Posts Tagged by christmas

Get in the Holiday Spirit with Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party!

Christmas is a little over a week away…can you believe it?!?  I’ve never really been a HUGE fan of Christmas, but I’ve always wanted to attend Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party because I love the look of the lights on Cinderella’s Castle and the idea of it snowing on Main Street.  Well this year I got the chance and since the Christmas season is now in full swing, I thought I would share some Disney holiday cheer!

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Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is a hard ticket event held at the Magic Kingdom on select night in November and December. While many of the decorations and events like the castle lighting show happens every night during the holiday season, there are many events and photo opportunities that are unique to the party.  Check out some of the fun decorations up and down Main Street.

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Cinderella’s Castle is lit up with thousands of beautiful icicle lights and get turned on just after dusk by the characters of Frozen.  You can catch a glimpse of Olaf here!

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There are special character photo ops all around the park including a brand new appearance by Jack Skellington as Sandy Claws!! The wait for a photo was over 2 hours long so I didn’t wait, but people were THRILLED!  I personally found him to look like a creepy alien, so I’m kind of glad I didn’t get on line.

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Unique shows like the Jingle Jungle Cruise and holiday versions of typical shows take place.  Check out all the pirates in Christmas garb.

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There is a unique Holiday Wishes fireworks show and Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade!

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FREE cookies and hot chocolate all around the park!! You can find the stations by these huge inflated candy canes…I was clearly thrilled by this 🙂

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And finally…it snows on Main Street!!  Yup, in Florida, it’s snowing.  This is the kind of snow I can get behind!  No shoveling and moderate temperatures…woohoo!

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So even this non-Christmas lover can’t help but get in the season when at the Magic Kingdom.  I just wish I could spend the entire season there and not deal with the crowds, shopping, etc…  Oh well, at least I have these great photos to look at to get me in the holiday mood 🙂  Hope you have enjoyed them too!

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Yoga for Runners: Holiday Gift Guide

Hard to believe that it is already December and it is time to kick the holiday shopping into high gear!  Danielle is here with some great gift suggestions to help incorporate yoga and stretching into your running routine or for the yogi in your life.

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Hello Running at Disney readers!

This month, as we head into the holiday season, I thought instead of sharing a yoga pose or recovery tips, I’d suggest some Yoga for Runner’s gifts!

These items are great for both runners who are just beginning to incorporate some yoga into their routine and those who have a regular yoga practice but are looking to really target those running muscles that need a little extra attention!

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Yoga for Beginners Kit

This beginner kit comes with everything you need to get your yoga practice started – a yoga mat, block, strap & DVD all for less than $30!

Yoga for Athletes Books

Sage Rountree’s The Athlete’s Guide to Yoga and The Runner’s Guide to Yoga are my go-to’s both for my own yoga practice and when I’m putting together classes. I especially recommend The Athlete’s Pocket Guide to Yoga, a small book full of short yoga sequences specifically designed to target the muscles athletes and runner’s use the most – it would make a great stocking stuffer!

Foam Roller

If you or a runner you know doesn’t own a foal roller yet then this is the perfect gift! I really like my TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller, but there are plenty of options out there!

Yoga Classes – Online or In Person

What better way to start off your yoga practice than with some classes! I personally love in-person classes where I get the benefit of the teacher making sure I’m doing the pose correctly, but online classes and videos are also a great! For in person classes a gift certificate to a local studio would make a great gift, or you can try out online classes on a site like YogaVibes which actually has a whole series of Yoga for Athletes classes!

Happy Holiday & Namaste!

Danielle 

P.S. – If you haven’t already done so, please stop by and check out the 2014 Runner’s Holiday Gift Guide on my blog, it includes discount codes & giveaways for some of my favorite products!

You can find Danielle at LiveRunGrow.com or on Twitter at @dnardi710.

