Category Archives: Tower of Terror Trip 2013

Trip to WDW in October for the Tower of Terror 10 Miler

Throwback Thursday to last year’s Tower of Terror run

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This day last year, I was quickly packing last minute items for the Tower of Terror 10 Miler weekend.  I really wish I could be back this year but unfortunately, college classes got in the way of that.  My aunt and uncle will be running the race this year though and I hope they have a fantastic time!

If you are thinking of signing up for a runDisney race, do it!  They are great events and weekends with tons to do.  The races are always exciting from the time you arrive and are doing warm up dances to when the medal is placed around your neck.  I hope to run the Walt Disney World Marathon and the Wine and Dine Half Marathon one day, but for now I will have to keep training!

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Tower of Terror Weekend: Sunday Part 6

The last part of our weekend would be attending the Food and Wine Festival.  I was very sleepy, but also very hungry.  We did not eat breakfast and we had not ate a big meal since lunch on Saturday so I was ready to sample some yummy treats!  It was hot on Sunday.  My sister and I got water bottles at Gateway Gifts right after we took this picture.  ImageMy dad caught up with us after running back to the car because he had forgotten his phone.  We checked the time for Soarin’ and Test Track Fastpasses but they were past the time that we would be in the park unfortunately.  We decided to make today a slow, food eating day.  It was around 11:45am so we went to the Festival Center to pick up our passports for the festival and to see the building where Cranium Command used to be.  I only remember seeing the show once and after that I would look at the map where the building would be “open seasonally.”  As a young kid reading the map, I could not figure out why attractions would not be open in the summer when a lot of people go to Disney World.  Now I know that open seasonally means closed.

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Our first pavilion stop was at Argentina where we got the grilled beef skewer.  We agreed that we would all try a bite of whatever we got and only get one of each item.  Image  I am not a huge beef lover but the seasoning was awesome on this.  Good start to the day.  My dad and I shared this because my sister was suffering from “I’m tired, hot, and sweaty syndrome.”  This can only be cured with ice cream and air conditioning so she went into a store until we could walk around to Italy for gelato later on in the day.  Next we went to the Refreshment Port and got an Orange Dole Whip and the Fried Chicken Chunks with Pineapple Sauce.  The fried chicken chunks were just chicken bites, which was a little disappointing.  The dole whip was very refreshing though.  ImageThe dole whip brightened up my sister’s face a little.  I guess I am so happy in Disney where the heat really does not bother me much anymore.  I still sweat but I constantly drink water and no longer complain about the weather as I might have when I was younger.  Here is a photo of my sister smiling in air conditioning at the start of the day (had to add this since she probably won’t be overjoyed that I included her in this part).  ImageAfter the dole whip we decided to check out the Chase lounge in the American Adventure pavilion.  My dad and my sister loved the soda machine they had there.  It had many flavors and was touch screen.  I was content with water.  We tried the apple strudel in Germany after watching the American Adventure I believe.  The American Adventure is a favorite of ours and I almost know most of the words.  The music in the attraction is great from Two Brothers to Golden Dream.  The strudel was so good, I wish we had gotten two.  Image

Next we went to Poland because I had been waiting to get pierogies the whole day.  They did not disappoint!  Pierogies are one of my favorite foods to have on Christmas Eve.  This is the only food we had two orders of because my sister and I each wanted a few.  I was too hungry/happy that I was finishing my last bite when my dad reminded me I had not taken a photo.  Oh well.  Guess I will have to return!  We grabbed some chocolate gelato in Italy because we were ready for something cold again.  The gelato in Italy in Disney tastes very similar to gelato I had in Italy and it is the perfect treat.  Our last stop of the Food and Wine Festival was at China where we had Dumplings and my dad had Mongolian Beef.  I had to speak with the manager before ordering because I am allergic to shrimp, but thankfully he said that the dumplings were cooked separate from the shrimp.  I could not try the beef however unless I wanted to run the risk of getting hives.  The dumplings were good even though a little hard to eat.  I also forgot to take a picture here.  We did the Mexico Boat Ride with the three caballeros as our one Epcot ride of the trip.  It was a slow boat ride because the current in the water stopped part way but then we heard the announcement and the water sped back up.  Image  When I go back to Disney during the Food and Wine Festival I will definitely try to go a few days to Epcot to sample more of the food choices.  It was around 4pm and we had to start heading to the airport so we headed out of Epcot but not before I took a selfie.  ImageI guess I forgot to say this earlier in the post but we wore our medals to Epcot and many people congratulated us and we congratulated other runners.  Surprisingly not as many people wore their medals the next day as they had in January for the half.  Both weighed about the same so I am not sure why there was a difference in the number of people wearing the between the two races.  It started to thunderstorm as we headed to the airport but we made it, got on the plane and flew home.  Thanks for reading my first trip report!  Image

