Disney Land and Sea – Trip Recap (Part One)

Disney-Dream-Sail-Away-SelfieI’m back and brimming with excitement about all the things Raymond and I did and saw on last week’s whirlwind land and sea vacation!  Today’s post is a recap of the land portion of the trip’s (mostly) highs and (very few) lows with many more details to come in future posts about specific events, restaurants, and more.

Disney Land and Sea – Trip Recap

Plans for this trip started about a year ago when I was talking with my Disney Exchange co-hosts about the great time I had during the 2015 Glass Slipper Challenge and how I couldn’t wait to do it again.  This led to Dave and I starting to plan a trip where we could all meet up and do a runDisney event together…naturally, this led Nick to talk about Nick…with specific emphasis on exactly WHY he could not, would not (with a fox, in a box) run. EVER.  Yes, he does have an actual medical excuse for being a non-runner, but we quickly wore him down and convinced him he could be a fast enough walker to successfully complete the Enchanted 10K.  Once he agreed, we would not, could not (in a house, with a mouse) let him back out.  Fast forward to February 19th, 2016.

Raymond and I got up at 3:00 am to catch a 6:30 flight to Orlando (with a layover in Dallas) and arrived around noon with a plan to check in at Bay Lake Tower, grab a quick bite at the Contempo Café and head to the race expo where we’d meet up with Nick, Dave, and Dave’s wife, Anne.  And that’s exactly what we did!  TDE-runDisney-ExpoWe had time to pick up our packets and knock around the ridiculously crowded expo for a while.  Dave was feeling crummy, so, after a while, we all went our separate ways and agreed to meet up at the pre-race area for the 10K in the morning.

Raymond and I headed to our dinner reservation at Kona Café where we had an awesome meal and made friends with the young couple sitting next to us (Kellie and her boyfriend).  They were so sweet!  Knowing 3:00 am would come quickly, we called it a night.

And just like that, the alarm went off and I sprang eagerly crawled miserably from bed feeling like I hadn’t slept at all.  The monorail was unexpectedly not running for the 10K, so I waited in the long line for a bus and amused myself by Periscoping the other people waiting with me.  One uneventful bus ride later and I was posing for some pre-race photos with Dave and Nick.  TDE-Nick-Lisa-Dave-Enchanted-10KWe headed to our respective corrals and the race was as fun as we hoped it would be.  Once I finished, I headed back to Bay Lake Tower to get ready for a fun day in Magic Kingdom.The-Disney-Exchange-WDW

Dave, Nick and I had booked FastPasses separately, but at overlapping times for Big Thunder Mountain, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, and the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.  First up, Big Thunder – we had a great time and were all together at the very back of the train.  TDE-BTMRR-GroupTDE-Country-BearsWe then enjoyed the Country Bears doing their thing…after which we agreed to meet up after lunch for our next FastPass – The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.   Turns out the dwarfs must have been as under the weather as Dave was feeling at this point and the ride was down, so we used our replacement FastPass for Pirates.

Note:  Raymond and I decided that day on the Skipper Canteen for lunch since our first visit was so delightful.  Not so much the second time around – at least not for me.  Maybe the Canteen isn’t going to be as successful as we’d originally thought.  A shame, but my food was just not very good at all.  The service was still great.

Here’s where the plans we made as a group went unfortunately awry for the rest of the weekend.  I’m sure there will be a great discussion about what transpired at this point on Episode 64 of The Disney Exchange (released date 3/6/16).  Long story short – When it came time to use our last FastPass of the day, Pooh was also experiencing technical difficulties and Dave’s flu-like symptoms were getting worse – So Dave and his family decided to leave so Dave could take a nap with a plan to meet us later.  TDE-Nick-and-Lisa-Winnie-the-PoohNick, Raymond and I eventually did get to use our FastPasses for Pooh and his Many Adventures before the three of us headed to Epcot for the remainder of the afternoon where we had a fantastic time watching Nick pose for pictures (this is seriously entertaining), meeting some excellent new friends (Hi Rebeca, Patty, Derek, and Lauren!) enjoying refreshing adult beverages, listening to British Revolution in the UK Pavilion, and people-watching.  (Unfortunately, Dave was really sick and out for the rest of the weekend.)

