Posts Tagged by Magic Kingdom

The 2015 Walt Disney World Half Marathon

There really isn’t anything like the first time you make that right hand turn down Main Street USA and run towards Cinderella’s Castle during a runDisney event.  No matter how many races you have run or how many times you have visited the Magic Kingdom as a park guest, this feeling is like no other.  This is one of the many reasons that makes the Walt Disney World Half Marathon so special and Erica here today to share her entire experience with us! 

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I first discovered the Walt Disney World Marathon weekend back in 2007. I just so happened to be in Epcot as the marathon was wrapping up. I remember seeing all these people running, (most of them in fun costumes), and thought “ I want to do that!”. Well, it’s now 2015 and I finally did it! The Half marathon that is. I will run the full marathon one day!

I ran this race with my husband Erik. This was our second half as we had run the Wine and Dine in 2013. It was quite a difference starting a race at 5:30am instead of 10:00pm (like the Wine and Dine does). I was worried about the 2:45am wake up call, but we managed to haul ourselves out of our nice warm bed and get ready to run! I was also a bit nervous about making it to the corrals on time. This year we stayed off site which meant we had to provide our own transportation. There were many warnings posted at the expo, the runDisney site, and on the roads themselves about closures and to expect significant delays. We left the house around 3:15am and had a very easy drive. There were no closures or delays from the way we came so it was all good!

It was a chilly morning but not as bad as the morning of the 5K which we also ran. I wish we would have brought some throw away clothes and gloves, especially since we were dressed as Flynn Ryder and Rapunzel (I may be from Canada but I was still freezing in my dress!). I also struggled to take pictures as my fingers were so frozen.

Time seemed to go by pretty quickly and it wasn’t long before it was time to get in our corrals. We were corral L, the corrals went up to P.

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The corrals were sent off about 3 minutes apart, each getting it’s own fireworks display ( I love how Disney does the same for every corral, not just the faster ones). Once again time went by fast and we were off running!

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It was so nice to start running and warm up, plus we were heading to the Magic Kingdom! The road to get there was a bit dull however. There were some characters ( such as Captain Jack Sparrow with Captain Barbosa), but we didn’t stop for any pictures. There was a huge banner along the road to that I really liked but the wind wasn’t cooperating so I missed out on getting picture. Finally though, we arrived at Main Street USA. Wow. Just wow. I’ve read about how amazing it is to turn into Main St and see all the people cheering you on and see the castle, but it was even better in person. I would have loved to be running down it when it was dark since the castle was lit up but the sun was coming out by the time we got there.

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We then took a right into Tomorrowland and then on to Fantasyland. We headed through the back of the castle ( where Anna, Elsa and Kristoff were waiting to cheer us on) then off towards Frontierland. We went backstage through where the parade starts in Frontierland and out towards the Grand Floridian. I actually quite liked the stretch near the Grand Floridian and golf course. It seemed peaceful (even with thousands of other runners surrounding us).

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We made it just past the halfway point on our way back to Epcot and were pleased to know that we were still on target to finish in under 3 hours which was our goal.

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As we looped back towards Epcot, we looked back and could not believe just how many runners there were. I mean, I know there are tens of thousands but it didn’t really sink in until this point.

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We made it to mile 9 and then my knee started to act up a bit. Luckily it wasn’t too bad and aside from a couple extended walk breaks, we kept our pace up pretty good.

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Before we knew it, we were passing the mile 13 marker!

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That meant that we only had point one miles to go! No matter how tired and hurting you are, that mile 13 marker can sure give you a boost. Our finish time was 2:56:12. Under 3 hours!!

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It was such a good feeling crossing that finish line and receiving our medals. We skipped getting our pictures taken and headed off to grab the runDisney snack boxes and various other drinks and snacks.

