My Top Tips for RunDisney Challenges

This week was the bib-only registration for this year’s RunDisney at Disneyland Paris, and after taking last year off, I’m super pleased to be back and participating in the 36K challenge!

This will be my 5th RunDisney challenge, having previous run Disneyland’s Rebel Challenge (2016) and Pixie Dust Challenge (2017), Walt Disney World’s Glass Slipper Challenge (2017) and Disneyland Paris’s 31K challenge (2017), so this is not an unusual thing for me, but having only ever done challenges that involve a 10K and half marathon, throwing in the extra 5K will be a little different!

All of these previous events have given me a lot of experience in how I face these weekend challenges, and while I must REALLY reinforce the fact that everyone is different when it comes to their training, approach, recovery etc, I just thought I’d share some wisdom that might be of use to anyone who might be facing their first challenge, or just want a little nosey at how I do things.

Training is SO key

I consider myself notoriously bad at training, and you’ll probably frequently see me tweeting about how little training I’ve done for various races, but my body is so used to doing these races and these distances that I can get away with winging it a little. If you are not a regular runner, or these will be your first events, I cannot stress enough how important it is that you do some training, including running back to back days and take training advice from professionals and experienced runners only.

Do NOT expect to do it all

Running every day is DRAINING. The Paris races aren’t too bad as they start at 7am, but if you’re participating in a WDW event, you’ll have to be awake at 3am at the latest to get to your events, and this has a huge impact on your day. The most important thing I have learned is to take it completely easy in the day before the bigger races, eg after the 10K and before the half marathon (or before the marathon if you’re literally and running Dopey). Have a super chilled day in the parks, or spend some time relaxing at the pool, let your body recover and rest up and you’ll be much happier, trust me.

Take the shorter races easier

You might think that the shorter races are your time to shine and want to run them full pelt, but in reality you probably want to take the opposite approach. Going all-out on a 5/10K could put you in a much worse shape going into your longer races, and believe me you want to be feeling fresh and ready for them!

Walking breaks are your friend

Jeff Galloway, the official RunDisney training expert, absolutely SWEARS by run-walk-run, and whenever I’m doing a challenge weekend I always have this in mind. Taking walking breaks reduces the risk of injury, give you a chance to enjoy your time in the parks and help you breakdown the long distances if you’re finding things hard.

Don’t put pressure on yourself, and remember to have fun!

The races will put enough pressure on your body, don’t go piling on anymore! RunDisney events are incredible things and I have never done a race I didn’t enjoy, so just go out there to have a good time, and whatever you do will be amazing.

Who else joined me in registration this week?

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The RunDisney Castaway Cay Challenge

Yes hi, I am still talking about all the running that I did in January – I think its because I haven’t done any running since so I’m looking back on better times!

So many people thought that I was mad enough to run a FRICKIN’ MARATHON midway through my holiday in January, and most of these people were even more baffled to find out that only a few days after running the longest distance of my life AND while still on holiday, I ran a further 5K race, but here me out on the logic behind it.

You see, I wanted another medal.. Yep, that’s basically it.

Every January, following the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, the Disney Dream cruise ship sets sail from Port Canaveral for a 4 night cruise. Its the same route and same cruise that the Dream does from Port Canaveral all the time, but this one particular sailing is jam packed full of runners recovering from their weekend races, who have mostly all booked it for the RunDisney Castaway Cay Challenge.

The challenge is this: if you participate in any race during the WDW Marathon Weekend – so this could be as little as the 5K – you can sign up for the challenge, which means that on the morning that the Dream docks at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay, you take part in a special RunDisney organised 5K on the island, and as well as receiving the standard Castaway Cay 5K, which any guest can earn on any cruise that stops at the island, challenge participants also receive this challenge medal to round off their collection.

As with all other WDW Marathon Weekend events, bib and t-shirt pickup was done at the RunDisney expo at ESPN Wide World of Sports, but t-shirt exchange and merchandise were only available on the ship itself. Merch itself seemed a little lacking to me, there was a pin, a hanging ornament and a tech t-shirt available in two different colours, and that was all – although you could also buy a normal Castaway Cay 5K t-shirt in the gift shop on the island itself.

The challenge 5K starts earlier than the usual race, and takes a slightly different course around the island, meaning that if anyone is mad enough to want to take place in both 5Ks that will happen that morning, there’s a bit of variety. We had to meet in the ship’s theatre at crazy o’clock in the morning, and there were some drinks and bananas available there. There was a brief introduction and then each corral was led off the ship and to the start line, which was quite a walk away from the boat and it was still pretty dark at the time, but the sun had started to rise before the race kicked off.

