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Old 06-14-2011, 10:30 AM   #1
JessietheNCCowgirl
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How a Post-Marathon Funk and New braces = A trip to WDW!!

Hey ya’ll! Thank you for stopping by.
Welcome to my 2nd attempt at a trip report - I actually hope to finish this one. I had started one last summer about our August trip to POR, but alas, I shamefully did not complete it. I promise I will try to do better with this one. So sit back and run along with me during my half marathon. I hope you enjoy!



Before I begin with the back story, here is a picture of my little family from North Carolina (that's me in the orange shirt):


My name is Beth and I am a closet Disney addict. Only those very close to me (and now all of you), know my Disney secret. I have Disney World on the brain almost constantly. I am the wife of almost 19-years to my husband John and we have an 8-year old daughter named Alexia. Alexia has been raised on Disney. Her first trip was at 13-months and she took her first steps there (while we watched the British Invasion playing). John and I honeymooned there back in 1992 and have made several trips back since then. I work full-time as an executive assistant and am also a runner. I started running about a year and a half ago. I didn’t know I would become addicted or where my running would take me. I completed my first 5k on a Saturday in March of 2010 and the following Monday I signed up for the WDW Marathon in January 2011! I figured what better place on earth is there to complete a marathon? Two of my favorite activities colliding - Disney World and running, it was like the old Reese's Peanut Butter Cup commercials where one person carrying a bar of chocolate and another person carrying a jar of peanut butter run into each other.

This trip report begins in January - after completing the marathon at WDW I was in a runner’s funk and a Disney funk. I needed to get another race on the calendar because after going through months of training and reaching my goal, I felt like I didn’t know what to do with myself. I was in a Disney funk because whenever I leave Disney World I just get in a funk because the trip is over. All this to lead you up to a phone conversation I had with my husband at the end of January:

Me: I’m so depressed. I know I should be happy – I ran a marathon at Disney World and have a Mickey medal in my possession but I feel like “now what?”

John: Why don’t you sign up for the Myrtle Beach Half Marathon in February

Me: OK (I go to the website, the race is sold out)

Me: Oh no, the race is sold out. Now what?

John: Didn’t you say there was a Princess Half Marathon at Disney World in February?

Me: (not believing my ears and excited) Yes, there is and you get a Tiana Medal!!

John: Why don’t you sign up for that?

Me: You serious, Clark? (our favorite line from the Christmas Vacation movie), as I quickly type 'RunDisney.com' in my browser

John: Yes, is the race still open?

Me: Yes, but it’s 95% full

John: Well sign up

Me: But, I need to figure out what hotels are available and if so, how much, and what are the crowds like in February, and blah, blah, blah (I’m not good with last minute Disney planning, I like to draw out the process and savor it)

John: Well figure it out and let me know


Next Installment: The Plan (that is now "burning a hole in my pocket")
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Old 06-14-2011, 11:13 AM   #2
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More back story (I apologize for not having pictures for this post):

After the phone conversation I just had with my husband, of course I was on the internet in less than a split second. At the time we had a free dining trip booked for Sept 29th - October 8th. I looked up ticket prices, hotel rates and package prices for our dates of Feb. 24 – Feb 28th. I started doing cost analysis of buying tickets for this short trip in February along with the package we had booked in October. We decided it would be most cost effective if we bought annual passes. This is why I said in my last post that my plan is “burning a hole in my pocket”. Now that we have annual passes I want to go there all the time! It’s like having the keys to a sports car in your pocket but not being able to find the time or pay for the gas to drive it.


After the decision was made to purchase APs, I called Disney to see what availability they had for a moderate resort with an annual pass discount during the Princess Half Marathon weekend and all that was available was CBR. (We stayed at CBR in 2000 before my daughter was born and then again in 2008 and we liked it very much). I reserved the room and then ordered our annual passes online.

We decided to keep the trip a secret from our daughter. She was getting her braces on the day before we were planning to leave for Disney (Feb 24). She kept asking us if we could do something special after she got her braces on because she was nervous. I asked her what she had in mind and she said, “can we go to McDonald’s for dinner?” I chuckled to myself inside and told her we could probably do that (although it would probably be a McDonald’s somewhere off I-77 in SC on the way to FL). I emailed her teacher to let her know we were taking Alexia out of school for 2 days for our trip and that it was a surprise. I also asked if it wasn’t too much trouble if she could send home any schoolwork/homework home with her the day we left so she wouldn’t get behind.