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Overall, we had an absolute blast running this race. The early wake up and chilly temperature (at least this year) were well worth it in the end. I cannot wait for our next runDisney event! And of course, none of these races would be as fun or run as smooth if it wasn’t for the thousands of volunteers. From the people handing out water and The , to the people at bag check and the many just there to cheer on the runners, it is greatly appreciated (especially this year in the cooler temperatures. They are standing outside freezing their butts off just for us!).

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My name is Erica Chapman. I live in Ontario, Canada and starting running 2012. I have ran four runDisney events and next up is the Glass Slipper Challenge in February. I plan on attempting the Dopey challenge in the future. I am in love with Disney World and visit every year. We even became DVC members in 2014.

Mission to Marathon: 2015 WDW Marathon Recap

We’ve been following Hannah’s journey to marathon redemption in her Mission to Marathon series for a year now.  She has shared the realities of training and given up some great tips!  Well it all led up to WDW Marathon Weekend and when Hannah DID complete her first marathon, but not without some difficulties. This is a wonderfully honest recap and I’m so proud to feature it here.  

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Things NOT to do when preparing for a marathon:

  1. Don’t train (like…at all)
  2. Don’t hydrate/fuel in the days leading up to the race
  3. Don’t hydrate/fuel properly the morning of the race
  4. Don’t stretch or strength train to manage a prior injury
  5. Be super anxious and stressed not just for the race, but also about other aspects of your life

Yup…don’t do those things. But guess what, you can do all of them and still finish.

I’m not in any way advising you to do those things. And, I’m not suggesting it is a smart move to run a marathon after you’ve done them, but it is possible.

But back to what you want to hear about — The RACE!

Expo

Running at Disney is like nothing else. It is a completely different experience from other races you will run in. There is entertainment and support from volunteers and spectators that far exceeds any other race. Fair warning that I do not have many pictures. Well, none from the race itself. I will try to throw a few in and at the end you can click the link to watch my video (unedited raw footage and probably not that thrilling to most people, but you can see me fake a smile while in pain and head from the finish line to the med tent…but more on that later!).

Miles 1-5: Just full of anticipation. I feel like Magic Kingdom gets further and further away with every race, but it’s really just that it seems like the early part of the race, but it is five miles in so it its quite a bit of time before you actually get there.

Miles 5-6: Oh man, that anticipation kills you from mile five to entering the Kingdom. You’re SO close! And then you get your reward, you get to run down Main Street!!! This part of the course is PACKED with spectators and they are awesome! Hang a right and head through Tomorrowland then through Fantasyland before heading through the Castle. Yup! Disney lets you run through it.

The hubs and I got separated (bathroom break) so I waited on the backside of the castle until he caught up so we could run through together. Oh, and thanks to Anna and Elsa for a the little Disney magic of sprinkling snow! You finish up by running through Liberty Square and Frontierland before heading back outside the park. I was feeling pretty good at this point. Starting to think 10k is my distance, haha.

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Miles 6-8.5ish: This is a bit of a boring stretch, but it’s not that long and you’re still on a high from all the fun at Magic Kingdom.

Mile 8.5-9: Running the Track! This is truly a cool experience and the only race you get to run here! Here is where I was really wishing I’d kept up with training. Not because I was hurting, but because I knew I needed energy to get me through the entire race so I had to stay focused through here rather than enjoying myself. I come from a car/racing family so this is a big thrill for me and I couldn’t even pay attention to the cars.

Miles 9-12ish: Another boring stretch. I was starting to feel a little bit of the fatigue at this point. We had been doing 5/1 run/walk ratio and cut it down to about 4/1 at this point.

Miles 12-13: I love running through Animal Kingdom. Just be careful of your footing because the park is a bit rougher than the others! We got to see Monkeys jumping around and the park is already open by this point so people are out and cheering on all the runners. We debated riding Expedition Everest but decided if we sat down in the cars we couldn’t get back out at this point, haha.

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Mile 13.1: This was such a great point for me! Halfway done and also where the hubs and I parted ways last year. It was so nice to pound through this point and keep going, TOGETHER!