Mickey and Goofy led us through a pre-race warm-up, and each corral were set loose on the island. There was only A, B and C, about 700 people participating, so it felt tiny compared to the other races I had done the weekend before, but it felt a lot less pressured with fewer people about. We started and ended on the island’s disused runway, and along the way there a handful of characters including Stitch, Vacation Genie, Captain Hook and Max, which was a nice surprise as I wasn’t expecting any characters on the course.

Despite recovering from the marathon relatively well, I found the first 3k HARD work, but we took it nice and easy and many people were walking – it all felt very relaxed. By the last mile my legs had found their strength again and we ran most of the leg, nicknamed by the cast members as the Ring of Fire, probably because it felt like it went on FOREVER, and then all of a sudden we were at the finish line! The finish line was complete with the usual bottles of water, bananas and snacks – I swear I still can’t face bananas – but there was also a bar set up where guests could purchase champagne and cocktails etc.

Doing the 5K was a really great way to see the island a bit before the rest of the guests descended on it, and you can stay on the island from then onwards, but we were starving and in need of a Cabanas breakfast, so we went back to the ship to eat and shower before the day of fun ahead of us!

Another one off the RunDisney bucket list!

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My January Trip Disney Haul

I’m normally that person who leaves it FAR too long to unpack their suitcase after coming back from holiday, so I’m pretty shocked by myself that I am unpacked with the washing done within only a few days of arriving back. I mean sure, I partly did this so that I could do this haul post, but I usually just unpack the washing and my new buys and leave the rest for as long as I can get away with, so this is impressive for me.

This haul is a combination of buys from Walt Disney World, RunDisney merch and some purchases I made during our Disney Cruise on the Dream!

I felt like I didn’t go too overboard with shopping while in the parks, mainly due to the fact that the big expense of the trip was my Walt Disney World annual pass – Matthew and I are hoping to go back a couple of times this year and with our DVC discount it was much more cost effective to get APs than regular tickets! For this very reason I felt justified in buying a couple of magic bands, millennial pink and light turquoise, as well as choosing an orange AP magic band, just so I’ve got options, y’know.. It also meant that on our final day in the parks, which was the first day of Epcot’s Festival of Arts, we could pick up an annual pass holder magnet from Mouse Gear!

The other things I knew that I wanted was a DVC Alex and Ani bracelet, which Matthew bought for me, and the Its a Small World spirit jersey (because did you ever see anything so ME?!) and I also couldn’t resist buying the new Mickey celebration sipper cup!

The Small World spirit jersey was not the only spirit jersey purchase of the trip.. Well I had to round off my collection with the new RunDisney spirit jersey and the navy/rose gold Disney Cruise Line one, so I now have one of all the Disney spirit jerseys!

As well as the cruise spirit jersey, I also bought the Castaway Cay Challenge pin and this cute little cruise cupcake pin which was in a blind bag, and Matthew also bought me the DCL Alex and Ani!

I always try to be restrained at RunDisney expos, and in all fairness I do tend to be happy with the participant t-shirts that runners are given for taking part in the races, so I rarely buy any extra t-shirts at the expo, but as I’m going to shout about it for the rest of my life, I couldn’t not buy the ‘I did it’ t-shirt for the marathon, as well as the headband, and I also bought the mini medal replica pin!

The bottom two photos are the participant t-shirts for the 10K, marathon and Castaway Cay Challenge, and the ear hat was also given out at the end of the marathon which I was very happy about – I even got it embroidered! (or at least my friends did while I tried to recover from running..)

So mainly pins and spirit jerseys, but I’m pretty happy with all my buys, even if my credit card doesn’t exactly agree..

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The Walt Disney World Marathon

Sunday 13th January 2019

On the morning of the marathon I was up at 3am. Luckily, I’d actually slept pretty well that night, unlike most nights I have before races, so it didn’t feel too awful. As I was staying at Disney’s Polynesian Resort, I had to get the monorail to Epcot – there were no buses on for monorail loop resorts so it wasn’t as busy on the roads – but the building we were in, Moorea, was so close to the Ticket and Transportation Center that it was quicker for me to walk there and just get the direct monorail to Epcot than it was for me to get the monorail from Poly.

