Posts Tagged by illuminations

A Look at the Pasta in the Park Party

The Pasta in the Park Party is an event that takes place during most runDisney race weekends. It’s a great way to fuel up for the big race while enjoying the Disney magic.  At Walt Disney World, the event is held at Epcot and includes a private viewing area for Illuminations!  Today Bianca is taking us inside the Pasta in the Park Party over Princess Half Marathon Weekend…let’s take a look!

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Pasta in the Park Party

Last year, I made a goal for myself to participate in my first ever runDisney event. After some research, I chose the Princess Half Marathon weekend. I decided since this was my first runDisney event (let alone my first race in years), I would seize every opportunity to make the experience as memorable as possible. Many “firsts” occurred for me over the weekend, including the Pasta in the Park Party.

Held in Epcot’s World Showplace Pavilion, the party took place the Friday and Saturday evenings of race weekend. You don’t have to have a separate park ticket to attend the event, which is pretty nice for someone who doesn’t have an annual pass. You get to enter Epcot as early as 6pm, even though the party doesn’t start until 7 (a nice perk in and of itself). The party featured a full buffet, rare character appearances (more on this later), live music, and the best part, reserved viewing for the IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth fireworks!

I participated in the 5k (Friday morning) and the 10k (Saturday morning). I opted for the Saturday party, which turned out to be the right choice. It gave me plenty of time after the 10k to go back to my resort, take a nap, and get ready to head to Epcot in the evening. My son and I arrived at Epcot right at 6pm and got our wristbands for the party. We had an hour to kill before it started, so we got in line to meet Baymax at the Character Spot (number one on our list of character appearances at Epcot this weekend), and went to the party shortly after.

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The World Showplace Pavilion is nestled between Canada and the United Kingdom, and it’s huge! I’ve never noticed it before, but it’s a bit recessed, so it doesn’t really interfere with the World Showcase scenery. Once inside we found ourselves seating, and before I could even check out the spread, I was shocked to see Pain and Panic from Hercules doing a character meet! I was totally “fangirling”. Remember I said there were rare character appearances? Well, if there’s one thing this girl loves, it’s meeting “rare” characters. I immediately dragged my eight-year-old with me and got in line for a photo and signatures.

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Once we were finished with our first meet of the evening, we went to make ourselves a plate of food. The spread was fairly robust. There were several types of pasta dishes, salad, vegetables, and of course, breadsticks. If you’re participating in the half marathon the following morning, this is the perfect way to carb up. Water and lemonade in large pitchers were provided and a selection of sodas, beer and wine were available for purchase.

The food was delicious! My favorite was the green beans and assorted peppers mix. They also had Mickey-shaped ice cream bars and sandwiches for dessert which my son couldn’t get enough of. I think he grabbed a second one while my back was turned! After we were done stuffing our faces, we got in line for a few more character meets. We met Megara and Hercules together, and then one of my favorite Disney Villains, Hades. After meeting characters we got on the dance floor. They had a host for the evening and a live DJ who did a really great job of playing old and new music, as well as some pretty cool Disney mash-ups.

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Around 8:30 they started to wrap up the party, so we went outside for the fireworks. If you are attending the party Saturday and have to be up extra early for the half marathon, you may want to consider skipping this part. I, however, never miss IllumiNations, and would rather run on fumes than skip it. But I understand not everyone works that way, so to each their own. Our spot for the fireworks was between the two gift shops (Disney Traders and Port of Entry) at the entrance to World Showcase from Future World.

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It was an amazing spot for the show, and separate from guests who had used FastPass+ for their viewing area. We found a spot right in front, sat the whole time without obstruction and enjoyed the show. IllumiNations is, in my opinion, the most beautiful nighttime spectacular (though Wishes is a close second). So if you skip the party, make sure you carve out some time during your trip to see it.