February 23rd (the day Alexia’s braces are put on).

My husband actually took Alexia to her orthodontist appointment. He works from home, so he is able to take his lunch breaks to pick her up from school and take her to appointments, etc. Thank goodness for this, because sometimes I’m not able to leave work. She is in a lot of pain this night and after taking some Advil and drinking milkshakes for meals I get her to bed and off to sleep. I still had to pack. Since this was a surprise I couldn’t do any early packing like I usually do. I finally get to bed late and am unable to sleep as usual the night before we leave for Disney.

February 24th (the day we leave).

We all go to work/school this day. Our plan was to leave Charlotte around 3:00. I told Alexia the night before that I would be picking her up from school a little early and we’d go pick daddy up so we can do her “special thing” for getting her braces on. I get to her school pick and go in to pick her assignments up, as we were walking to the car Alexia tells me her braces felt funny. I asked her to open her mouth and sure enough she had a wire pop. I drove her to the orthodontist and fortunately they were able to get her back right away and fix it. Glad she told me there instead of us being down in FL!

When we finally get home, we walk through the door and this conversation takes place:

John asking Alexia: So what was it you wanted to do special for getting your braces?

Alexia: Go to McDonald’s for dinner

John: How about a trip to Disney World?

Alexia: Are you serious?

John: Go look in the family room – why else would we have luggage packed?

Alexia runs to look and starts screaming in excitement.

Alexia: What hotel are we staying at?

Me: Caribbean Beach

Alexia: Is that the place with Nemo rooms? Yea!!!!!!!!

We get the stuff packed in the car and take off for the Happiest Place on earth, the place where the pain of braces on teeth is dulled.
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Old 06-14-2011, 12:11 PM   #3
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Our trip to WDW usually takes about 9 hours, depending on stops, traffic, etc. I know we ran into a detour somewhere after Jacksonville on I-95. They had closed a piece of the interstate and routed everyone to some back highway. I think we finally pulled up to CBR around 1:00 AM. (again, sorry no pictures I guess I was too tired to get my camera out, I promise I did take some this trip though!).

I had made 2 room requests when booking the reservation – top floor, corner room (I like the extra window). The cast member checking us in circled Martinique on the map and gave us our room keys. (Because I try not to be a rule-breaker I had been worried that she would ask us for our annual passes. Although we had purchased them, they were still vouchers at this point as we didn’t have them transferred to actual APs yet since we had arrived so late, but she never asked). We hopped back in the car and drove to the Martinique building and parked. We dug the suitcases out of our car and headed to find our room. When we reached it, it was on the top floor facing the beach but it wasn’t a corner. No matter, I was glad to be here and we had a lovely view!! We got the stuff in the room, unpacked and hit the sack.

Day 1 – Hollywood Studios

We got up early and ate a small bite of food we had brought for breakfast in the room. We were trying to make rope drop and we had to stop by the ticket window first to exchange our AP vouchers to actual APs. I also went to guest services and purchased a Tables in Wonderland discount card to use for our table service meals. After they let us through the turnstiles we made our way down Hollywood Blvd to wait for rope drop. Our plan was to hit TSM (like everyone else) for at least a FP and to get in the stand-by line if it was short enough.

Here’s my daughter waiting for rope drop with her new braces:



Other pictures taken while waiting…





Finally the rope drops and we are able to head here:



The lines are already building for the FPs. My husband tells me to go ahead to the stand-by line with my daughter and ride while he got FPs and he would meet us when we were done riding. How nice of him!



This was the first time I had ever been in the stand-by line to see him:





Our scores:



We give TSM two thumbs up!



Up next more of our day at Studios...
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Old 06-14-2011, 12:32 PM   #4
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With FPs in hand for another ride on TSM we head off to the Honey I Shrunk the Kids play area. I don’t know why we never took Alexia here in all our trips to the World, but this was her first time seeing it.



We let her explore, climb and slide for a while:







We then headed toward the Backlot Tour (another ride first for Alexia for some reason). I enjoyed it after having not ridden it in years.











