Character Pop Up Meet n Greet at Epcot

After the 5K Jan and I headed to Epcot, where much to our surprise as we headed into World Showcase we stumbled upon a pop up character meet n greet.  I’ve heard of these happening, but have never been lucky enough to stumble upon one myself!  Most often these meet n greets are used to train cast members, and they often take place prior to race weekends or when a college program starts up.

As soon as I saw the gate between Canada and the UK open I ran over to see who we could meet!  The characters in attendance at this meet n greet were:

  • Mickey
  • Donald
  • Pinnochio
  • Baloo


  • Stitch


  • Penguin from Mary Poppins


  • Launchpad


  • Rafiki

This was a super fun way to kick off our day in Epcot.  We arrived between 11-11:30 so World Showcase was pretty empty.  We had been headed to lunch at Tangeriene Cafe, and almost took the boat but it wasn’t running yet.  Thank God for that since we got to experience this fun character pop up!

After we met the characters we wanted to we headed to lunch at Tangeriene Cafe in Morocco as planned.  (A few of them we chose not to meet and the meet n greet was over fairly early so we didn’t get the chance to meet everyone.)  Tangeriene Cafe is seriously my favorite quick service restaurant!  I try to eat there every trip!  The lamb is phenomenal!  

After lunch we wandered World Showcase.  I got a grapefruit beer in Germany which is always so refreshing!  

Jan and I split an Anna’s birthday cupcake in Norway and found a fun photo opportunity (there was a PhotoPass photographer) with the Anna & Elsa topiaries.   If you’re going for the Flower and Garden festival this is a great photo spot, especially if you have a little princess in tow!


We then met up with my friend Erin, grabbed some Starbucks and relaxed for a bit and put our feet up.  Then we headed to the character spot at Epcot to see Mickey and friends.  We followed this up with a ride on Test Track and Spaceship Earth before heading to dinner at O’hana.

This was a fun day, but we may have overdone it on the walking!  Either way we were in bed early after taking a cab back to Riverside from the Polynesian.  (We opted for a cab after walking from the Ticket & Transportation center to O’hana due to a down monorail.  We just didn’t want to mess with the monorail or waiting for a bus back to Riverside at Magic Kingdom.)  Time to rest up for the 10K!


Princess 5K Race Recap

After a busy day, and too much money spent, at the expo on Thursday we were excited for the first race of three for our Princess Half Marathon weekend, the Princess 5K!

We were up at 3:30am on Friday for the Princess 5K as we had to be on a bus by 4:45am!  Those early wake-up calls are never easy, and they were only going to get worse as the week went on.  We quickly got dressed in our race outfits.  These were our “backup plan” outfits, as we had originally hoped our custom Ariel Sparkle Skirts would be done in time, but no luck!  (As a matter of fact, we’re still waiting on them!)  Instead we wore our Jeff Galloway sparkle skirts and a shirt I made to match.

Before we even arrived for the Princess weekend we had decided that we would take the 5K easy.  Stop for lots of pictures.  Enjoy every minute.  We knew we had to save our legs a bit so we would mostly be walking the 5K.

The morning was cold and we were rocking the trash bags to stay warm as we waited for the race to start.  (I always pack a few in my suitcase for race weekends just in case!)  Thanks to our Sparkle Skirts when we arived at the starting area we went through the no bag check line quickly and made our way back towards the pre-race party.  We ended up getting in line for a photo with Sebastian.  (We missed that Ariel and Eric were a photo op too unfortunately, but Sebastian was fun!)  Some friends met up with us when they arrived and joined us in line.  We went straight to our corrals after our picture with Sebastian.

We were set to start in C and decided we would do a few intervals to get out of the way of people and the crowds of the corral and then we would take our time.  The first mile backstage went by pretty quicly.  We stopped for a shot or two of Epcot, pictures with Chip and Dale, Daisy and Donald and Genie in his vacation outfit all during mile 2/World Showcase.  We felt like we were moseying.  It was nice and relaxed!

