Here is my first post in a series of many that recap our 2014 Disney Marathon Weekend adventure!
Even though my husband and I were not doing the full Dopey Challenge at WDW Marathon Weekend, we both still had the same four super-early 2:30 mornings in a row, culminating in running the full marathon on Sunday! We spent Wednesday night near our airport, and we were up early Thursday to catch our flight to Atlanta, where we hopped on our connecting flight to Orlando. I love flying!! On the first plane, I had a window seat, and on the second plane, I had my husband to my left and an empty seat to my right! Notice how we’re dressed for winter weather when we left Virginia!
Once at the Orlando airport, accessing Disney’s Magical Express was easy, since I had made our shuttle reservation ahead of time and we were wearing our MagicBands at the airport. We bypassed the long DME check-in line, scanned our MagicBands, and were soon boarding our DME shuttle to Pop Century Resort, where a room was ready for us hours before our check-in time. Once settled, we soon caught the Expo shuttle to ESPN Wide World of Sports, where I immediately noted how much more organized the event was here than it was crammed into Coronado Springs Resort for the 2013 Princess Half! Originally we were going to head to the Jostens Center first, but with the torrential downpour that started the moment we stepped off the bus at 4:12 PM, and our guess that we would probably need our race bibs from the HP Field House to pick up our race shirts in the Jostens Center, we decided to go through the buildings in the correct order, starting at the Field House.
We picked up our bibs first, and I was happy to see that there were no crowds. My husband snuck this picture of me while I signed lots of things! Also notice how I had already shed my NorthFace and scarf once in Florida (although it was raining!).
Both expo buildings had Official runDisney merchandise, but there was more of a selection at Jostens (the second building). With our Disney Visa card discount, we wanted to make all of our purchases in the same place, so we made most of our runDisney purchases at our first stop in the Field House. Most of the marathon gear was black and white (Mickey colors, I suppose) with an intense-looking Mickey. I knew after my experiences at Princess with merch selling out that if I didn’t get what I wanted now, I’d have to pay even higher prices on Ebay. For example, I saw the car magnet that I bought for $7.95 at the Princess Expo last year on Ebay for $50 right afterward.
We ended up with lots of race merchandise to commemorate our milestones. I’m not sure if I’ll ever run another marathon or if I’ll be able to return to Disney for another Marathon Weekend, so Thursday was my chance. I snagged an over-priced but super-cozy black marathon jacket and short-sleeved tech shirt and bypassed the 10k shirts, although they were cute. I was pretty satisfied with all the long-sleeved race shirts that came in our race bags. We bought some of the magnets and mini 10k and marathon medals, and had signed up in advance for the commemorative pins and a marathon necklace. I also wanted a coffee tumbler and water bottle, but I skipped over anything fragile (mugs, glassware) because of having to fly home with it. The stuffed runner Mickey was adorable, but our son has so many stuffed animals that he wouldn’t appreciate that one until he was much older. (Side note: It’s sad that our son does not realize that his parents have run marathons!!). I bought a few running headbands featuring the marathon Mickey, while my husband got a few Goofy Challenge merchandise items (short-sleeved tech shirt and car decal). We each picked up a Vinlymation Mickey and tiny 2014 medals to go with my 2013 runner Mickey Vinyl from Princess. (Another side note: the Vinyls were $15.95 this year and I totally saw the leftover 2013 runner Mickey Vinyls at Downtown Disney being sold 5 for $20).
After some photo ops, we headed over to the Jostens center, where we picked up our official race tshirts, trying them on to make sure of the fit, since exchanges were available. We weren’t getting the new runDisney New Balance shoes, but I had seen a cute pink New Balance shirt on Facebook that I wanted. I didn’t see it on the floor, so I asked if they had any left. The lady mentioned that they were sold out, but there was one in the back that had some loose threads that she could maybe discount. I checked it out, and it would be just a few easy stitches to fix, and she marked it down $10 in price. Score!
I quickly saw that this second runDisney merch area had more color options and shirt options, so I was able to trade out some things that I had bought at the first place. We visited the RawThreads booth, but I prefer their shirts to sleep in than run in, since they’re so soft and cozy! I also held out on getting a sparkly headband from SweatyBands, which was good because I found one cheaper at the Fit2Run store at Downtown Disney. We picked up 26.2 and 39.3 car decals at One More Mile, redeemed our free art cards (LOVE it this year!) from Lasting Commemoratives, and scoped out the rest of the Expo.
By this time we were starving, so we posed with the Chiquita banana lady for a picture just so that we could get free bananas, which we ate right there on a bench across from her booth! She had matching hats for us to wear, but I’m not all about sharing hats with 27,000 other people. That’s my elementary school counselor background for you, people.
Disney definitely spoils us with their Expos… other race expos are just not the same! We sampled the different gels that would be available during the marathon, a good thing to do in advance! We also admired some major runDisney bling!
After Expo, we had planned to grab dinner at Pop Century, but we were too hungry to wait, so ESPN it was! As luck would have it, they were offering a special meal for runners of chicken alfredo penne pasta and yummy bread, so we ate right there after watching Jeff Galloway’s lecture outside of the restaurant (he’s an Olympic runner and writes the Disney training plans that I’ve followed for years!). While we ate, we opened our mystery Vinyls. My husband ended up with a green Mickey, and I ended up with yellow! One of each!
I also read all of the inspirational athlete posters all over the restaurant. Most of them applied to running as well!
Once back at the hotel, my legs were SO tired from walking around Expo, and I knew I didn’t want to stay up too late. I laid out everything for my 10k the next morning on our extra “staging” bed in our hotel room, and we were able to Facetime with our sweet little boy, who was very busy running all over Nana’s house with his mini Dyson vacuum. He’s not one to pause too long for Facetime, but when he did talk to us off and on, it was so cute!
I set my alarm for 2:30, and it was off to sleep before the inaugural Minnie 10k!
I will post links when they are ready — stay tuned for my racaps from:
- Inaugural Minnie 10k
- Magic Kingdom
- Be Our Guest restaurant review
- Half marathon (as a runner/spectator)
- Downtown Disney and Portobello review
- Walt Disney World Marathon
- Polynesian Resort and ‘Ohana review
- Pop Century Resort review (and the Nemo Pool at Art of Animation…)
- Links to the 2 recaps I wrote for the Running at Disney blog: Minnie 10k and Marathon
Not compensated for any affiliate links used… be assured that all money spent at Expo was, indeed, our own!