After the tour we walked around to look at some props:







We couldn’t stay too long because we had a lunch ADR at the Hollywood Brown Derby for 11:30.
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Old 06-14-2011, 01:02 PM   #5
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After the Backlot Tour we head to the Brown Derby to eat. It was our first meal to try out our TIW discount card. We haven’t eaten at the Brown Derby in years because we've been on the DDP and it counts as 2-TS credits and we didn’t feel it was worth it because we always order a Cobb Salad appetizer each for our meals. We didn’t deviate this time and both ordered the yummy Cobb salads. Alexia ordered a light-up drink with her meal:



Inside of the restaurant:



Coloring before the food arrives:



We had a very nice waiter. When we were through with our meals he came over to ask if we wanted dessert as he was clearing our plates. John and I declined and Alexia said “no thank you” as she handed him her finished plate. He thanked her for being polite and asked if she’d like a special dessert. She said yes and he came out a few minutes later with this:



It was delicious!

After we were full we headed back to TSM to use our FPs. A shot along the way:



Alexia rode with John this time and I rode solo. We then went to the Art of Animation building. We watched the movie and dropped Alexia off here:



Kidding, we actually stood in line to see him:





Then we did the ‘animation class’ and learned to draw Mickey Mouse. My daughter enjoyed that very much as she likes to draw.

We then went to see these guys:





After hanging out with Mike and Sully we decided to find a spot to watch this:









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Old 06-14-2011, 03:21 PM   #6
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After watching the parade we went to see the Voyage of the Little Mermaid:



After seeing Ariel, my daughter asked if we could go back to the resort to swim. We kind of meandered around on the way out of the park and I snapped some pictures and played with settings on my camera:

The trees were so pretty:




















We walked to the parking lot and made our way back to CBR and to our room. We all put our swim gear on under our clothes and headed to the food court for supper. I believe we ate at the food court almost every night for supper. It was that good. I didn’t snap any pictures of the food for which I apologize. We walked around the gift shop to let our food digest and then went for a swim.

Up next – Day 2 EPCOT
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Old 06-16-2011, 11:10 AM   #7
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Day 2 – EPCOT

We woke up early and ate breakfast in our room. Our plan was to get to EPCOT for rope drop and we were going to ride Test Track first. My daughter took Duffy with her because she was going to do some clothes shopping for him with her spending money:



I was happy to see the Flower and Garden Festival topiaries even though the festival wasn’t officially open yet







We walked to the rope and patiently waited for it to drop and headed to TT.

Here’s us in our test car before the ride started:


And the after:



After we rode Alexia wanted to go check out all the cars:





We then decided we’d go to Soarin’ to get a FP and visit Nemo. Some shots along the way:







Sorry for all the flower pictures, I had never been to WDW in the spring and couldn’t get over all the colors:







Inside The Land to get the FP’s for Soarin’:




Continued in next post:
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Old 06-16-2011, 11:25 AM   #8
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We scored our FPs for Soarin’ so we went to find Nemo and I saw a pretty tree along the way:











Soon we were sittin’ in a clam mobile and enjoying the ride. Afterwards, we walked around to look at the ocean life and we found this:



We had reservations to eat lunch at the Rose & Crown so we made our way toward the World Showcase. More pretty flowers and topiaries on our walk to lunch:






















Up next our first encounter with Duffy…
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Old 06-16-2011, 12:28 PM   #9
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As we were making our way to World Showcase we saw the Meet and Greet for Duffy. I’m not sure how Duffy fits into the whole Disney picture (yea, I know the story about Minnie making him for Mickey, but still…). My daughter loves teddy bears. She has a pink Disney Bear that looks identical to Duffy that we bought for her on a trip when she was 2. So when I ran the marathon in January (my husband and daughter didn’t come along) I brought her home a new brown Duffy to be the “pink Duffy’s brother”.

We got to the gazebo and we were the second family waiting in line behind some Japanese girls. When Duffy came out they were squealing. I know he’s big in Japan, but it was kind of funny to witness first –hand how popular he actually is.






