Friday, October 17, 2014

Trip Report: A Weekend of Terrifying Proportions

Last year I ran my First runDisney race, the Tower of Terror 10 miler, and enjoyed it so much, that I decided to do it again (and had made plans to do it yearly until they suspended it next year). The only difference between last year and this year was that I was actually prepared.

Jared was going to run with me again this year, but had some personal matters to deal with, so that left me going and running by myself, until I remembers that Kristin, BamaGirlRUNS, was going to be heading through my home town on the way to the World. So I politely asked to hitch a ride with her and a friend, and was given a great "Of Course" response.  

We left early Thursday morning and talked Disney/Religion/Troy all the way down ( it's 7 1/2 hours from where I live), and made good time arriving around  3 Orlando time. 

I was once again staying at Saratoga Springs while Kristin and her friend, Wendi, were at Pop Century. Being the second time at Saratoga, I believe I enjoyed it more this time. I walked around the resort s little more and got to take the scenery in a little better. The calmness of the resort is very refreshing after any day in the park. The down fall was the bus system at the resort, 5 bus stops and of course this time I was at the last stop coming back to the resort. 

Once settled, I decided to hit up the Magic Kingdom for a few hours and just take it in. I went on Haunted Mansion  and had Casey's for dinner, but after that it was time to head out for Fantasmic, Magic Kingdom closed early for the Halloween party anyway. 

I took a small stroll through DHS, didn't really have a plan, once again taking in my surroundings. Made a fast pass for Fantasmic and got some ice cream before heading into the theater. 

I love Fantasmic, its second to wishes for night time shows, but this one seemed a little off. One of the ape boats during the Lion King scene hit the wall and got stuck, while other boats just missed their marks. As the show went on I questioned why I was thee, Kristin and her sister had invited me to see Illuminations at Epcot with their friends and I had declined, but then the Finale came up, where Mickey drafts the villains and shows up as Sorcerer Mickey at the top of the backdrop and I get chills, and I was happy I sat through the show to see this. 

The next day was Expo day, and I wanted to get me a pair of the runDisney New Balance shoes, so I got up 6 to get in the online queue and got a spot for 11 am. 

Since I was already up I decided to make the trek to Animal Kingdom for a ride in Everest before heading over to Sunshine Seasons at Epcot for Breakfast. Everest was a walk on, the longest I waited was the minute it to the next train to come into the station and unload. I debated a second ride, but against my good judgement, I declined and headed out to the buses for epcot. 

I made it to Epcot in time for rope drop and headed straight for soarin, as I was early for breakfast, and once again i only waited long enough to watch the pres ride movie. I got off the ride and headed back to Sunshine Seasons and got breakfast and ate with some of the Be Our Guest Podcast listeners. It was pretty enjoyable. 

It was getting close to 11 and I started heading to the Buses to go back to my resort to hit up the bus to the Expo. And of course, there is a bus sitting there and leaves as soon as I turn the corner. I wait a few minutes, and hop on the next bus, only to get to Saratoga and miss the bus for the expo. 

I make to the expo about an hour after my appointment for my shoes, but they let me in and I had my shoes in hand. I walked around the expo, which was a great one this year. Fit2Run had a huge showing, along with multiple vendors. But it wasn't the lay out I was use to. 

I spent about an hour at the expo and went back to the hotel to get ready for the Halloween Party for the night at Magic Kingdom, but got a message from Kristin and met up with her and Wendi for some pictures at the Animation area.  This is where we probably had the best conversation of the weekend. You see Krisitin had met a "Friend of Mickey" the night before at Epcot and told him she would would come over to see him in Hollywood Studios, but to know that it was him, she requested that he pinch her butt. So we wait in line, and finally get up to the big cheese himself, and absolutely nothing happens in regards to the pinch. On the way out Krisitin turned to us and said "That had to be the most awkward greet, he didn't even pinch my butt!" Wendi and I both looked at her because usually you hear some one say it was awkward because Mickey pinched your butt...

After leaving DHS I headed over to the Magic Kingdom for the Halloween Party.  I will state that I don't usually dress up for the party to much, this year was just a shirt that looks like the White Ranger from Power Rangers, but I do love looking other people's creativity for their costumes. One day we do plan on going in costume. 

This years party was fun in my opinion. It's the first time I have been by myself so I was able to soak a little more in. I decided to hit up Jack and Sally first since they were already out and the party hadn't officially started. I only had a short wait, 30 minutes max, and had a great interaction with Sally, while last year she didn't say much. 

I was set on trying to get as much candy as I could from the candy trails, and focused my attention to the Tomorrowland area first, and hit them all. I stopped for a picture with Donald and Goofy in their Halloween costumes, and had a little bit of an interaction with them. 

