The half marathon sadly came and went. I enjoyed it so much more than I had expected to. It was really warm in Florida and the weather was not an issue at all. I wore shorts, a pink polo, and a Tinkerbell fanny pack to hold tissues and granola bars. I am still in shock that it is over. Catching up on homework when I came back was hard, but well worth it. We only had two days for the parks, but that was okay, it was a running trip.I left school right after lunch on January 10th at about 1:10pm. Then we went to pick up my sister, but she was still in class. We stopped in the town of for a quick café and milkshake stop. Then we proceeded to her school and picked her up. My sister is indecisive about packing so my parents were tired from staying up last night with her. We got home at 3:10pm and needed to make only a five minute stop so that we would make our flight, which was at 5:55pm, on time. A five minute stop is never five minutes, ours ended up being closer to ten minutes. We were finally on our way to the airport! We hit major traffic on the parkway which led to my dad looking worried and getting frustrated. He started to tell us instructions where he would pull to the front of our terminal and we would run to check the luggage. He said he was more worried about us not being able to check the luggage but as we got closer he started to worry about us making the flight. We were able to check our luggage, grab dinner to eat on the plane from Au Bon Pain, and make a pit stop. I discovered Au Bon Pain in Washington D.C. last summer and it is amazing.
The flight took off a little late but we arrived on time since the schedule had it taking three hours for us to get to Florida. I had wrote a schedule down of when I would complete all of my homework but not to my surprise, I slept the whole flight down. We got the luggage super fast, got in the rental car, and drove to Old Key West. My sister and I were so excited we were in Disney that we practically jumped out of the car and ran around. There we checked in, went to the store, as is a tradition for us upon arrival at Old Key West and settled in our room. My parents and sister laid out their clothes for the next day because they were all going to participate in the Family Fun Run 5K, which runs through Epcot. My two cousins were also doing this race. My dad, sister and I went over to my aunt and uncle’s room to pick up our bibs and t shirts for the races. We did not arrive early enough to go to the Expo but we managed to make it there the next day to see all of the vendors. My aunt and uncle were very organized and focused on the races of the next days. My cousins were still awake too. My aunt and uncle decided to wake up for the 5:30am 5K and watch everyone come across the finish line. I thought about it, but decided to sleep instead. My sister slept on the pullout chair and I on the pullout couch.
All too soon the alarm went off and I was exhausted. I was so glad I was not running that day. My mom had a headache and wasn’t going to be able to run. My sister and dad left, and I went peacefully back to sleep. I woke up and showered and the runners returned while I was in the shower. I heard about their travels and then all of us but my mom headed off to the Expo at Disney’s ESPN WWOS. We had come here in November to walk around and take pictures but the place was empty. This time, traffic was so backed up and we were parking on the grass. I believe all of the runners were at the Expo at this time. Disney was organized and all of the lines moved quickly. My dad was ambivalent about getting in line for the venders but I assured him that it would not take too long. I was right. 🙂 People everywhere.
We bought Mickey running Vinylmations with medals and the checkout line looked like the line for the Peter Pan ride. We only stood in line for five minutes because there was about 20 registers and each one had a bagger, ringer, and holder. Then we left the expo to head back to Old Key West.
We picked my mom up, took the bus to Magic Kingdom, and went to have lunch at Be Our Guest. We had wanted to eat here in Thanksgiving but it had been so crowded since that was right before the grand opening. While the three of us waited in line, my dad went to go get LeFou’s Brew drink for us. The line was supposed to take 20 minutes, which it probably did but part of it was inside so my dad came back just in time with the drinks before we went into the restaurant. LeFou’s Brew has apple, marshmallow, and peach in it. We all agreed that it was tasty, but sweet. We were handed a rose tracker for the food to come to our table and ordered what we wanted to eat. The inside of the restaurant was extremely detailed and so nice! A waitress with a container thing brought us our food. Lunch was delicious and we are definitely heading back there. My mom had a soup and sandwich. My sister and I had turkey sandwiches and my dad had a ham sandwich. Of course we had two triple chocolate cupcakes also. The baguettes were to die for. At this point in the trip, I was drinking a ton and eating any bread in sight because I was starting to get nervous for the race which was less than 24 hours away. Be Our Guest is a fantastic new addition to Fantasyland and the designers did a great job with setting the mood in the three different dining areas.
We discussed what we wanted to see in Magic Kingdom and found we had seen most of what we like to see in November. My mom had not gone on Pirates of the Caribbean in November and had not seen the addition of the mermaids in the water or the mermaid skeleton on the beach so we determined we would head there next. After Pirates, we were going to go on the Liberty Belle steamboat, but we missed it by a few minutes. So we took the train around the Magic Kingdom and missed it again. We went to the Frontierland Shooting Arcade and enough time passed to make the next boat. It was so relaxing and warm and pretty empty. Then we went to Tomorrowland to do the Wedway People Mover. We were evacuated and taken down secret stairs which was really fun. We had to evacuate in a conga line sort of. Thank goodness we were not stuck in the dark or anything. They gave everyone a Fastpass to any ride in the Magic Kingdom in Disney guest policy fashion. My mom wanted to try Space, which I discouraged her against doing because of her headache. She did not enjoy it too much. I loved it because it is super jerky and I think more fun than Rock ‘ n’ Roller Coaster and definitely longer, but it is not for everyone. We headed back to Old Key West after so we could get ready for dinner at Raglan Road.
