Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Trip Report Princess Half Marathon 2014 - #4 Post Race, Wilderness Lodge, Magic Kingdom

After the race we got on the bus and in no time we were back at Pop Century.  We had asked for a late check out time because we were not sure what time we would be done with the race.  We had plenty of time to shower and change.  We then packed up and said good by to Pop and got a cab to Wilderness Lodge.  The options to get from one resort to another with luggage are not that great.  The buses all go to parks, so you would have to switch buses at a park if you wanted to avoid paying for a cab.  The cab was about $15 and quick.  Checking in to Wilderness lodged was more of a challenge then it should have been.   The lady at the desk was concerned that we were wearing the wrong Magic Bands.  I was wearing the one that I got from Port Orleans Riverside and Doug was wearing one from the last trip from Art of Animation.  With our Hotel hopping we had learned that the bands are only tied to your online account.  If you have 1 or 5 it doesn't matter they will all do the same thing.  Doug tried to explain it to the lady but she was not buying it.  So, we dug through our bags to find the Wilderness Lodge ones and surprisingly they gave the same problem.  Finally a manager came over and fixed something and they finally worked.  The manager told us that only the ones for Wilderness lodge would open our door and get us into the park.  Doug said "Ok" and put them back in the bag.   We liked wearing our bands that were already broken in from the longer trips.  We also like to switch based on colors to go with outfits.  Doug did come back to the desk the next time past to let them know our old bands did indeed open our door.  (he couldn't let it go)

The rooms at Wilderness Lodge are very nice.  They are the smallest of the Deluxe resorts.  They only sleep 4 in stead of the 5 at most others.    There are neat wood carvings on the head boards and bead posts.  

Lots of little "rustic" touches throughout the room.

Animal friends join you in the shower.

Our balcony.

Our view straight across.

the view to the right.   We could see old faithful from our balcony.  

The grounds are very elaborate The pool is feed from a stream that starts in the hotel lobby.  

Once in the room we headed over to Roaring Fork for lunch.  We were starving by this point.  

I got a flat bread pizza and Doug got a Burger.   This was a very nice quick service location.  Several options but not so many that your head spins.  Some of the Disney Food courts at resorts have, may I say, too many options and it is hard to find the simple burger and fries.  Because of that many people get the burger with shrimp on top simply because that is a #2 and the burger is listed under "additional items"  Sorry rant over.   We enjoyed our meal and knew we would be back for a snack at some point.   

Now we were off to the Magic Kingdom.   There are two ways to get there from the Lodge.  One is by bus the other is by boat.  When given the choice the boat is lots more fun.

All the moisture from the morning had burned off and it looked like a beautiful day.   It was hot for February.  Upper 80's We were melting just a little.  

It seemed odd leaving a hotel room wearing a metal, but trust me everyone that has one will wear it.  And lots of people was say congratulations and ask how you did.  It was fun to walk a round with a metal on like a 6 year old soccer player or Olympic medalist.  I'm sure it falls somewhere between those two.  

We headed into Tomorrowland we wanted to get off our feet and watch a few shows.  We really enjoy Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor.   I was "lucky" enough to be part of the show.  It was quite hilarious and Doug still randomly brings it up.  I had to think of a number and then the monster guessed it.  He usually gets it right but some how he miss heard me so he got it wrong and it made for a one of a kind moment.  

Next up in the get off your feet tour was Carousel of Progress.

It had been a while since we had done this one and it is good for a true Disney fan to do it every now and then.

Next was our FastPass+ for Buzz.  Doug maxed out his score.  No one needs to see my score.  

And yes he wore the button the rest of the trip.  This button is like being a member of a secret club.  If you are waiting in a line you are guarantied to be asked how you got it.  Also any one with this button will gladly talk your ear off to tell you.  When one Galactic Hero passes another they seem to have a secret wave, like motorcycles on the highway.  He is kinda a nerd.   

At this point the miles were adding up.  The adrenaline was starting to wain and the feet were getting heavy.  We headed over to the Liberty Bell.  

