcycles and official runDisney vehicles coming down the other side of Oceola and I knew the leaders were coming down the road. Now they were already between miles 6 & 7 at that point so they were MOVING! I was hoping I was going to see the winner of the Wine & Dine Half from the past 2 years Anton Van Zyl, who I had the privilege of meeting the day before at the meet up. We actually ran into him on the bus on the way to WWOS and I wished him luck. He wasn’t the leader at the time, but Anton was hot on his tails in 2nd place. I ran across the median to snap a pic and gave Anton a big shout out!
We were making pretty good time at the 5K mark with a time of 43:10. This is slower than I had hoped, but with all the excitement and photo breaks I was happy with that. The mile 3 marker was by far my favorite with a bunch of fun people cheering and waiving Austrailian and New Zealand flags. Each marker was themes after the countries represented at the Food & Wine Festival this year…clever.
It was around this time that we headed into Animal Kingdom. We were greeted in the parking lot by the fun spinning floats from the Main Street Electrical Parade and the sounds of Baroque Hoedown. The floats were spinning around like crazy…I want to drive one of those some day!
As we entered the park, there were giant tusks lit up along the path to guide us through the dark. This was so cool! I had heard about it from prior years, but seeing it in person was a whole other thing. Rafiki was there for photos and a few of the puppeteers from Mickey’s Jamin’ Jungle Parade were on hand as well. It made for a great entrance up to the Tree of Life. This was my first time being in Animal Kingdom at it was breathtaking (and not just because I was running).
Amanda had separated from the group before we got to Animal Kingdom and we finally met up again in Asia. The four of us went along like this for the rest of the race….one or two would either fall behind or move ahead, but we would all meet up again at some point. This was my first time running with a group and I have to say it was A LOT of fun! It was great to have someone to talk to when the going got rough or simply share a laugh with.
Leaving Animal Kingdom we were at mile 5 and headed back down Osceola Parkway towards Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The next 3 miles flew by for some reason, which was a ok for me! And of course I had to stop for a little more dancing along the way 🙂
I love the Hollywood Studios and I especially love it at night. I hadn’t been to WDW around the holidays in over 10 years, so I knew I was in for a real treat with the Osborne lights coming up. We entered the park next to Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and headed up Sunset Boulevard. All of the holiday decor was up and it looked beautiful!
It’s amazing to me how much mileage runDisney manages to get into the Studios since it is such a small park. They wind you around each nook & cranny and through a ton of backstage areas. I was familiar with some of this since it was part of the course for the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler, but it still seemed to go on forever. We even ran into Wreck-It-Ralph back there!
Oh the lights…the Streets of America were all aglow with the Osbourne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights (sans dancing). I’m really going to date myself here, but the last time I saw the lights was when they were on Residential Street in the Backlot and I don’t recall they danced at that time. These are so cool…definitely one of the highlights of the whole race for me. Sid and I even took a second to stop and appreciate the spectacle 🙂
We were now on the home stretch. Heading out of the Studios we were at mile 11 and about to head down the canal to the Epcot Resort Area. On the way, there was this really fun live band parked on a few pontoon boats. It probably was about 1:00 am at this point, but they were still in full swing as well as waiving and cheering for us…I LOVED this!
The walkway past the Boardwalk was a little tight, so we walked most of it. This is a great area for spectators if you are staying around there and it seemed like a meet up point for many runners. However, it did add to the congestion a bit, so if you’re a spectator the Yacht & Beach Club area might be a little better. Since I was staying at the Boardwalk Inn, it was a little difficult to not make a detour for my nice comfy bed. But that new runDisney bling was almost in my grasps and I kept on truckin’.
The course bypassed the Boardwalk and went past the Yacht & Beach Club Resorts. I was amazed by how many people were still out cheering. It was so encouraging…thank you to all of you strangers out there! Someone did call it a night, but thankfully left my favorite sign of the race.
At this point the Fantastic Foursome were all together and we decided to stay that way for the last mile. We were getting tired, but still having fun.
On to Epcot! You know that overpass from the Beach Club to International Gateway?? Yeah, that thing sucked… But we were rewarded with these AMAZING puppets. There was Lumiere and Genie…super cool.
