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Old 01-20-2013, 09:01 AM   #31
BigEeyore
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LOVE the title! Brilliant!
You did get a nice haul from the expo! I just got a new D&B bag for Christmas (the retro print one) so couldn't justify the marathon bag but it is so cute!
So glad you are writing a TR about the weekend! Looking forward to more.
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Old 01-20-2013, 09:24 AM   #32
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Awesome looking haul from the expo! I especially love that bag! If I actually do the Goofy next year, I may have to order me one of those. So cute!!!! I really don't like the Disney Expos either. Wayyyy too crowded. I've found Expos at other races are more enjoyable. Oh, and I'm happy to hear you enjoyed my previous race reports. I loved writing them and it's nice to hear people enjoy them. Can't wait for more!
Yeah, I had LOTS of giftcards from my birthday/Christmas...so awesome that they can be used at the expos. I really love the Dooney so much more in person than I did when I saw their promotional photo...for the Princess and Tinkerbell Half marathons they didn't change the patterns much from year to year so I wonder if the marathon weekend pattern will be the same too?

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I totally got a kick out of your expo report! I just wrote mine today as well. My feet were DONE after walking around here, there, and everywhere.

Glad you could turn things around--I know what it's like to get into one of those "frenzies"--totally stinks!!

I'm so jealous that you get to rotate three awesome marathon shirts--they are the best!!
Some of those pictures in your expo report of the lines were NUTS! Last year I was at the expo on Saturday and it wasn't too bad...Friday must be the big day.

Love these Disney race shirts! I don't run in min because I want them to stay nice (and not get smelly).
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I'm here! So yucky about those CMs!
Hi Amanda! Glad you're here!
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I didn't realize either that the shirts were unisex and got a medium. Way too big, but live and learn. When we run another Disney race, I'll know to get a smaller one.

And, we didn't get in until Friday evening and the expo was jammed still and very picked over. But we were still able to get the items we wanted. My DH got the same little Vinylmation guy. Too cute that you can buy medals for them too. Those must have been gone already or we overlooked them...
I only knew to order a small because I made the mistake last year. The shirt thing is so lame...especially when 1. Men can get men's cut shirts at the Princess Half (and I think Tinkerbell too?) and 2. runDisney mentioned more than once that there were more women than men participating in marathon weekend...so give us women's cut shirts!!

I forget where the Vinylmation medals were, but I knew to look for them because I read about them on the Disney Parks blog a few weeks back. I wish they would have this stuff available online after the races...I'm sure there are lots of people that didn't get stuff at the expo that they wanted.
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LOVE the title! Brilliant!
You did get a nice haul from the expo! I just got a new D&B bag for Christmas (the retro print one) so couldn't justify the marathon bag but it is so cute!
So glad you are writing a TR about the weekend! Looking forward to more.
Thanks! That's a cute D&B bag that you have! I actually kept looking around property for a smaller bag with the 40th anniversary print on it and kept only finding the huge $300 one (the 40th print is from last year so I don't think they're making new bags anymore )...I LOVE that print, but I honestly don't know what I would have done if I'd found a smaller one. Two Dooneys in one trip is a bit much!
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Old 01-20-2013, 10:22 AM   #33
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Check-in...FINALLY!

After my loooooong morning/afternoon I arrived at my resort ready to check in at about 4:45PM.

Originally we'd been booked to stay at the Polynesian, which both Will and I were super excited about. After we booked we waited for a discount to come out, and when it was released we were disappointed to find that the only discounted rooms at the Polynesian were themepark-view rooms. Don't get me wrong, it was mighty tempting to book one of those, but they were even more expensive than the orignal room we had booked. So we asked about a few other places and ended up at...



The Grand Floridian!

