Race Recaps runDisney

Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend 2013: Day One, the Fit for a Princess Expo!

Originally posted at laurabowers.net on January 22, 2014. I’m updating my author website by moving all older runDisney and running content here!

Seeing as though there’s only … oh, wow, less than a month to the Disney Princess Half Weekend, I better crank out some last-minute recaps quick or forever hold my sparkle skirt!

Okay, where to start.

The Expo. Let’s start there. Here’s the thing: Have you ever looked forward to something for so long that when it actually arrives, you feel trapped in a dazed, surreal fog with a bewildered, “Is this for real?” look on your face?

Yep. After 501 days of hoping, dreaming, and planning, that’s exactly how I felt the morning of the Expo.

It was held at Coronado Springs instead of ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex since they were hosting the Braves spring training. Bob and I woke early with a solid plan: Hit the Expo before the crowds, gather my loot, and then go to Animal Kingdom. Well. We apparently didn’t get up early enough since there was already a HUGE line formed at Port Orleans Riverside bus stop. And when we arrived at Coronado? Oh my gosh. The line outside was long. Epically, massively, damn-why-didn’t-I-get-out-of-bed-sooner long.

Photo by Bill Moss
Photo by Bill Moss

Lesson #1: If you plan on being at the bus stop at, say, 8:30, then bump it up to 8:00 for the poos and giggles. You won’t regret it.

Anyway, we hiked to the back of the line and soon, a kind-of familiar woman walked toward me. She was wearing a super cute shirt, so I was kind-of staring straight at her chest reading it when she said, “Laura?”(I really suck at first impressions.)

After my gaze was properly averted, she introduced herself as Lynda, one of the 65 gals/guys in my awesome online running group! It was super fantastic getting to meet her in person and chatting with her made the wait zoom by. Pretty soon, we were hitting this sign …

And posing for our first picture!

Linda and I went our separate ways to get our race bibs and I was pleasantly surprised to see hardly any lines! YAY! Too bad it didn’t last. After getting my bibs for the half and 5k, Bob and heading to the other side for my race packets, that’s when we saw them.

Big. Fat. Lines. This one was for the RunDisney New Balance shoes…

Photo by Bill Moss
Photo by Bill Moss

The one for Disney merchandise was even nastier! As soon as I got my race packet, I hopped in line, sending frantic texts to Bob with landmark clues so he could find me. It was crazy, crazy crowded and shoulder-to-shoulder, so once we got into the merchandise section, I went into serious grab and go mode.

My planned budget for the Expo? $50.00.

Did I stick to it? Girl, please.

My purchases? The pink “I did it” shirt that–ha, ha–had people commenting on how it looked like “Idiot,” two souvenir pins, a purple car magnet that Bob just adores seeing on our shared car, a coffee mug that I love, love, love, and [insert guilty cringe] a Dooney & Bourke tote that was a total impulse purchase I later regretted and obsessed about.

Lesson 2: If you make an impulsive purchaese, whatever, it’s cool, don’t obsess about it. (More on that later.)

Can you imagine running with these wings?
Can you imagine running with these wings?

We then headed to the vendor booths and ran into three more awesome friends from my online group who were waiting to meet Jeff Galloway. It was a delight getting to chat with them and to get a picture with him!

Lesson 3: Check the Expo schedule for when he’ll be at the RunDisney booth! I never would have known if it weren’t for my friends. He’s such a sweetie! He even signed both of my race bibs for good luck and I needed all the luck I could get.

Bob and I then said goodbye to my pals and did a little bit of shopping. I wanted a phone attachment for my iFitness belt that ended up being a very convenient place to store my camera during the half marathon. There was a sale going on at the Sweaty Bands booth that I couldn’t pass up. (Pink ones? Yes, please!) After two hours, I was shopped out, crowded out, and broke so we headed out to the bus line.

Total amount of money spent? I’d rather not say, but it was bad. Real bad.

We had to wait a while for a Port Orleans bus so by the time we got back to the resort, dropped my overspending in our room, and arrived at Animal Kingdom, it was … um … I don’t know. Lunch-ish? My memory isn’t that hot.

We grabbed a lunch to share at Flame Tree, (and a Bud Light for me, brew-ya!) something I’ve been really looking forward to from all the good reviews. It was … um … not our favorite counter service meal of the week. Not horribly bad, but not great. Still, it was quite pleasant sitting in the shade, chatting to our neighbors. Next up, was Dinoland USA …


… and one of my favorite Disney rides, Dinosaur! Okay, normally when we vacation with our kids, I get all obsessed about strategizing for front row seats, best views for shows, etc. Not this vacation, though. I wanted to be relaxed and chilled, taking things in stride, so we took our back row seats and really enjoyed the ride.

The next Finding Nemo show was coming up, so we then backtracked to get in line early. Neither of us had seen it yet, so we were looking forward to the show. It did not disappoint! We loved it, almost as much as Festival of the Lion King. 🙂 Next up, was Expedition Everest, which Bob hadn’t ridden yet!


His verdict? A big thumbs up. Turns out, that was my same verdict when we then grabbed some beers …


… before Flights of Wonder. What a cute show! We’ve never seen it before, because there were so many other things our boys wanted to do instead. Ah, the benefits of an adults-only trip!


Another attraction we’ve never seen was the Maharajah Jungle Trex, the next stop on our plan. After that, I can’t remember what we did until our dinner at Yak & Yeti which was AWESOME!


Afterwards, we headed back to Port Orleans Riverside to meet another online buddy, Linda, for the 8:30 Yee-ha Bob show. This was kind of a mistake since my butt should have been in bed.

Lesson #4: Get your butt in bed early the night before a race.

But whatever, YOLO, we had a total blast and it was awesome getting to know Linda and Brian so I had no regrets!


After finally calling it a night and getting back to our room, I had a really hard time falling asleep. It did help that once I nodded off, Bob flushed Port Orleans’ Turbo Toilet and woke me up. Grr. Before I knew it, the alarm was buzzing early Saturday morning for the Royal Family 5K!

More to come!

Laura Bowers

Laura is a writer, runner, reader, runDisney addict, blogger, vlogger, wife to an amazing guy for 26 years, mom of two wonderful boys, excellent chili maker, and obsessive list keeper. She still thinks Spice World was an awesome movie and feels no shame about that plus she can quote most lines from Talladega Nights. Shake and bake!

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