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Tower of Terror Weekend Sunday Part 5

     I finished the race around 12:30 am. So that means it took me about 2 hours and 12 minutes.  I had wanted to get under 2 hours and 15 minutes because that was about the time I had for the half for ten miles and I did just that. I waited for fifteen minutes and then my dad and sister crossed the finish line. We took a picture with our medals and headed to bag claim. I refused to sit until around 1:15am which was a good idea because it kept my muscles from getting super sore. We picked up our bag at Indiana Jones on the stage which was cool and if I had thought of it I would have taken a picture on the stage. I had seen this show on my last trip in August so it was fresh in my mind. We sat down and drank water and ate out of the snack pack.  I bought another water bottle at Backlot and we relaxed.  We alternated taking the one bag we had checked with fresh clothes and baby wipes to change and freshen up. Around 2:30am we felt good so we went to the Great Movie Ride and were very disappointed when the cast members told us it was closed.

ImageThe race booklet had said it would be open so I wonder what happened. We didn’t want to start off with Tower or Rock’n’Roller coaster so we went over to Muppet 3D Vision. This had been closed during our last trip. I didn’t notice any major changes so it was probably just a routine refurb. My legs were sore when I stood up to leave. We passed by Star Tours and my dad and sister did that because it had a short ten minute wait. I usually go on this one but I sometimes have motion sickness so I can’t go on Everest more than twice or do teacups anymore sadly. Anyway the reason I didn’t go on it was that I wanted to save my energy to go on Tower of Terror because that’s what the race was for.  If I did not feel well after that we could take a bus back but if I did star tours I would risk feeling really bad before we rode Tower. So I sat at a table eating graham crackers and watching people take pictures with Darth Vader.

ImageThey returned quickly and I was ready to buy another water because it was so hot out. We bought another bottle and walked to Tower. The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror did not have a long wait at all and the fog looked extra scary at 3am in the line area.

ImageWe walked on and everyone said Rod Sterling’s lines in the library. We checked into the hotel and went up to floor thirteen but then went down. It was an interesting elevator ride. 🙂 I thought my sister was going to start screaming because she hates Tower and was freaking out as we got on. She survived. We took a picture with one of the bellhops to commemorate the morning.  Our eyes look scary.

ImageWe went to rock n roller coaster next which I’m glad I did but at the time was a bad idea probably. I had a little headache and I swear they sped up the coaster.  It was the fastest Rock’n’Roller coaster experience I have ever had.  I got off and my head did hurt. We walked out of the park at 3:47am (I took a screenshot of my iPhone screen to remember the time) after my dad bought a lemonade Italian ice and took the bus to Old Key West. I was very carsick on the ride back and was so happy when we finally got to Saratoga Springs.

I got to bed by 4:45am and was up in four hours to shower, pack, and check out. Next and final part of this weekend trip report is the Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

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Tower of Terror Weekend Saturday Part 4 THE RACE

Finally, I started to jog!  The moment I had anticipated and at the same time been nervous about since I signed up was now here.  Well I did not start jogging until a little after I crossed the starting line because there were so many people around me.  But, the crowd thinned faster than during the Half Marathon in January, which was nice.  I don’t like the start of running large races because I am never sure if I am going too fast or too slow and I have to look at my RunKeeper app to see my pace and try to see by feel.  As a side note, my RunKeeper app did not work as well as I would have liked it to.  At the end of the race, it said that I had completed a half marathon and had done two six minute miles…not the case.

