runDisney’s Dopey Challenge: Walt Disney World Marathon Part 2

This is part five of a recap of the 2018 runDisney Dopey Challenge. For part four click here!

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When I left off we had just taken a mid race break to ride Expedition Everest in Animal Kingdom! I’ll admit that I was crabby when we got off the ride because though my sister was all for it I hadn’t been excited to wait in the twenty minute line. The ride was fun but after I was really cold for the next half mile. We made our way through the Animal Kingdom parking lot and I shook off the bad mood and actually warmed up enough to take off my long sleeves and tie it around my waist.

After marching our way down Osceola Parkway we made it to ESPN’s Wide World of Sports. A lot of people complain about this section of the course because it’s a lot of twists and turns so it seems like it goes on forever. I will admit that ESPN seems long but I always love how many character opportunities are available!

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Minnie in her soccer gear!
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Channeling our inner Joy and Sadness from Inside Out!

Next we got to run around Champion Stadium, the spring training home of the Atlanta Braves.

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Once we finished up at Wide World of Sports we made the short trek to Hollywood Studios where we entered via backstage access behind Fantasmic and Tower of Terror. Lots of people were buzzing about Oswald meeting here because he usually can’t be found in Florida!

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Anyone checking in?

There was a lot of construction going on in Hollywood Studios in January 2018 (Toy Story Land and Galaxy’s Edge) so it limited the amount of running we could do in this park.

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We exited park’s front entrance and ran down the path that connects the park to the Epcot Resort area. I definitely started to lose steam as we ran by the Yacht and Beach Club Resorts but I tried to remember to keep my eyes on the prize- we were almost there!

We entered Epcot between the Canada and U.K. pavilions shortly before mile 25. Just past mile 25 we stopped to meet Belle and Aurora outside the France pavilion.

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Next we stopped for a picture with Jasmine in the Morocco pavilion.

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Our next stop with Germany- no characters greeting here but we wanted a nice cold beer to finish the race with! Being able to stop for a drink in Epcot BEFORE the finish line is one of my favorite novelties of the Walt Disney World marathon!

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We mostly walked to the end as to not spill our beers!

Tip: If you’re going to grab drinks in Epcot know that characters won’t pose with you with the drinks in your hand.

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Finally we saw the finish line arch ahead- we did it!

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What an amazing feeing- Dopey Challenge done!

So, would I do the Dopey Challenge again? Yes! Am I doing it in 2019? No!

I recommend Dopey for anyone who loves runDisney to try at least once. It was really fun to get to participate in the whole weekend and not feel like I was missing out on anything. However, the four early mornings in a row were really hard. By marathon morning it took everything I had to force myself out of bed. Plus, the registration fee is high and I don’t think I’d want to pay that every year. Ideally, if it’s still around and I’m still running, I’d like to give Dopey another try in 2023. In the mean time I’ll stick to the Goofy Challenge (the half marathon and the full marathon) or the marathon alone.

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Until next time, Dopey Challenge!

I had so much fun recapping my 2018 Dopey Challenge! I’m headed down to Disney World soon for the 2019 Walt Disney World marathon. My training has been riddled with knee problems so this should be an interesting and challenging run to say the least. I’ll be sure to recap it here so stay tuned!

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Stay adventurous, friends!

 

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runDisney’s Dopey Challenge: Walt Disney World Marathon part 1

This is part four of a recap of the 2018 runDisney Dopey Challenge. For part three click here!

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Standing at the start line of the Walt Disney World Marathon meant that I had reached the end of the Dopey Challenge- almost! In reality, with only one race left, I still had more than half the 48.2 miles left to run. However, Disney saves the very best for last!

Before each race Disney has characters out greeting and taking pictures in the start area. We got to the starting area early today and Pluto had a really short line so we jumped in. You can usually see the Fab Five and Dopey before and after each race of the weekend.

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Tip: Arrive early if you want character pictures before the race. Lines get long and cast members will stop allowing people in line.

Following suit of the half marathon we didn’t take many pictures in the beginning of the race as it was cold (so we were layered up) and it was dark. We did grab a selfie as we ran under the gates of the Magic Kingdom parking lot!

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Tip: Don’t let the distance overwhelm you. I try to think of a marathon in small parts- cover this section, then that section, etc.

We ran under the Magic Kingdom train station and headed down Main Street, USA.

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We choose not to wait in as many character lines this visit to Magic Kingdom. We were wearing our custom ‘Think I’m Dopey? Meet my sister!’ t-shirts so we had to stop for Cinderella’s not-so-favorite sisters.