After Duffy’s autograph had been collected we started our journey “around the world” starting with Mexico and I took pictures of all the topiaries in each country:

Mexico:



Norway:



Near the Outpost:





Germany:









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Old 06-16-2011, 12:38 PM   #10
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More pictures from the Flower and Garden and Festival:

Italy:







America:







Working on the Duffy on a Stick:



The Fife & Drum:



Morocco:





France:









On the way to the United Kingdom:



Canada:



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Old 06-16-2011, 12:59 PM   #11
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The finished Duffy on a Stick project:



After our trip around World Showcase we headed back to Soarin’ to use our FP’s and then we decided we’d ride Spaceship Earth go back to CBR and call it a day as far as touring the parks go.

Some pics on the way out:







We went back to CBR for dinner. I ate some pasta to “carb load” for the half marathon the next morning. I believe John and Alexia got food from the carving station, turkey, mashed potatoes, etc. We then went to the pool where Alexia and John swam and I sat in the hot tub to relax my nerves because I had pre-race jitters and was also sore from the training leading up to the race.

After I was sufficiently relaxed we headed back to the room and I started prepping for the race which consisted of pinning the number on my shirt, putting the timing chip on my running shoes, laying out my outfit, etc. I wanted to make sure everything was ready so I wouldn’t have to make much noise in the morning getting ready. I had to get up at 3:00 AM and I didn’t want to wake my husband and daughter up. I had to be on a bus by 4:00 AM to take get to the race start.

After I was sure I had everything for the race ready I was ready to hit the sack but knew I wouldn’t sleep much. The plan was that my husband was going to take my daughter to the Magic Kingdom in the morning while I was running. I would come back to CBR after the race, shower and then meet them over there somewhere. I set the alarm on my iPhone and put it by my pillow to wake me up in the morning. We heard the fireworks start and opened our curtains – our room had a great view of the high fireworks from Illuminations.

After the show was over I climbed into bed and tried to sleep.

Up next – the race….
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Old 06-16-2011, 01:43 PM   #12
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The Princess Half Marathon:

Prior to the Princess Half Marathon, I have run two races at Disney. My first was the Wine & Dine Half Marathon last October and the second was the marathon in January. I learned from the first race to not run it for time (at least for me) but to have fun with it – you’re at WDW for pete’s sake! When I ran the first half marathon I didn’t stop at any character stops because I was trying to run the race as fast as I could. When I ran the marathon I did stop at a few character photo ops - but this race was going to be different. I told myself I was going to stop at every dadgum character!

This race was also a first for me in the fact that I wore a tutu and a tiara (I raided my daughter’s closet). I figured everyone would be dressed up and sure enough most everyone was.

Here are the photos I collected along the course of the race:

The start of the race





Avast and pirates!!



PRINCES!!! (with a sweaty, wannabe )



It is so cool to run under this at dawn:



Near the Richard Petty Driving Experience race track:



Near the Poly:





Fantasyland:









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Old 06-16-2011, 02:07 PM   #13
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More Princess Half Marathon:

Liberty Square:









Running near the Hall of Presidents.




This lady was great, she acted like she was going to faint watching all the runners going by:





Frontier Land:





Backstage:







On the road near the Grand Floridian:









On the way to EPCOT:





Approaching the finish line!



I made it! Time to head back to CBR and hit the showers!!

Up next - Jr. Mayor of Main Street
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Old 07-07-2011, 10:57 AM   #14
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Not sure if anyone is reading, but I am going to keep my resolution and finish this TR!

To finish where I left off, I had just crossed the finish line of the half marathon and heading back to CBR to shower. I got back to the room and noticed the maid carts nearby so I put my Do Not Disturb sign on the door and hopped in the shower. My DH and DD had left for the MK and I was going to meet up with them. I got ready and walked to the Martinique bus stop to wait for a bus. About 10-minutes later, a MK bus arrives and I hop on. My DH calls me and asks me if I’m ok from the race and was it. I said I was fine, except my feet kind of hurt, but other than that, I was good. I told him I would call again when I got through the turnstiles at the MK to figure out where they were.

After going through security and the ticket turnstile I called DH again and he said they were getting on the Mad Tea Party so I headed toward Fantasyland and got there just as they were getting off.