The monorail was stopped on the tracks which made for a fun photo op for Jan and I and then we stopped for a photo with the Festival of Fantasy characters from the Mermaid section of the parade by Finding Nemo.

 Next thing you know we were heading to mile 3 and the finish!   We got our ADORABLE medals, and some handy mylar blankets to warm up, which would be very useful the next morning too!  (Tip: always save the blanket you get at the end of one race for the next days race.)   The Princess 5K was so fun!  It was nice to stop for tons of pictures with the characters and not be worried about our time.  I’d say I’m glad we took it easy, but with a day in the parks following the 5K I’m not sure it really helped!  The most important thing though is that the race was fun and we were ready for the next one!


Save Up to 30% at Select Walt Disney World Resorts This Summer


Disney is at it again and has released a new discount for select stays at Walt Disney World Resort June 12-August 25, 2016 when you book by June 10th.   This is a great opportunity to save on your summer vacation!

When you book with this special offer and add a minimum 2 day ticket to your package you can receive an exclusive BB-8 “Awaken Summer” MagicBand!  How super cute is this band?

bb8 magic band

As usual, rooms for this discount are limited.  Don’t delay,  discover a summer like no other at Disney World!  Contact me for more information or quick, no obligation quote!

New Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend Coming to Walt Disney World


RunDisney finally revealed the updated Wine & Dine Half Marathon weekend yesterday!  Rumors have been running since some changes were spotted on and the runDisney site, and most of the speculation appears to have panned out.   We wanted to go over the changes and offer our thoughts on them after completing last years Wine & Dine Half Marathon.

Here’s what the Wine & Dine Half Marathon weekend will now consist of:

  • The race expo will begin on Thursday, November 3rd
  • Mickey’s Holiday 5K will be run Friday morning at Animal Kingdom park
  • Kids races will take place both Friday and Saturday
  • The Disney Wine & Dine 10K, presented by Remy from Ratatouille, will take place on Saturday morning.
  • The Wine & Dine half marathon will take place Sunday morning
  • The after race party will take place Sunday evening leaving plenty of time to rest and recover
  • New challenge, Lumiere’s Two Course Challenge, for those who run both the 10K and half marathon!
  • Early registration for Annual Passholders and DVC members will take place March 22nd at noon
  • Regular registration will take place March 29th at noon

Once runDisney revealed these changes my husband and I were discussing them and had conflicting points of view.  With the absense of the Osbourne Lights I’m looking forward to the changes.  I much prefer morning runs so the new schedule will suite my running style better.  After running Glass Slipper Challenge I would be happy to shower, nap/rest/put my feet up and then attend an after part after being refreshed.

On the flip side, my husband prefers the night runs.  He thinks it’s weird to have an after party that evening versus right after the race.  In his opinion it detracts from the experience.  He’s also bummed that it’s the end of night races at Disney.

Would we still run Wine & Dine?  I definitely would!  A challenge!!!!  I would love to sign up for the challenge, however, unless I win the lottery in the next two weeks that likely won’t happen since we have a few other trips planned for the later half of next year including a big trip to my home town of La La Land.   However, should a generous donor want to sponsor me to run this race I would sign up for Lumiere’s Two Course Challenge in a heartbeat!

What about you?  Do you plan to sign up for any races during 2016’s Wine & Dine Half Marathon weekend?

Princess Half Marathon Expo Recap


photo credit due to a fellow Princess…

I’m sure you’ve likely heard tales of the craziness of a runDisney race expo.  Some may be enhanced or fabricated, but I am here to tell you that many are true!  Merchandise sells out quickly.  People are not always magical.  There will be non runners there buying merchandise.  All those things happen, but don’t let that detract from your experience or ruin it, because a runDisney race expo is also a lot of fun!

Grab this photo op at the expo so you dont have to on race morning!