The room at the Grand Floridian (another resort we wanted to stay at) ended up cheaper than any options we had at the Poly, so it was a no-brainer. The CM that checked me in, Nathan, was AWESOME. He was so nice and seemed genuinely interested in my race plans (or at least he did a good job acting like he was interested). We chatted for a good 10 minutes and he told me a little bit about the races he's run at Disney (the Wine & Dine - definitely on my to-do list, and the Royal Family 5K, which is held during the Princess Half Marathon Weekend). As I walked away with my room key in hand I heard someone behind me saying, "Mrs. Ariel484! Mrs. Ariel484!" It was Nathan running clear across the lobby to make sure I had a printout of the transportation schedule for the race. So nice!

Now, before I go any further, I do have one complaint about the Grand Floridian construction that was going on. There was the DVC stuff of course (which looked ugly, but I knew about it going in and it didnt bother me from a noise point of view) and the construction on the courtyard pool, which I also knew about because the Grand had sent us a letter about it 6 weeks or so before the trip began. So when I checked in I asked Nathan if we had access to a hot tub, since I thought that would be great for after the races. He said no, and the only options were for us to either use the hot tub at the Contemporary (no hot tub at the Poly, of course - kind of nuts for a deluxe resort, I think) or buy a $25 all-day pass to use the hot tub at the spa in the Grand Floridian. I didnt make a thing of it (and truly I am not sure we would have even had time to use a hot tub anyway), but honestly I find it pretty unacceptable that they'd charge guests for a pass to use the hot tub. Yes we were staying on a discount, but it's not like we still weren't paying a decent amount each night for our room. Seems like the $25 pass could be waived for guests since the regular hot tub wasn't available. But - SPOILER ALERT - that's really the only complaint I have about the Grand Floridian.

Anyway, I headed back through the courtyard and to our building for the trip, Conch Key. A CM was toucing up the landscaping near the building and greeted me very warmly as I made my way inside. This building is in a great location - right on the lake near Narcoossee's and the boat dock. Very quiet and lovely. We'd paid for a garden-view room - the cheapest room one can get at the Grand Floridian - but Nathan had mentioned that we were in a deluxe room on the 5th floor of the building. It sounded like we'd gotten some sort of upgrade!

Right before I got into the room, a mousekeeper stopped by and asked if I wanted the room cleaned that evening. I told her no thanks and that I'd just checked in. She welcomed me and gave me some chocolates...awesome!



And here's the room!

Looking in with my back to the door:


Sink area...we've been renting points on our last few trips and it was nice to have the double sinks again:


COFFEE MAKER. Very important:




One of the great perks of being on the 5th floor...vaulted ceiling!


You can see in the picture below that my suitcase had magically appeared in my room and was waiting for me!


And this, I believe, is what makes this deluxe room deluxe...an extra seating area:


A second TV in the cabinet:


I just couldnt believe how HUGE this room was...in fact it was so big I was afraid we'd lose stuff in there. Now, one thing you'll notice about the room - there's no balcony. I would guess this would be a problem for some people, but we didn't miss it...though I bet it would have been nice to sit out there in the morning/evenings and just take in the view.

Speaking of the view...we had a lot to look at. Here's the view sort of to the right. Ugly construction!




We didn't hear any noise from this whatsoever, so that was a relief.

And now, looking to the left...


Wow. Was not expecting that! If you look all the way to the left in the above picture, you can see the path to the boat dock. The boat ran to the Magic Kingdom, then to the Grand Floridian, then the Polynesian. We used the boat a lot since it was super convenient to our room and we like taking boats at Disney. Plus, we had 4 (!) ADRs at the Polynesian. So it was great.

I have to say, this was probably the best room we've had at Disney in terms of the room itself and its location. The bar has been set very high!

Continued in Next Post

Last edited by Ariel484; 02-05-2013 at 02:14 PM.
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Old 01-20-2013, 10:27 AM   #34
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Nighttime Wanderings, Part 1

After lugging the gear bags, my merchandise and camera bag around all day, the last thing I felt like doing was making the trek back to the lobby to retrieve my giant carry-on (which contained all of my race gear along with lots of other crap) - please note that this "trek" would have taken all of 3-5 minutes. I decided to be supremely lazy and call the front desk to ask bell services to deliver the bag to me...if I were smarter I would have just grabbed it when I checked in. An older CM appeared with my bag about 10 minutes later and talked to me about the races. He told me he'd met another Perfectly Goofy runner that was in his 70s and wanted to be "the last Perfectly Goofy standing." The runner asked the CM to trip any other Perfectly Goofy runners he happened to come across...haha! Anyway, this was ANOTHER awesome CM and by now I was super impressed. After my hit-or-miss morning with CMs it felt wonderful to be treated so nicely.