Getting the monorail meant I did arrive at Epcot earlier than I was used to and the corrals weren’t even open yet, so after I walked from the station to the RunDisney stage area, I sat down for a little bit so that I wasn’t on my feet for too long, then once the corrals were open I made my way to G and sat back down for the wait. To give you an idea of the scale of this event, by the time I’d got to the start line I’d already done 5,000 steps.

While the race officially started at 5:30am, my corral didn’t actually start until 6:10, by which time I was bursting for the loo having drank a bottle of water while waiting to begin, so I had to stop at the first portaloo on the course, which was about three-quarters of a mile in – although on a full bladder it felt A LOT longer than that!

The course took us straight up to Magic Kingdom, which we entered just after mile 5, and those first 5 miles flew by for me, with the highlight seeing Leah at mile 4 cheering me on. The sun was just rising so the castle looked totally beautiful while we were running down Main Street, and in every RunDisney event I’ve done in WDW, this is the moment I look forward to the most. The Magic Kingdom stretch always goes far too quickly as well – it was actually just about a mile – but just before leaving the park via a backstage area we reached the 10k mark.

For some reason in basically every marathon photo I am holding a banana (and no, they’re not all the same banana)

The next stretch of the route was the part I was looking forward to the least; it was a full 10k again before we’d reach Animal Kingdom. Despite dreading it, however, this part went almost as quickly as the first quarter of the race. It was all road with very little entertainment, and it was starting to get hotter as the sun had properly risen by then, but I was still in my stride and feeling good, so it didn’t seem like too long until the course took me into Animal Kingdom. We came in at the top of the park, running over the tracks for the train that normally runs guests to Rafiki’s Planet Watch, then down through Africa, into Asia and past Expedition Everest before leaving the park through the back of Dinoland USA. The park was open by this point, and some runners were making the dash off the route to ride Expedition Everest, for which the single rider queue was open exclusively for. The half marathon mark was also inside the park, and despite thinking I would have a little cry at that point, I was focusing all my energy on pushing forward – everything from this point onward would be the furthest I’d ever run before.

In my head, the next stretch of the race wouldn’t be so bad – it was less than 10K until we got to the next significant part of the course at ESPN Wide World of Sports. In reality, this was the hardest part for me. Between mile 16 and 17 my wireless headphones ran out of battery, meaning I no longer had the Hamilton soundtrack to distract me from the blazing sun and 25C+ temperature with no shade, or the fact that being back on the roads meant there was absolutely no shade. This was also about the time that my ankle gave out, and suddenly it felt like each mile had trebled in distance. When I finally did get to ESPN, I thought the time would go by a little faster, but my feet felt like they were dying and there were actually almost 3 miles to run around the grounds, and those 3 miles felt like 30.

From ESPN the course took us up towards Hollywood Studios, where we ran in through the top of the Fantasmic theatre, to the bottom of Tower of Terror and then along Sunset Boulevard and out of the park through the main entrance, and from there we ran along the path that links Hollywood Studios to Epcot via the Boardwalk Resort area. By this point I was so ready for the race to be over, but I was still plodding along as best I could, thinking that once the route took me into Epcot at the UK pavilion, I’d only have a short bit of the World Showcase to run before leaving the park for the finish line. I was wrong. Turns out, we were running around the World Showcase the long way..

Despite having very little of the route left and still running, albeit very slowly, I found the World Showcase incredibly irritating. Epcot guests were in full swing by this point, so only half of the width of the path was coned off for the runners, but guests were still cutting into the running course, and a lot of the other runners were walking by this point, so I was having to do a lot of weaving, which was the last thing I wanted to be doing as I was nearing 26 miles. The course continued to be super crowded and blocked up by walkers almost right up to the finish line, so I was having to dart into any available space until it finally opened up at the finish line stretch.

I’m not even sure if I can put into words how I felt crossing the finish line. I expected to burst into tears but it had been so hot I don’t think I had any water left in my body to cry out. The whole thing didn’t feel real, and I’m not sure it even does now, because running a marathon is not something that I ever imagined I would be capable of doing in my lifetime, let alone with the year I had leading up to it. But I did it.

The plan and motivation for this race was wanting to run a marathon before turning 25, which I will be in October. I’ve always said that it would be my only marathon and that I would definitely never put myself through it again, but now its over, I wonder if I’ve caught the bug..

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Walt Disney World Days 5 and 6

I’m combining two days into one post purely because I didn’t do too much myself!