The first four miles were on the highway.  I had known this would be the case because I had checked the map beforehand a few times.  The highway is always a bit boring.  We saw the runners on the opposite side of us who had already done 3 miles while we had been waiting to start.  The people at Disney races make the race amazing.  We could run through every behind the scenes area possible and I would “oohhh” and “aaahhh”  but the other racers keep me running.  Within half a mile I was already thirsty but I did not want to stop to crack the seal on my Powerade bottle.  Note to self: Do this before starting next time.  One runner ran up on my left dressed as Donald Duck with a quacking duck beak whistle in his mouth.  That made me laugh.  He kept using it and everyone would turn because they would be very confused from the sound.  I heard him later on in the race as well and it brought a smile to my face.  The other runner that made me smile was a man in an orange shirt.  He was running with his wife and his wife’s friend I believe.  He had definitely run a race or two before and was cheering his wife and the friend on.  But, he was not saying just “you got this” or “keep going.”  He shouted out things like, “Think of all those people on couches, you are doing so much better than them!” and “If you are numb and sore clap your hands.”  He had the energy of the energizer bunny and kept me running.  I would’ve stayed behind him the whole race if I could.

My sister started to walk and then run and walk and then run within the first two miles.  I had to keep slowing down, looking back, and walking.  My dad somehow managed a really slow jog to stay with my sister’s walking.  After about three miles I told them “adios” because I wanted to jog most of this race and not walk this much at the beginning at least.  I would meet them at the end.  So I went off alone.  Well alone is not the right word because I had thousands of runners around me and I felt totally safe the entire time.  I regret not taking any photos on the run but I wanted to finish under my half marathon 10 mile split.  I think in the future when I get my mile time down, I will stop for character photos.

I began the trail path into ESPN Wide World of Sports.  I only have one complaint from this trail path.  The lighting was fine, the trail was not bad, but the width of the path was not ideal.  Almost everyone around me walked this part which I understand because if you do trip, you could be done with the race.  But, I do think walkers should have tried to stay to the right because trying to weave in and out was awful.  I had to try to follow tall loud people who were running and could easily go through and follow behind in their spaces.  Thank you to those who had beepers when they were supposed to stop running or start running because it alerted me when to watch out for a change in speed and was very nice.  Once we got into WWOS, it was easier to run.  When I say run through this whole thing, I really mean jog at about a 11 min/mile average pace.  The tesla coil was not working when we ran around the baseball field but I play softball so I thought this part of the run was especially awesome.  At mile 5 I was supposed to text my dad, but I did not stop to text until mile 6 (running + texting =bad idea).  After 6 miles I was mentally in the race.  I knew I was more than half way done. Unlike during the half when at 6 miles running through the Magic Kingdom was great but I was freaking out about having to do 8 more miles in my head.

Throughout the whole race especially after I separated from my dad and sister I took frequent Powerade sips and grabbed water from the volunteers.  Thank you volunteers who stood out in the heat for hours handing out cups and cheering us on!   I thought it would be really bad if I passed out since I had no one with me and I really did not want to pass out so I drank and drank as I sweat and sweat.  As we made the turn to go under the Hollywood Studios sign, Malecifent glared down at me and told me I couldn’t stop now.  Ever since I was little I have not liked the Disney villains.  I would never let Captain Hook sign my autograph book nor would I walk up to see him.  So I kept running with the childhood fear of Disney villains in my head.

Miles 7 and 8 I remember I walked a bit more than I would have liked.  My legs were sore but not terrible at all.  My breathing was fine.  My shoulder hurt.  Thankfully, the pain subsided after a bit but I knew that playing the viola for over 7 hours a week was not a good idea because that shoulder had hurt before.  Miles 9 and 10 were the last two.  Mile 9 I walked more because I wanted to repeat what I had done at the half marathon.  My dad and I had ran the whole last mile straight and I wanted to do the same for this race.  It is the last push.