We arrived on Wednesday afternoon so that we could be at the race expo Princess Half Marathon weekend when it opened bright and early Thursday  morning at 10am.  Thanks to the personal experience of my running buddy at Wine & Dine and the runDsiney grapevine we knew that they would likely open the expo about a half hour early at 9:30.  However, race weekend transportation had the first buses scheduled to depart resorts at 9:30.  We didn’t think that would cut it so we used Uber and Jennifer, our driver, quickly got us to the race expo around 8:30.  After walking up to the Jostens center, and a quick discussion with a misinformed cast member about how we were going to get merchandise before our packets, we were in line around 8:40.  And we clearly weren’t the only ones with that idea, as there was a decent line in front of us.

As expected they began letting guests into the Jostens center around 9:30.  We hightailed it to the back where the official race merchandise was located.  It was a total madhouse!  We had seen the blog preview by Stephen of the Disney Parks Blog and had a list of what we wanted, but once inside the craziness got to us.  We grabbed the “Run Princess Run” racerback tanks, and while looking for the right size for my running buddy someone tried to grab a shirt out of my hand!  What????  That was not very magical!  All in all though we were able to quickly grab the items we needed without too much trouble, get in line and check out.  I forgot one item, but it wasn’t worth going back through the madness for me to get.

When we walked out of the official merchandise booth Jeff Galloway was standing right there at his booth!  I am so appreciative to Galloway for providing me with the tools to be a successful runner, when I couldn’t run a mile in high school, that I had to stop since the line was short to say hi and take a picture!

Then we walked by the KT booth and the line was relatively short to be taped so we got in line.  I had them tape both of my knees as they had been bothering me after my long runs, especially  my left one.  It reallly helped.  They were really only sore going up and down stairs after the half.

We had some time to go until my appointment with New Balance to get shoes so we stopped by a few other booths we wanted to check out.  I picked up the “Red Hair, Don’t Care” shirt I’d ordered from Raw Threads and had shipped to the expo.  (Super convenient!)  Then we went by the Sparkle Skirts booth where we both picked up the new Fairytale skirt.  We were a little on the fence on it, however we kept seeing people wearing it over the weekend and decided that we now really love it!  I also picked up a mermaid headband at Sparkly Soul.

Once most of our browsing was done we went to the New Balance booth and got in a very long line. (I’ll write a review of the queue process and our experience at the booth soon.) I tried on a few sizes of the Ariel shoes, stuck with my regular running shoe size, and checked out wtih complimentary sea shells to go on the shoes!  These shoes are so cute!  I absolutely love them!

We still had to get our bibs and shirts, as well as pick up our preorer items so we headed over to the Field House.  Once there we went and picked up our pre-order items.  I got my crossbody Princess Dooney which was bigger than I expected.  The size was perfect for the parks though as it held a bottle of water and everything else I needed.  Then we picked up our 5K bibs.  After that, we picked up our GSC bibs, took our challenge photos and then went to get our GSC shirts.

Once we picked these items up we still had to go back to the Jostens Center to pick up our 5K shirts.  (This was poor planning in my opinion and they should have been in the same building as the bibs.)  However the line to get into the Jostens center at this point, probably around 11:30ish was horribly long, and we were tired and hungry, so we went into the ESPN Wide World of Sports Grill for a quick lunch.  When we got out the line had subsided and we walked right up to the Josten’s center entrance where we took a picture with the royal footmen before going back in to the Josten’s Center for our shirts.

Once our shirts were in hand we took a deep breath, gathered up our packages and headed back to the buses.  We found the bus to Port Orleans Riverside and got on.  We were afraid we need to cut ourselves off from any more shopping!   Our goal was to rest up a bit before heading to Magic Kingdom for FastPasses and dinner.

All the merch!

