2013 runDisney Princess 1/2 Marathon – Part 2

Live Big!
Live Big!
That was the motto of this trip – it’s the title of Ali’s show and it fit the spur of the moment craziness of this weekend.  With that, we tried to enjoy every moment of this trip and take no opportunity for granted!  It isn’t every day we plan a last minute trip to Walt Disney World, but after this weekend we might just change that! As we finished up Part 1 of this race recap, we had just finished up the official runDisney meet-up…

After the meet-up, we stayed in Epcot and took advantage of our free entry.  First up, we couldn’t leave without visiting Kris’ friend Figment at Journey Into Imagination! (As a side note, can we please have this pavilion restored to its former glory? The ride used to be the pinnacle of Imagineering, now it’s kinda depressing. Ever wonder what used to be under the glass pyramids? Image Works! Ok, off my soapbox…)
Have you seen the Dreamfinder?
Hooray for childhood nostalgia!

We also wanted to check out the renovations to Test Track – by going as single riders we were able to walk right on! The ride kept the same layout as the previous version, but shifted from a classic testing facility to a more futuristic/Tron-like display. Not too bad- plus there was a neat reference to the old World of Motion ride from the Epcot of days gone by.  
Tron Track!
By this point our early wake up call was getting to us. This would have been a problem, but we remembered Epcot has a place to get free Coca-Cola from around the world. So we made a beeline to Club Cool …  unfortunately they were out of Kris’ favorite flavor, Germany’s Mezzo Mix!
Seriously… no Mezzo Mix? 
We took Disney transportation over to the race expo and found it to be just as crazy as everyone had been warning us (we chatted with some participants while on the bus).  We figured it was just the opening rush we’ve seen at other events (you never want to go within the first hour of opening!) and/or a line for the new runDisney New Balance shoes (those have been a hot commodity!).  When we arrived; however, we realized it was just a poorly laid out expo.
Got our fill of Coronado Springs this trip!

This was a little disappointing since runDisney normally does a great  job.  With that said, the WDW expos are normally held at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex – they couldn’t hold this expo there this time around, so they held it at Coronado Springs Resort instead.

The first part was wide open for registration – more than enough room!  The other half of the convention center was home to the shirt/gear pick-up, Disney merchandise, vendors and presentation stage.  This was not the ideal amount of space for what Disney was trying squeeze in.  The aisles between vendors were a little snug to say the least.  The area for the presentations was also shoehorned into an area that it really didn’t work in.  We heard a basketball tourney at WWoS was the reason for the switch to Coronado Springs this year, hopefully it’ll move back next year and this will be a distant memroy.  
Wide open spaces
Walking over to get our bibs took just a minute as there was no line and plenty of helpful volunteers to assist us.  After that though, the chaos began as we saw the massive line to get shirts and gear bags.  We opted to wait – figured we’d be hanging around the expo all day as well as the next so there was no rush.  This worked out well for us as the line did die down later in the day.  
This pic doesn’t do the crowds justice…
Hello Better!

While we waited for the line to die down we checked out a few booths, and spent some time with two of our favorite companies – Newton and Skin Strong.  Free plug for Skin Strong- as a guy with a shaved head, it might be the only sunscreen Kris uses without complaint.  He says it doesn’t feel like a layer of grease on his head and doesn’t burn his eyes if he starts sweating during a run.  

Great products- SLIK is a lifesaver

Ali meeting fans!
We made our way over to Ali’s booth and hung out with her crew for a while while she interacted with fans.  After a while we realized Ali hadn’t eaten all day, so we picked up a salad for her and she was able to sneak away for a little overdue lunch break.  After lunch we had noticed the shirt and gear bag line finally shortened and we figured we should grab our goodies.
We also found it to be a good time to pick up Mindy’s new shoes … yes, she won a free pair!
I’ve got a golden ticket…
No ebay for these shoes!
His How To Qualify for Boston book works!
We also made our way over to visit Jeff Galloway – since he had to leave the meet-up early we didn’t have a chance to get a photo, plus he was kind enough to send a video message to Mindy’s running buddy about their upcoming attempt to qualify for the Boston Marathon
Disney organization in action!
As the day went on, we figured we should head back to the hotel to clean up.  So, we went out to catch a shuttle to Pop Century – very easy process! There were shuttles running directly to and from the expo to the host resorts- no connections needed!
Which way to the Adventurer’s Club?
After getting cleaned up, we decided to head to Downtown Disney for the evening.  With our lack of sleep the night before, Friday was not a late night for us – but, we did stay long enough to get dinner – burgers at Bodie’s All-American – and wander through some shops.
Then, back to Pop Century where we finally got to go to bed without setting an alarm! 
Saturday we enjoyed a nice, leisurely morning.  We got ready and made our way around Walt Disney World using the various complementary resort transportation.  We decided to skip the parks today and just check out some of the resorts and sights on property.  We took a bus to Epcot
The iconic Spaceship Earth
…then the monorail to the transportation and ticket center…

The monorail approaches!
… and from there we got on another monorail which stopped first at the Polynesian Resort – Mindy had never been to that resort so we stopped and looked around.  We got lunch at Captain Cook’s, wandered around the pool and beach area, then took the boat over to the Magic Kingdom.  
A three hour tour…
Cast Member Joe loves his job!
We stayed on the boat until the next top at the Grand Floridian and walked around that resort for a little bit.
From there, it was back on the monorail to continue our resort tour.  We jumped off quickly at the Contemporary Resort to see if it’s true that all resorts have stopped trading vinylmations … sadly, it is. 
View from inside the Contemporary
Then it was back to Captain Cook’s at the Polynesian Resort so we could get dessert … Dole Whips! YUM!
Mindy didn’t want to stop filling her cup!
Not the prettiest, but still sweet – (the dole whip)

At that point we figured it was time to head over to the expo.  We were waiting until lunchtime in case Ali wanted us to bring her something other that what she was able to get at Coronado.  Once we knew her lunch was covered, we hoped on event transportation and made our way over.
Follow the arrows…
Media approved faces (and new BFFs!)
Once we arrived, the producers asked to interview us for Ali’s show – we happily obliged.  We talked about how we met Ali, how this weekend came about, and what brought us to Florida with only a week notice.
Ali still going strong!
As the expo was coming to an end, we figured we should get our shopping in.  We didn’t get much, but we do like to get the commemorative pins at all of the events – so we grabbed those and realized it was a good thing we didn’t want much else – a lot was sold out!
Finally the line was short-ish
Like Black Friday shopping, but worse.

  

For the last few minutes, Ali finally had a chance to get away and do her own shopping – sadly, she didn’t make it too far since she was constantly stopped for photos!  But, she was able to get an anklet she wanted from Milestone Sports Jewelery.
Mission Accomplished!
Ali finally gets to shop around!
 We then hung out with the Girl Power 2 Cure ladies – this is an amazing organization of women!!! GP2C is an organization that helps girls and families suffering from Rett Syndrome.  GP2C has been around since 2006 and they help raise awareness, support families, and fund research to find a cure for Rett Syndrome.  
GP2C rocks!  
Amazing group of ladies working for a great cause!
And, with that, the expo came to an end.  We did what we could to help tear down the booth, make sure Ali had all her stuff for the race and help the producers ship all the goodies back home.  The 5 of us (Ali, her producing team, and us) then ducked into Rix Lounge for dinner, stories, and to make plans for the morning.


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