I saw the Mile 9 sign and started jogging.  We were in Hollywood Studios now so it made the running more interesting and there were more spectators at this point in the run.  I don’t know Hollywood Studios well because this was the longest mile of my life.  I did not know that you could snake around part of the park and eventually get to the finish line.  The workers kept saying that the finish line was around the corner.  Finally and really finally, I turned THE corner and jogged smiling across the finish line.  I jogged over to the left right before the finish line so that I could high five Goofy as well.  I walked over and the medal was placed over my head and I was happy.  I read somewhere that the first 30 minutes after a finish are the most important for recovering so I took a new Powerade, Water Bottle, banana and snack box.  I forced myself to eat the banana even though I don’t love them and drank the whole bottle of water while I was waiting for my dad and sister for 15 minutes.  I also looked like a dork waiting for them because I paced back and forth to keep moving.  This kept my legs from feeling stiff and also kept my body from having a shock from stopping the run.  Here is a photo of my sister and I post race.  I will discuss the after party next!

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Tower of Terror Weekend: Saturday Part 3

     Well we woke up late as expected and were indecisive on which park to go to. Eventually my sister helped make the decision (which doesn’t usually happen) to head to Animal Kingdom. This meant that we would be making it to all four parks in less than three days…a new record for us. We all showered and got ready before getting on a bus to Animal Kingdom.

ImageWe debated driving but being that the expo was going on and we had a notice in our room about possible traffic we took the bus. Unfortunately the Animal Kingdom bus also stops at Blizzard Beach so it took a while to get there.  I convinced my dad and sister to trek across the park to the Dinosaur restaurant, Restaurantosaurus, next to my favorite bathrooms. I had a great chicken sandwich here and we talked to a nice cast member about her college. I would like to point out why the bathrooms at this restaurant are my favorite bathrooms in all of Animal Kingdom. These bathrooms are usually empty and have almost forty stalls. Anyway moving on from my favorite bathrooms…my dad and sister wanted to ride Everest but the line was way too long. Anything past ten minutes for us is too long for Expedition Everest because we are usually part of the crazy crowd for early morning hours at 7am there and go on twice in a row with no wait. We decided to see a few shows to make it a relaxing day. We arrived at Flights of Wonder after my dad led us in the opposite direction. Here are a few of the photos I was able to quickly get of the birds in the air.

ImageMy favorite part of the show is always when someone has to hold up a dollar bill and the bird flies a few inches above the person’s head.  ImageAfter this we walked to the Nemo musical which my sister had seen on a previous trip with my mom grandma and aunt but my dad and I had not seen. As with all Disney shows it was very well done.Image I wish I could be Crush in the musical and could spin and flip in the air. After this it was time to call it a day. It was hot and we, well mostly me, was tired. I was glad to see that they are trying out buses from Animal Kingdom to Downtown Disney.  I have been late for a reservation at Downtown Disney in the past because it took so long to get from Hollywood Studios to a resort and then to Downtown.  I think that this could be a great bus route for all of the parks.  We returned to the room after the bus stopped at Blizzard Beach again and I took a nap. It wasa short nap and when I woke up it was time to get dressed for the run. My dad had pinned our bibs on our shirts the day before so that we would not have any problems on race day. After checking to make sure we had everything we walked to the main bus stop at Saratoga Springs. There were three buses lined up and we were part of the last group to get on the first bus and depart for studios! We got on the bus around 7:20pm so that we would get there with enough time to use the porta potties and dance for a bit at the dance party. Here is a photo of me trying on my bib the day before.Image