Photo courtesy of Nicholas Maglio

Photo courtesy of Nicholas Maglio

Nick was meeting friends for dinner in Mexico and Raymond and I had an Il Mulino reservation at the Swan that evening.  Our dinner was great – I can’t say enough about Il Mulino’s service, menu, wine list, and bonus after-dinner Limoncello.  Once again…3:00 am loomed large, so we called it a night as soon as we finished eating.

Third day in a row for a 3:00 alarm and I was ridiculously tired.  The kind of tired where you feel like you weigh a ton and are nauseous.  I carried my Cliff Bar and a bottle of water with me and felt like I was twice my age as I shuffled slowly over to the Contemporary to catch the monorail.  This would be my 8th half marathon and I’d heard the inner voice that was berating me many times before, “What were you thinking!  This is a stupid plan!  You should be sleeping!  You are too old for this nonsense!”PHM-Pre-Race-SelfieI told the inner wimpy me to shut up and tried not to look as miserable as I felt as I rode to Epcot with the other runners.  I knew from previous experience that I’d perk up as soon as the race started.  Unlike the day before, I had no Nick, Dave and Anne to keep me company, so I ate my breakfast, engaged in a moment or two of lonely self-pity, and made my way with the many thousands of other runners to the starting corrals.PHM-Pre-RacePrincess-Half-Marathon-MK

Sure enough, once it was my turn to get going, my body and mind decided to cooperate.  The weather was great and 13.1 miles suddenly didn’t seem like a dreaded chore, but more an excellent adventure.  I did take a couple of walk-breaks around mile 10, but overall felt wonderful during the entire event.  Raymond was waiting for me a few times along the course and at the finish line, which made me happy!  We spent a few minutes in the post-race celebration area before heading back to clean up…we were meeting Nick and some of his friends at Disney Springs for the afternoon – Starting at noon with pre-lunch snacks and drinks at Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar followed by lunch at the Boathouse where, yes indeed, we got to sit at the boat table!!!!  I’ll tell you all about it soon in an upcoming post.

Photo courtesy of Nicholas Maglio

Photo courtesy of Nicholas Maglio

Up next, Part 2!  The sea portion of our vacation aboard the Disney Dream.




RunDisney Events – What to Wear

Princess-Half-Road-to-Magic-KingdomIf you’re considering a runDisney event and have checked out the website, you probably couldn’t help but notice that folks dress a bit differently for these races.  Part of what makes a runDisney event so special is how runners show their DisneySide through their running wear.  Even if you’re not the tutu or sparkly-skirt-wearing kind (I am SO not wearing a tutu), you’ll want to sport a themed outfit of some sort.  No, it’s not mandatory and your are certainly welcome to just wear regular running clothes, but to fully enjoy the excitement and magic of a runDisney event and look extra special in those awesome race photos, you should at least give your Disney race-wear some special consideration.

RunDisney Events – What to Wear

Personally, I prefer my Disney race wear to pay tribute to something Disney (character or attraction, for example) rather than be a full-blown costume.  Disney has recently updated their costume policy, so it pays to take a peek at the do’s and don’ts.  I’m all about comfort. The last thing I want to worry about is fancy accessories and trimmings or any sort of prop.  What I do enjoy, honestly, is seeing people who go all out!  Just because at my (sort of) advanced age I’m more into comfort than runDisney fashion, I totally appreciate the time, effort, and creativity that is required for the fancier, more elaborate outfits donned for those awesome Disney race courses.  Here are some of the best costumes I saw during the Glass Slipper Challenge in 2015:Princess-Half-Princesses Princess-Half-Frozen-Friends