When my dad had originally made the reservations for Raglan Road I was like “Eh.” I do not love Irish food, and as my nerves increased I thought that I should definitely be eating more pasta than I would be able to order at an Irish place. Our waiter was not the fastest and definitely did not seem overly Irish. We had a private booth but could not see the stage. My sister was a bit moody. I had a lamb pasta dish but had them put the pasta on the side. I finished all of the pasta and had some of the lamb. We did not even try to order dessert but I kept drinking my water. We left Raglan Road and walked back to the car listening to musicians and watching street performer statues on the way through Pleasure Island. My dad said he would wake me up in the morning and I fell asleep pretty quickly for being so nervous.
2:30am. Earliest I have ever woken up. I showered and dressed and ate breakfast. While my dad was in the shower, my uncle texted him saying they were headed to the bus stop at 3:10. This was 20 minutes earlier than the time we had agreed to meet at the bus stop. My dad and I made it to the bus stop just before 3:30 and were glad to see that my aunt and uncle had waited for us to take the bus. My uncle told us that two buses had come that were not filled. As we waited, more people started to show up. By the time the bus came at a little after 4, a big crowd had gathered and the line for the bus stretched back to the dock. Another bus came right after, but we were able to get on the first one. Supposedly the buses had been held up in traffic and we were about to wait for about 20 minutes in traffic as well. We watched a little video telling us how to prepare for the race and what would happen.
We arrived at Epcot with tons of other runners. We had to walk a little bit to get to bag check and the main area. A man was standing at a turn saying Tower of Terror this way and directing us towards the rest of the walk. All of the cast members were nice and awake and cheery. I was not feeling too tired either at this point. We got to the bag check tents and said good luck to my aunt and uncle who we would see at the other side of the run. My dad and I used the Porta Potties at the end of the line because the lines were much shorter. Then we started what was probably a half a mile or more walk to the corrals. It was about 5:05 and there was no way the crowd was going to make it to their corrals before the Elite Runner Corral and fireworks started at 5:30. We were barely moving. The lines separated after about 20 minutes by earlier and later corrals. We saw the fireworks of each corral before it was our turn.
We moved up to the start and sung along to songs like “Living on a Prayer” and “Don’t Stop Believing” before our fireworks were lit off and the race began. The first four miles were very crowded. There was a lot of weaving and this would continue for the rest of the race. We passed two marching bands in the first four miles. As we ran through the gate of Magic Kingdom loud speakers kept repeating that there were speed bumps ahead and the road narrows. Passing the Contemporary, the DJ was playing Gangnam Style which was funny. Dad and I grabbed lemonade Powerade and water from the sides but we consistently jogged for the first four miles, a new personal record. We paused to walk before the Magic Kingdom so that we could run through the happiest park on Earth. I almost missed it but my dad warned me as he was video taping on his iPhone.
On to the most magical park in the most magical place in the world. We entered Magic Kingdom through a back entrance and ran right up Main Street U.S.A. We passed encouraging cast members and were able to see my cousins and sister, who were receiving text alerts on our progress, cheering us on at the beginning of Main Street. It was great to have the support of family members cheering you on even if only for a second. We almost had to walk Main Street because lots of people were saying hi to family and the road was very narrow. We ran into Tomorrowland, Fantasyland, and then through Liberty Square before going under the Castle. I screamed as we ran under the castle and I was so happy. I do not like running but at this point, I was loving the experience. Now we were almost half way done. I remember thinking, wow, only half way, yikes. But we kept pushing on.
The next stretch from mile 6 to mile 9 went smoothly. We saw another band, some more Characters on the side, more med tents, and had more water stops. I had thought before the race that this would be the hardest stretch of land but the last 4 miles proved to be the hardest. We had to run over a few overpasses while being urged on by a green army man from Toy Story. We mostly walked it up these overpasses and looked at the thousands of runners behind us under the overpasses. We ran through the Clif Shot Block station because we had eaten a granola bar after Magic Kingdom, near the Grand Floridian. When we stopped jogging during parts of the last four miles, our muscles hurt badly starting up again. We did not train as much as my aunt and uncle did, who were in a lot less pain than us the following days.
Mile 13 was around Future World in Epcot. I decided we were going to run the last mile no matter what. Before entering Epcot, we saw my two cousins and sister and also my aunt and uncle who had finished 45 minutes before, cheering us on. We jogged through Epcot, passed a gospel choir, and made it to the finish line. I felt tired but so happy. Crossing the finish line with my dad and I holding our hands up was amazing. Music playing, people cheering, overall a great atmosphere. We received our medals and then walked over to get water, bananas, and our treat box. We met up with the family after, took some pictures, got our medals engraved, and collapsed on the bus back to Old Key West.
After showering, we had lunch by the pool with Good’s to Go. We went into Epcot, ending our Walt Disney Marathon Weekend as we had to fly out the following morning. Almost every cast member congratulated us on the race and asked if we were doing the marathon the next day. We also had people in lines and walk by us who congratulated us who also ran. My dad did not want to originally wear his medal around the park but my mom had convinced him because, “It’s Disney and you can’t do this anywhere else” Afterwards, he was glad he had worn it.
For dinner, we had a family gathering at Olivia’s. My parents surprised me with a Mickey cake for my birthday which was four days earlier. I could not have been happier. I never thought I would be in Disney near my birthday and the whole restaurant sang to me. It was sad to leave, but it made me want to go back to run a Disney race again!