Miles 13-17: Last year I hobbled through until 16.5ish after the hubs went on his way. This is a long stretch on the dreaded Osceola Parkway. It started drizzling and then raining while we were running here. This was probably the beginning of my downfall. I don’t do well with weather changes under normal circumstance and rain just makes me cold. The bigger problem came after the rain stopped and then it got muggy hot. Ick! Oh, also, they switched up one of the fuel stops and instead of Clif Shots they had Clif Bars. I wish I had looked at the course map and known this. I would’ve scarfed down one of my own gels before the water stop. Instead I tried to choke down a dry, gritty Clif bar (sorry…but that’s what they taste like after 14ish miles). I only got about a third down before pitching it.

Miles 17-20: When you really look at it, you are in ESPN for quite a long time! Its a nice change of pace because you get to run off the track, but its also a windy route so its a bit confusing and turns you around. It started drizzling again through here. Also, my LEAST favorite part of the course. I HATE running through the baseball stadium. At this point in the race (or at any point) you don’t want grit and dirt kicking up into the backs of your shoes. You gotta slllooooooowwwww down to avoid this and it stinks. The crowds through there are a great, but I gotta be honest that they could cut this out and I wouldn’t care a bit.

Miles 20-22: This is where I really started to sink. I think everything just started hitting me at once. The Achilles in my right foot and my left IT band/knee were killing me so I was doing a bit of a shuffle. The hubs kept trying to get me to run, but it wasn’t happening.

Miles 22-23: Hollywood Studios! Woot woot! A little boost of energy to run through the park, but only after a pit stop for me to sit down and breath. I know sitting is bad, but I was light headed and afraid I’d pass out. The chocolate candy (holla at ya Hershey’s!) helped, but not enough. But the run through the park, past the hat and out the entrance was great!

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Miles 23-25: What? We’re this far into the race? Really?! Running through the Boardwalk was really neat, but that lightheadedness and the slat boards of the boardwalk were just making me dizzy. Hubs said there were a lot more spectators out by this part of the race last year, but it was pretty sparse when we came through. Still fun and a great part of the race!

Miles 25-26: The LONGEST trip you will ever take around World Showcase! BTW…anyone else on the slower than slow track of this marathon, did you see John Stamos at Mexico? Hubs says “That guy looked like John Stamos” and I said, “I’m pretty sure it was” and then we kept moving. He had a sort of entourage and came running out to cheer someone on, so we’re thinking it was actually him? Anyone confirm?? On the bridge between World Showcase and Future World I took my 3-4 sit break to catch my breath. At this point I realized I wasn’t sweating, but there was no way I wasn’t finishing!

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Miles 26-26.2: Hubs tried to get me to run the WHOLE .2 miles but it wasn’t happening. We did hold hands and run across the finish line! Yay!! Such vindication after last year. It felt awesome!

Post race: But immediately after the finish line I veered right towards an RN from the medical tent and a wheelchair. She, of course, got us our medals before wheeling me to the tent itself where they checked my vitals, gave me fluids and a heated blanket. We were there for about a half hour while I got my body back under control. They didn’t officially say what it was, but we are thinking heat exhaustion from my symptoms. After about 10 mins of being there I started getting really confused and was shaking and crying…but they gave me the heated blanket at that point and some powerade and after another 10 mins I was feeling much better.

I am so very grateful to have my wonderful husband who puts up with me and all my craziness. He was the reason I crossed the finish line and helped calm me down in the medical tent. He was so encouraging and uplifting. I was afraid I was disappointing him, but he was just so proud of me pushing through. And, I am so proud of him for finishing his second marathon (without training)!