I quickly unpacked and organized my race stuff into neat little piles...the less thinking I had to do on the mornings of the races, the better.


The gear bags actually included STUFF this year, not just the iGiftBag (which is pretty lame in my opinion)...a 20th anniversary pin and shoelaces!

Not a ton of STUFF by any means, but better than last year.

I also attempted to get a decent mirror shot...something I've seen other trip reporters do. I was definitely becoming loopy by now and I probably attempted this picture 10-15 times...yep, I'm a cool kid. It got frustrating.


Oh hey, I did it!

I'm normally not into the "selfies" but I'm posting the above pictures because they are some of the only ones from the weekend where I'm not drenched in sweat. They are definitely the last ones of me after a full night of sleep. Seriously, as the weekend progressed I feel like I looked like a walking zombie at certain points.

By now it was about 6:15 and I still wanted that chocolate beer cupcake, so I headed out to the boat dock.

Looking down at Conch Key's "lobby":


Hidden Mickey Wallpaper in the hallway!


Elevator mirror shot


Outside of Conch Key...our room is on the top floor of the portion of the building that juts out with the red pointy area of the roof:


From the front of Conch Key...I spy a castle in the distance!


Continued in Next Post

Last edited by Ariel484; 01-25-2013 at 01:57 PM.
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Old 01-20-2013, 10:30 AM   #35
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Great pics!
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Old 01-20-2013, 10:31 AM   #36
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Nighttime Wanderings, Part 2

First I headed to the boat dock to wait, but there was no boat in sight. I got impatient after one whole minute of waiting and headed to the lobby to catch the monorail.









Time to jam!


A monorail pulled up right as I got to the station (did I mention that I had weirdly good luck with transportation on this trip? Because I did ) and two stops later I was at the Polynesian!


I got the last chocolate beer cupcake – success! – walked around the Poly a bit, took some awful nighttime pictures, and headed back to the monorail station.

Okay, Avengerail…take me back to the Grand Floridian!


I rode the resort loop all the way around (the Contemporary still had the giant Mickey wreath up, but I never got a good picture) and got back to the Grand at about 7PM. After walking through the shops I headed to Gaspirilla Island and ordered the club sandwich – no tomatoes, no sauce – with a side of the homemade chips and a bottle of water (hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!). I originally planned on eating this out on the Gaspirilla patio, but a lady sat at the table next to me and lit up a cigarette...errrm no thanks. So I scooped up my food and headed back to the room at about 8 (tossed the cupcake in the fridge for later in the weekend).


Will and I chatted on the phone for about 40 minutes and afterward I just sort of putzed around the room – finished unpacking, double-checked my stuff for the next morning, ate my sandwich/chips, etc. Around 9:15 I heard some very loud music outside...


It was the Electrical Water Pageant! Neat.




After the pageant I knew it was time to go to sleep, but I had trouble tearing myself away from the ESPN WWoS channel on TV. This was (I think) channel 25 and it played an endless loop with information about the runDisney races. It was fun to watch, but the content was mostly ads for the other races...very little of the loop was dedicated to information about the actual races taking place this weekend. Dennis Marsico, the runDisney TV host, was featured a lot...he's incredibly cheesy but I'd jump at the chance to have his job.


Eventually I pulled myself away from the TV and made my final preparations for the first race of the weekend...checked my stack of stuff and my camera battery (!!!) again, laid out sunscreen and my contacts, got the coffee maker ready, and set 3 alarms: my phone for 4:30AM, a 4:40 wake-up call, and the room alarm clock for 4:45. I went to sleep at about 9:30...almost time for the first race!