Mickey’s Jingle Jungle 5K Race Recap

Today my friend Sarah Norris (hey…awesome name!) of Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free in WDW recaps the Mickey’s Jingle Jungle 5K which took place over the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend.  This is Sarah’s 2nd 5K and it has been amazing to see her progress over the past few months.  She is a fellow sufferer of IBD and I just love hearing positive experiences for those of us that often struggle.  She’s defying the odds and I’m so proud to call her my friend and follow her running journey.  I know you will to!  Take it away Sarah!  

It’s hard to believe that not that long ago, I had my first runDisney race. I ran the Happy Haunted 5K (which was my first race ever). In that race, I was quite nervous as a first-time racer but with one race under my belt, I was feeling very excited for the Jingle Jungle 5K. This race was held during the Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend and was held at the Animal Kingdom Theme Park. The race was scheduled for 7 a.m.

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I knew going in this race was going to be a lot bigger, so I made sure to get to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex early on Friday. This expo opened up earlier than the Tower of Terror Ten Miler Weekend race, opening at 10 a.m. instead of noon. I like getting my bib & packet pick-up first so that I’m not feeling stressed and can walk the expo more. This time packet pick-up was in the HP Field House. The crowds seemed lower to me, and I’m not sure if it was just time of day or if the separation of the pick-up & expo made the crowds seem lower. I also thought it was a nice touch that they had an official merchandise station both in the HP Field House and the Jostens Center. (2012 Wine & Dine Health & Fitness Expo Recap)

I was a little concerned my corral placement would be further back in this race because my race bib number was higher this time. However, I was pleasantly surprised to see I was placed in corral B. Once I got my bib, I headed to the Jostens Center for some retail therapy and to pick up my race shirt. I liked the Jingle Jungle 5K shirt better than the Halloween one, but I’m also partial to the holidays. Overall, I’ve liked both shirts I’ve been given so far.

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I picked up a few last minute race costume additions. In my first race, I didn’t wear a costume and for this race I really wanted to wear something fun. I chose a sparkle skirt from Sparkle Athletic and a sparkly headband from Sparkly Soul. Yes, I sparkled from head to toe!

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The first thing I noticed was that the expo was definitely bigger this time with a lot more booths. There were also a lot of vendors who were not present at the previous expo. I particularly liked the Chiquita booth where you could play Chiquita banana plinko. So much fun. Many of the vendors & booths gave out nice freebies and samples. I even lucked out and scored a gift card to Fit2Run, which is a local Florida fitness store chain (with a location that opened at Downtown Disney during Wine & Dine weekend). I also ran into some friends at this race, including my friend Jen from Travel Girl on the Run! She is also a fellow runner with Crohn’s disease, and it’s really nice that we can all share our experiences with one another, especially IBD nutrition and running.

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This time, I made sure to relax and unwind before my race. I was staying conveniently at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – Kidani Village, which is so close to the Animal Kingdom Park. It made for an easy drive in the morning before the race. That evening, my family and I enjoyed a low-key meal at Kouzzina. And then, of course, early bedtime. To me, early bedtime is crucial. Because of my Crohn’s disease, I’m prone to chronic fatigue and I need to make sure I get sleep.

Once the 5 a.m. wakeup came, I was ready to go. I changed into my race outfit and also got my bib on. I then made sure to drink a protein shake. One of the biggest struggles I had the last time was nutrition, so I wanted to support myself as much as possible. I prefer the Plant Fusion chocolate raspberry shake with water. Bring a portable shaker, and you’re good to go! I also packed myself a Gu, which I normally wouldn’t consume on my short runs but because I have Crohn’s and often lose a lot of salt (plus I drink a lot) I found I really needed something to replace my body with after my run the last time. I also tend to push myself in these races so it was extra crucial. Gu’s are gluten free & dairy free so it was great to have on hand.

