Disneyland Cigna Blogger Meet-Up 2017

Happy Tuesday, everyone! Jackey will be sharing her Incredibles 5k recap from runDisney’s amazing 2017 Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend soon. (Want to see our 5k video recap? Awesome, head over to our YouTube channel!) Until then, I’m chatting about the amazing Cigna Blogger Meet-Up we were fortunate enough to be a part of.

It. Was. So. Much. FUN!!

Disneyland Cigna Blogger Meet-Up 2017

First off, many thanks to Pam from Wife, Mother, Runner for connecting us with Jim Angstant of Team Cigna. We truly appreciate it!

The event took place on Friday, September 1, 2017 at the Grand California Resort with lunch and a scavenger hunt called the Cigna Great Race in California Adventure. After running the Incredibles 5k early that morning, our initial plan was to shower up then head to the parks before the noon start. But. It was hot. Real hot, y’all, so we napped and rested instead. Such a good move.

What wasn’t a good move, however, was me showering too late and going to the event with a wet head. I have one hairstyle with it’s humid: air-dried curls with my bangs up in a clip. Otherwise, this is Laura:

You know what was pretty awesome, though? Being able to tell security at the Grand California that no, we don’t have rooms there, but we were there for a blogger event. <<flips wet hair off shoulder, feels important>>

It’s the little things.

We were also super happy to see Kimberly Estabrook in the lobby after running the 5k together! After Erin from Miss Erin Says arrived, (such a lovely gal,) we headed to the conference center.


I have to admit that events like these tend to make my anxiety shoot sky-high. I mean, writing for a blog? No worries! Talking into a camera for a video? No problem, film away! But interact with bloggers I don’t know? Cue the I’m-not-worthy, why-am-I-here fear.

[NOTE TO SELF: Work on this, Laura.]

So, not gonna lie, it was a comfort having Jackey and Kimberly there as security blankets. We first stopped to collect colorful handkerchiefs to wear during the Cigna Great Race … with each of us getting different colors since we were on different teams, hence, the loss of my security blankets. <<tries to shrug off the pesky anxiety clinging to my still-wet hair and walk inside the ballroom>>

The room looked so pretty with a huge lunch buffet and decorated tables. And oh my, what’s that I see? A backdrop for pictures? Awesome, I had the feeling we’d be having certain mouse visitors that are always a joy. Jackey and I first shot some video…

Disneyland Cigna Blogger Meet-Up 2017

…before heading over to the buffet. I was still a little full from a late breakfast, but everything looked so good I had to fill my plate!

Disneyland Cigna Blogger Meet-Up 2017

Our posse then separated to join our respective teams: Jackey headed over to Team Daisy and I went to my Team Minnie table. Being assigned the color pink was a good sign … you know how I feel about pink, right?

And I was so happy to see Monica from Run, Eat, Repeat at our table! I’ve been a fan of her blog for a long time, so I begged myself to not be a dork and talk to her. Very glad I did because she’s super nice! I asked if she’d like to do a YouTube collaboration one day. Look at me go!

Disneyland Cigna Blogger Meet-Up 2017

(Pardon the horrible video screenshot. Either she looked goofy or I looked goofy. Since she’s the guest, here, I took the goofy hit.)

What I had wished I would have done better, however, is to write down the names of all the other wonderful bloggers in Team Minnie. Will be sure to do so next time! #LessonsLearned


Anyway, while eating, we received welcoming words from Gabey as well as instructions for the Cigna Great Race.

Disneyland Cigna Blogger Meet-Up 2017

But first … each team had to pick a captain. Uh-oh. NONE of us on Team Minnie had done a blogger event before, so we were clueless about what to expect. Annie from Outrunning the Fork bravely volunteered. We then were given our team booklets with instructions and clues for each of the challenges as well as time to hit the bathrooms.

Have I mentioned yet how hot it was that day?

Well, let me tell you. It was hot. Like, really, REALLY hot. So while I did want to start pouring over the instructions … I might have anxiety, but I’m also a competitive gal … a bathroom break was a must. We then gathered some water and headed to California Adventure to begin!

Disneyland Cigna Blogger Meet-Up 2017
There’s brave Annie, in the middle, ready to go!