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All in all, I think the Pasta in the Park Party was very well done. I was kind of surprised when I saw three empty tables near the back of the party, assuming it would have been a sold-out event. But hey, that just means more pasta for me! I would purchase these tickets again and recommend it to anyone who may be on the fence about it. Between the food, the music, the family-friendly atmosphere, the awesome character meets, and preferred seating for IllumiNations, this just might be one of the best-kept secrets for race weekend!

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Bianca-Stout-Bio-PicBianca is a Disney mom of one, residing in Cincinnati, Ohio. She runs a Facebook group for local Disney enthusiasts, Cincinnati Disney Junkies. A running newbie, Princess Half Marathon Weekend was her first runDisney experience and certainly not her last! With a little bit of faith, trust and pixie dust. Follow her on Instagram for all things Disney related as well as personal photos.

Fireworks at Walt Disney World!

Well it’s a rainy 4th of July up here in the Northeast which means no fireworks tonight…booooo!  So instead, I thought I’d take a look at some of my favorite fireworks shows at Walt Disney World!

I have to admit that I’ve been spoiled by the fireworks in WDW.  I always used to be so impressed with fireworks shows around the 4th of July, but then I started realizing most of them aren’t perfectly themed to music…what?!?  How could this be??  Yes, I know…you can’t compare the two but choreographed fireworks are really cool!  Here are 2 of my favorites:

Illuminations

The torches are lit around World Showcase Lagoon…

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The wonderful pre-show music is playing and one of the best nighttime spectaculars is about to begin. Where else can you see a lake on fire???

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Or a giant LED globe that spins and shoots fireworks??

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This show is so moving and emotional…it just invokes pure happiness!

Illuminations- Fireworks-Disney-Amanda

See for yourself…

Apologies for my horrible “singing” in the background, but I just get so into it! Oh and the finale…awe inspiring!!

Hallowishes!

SO. MUCH. FUN!  Anything that incorporates all of the Disney villains and some killer perimeter fireworks around the Magic Kingdom is #1 in my book.  And when Oogie Boogie makes an appearance…the best!

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While the show is great to enjoy during Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, my favorite place to watch it is high above the Magic Kingdom at California Grill.  A little wine, a little cheese and the best fireworks show around!  Plus, the perimeter fireworks look like they’re right outside the windows!

Well that certainly helped my 4th of July fireworks fix!  Hope you and your family are enjoying the holiday weekend!!

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RAD Recap for June 22, 2014

After all of the runDisney excitement last week, it was kind of nice to not have any big announcements or news so I could focus on some other things.  It’s been two months since I left my job to follow my dream and start my own business.  After a lot of work getting everything together, I’m excited to announce RAD Media, a strategic marketing and communications firm specializing in brand development, social media marketing and event management.

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I’ve been wanting to do this for 2 years now and I finally got up the nerve to make that dream a reality.  I now actually enjoy getting up in the morning and no longer have that sense of dread.  Work stops seeming like work when you are doing something because you want to, not because you have to.  I’m very lucky to have this opportunity and I want to thank everyone for their support and belief in me.  Exciting things are sure to come!

Besides work, I’ve been enjoying this wonderful weather and all of the fun of summer!  Every weekend has been full of fireworks, family barbecues, local markets and farm fresh veggies.  Seriously, why can’t it be like this year round?!?

It was like Illuminations in Connecticut!

It was like Illuminations in Connecticut!

I’m excited to have a new group lined up for the next few weeks of Transformation Tuesday. These stories have been so inspiring that I am making a commitment to myself going forward to be better.  I can eat better, drink less, run more, lift heavier…I just need to make that commitment and I’m ready to do it.  It’s the summer of me! 🙂

I’m off to move these 2 tons of wood pellets to the basement one-by-one.  Summer just started and we’re already prepping for winter…booooooooo!!

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Have a great week and remember to follow your dreams!!

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runDisney 2013 Wine & Dine Meet Up!

My running buddy Jim DeMarco was one of the lucky few who got into the very first runDisney Meet Up to be held at night over Disney’s Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend.  He was awesome enough to recap the whole event for RAD and it looks like it was a blast!  Take it away Jim…  

Well, it was my third Wine and Dine Half Marathon weekend, and I was extremely excited (and nervous) as the time got closer.   The week before the race though, something great happened…I was one of only 125 people lucky enough to be chosen for the runDisney Wine & Dine Meet Up!!!   This was my second meet up (first one was in Disneyland in August), but this was also the first nighttime meet up!