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We hopped a bus back to our resort, grabbed some food and rested in our room for a bit (with compression socks on…get some if you don’t have them). We were planning to head to Downtown Disney in the evening, but it was chilly and rainy, and my left knee was killing me. We ended up just doing a walk up dinner at Maya Grill at our Resort, Coronado Springs. I highly recommend this restaurant, especially if you are staying at Coronado. The food was delicious! We only ate about half our meals so we took them back and enjoyed the remainder for breakfast the next day (cold Tex-Mex is pretty good)!

So you CAN do everything wrong and still finish a marathon, but you will hurt like you’ve never hurt before, might end up in the medical tent, and will be so mad at yourself that you won’t enjoy the race.

That’s my recap!

Marathon Finisher Hannah

Congrats Hannah on finishing your first marathon and for being so honest about your experience.  I know first hand that it is an incredibly difficult experience.  

Here is Hannah’s raw footage from the Marathon and I think it perfectly shows the ups and downs of the race.  It’s not all smiles and running…and that’s ok 🙂

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Hannah is an attorney from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. She started running in 2011 while preparing for the Bar Exam as a means of helping her focus on her studying. Hannah completed her first half marathon in October 2011 at the Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco. In 2013 she completed 13 running events including 5 half marathons, 2 10ks, 3 5ks and 3 fun races (2 color runs and a zombie run).  She enjoys setting goals and crossing things off of her “bucket list.” Follow Hannah at www.workorrun.com, where she blogs about her everyday goals and challenges.

Traveling From Australia for a Dopey 50th Birthday

When Andrew first contacted me and told me about the adventure he had planned for his 50th birthday, I was beyond excited to share his experience here on RAD.  Andrew and his family traveled halfway around the world as he took on the Dopey Challenge.  He might have recruited them to run a bit with him as well.

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How best might a runner celebrate a ‘big’ birthday and have the family join in as well?  The Dopey Challenge provided the answer!

Exactly one year ago (and the date of the 2014 WDW marathon) I set the challenge for me and my family: I’m going to run this event next year for my 50th birthday and you’re invited to come with me, but there’s a catch – you have to join me in at least one leg of the Challenge each!

And with that, baited by the idea of an overseas trip (and not really understanding the 3:30 am wake-up times!) the Dopey Challenge for 2015 became a year-long family adventure. From planning the rest of the trip, raising the funds, making the bookings – and training – it was a step up for each family member. But the running was where the big steps were required;

  • for the 14 year old who had never run longer than 10k to run a half,
  • the daughter who isn’t into running to run a 10k,
  • the 16 year old to get out of bed at 3:30am!,
  • the wife to go from 0 kilometers as a runner to a full marathon in exactly 12 months.

Now the other challenge was traveling half way round the world. From Australia to Orlando. From summer to winter. From time zone to who knows what time zone it is! We joked that jet lag might actually help!!

After a white Christmas we hit Orlando and thought it was just as cold! We stayed in a family room at the All Star Resort and it was just the right size and space. We bought 6 day tickets and had marathon Sunday ‘off’. The four events made an incredibly memorable birthday experience that lasted for four days!

The Family 5K was first – and it should have featured Elsa on the medal and not Pluto… it was a truly Frozen event!

These guys had great costumes …. And at least some warmth!

These guys had great costumes …. And at least some warmth!

Despite the cold we had great fun. We started in Corral A which helped get the race over with faster and we dressed up as Peter Pan and Captain Hook. We met a fellow runner whose surname was ‘Hook’ and he even asked to have a photo with us! We got lots of comments about how strange it was for Peter and Hook to be doing something together to which we assured them this was a once-off!

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How hard is it to order a drink around here!!

The 10K was a heat wave by comparison!

After a day at Hollywood Studios – and the last sighting of Mickey’s hat – we got up for the 10K.  Tinker Bell joined me this time and boy was she glad she didn’t have that costume on the day earlier!

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A highlight was the cheerers chanting “Pan and Tink! Pan and Tink!” That really lifted us over the finish line! Another highlight was my 16 year old son racing – and winning – his age group and coming 11th overall 🙂

Magic Kingdom here we come …..

