Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend in Review

Hold on tight...This is gonna be a long one...  I am still dealing with my "Disney high".

The alarm went off at 4:15 a.m.  The hubs and I got ready and were on our way to RDU by 5:30 a.m.  Jason loves to catch the early morning flight because it allows us to maximize our Florida time.  Boy that guy loves him some Florida!  While at RDU waiting for our flight, we met a family from Wilson (mother, twin daughters, grandmother and grandfather).  The mother was going to do her first half marathon at Disney!  We talked for a bit about her nervousness, etc.

We arrived in Orlando a little after 9 a.m.  We quickly gathered our things and headed to catch the bus to our resort.  We decided to try a different resort for the half marathon weekend - we chose Port Orleans French Quarter.  After checking in, we went over to Epcot.  We had a nice lunch at Les Chefs de France.  We ate at this restaurant in 2007 and I loved it.  I have been wanting to go back and made sure it made the reservation list for this trip.  

After lunch, we went to the Fit for a Princess Expo at ESPN Wide World of Sports.  The layout was a little frustrating - you had to go to a tent to gather certain items, then to the Jostens Center for other items.  I guess that is what happens when you have 20,000 participants in the half marathon!  I picked up my race bib and was able to move up from Corral G to Corral C.  This was a definite relief for me - I knew I would be fine in G, but I didn't want to have to "fight" to get around crowds to get ahead, etc.  Jason and I wandered around for a while and I secured a few items I had been eyeing...
From left to right:  Race tech shirt, Champion tech jacket, "Storybook" Program,
"I Did It" t-shirt with race route on the back

I saw this shirt and regret not buying it - perfect for me!
(Thanks for taking a picture of it Kerry!)
After the expo, we headed back to our resort to drop off my purchases and to get ready to head to Epcot for dinner.  We had dinner at J's favorite - Nine Dragons.  By the time we were done with dinner, we were both exhausted!  We were back in the room before 9 p.m. and I was probably asleep within 1 minute of my head hitting the pillow.

On Saturday morning, we took our time getting ready, but still got a pretty early start.  We headed over to the Magic Kingdom - and it was nuts!  There were so many people!  We spent some time on the train, wandering around, people watching, and just soaking it all in.  The weather was beautiful!  After spending our day in the Magic Kingdom, we headed over to the Polynesian for dinner at Kona Cafe (J's other favorite).  Unfortunately, this probably wasn't the best choice for "carb loading", but I don't tend to eat a bunch of carbs the night before a half.  I enjoyed the Kona Coffee Rubbed Pork Chop, served with mashed sweet potatoes and broccolini.  It was so delicious!  

After dinner, we headed back to Port Orleans to get ready for an early Sunday morning wake up call!  I knew that I needed to get all my things laid out the night before.  I put everything out on the bed and on the table.  I knew that I would be able to sleep better knowing everything was out and in its place! 

We also took time to lay out all of Jason's clothes too.  He decided from the very beginning that he was going to get up and go to Epcot with me, even though he would be sitting and waiting for about 3 hours.  See??!!  Don't I have a great husband!  

The alarm blared at 2:45 a.m.  I hit the snooze and laid in the bed stretching for about 10 minutes.  When I finally got up, I went through my normal pre-race routine - peanut butter on a bagel, a glass or two of water, applying a little make up, brushing teeth, putting Body Glide on every nook and cranny of my body, and getting dressed.  If I ever meet the person that invented Body Glide, I will probably kiss their face!  

Terrible lighting and I look very chubby, but this
was my version of Belle.
Before we left, J took a picture of the cute costume my mother-in-law worked so hard on (thanks Emily!).  My outfit included a Bella yellow sparkle skirt, yellow running tank (thanks Mary), and some other accessories to make me look more like Belle.

We got out to the shuttle to Epcot at 3:40 a.m. and there was a terribly long line!  Because we needed an accessible shuttle for J, the nice gentleman from Mears called a shuttle for us.  We ended up going to Epcot by ourselves and not on a big bus.  That was a definite help for my pre-race jitters!  

