2018 Princess Half Marathon Weekend – Days 0 and 1 – Flying Down and the Expo

Its hard to believe that my whirlwind girls’ weekend at Disney World for Princess Half Marathon weekend was already two weeks ago.  Although this trip was by far my shortest trip to Disney World, it was an absolute blast.  I’m so incredibly thankful for my husband’s support of my running journey, and for helping make it possible for me to get away for the weekend while he and little man stayed back here at home.  Although I love my little man dearly, sometimes a mommy just needs a short break!

My race weekend started off with an evening flight down to Orlando.  I headed straight to the airport after work and had an uneventful flight.  Upon arrival in Orlando I picked up my rental car (I always prefer to have a car over dealing with the Disney buses), made a quick pit stop at Target for some race weekend essentials, and was at Pop Century by 10:30 p.m.  Since Kathleen had arrived the night before and had already checked into our room, I was very easily able to park and walk straight into our room, and was in bed by 11:00, which on a normal night is very, very late for me.  To say I was tired is an understatement.

I made a quick stop to say hello to Mickey at the Orlando airport

Despite being tired, I didn’t sleep well that night.  I woke up every hour or so, though I was never able to pinpoint why.  Kathleen left the room at 3:30 a.m. since she ran the 5k that morning, and by 6:00 I decided that I was awake for the day.  I showered, ate a quick breakfast, and Facetimed with my boys back home while they got ready for their day.  And then as Kathleen arrived back from the 5k I was on my way out the door to Animal Kingdom so that I could activate my renewed annual pass in order to take advantage of my passholder discount at the expo.

It was a picture perfect morning at Animal Kingdom that day

At Animal Kingdom I had hoped to ride Expedition Everest, but since it was down unexpectedly that morning I instead took the opportunity to explore the new Pandora area.  I was quite impressed with the attention to detail, and after riding Na’vi River Journey grabbed some tea from Starbucks and was walking back to the car by just after 9:00.  I made the short drive to Wide World of Sports, where the expo was held, and met back up with Kathleen who had taken the bus from our hotel.

The entrance to Wide World of Sports

Ready for a magical race weekend

Ready to run 19.3 magical Disney miles!

The expo opened at 10:00 that morning, and since we guessed that the official merchandise line would get long the moment the expo opened we headed there first.  This was the first time that I experienced runDisney merchandise being housed in the new Arena.  Although it was a bit of an inconvenience to have different aspects of the expo housed in three separate buildings, it was nice that the official merchandise was much more spread out and that you didn’t feel like you were walking on top of people in order to browse the merchandise.  We got in line for the merchandise around 9:30, and were let into the merchandise area right at 10:00.  We spent about 20 minutes browsing, and by 10:30 I had paid for my chosen items: a Fairy Tale Challenge tank, two Sweaty Bands headbands (one for the half marathon and one for the challenge), two magnets (again one for the half marathon and another for the challenge), and an adorable t-shirt for little man that said “My Favorite Disney Princess is my Mom.”

The entrance to the official merchandise area

My merchandise purchases

Afterwards, we headed to the Field House for bib pickup.  Since Kathleen had arrived a day ahead of me in order to run the 5k, she had already picked up her bibs, so it was just me who needed a bib at this point.  There weren’t any lines, but as my photo was taken for the challenge in order to verify my identity at the races, Kathleen realized that her photo hadn’t been taken the day prior.  While she waited in line at Runner Relations, I went over to the Visa Athletic Center, where I briefly browsed the expo floor before I picked up my race shirts.  I do wish that shirt and bib pickup were in the same building (I’d think that there’s plenty of space in the Field House now that the official merchandise has been moved to a separate building), but I also understand the desire to help drive expo sales up by forcing all runners to have to go into the expo building.

The first time that I’ve ever had a low enough bib number to be in the first booth line at an expo!

My race shirts and bib

By 12:00 we were back in the car and on our way to Magic Kingdom for the rest of the day.  Since we were both starving, our first stop once inside the park was at Peco’s Bill for lunch.  After lunch we enjoyed an absolutely beautiful afternoon at Magic Kingdom.  We had Fast Passes for Seven Dwarfs, Peter Pan, and Pirates of the Caribbean, and rode several other rides as well due to the fairly short lines.

Yay for a girls’ weekend at Disney!

Hanging out with Walt and Minnie on Main Street

Being that this was Princess weekend, we appropriately had dinner that evening at Be Our Guest.  It was Kathleen’s first time dining there, and she immediately fell in love with the decor like I did when I first ate there years ago.  We ended dinner with the coveted photo shoot with the Beast.

Deep in conversation with the Beast

We had originally planned on going back to the hotel after dinner, but when we discovered that the new Happily Ever After fireworks were scheduled to start at 7:55 p.m., and not later, we decided to stay for them.  Although I miss Wishes, it was magical to watch the new evening show at Magic Kingdom.

An absolutely beautiful scene from Happily Ever After

Afterwards we took the monorail back to the Transportation and Ticket Center, drove back to Pop Century, and after laying our clothes out for the 10k called it a night.  The lights were out in our room by 9:30 p.m., and our alarms were set for a very early morning.

Flat Kathryn ready to run the Enchanted 10k

QOTD: Which fireworks show at Disney World is your favorite?

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27 Responses to 2018 Princess Half Marathon Weekend – Days 0 and 1 – Flying Down and the Expo

  1. All I can think of when I look at your photos is how warm it must be! haha! I’ve never been to Disney but I hear the fireworks are spectacular!

  2. Lesley says:

    I rarely shop at expos, so I would like the shirts and bibs to be in the same place. RnR did that in Vegas, so I had everything within minutes. At least when I pre-ordered the Tink Dooney and Bourke in 2016, it was in the same area as the bibs.

  3. I have never run a Disney race, but have been there numerous times with the kiddos. I think the best fireworks show we’ve seen was at Hollywood (back then it was called MGM, I believe), but it was New Year’s Eve and was spectacular!

  4. Rachel says:

    I freaking love Disney and every time you post about it I get major FOMO. 😉 I’ve never been to Animal Kingdom but I totally want to go.

  5. Virjinia says:

    I’ve never run a Disney race but I’ve heard such great things about them! It sounds like you definitely had a fun filled weekend. It’s interesting their Expo/Packet Pickup layout though.

  6. All of the shirts are super cute! How do you have enough energy to run after going all around the park all day?

  7. Wendy says:

    Looks like so much fun! It’s amazing how big the expo is!

  8. Marcia says:

    Sounds like smooth sailing so far! I only remember seeing one fireworks show at Disney and that was at the Magic Kingdom. Both my kiddos slept through it. Haha!

  9. Elaine D says:

    What a fun girl’s weekend! When my girls are old enough to race, this would be the first runcation I’d suggest to them.

  10. I haven’t been to Disney in YEARS. I can’t remember if we ever saw a fireworks show there. My youngest son was there over NY this year and said it was spectacular. It sounds like you had a fun trip!

  11. Love the pics! I was on a Disney streak for a while, I ran the marathon in 2008, Princess in 2010 and 2011, Wine & Dine in 2011, and Tinkerbell in 2012. I haven’t been back to either Disney since. I miss it!

  12. What a fun recap! Love the little shirt you got for your little man!
    Glad you had such a fun weekend 🙂

  13. Juliana says:

    Im still bummed we didnt get to meet up-we will need to plan in advance next time! you had a jammed back first day!

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