Continued in Next Post

Last edited by Ariel484; 01-21-2013 at 08:14 AM.
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Old 01-20-2013, 10:32 AM   #37
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Great pics!
Thanks!
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Old 01-20-2013, 03:15 PM   #38
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The Grand Floridian looks beautiful. We had our anniversary dinner at Victoria and Albert's the night after the marathon and it was incredible. The portion of the resort we saw was lovely. So glad you liked your room!
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Old 01-20-2013, 06:00 PM   #39
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Ooooh...ahhhhh...pretty room and nice view! Too bad about no hot tub though!
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Old 01-20-2013, 09:13 PM   #40
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Your title is just so clever!

Wow, your room is so big! And what great views!

That nighttime picture with the Castle all lit up sure makes me miss WDW!
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Old 01-21-2013, 07:53 AM   #41
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The Grand Floridian looks beautiful. We had our anniversary dinner at Victoria and Albert's the night after the marathon and it was incredible. The portion of the resort we saw was lovely. So glad you liked your room!
I really love that resort. Everything was just sooooo nice. Happy Anniversary! How was your dinner at Victoria & Albert's? We're saving up to have dinner there next January.
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Ooooh...ahhhhh...pretty room and nice view! Too bad about no hot tub though!
Yeah, a hot tub would have been nice! But the rest of the resort made up for it!
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Your title is just so clever!

Wow, your room is so big! And what great views!

That nighttime picture with the Castle all lit up sure makes me miss WDW!
Thanks! I miss WDW too...I can't believe I was there just a week ago.
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Old 01-21-2013, 08:13 AM   #42
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Day 2: Friday, January 11, 2013

2013 Walt Disney World Family Fun Run 5K - Arriving




This weekend was originally supposed to be strictly Goofy...so why sign up for the 5K? 2 reasons:

1. The super-cute finisher medallion, of course! (Picture to follow.)
2. The promise of an early-morning run through Epcot, which was missing from this year's marathon course.

I woke up that morning at about 4AM and couldn't get back to sleep because I was so nervous (not for the 5K itself, just for the overall weekend, I think). I hate when that happens! I finally gave up at about 4:30 and got out of bed...made coffee, got dressed, put on sunscreen, etc. I didn't take much with me to this race - my breakfast (a bagel and peanut butter I'd brought from home), some cash, my room key and my Annual Pass. And of course, my fully charged camera.

For the longer races, resorts on the monorail don't have the option of bus transportation to the races - it's monorail or nothing. But the monorails weren't available for the 5K, so I headed to the convention area of the resort to catch the bus (which is also the bus stop for buses to and from the expo) at about 4:50. 5K transportation ran from 4:30-5:30, I think. Had a nice chat with the poor Mears employee that was manning our stop (Disney contracts out extra buses to cover the increased need during the races) and was on a bus by about 5. I ended up sitting next to a nice lady wearing a Disneyland Half marathon shirt. She'd done a lot of half marathons and this was her first Disney 5K...her daughter was here to run the marathon and the woman was taking care of the grandkids during the longer races. Cute!

We made one stop at Shades of Green (from what I could see from the bus their lobby was still decorated for Christmas) and were dropped off at the starting area in one of the Epcot parking lots at about 5:25.



I don't know what the issue was, but I could not for the life of me get that bagel down. I don't know if it was nerves or what...but I ended up throwing half of it away. Definitely regretted that later.

I really think the 5K races are great for new runners. Everything is just much...less. Less distance, less pressure (the runs are not timed, so no worries about falling off pace), and less to navigate at the starting area (picture below):


Above you can see a line of porta-potties to the right...we were dropped off from the bus right behind the porta-potties and it was just a short five-minute walk to the starting area (the starting line itself is straight ahead in the above picture - the tall sort of purple thing - starting corrals up and to the left). Much less of a process compared to the longer races, which I'll talk about later.

