The Cold Never Bothered Me Anyway, a 2017 Marathon Weekend TR

lhermiston

Beer-powered running machine
Joined
Feb 6, 2013
INTRODUCTION/PROLOGUE

Hey everyone and thanks for clicking on my trip report. This is my first time writing a trip report, but I'll try to make it good.

I'm a 30-something father of three born and bred in Iowa. I went to Disney World for the first time when I was about five and again when I was a pre-teen. It'd be nearly 20 years before I'd go again.

About five years ago, I convinced my wife to take our then two daughters to Disney World. She insisted beforehand that it would likely be our only trip to Disney World. By the end of the first day, she said she could see us coming back; by the end of the trip, she wanted to know when our next trip would be.

The answer was two years later. This time, she was five months pregnant with our third daughter. We ate at Ohana for the first time and were hooked.

Completely unrelated to our Disney travels, I started running again a few years ago; inconsistently at first, but then with some regularity. I did a few 5Ks and in 2015 did my 10K and my first half. After my first half, I began to seriously consider running my first marathon.

It didn't take much to convince my wife that I should sign up for the 2017 Walt Disney World Marathon. The original plan was for me to go on my own, but my wife later decided to join in on the festivities along with our 2-year-old daughter, Maya. The plan was for a four day trip, Jan. 6-10.

I had a few goals for the trip:

- Successfully introduce my daughter to Walt Disney World with minimal meltdowns.
- Get some photos of Wishes from a couple new locations (I'm an amateur photographer).
- Finally see IllumiNations (we were too tired our last two trips).
- Stuff my face at Ohana.
- Oh, and run 26.2 miles through the parks and Disney property.

Would I complete any of these goals or would our trip to sunny Florida - which ended up feeling a bit like an Iowa winter from time to time - derail me? Stick around and find out!



 
  • jhorstma

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 18, 2004
    INTRODUCTION/PROLOGUE

    ...
    About five years ago, I convinced my wife to take our then two daughters to Disney World. She insisted beforehand that it would likely be our only trip to Disney World. By the end of the first day, she said she could see us coming back; by the end of the trip, she wanted to know when our next trip would be.

    The answer was two years later. This time, she was five months pregnant with our third daughter. We ate at Ohana for the first time and were hooked.
    Did you ask your wife a question of the week each week between trips?
     
  • lhermiston

    Beer-powered running machine
    Joined
    Feb 6, 2013
    Did you ask your wife a question of the week each week between trips?
    Sundays are for Disney was born out of a game I used to play with my wife and two oldest kids after our second Disney trip, I believe. We usually had running around - groceries, Sunday school, visit to the grandparents' house - to do on Sunday, so I'd kill time on the trip by asking those open ended Disney questions. It was one little way of reliving our favorite Disney memories and bonding with my family a bit.

    After a while though, I ran out of fresh questions and Sundays are for Disney become a little less frequent since I didn't want to burn out the family on Disney. I'm definitely the biggest WDW fan in the family, but they have limits :)

    Fortunately, the Marathon 2017 group gave me a welcoming audience to continue the tradition!
     

    lhermiston

    Beer-powered running machine
    Joined
    Feb 6, 2013
    Part 1 - Getting to Disney, Magic Kingdom

    Welcome back! Thanks to those who have already subscribed to the thread.

    We got up at 4 a.m. (not the earliest I would have to wake up this trip) and headed for the airport. Because DW decided to join the trip a few months after I booked my flight, she and DD had to take a different flight. I headed for Chicago and they headed for Detroit. Once we landed and DW made a mad dash to her next terminal, she reported that DD acted like she'd been flying for years - it was her first flight.

    A few hours later, I touched down in Orlando and met up with DW and DD near the Magic Express. DD was passed out in her stroller, but we managed to board the Magic Express and keep her asleep. About 40 minutes later, we were dropped off at Pop Century. DD woke up and found a set of over-sized blocks in the airport bus area and wanted to play with those instead of even head to the room. After a few minutes of playing, we headed to our room in the 1950s area, dropped off some stuff and hopped on a bus for the Magic Kingdom.

    We got into Magic Kingdom and were delighted to find that the afternoon parade had just started. After weeks of talking about meeting princesses, DD was thrilled to see them go by on their floats.



