Posts Tagged by disney parks

New Disney Vera Bradley Bags!

Have you seen the new Disney Vera Bradley bags yet?!  There has been much hype around this line of designer bags coming out and all of the designs were released yesterday.  Now I’ve never been a big Vera Bradley fan, but when you through Disney into the mix, my opinions seem to change a bit…

Vera-Bradley-Bags1My good friend Amanda  from Disney Every Day had the privilege of attending the media event yesterday and after seeing all of her photos, I needed to share these with you!  I really have my eye on the Large Duffel bag…I think it would be great for a runDisney race weekend!  Oh an how about the Hipster??  Perfect for park touring!


There are currently 2 patterns available.  Both patterns feature Mickey and Minnie, but Just Mousing Around has a pink background and Midnight With Mickey has the black background.  Let’s take a closer look at the entire collection!

Large Duffle ($99)



Hipster ($70)


JustMousingAround_Hipster-940x975 Mini Hipster ($60)



Large Cosmetic ($35)



Smartphone Wristlet ($55)



Zip ID Case ($15)



Vera Tote ($99)



Backpack ($99)


Well I’m definitely partial to the Midnight With Mickey pattern and the prices are just downright reasonable when you compare them to a Disney Dooney!  These collections went on sale in the Disney Parks today, but will be available to everyone online beginning in late October.

Will you be getting a Disney Vera Bradley bag?  Which pattern and style do you like best?

A Mad runDisney Meet Up Through Disneyland!

To say that my first trip out to Disneyland was magical is an understatement, but who knew it would be mad?!  Well runDisney did of course!  With the new Disneyland 10K theme focused around Alice in Wonderland, it was only fitting that the runDisney meet up theme would be centered around the film as well.

As with most runDisney meet ups, the 2013 Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend meet up started at the crack of dawn.  Over 50 runners met under the Sorcerer’s Hat at the Disneyland Hotel bright and early to run our way through the parks, we must be mad to do that!

01 RD-DL-Meetup

runDisney BFF Amanda & I!

runDisney BFF Amanda & I!

We made our way over to Downtown Disney to get the low down on the run from Tony Morreale of Disney Sports and get some great tips on good form running from the folks at New Balance.

03 RD-DL-Meetup

04 RD-DL-Meetup-New-Balance

Let’s Make Excellence Happen  is the motto when it comes to running and New Balance, and they are dedicated to helping runners achieve their goals in a safe and healthy way.  We were given the four main goals of good form running, which are:

  • Posture
  • Mid-Foot
  • Cadence
  • Lean

They came up with a great mnemonic to remember this by: Party’s Make Cinderella Late…genius!  We walked through each goal and were encouraged to try to use these tips as we ran through the parks.  Easy for them to say…I knew I would be distracted by all the Disney goodness on our run 🙂  Luckily there is a video available to brush up on good form running while at home.

Then guess who interrupted our lesson??  The White Rabbit of course!  And as usual, he was LATE!  But what else were us Disney runners to do, but chase him??

05 RD-DL-Meetup-White-Rabbit

So we took off in pursuit of the White Rabbit and into Disneyland, but obviously I had to stop for a pic with Joey Fatone first…we did become BFFs at the WDW Marathon meet up after all 😉


Off we ran through Downtown Disney and into Disneyland Park.  Even though I had visited the park for the 2 days prior, there was something magical about being there at dawn.

06 RD-DL-Meetup-Disneyland

And then running down Main Street USA with Joey Fatone (totally surreal for this ‘Nsync fan) and through Sleeping Beauty Castle made it even more magical.

07 RD-DL-Meetup-Main-Street

08 RD-DL-Meetup-Castle

As we entered Fantasyland, I noticed the group in front of me slowing down and wondered what was happening.  Then I saw Alice and was so excited for a fun photo op!

010 RD-DL-Meetup-Alice

What I wasn’t expected was that we were going to be able to ride the Mad Tea Party!!  As a Walt Disney World native, I must say I LOVE this version of the attraction.  It is out in open and the lanterns are so whimsical.  I often find it difficult to get someone to ride the tea cups with me in WDW because of all the spinning, so I was excited to get to experience this in Disneyland with no wait!

011 RD-DL-Meetup-Teacups

09 RD-DL-Meetup-Sarah-Amanda

But what made the experience even better was riding with these folks:

012 RD-DL-Meetup-Teacups

How many celebrities can you cram into a tea cup?

Yes, there is video…

I totally could’ve stayed on there all day, but we had to move on.  We ran through Tomorrowland and back down Main Street towards Disney California Adventure.  Do I look excited??

014 RD-DL-Meetup

We headed towards Cars Land, which was equally as beautiful in the early morning hours, and then on to Hollywood Land and what else but the Mad T Party area!

013 RD-DL-Meetup-Carsland

There we were greated once again by Alice who was now joined by the Mad Hatter.  I LOVE this character…he is always so fun to interact with 🙂

015 RD-DL-Meetup

We were welcomed by Bob Hitchcock of Disney Sports and treated to a continental breakfast and some much needed coffee.

