Mar 20, 2013

Disney's Princess Half Marathon Trip Report: Magic Kingdom

With only a few hours left in the day to spend at the parks, I knew I had to see the new Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom before I left WDW, even if that meant only looking at it. The rides had ridiculously long waits, it was super crowded and it was getting extremely hot outside, so we went and saw but were unable to partake. Sad.

So we saw Under the Sea with The Little Mermaid...

and Eric's Castle. 

For some reason, the bumbling LeFou was always a memorable character for me, so I love how he is portrayed in this statue in front of Gaston's Tavern.

We took a quick peek into the Tavern. Beauty and the Beast remains one of my favorite Disney films. 

 We also saw the Beast's castle in the distance.

We did get to visit one attraction in the old part of Fantasyland - Mickey's PhilharMagic, where Donald makes a mess as usual.

We took some more castle photos for good measure. 

Then made our way back to Wilderness Lodge via boat. 

Photo credit: CruisingGoddess

We ate an early dinner at Wilderness Lodge's Whispering Canyon Cafe. I was trying to keep on the light side since we were eating so early and going to bed so early, so I just had the potato leek soup and arugula salad with a pomegranate lemonade. 

We washed up and went to bed around 8 pm for a 3:30 am wake up time the next morning! 

If you missed my other Princess Half Trip Report posts, check them out: 
- Wilderness Lodge and Fit for a Princess Expo 
- Hollywood Studios and Pasta in the Park Party 
- Animal Kingdom

Mar 19, 2013

Disney's Princess Half Marathon Trip Report: Animal Kingdom

We tried to start off my only full day at WDW bright and early since our time in the parks the previous day had been limited. After breakfast at the Wilderness Lodge, we traveled to the Animal Kingdom.

The park wasn't very crowded yet at this time of day so we decided to head straight to Expedition Everest. It had a reasonable wait time so we joined the line.

Looking at my pictures now, I am still amazed by all of the details that go into creating the Disney experience. Everest was a thrilling start to our day. 

While we were still in Asia, we walked the Maharajah Jungle Trek seeing many different animals along the way, including tigers, bats and a komodo dragon!

Next, we ventured into Africa and the Pangani Forest Trail. Along the way, we encountered many different birds of bright colors.

We picked up FastPasses from Kilimanjaro Safaris and got times for after lunch. We decided to try to get into Tusker House before our reservation time and got seated right away. During lunch, we met Mickey and Goofy (I missed Daisy because I had gone out to get more food from the buffet). This was my first character dining experience and I thought it was lots of fun.

Lunch ended just as we hit our FastPass return time. Although we were able to see a lot of animals, I felt like the drivers had to rush us through the ride. We didn't stop for more than a second, if at all, we when saw an animal, which required some quick picture taking. 

As we were making our way out of the park, we saw Dug and Russell from Up! And we got my favorite picture of my sister from the entire trip! She loves Dug. 


We got one last glimpse of the Tree of Life before heading to the Magic Kingdom for the remainder of the day.  

If you missed my other Princess Half Trip Report posts, check them out:
- Wilderness Lodge and Fit for a Princess Expo
- Hollywood Studios and Pasta in the Park Party

Mar 12, 2013

Disney's Princess Half Marathon Trip Report: Hollywood Studios and Pasta in the Park Party

Following the Expo, we headed to Hollywood Studios for our 1:30 pm lunch reservation at the Hollywood Brown Derby with about a minute to spare. After having done so much already in the day, I was starving!

For my lunch, I ordered the duck two ways and we shared the restaurant's signature grapefruit cake for dessert.

Following lunch, we hopped into the single rider line of Aerosmith's Rock n Roller Coaster. So much fun. 

Next, we headed to Pixar Studios and tried to get on Toy Story Midway Mania only to find it was closed at the moment.

Photo credit (top left): Cruising Goddess

No fear! We went on the nearby The Great Movie Ride in the meantime. Wow, is this ride boring and kind of creepy too.