After a lie in as a reward for the 10K the previous day, we headed to Animal Kingdom and went straight to our first fastpass at Dinosaur, and from there we went to meet Chip and Dale in their Dinobash outfits which were super cute!! It was pretty much lunchtime at this point so we went over to Satuli Canteen to eat (because I can’t live without cheeseburger pods).

After lunch, Chelsea and Sammy had a Flights of Passage fastpass so Sarah and I just wandered around Africa taking photos while they were in Pandora, and then we went back to Satuli Canteen to meet up with David, Megan and Leah quickly. I was planning on leaving after that to go back to the hotel, but our little meet took us up until our Expedition Everest fastpass so I figured it would be rude not to ride!

I spent the rest of the afternoon resting at the resort in preparation for the marathon, with the exception of going to Disney Springs for dinner at Blaze, and then got myself an early night for the next morning..

I won’t go into all the hairy details of the marathon just yet, but I DID IT!!!

It was hot, it was hard work, but it is over now and I’m so happy. I went straight back to the resort afterwards for a good soak in the bath and some feet up time, and then we drove over to Wilderness Lodge for dinner at Artist Point. It was the new Storybook Dining experience which is Snow White themed, and although the setting and characters were very cute, the meal itself was a little disappointing – although I hardly had the energy to eat anyway.

Matthew and I went back to Polynesian while the girls spent the rest of the evening in Magic Kingdom, but we did watch Happily Ever After from the beach at the resort, and I think I was asleep before 9.30pm..

My next post will be a more detailed look into the marathon, but we’re about to set sail on the Disney Dream so I don’t know if that will be posted tomorrow or a few days time!

Walt Disney World Day 4

Friday kicked off with the first RunDisney event of our trip: the Walt Disney World 10K. For me this technically counted as a warmup for the marathon, but it was Chelsea and Sammy’s first RunDisney event and it was really great. We stopped to meet Ralph and Vanellope, Chip and Dale as the Rescue Rangers and Jiminy Cricket, and I’m so proud of how they did and happy with how they paced me.

After we’d showered, changed etc, we went back to Epcot in time for our lunch reservation at Teppan Edo. It was my fourth time eating there and it never fails to disappoint! After eating, we went round to Norway to meet Anna and Elsa and then used our fastpass for Frozen Ever After. When we came out from there, we saw that Soarin had a 25 minute wait time so we bombed over there, but actually I don’t think we waited more than 15 minutes to ride. We then hit some Epcot walls, then went to Starbucks and Club Cool for drinks, then went to meet Baymax and Joy and Sadness, and then went back to Mexico to meet Donald.

With our little legs all feeling the long day, we finished up the day in Epcot at Mouse Gear before catching the monorail back to the resort for an early night and the best nights sleep of the trip so far!

Walt Disney World Day 3

So I’m now running a day behind, but hey ho!

Thursday morning we headed into Magic Kingdom around about opening time, and as we walked into the park Chip and Dale were just heading out to meet, so as they had no queue yet, we were basically the first people to meet them, then we walked towards Frontierland and rode Big Thunder Mountain, then picked up some breakfast and hit up Its A Small World.

From there, we went back to Main Street so Chelsea could get a Starbucks and Sarah could get a balloon, and then visited the purple wall for some quick pics for the ‘gram. Chelsea and Sammy had fastpasses for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, so they went off to do that and Sarah and I just hung out at the castle which is where they met us and we went over to Space Mountain for another fastpass.

A quick snack and some shops later, Sarah left to nip back to the hotel for a jacket and the rest of us had a quick wander through Fantasyland and then rode Big Thunder one more time, this time with a fastpass, and then left the park, meeting Sarah on the way out, and got the bus to Art of Animation.

The bus to AoA broke down, so we ended up having to be transferred onto a new bus, but it didn’t take too long for that to be sorted! We had some food at the resort and an explore, and then we got an Uber to ESPN Wide World of Sports for the RunDisney expo where we picked up our race bibs and shopped the merch for the race weekend, then grabbed another Uber to Hollywood Studios, which is where we finished up the night watching Fantasmic before going back to get a good nights sleep in before the 10k!

My RunDisney Medal Collection

So I know I have been totally AWOL for the last two weeks, but moving house is insane y’all! I honestly thought I’d only be away from blogging for a few days to maybe a week but I have had NO TIME lately with sorting the house out.