One other thing visible in the above picture on the left side is the grandstand, where spectators can wait at the finish line...so really the start and finish lines were very close to one another.


Essentially all we needed to do was walk straight ahead to get to the corrals. Mickey and Minnie were set up for pictures near the start (in their classic outfits) but I bypassed them because their lines were HUGE.

Starting line to the right:


Corrals to the left:


The above picture is actually the BACK of the starting corrals...you can see the fence separating Corral A and Corral B. For this race there were 4 corrals (A, B, C and D) and technically 6 starts - the lone wheelchair racer, A, B, C, D, and the stroller division. I guess the corrals were assigned based on when people signed up? Not sure about this...essentially it was just a way for them to space us out a bit, I think.

In this picture I'm actually IN the back of the corral (volunteers are very strict about this - you have to show the printed letter on your bib)...Corral A is to my right.


Before I went into the corral I asked the volunteer coordinator about a rumor I'd heard, that there's a secret packet pick-up the morning of the 5K. He said there is, but it's mostly for people that picked up the bib earlier and then lost it. If people use the pick-up that morning they can get their BIBS ONLY - they have to go to the expo to get their race shirts. He seemed utterly perplexed as to why someone would do this morning packet pick-up...I could definitely see it being an option if someone's flight was delayed or they couldn't get to the expo on Thursday.

It was funny to be at the 5K start...this was MUCH different than the longer races. Lots more costumes and lots more kids who did NOT enjoy waiting around ("When is it going to start?", "I'm hot," "I'm tired," etc…made me think of Russell from Up! ). There was a DJ trying to get everyone excited by playing a variety of music - the Cuban Shuffle, ACDC, and the Chicken Dance (which REALLY bummed me out ) for example. My favorite part, though (and I forget the exact context), was when the DJ/host definitely said the words, "JUST a 5K." Really dude, you just said that?! He quickly figured out his mistake and sort of stumbled over his words to try to make up for it...oops.

Eventually everyone figured out that we needed to turn around and move to the other side of the corrals, so we all started cramming in. Here’s the whole set-up…me in Corral B, starting line to the left, Corral A directly in front of me, finish line to the right:


Continued in Next Post

Last edited by Ariel484; 01-22-2013 at 07:58 AM.
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Old 01-21-2013, 08:14 AM   #43
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I really love that resort. Everything was just sooooo nice. Happy Anniversary! How was your dinner at Victoria & Albert's? We're saving up to have dinner there next January.
You really should. The dinner was incredible!! We had saved and planned for it so we splurged on each of us getting the wine pairing and a couple of upcharge items. The setting, the service and the food was well worth it. Certainly not something we could afford to do often, but for a special event it was really the highlight of the trip (after finishing the marathon of course. )
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Old 01-21-2013, 08:18 AM   #44
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You really should. The dinner was incredible!! We had saved and planned for it so we splurged on each of us getting the wine pairing and a couple of upcharge items. The setting, the service and the food was well worth it. Certainly not something we could afford to do often, but for a special event it was really the highlight of the trip (after finishing the marathon of course. )
Oh awesome! I've wanted to go for awhile but my husband was the one to set the wheels in motion...for my birthday last year he put together a little scavenger hunt and the final thing I found was a Disney giftcard. He made it clear that the giftcard was ONLY for this one dinner, and that we can add to it on each upcoming holiday (birthdays, Christmas, etc.) until we have enough for our meal. This is great for us because we don't buy eacho ther presents often (we're both super hard to shop for) but we DO love great meals. I'm glad you guys liked it so much! And the wine pairings are a must, at least for me!

So glad to hear a great review!
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Old 01-21-2013, 09:29 AM   #45
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It is really my dream to stay at the Grand Floridian. I had a reservation there one year all of 10 minutes, lol, before I moved to the Beach Club. I think I'd steer clear during all the construction, though I know that when there is construction, Disney makes every effort not to irritate the guests.

I love that room you got, and I'm really interested for the rest of the report on the 5K, because I'm walking the 5K with another Diser the day before the Princess Half.
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