016 RD-DL-Meetup

Bob Hitchcock

Then the highlight of the morning…something I totally was not expecting.  Bob and Faron Kelly of runDisney Marketing unveiled the new runDisney medals for the Wine & Dine Half Marathon and Walt Disney World Marathon Weekends!  O.M.G.  they are gorgeous!  I can’t wait to get that new Wine & Dine medal in 2 short months!!!

017 RD-DL-Meetup-MedalsTo say the group was excited is an understatement.  Bob and Faron fielded questions about upcoming events and any new races that runDisney has planned, but didn’t give up too much.  Faron just eluded that runDisney is “efforting” new races…does this mean a Disneyland Paris race is in our future??  We can only hope!

Once we all composed ourselves, it was was time to move on to some other fun presentations.  First was a sneak preview of the new ABC series Once Upon a Time in Wonderland starting this fall.  Apparently this is a blending together of Alice in Wonderland and Aladdin, where Alice falls in love with the Genie…interesting!  I’m a big fan the show Once Upon a Time, so this is right up my alley.  Check out the official trailer here:

Next up was Cindy Lynch, the 2012 Disneyland Half Marathon 1st place women’s finisher.  I always find it fascinating to hear from elite runners like this because I will NEVER be in their league, but they always offer great advice on how to improve you training and race routines.  Some tips Cindy offered are:

  • Interval runs, tempo runs and long runs are the essentials for race training.
  • Don’t forget to take in the scenery!
  • Roctane is great for fuel while running.  She takes one every 30 minutes.
  • While negative splits are always a goal, even she struggles with them.  (I’m glad it’s not just me!)
019 RD-DL-Meetup

Cindy Lynch

Official runDisney Nutritionist, Tara Gidus, spoke next on how to properly fuel for the Dumbo Double Dare Challenge and how recovery in between the races will be the key to our success.  She also went on to tell a funny story about how someone recently called her a buzzkill on the runDisney blog because she broke the myth that just because you’re training doesn’t mean you can eat whatever you want.  So if you ever run into Tara at a race, make sure to tell her she’s a buzzkill 😉

Tara Gidus

Tara Gidus

My favorite running coach, Jeff Galloway, shared his story of how he began running.  Who knew that super skinny Olympian was once a fat, lazy teenager??  I never would’ve guessed it!  Well he was until he joined his cross country team at the age of 13 that he began running.  He did it because he wanted to be part of a team, which is how he feels about runDisney events.  We are all part of one big team, encouraging each other along the way.  That couldn’t be more true.

021 RD-DL-Meetup

Jeff Galloway & Bob Hitchcok

Ali Vincent, the first female winner of The Biggest Loser, and Sean Astin (Goonies, Rudy, Lord of the Rings) continued with the motivational theme and their struggles with staying on track.  Ali finds motivation in races.  Once she is signed up for a race, it gives her that push to keep training even though she hates getting up in the morning.  She has even signed up for the Dopey Challenge in January!  Sean shared a wonderful story about running with his daughter and how the Galloway run/walk method helped to get her out there.  They have found what motivates them and stressed the importance of finding ours!

Ali Vincent

Ali Vincent

Sean Astin

Sean Astin

Joey Fatone, fresh off his VMA performace, finished the presentations by talking about his emotional journey completing the Goofy Race and a Half Challenge over the 2013 WDW Marathon Weekend for his wife.  He also follows the Galloway run/walk method by doing a 1:1 ratio.  He even compared the excitement of finishing a race to the N’Sync reunion…interesting 🙂

Joey Fatone

Joey Fatone

No runDisney meet up would be complete without some great giveaways.  A few lucky attendees won the official runDisney New Balance sneakers, runDisney laptop cases, runDisney travel bags and even a race entry for the 2014 season!  Giveaway ALL the runDisney swag!

This was another fun and memorable event!  What a great way to get a completely different perspective on the parks as well as some very useful tips along the way.  It’s also a great way to meet your fellow runDisney enthusiasts…we’re all a bit mad in our own way 😉

Faith, Amanda & Myself

Faith, Amanda & Myself

Photo Courtesy of Disney Sports

Photo Courtesy of Disney Sports

Have you ever attended a runDisney Meet Up?  What speakers would you like to see there?

Disclosure: I was invited to attend this as media.  As always, all opinions are 100% my own and I am 100% obsessed with runDisney events.

2013 Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend, Oh the Fun We Had!

I hope that you’ve been following my Disneyland and Dumbo Double Dare adventure over the past few days through Twitter, Facebook & Instagram!  It has been an amazing trip and I have SO MUCH to share with you.  It’s been difficult for me to keep up with writing the past few days because of everything that has been going on, but be prepared to get bombarded with race recaps, the runDisney Meet Up, Disneyland dining, my experiences as a first timer and so much more!  Until then, here is just a preview of a few of the things I’ve been up to.

Seeing the tiny Sleeping Beauty’s Castle for the first time and falling in love with the quaintness of Fantasyland.


I was FINALLY reunited with my favorite motormanic, Mr. Toad!