But I’m back! And as today is registration day for the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend in January, I thought I’d take the opportunity to share my existing RunDisney medal collection! I managed to get registered on Tuesday in the DVC early registration window, which I’m so happy about, and I wish everyone registering today the best of luck!

Walt Disney World races

2016 – If you’ve been following me for that long, you’ll know that I started doing RunDisney events in 2016, and every single race has been an amazing experience for me. My dad and I started off in the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend , taking part in the 5K and the half marathon, which was actually our first half marathon. Back then, 5K medals were 2016 rubber ones (you get a proper metal one now), so Pluto here was our first RunDisney medal. The half marathon was one of the hardest races I have ever done because a few days before I developed a chest infection and I honestly felt like I was going to die before we’d even hit mile 4, but we did it and it was so worth it.

2017 – Running solo for the first time, I started off the year with the Princess Half Marathon Weekend in February. By this point I had the bug for challenges, so I did the Glass Slipper Challenge (10K and half marathon). The races were all Beauty and the Beast themed that year, which I was so happy about as I had already planned to run as Chip before the medal designs had been released, although the challenge medal was still glass slipper themed.

Disneyland races

2016 – The week after doing the marathon weekend in 2016, we left Florida and flew across to California to take part in the Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend, and this was where we completed our first race challenge, Rebel Challenge, which was completing the 10K on the Saturday and the half marathon the next morning on the Sunday. By this point my chest infection had cleared up, and I actually set my half marathon PB on this course.

2017 – In May I did the Pixie Dust Challenge at the Tinkerbell Half Marathon weekend. I saw a lot of hate on social media over these races but I had a total blast. The Disneyland 10K course is my all time favourite RunDisney course (RIP California races) and I think my favourite medal was from the 10K, although they are all so stinkin’ cute!

Coast to Coast

Both in 2016 and 2017 I earned a Coast to Coast medal for completing a half marathon* in both Walt Disney World and Disneyland in the same calendar year, but in 2017 I got a bonus of the ‘pink’ Coast to Coast, which was for doing the Princess and Tinkerbell weekend in the same year. The medal was essentially the same as the normal Coast to Coast, just in a pinky colour palette instead! 2017 was also the 10 year anniversary of the Coast to Coast challenge, so the blue medal was extra special!

*to earn a Coast to Coast medal, a minimum distance of half marathon must be done in each park!

Disneyland Paris races

In 2016 I took part in both the inaugural 5K and half marathon in Disneyland Paris (there was no 10K in the first year), and then in 2017 I did the 10K and half marathon, earning the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo Challenge medal! Both years I also got an additional challenge medal, the Castle to Chateau Challenge, for completing races in the US as well as Paris – the medal was the same for both years, just with a different ribbon.

Virtual Running Shorts

I only did the virtual shorts in 2016, which was the first year RunDisney did virtual races, mainly because its quite expensive to do considering you don’t get an actual event, but I loved the medals I got because they were huge!

This year has been totally RunDisney-less for me, which has been really sad, but I’m also quite happy as I’ve had so many injuries to deal with! I’m also still a little heartbroken that the California races have been cancelled until further notice, but I’m just praying they’ll return soon and I’m so excited to get back into training for the marathon next year!

Have you ever done a RunDisney event?

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26.2

Guys, I’ve got an announcement to make.

Now I’m back from WDW (waa!), its time for me to get my butt back into running, not just because I’m back from holiday but because something big is coming.

I am going to run a marathon.

Yep, yikes. I have six half marathons under my belt now from the last two years, and I set myself the goal a few years back that I would like to run a marathon before I turn 25, which will be in October 2019, so although dates have not been set and registration isn’t open yet, I will be entering the Walt Disney World Marathon in January 2019.

I’m terrified. This last year I have been very relaxed with my running, and hardly trained for any of the races I’ve done, but this is double the distance and therefore a million times harder, which is why I’m giving myself over a year to train.

The distance is one thing, I mean, I’m halfway there I guess, but its the mental aspect of the marathon that’s going to take real work. Its knowing that when my GPS clocks in at the 13.1 miles that I’m used to, I then have to do the whole thing all over again. Its pushing on for hours and knowing there are still a few more hours to go.

Then comes the potential for injury. In half marathon training I faced knee problems, shin splints, and even ran a race with a stress fracture, plus all the little aches and pains that come and go. I will have to be so careful in knowing my limits and knowing when I can and can’t push further.