Have I mentioned we only had ninety minutes to finish all the challenges?

Yeah. While I would have loved chatting with my fellow Team Minnie gals, we had to put on our game faces and get to work on the first puzzle. Jackey and Team Disney took the time for a cute photo, though.

Disneyland Cigna Blogger Meet-Up 2017

With hope in our hearts, we set out in the crazy heat on this awesomely crazy adventure. My plan was to shoot lots of footage for a great video, but between the heat and our frenzied effort to figure out the clues, that didn’t happen. Once we solved each puzzle, each challenge answer had to be either photographed or videoed so our results could be posted on Twitter, as well as Cigna and our team hashtag!

Team Minnie made some mistakes – one of which was not completing challenges that required another team at the start, before everyone went their separate way. We later had to beg another team to take a picture with us! And oh my goodness. Have you ever tried to find someone wearing a jacket in 90+ heat? I almost scared off this poor older gal when I noticed her windbreaker. She ended up being a good sport, though!

One of our last challenges required another team at the World of Color platform in Paradise Pier. There were no others in sight, though and we were running out of time so I asked if I was allowed to text Jackey. Doing so was allowed and we soon found out Team Daisey needed to do this challenge as well. Woo-HOO!

We ended up playing a quick game of Red Rover. Challenge complete!

With time left for only one more challenge, we ran over to the tables near Paradise Garden Grill where two Cigna associates were waiting with a box of mini-rice cakes. Huh??

The challenge was for someone to place the rice cake on their forehead and by using only facial expressions and gravity with a limit of ten tries, move it to your mouth. The clock was ticking so your gal, here, stepped up to the plate and knocked it out of the park on my second try. It retrospect, however, sticking my tongue out as a safety net did look rather … well, I’ll let you fill in that word. Yet another #LessonLearned.

Soon our ninety minutes was up and it was time we headed back to Grand Californian! There were some other tricks we didn’t think about, but for a group of newbies, we ended up doing pretty good, thanks to our wonderful Cigna Associate!

Disneyland Cigna Blogger Meet-Up 2017

(My deepest apologies for not remember your name. Again: #LessonsLearned How many is that?)

Back in the ballroom and reunited with Jackey once again, we filmed some very sweaty footage while a photographer made the rounds. I just love the picture he took of us!

Disneyland Cigna Blogger Meet-Up 2017

Because of the heat and a desire to keep my load light, I left my filming equipment and microphones at the hotel, so my footage was shaky at times. The PopSocket really helped,  (associate link,) although I don’t know why I wasn’t filming with my selfie hand then!

We all have a selfie hand.

And oh my goodness! The desserts! There was a big spread waiting for us so we kept things quick and helped ourselves. So yummy!

Disneyland Cigna Blogger Meet-Up 2017

And who should arrive while I was on my second helping of whatever that gorgeous pink dessert was? Mickey and Minnie, in even more gorgeous workout suits!!

Disneyland Cigna Blogger Meet-Up 2017

We were able to get both individual and team pictures while the Cigna Associates calculated the results and determined the winner. I had to do a running pose for mine!

Disneyland Cigna Blogger Meet-Up 2017

Jackey went for classic pretty.

Disneyland Cigna Blogger Meet-Up 2017

After the results were announced, it was hard looking Minnie in the eye since Team Minnie, sadly, let her down. Minnie is a total sweetie who forgave us, though, despite me getting chummy with her man … err, mouse earlier on.

Disneyland Cigna Blogger Meet-Up 2017

Instead Jackey and her Team Daisy took the top honors with much enthusiasm!

Disneyland Cigna Blogger Meet-Up 2017

Jackey still let me pose with her, though, ’cause she’s a good egg. I think I’ll keep her.

Disneyland Cigna Blogger Meet-Up 2017

As things wrapped up, Cigna gave out these lovely gift bags. Now. We had already treated us like special guests. I already felt beyond pampered! So the gift bag was the cherry on our Cigna sundae. Thank you so much – we further express our gratitude in this video recap!

All in all, we had an AMAZING time at the Disneyland 2017 Cigna Blogger Meet-Up and we’re so thankful for the invitation! So thank you, Team Cigna, we hope we can see you again in January during the WDW Marathon Weekend Event!

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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