We went into a backstage area, past a ton of trash (phew!) and entered Epcot between the Land and Imagination Pavillions. I was so excited we were able to run through Future World this year. The past two years ended right outside the park, so this was definitely an added bonus. Then to see all of the people cheering…whoa! It was like running down Main Street USA for the Princess Half Marathon, but WAY more festive. They only bad part was that no one handed me a beer…what up with that?!
That last mile seemed to go on forever. I guess it was making up for how fast 5 – 8 went by. I just felt like we were never going to get to that finish line. Just before mile marker 13, we saw Sid’s husband John cheering us on, which was a much needed push to get us through. Thanks John! There was a really cool laser effect at Mile 13, which kept the actual finish line hidden from sight and felt like we were running into some foggy tunnel. Definitely a fun perk of running a night race!
We rounded the corner and there she was…the finish line! And who else was there to greet us but Chef Mickey! I guess he finished all the prep for the After Party by that point 😉 The four of us grabbed hands and crossed that finish line together. The perfect ending to a great race.
Oh and then I got this bad boy…
My official chip time was 3:25:07. That’s a good 25 minutes slower than my last half in June and I know I could’ve subbed 3 hours for this race, but time didn’t matter. As you can see, I had a blast with my friends and enjoyed all of the Disney atmosphere. I’ve come to realize that for me Disney races aren’t about time, they are about the experience. There are plenty of other half marathons that I can run for much cheaper and that are closer to home where I can set a PR and I really hope to do that in the future. But when I runDisney, I want to enjoy myself and not pay attention to the clock. Does anyone else feel this way?
After the race, I made a stop at the medical tent for some ice for my shins just to be safe. They actually held up really well with the KT Tape (my favorite invention ever!) but I thought ice would be smart. I picked up my bag which thankfully arrived safely and headed over to the After Party. I’ll save that story for another post 🙂
Overall, I LOVED this race. After my less than stellar experience at the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler a few weeks prior, I was a bit skeptical going into this and was more than pleasantly surprised by the outcome. There were a few hiccups with the transportation and bag check in the beginning, but those were minor issues considering how well the race was done. runDisney has improved on this event every year and I can’t wait to see what they have up their sleeves for 2013. I will definitely be back to do this again.
Did you run the Wine & Dine Half Marathon? What was your experience? Please share in the comments below…I’d love to hear from you!
Disclosure: I was invited to attend the entire weekend as media. My hotel expenses, meals and park admission were provided by Disney. As always, all opinions are 100% my own and I am 100% obsessed with runDisney events.
|November 5, 2012||Posted by Running at Disney under Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend|
The Wine & Dine Half Marathon only 5 days away and a ton of us runDisney fanatics will be descending upon the World. So let’s all get together for a Running at Disney Meet Up! Here are the details:
Running at Disney Meet Up
Friday, November 9, 2012
Disney’s Boardwalk Resort
Outside Seashore Sweets
Stop by, say hi and chat with your fellow runners. I’ve been getting to know so many of you though the blog and other social media this year and I would LOVE to be able to meet you in person. And look what I just got…Running at Disney Bondi Bands!! 5 lucky readers will have a chance to win one at the meet up…you know you want one 🙂
And of course there are RAD buttons for everyone 🙂
|October 17, 2012||Posted by Running at Disney under runDisney Races, Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend|
Final race instructions are now available for the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend! It’s only 16 days away!
The instructions include all of the information you will need about the races, transportation and other events around the weekend. Let’s take a look:
Since the Health & Fitness Expo is usually everyone’s first stop, we’ll begin there. The Expo will take place at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex (WWOS) on Friday, November 9th from 10:00 am – 7:00 pm and Saturday, November 10th from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm. All race participants MUST attend the expo to turn in signed waivers (click here to print your waiver) and pick-up race packets, which include your race bib with B-Tag timing devices, race shirt, and goody bag. The goody bag also doubles as the bag to use for bag check during the race. This is also where you will receive any commemorative items you may have purchased during registration. If you are unable to attend the expo, instructions are included on how to have someone pick-up your packet for you. Participants for the Wine & Dine Half Marathon, Mickey’s Jingle Jungle 5K, and the Disney Kid’s Races all MUST go to packet pick-up.