    DD loved pointing out each princess as they went by. I could tell this would be a good trip.

    Then...Maleficent.



    DD decided the dragon was a little too scary (no tears, though! a good sign!) so we headed over to our FP+ meet and greet with Rapunzel and Tiana. DD was both shy and starstruck. She didn't say much, but we got their autographs in her "princess book," posed for a few family photos (that didn't turn out) and headed out. At this point, DW was battling a little bit of a headache, so DD and I got in line to do Prince Charming's Carousel while she went to get a drink.

    We reunited with DW and did Philharmagic (or as my older daughters called it during our first trip "Fill Up on Magic). It was a huge hit. DD loved all of the characters. After that, we did our FP+ for it's a small world and had dinner at Columbia Harbour House. We had a quiet dinner upstairs (one of the reasons it's one of my favorite WDW restaurants and probably all-time favorite counter service).

    After dinner, DW still wasn't feeling well and I offered to keep DD with me so we could continue doing some rides. It was time to show the rookie how her old man does Disney: we don't stop until we drop!

    From Columbia Harbour House, we headed over to the Tommorowland Speedway for our final FP+. DD and I had been talking about this ride for weeks! She had seen a few POV videos and was adamant that we ride a "boo (blue) racecar." We managed to get an orange car with blue stripes and she loved it.

    After that, we moved over to the other ride we had been talking about, the tea cups. This line was a little longer without a FP and the ride was actually shut down for a few minutes. She enjoyed the ride, but by the time we were done, it was starting to get close to bedtime. After snapping a pic of us together in front of the castle (which still had the holiday lights!) we got on a bus and headed back to Pop.

    But, like I said, I don't stop until I drop when I'm at Disney, 4 a.m. wake up call or not. I grabbed my tripod and headed back to the park to shoot Wishes.

    Now, as you've seen above, I've shot Wishes before. My plan for this trip for was to get some shots from some unique angles, hopefully with the aid of my relatively new 8mm fisheye lens. My original plan had been to post up by the Partners statue, but by the time I got to Magic Kingdom around 8, that just wasn't feasible. Instead, I was able to grab a spot by a trash can, which I hoped would prevent anyone from standing right in front of me and blocking my shot.

    BUT...I had forgotten about the No. 1 rule of Disney World fireworks photography: the sooner you stake out a spot, the more likely you are to have someone step right in front of you at the last minute. In this case, a dad decided to prop his young son up on the trash can. Since, I believe it's more important for people - especially young kids - to enjoy the Disney magic, I didn't say anything and did my best to shoot around it. I did, however, ask a woman in her late teens/early 20s to kindly stop bumping my tripod with her backpack, which was met with a rude remark. SMH...

    Nonetheless, I did come away with a couple of shots I was happy with, one of which I'll share here.



    I didn't stick around for Once Upon a Time (watched it on YouTube once, by my love for Celebrate the Magic runs too deep) and instead went to the back of the castle for a few photos. I then hopped on Haunted Mansion, which had a relatively short wait.

    When I got out of Haunted Mansion, it was starting to sprinkle, so I rushed over to Splash Mountain. Splash - my all-time favorite ride - had been in refurb during my last trip and I wanted to make sure I got to ride it at least once. The rain steadily picked up as I waited in line and went on the ride. In fact, I probably got wetter from the rain than the 50 foot drop!

    The rain let up slightly after I got off Splash which left me with a slight dilemma: head over to Big Thunder, Space Mountain and Buzz Lightyear or take advantage of the wet pavement and get some castle reflection photos. Since I was getting a little tired at that point, didn't feel like getting a wet butt on Big Thunder and wanted to take advantage of a rare combo of holiday castle lights and wet pavement, I opted for photos. I'm really glad I did. Thanks to Tom Bricker and the Disney Tourist Blog for the inspiration.

    Here's one shot:



    After about 30 minutes of shooting, I exited the park and headed back to Pop.

    During the wait for Wishes, I got word - along with thousands of other runners - that Saturday's half marathon had been canceled and that the expo - where I needed to go Saturday to pick up my race bib and other gear - was starting an hour later. Oh, how I wish I could have gotten that hour back...

    NEXT...Day 2, Animal Kingdom and Stuck in Expo Limbo
     



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