  There was a bit of traffic as we were waiting on the bus and this time the bus did not have a cute running video.  On the bus to the half marathon, we had watched a running video with Jeff Galloway telling us what to expect.  I was a little disappointed about this.  It was clear everyone on the bus, minus four people, wanted to mentally prepare for the night because only those four people were talking.  Soon enough we saw the Tower of Terror’s shadow against the darkening sky.  It was kind of a cool view but I could not get a great picture of it.  Compared to the half marathon, I was less nervous.  I knew what was going to happen and that I would finish.  I tried not to pay too much attention to all of the heat signs because I sometimes worry too much about that stuff.  We did bag check and then found a nice spot to sit and then dance for the party.  We did the YMCA, part of the Cupid Shuffle, and a few other dances.  My sister and I got in line for the porta potties and were pleased to find that this year there were mini sinks and soap to wash your hands with.  It is the small details that Disney gets right!  We went back to my dad and sat down for a bit before we decided it was time to head to the corral around 8:40.  My dad used the porta potty and we went to our corral.  As we entered Corral H, we heard someone complaining about having to be in a later corral and I felt bad for the volunteer who the person was screaming at.  It is not the volunteer’s fault!  We stood in our corral around twenty minutes before starting to move in the direction of the start line.  It was hot when we were walking towards the starting area.  Many bodies=a lot of body heat.  I had my Powerade with me and a mini water bottle the whole run but I did not want to drink a lot before the race began.  The speaker system was in and out, mostly out, so we did not get to hear the pre-race discussions until the wheelchair corral went off and we saw fireworks, moving us forward to the next section where the speakers were working.  As many have said, it was nice that the corrals went off fairly quickly after each other.  My excitement increased every time I heard the sound of the starting Twilight Zone theme and then the Go!  At around 10:19, it was time for us to go!  To be continued!

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Tower of Terror Weekend Friday Part 2

     I was worried that the ride to the expo would be long because the expo for the half marathon had traffic backed up for a while.  However, we drove right into ESPN WWOS and did not have to park too far away from the main area.  A quick thing to add-it was very nice that our room at Saratoga was ready ahead of time.  Thank you Saratoga Springs!  We walked up into WWOS and saw that there was a huge line leading into the expo because it had not yet opened for the day.

ImageWe took a picture in front of the Tower of Terror race sign to remember the weekend.

Image     We were hungry for lunch even though it was only 11:30 in the morning so we decided to eat.  I did not have high expectations for the food at the sports grill but it was amazing!  I had a chicken sandwich which came with chips.  The chicken sandwich was so flavorful and the chips were nicely salted.  I feel a need to comment on the food because I had not thought it would be good but it was a great meal.  My sister had chicken fingers which she said were also very tasty and my dad had a BLT sandwich I believe.  We went back outside and were able to enter the expo quickly.

Image     The expo was in one building with packet pick up instead of in two buildings as it was for the half marathon.  I did not have to pick up my race bib for the half because my aunt and uncle picked it up for me the day before I arrived which was very nice.  However, I was bib number 11202 and there was no line to pick up my packet.  I signed my name and then went over to the T-shirt exchange booth.  I was glad we had gotten there fairly early because I had to exchange a small for an extra small.   There had not been an extra small t shirt option when I had signed up and they only had a few left by the time I switched my shirt.

Image      I really like the shirts for this year’s Tower of Terror.  Blue is my favorite color and the words glow in the dark which is fun to see on dark rides.  We walked around the expo and my sister bought a skirt.  I waited in line with the official runDisney merchandise that we decided to buy: medals for our Vinylmations, a 10 miler magnet, and a shirt for my sister.  (My sister obviously spent the most at the expo which is not surprising since she enjoys shopping more than my dad and I).  The line was longer this time than last, but it moved quickly.  We gave the expo one last glance and headed out.

     Time to head back to Saratoga to get ready for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party.  We picked the absolute perfect weekend to come down for a race because of MNSSHP and the Food and Wine Festival, both of which we had never been to before.  About a week before the trip, I had sent a photo of costumes to my sister and we agreed that we would get them.   She was going to be the Mad Hatter and I would  be the Cheshire Cat.  The costumes were reversible so that was awesome.  We did have to wear leggings though which were a little warm in Florida’s heat.  My dad decided to be a pirate.  We saw a wide range of costumes and it was fun to see who looked the most like the characters they were dressed up as.  Mary Poppins might have won in our minds.