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The course follows the same path as the half marathon out of Magic Kingdom and past the nearby resorts. However, instead of heading for Epcot, the course turns just after passing Disney’s Magnolia Golf Course and Shades of Green resort. On our way to make that turn we stopped to visit with Tourist Genie!

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Next stop: Animal Kingdom! On the way we saw Hades and his minions. Pain and Panic.

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This is the section of the course where we passed Disney’s (smelly) water treatment facility and horticulture facility. The later is responsible for all the seasonal topiaries you see throughout the year on property. As I’ve mentioned in my half marathon report we don’t usually stop for mile marker pictures but because today was ‘sister-themed’ we stopped for a picture at mile 12.

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A little past mile 12 we were running into the backstage entrance to Animal Kingdom. On the way there are usually animals out to greet you with their own race bibs on.

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There weren’t as many out this year which makes me wonder if the cold kept some of the animals away. Once in Animal Kingdom we stopped for a picture with Timon and Rafiki!

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Our next diversion was the highlight of the half way point of the race: Expedition Everest! That’s right- the Walt Disney World marathon offers the unique experience of a mid run roller coaster ride!

Tip: Animal Kingdom typically opens at 9am on marathon Sunday so plan to be in the park around that time if you want to ride Expedition Everest.

Riding Everest has become an increasingly popular experience with runners in my opinion. The first year we road we walked right on and sat on a train. This year it was a short line and took us about 20 minutes to get through the line and ride. The downside to this was I got cold waiting in line and riding. Despite that I’m still glad we did it!

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The best part: Magic Band RFID technology with automatically send you your ride photo!

Stay tuned for the second half of the marathon recap where we cross the finish line and complete the Dopey Challenge!

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Stay adventurous!

 

runDisney’s Dopey Challenge: Walt Disney World Half Marathon

This is part three of a recap of the 2018 runDisney Dopey Challenge. For part two click here!

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With the 5k and the 10k races complete the distance on the Dopey Challenge starts to get serious. The Walt Disney World Half Marathon starts on Epcot Center Drive, takes you down World Drive and into the Magic Kingdom, by the Magic Kingdom area resorts, back to World Drive and Epcot Center Drive and into Epcot’s Future World before you cross the finish line. The size of the Walt Disney World Half Marathon is considerably larger than the previous races of the weekend so the start corrals are much larger and further from where the race transportation drops off.

Tip: Consider taking the 0.5 mile walk to your start corral early. Each corral is sent off in mini waves so the earlier you arrive, the more likely you will be in the first wave.

At this point in our weekend we had switched to Kidani Village at Animal Kingdom Lodge to we were up and in the Kidani lobby by 3:00am to catch a bus for the 5:30 am start.

Today’s costumes were the Toy Story aliens!

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We bought plain blue t-shirts and wore an athletic tech shirt underneath. The pizza planet logos were made by my friend from felt. The headpieces were attached to plastic headbands and made from felt and foam. The gloves were $1 (or something crazy cheap) from Kohl’s. These were simple, effective and comfortable (and made with lots of hot glue!)

We tend not to take too many pictures from the start of the race into the Magic Kingdom because the course can be very dark. It’s popular for people to stop and take pictures with the big mile marker signs but we opted not to do that this year. The sun had just come up as we were going into Magic Kingdom which was perfect timing to stop for lots of pictures.

Once arriving at the park we started by coming down Mainstreet USA and turning right into Tomorrowland.

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Then we followed the path into Fantasyland where we decided to wait for our first character.

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The Little Mermaid has always been my favorite princess!

Tip: I won’t lie- character lines can be long. Make sure to budget your time and monitor your pace accordingly. In total we spent 1 hour in the Magic Kingdom this year (approximately 1.5 miles distance) getting the characters that I’m sharing.

Next we continued through Fantasyland and through the castle.

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On our way through Frontierland we stopped for Woody and Bullseye!

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Tip: See those people running behind Bullseye and Woody? They’re coming back from the Frontierland bathrooms. We stop here because it’s indoors (no port-o-potties!) and there are tons of stalls so there’s never a line.

After spending about an hour in Magic Kingdom we knew it was time to hit the road and take Floridian Way by Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. This is an under appreciate part of the course. People often complain it’s narrow and crowded but Disney will put multiple photo opportunities here and guests from the hotels will come outside to cheer runners on!

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We stopped for Mary and Bert’s Penguins at the end of the Grand Floridian’s drive way.