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Once we got to the Animal Kingdom parking lot, one of the big differences I noticed was that the corral setup was very different. It seemed a lot more compact and also a little bit more crowded. The lines for the character and holiday photos were huge, so I didn’t get a chance to officially pose in them. I did however get an unofficial one by standing off to the side. The neatest thing at this race was the fake snow. Yes, you read that right—snow! They use soap bubbles to create snow effects, and it’s really cool. Along with occasional holiday music, this put me in the holiday spirit and was so fitting for this race. I will say they didn’t play as many holiday songs as I would have thought. It was way more dance music. Dance music is just not my thing at 5:30 a.m.

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I finally made it to my corral and made sure to stick to the side. I don’t know why, but I like the sides. Plus, I get to chat with my family too! They surprised me with a sign to give me motivation to run harder. It was really nice of them to be there to cheer me on so early.

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Before I knew it, it was time to run! This race didn’t have quite as much fanfare as the Happy Haunted 5K did, and I was a little disappointed in that. It just seemed like it was rather rushed and not quite as much anticipation/build-up. But I will say that the race inside the park made up for that.

The first mile or so was in the parking lot. That was pretty boring! It was cool because there were a lot of folks around chatting and having fun, but as far as decor, there wasn’t really anything. You could hear mostly just the announcers & music from the start of the race. Then when you got into the park, things got way more magical!

I will just say that I adore the Animal Kingdom and this was such a great place for a race. There were many character spots, and I personally wanted to try to get a least one photo. I skipped most of them primarily due to long lines & lack of theming. I like many of the characters but I was hoping more of them would be dressed in holiday costumes. The park had lots of holiday music playing and it was just neat to run past the Tree of Life and Expedition Everest.

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Another good tip is to make sure you hit all of the water stations, even if you don’t think you need to. It was much cooler than the Happy Haunted 5K but still a good idea to hydrate whenever possible. And thank those amazing volunteers who are helping out! They rock!

The one character spot I missed but really regretted was with Chip & Dale. I love those chipmunks and they were so cute in holiday garb. But the line was really long. I was glad I was able to meet up with Donald later in the race. Because it was closer to the end of the race, and I felt that my pace was good, I decided to stop for the holiday photo with Donald. And I’m so glad I did because it’s one of my most favorite photos from the race.

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Before I knew it the race was over! It was definitely a really awesome race. Not only was the theming great, but I also felt more confident as a runner (pushed it this time and set a 13:52 mile pace throughout the entire race). My race time was 45:51 though I paused my app when I met with Donald making my actual time in the race 49 minutes! That was definitely a huge jump, and gave me even more confidence to keep training hard for the upcoming Marathon weekend 5K.

After the race, my family and I went back to the Animal Kingdom Lodge to celebrate with breakfast at Boma. There were tons of Jingle Jungle 5K racers at the breakfast, as you could see a lot of “race bling” throughout the restaurant. Overall, I really enjoyed this race. I’m even more excited now for the next race which will be the Family Fun Run 5K at Marathon weekend.

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The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights

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It’s that time of year again…the holidays have arrived in Walt Disney World!  By far one of my favorite things to experience this time of year are The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights.  This spectacle actually began in 1986 at the home of Jennings Osborne in Little Rock, AK.  It was a gift to his daughter that continued to grow each year.  In fact, it grew to be so big that his neighbors filed lawsuits against him and it was eventually shut down by the US Supreme Court in 1995.  To keep the show going, Disney offered to move the show to the old Residential Street at Disney-MGM Studios.  And the rest is history…

I first experienced the lights in 2000 when they were on Residential Street and I remember being in total awe!  Guests were able to walk through the “neighborhood” that was lit up with lights as far as the eye could see.  When Residential Street was demolished in 2004 to make room for the Lights! Motors! Action! Extreme Stunt Show, the show was moved to its current home on the Streets of America.  While this doesn’t quite have the charm of Residential Street, it is the most logical place to house the show.

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The details are AMAZING aren’t they??  The display contains over 10 miles of LED rope lights.  Whoa!  Imagineers have placed hidden Mickey’s all throughout the display which are really fun to find and make sure you keep an eye out for the black cat!