Our second try at Midway Mania was successful. This ride is really a lot of fun and super cute! I have the worse aim in the world, but I managed to hit a few plates and get a reasonable score.

Photo credit (left): Cruising Goddess

By this time in the afternoon, we were getting close to the start time of the Pasta in the Park Party, and we still needed to get back to our hotel to drop off the stuff we acquired from the Expo. So we had to say good bye to Hollywood Studios.

Only to say Hello to Epcot Center a short time later.

Photo credit: Cruising Goddess

We originally all decided to attend the Pasta Party. For me, it was because I wanted to do everything and have the complete race experience. Only after I began reading reviews of pasta parties past did I regret my decision.

It actually was not really all that bad, just completely mediocre. It was definitely something I could have been fine not attending, and it is something I will not be going to again. It really was not worth the time and money, when we could have been enjoying any park we wanted to with our park hopper passes and also eating whatever we wished.

Photo credit (bottom right): Cruising Goddess

We did get to meet Ariel though, my sister's favorite!

Photo credit: Cruising Goddess

We decided not to stick around for the Illuminations fireworks show because we had all seen it before. instead, we opted to ride the new Test Track. I didn't even know they had redone it. Even though we were in the single rider line, two of us wound up in the same car. At the end of the ride, you get dropped of into what is essentially a Ford showroom, win some funny photo opps.

We ended the night with some ice cream sandwiches before heading back to the hotel to rest for another busy day at WDW.

If you missed my first Princess Half Trip Report post, check it out: 
Wilderness Lodge and Fit for a Princess Expo

Mar 4, 2013

Disney's Princess Half Marathon Trip Report: Wilderness Lodge and Fit for a Princess Expo

My weekend at Walt Disney World for the Princess Half Marathon Weekend was a complete whirlwind and completely packed with activity. I wished I had more time to spend in Orlando and at WDW, but still, I was happy to have spent a few days taking it all in and having my first runDisney experience. 

I arrived at Orlando International Airport around 9:30 on Friday morning and made my way (of course, going the wrong way first, per usual) to Disney's Magical Express. I loved this service that takes resort guests directly from the airport to the Disney Resorts. Super convenient. 

A short time later, I found myself at Disney's Wilderness Lodge. This is the first time I have ever stayed in a Disney property and as is the Disney way, it is all in the details!

Photo from Cruising Goddess

The lobby gave me the first clue as to how overwhelming this weekend was going to be for me. 

Photo from Cruising Goddess

I found myself drawn to this fireplace every time we returned to the hotel. If only I had a second to spare, I would have sat by that fireplace to decompress. 

Bridge photo from Cruising Goddess

The hotel room was also filled with the little details that make Disney Disney.

 Photo from Cruising Goddess

Like beavers on the bedposts, Thumper on the pillows and Chip and Dale in the shower along with Bambi and Meeko. Our view from the patio even gave us the feeling that we were somewhere special.

 Photos from Cruising Goddess

Rebecca and Chris were still at the hotel so we made our way to the Fit for a Princess Expo to pick up our race bibs. This process was much more involved than any of us had anticipated. First of all, the shuttles were not running in a timely manner at all. We waited at least 20 minutes for a shuttle to arrive and when we got to the Expo, it was a complete zoo. Next time, I am going to plan on setting aside much more time to spend at the Expo. 

While I was standing in line to pick up my race packet, I spotted Sean Astin, actor (Mikey/Rudy/Samwise Gamgee) and runDisney enthusiast! He was super nice and pumped to be there!

 Photo from Cruising Goddess

After we successfully picked up everything, I really just wanted to get out of the Expo so we could enjoy the parks! Unfortunately, we got distracted by a few things. So much going on! 

Here are the contents of our race packets: technical shirt, button, temporary tattoo, Luna Bar, mesh bag and race program. 

If I hadn't been desperately wanting to make the most of my park hopper ticket, I would have done some wandering around the Expo, but we were really cramming a lot into the day. Oh well, off to Hollywood Studios!