Last year for Princess Half Marathon Weekend I wore outfits that paid homage to Minnie, Donald, and the Evil Queen – all three ensembles were easy to assemble!  I planned them out many months in advance and  I was completely comfortable while running.  Most importantly, I felt like I was truly participating in each event to the fullest extent possible.RM-Enchanted-10K-Minnie-Outfit RM-Donald-costumePrincess-Half-Waiting-Selfie

This year I’m not running the 5K so I only had to worry about what to wear for the Enchanted 10K and the Princess Half Marathon.  This trip snuck up on me!  I didn’t really think about what I could wear until early January and then I had to act fast since I wanted to order several items online.  Before I reveal the chosen themes, I should explain that I pretty much always wear a cap or visor when I run.  When I’m running, sunglasses bother me so I rely on the bill of a cap to shade my eyes.  After 18 years of running, this has evolved into some weird lucky superstitious quirk.  Gotta have a visor!Enchanted-10K-Costume-Daisy

First up is my homage to Daisy outfit!  I found the fabulous Daisy-themed ears on Etsy and already had the skirt, socks, and visor from last year.  I picked up three different pink shirts from the after-Christmas-super-sale at our local sporting-goods store – tank, short-sleeved, and long-sleeved versions to cover any weather conditions possible.

For the half-marathon, I’m going with a tribute to that most iconic Disney attractions, Haunted Mansion!  The Hatbox Ghost ears are again from Etsy, the mansion wallpaper tights from an online store, and the shirt from the Disney store.  I added a black running skirt and the mandatory visor and ta-dah!  I’m pretty happy with the final look.  I’ll try to find a Haunted Mansion pin to add to the visor if I have time.Princess-Half-Haunted-Mansion-OutfitNot too fancy, didn’t have to sew anything, and I’ll be comfortable yet stylish.  I’m ready!  Our plane leaves tomorrow morning at 6:00 am…Glass Slipper Challenge, here I come!

Have you participated in a runDisney event?  I’d love to see your costume pictures!!!  Feel free to post them on our Facebook Page.



Disney Resolutions – 2016 Version

Polynesian-Villa-Fireworks-New-YearIf you’ve been hanging around here a while then you know I’m not big on life-changing New Year’s Resolutions.  I don’t believe in trying to change yourself, your life, or your habits anytime other than when you’re ready to embrace change.  Nike’s motto “Just Do It” perfectly sums up how I feel about change.  If you want to lose weight, quit smoking, relax more, be angry less, do more or less of anything – do it when you’re ready, not because the calendar says January 1.  Since I stared this blog in 2013, I’ve made only Disney resolutions at the beginning of the year and today I’m stoked about 2016 and what’s in store Disney-wise.  I’d also love to hear what your Disney resolutions are, so please leave a comment!

Disney Resolutions – 2016 Version

I’m going to the movies!  Oh, my goodness!  The 2016 Disney movie lineup is simply The Standard Movie Snacksspectacular!  Zootopia, Jungle Book (finally!), Captain America Civil War, Finding Dory, and Moana (those are the ones I’m most excited about).  There are more, but those five are at the top of my must-see list.RM-Sunrise-runDisney-Princess-Half

I’m running alone – again, but hopefully for the last time!  Next month I’m headed to my next couple of runDisney races.  Since Joseph trained for and ran his first 10k and half marathon with me last fall, I have hope that I’ll finally be able to convince at least one or more family members to join me for the 2017 Princess Half Marathon (or Glass Slipper Challenge). Running-Age-Group-Awards-5K Over the past 18 years, I’ve run almost all the races I’ve entered by myself, but I’ve enjoyed having Joseph by my side so much, I’d love to have him with me at Walt Disney World for a race or two.  I know Megan can run (when she wants to) and she would absolutely love a runDisney event…I’ll be working on that.Morimoto-Asia-Lunch-Raymond

I’m learning to share – and resolve to do it more often!  Last week when Raymond and I were at Walt Disney World, we shared food in restaurants big time!  We had a ton of ADRs (Advance Dining Reservations) booked – so many that we could never have experienced each restaurant to the fullest without sharing.  We shared omelets at breakfast (Grand Floridian Café), three-courses at lunch (Skipper Canteen and Morimoto Asia),Morimoto-Asia-Kakuni-Pork-Bao appetizers at dinner (Jiko, Bluezoo, Shula’s, Flying Fish, and Narcoossee’s) and were able to taste so much more – while wasting so much less food than we would have without sharing.  We felt less stuffed and saved money too!  In a few weeks we’ll be back at Disney World before cruising on the Disney Dream…let’s see if we can keep up the culinary cooperation!