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Do you know the story of the black cat?  Well when the Osborne family sent over all of their lights, one of their Halloween decorations somehow got mixed in.  So the Imagineers decided to incorporate it into the display.  Now every year they hide it in a new spot for guests to find!

Oh and did you know it snows there?

06 Osborne-LightsAnd you can get some fun holiday treats as you’re walking around.  Spiced Egg Nog or some Hot Cocoa are a perfect way to get you in the holiday spirit!

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In 2006, the display was kicked up to add programmable dimmers to the lights.  This allowed the lights to be set to music which is where the “dancing” fits into the name.  This is insane!  Check out these 3 videos to see what I mean…mind-blowing….

It’s hard to pick a favorite, but I think I’d go with Winter Wonderland.  That canopy is too cool!

Have you seen The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights?  Do you remember it on Residential Street?  If so, which do you like better?

RAD Reads and Weekly Review: December 30, 2012

I can’t believer this is the last RAD Reads and Weekly Review of 2012…what a year!!  Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would run 3 half marathons, 3 5Ks and 1 10-miler in a year, but I did it!  This year has be an amazing journey and a wild ride…I’ve loved every moment of it and I can’t thank you enough for coming along!

Want to take a look at some RAD Reads I found this week?  I found some good ones!

Running & Fitness Posts
Yes, I am obsessed with CrossFit takes a look at the 10 most ridiculous diets ever…have you heard of the ear stapling diet?!?

Travel, Run, Eat compares her first marathon training to her second coming up in 2 weeks.

Eat, Sleep, Run, Disney is having a giveaway of a Raw Threads Cindy shirt…just in time for WDW Marathon Weekend!

I Run for Wine reminds us that even during the holidays, it’s important to get off the couch and run!  I wish I had taken this advice 🙁

Run With Jess shows us her year of awesome bling and there is a lot of it!

The Happy Runner has great tips for running in the snow, something that’s really scares me!

Running Toward the Prize has 5 tips for staying healthy before a race…I will definitely be following this advice over the next few weeks.

Disney Posts
Parkeology takes a look back on tomorrow and ponders what current attractions we will be looking back on like Alien Encounter.

WDW For Grownups has drinks and appetizers at Epcot’s Rose and Crown Pub…one of my favs!

Travel With Rick features the Year in Review and the always hysterical blooper reel this week, featuring some embarrassing moments from yours truly 🙂

Weekly Review
I’m going to be honest here…I’m at the point where I’m terrified of injury before the WDW Marathon and I think I’m using this as an excuse to not run.  Yes, I know this is completely ridiculous and the opposite of what I should be doing.  I haven’t had many workouts this week due to the holiday and then my in-laws were over today to celebrate Christmas 2.0 and I’m definitely feeling sluggish because of it.  Or maybe it’s all the rich food I’ve been eating…

Christmas Eve DinnerRib Roast, Creamed Corn and Scalloped Potatoes

Christmas Eve Dinner
Rib Roast, Creamed Corn and Scalloped Potatoes

Christmas Morning BreakfastGluten Free, Egg Free Pancakes and Local CT Sausage

Christmas Morning Breakfast
Gluten Free, Egg Free Pancakes and Local CT Sausage

Who know’s what is causing my slacking behavior, but I hope I can get this turned around soon!  Here’s my full week of workouts and to see my full WODs, head over to my page on dailymile.

Sunday: Rest
Monday: Rest
Tuesday: Rest
Wednesday: CrossFit – 1 hour – Back Squats, PullUps and Amraps
Thursday: CrossFit – 1 hour – Amraps
Friday: Rest
Saturday: Rest

For the next 2 weeks (well after New Year’s Eve!), I will be focusing on prepping my body for the WDW Marathon.  Clean eating, stretching, hydration, short runs and moderate cross training.  I need to stay healthy and strong.  What do you do to prep for a big race?

Happy New Year to you and your family!  Make 2013 your best ever!

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