Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend – Days 0 and 1 – Flying Down and the Expo

I’m so excited to relive all of the excitement from our most recent trip to Disney!  This trip was much different than our past couple of trips, and to the surprise of many, only my second racecation at Disney (3rd if you count when we went in 2013 for Preston’s first marathon).  My first racecation, back in January 2014, was when I ran my first half marathon and Preston completed the Dopey Challenge, so to be able to run my 10th half marathon at the same place where I ran my first was quite nostalgic.

When we initially booked our trip back in March we had planned to fly down mid-Thursday morning, but back in September when Southwest was running a fare sale we decided to change our ticket to Wednesday night (yay for no change fees on Southwest!).  Although the timing of our flight would have worked out perfectly with little man’s bedtime routine had we been on time (we were supposed to leave DC at 7:00 p.m.), our flight was delayed by over two hours.  I’m very proud of how well little man did, and although he was up past his bedtime he did eventually fall asleep in the Ergo while I walked him around the terminal.

Little man during our delay, wondering when we'd get to leave so that he could go to sleep

Little man during our delay, wondering when we’d get to leave so that he could go to sleep

One special note about our flight down – we found out before we boarded that there were 40 honor veterans on our flight returning home from their day trip to DC.  They received much earned recognition and applause, both inside the terminal as well as on the plane.  And when we arrived in Orlando we decided that since we already weren’t going to get much sleep, and since little man was still soundly sleeping, that we’d stay and be a part of their “welcome home” greeting as they walked past security.  Preston and I had the privilege of helping welcome honor vets to DC back in 2013 so it was a wonderful experience to be able to be a part of their day again.  By the time we made it to our hotel and to bed, it was about 1:30 a.m.

The honor flight vets getting ready to board the plane in DC, and then the vets being greeted upon our arrival in Orlando

The honor flight vets getting ready to board the plane in DC, and then the vets being greeted upon our arrival in Orlando

First on our agenda Thursday morning was a character breakfast at Cape May Cafe.  This was my first time dining there, and little man’s first character meal.  I was quite impressed with the spread on the buffet, and little man loved being able to interact with Minnie Mouse, Goofy, and Donald Duck.

Scenes from breakfast, including little man's first Mickey waffle!

Scenes from breakfast, including little man’s first Mickey waffle!

After breakfast we headed over to Wide World of Sports for the expo.  We arrived around 11 a.m., about an hour after the expo opened.  Since little man was napping in his stroller, and you can’t take strollers into the expo, my father-in-law and I decided to hit up the official merchandise first so that Preston could stay outside with little man.  Although there was a line to get into the Jostens Center, and then another line to get into the official merchandise area, both lines moved quickly.  After spending about 15 minutes browsing the merchandise, I left with exactly what I wanted: a Lumiere’s Challenge shirt, a Sweaty Bands headband for both the half marathon and the challenge, as well as magnets for both the half marathon and the entire race weekend.  I could have purchased way more than I did, but I’m quite pleased that I was able to exercise restraint.  Preston wasn’t impressed with the men’s merchandise, and opted to not get anything for himself.

Ready for a fun race weekend!

Ready for a fun race weekend!

After making our purchases and briefly walking the expo floor (I did check out the current New Balance runDisney shoes lineup but was far from impressed), we met back up with Preston and little man who was now awake, and headed over to the Field House to pick up our bibs.  Since all four of us participated in various races throughout the weekend, we each had bibs to pick up.  Little man and I received our shirts with our bibs, but Preston and my father-in-law had to go back into the Jostens Center to pick up their half marathon and 10k shirts.  This is the one thing that I find frustrating about runDisney expos.  Why can’t the shirts and bibs just all be in the same location?!?

All four of us ready for a fun weekend of racing!

All four of us ready for a fun weekend of racing!

My expo purchases, my race shirts, and my bib

My expo purchases, my race shirts, and my bib

By the time we were done, we had spent about two hours at the expo, it was after 1:00, and we were all starving.  We decided to head to our hotel, Art of Animation, to try and check in (we stayed off property Wednesday night) as well as eat to lunch at the food court.  While eating lunch, we received the text message that our room was ready (I greatly appreciate this newly added convenience at Disney hotels), and after eating unpacked our rental car and got settled into our room.  While Preston tried to get little man to take a nap (he was very wound up and never fell asleep), I made a quick trip to Publix to pick up baby food for little man for the trip, as well as breakfast and snack foods for the rest of us.