The meet up took place the Thursday before the race.   Check in was in front of Epcot at 7:00 pm, where we received a great maroon runDisney shirt, as well as a Fast Pass for Test Track!  Something to do until we had to reconvene at 8:45 pm!   What was at 8:45 pm you may ask?   Exclusive priority viewing for Illuminations!!!!   I haven’t seen Illuminations in years, and boy, did I miss it!  All 125 of us got to mingle for a few minutes before 9:00 pm and the main show took place!

01 W&D MeetUp

After Illuminations ended and cleared out, we all marched over to the American Garden Pavilion to have some vegan chicken skewers, cookies and vegan wine (who knew there was vegan wine?  Not me!!!).

After we all got to nosh on some food, we sat down for the main presentation.   Darrell Fry, Sports Media Director at Walt Disney World, acted as MC to introduce the main guests!

02 W&D MeetUp

First up was Jeff Galloway and Diet Diva Tara Gidus (Fitness Consultant for runDisney).   They offered some great tips for fitness, and how to have the best run possible!

03 W&D MeetUp

After Jeff and Tara, we were treated to a presentation by two of the chefs and a wine connoisseur for Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival!   They talked about their favorite foods and wines, and even guided us on what vegan wine actually was!

04 W&D MeetUp

Then came my favorite part – the New Balance folks took the stage to talk about the 2014 runDisney running shoes!   While we didn’t get to actually see the sneakers, we did get to see a video, which showcased new running shoe inserts coming in 2014.  The inserts will commemorate the races of those special weekends!   Even the box that the shoes will come in has been redesigned for 2014, featuring Mickey on the cover!!!  (Get a sneak peak of the new shoe designs here!)

05 W&D MeetUp

After the New Balance presentation, we got to have pictures taken with the BIG CHEESE!!!   (here’s one of me and the head honcho!).

06 W&D MeetUp

Now it was officially time to do some running!   We were split into two groups, straight running and the other group was Run/Walk (Jeff Galloway method).   We did one and ½ loops around World Showcase and then headed to the big fountain in Future World for a group photo (BIG GROUP!!!)

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Well, the clock was about to strike midnight…and what does one do during the Wine & Dine half weekend at midnight?  Have a champagne toast!

08 W&D MeetUp

Overall, it was a great meet up, got to meet some great people and see old friends, and spark the flame for the weekend!    runDisney meet ups are amazing!  If you ever have the lucky opportunity to attend one, get pumped for some fun and surprises!!!    Cheers!

Registration is Now Open for the 2014 Disney’s Princess Half Marathon Weekend!

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Registration is now open for Disney’s Princess Half Marathon taking place February 20-23, 2014!!

This magical race weekend is obviously inspired by the Disney Princesses and is the epitome of girl power!  With tiaras shining brightly and tutus primped and primed, over 25,000 runners will once again be taking the streets of Walt Disney World to to earn the sparkliest bling in the land.

2013 Princess Medal

While men are by no means excluded from participating in the race (in fact we LOVE to see them out there in their princess attire!), the unique thing about the Princess Half Marathon is that the first two corrals are reserved only for women to guarantee that a woman will be the winner of the race.