All in all we had a positive experience at the Princess Half Marathon Expo.  We got all the items of official race merchandise we had wanted and survived the madness that the official booth was.  Despite one bad experience we found most other runners to be polite, friendly and courteous.  We just recommend arriving early, getting merchandise first and having a plan of attack for any runDisney expo.


What’s Next?

This past weekend I checked off a huge bucket list item by completing the Glass Slipper Challenge during Disney’s Princess Half Marathon weekend.  It’s been a goal since I started running and I was pleased to finish 22.4 miles (including the 5K) very successfully.  I am so thankful for a husband who supported me by running, cheering and parenting solo while I prepared for and ran Disney.

While I spend time reflecting on my accomplishments I’m also asking myself what is next?  It’s time for me to reevaluate my goals and look to the future.  I’ve found that I have some race goals, but that I also want to work on bettering myself as a runner and losing that baby weight for good!

I only have one race on my calendar prior to this summer, the Fiesta 10K in Pensacola.  I used this race as my proof of time for both Wine and Dine and Princess so I would like to see myself PR this race.  My current 10K time on training runs is already well below what my time was last year, however I would really like to get my 10K time under 1:20.  Right now my time is about 1:22.  As such, I have been looking at some training plans for improving speed on a 10K.  Most of these involve speed work, which confuses me a little so I need to read up on it, and some hill work.  (Ugh, but will be good prep for future runs too!)  Hopefully having a training plan will keep me on track as last year I slacked in my running between Princess and this 10K.

As I said, my race calendar this spring is sparse.  I am only planning on the Fiesta 10K, however my fall race calendar I am looking at three half marathons: the Harrisburg Half, Diva Half and Hershey Half.  I haven’t registered for any yet, but would like to complete all three.  Doing them would qualify me for Half Fanatics, which would be a pretty awesome accomplishment!  If I do decide to do Dopey in 2018 I could use one of these races as a proof of time for that.  (Although the proof of time window may allow me to run at least Harrisburg again in 2017 for POT.)

Looking to my next Disney races I am currently planning on doing both the Star Wars Light Side and Dark Side races in 2017.  I plan to have the family tag along to the Dark Side so the kids can run their first races.  For Light Side I’m planning on the half only as this race is close to a trip I plan to take to visit family in November, and very close to one child’s birthday, so I figure the less time I am away, the better.  For the Dark Side I will likely choose to do the 5K and half.  With my family with me the older kids might run the 5K, however the challenges are very tiring and I’d want to have the time and energy to enjoy the parks with my kids as well.  We’ll see if I stick to that when registration opens this summer! LOL!

My other goal is to incorporate some weight training/cross training into my workout routine so that hopefully with a combination of cross training, running and Trim Healthy Mama I can feel good in my skin again and fit in the clothes taking up room in my closet!

So, there you have it!  My goals for the rest of the year! What are your goals, or what is on your race calendar, for the rest of 2016?

New Balance Releases New RunDisney Shoes!

One of the best parts of a Disney race weekend is the excitement of what race merchandise will be offered. The New Balance shoe release is no exception! Many runners have been eagerly awaiting the first view of what New Balance has in store for Disney fans this year. Well, wait no more, New Balance had delivered some serious style this year!

This year New Balance is featuring four different shoes. First up is a Vazee Pace shoe fit for sailing the skies on an elephant! One inspired by Dumbo!

Second we have beautiful Vazee Pace shoe inspired by my favorite princess, Ariel! These shoes make you want to be part of the RunDisney world and explore all that land has to offer!

The third and fourth pair are both inspired by our favorite mouse duo, Mickey and Minnie! The Red Carpet Minnie and Mickey 860v6s are always ready for their close ups!

 There will also be kids shoes available. The Dumbo and Ariel Vazee Pace will be &124.95, which the Red Carpet Mickey and Minnie 860v6s will retail for $139.95. For more information on the virtual queue visit the New Balance site here.

I’m hoping to score a pair of those Ariel shoes Princess weekend! They are perfection! Which pair are your favorite?