This picture truly shows how I felt at this point of the day.  I should have drank more water, but I didn't.  So after a short nap it was actually time to head over to the Poly for dinner at 'Ohana's 

We stopped to get our picture with the Number Cruncher, Roy.  

We hopped on the monorail to head to the Poly.

We got off at the TTC.   There is a short walk way over to the Poly from the TTC.

It was a nice stroll through the grounds.  One really nice thing about the Polynesian is the fact that you have transportation options, but most people don't realize how short of a walk it is to the TTC to get the large fairy or monorail to Epcot.  

We were planning on meeting a large group of people from "lines" but it seemed like the people we knew the best didn't recover from the race in time to make it.  So, we left to find diner elsewhere.  Doug was a little disappointed but also didn't really want to eat with all total strangers.  

Back at the Magic Kingdom we went to Sleepy Hollow.  Doug got Nutella Waffle and I got the Strawberries Waffle.   This is a great place to fill up.  Doug also made a friend while in line.  A girl the same age as Samantha just started talking to him, and he is use to talking to kids at work so he talked right back.  They mom apologized for her bothering us but we really didn't care.   We got seated with our food then here came Doug's new friend to sit with us.   They were on a mother/daughter trip.  By the end of the meal they mom said it was nice to talk to an adult.  So, in a way we did sit with complete strangers but it was lots of fun.  Sleepy Hollow has never disappointed.  

Over at pirates this picture shows where Goofy meet as a pirate.  He stopped meeting there in 2012 but the props have not moved or changed.  

He now meets in the back of New Fantasyland.  We Meet Pirate goofy on his last day and the new goofy on his first day in October of 2012.

We decided it would be really nice to get on a Disney Cruise right after the race, so we went with It's a Small World.  It is not quite the Dream or Fantasy.

Then hung out with a few spirited friends.

After more wondering around and attractions we ended up at Gaston's Tavern.  We shared a Cinnamon roll.  It is not the same as what once was at the main st. bakery.  It was still good.  Doug wanted the frozen drink, but they but a fluffy stuff on top and that had mango in it so it was a no go for him.

We watched Wishes from New Fantasyland then slowly headed back to our resort.  We took the boat back because there was not much of a line by the time we got out of the park.  We lingered a bit after closing to enjoy the atmosphere and let the masses get out.  If we were in a hurry we would have taken the bus.  While the boat is cool the bus is more practical.

Back at the room and ready to sleep after just a few steps today!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Trip Report Princess Half Marathon 2014 - #3 RACE DAY!!!

Early Sunday Morning we headed for a bus at 2:45am dressed and ready for our very first Half Marathon.  

on a bus heading to the Princess Half Marathon at 2:50am

The first pic of the day came from the bus at 2:52am.  That is early.  The bus we were on filled all the way with just a stop at Pop Century.  They use charter buses for the runDisney events, so it is not your normal Disney bus.  We had heard to many stories about people being late for the race because of the lines for buses and we did not want to risk it so we left on the early side.  We were not on the first bus from Pop.  But we were on the second.  It is easy to see how you could be late with so many buses coming at the same time.  

By 3:50 we had arrived, settled in and got a picture.  It is a good .25 to .5 mile of a walk from where the bus drops you over to the pre-race staging are.  

Taking a picture around 3:50am

There were a few princess out to meet and a DJ spinning some tunes.  Not sure how people were capable of dancing at this hour and knowing they were about to run 13 miles in Hot and Humid Florida.  The temps were in the high 70's at 3am.  By noon it would hit 90 not a normal February day.  

In the corral and waiting at 5am

After lots of waiting and watching the masses roll in.  they announced we could head towards the corrals.  We were in corral G.  It was another mile of walking on the way to the corrals.  There were several groups of porta potty's along the way.  So you don't have to wait in one of the 20min lines back by the staging area.  We brought a couple water bottles that we planned on tossing once the race started and we also brought a bath towel to sit on.  We tossed that over the corral fence once it was packed and we had to stand.  There were lots of sweatshirts and socks and gloves piled up along the start.  If it had been cold we would have used the towels to stay warm waiting for the start.  They collect all the discarded clothing and donate them to a charity.  

