August 29 – September 2, 2013
Why has this one been so difficult for us? We had such an amazing weekend, it’s hard figuring out how to describe it and it’s overwhelming knowing where to start! So, bear with us as we try to make this post short and sweet while we share our stories with you … I thought it may be easiest to share it mostly with pictures.
As I was getting everything ready to take a couple days off work – a coworker surprised me with an early birthday present in my office … Since I wouldn’t be at work for my birthday, she wanted me to still get to celebrate. Totally made my day and started our trip off on the right foot!
It was then time to get on the plane and head to Southern California. I decided to start reading Joe Cosgrove’s new book, Walt Dreamers Me – we had recently ordered it when we found out we would have the opportunity to meet him at Club 33 during this race weekend. Kris took the book to work to read it and now it was my turn to read as much as I could before we got there.
When we landed at the John Wayne airport, we hurried to get our luggage and rushed out to the Disneyland Express. Unfortunately, we had just missed the bus so we had to wait 30-45 minutes for the next one to show up … it’s never fun having to wait to go to Disneyland! And, since this shuttle is operated by Gray Line rather than Disney it is not as ‘magical’ as the Disney’s Magical Express in Florida. But, it got us to our destination safely at a much more affordable price than a taxi!
To save a little money, our plan was to stay at the Best Western Stovall’s Inn the first night and then move to the Disneyland Hotel the nights of the races (we have stayed at the Best Western multiple times for races and it is a great alternative to the Disney hotels). Since the shuttle stops first at the Disneyland Hotel, we figured we would get off there, have lunch and walk to Stovall’s (we had heard it takes a long time to get to the good neighbor hotels. Plus, we were hungry and had been sitting for a while – it was time to stretch our legs).
So, we got our stuff and headed towards Tangaroa Terrace (one of our favorite non-park dining options). Kris decided he needed a pit stop so I hung out by the pool taking pictures and enjoying that we had made it to Disneyland.
Kris was gone for a while and I was starting to wonder what he was doing. I then figured he was grabbing my birthday button (he always insists I wear one for the whole weekend). I was surprised when he finally came back and didn’t have one – oh well, there would be plenty more opportunities.
After eating, a cast member came to Kris and said she had rung his bill up wrong – so he went to see what the problem was. When he returned, he handed me my official birthday button for the weekend. At that point, we got our things and headed out to the hotel.
As we exited the Tangaroa Terrace, a couple cast members approached me with a ‘Happy Birthday’ and the usual cast member pleasantries. They asked if I knew about the complimentary room tours on birthdays – and if I wanted to go on one. I politely told them it was okay, we would be staying there tomorrow night and I’ve stayed in the rooms before. They weren’t going to take no for an answer and at that point I knew something was up … so I went along.
We headed up to a room and they showed us the amenities – all of which I knew and tried to act surprised about. After a few minutes of awkwardness, they asked if we wanted to stay there for the night. The budget conscious lady in me replied with something about how it depended on how much it costs … to which I was told it was already taken care of. We were in the room we would be spending the whole weekend in. Apparently this is why it took Kris such a long time to ‘go to the bathroom’.
So, we unpacked and then wandered around Downtown Disney. Of course, we had to head into World of Disney so we could see what souvenirs we couldn’t go home without. That was when we were surprised to see they now carried Shwings – one thing we definitely didn’t expect to find at World of Disney but couldn’t leave without!
We then wandered into Kris’ favorite – Marceline’s Confectionary.
It was then time to get back to the room, get our gear ready for our early morning meet-up and get some sleep.
Entries into the runDisney meet-ups are pretty coveted. To get one, you have to be a blog stalker for days and then have a little bit of luck at the right time. We really lucked out when both of us made the cut for this meet-up!
We were asked to meet at the sorcerer’s hat by 5:30 … Early morning wake-up calls don’t bother us when we get to walk downstairs and meet our runDisney friends!
Upon arriving at the meet-up, we turned in our waivers and received our runDisney bag with the shirt we were to wear for the morning. We then had a little time to mingle before setting out for the group run.
After leaving the Disneyland hotel, we stopped in an open area in Downtown Disney for a brief run clinic by New Balance reps.
As the sun came up we were greeted by the White Rabbit which lead us to believe it was time go get moving!
The group split into two groups for the run – one straight running group led by last year’s 1/2 marathon female winner – Cindy Lynch. The other group was a run-walk-run group lead by Jeff Galloway. We opted to stay with Galloway since we love him and his program – we were looking forward to chatting with him as much as we could!
Here, we met up with Alice for a photo and were invited to her Mad Tea Party.
While we waited our turn, we had a little fun with Ali & Joey. They were happy to help me celebrate my birthday in style!
This is definitely one birthday … and teacup ride I will never forget!
After making ourselves nauseous, it was time to run again. We headed out of Disneyland and over to Disney California Adventure. Here’s where we met up with the photographer and were led through the park for photo ops … always having fun!
We finished our run in Hollywood Land where they hold the Mad T Party in the evenings.
Once we all arrived, it was time for our group photo.
Now on to refreshments and presentations. As always, runDisney threw in a few surprises and giveaways!
A rep from ABC talked to us about the new Once Upon A Time In Wonderland series. They gave us special pins from the show and showed us an extended preview. I’m a big fan of the original Once Upon A Time, so I am very excited about the new spinoff!
Now for the special speakers:
A perfectly magical way to start my birthday! Although, the Mad Hatter wasn’t too happy that it was my real birthday … it just wouldn’t be appropriate to celebrate unless it’s an un-birthday!
Stay tuned for parts 2 & 3 … The fun is just beginning!