New for 2014 are the additions of the Disney Enchanted 10K and the Glass Slipper Challenge where you get a 3rd medal for completing both the 10K and half marathon.  There is also the new pink Coast to Coast medal that can be earned by participating in both the Tinker Bell and the Princess Half Marathons.  The Royal Family 5K will be taking place again with a Cinderella theme this year, as well as the Kids Races which look like they will be held at Epcot this year.  Information for all the race events are as follows:

Disney Princess Half Marathon (February 23rd at 5:30 am)

  • $160 by August 13, 2013
  • $175 between August 14 and November 19, 2013
  • $190 on or after November 20, 2013

Disney Enchanted 10K (February 22nd at 5:30 am)

  • $95 by August 13, 2013
  • $110 between August 14 and November 19, 2013
  • $125 on or after November 20, 2013

Glass Slipper Challenge (February 22nd & 23rd)

  • $270 by August 13, 2013
  • $290 between August 14 and November 19, 2013
  • $310 on or after November 20, 2013

Cinderella Royal Family 5K (February 21st at 6:15 am)

  • $60 per participant

runDisneyKids Races (February 21st & 22nd)

  • $15 per Kids Dash participant
  • $30 per One Mile Run participant

For 2014, there is a new way to register as a 2-Princess Team, as well as new perks for you and your teammate!  Unlike in years past where a team would register together, now each individual runner will register for either the Princess Half Marathon or the Glass Slipper Challenge (There is no team division for the Disney Enchanted 10K).  Then the team will have to register separately for an additional $15.  Yes that’s right, there is an additional fee for running as a team where there hasn’t been before.  But there are additional perks that will now be available, such as a commemorative sash and a special team photo area at the expo.  Hopefully other surprises will be in store as well!

Before any of the races, all participants must stop by the Fit for a Princess Expo to pick up your race bib, t-shirt and do all the shopping your heart desires.  The expo runs from February 20 – 22 and it has been confirmed that it will be returning to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex this year after a tight squeeze at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort.  I’ve attended the expo at both locations and you can read my experiences at the 2012 and 2013 expos to see the difference.

Welcome

If you’re looking for the ultimate VIP experience over Princess Weekend, then the Race Retreat may be for you!  For an extra $120 (yowza!!), you will have access to various pre and post-race amenities, such as a temperature controlled tent, snacks, private bathrooms, a commemorative item and more.

There are also various dining events over the weekend that you can attend.  The first event is immediately following the 5K on February 21st with an all new Breakfast.  Here you can enjoy a breakfast buffet with items such as quiche, breakfast burritos, french toast and more, as well as special character meet and greets and photo ops.

Returning for 2 nights this year (February 21st & 22nd) is the Pasta in the Park Party.  This family oriented event takes place in the World Showplace Pavilion inside Epcot and includes a buffet dinner of pasta (duh!), character meet and greets, and a reserved viewing area for Illuminations.  Pricing for both of these events is as follows:

Pasta in the Park Party Tickets

  • $52 for Adults (ages 10 and up)
  • $28 for Children (ages 3 – 9)
  • Children Under 3 are free

Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend Breakfast

  • $37.50 for Adults (ages 10 and up)
  • $17.50 for Children (ages 3 – 9)
  • Children Under 3 are free

And let’s not forget the most important part of any race, the spectators!  There are 4 different package levels available and range from a newsletter at no cost to the platinum package that includes entry into the race retreat.  You can get all the details of the packages here and the pricing is as follows:

ChEAR Squad

  • Bronze – No Charge
  • Silver – $39 per package
  • Gold – $65 per package
  • Platinum – $115 per package

New information about the 2014 race weekend is available here regarding logistics and procedures.  Also, make sure to visit the runDisney event page for more information on all of the events taking place that weekend including details on the CheEAR Squad, packages, transportation information, park tickets and more.

Pre-sales for the Glass Slipper Challenge sold out in 2 days this past week, so I’m sure the event itself will sell out very quickly.  So if you are interested in participating, I would register as quickly as possible!

I LOVE this race weekend and have had the best time over the past 2 years running it with my friend Amanda!  It’s a great girls trip 🙂  You can read my race recaps from this year here: Royal runDisney Meet Up, Fit for a Princess Expo, and Princess Half Marathon Race Recap.

And don’t forget about 2012, my FIRST half marathon!: Tangled Royal Family 5KFit for a Princess ExpoPrincess Half Marathon – Pre-RacePrincess Half Marathon – The RacePost Race Snacks, and listen to my full recap on the Be Our Guest Podcast.

Will YOU be a Disney Princess in 2014?!?

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