As the race kicks of you slowly meander forward as a corral.  They do a good job of enforcing the corral assignments.  Which is important because it keeps corrals from getting over crowded.  We did see a few people from corrals ahead of us back in our corral so they could run with a friend.  You are allowed to move back wards but your friend can not move up to be with you.   

After only about 20minuets we were the next corral.  

They do fire works for each corral!  We were about smack dab in the middle of the corral.  

Our first mile down, 12 more to go.  Just a touch over a 10 min mile.  We wanted to go fairly quick in the begging of the race to stay ahead of the masses.  There are a few bottle necks that later in the morning become packed and you have to walk through.  Even with that plan we stopped at the very first porta potties.  There was no line and the ones around the 5K mark were packed!  We had been in the corral for over an hour and drinking lots of water.  

This picture sums up the weather.  No it was not raining.  That is fog reflecting the flash back.  A beautiful day for a race.  

From the Hub!

Wish we could have gone on a quick spin.

Back through the castle is one of the biggest bottle necks.  It is also a spot where it is super easy to run and you have a bounce to your step.  If you can't find the energy to run through the castle you signed up for the wrong race.   There are tons of photographers along the rout and you can pre-order the pictures for just one bib number.  So along as Doug and I were together we were both in it, but no pictures of just Doug.  This was the professional Picture.  

Here is the picture Doug took on his camera.  Not quite as nice as the one we payed for.

As you run through the Magic Kingdom you enter near Town Square, then hang a right down Main Street U.S.A.   You then turn into Tomorrowland from the hub.  From there you head towards the teacups and back through the Castle.  Once through the castle, you head across the bridge into Liberty Square and turn towards Frontierland.  You exit the park as you near Splash Mountain.  All along the way are characters.   Mickey and Minnie had a line that was easily over 30min long.  We skipped them, Tiana had just a couple people to wait for.  We stopped at the bathrooms at the Adventureland Breezeway.  It is the last real bathroom until you get to Epcot.   The bathrooms by Cheshire Cafe and Mickey's Star Traders are usually packed and have a line.  If you can make it to the other side of the park the line is much shorter and there is nothing like a real bathroom.  

Back out of the park and the excitement dies down and the legs start to realize you are running.  Up until the Magic Kingdom it was 100% adrenaline.  Not sure there is an easier 6 miles to run.  The remaining 7 is long and somewhat boring.  There is tons of things to see and characters to meet a long the way, but it is tough to compete with the Magic Kingdom.  

We saw some characters we don't normal get to meet.  We mainly focused on the types like that.  If we stopped at every thing we would still be there.  

In this crew only one does a regular meet the other 3 are extremely hard to find!  

Almost every Mile marker had a little line like this.  We never stopped to get a picture with one.

The at were we just were.  The mile 10 marker is actually right below us.  The clover up to the overpass is long but not steep.   There are a few more over passes before the end of the race.  All the hills in this race are man made which makes them hurt just a little more.  

It felt like we took the long way to Epcot but we were finally back stage.  

No wait for Sofia!!!!

In EPCOT!!  the end is near.  

We made it.  

A picture with our new bling just after the finish line.  

After we got through the post race area another shot to show off the metal.  We got purple drawstring bags and a box of food to refuel.  

One last picture before we jumped on the next bus back to Pop Century to Shower, pack up, and move to Wilderness Lodge.

If you like shaky video then this video is for you!   

There was lots of great entertainment along the way and lots of water stops.  I wish the food stop would have been more then just Gel.  I would have liked a banana.  Over all everyone was friendly and a few times we had to run around a group of people walking 6 or 8 wide.  Not sure how so many people that walked so much got in front of us at the start.  I figure people must lie about their times and hope Disney is not going to check everyones times.   Overall at that point in time we could not wait to do it again!

Next up see how we recover while trying to vacation.