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: Walt Disney World 10k

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

After warming up our challenge with a 5k on Thursday it’s time to run the Walt Disney World 10k on Friday. Over the course of 6.2 miles this race departs Epcot, follows the highways back around to World Showcase, loops Disney’s Boardwalk, and finishes under the glow of Spaceship Earth.

Once again we departed Coronado Springs around 3:30am for a 5:30am start. Unsurprisingly, it was still cold so fortunately we were bundled up in our easiest costumes of the weekend!

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These Dalmatian suits were recycled from the dredges of my parent’s attic. My mom made them for her and my dad to wear trick-or-treating the year I went as Belle when I was four or five. Though bulky to pack, these made a great outer layer (and we had my mom’s blessing to officially retire them to the trash room at Kidani Village so they didn’t have to make the flight home.)

We covered the first three miles in the dark along the highway. We didn’t stop for pictures because it was characters we had already met, or the lines were too long for our liking.

On our way backstage into Epcot we ran into these guys and stopped.

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Plus side to ‘non-character’ photo ops? The lines are short! Downside? No photopass photographers so the lighting can be less than ideal.

Entering Epcot next to Norway we found that the Vikings were out so we stopped for them as well.

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No Photopass this time either

There were characters out in the World Showcase countries but again, long lines or repeat offenders (aka someone we have met at a previous race) so we continued out to the Boardwalk.

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I love the lights of the Boardwalk- always a highlight of the 10k course!

After looping the Boardwalk we re-entered Epcot in between Canada and the UK.

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The sun is coming up and I’m finally starting to feel my toes.

As we ran towards Future World we saw Duffy so we jumped in line.

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I miss this guy meeting in Epcot!

We ran the final stretch around the front of the park before heading back out towards the parking lot. It was here somewhere asked us if we were the Chick Fil A cows haha! Chick Fil A isn’t very big in Connecticut so we sort of just shrugged and kept going.

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Crossing the finish line

With the 10k complete we had 39.3 miles to go!

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Stay tuned for the Walt Disney World Half Marathon recap!

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Stay adventurous, friends!

runDisney’s Dopey Challenge: Walt Disney World 5K

This is part one of a recap of the 2018 runDisney Dopey Challenge. For the intro post click here!

The Dopey Challenge begins nice and easy with the Walt Disney World 5k on Thursday. At 3 miles, for an experienced runner, this seems pretty easy, right? That’s the tricky part of the Dopey Challenge- you start with this nice easy distance and before you know it you’re at the start line of a marathon!

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The Walt Disney World 5k is a great starting race as it’s untimed and family friendly. I saw lots of fellow Dopey’s bringing the whole family along to get the weekend started. For my Dopey Challenge my sister Caitlin was along for the ride (run.)

Tip: Research the weather and dress accordingly

We rolled out of Coronado Springs Resort approximately 3:30am to begin the cold and dark wait for the race start at 5:30am. Fortunately through our previous runDisney experience we brought plenty of warm clothes to bundle ourselves up with.

If you’ve read any other post of my blog you might know that I LOVE coffee, especially from Dunkin’ Donuts. Thus, how our costumes for this race were born:

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Our custom t-shirts say Dopey’s run on Dunkin’ and were made by an awesome facebook seller. If I can find her page I’ll link her back! We actually stopped at a Dunkin’ in Orlando the day prior to pick up the munchkin boxes and some coffees. We did run and pass out the donuts but we thought it was safer to take the cups empty so we drank the coffees the day prior!

The 5k course takes you through the Epcot parking lot, into the park behind Test Track, around World Showcase, and back out to the parking lot by looping around Spaceship Earth.

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We took many pretend coffee drinking pictures!

I love running through World Showcase in the dark. All the buildings are lit up and the torches are glowing- it’s the perfect way to see the sun rise! The beauty of the 5k is that it’s untimed so you can walk the whole thing if you please. We wanted to take it easy but it was so cold so we decided to at least maintain a slow job to keep moving!

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Horace was greeting by The Land Pavilion so we jumped in line (and passed out munchkins while we waited!)

Generally I find that the character lines are the 5k are wayyyy too long for us to consider wanting to wait so we were pleasantly surprised that we only waited 5-7 minutes for Horace. After meeting him we headed for the finish line so we could get on the bus and warm up!

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One race down and still all smiles!

The 5k is a great start to the Dopey Challenge! It was the perfect way to start the weekend and shake out some of the excited energy I was feeling. We had a lot of fun! Best part? The race is done with enough time for us to go back to Coronado Springs to take a well deserved nap before heading out to Epcot.

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With 3.1 miles down, we only had 45.5 miles to go! Click here for the Walt Disney World 10k recap!

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Stay adventurous, friends!