Image     We ate at Tony’s for dinner which we have not eaten at in years.  I was able to get a reservation a day before the trip through Disney’s My Magical Experience app.  My pasta and fried zucchini was good, but we all did not want to eat too much because in a little over 24 hours it would be time for the 10 Miler.  Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party was just as amazing as when we went to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party last year.

     First, we went trick or treating to a few of the stations and received so much candy!  We headed to Tomorrowland first for the Laugh Floor and for my sister and dad to ride Space Mountain.  We also walked by the dance party taking place in Tomorrowland and rode on the People Mover.  Space Mountain had a ten minute wait, and that was the longest wait of the night.  We saw the fireworks and castle show which were fantastic! The fireworks were set to “We Are Halloween.”  We rode Small World and my dad wanted to ride Peter Pan, but it was closed for refurbishment which I had not known.  We paused for a quick picture with Alice and Mad Hatter.

Image      Then we went quickly to ride Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.  Splash Mountain left us soaked in our costumes but we were able to make it in time to the parade and to see the Headless Horseman ride by in Frontierland.  I prefer Christmas as a holiday so I think I liked the Christmas parade better and the fake snow on Main Street but I did enjoy the MNSSHP parade.  Seeing the different characters in the parade might have been one of my favorite parts along with the seeing all the guests in costumes and eating candy.  We left the park just before midnight after taking a picture with Tarzan.  I was exhausted!  Knowing I would be running at this time the next night was a little scary because I was so tired.  I needed to get some sleep for the next day!

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October 11, 2013 · 2:04 pm

Tower of Terror Weekend: Friday Part 1

     This last weekend I went to Disney World for the Tower of Terror 10 miler. It was an amazing whirlwind of a trip that went by way too fast. It was very tiring but worth it! I had stayed up late on Thursday to pack after my dad picked me up from school.  I didn’t want to forget my Halloween costume for MNSSHP nor did I want to forget any of my running gear. This trip was the first trip we did not check bags so I needed to fit everything into a sports bag and a backpack. For a trip of less than three days this was not a problem although on the way back our souvenirs were hard to fit.

     Friday morning I was tired but excited. I woke up at  445 to be on the road at around 530 to the airport. We flew out of a small airport near our house so security was fast. The flight to Orlando was the only departing flight for a few hours. After buying some gum for the flight and using the bathroom we boarded the plane. I was looking forward to sleeping for a few hours but I could not fall asleep. I was supposed to be working on an essay for class on Monday but I did not feel awake enough to do so. The flight went by pretty slow since I did not do much. The attendant came around with chips and cookies but who is in the mood for this type of food at 8am?  We finally landed and arrived in Orlando “the home of Mickey Mouse” as the pilot said.

      My sister and I were in disbelief that we would usually be in class at this time but were instead in Disney world!  We were definitely awake now. Since we did not have to get our luggage we went straight to Krispy Kreme after taking the tram across the airport.

Here is a view outside of the tram:

Image     Sadly, there are no Krispy Kremes near where we live so we always take the opportunity to have a donut from there when we can.  What better start to a running weekend right?  Not the healthiest choice in the world, but oh well.  We grabbed the rental car and started driving to Disney World.  This always seems like the longest ride.  But, we passed the Disney World sign soon enough (my Instagram version is below) and it was the first time my sister and I were actually able to get pictures that were not totally blurry of the sign.

Image     We stayed at Saratoga Springs this trip because our usual resort, Old Key West, did not have any room for the weekend.   I thought that I would be very disappointed that I would not see Old Key West this trip, but Saratoga was a nice change.  I especially enjoyed the pillow decorations.

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We headed to the ESPN Wide World of Sports runDisney expo next to pick up our packets and some merchandise but I will write about that in the next blog entry.

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