Basically, I’m going to be about 13.1 miles outside my comfort zone. I’ve been winging it for the last two years and have been lucky to get away with it, but now I have to be serious, do my research and be ready to push myself. Of course I’ll be documenting the good the bad and the ugly, so everyone else can get some entertainment out of me torturing myself!

Can I do it?

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Goodbye RunDisney California

Yesterday it was announced that, for the foreseeable future, RunDisney will no longer be holding races in Disneyland, California, and the Avengers Half Marathon weekend next month will be the last races that grace the streets of Anaheim.

I’m slightly devastated, but not overall surprised, having noticed that no dates for next year’s races were being announced, and the only race that had been announced, the Star Wars weekend in January, had had its registration delayed.

There is, of course, a big difference in the scale of Disneyland races compared to Walt Disney World, which can only be expected given the park sizes and facilities available, but having participated in races both this year and last, it was very apparent this year that numbers of participants were dwindling. In fact, while I was there in May for the Tinkerbell weekend, they were still trying to sell bibs at the expo for the races in the following days!

Disney’s announcement stated that the reason for the cancellations was due to the construction work that is ongoing for the expansion, but personally I don’t think this is flimsy front for the fact that the races have been bleeding money. While the 5K and 10K courses are mainly within the confines of the park, the half marathon only does about 5 miles in the parks before the course leads out onto the streets of Anaheim, which means a lot of roads have to be closed, and unlike other Disney parks, the immediate area surrounding Disneyland is residential, so these road closures do affect a lot of people – there are rumours of quite a lot of complaints – and the permits cost Disney a lot of money, which with the dropping numbers of runners just can’t be afforded.

So yes, I thought this announcement was coming, but that doesn’t make it any better. Despite a lot of RunDisney veterans often slating the Disneyland races, personally they have been some of my favourites – the Disneyland 10K course is the best course out of all the RunDisney courses I’ve ever done. Disneyland is such a special place to me anyway, but racing through the parks is like nothing else. I completed my first weekend challenge (Rebel Challenge 2016) here, and ran my half marathon PB here.

The announcement also means there will be no more Coast to Coast challenge, which celebrated its 10th anniversary this year, and leaves only Castle to Chateau as an option for those runners who will complete a half marathon in both Walt Disney World and Disneyland Paris in the coming years.

All I can say is that I really hope that Disney will restart the races when the construction ends, and I can run through my happy place again soon.

RunDisney Paris 2017: Day 3 and Half Marathon

This morning Dad and I were up bright and early yet again, this time to run double the distance we did yesterday! The half marathon started at the same time as the 10K did the day before, but as Dad and I could join our actual corral B today, it meant we got across the start line quite a bit earlier than we did on the 10K.

The race itself was absolutely fab! The course was slightly different to last year, and we actually spent more time running in the parks which was great, and the characters that were out were so good! We skipped quite a few stops, but I did meet the Three Caballeros, Scrooge McDuck, Timon and Rafiki and Judy Hopps! Dad and I kept a good pace and we came in with a great time, collecting both our medals for the half marathon and also the Bibbidi Bobbidi Challenge, and I also got my second Castle to Chateau medal. While I had a few issues with some of the goings on from this weekend’s races, this race really turned around how I felt about things – I couldn’t fault it.

After the race we were on a bit of a tight time-frame, so we went straight back to the hotel to shower and change before packing up, checking out and rushing back into the parks, which was done at a bit of a waddle given the stiff leg situation. We were rushing as we had a lunch reservation at Captain Jack’s, which is the rebrand of the former Blue Lagoon Restaurant, set inside the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.

I wasn’t sure how I felt when the rebrand was announced, as Blue Lagoon fit in nicely with the Blue Bayou restaurants of Disneyland and Tokyo Disneyland, both of which are also inside the Pirates of the Caribbean ride of their respective parks, but as the Paris ride has just had its refurb, I thought it was nice that the restaurant was getting a spruce up too. The actual restaurant, however, was pretty much exactly the same as it was before, just with a few added pirate flags, and Jack doing the rounds while you eat.

The food, however, wasn’t as good as when I ate here before. My meal at Blue Lagoon on my 21st birthday was absolutely flawless, and not a single scrap was left, but I just didn’t feel quite as wowed by the dishes this time around. I loved my starter, but my main was just a little bit blah and I didn’t finish my dessert either, which was partially down to my lack of appetite post-half marathon, but also because I didn’t totally love the food.