The Half Marathon was a long day!   Not only because of the 3:30am start but because we started in Corral P, the last corral (because one of us didn’t have a qualifying time).

Again it was very cold but there was a lovely warm camaraderie in the very last group. Running with my two super guys was terrific fun as Captain America, Mr. Incredible and Hercules. Once the cold thawed out we got into the run but the lines for character photos were SO long by this stage we pushed on, most of the time on the grass to go around the walkers. No one complained though, they all just enjoyed the experience. For some pretty fast teenagers, this shows how the crowd experience at runDisney events is bigger than individuals.

Sharing my sons first official half marathons was a great feeling for a Dad!

Sharing my sons first official half marathons was a great feeling for a Dad!

Epcot here we come!

Epcot here we come!

Marathon day was amazing.

For this one I was worried about the crowds but the Disney organization really shined. We had so many character photo opportunities, often just running straight into the front of the line. Everything was well spaced and, compared to Corral P, the experience was much more pleasant.

I really enjoyed some of the different experiences – like the Speedway and Wide World of Sports (the track and the baseball ground).

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A light sprinkling of rain at Hollywood Studios was refreshing rather than wet (especially compared to the next day’s thunderstorm). My wife and I ran as Jasmine and Aladdin and two of our favorite photos were with the ‘Aladdin’ characters because of the over-the-top welcome we received!

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Taking along you own personal cheer squad really helps!

And then before you know it, Donald and Pluto greet you at the finish line and you’re wearing 6 medals around your neck and you’re officially “Dopey”. That last kilometer is really a bit of a blur!

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So how do you capture the four days (and year’s journey) in words? I got the kids to wear costumes! I captured it all with (maybe) a million photos! I got to run and experience their running ‘firsts’ as well. We wore medals and enjoyed the Parks together. I still can’t think of another experience where we could do all these things as a family together.  A great birthday overall with a ripper celebration dinner on marathon night at Downtown Disney.

I’ve been disappointed with some posts I’ve been following where runDisney is criticized for many things. Apparently some people think it’s possible to create a perfect Disney experience with 30,000 runners. The logistics were great, any question was answered happily, lots of goodies, great bling. In fact the next running event is going to be hard to match up to this one.

My key bits of advice:

  • Get a time registered or beware of ending up in Corral P. OK if you’re a walker or slow, but if you’re anything of a runner it makes a long hard slog of an event.
  • Make a dinner reservation for the night to make it pleasurable and not like some who wandered around fruitlessly.
  • Get the photo pack – and take in as many opportunities as you can.

The 51st birthday celebrations are going to seem a little low key compared to this!!

 

 

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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RAD Recap for September 7, 2014

Well it is unofficially Fall, but strangely it’s been one of the hottest weeks of the year…go figure!  However if you are in Walt Disney World you would think that the Fall and Halloween are in full swing.  All of the decorations are up, the merchandise is out and Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party has started.  I took a look at all of the festivities this week because it is officially my favorite time of year in Walt Disney World!

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This week began coverage of Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend with a fun recap of the Disneyland 5K from a RAD reader named Minnie…how fun is that?!

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The next 2+ weeks will be filled with coverage of Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend including more race recaps, spectator coverage and first time runDisney experiences.  I can’t wait to hear all about it!

My week has been, well interesting.  I had a run in with a pharmacy tech that made me question if honesty is always the best policy

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I also took a trip down the Sebastian River and saw manatee and gator…oh my!

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Finally, I was joined by a Robin who shared he transformation story this week and I put together a recap of all of Danielle’s Yoga for Runners posts from the past few months since she’s taking the month off.  So many great tips there!

I’m looking forward to a week of training for the Disney Fit Challenge…it’s only 3 weeks away!  I really need to start jumping on some boxes and getting some runs in.  Even 3 weeks of endurance building will be a big help.

Hope you have a great week!

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