I’m going to show my adult children how to be kids again!  There’s no better place to embrace your inner child than at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party!  MM-Magic-Kingdom-MNSSHPWe’ve booked a week in October for Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival, but I’m dying to show ’em how to dress up and totally be a kid again for the night in Magic Kingdom at one of the most special and fun events Disney has to offer.

I vow to find the most perfect shoes ever!  Ugh!  I’m showing my age for sure.  I took five pairs of my most broken-in, tried and true Disney touring shoes last week and my feet still killed me. RM-Running-Shoes In fact, one day we went to Disney Springs in the morning with Epcot planned for the afternoon and I had to stop and buy some sandals at the Sanuk store because I was bleeding in to my sneakers – ones I’d worn comfortably several times in the past.  The problem for me is that all the walking and standing in line causes my feet and ankles to swell.  Maybe the cure is some deluxe compression socks or some extra-special comfort sandals – whatever it is, I’m committed to finding the cure.  I’m old-ish, but I’m not THAT old – I’m not letting my feet keep me from doing all that I want to do.

This year my goals are few and simple.  What are your 2016 Disney resolutions?


Fitbit Review – Getting Ready for WDW!

I’ve had a Fitbit Charge HR for about three weeks now.  I’d wanted one for a long time, but was hesitant about spending the money – I want to lose a few pounds and keep track of my diet and exercise, but I was certain I could rely on free diet and fitness apps to get the job done.  I was wrong.Fitbit App

Fitbit Review – Getting Ready for WDW!

After packing on the pounds stress eating this year, I was down to some pretty slim pickings in my closet.  I do NOT want to buy bigger clothes.  I know when I’m at a certain weight I feel great and am comfortable in both my own skin and all the clothes in my closet.  I was ready to be that weight again, but lacked the right motivation to get there.  We’re also getting ready for a Walt Disney World vacation right after Christmas – I want to be prepared for all the walking involved!  Enter the Fitbit Charge HR.Fitbit Charge HR

As a birthday gift, it might not sound very exciting, but Raymond knows me well and he knows when I’m not happy with myself, I’m like Alice in Wonderland and I lose my “muchness”.  Ramping up my exercise and dropping the extra pounds is the solution for what’s dragging me down.  The best thing about a Fitbit is that it’s very much a one-stop shop for tracking activity, sleep, heartrate, calories in and out, and even water intake.Fitbit-App-Tracking

So, a few weeks in and I’ve been very diligent about utilizing all the features to the fullest extent.  I let the app know my weigh loss goals and it automatically determines my calorie goal each day – which differs based on my activity.  I pay more attention to the amount and quality of sleep I’m getting – how this device knows exactly how many minutes I’m sleeping along with the number of times I wake up or am restless is mysterious and COOL to me!  I added friends within the app who also use Fitbit to see how my daily steps compare to theirs.  The app even awards badges when certain mileage or flights-of-stairs milestones are reached.  I’m just a bit competitive, so these features are perfect for me!Fitbit Badges

The result?  My daily running mileage is up – which is great since I’ve got the Glass Slipper Challenge ahead of me in February.  I’ve lost 8 pounds so far, which is about 1/3 of my goal and I feel like my willpower has gotten a much-needed injection of strength.  It’s early days yet,  but the features and benefits of my Fitbit have been worth what Raymond paid for it.

Do I feel like I can keep going? Absolutely!  I’ll let you know when I’ve reached my goal.

Do you have a Fitbit? How’s it been working for you?