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