That evening we had a dinner reservation at Tutto Italia at Epcot.  Since my father-in-law wasn’t feeling well, he decided to stay back.  At dinner Preston and I decided to share an appetizer and entree (we shared the “Fior di Latte” Mozzarella salad, basically a take on Caprese salad just made with sweet peppers instead of tomatoes, and lasagna) partly because the portions were huge but also partly so that we could enjoy a post dinner snack at one of the Food and Wine Festival kiosks.  It was a great decision!

Scenes from Epcot

Scenes from Epcot

After dinner we changed little man into his pajamas, and he quickly fell asleep in his stroller.  We walked around World Showacase, each enjoyed a drink from one of the festival booths, took turns riding Test Track (yay for parent swap!), and then returned to World Showcase to end the evening by watching Illuminations.  It was a great end to an exhausting and busy first full day at Disney.

Stay tuned for part 2 of our racecation recap.  On Friday we spent the day at Magic Kingdom and enjoyed another first for my little man – his first haircut!

QOTD: What is your favorite restaurant at Epcot?

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33 Responses to Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend – Days 0 and 1 – Flying Down and the Expo

  1. I gotta say I wasn’t impressed with the selection of race merchandise at the expo. I did get a magnet as well but was hoping for a sweatyband but they only had blue and pink and I already have both a blue and a pink band from previous Disney races so thought that would be a waste. Also there were no glasses (wine glasses but not regular ones). And although I liked the jacket for the challenge, I did not care for the actual half marathon jackets. O well, like you said, it saved us $.

    Glad you enjoyed Cape May. That’s one of my favorites. You should try the dinner buffet. There are no characters but the food is good!

  2. Sounds like a fun trip! I’m looking forward to the race recap.

  3. So much fun! The welcoming home for the veterans made me tear up! Your little man seems right at home with all the characters! I’m glad he wasn’t scared of them! The race shirts are super cute! I’m with ya…why can’t the shirts and bibs be together??!! And Tutto Italia is one of my favorite restaurants in Epcot! There’s a ravioli dish that I get there that is divine!!! Can’t wait to read more girl!

  4. Lesley says:

    Yes! Why can’t the shirts be with the bibs? They have our info, maybe have everything in the goodie bag, including the shirt? If you want to swap it, then you can go to another booth. The Tink expo had the bibs and Dooney pickup in the same area, but I had to go upstairs to get my shirt.

  5. Traveling with little ones can always be a challenge. I’ve never been to Disney – this would be a lot of fun to run there!

  6. Chefs de France in Epcot. If you time it just right, a little animatronic Remy will come out and have a chat with you. He’s really cute and made our trip really awesome.

  7. I almost wished I had signed up for the challenge as I loved the white jacket and the Remy shirt. I was pretty happy with the 13.1 jacket and glad I had enough in gift cards to make the crazy price on it so much easier to swallow. And I’m with you on the bib/shirt thing. Just keep them all together! One thing I’ve learned about the expo though, get there before it opens. Saves a WHOLE lot of aggravation!

  8. I’ve never been to Disney! All these race recaps from my friends seriously make me want to do a race though.

  9. How great that the veterans were recognized on the plane.

  10. The veterans…WoW! I would have been a blubbering idiot. I think the Honor Flights are such a great thing!

  11. Oh, I love the challenge shirt! So cute! I don’t often buy tons at the expo. I always like an “I did it” shirt and then the rest of it I can take or leave.

    I love Via Napoli – they have the best arancini.

  12. That’s so weird that all the expo stuff wasn’t all in the same place. When I did Dopey in January, all the bibs and shirts were in one place and then you headed to the expo to shop. I wonder why they changed it.

  13. MB Jackson says:

    Sounds like the trip is off to a great start! and you are doing well with baby and father in law in tow! We love the italian place at Epcot and the moroccan restaurant is fantastic too and not quite as pricey. There is always so much to see and do!

  14. Janelle @ Run With No Regrets says:

    Love all the swag you bought at the expo! It sounds like you guys were all off to a great start. I went to Disney for the Food and Wine Festival but I wish we made more dinner reservations during our trip. The Italian restaurant sounds fantastic!

  15. What a fun trip! That cute lil guy is going to grow up loving Disney that is for sure!!!!
    Looks like you scored some cute gear at the expo, love it!!!

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