Generally there will be character greets at the Grand Floridian and on the golf course that’s on your right as you run. Over the years I’ve seen Lilo and Stitch, the wedding pavilion gentlemen, Tourist Genie, and Golfing Mickey or Goofy make an appearance (among others) on this stretch!

We took World Drive to Epcot Center Drive and were headed back into the Epcot parking lot. While crossing through the backstage area we stopped for Tink and her fairy friends.

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The Epcot portion of the course takes you past the Fountain of Nations towards World Showcase Lagoon where you make a U-turn and run back towards Spaceship Earth and out to the finish line.

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We stopped for Stitch on the U-turn.

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Almost lost my ears at the finish line!

With this finish line crossed we had completed 22.4 miles of the Dopey Challenge! What I find a little daunting about this challenge is that even with three races down we still hadn’t complete half of the distance. Just speaks to what a beast a full marathon is! As we get closer to the 2019 Walt Disney World Marathon keep your eyes peeled for the final installment of this series: the 2018 Walt Disney World Marathon recap!

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Stay adventurous, friends!

 

 

runDisney’s Dopey Challenge: 4 days, 4 races, 48.6 miles

Today I’m excited to say that I’m going to start a 4 to 5 part series on runDisney’s Dopey Challenge. This event, occurring at Walt Disney World each January, consists of running the Walt Disney World 5k, 10k, half marathon and full marathon races four days in a row. Pretty darn dopey, right?!

Cheers to the start of a very cold Dopey Challenge weekend!

I’m pretty excited to write about this for a couple reasons. First off, I love runDisney. It’s something my sister and I found we loved together and through it we were able to foster a really close relationship. We’ve run many runDisney weekends but Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend (where the Dopey challenge takes place) has always been my favorite. Finally getting to do Dopey this past year was the highlight of all the time we’ve spent running and training together. Overcoming this physical (and very much mental) challenge was one of the craziest things I think I could do and it was fun to boot!

All bundled up with Pluto before we ran the marathon.

I’m also excited to recount our running adventures this past January because I’m looking forward to going back to run Disney World again this coming January for the WDW Marathon (just the 26.2 miles this time.) Reliving this makes the time past faster as we count down to 2019.

Three races down and one more to go!

Stay tuned as I share how each race went and possibly share some tips and tricks that worked well to help get us through.

48.6 miles worth of bling!

Stay adventurous, friends!

Five Things Friday: October 12th, 2018

Time for another Five Things Friday! Now that I’m writing my second one it officially makes it a thing (I think!) Today I want to share five things about me that I haven’t shared on the blog yet. These are things that I want to write more about in the future so I thought this would be a good chance to introduce some of these hobbies.

  1. Confession: I’m a Disney World person. If you’re not one yourself you probably know the type of person I’m talking about. This is the person who has voyaged down to Orlando once a year, if not more, for as long as they can remember. The person who you can’t convince to visit Europe because they insist it’s more economical to see the eleven countries in Epcot’s World Showcase in one trip. Sound familiar? Yeah, that’s me. Are you a Walt Disney World person?

    One of my favorite times of year at Walt Disney World is the Flower and Garden Festival!
  2. I’m a runner! I’ve run 15(ish) half marathons since 2011. I’m gearing up for my fourth marathon TOMORROW! I’m running the Hartford Marathon for the first time and I’m really nervous. This training cycle has been difficult for many reasons but I’m hoping for the best. Wish me luck! Any words of wisdom from a fellow runner?

    In the final stretch of marathon #2 in 2017 at Walt Disney World. Yes, I can in a Minnie Mouse inspired tutu! I love running Disney races in costume!
  3. I love my dog! Ok, you got me- this isn’t a new confession if you’ve read my about me page. And who doesn’t love their dog?! However, I’d love to share a post sometime about my dog Waffles and the story of how I got him from an awesome rescue organization. He’s my first dog EVER- we never had a dog when I was growing up.

    Waffles aka the Waf-man
  4. I got hooked on watching HGTV while I was working the night shift. It was always on the break room tv which introduced me to Fixer Upper and Flip or Flop. Now I love watching home design shows. It always gives me the itch to redecorate! I decided to create a combination coffee bar cart for the kitchen. I ordered a cart off Amazon that looks like it will be perfect- fingers crossed! We’ll see if it comes out Chip and Joanna worthy!
  5. I like to read! I decided to make a better effort to enjoy a good book this year by joining my local library. Since June I’ve checked out and read six books! I most recently finished Finding Atticus by Tom Ryan which was excellent is you’re an adventuring dog person like myself. Got any good book recommendations?

Stay adventurous, friends!