Monday, April 15, 2013

2013 Disney Princess Half Marathon Part 1: Arrival/Expo/Downtown Disney

After months of hard work training for my first half marathon, it felt surreal when the day finally came to head to Orlando. Robert and I woke up, and headed to the airport (after triple checking my race day packing list). When we arrived at our departing gate, there were many ladies wearing tiaras and chatting about the race that we were all going to be completing that weekend. Everyone was buzzing with excitement!

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We arrived in Orlando, and made our way to the Magical Express line, where we got right on the bus and headed to our resort; for this trip we stayed at the Port Orleans-Riverside. After checking in to our resort, we were told our room was not quite ready yet, so we ate lunch then decided to head over to the race expo. Usually the expo is hosted at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex, but due to other events happening the same weekend, the expo was at the Coronado Springs Resort.

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When we got to the expo in the early afternoon, it was packed. However, having traveled to the Disney World quite a few times, I have learned to expect crowds, so this did not ruin my good time at all; I was far too excited! I picked up my race bib and goody bag, and Robert picked up his platinum chEAR package gear. Despite the large crowd, this was a very easy process with no line at all. After that, I went to pick up my tech shirt, and began exploring all the booths. They had booths for just about everything you could think of – race fuel, apparel, fuel belts, jewelry, medal displays, etc. They had an area where the special guest speakers could easily be seen and heard. There was even a place where spectators could create posters for the race! After scoring some free fruit, getting dusted with glitter, and purchasing a gorgeous 13.1 charm necklace, we headed to the official runDisney merchandise area. The line was long but it moved fairly quickly. They had so many cute items to buy, but I decided on the 13.1 car decal and the adorable runDisney vinylmation along with the Princess Half medal for it. Lastly, we made sure to get pictures with Belle, Jasmine, and the hilarious Major Domo characters they had there!

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By the time we headed back to our resort, our room was ready. I was so excited since we booked the new Royal Rooms – I felt it not only appropriate, but absolutely necessary to stay in a princess-themed room for such a princess inspired weekend! The resort itself is stunning as well. Many of the room locations are in buildings that were architecturally designed to look like old southern belle plantation mansions. Another great aspect about this resort (for runners) is that the dining hall has an area where you can create your own pasta dish. Perfect for some carbo loading!

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We unpacked, relaxed for a short time, then headed off to Downtown Disney for some shopping and dinner. I always love exploring Downtown Disney, especially the ‘World of Disney’, their incredibly massive Disney store. They have everything you could ever need there (well, everything Disney related at least). We ate dinner at Paradiso 37; this restaurant has a great atmosphere and the food is delicious! I wanted to eat clean pre-race, so I had the grilled chicken sandwich (no bacon), with veggies instead of fries. I highly recommend this restaurant for a pre-race meal!

QOTD: If you have done a runDisney race (Disney World, or Disneyland), what restaurant would you recommend for a pre-race meal?

4 comments

  1. At Disneyland, if you wanted to stay in the park, I would recommend Redd Rockett's Pizza Port because they have different pasta options.
    In 2011, our pre-race meal was Bucca di Beppo and apparently all the other runners had the same idea. We tried to order ~6pm and they had run out of meatballs! Definitely plan ahead. For 2012, it was just my hubby and I, so we went to California Pizza Kitchen. We had a great pasta with a light tomato sauce. I'm leaning towards that for this year. :)

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    1. Excellent! I may have more questions for you as January gets closer for the Tinkerbell Half :) I have only been to Disneyland once, and that was about 7 years ago!

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  2. My sister and I also did the Princess half this year along with my best friend from childhood, her mom and sister. We met for dinner at Via Napoli and it was delicious! I had one of their pasta dishes and was surprised when it came to the table and was a normal portion size!

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    1. Whaaaat?! Normal portions at Disney? haha :) That is pretty surprising, especially after the gigantic pizza that was served to my husband and I there!

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