I last posted in February so since then I’ve visited Walt Disney World again for the Flower and Garden Festival, graduated from college, and accepted an offer to intern with one of Disney’s offices out in California!
I plan to post occasionally about my adventures out in California. I definitely plan to do a few Disneyland trip reports as well as travel posts for any other sites I venture to!
Happy Friday! Spring break is coming up so in honor of getting in that fun spirit here’s a friday funny. Minnie looks great in this photo and I look super awkward mid-sentence. Can anyone come up with a good caption for what I was saying here?
This week’s Worldly Wednesday takes us to Madrid! Madrid was one of my favorite cities that I visited and I had such a great time there with friends. Continuing my trend of recapping the trip by photos…
Football: We decided last minute to attend an Atlético football match and had a fantastic time. We had nosebleed seats but felt the energy of the game surrounded by many enthusiastic fans. I also scored a children’s jersey on sale as a souvenir from the game. It was a nice warm day as well so it was great being able to enjoy the sunshine and the game.
Retiro Park: I’m seen here attempting to row the boat on the pond at Retiro Park. We only had about half an hour out on the pond as we had to switch AirBnBs and were short on time. But, it was so relaxing and was something less touristy that made us feel immersed in daily Spanish life. We had sangria and sandwiches before going out on the pond and again just enjoyed the beautiful weather.
Royal Palace/other touristy sites: We did not go into the Royal Palace but did take photos outside. We also hit up the traditional touristy sites such as the Prado Museum and Plaza Mayor.
Madrid was our first trip away from England and so we weren’t sure what to expect but things went very smoothly and our adventures for the semester were off to a fantastic start.
Well, as you probably heard the WDW 1/2 Marathon was cancelled in January. I was supposed to run the half on my 21st birthday but the night before the race, we were carb loading at Il Mulino and received the email that the race had been cancelled due to possible lightning the next morning. I completely understand why they decided not to risk having thousands of runners stand in a parking lot when there was a 90% chance of lightning forecasted for hours. RunDisney did a great job of offering other options to compensate for the cancellation from a full Disney gift card reimbursement to transferring to another runDisney race. I didn’t expect them to do this, but it was fantastic and truly Disney guest service that they did.
On the bright side though, I was then able to go to the bar at our resort and right after midnight (and right before closing) I was able to get a drink with one of my cousins (shout out). My aunt and uncle ran the half on the 7th, as many other motivated runners did and were cheered on by other resort guests.
My friend, sister, and I went to Hollywood Studios for opening and I rode Rock’n’Roller Coaster as the first ride on my 21st birthday which was awesome. It ended up being a very cold day so we left Studios, had lunch back at the resort and then went to Disney Springs for my birthday dinner with all my family members.
I will definitely run another runDisney race, but since I don’t know what I am doing after graduation in May yet, I didn’t want to register for any others!
An old posting series is returning! Worldly Wednesday will highlight my travels while I was studying abroad last semester. Our first destination is Amsterdam in the Netherlands. Amsterdam was not on my list of places I had to visit but I am very glad my friend and I decided to go for a four day weekend there. In connection with my photos, here are my thoughts on the city…
The Brightly Colored Sandwich: Yes, I could get a sandwich anywhere. But, my friend found this wonderful breakfast restaurant in her guidebook called Omelegg. I highly recommend eating at this quaint spot in the Red Light District but you will probably have to wait outside. We also ate at a cafe called Blushing for two meals that had delicious sandwiches as well. I did not know what type of food to expect but overall our meals in Amsterdam exceeded my expectations.
The Canals: Amsterdam is known for its canals and it was especially pretty when we visited in the fall with the foliage changing colors. We took a canal cruise as well which I recommend as we were able to take a break from walking all day and hear about the history of the city with the audio guide. If you have a map, it is a very walkable city and we walked all around each day, sometimes from one end of the city to another. We would count how many canals to cross to keep our sense of direction.
The Clogs: My friend ended up purchasing some clog slippers during the trip but I just enjoyed browsing at all of the different stores. It was interesting to see the many clog variations and see how each retailer used the shoe.
