This recap took longer than expected… like a month long. Life happens and as much as I have been dying to write this, I had school, family and a bunch of other stuff take over… but better late than never, am I right?
This was the weekend that I had been waiting for. This was supposed to be my Half Marathon debut. However, if you recall, that title went to the Miami Half a month earlier. Either way, I am a lover of all things Disney and I was so excited to have a chance to run a Disney race. It’s not everyday you get to say, you ran through and around the parks. So maybe it wasn’t my first half marathon, but it was my first Disney race.
The expo ran from Thursday, February 21st, – Saturday, February 23rd. The day I had to go was Friday. So I hitched a ride with my friend/sister from another mister, Jessica who was also headed to Orlando for that weekend for my niece’s dance competition. It’s roughly a 4-hour drive, give or take from Miami. Uneventful and we arrived to our hotel around midnight.
Buena Vista Suites is one of my go-to non-Disney hotels. I rarely stay on Disney property when I travel to Orlando. Usually it’s whatever is cheap, clean and close enough to Disney. This hotel is the closest, cleanest but not cheapest. I think there was a sale going on and I managed to book it. Also, I did not know if this was going to be a solo trip or if I would be going with family and I didn’t want to stay too far or without a breakfast option… because food is life and breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I love this hotel, and if anyone on their marketing side would like to offer me a free stay for a full review, holla at your girl! LOL. Kidding. But not really.
We finally knocked out around 1AM.
I woke up around 6AM to the symphony of alarm clocks.
5 hours was enough. It would help me to get to bed a decent time Friday night.
Sidebar: Disney races start at 5:30 AM… So you need to be there at least an hour earlier to beat the traffic, find parking, get to the start line, etc., etc. This is a race for 20K people after all.
Without hesitation, I start getting ready to hit the hotel’s gym around 7 ish… I get a text from my friend Amanda, that she finished her race and is heading to meet me at my hotel. After a mile on the treadmill, I head down to the lobby to meet her. We go for breakfast and talk about her first 5K, running, training, future plans, etc. I love Amanda. I may just be her biggest cheerleader. I look forward to seeing how her journey progresses.
After breakfast, I go get ready so we can hit the expo. Now in all Disney fashion, this Race Expo is grand! Held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex… and I mean, the entire complex! Disney doesn’t do anything small and race expos are no exception.
One building, you pick up your bib. Just your bib! You print out a waiver that has your bib number and corral assignment. You sign the waiver to get your bib. For the challenge, they give you one bib for both races. I’ve seen some bibs get a beating, so I was concerned about this. Nevertheless, we moved on to the next building to pick up my shirts.
This is where every vendor and their mothers were and this is how Disney gets you. You have to walk through all the vendors to get your shirts. Smart. Really Smart! Shoes, socks, hydration vests, skirts, stuff for recovery, stuff to keep you energized, electronics, gadgets and gizmos a plenty! Whosits and Whatsits galore! You want thingamabobs? They’ve got twenty… You get the idea. Anyway, we barely made it through the vendors but I got my shirts. I love race shirts. I especially love moisture wicking race shirts! Disney can do no wrong in my eyes.
The third building is completely dedicated to RunDisney merchandise. This is where I was going to splurge and gift myself something for after the race. They had everything. Minnie Ears dedicated to the race weekend, shirts, sweaters, jackets, pants, frames… a lot of shit to spend your money on. Decisions, decisions, decisions. I chose this beautiful zip up jacket in hot pink. The total opposite of what I wear, but hey! When in Rome!
You can spend the entire day at this complex and just walk around and take your time with each vendor. I may end up doing that at the next Disney race weekend! Oh! Also, the sports complex is where the kids’ races are held on the Saturday afternoon of the race weekend and I recently learned that my daughters want to do a Disney race… woo hoo! Solanos do RunDisney 2020? We will see!
After the expo, I went back to the hotel and got myself ready to go to Magic Kingdom. I rarely go anywhere alone. I mean, I spend most of my day alone since my kids are in school and with the exception of running errands, I don’t go to fun places alone. It was nice to not have to worry about the kids keeping up, or stopping for a pee break every 10 seconds, or having to worry about what rides to get on. I did my own thing. Walked around, ate a hot dog, ate some ice cream, got on whatever rides had short wait times and took a shit ton of pictures… I took full advantage of the Photo Pass that is included in my annual membership. I am a lover of all types of photography, so this was something I knew I wanted to have included in my Disney membership.
After a few hours in the park, I get a message from the hubby saying he was almost in town, so I headed back to the hotel to shower and get ready for bed. It was a great day.