We walked to Tomorrowland and got FPs for Space Mountain to use later. I’m not sure why I didn’t take any pictures but we also rode Buzz Lightyear and the People Mover. We had 11:00 reservations for The Plaza restaurant so we headed in that direction. This was our first time eating here and I was excited to try it after reading many good reviews on the DIS.

We were seated and then a very sweet cast member came up to my DD and said she reminded her off her little sister and started asking her questions, what was her name, age, etc. A few minutes later our server came and offered her recommendations - she was right on with all of them! My DD got potato soup as her appetizer:



DD got the special of the day which was meatloaf and mashed potatoes. I got the cheese steak sandwich. Both dishes were delicious and the cheese steak hit the spot because I was starving after running 13.1 miles! A few minutes after our meals arrived one of the ‘streetmosphere’ Main Street ladies came through the door. She stood in the restaurant and started talking about how the mayor was off that afternoon and the citizens of Main Street wanted to have someone acting as a Jr. Mayor in his place. She said that the person they elected was dining in the restaurant and her name was Alexia. DH and I looked at each other kind of dumbly in shock and DD looked to be in shock too. The lady asked if Alexia was in the restaurant and if so could she come and take her oath.





Here is the “swearing in ceremony”:



DD was given a ribbon that says Jr. Mayor and also a FP to any ride of her choice. She was so excited about that. The CM asked her what ride she was going to use it on and DD excitedly replied “Space Mountain!”

Here is a picture with all of us together.



The CM came over to our table and talked with us a while. She was very nice and the whole experience made our first visit to the Plaza a memorable one. We couldn’t leave there without trying some kind of dessert though so I ordered the brownie sundae and DD and DH got regular sundaes. It was all yummy!

Since we had already gotten FPs for Space Mountain earlier we had to wait for our time so we decided to head to Adventureland to do some exploring there. First stop was the Swiss Family Tree House:

I could so live in this tree!













I don’t know why, but I must have put my camera away for the rest of the time at MK because I can't find any more pics.

I do know remember we went on Jungle Cruise and POTC and then headed over to Tomorrowland to use our FPs for Space Mountain. When we got off we rode again using the FP DD got for being Jr. Mayor.

After our rides in space we decided to head back to CBR. DD had homework to do since we had taken her out of school a couple days.

Next up – homework done Disney-style!
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Old 07-07-2011, 12:21 PM   #15
JessietheNCCowgirl
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We walked to the bus stops at the front of the MK and shortly thereafter a CBR bus pulled up and we were off to the resort. We got to the room and gathered all the homework materials and looked what needed to be done. DD had bought a pink Mickey head pencil on Main Street before we left MK so she got that out of her bag (gotta do homwork with a Mickey pencil while at WDW, right?) She asked if we could go sit on the beach while she did her homework. It sounded like a plan to me so we made our way downstairs and to the beach.

Some pictures of our building:







DD heading back from the hammock after reading her history assignment:



Checking the homework (I wish we could do homework in this setting this every night!):



We stayed on the beach until all the school work was done and then decided we’d head to the food court for dinner. Here are some random shots of the resort on the way to dinner and back. CBR is such a peaceful place. I know some people complain about it being spread out but I like it. I love to stroll around the beach and just take in the beauty of it all:





















Here are some shots of our room. (We were blessed to get some pixie dust and got upgraded to a water view room with a view of Illuminations. I think I’m spoiled, because I wouldn’t mind spending the extra to pay for a water view now!)








We started the unpleasant task of packing our bags back up as we were supposed to leave the next day (Monday). We talked about maybe heading to a park for a few hours before the drive home, but we were unsure as we all had to get back to work and school on Tuesday.

Up next – do we stay or do we go?

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Port Orleans-1992 & 1994 CBR & POFQ -2000 Coronado Springs-2001 Polynesian-2003 AKL & GF- 2004 WL & GF 2006 POFQ -2007 CBR-2008 Polynesian-2009 POR Aug & Oct 2010 POR Jan 2011, CBR Feb 2011, POFQ Aug 2011, POR Oct 2011, ASMo Dec 2011, Polynesian Feb 2012, Pop & POR May 2012, AoA and Yacht Club Oct 2012 BWI & YC Aug 2013, Poly Oct 2013, YC May 2014, BWI July 2014
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