The Museums: We visited the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, and of course the Anne Frank Museum during our weekend. The Rijksmuseum was neat and very large. The famous I Amsterdam sign is in front of the museum. The Van Gogh Museum is a must do but make sure to go before it gets too crowded and buy tickets ahead of time. I couldn’t go to Amsterdam and not visit the Anne Frank Museum, especially since my friend and I had done a project on Anne Frank for our English class the semester before. We were not able to get tickets in advance, but that morning at breakfast I checked online and a few slots opened up. So, I used my international data and got us in. It was such a moving experience to be able to see where Anne Frank hid and now I’m inspired to re-read her diary.
I last left off with my friend and I standing in the corrals at 5:38am.
6:00am: Corral A goes off with fireworks! This year they started doing mini corrals and since I couldn’t hear the announcer too well all the way back in Corral E, I did not know when we would go. A boy in the family next to us kept asking his parents when it would be time to run. I felt the same way and the standing around was getting a little tiresome. I also was getting hungry as I had only had a small breakfast but really should have eaten a whole bagel since we had so long to wait.
6:00am-6:42am: Corrals A through D and all of their many mini corrals start running. We finally begin to move towards the starting line step by step. The fireworks did not continue for each corral which I thought was odd.
6:45am: We are off! After a few times where we thought we would be able to cross the start line and were stopped very close, we finally began the 5K.
6:45am-7:25am: It took us just around 38 minutes to run the race. I forgot to stop my watch so I don’t have a very accurate time. We ran through Epcot, stopped at Norway for a bathroom break (much nicer than porta potties and empty!), took a few photos and videos, ran out of Epcot, ran backstage, then came back in Epcot and finished the race in the parking lot.
The race was SO much fun! We didn’t have too much of a problem with the crowds but were zig zagging a bit. Even though my friend was worried about running, she did a great job and I was the one who was getting a little sore by the end! As we ran, we said how we were disappointed it was such a fast race and that we should’ve signed up for the 10K. We did not stop for any characters because the lines were so long and we already had gotten our photo with Pluto earlier in the day. I loved seeing the park wake up though and the support of the other runners is fantastic-from the Tooth Fairies (men sprinkling pixie dust on everyone) to a 90 year old woman running the race. I highly recommend signing up for runDisney 5K’s but beware they are very short once you actually start running!
7:25-8:30am: We received our medals, snack boxes, and water and then started walking to the buses. I really struggled to carry all of my stuff as I always do and had taken off my jacket at this point as well. The bus came fairly quickly and we did not have too long of a line. We boarded the bus with all of the other sweaty runners and then were back at the resort in no time to relay our race tales to the rest of the family who were just waking up!
This week isn’t even over yet but Disney has shared a few different pieces of exciting news with the public. In chronological order…
February 12th: Rivers of Light show opens. The long anticipated show that was supposed to open last summer is now ready to go. This date is based on Fastpass+ bookings which recently were added to the system.
March 17th: Although this date was announced a while ago, I am so excited for The Beauty and The Beast movie!
May 11th: Final showing of Wishes which is the nighttime fireworks show at Magic Kingdom.
I really hope I can see Wishes one more time before it ends because it is a fantastic show and there is nothing like the soundtrack.
May 12th: “Happily Ever After” replaces Wishes as the new nighttime show. I expect Magic Kingdom will be absolutely packed on this night.
May 27th: The opening date of Animal Kingdom’s Pandora! We have not been able to see much of the construction, besides the one very tall tower structure so I am interested to see what Disney has done with Avatar, even though it was not my favorite movie. I will definitely need to watch it again before May 27th.
2019: At some point in this year, the Star Wars Land portion of Hollywood Studios will be opening!
In conclusion, this summer is a great time to visit the Walt Disney World parks. 2019 will be a fantastic year to go if you are a Star Wars fan, or you can wait until 2020 when the hype decreases a little.
5K Part 2 and half marathon disappointment posts coming up soon!