After we’d eaten, it was unfortunately time for us to leave as we had to drive back to the airport for our flight home. I was sad to leave as this trip felt very rushed – races always seem to take so much time away from the weekends – and the weather was so lovely!

If you love reading my trip posts, fear not guys – my next trip is at the end of October!

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RunDisney Paris 2017: Day 2 and 10K

Hey gang! Today we were up nice and early to get to the 10K start line. Dad and I had been put in corral B, but as Hannah and Mum were in C we dropped back so we could all start together.


The race was great. I had a few moans about character lines being shut as it was too busy, but I still got to do a few meets that I really wanted to do and it’s not just about the characters for me. Plus even if I couldn’t meet them, the characters they had out were fab!

Once we’d finished and got our goodies, we celebrated with a McDonalds breakfast before going back to the hotel to shower and change, which led to some accidental napping (sorry not sorry), then we walked into the parks. We started in the Disneyland Park, grabbing lunch at Colonel Hathi’s, then we actually decided to go across into Studios to do one of our family favourite rides, Toy Story Parachute Drop, then for a chance to side down, Disney’s Art of Animation.

From there, I headed solo back to the Disneyland Park to watch Stars on Parade for my first time. As with Illuminations, although I loved the new floats, I still prefer Magic on Parade, or at least the soundtrack! I then had to fight my way back out of the park as we had booked Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show for dinner. It was our first time doing it and it was surprisingly fun, although a little strange at times.

Once the show was over, it was time to call it an early night as Mum and Hannah were both feeling the effects of this morning, and Dad and I will be up again for the half tomorrow!

RunDisney Paris 2017: Day 1

Yes it’s only been a week but once again I’m coming to you from another trip as I’m in Disneyland Paris for the RunDisney weekend!

We had an early start to get the first flight out of Southampton to Paris, which was lucky as due to strike action CDG was crazy busy and we had to wait quite some time to get through passport control! Once we were through and eventually managed to find our hire car company, we were on the road to DLP, and headed straight Hotel Cheyenne where we waited for my sister to arrive before walking into Disney Village. First stop was lunch at the Rainforest Cafe, then we went to the Health and Fitness Expo to pick up our race kit.

I had mixed feelings about the expo. I thought it flowed better this year in how it was set up, but it felt very very empty and I was really surprised at how few exhibitors they had. It just felt a little scarce, although much better for my bank balance! Dad and I picked up our challenge bibs and tshirts, and Mum and Hannah got their 10K ones, then we walked into Disney Village for a bit of window shopping before getting the bus back to the hotel so we could finally unload all our stuff into the room before heading back to the parks.

Somewhat controversially, we actually went into the Walt Disney Studios Park first of all, as it was closing early due to the 5K in the evening. Amazingly, we managed to do the Ratatouille ride with less than a half an hour wait, and also RC Racer and even Crush’s Coaster in a fraction of what I would consider the normal wait time to be. After Crush’s Coaster, the park was past its official closing time so we were guided towards the exit, so we headed over to the Disneyland Park.

Once in the park, my family stopped for ice cream while I walked around the castle hub taking photos of the 25th anniversary decs, then we went into Adventureland to do Pirates of the Caribbean, via a quick detour through Aladdin’s Enchanted Passage. I don’t think I’ve ever queued that long for Pirates, although it was probably only about 20-25mins, but after the refurb I didn’t want to miss out. We then walked the loop through Fantasyland and into Discoveryland for Buzz’s Space Ranger Spin.

Once we’d saved the universe, we took up spots for Illuminations. I had hoped that the audience would remain seated but unfortunately everyone started to stand so on our feet it was.. Honestly, I don’t think it blew me away, and I don’t think it was any better than it’s predecessor Dreams. It was an early park close of 8.30pm, so we headed towards Disney Village but as the 5K was still ongoing it was total carnage. We battled our way through the crowds to the wondrous place that is Earl of Sandwich, grabbed sandwiches and headed back to the hotel on foot.

In the morning we’ll be doing the 10K, stay tuned! 

My RunDisney Paris Weekend Outfits

I may have just got back from my Disney Cruise, but I’m off to Disneyland Paris THIS WEEKEND! I’ll be up bright and early tomorrow morning to be on the first flight to Paris, and I’ll be in the parks Friday-Sunday, but as per usual this trip is not without a race weekend!