Also included on the first page are some helpful race etiquette tips like how to handle water stations and to make sure you yell encouragement to your fellow runners! I like that one because you are guaranteed to get encouragement right back. Disney runners rule! 🙂
Page 2 has all of the information you will need for Race Day.
- Host Resort Transportation The following are a list of host resorts where buses will be available to bring participants to and from ALL events surrounding the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend. This includes the Expo, half marathon, 5K, kids races, and after party. For the Wine & Dine Half Marathon, runners must be on a bus by 8:00 pm to ensure they make it into their corrals on-time at WWOS. Shuttle service will be suspended between 9:00 pm and 10:00 pm because of road closures, but will recommence at 10:00 for the Finish Line After Party at Epcot.
- Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort
- Disney’s All-Star Music Resort
- Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
- Disney’s Beach Club Resort
- Disney’s Boardwalk Resort
- Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
- Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort
- Driving Directions If not staying at a host resort, participants will need to provide their own transportation to all events. An important thing to note is that there will be NO parking or guest drop off at WWOS (race start) on the evening of the race. Runners and spectators will need to park at the Epcot and take shuttles to WWOS. Runners must be on a shuttle by 8:00 pm, so make sure to leave extra time to park your car and wait in line for a shuttle. Good news is that the parking fee will be waived for runners and spectators arriving at Epcot after 6:00 pm. Yippee!
- Costumes This is one of the best parts of Disney races…the costumes! Runners get so creative and it’s so fun to see. Please note that runners are NOT allowed to wear a face mask of any kind and will be removed from the course if this is violated.
- Bag Check Participants must use the clear bag provided at the expo to check any belongings during the race and affix the label with their bib number on the outside. All bags must be checked by 9:00 pm in the start area at WWOS. Bags will then be transported to Epcot and available for pick-up at in the finish line area and must be claimed by 2:15 am on the morning of November 11th. Unclaimed bags will be moved to Epcot Guest Relations. I have a feeling that this back pick up will be similar to that for the Princess Half Marathon, which went really welll, so I wouldn’t be overly concerned by the process if you are new to runDisney events.
- Start Corrals The start corrals will be located in the parking lot of WWOS. The race begins promptly at 10:00 pm, so you will want to make sure you are in your corral with plenty of time to get in the spot you want. Your corral will be listed on your race bib and you will only be granted access to that corral or one behind you. You can find your corral placement by printing your waiver and finding the corresponding corral for your bib number. I will be in Corral C, so make sure to come say hi!
- Starting Times The following are scheduled start times for the corrals at WWOS:
- 9:58 am – Wheelchair Start
- 10:00 am – Corral A Start
- 10:05 am – Corral B Start
- 10:10 am – Corral C Start
- 10:15 am – Corral D Start
- 10:20 am – Corral E Start
- 10:25 am – Corral F Start
- Race Bibs Bibs must be centered on the front of your shirt. Safety pins will be provided in your race packet at the expo. Do not bend our fold your bib, as the ChronoTrack B-tag will be affixed to the back of the bib which will be used to track your time. If your bib is not properly centered, damaged or covered, your time may not be recorded properly. Your bib will also be used for the on course photographers, so make sure the number is clearly visible…oh and smile for the camera 🙂
- Pacing Requirements Remember, you must keep a minimum of 16-minutes per mile throughout the race or you will run the risk of being picked up and brought to the finish line. Keep this in mind if you a planning to stop for character photos. Those lines can get long and it’s easy to lose track of time. Pace cyclists will be on the course to let you know if you have fallen behind.
- Changing Tents Changing areas will be available in the finish line area at Epcot so you can get out of those sweaty clothes to enjoy the Food & Wine Festival. You’ve earned that Fisherman’s Pie in Ireland!
- Finish Line I’m so glad that they moved the finish line to the Epcot parking lot this year. This will allow for more room for spectators to view the race and they’ve even added a long line of bleachers! This is the same area where many of the other runDisney races finish and it always seems to run smoothly. Oh and see that little orange box? That’s a beer tent!