Once at Epcot, I helped the hubs get over to the "Race Retreat".  He was going to be hanging out in the tent while I was gone.  

I started following the crowd of race participants to get to the starting corrals. The entire time I was walking, I was so worried that I would never be able to connect with Annette, a fellow NCRC Beginner Women's Program runner.  Luckily, about 15 or 20 minutes before the race started, I got a text from her. Somehow she was able to get into Corral D.  I was already in C and I wasn't going to try to press luck and get her moved up. So, I started walking toward D and found her!  I breathed a huge sigh of relief!  We ran together for the first several miles.  I ended up losing her as we left the Transportation and Ticket Center area (somewhere between miles 4 and 5).  This left me running "alone" for the rest of the race, but I did my best to keep it from slowing me down!  The Princess Half Marathon route went from Epcot, through the Magic Kingdom and back to Epcot.  We passed the WDW Speedway, ran through the Transportation and Ticket Center, past the Magnolia and Palm golf courses, etc.  To put it simply, it was just lovely!

After the race, I enjoyed a very nice glass of champagne to celebrate.  Jason and I boarded the shuttle to head back to the resort for a while.  When we arrived at the resort, I went right to the little restaurant and picked up a chocolate milk - one of my favorites after a long run! While the hubs watched some TV, I took a little catnap.  I was so tired that I climbed right in bed without changing out of my running clothes!  After relaxing a while, we got ready to head to Downtown Disney with Margaret and Gavin.

Margaret and Gavin met us at the resort and we took a little boat "cruise" to Downtown Disney.  We were able to get into T-Rex restaurant with virtually no wait.  Unfortunately, I was so hungry that I couldn't figure out what I wanted to eat.  I ended up ordering a cheeseburger.  It was pretty tasty, but it didn't fully hit the spot/fill the hole in my incredibly hungry belly.  After lunch, we all wandered around for a while.  Around 5 p.m., it was time for Margaret and Gavin to head home.  We were sad to see them go, but we'll hopefully see them again in May!

Sunday evening, we had dinner reservations at the California Grill.  This is one of our favorite restaurants on the Disney property.  Unfortunately, we were way too exhausted to really enjoy this meal.  It was good, but I wish I had not been so tired!  After dinner, we made our way back to the resort and went right to bed.  We decided we were going to set the alarm for 9 a.m., but would just get up when our bodies woke us up.  

A couple pictures from the day...  Sorry for the blurriness - kinda hard to take a picture with the phone so early in the morning!
Regan (Belle) and Annette (Cinderella)
before the race.
Porta-potty line!  Crazy!!!
"Belle" in the Magic Kingdom
Jason and Regan after the race!  Look at that bling!
Getting ready to head to lunch with Margaret
and Gavin at Downtown Disney

We slept until about 8 a.m. on Monday morning.  We knew that we needed to get all our things packed up, so we took our time getting ready.  Once we had put our luggage in storage, we headed to the Magic Kingdom.  It was so crowded (again!).  We walked around for a while, rode Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin, then decided we were done.  We decided to go over to the Grand Floridian to see if we could have lunch at the Grand Floridian Cafe.  The restaurant was pretty empty and we were seated immediately.  Lunch was so delicious!  I think this will be a restaurant we visit again.  

After lunch we went back to Downtown Disney.  We wanted to go to World of Disney to purchase a few things before heading home.  After making our way back to our resort, we spent sometime enjoying the beautiful weather by the pool.  After relaxing for a bit, we headed to Port Orleans Riverside for an early dinner at Boatwright's Dining Hall.

After dinner, we got on the Magical Express to head back to the Orlando International Airport.  We stayed the night in the Hyatt Regency in the airport.

This morning, we were up bright and early once again.  We took the 8:35 a.m. flight back to North Carolina and were home by 11 a.m.

All in all, it was a wonderful weekend.  I wish that we had been able to stay a little longer after the race, but it was a great four days nonetheless.  I will definitely do another Disney race in the future, but likely won't do this one every single year.  




  1. I loved reading your Disney recap!! So glad you had a great time here in Florida and a great race!! (and, yes, I am soo mad I didn't buy that shirt either!) :)

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