Originally posted at laurabowers.net on March 16, 2014. I’m updating my author website by moving all older runDisney and running content here!
Here we go with another round of recaps from the awesome Princess Half Marathon Weekend! And look, I’m posting these in March instead of January like I did with my last-minute 2013 Expo, Royal Family 5k, and Princess Half recaps. Improvement!
Okay, let’s start with Thursday morning, our arrival day. Last year, Bob and I took a 6:30am flight, leaving our house at 3:30. It was nice having a full day but by the time Sunday rolled around, I was exhausted from so many early mornings so this year, we decided to take a later 8:30 flight.
The morning before, we got slammed with a business emergency for my husband’s construction company that turned me into a complete nervous wreck. Add to that how it made me forget our Southwest 24-hour check-in, leaving us with horrible boarding pass assignments.
I have bad flying anxiety. I did not take this well.
So between that and our business nightmare, I could hardly sleep Wednesday night. By 2:00 am Thursday, I was wide awake and wishing we had that earlier flight. (Especially when we later arrived in Orlando and saw the super huge line for All Stars at Magical Express whereas last year, there was hardly any.)
Lesson Learned: Stick with the earlier flight. Nap more.
Everything worked out fine, though. Our business brouhaha later turned out to be nothing and Southwest took great care of me and my anxiety at the airport, so an hour before flight time, I could finally take a deep breath and relax. (And take this selfie to show what my hair looks like before Florida’s humidity gets its frizzy little claws in it.)
Soon we were boarded, in the air, and then landing in sunny Florida! Like I said before, the line for All Stars at Magical Express was seriously long, but it was fun seeing all the other excited princesses wearing their tiaras and matching tee-shirts.
Oh, speaking of tiaras? I’m proud to report that I wore mine every single day, old lady attitude be damned. Next year’s will be bigger, though, so it will show up in pictures. 🙂
Next stop, All Stars Music Resort!
Now, since both our boys are in college, we’re sticking with value resorts for the next … oh, six years until they both get their masters. I was a little worried about All Stars Music after reading some negative reviews, but you know what? We absolutely loved it! Clean, colorful, great bus service, (much better than Port Orleans’) and we had our second lucky break of the day by being moved to the closer Jazz Building, which meant a shorter walk for Bob with his bad hip. Nice!
It was also nice being able to buy a half gallon of skim milk in the store for only $2.95 for my coffee. And what was REALLY nice was exchanging that brouhaha for my first brew-haha of the trip along with our lunch of yummy chicken quesadillas!
(Yeah, I know, I should have been hydrating. Foreshadow: This will catch up with me later.)
My only complaint about All Stars Music was having no coffee maker in our room, which made those 2:00 wake ups pretty ugly. Next year, we’re packing a mini-Keurig. Problem solved!
Okay, on to the Expo. I know, about time, right?
I have to admit–after last year’s chaotic craziness at Coronado Springs, I had been feeling a tad anxious, especially after hearing horror stories of Disney merchandise selling out in record times at other races. So this year, I was prepared. I had lists. Maps. A strategic plan of attack. I had arranged for a pal who had arrived earlier to pick up my “I Did It” shirt and a Glass Slipper magnet for me before they sold out. I even packed my favorite Scout bag in my carry-on to better haul around all my loot. Turns out, none of that was necessary, although the bag did come quite in handy!
The ESPN Wide World of Sports center was gorgeous, a breath of fresh air compared to last year. The official open time was 10:00, but word is, they opened at 9:00am. Bob and I arrived at around … oh, 1:30 or so.
We soon ran into the first gal from my awesome running group, Lynda! This cracked me up since she was the first person I met at last year’s Expo. Such great timing!
We ended up chatting for a while and she showed all the lovely goodies she had already bought, making me excited to give my own credit card a good workout. Bob and I had planned on hitting Disney Merchandise first, but we ended up ditching my carefully-crafted plan and popping into the Dooney & Bourke building first.
I had pre-ordered the tote but wow, that sucker was huge! The shape of the shopper didn’t do much for me, but the letter carrier was adorable. Now, I tend to get a little OCD when it comes to placement, so the plan was for Bob to pick the bag to keep my crazy from going into overdrive. One glance at this baby, however, and I knew it was mine! I loved how the blue Princess repeated – it made the pattern seem less chaotic. After all, the Glass Slipper medals were blue so it seemed very fitting!
Our next stop? Maybe it should have been Disney Merchandise, but I decided to get all my bids taken care of. Wow, it was surprising empty in that building!
Getting my bids for the 10k and half marathon was a total breeze! I was still glad to have a plan of attack, though, so I wouldn’t forget to get my commemorative necklace and pin. Finding the correct place to get my 5k bib was a bit trickier after getting wrong directions from two different folks, but we eventually figured it out. And what??? A beer stand? Well, don’t mind if I do.
Next up? Disney merchandise!
One of the first things we came across was a giant wall with every registered runner listed – very cool!
Took me a while, but I found my name. It made me feel loved. 🙂
We then made a beeline for the Disney merchandise in the back. My purchases? A Cinderella 5k pin to go with my pre-ordered Glass Slipper one, a half marathon magnet, and a mug that I love, love, LOVE! My friend already picked up an I Did It Glass Slipper shirt for me, but I was still eyeballing the Princess Half one since it was a gorgeous color blue. (I resisted, only to end up buying it after the half.)
Next up on the list was to exchange my previously ordered XS Team Sparkle Minnie skirt at the Sparkle Athletic booth for a size small. Super easy transaction. Love those ladies! Then we headed over to Fitletic so I could pick up a single pouch belt that would fit my Otterbox-covered iPhone.
There were many other awesome photo opportunities and things to check out on the floor, but I was too much in hang-out-with-my-hubby mode rather to worry about wearing my blogger hat.
So rather than spending any more money, we thought of our kids’ college tuition and decided to head out. Good thing, because I ended up running into more lovely ladies from my running group! It was so nice getting to know everybody better.
After chatting for quite a bit, (and running off to the RunDisney booth after hearing about the cute pins they were giving out,) Bob and I were ready to call it a day. Not until we snagged some free yogurt samples on the way out, though!
All in all, this year’s Expo was a total blast! Well done, runDisney. 🙂
We then chilled a bit at Music before heading out to Downtown Disney to eat dinner with some running pals at one of my favorite restaurants, Raglan Road! I just had to get my favorite dessert – bread pudding, which started my weeklong food binge that packed on four pounds. More on that later…
Next up, the Cinderella Royal Family 5k!
Hope you had a great time at the Expo!