The mood was getting a little tense, as clouds began to roll in, we had had a  small rain shower before the party, but it was done before the offical start. But as the night went on, it started to look more and more like rain. 

I found my spot on Main Street for the Boo to You Parade, and this is where I was impressed with the cast members. Over the past few years I had noticed people in the park during the party, but didn't have a wristband and no one was doing anything. This year Disney had set up "checkpoints" to make sure you had paid for the special event.  Before the parade started a family sat down next to me that hadn't bought any tickets, and they were kindly asked to leave. 

The parade was great as always, and at the conclusion I made my way closer to the Hub to watch the Villian's Mix and Mingle, Celebrate the Magic, and Happy HallowWISHES. It should be said that the Villian's don't really mingle after the show because of the Villain' Sinister SoirĂ©e. But after the mix and mingle is when the fun happened. 

You remember the clouds rolling in?they were filed with water. And that water had to come down. So in between the Villian's Mic and Mingle and Celebrate the Magic, it rained, but not for long, then it sprinkled and stopped. As soon as Celebrate the Magic started Disney introduced their new interactive experice, the heavy down pour. As you also may remember, I was I a white ranger short, that is white, so as soon as the Let It Go segment started, I went and grabbed a new shirt from the store. 

After I changed shirts, I made it back to Main Street for Happy HalloWISHES and enjoyed the show as usually it's a great firework show. 

I did a few more small things in the park, Anna and Elsa's Meet was only 39 minutes so I took advantage of that, and then went over to Cinderella to make Bethany mad. Grabbed a cupcake at Gaston's Tavern and got a few pictures with him, and he pointed out that it was a privilege to meet my idol.  

After a great day/night going through all 4 parks and some great conversation with new peopl I called it a night and headed back to the resort. 

Race day was finally here, so I decided to make the call to sleep in a little to catch up the sleep I didn't get the night before. 

I mainly stayed at the resort but made a trip over to Downtown Disney to pick up a few small things and walked back to Saratoga so that I could watch the Alabama game and get ready for the race. 

Kristin had told me that here and Wendi had planned on being at the race around 7, but because of the horrible Bama game, I was a little late, but was glad to see that they were also late. 

I was originally in corral J but was able to move up to B, which changed the race completely for me. We met up with some other friends, and had pictures taken before we headed in to the corral. We stayed back toward the back because it was 3 of our groups first race and they didn't know what to expect. 

Being one of the first to leave was an amazing feeling. I knew there were only a few hundred people in front of me compared to every runner that I had last year. I was able to stay with Kristin and Carrie for about half a mile, but because they are better runners, I had to fall back a little. 

They race itself was great, but wasn't like last year, it's almost like an after thought. There was a lot that Disney could have done to make the experice amazing, but it just wasn't there. A couple things that came up in our conversations were that Maleficent didn't make an appearance on the course as she had last year, and the Maleficent Dragon from the Festival of Fantasy parade should have been made available for a picture opportunity or just on the course at some point due to the fact that the dragon is featured on most of the merchandise from this years race. 

I finished the race in 2 hours 17 minutes, shaving over 20 minutes off my previous time. I also didn't stop for pictures like I did last year (Kristin ran the 5k that morning and said that the characters didn't change for this race and they also didn't stop for pictures). Once crossing the finish line and getting my medal and free snacks I got a tweet from Kristin asking where I was and to meet them at Darth Vader and the Stormtroopers. So of course I got my picture with Darth and soon after met up with Kristin and Carrie. 

About this time the rest of the group crossed the finish line and we walked back over to meet them and make plans for the night.  Wendi wasn't feeling the best so she went back to the resort, and Carrie was cold so she went home which left Dorothy, Eric, Kristin and myself at the after party. We mainly stayed around the hat with the DJ and talked about our experiences and took a few more pictures. It wasn't until about 2:30 when we left to go back to our resorts. 

We all met up again at Downtown Disney the day most of us left (Dorthy and Eric were staying). We had a quick lunch at Earl of Sandwich, my first experience and loved it, did a little bit of shopping. On the way out we stopped by Art of Disney and had a great conversation with Artist David Doss, who told us about his inspiration and why he wanted to be a Disney Artist. 

As you can tell, it was a busy weekend, but fun. Unfortunately, Disney has taken the Tower of Terror 10 Miler off the calendar for next year, possibly due to construction on a new Pixar Place or Star Wars related area. While I was looking forward to this as an annual race for myself, it looks as though I will be trying the Wine and Dine next year ( after the Goofy Challenge  in January). 

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