Discovered my new favorite attraction anywhere – Hemlich’s Chew Chew Train!  I’m coming for you little animal crackers….


Ate and drank some incredible meals…whoa!



Attended the runDisney meet up and got to ride the Tea Cups with Joey Fatone!

Meet Up Group Shot


Ran a few races…a total of 21.3 miles in 3 days…and once again did it with my runDisney BFF Amanda!


I had tea with my friend Sid and Sean Astin following the Disneyland 10K…No big deal, right?!?!?!?!


I had a really fun meet-up as well!  It’s always fun to chat runDisney!!!


And the best part…ALL THESE MEDALS!!

2013 Medals

Thank you to everyone who I met this weekend for your encouragement and for everyone who followed along online and pushed me through some of the tough times.  I don’t only run for me, but I run for you and to show that with enough determination you can do anything, so matter your size, age, etc…!

Now, bring on the Tower of Terror 10-Miler!

Countdown to Disneyland: Same But Different

Sleeping Beauty Castle

Disneyland might be the original park, but the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World is MY original park.  I have attachments to so many attractions and experiences there. So I am excited and a bit skeptical to visit some of my favorite attractions in Disneyland.  Will they live up to the versions I know and love?  Will I end up liking them more than my originals??  Oh the guilt!

Here are some of the “same, but different” attractions in Disneyland I’m looking forward to experiencing:

Pirates of the Caribbean


It’s pretty unanimous that the Disneyland version of Pirate blows the WDW version out of the water (get it…).  The bayou, two drops, a longer ride…how can that NOT be better!  This is one of my all time favorite attractions and it’s B’s favorite as well, so I’m sure we’ll experience this one numerous times!  My only fear is that I will be very disappointed with the WDW version going forward…

Haunted Mansion


The stretching room goes down instead of up?!?!  Can’t wait to experience that!  I’m sure there probably isn’t much of a difference, but it’s still pretty cool to this Disney nerd.  I’m also excited to see the New Orleans style mansion and see how it differs.  However, I’m nervous that it will be closed as they get ready for the Nightmare Before Christmas holiday overlay because I heard that it happens around this time.  Does anyone know the dates on that??  Please Disney…hold off until after I’m there!!!

It’s a Small World

it's a small world

While this isn’t one of my favorite attractions (that song REALLY gets on my nerves!), I’m really looking forward to experiencing this in Disneyland.  I love how you actually board the attraction outside here!  It seems to add such a unique experience.  I’m also looking forward to seeing the addition of the Disney characters on the ride.  Why didn’t they do this in WDW?  They seem to be incorporated perfectly!

Space Mountain

Similar to Pirates, I’ve heard that the Disneyland Space Mountain is out of this world compared to WDW (get it again…I’m just cracking myself up over here!).  Not only is the ride smoother, but I LOVE that you get to sit next to the people you’re with instead of behind them.  Hopefully that also makes the cars easier to get into…the WDW vehicles are horribly awkward!

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

Look how young we are!

Look how young we are!

Ok I’m not thrilled about this version and I know it’s not in Disneyland Park or the Magic Kingdom, but I need to add it to my list.  I’ve heard that the Tower in WDW is MUCH better, but since it is my favorite attraction, I need to experience the differences.  Honestly, I’m expecting to be disappointed by this one and then appreciate MY version even more 🙂

Other same but different attractions I’m really looking forward to are:

  • Jungle Cruise
  • The Enchanted Tiki Room (with a Dole Whip!)
  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • Mad Tea Party
  • Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin

Am I missing anything?  What is your favorite same but different attraction in Disneyland or Walt Disney World?

A Royal runDisney Meet Up!

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.

Good Morning Epcot!

Good Morning Epcot!

5K & Half Marathon Finish Lines!

5K & Half Marathon Finish Lines!

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!

Amanda & I in runDisney Gear

Amanda & I in runDisney Gear

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!

SE Sky

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.

Me & Tony from Pacebook Running Club

Me & Tony from Pacebook Running Club

Amanda, Susan and I Photo Courtesy of runDisney

Amanda, Susan and I
Photo Courtesy of runDisney

Group Shot

Photo Courtesy of runDisney

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!


Future World



Snow White in Germany!

Snow White in Germany!

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!

Bob Hitchcock

Bob Hitchcock

Faron Kelly

Faron Kelly

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!!

Tara Gidus & Jeff Galloway  Photo Courtesy of runDisney

Tara Gidus & Jeff Galloway
Photo Courtesy of runDisney

Rachel Booth

Rachel Booth

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.

Ali Vincent

Ali Vincent

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.

April Holmes

April Holmes

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!

Massage Demo

Massage Demo

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!

Sean Astin

Goonies Never Say Die!

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!

Minnie & Bob

Happy Birthday Sean!

Happy Birthday Sean!

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 🙂



S A & Minnie

The 3 Best Girlfriends!



Snow White confirmed the Dwarfs were hard at work in the mines...

Snow White confirmed the Dwarfs were hard at work in the mines…

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.

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