I’ll be running both the 10K and half marathon in order to earn myself the Bibbidi Bobbidi Challenge medal, and I’ll also be getting my second Castle to Chateau Challenge medal, and two races means another two outfits to create!

I’ll be the first to admit that the costumes I created for this race weekend were a little bit last minute – in fact, my 10K outfit was something I literally threw together this week – thank goodness for my fabric stash!

So for the 10K I’ll be letting out my inner Star Wars nerd with this outfit inspired by Princess Leia’s Episode IV outfit. I have a good collection of plain coloured tech t-shirts now, so I only needed to make the skirt to go with a plain white top, and then I’ll be attempting some cinnamon roll style buns.

Then for the half marathon, I’ve created an outfit inspired by my favourite Mickey Mouse look: Sorcerer Mickey. I actually made this skirt from fabric I got out of the scrap bin at my local fabric store for just £1, and I’m so happy with how it came out! And while its probably impractical to run in a sorcerer’s hat, I do have this amazing scrunchie that I got from Shanghai Disneyland last year, and I even have a Mickey glove too!

If you’re also running this weekend, or are going to be in the parks, come say hi if you spot me!

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Photos to Take With your RunDisney Medals

Maintaining your fitness, a sense of achievement, or pushing your limits; anyone might think these are the reasons to participate in a RunDisney event. Sure, there’s an aspect of this in every race, but really its all about the medal at the finish line, and I’m definitely not the only Disney runner who thinks this.

If you’ve never seen a RunDisney medal before, let me tell you they are every bit as awesome as you’d expect them to be and more. For starters, they’re huge, and weigh a fair bit, but as well as they’re they are always so detailed and well themed, and well worth however miles you just sweated for.

For many, the completion of the race might be the end of the event in your eyes, but you’re gonna want to document everything perfectly, and in the hours and days after your race, medal photos suddenly become a priority. With 5 RunDisney weekends under my belt, I have perfected the art of the medal photos, and if anyone’s about to take part in their first event, here’s the definitive list of photos that you’re gonna want to take.

1. A finish line medal selfie

A volunteer has just hung that glorious medal around your neck and you’re stumbling towards the water table but what you really need to do is document that finishing moment with a good ol’ sweaty selfie!

2. A photo with the finishing board

Once you’ve picked up your free bottles of water and Powerade and grabbed your food box, the next stop before reuniting with your friends and family at the end of the race is to get that official RunDisney board photo.

3. A photo of your weekend medal collection

If you’ve run more than one race, or completed a challenge, be sure to get a photo wearing all of those medals at the same time, even if its too heavy for you to wear them all all day!

4. A photo in front of the castle

Sometimes this shot needs a helping hand of someone to hold the medal while you get the position of the photo just right, but its a classic!

5. A photo with the character on the medal

If you’re medal is themed based on a certain character, as so many are, be sure to go and see them to show off! They absolutely love seeing medals!

6. A photo in a themed location

If you’re in a park that has an area theme that matches your medal, grab a photo there too!

7. Your medal display at home

However you hang your medals at home, take a photo after every new medal has been added!

My next RunDisney event will be Paris in September when I’ll be running the 10K and half marathon for the inaugural Bibbidi Bobbidi Challenge and also getting my second Castle to Chateau challenge medal! Who will I be seeing there?

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Characters on the Course – RunDisney Tinkerbell Weekend


I might be back from Disneyland, but you’ll all know by now that that never means the Disney posts are over! And of course, yet again, the primary purpose of my trip was another RunDisney race weekend, this time, the Tinkerbell Half Marathon Weekend.

Again, I ran the 10K and the half marathon – the Pixie Dust Challenge – so there were 19.3 miles of running magic for me to share with you! Some of you may be aware of the somewhat dramatic twist that during the 5K there were no characters available on the course, and this is something that I have a very different opinion to most, but I won’t get into that now, instead I’m going to share the characters that were out for us at the 10K and half marathon!


The 10K:

  • Lost Boys – the Lost Boys were hanging out in Toontown as we entered the park just after mile 1
  • Pirates – there were a bunch of face character pirates scattered throughout the course, and they were lots of fun!
  • Captain Hook and Mr Smee – this pair met by the Storybook Canal Boats at about mile 3
  • Pirate Donald – I couldn’t resist stopping for my favourite duck on Main Street
  • Pirate Chip and Dale – the chipmunks were up to trouble in California Adventure
  • Peter and Wendy – this was really just a photo op as they stood a few steps above the pavement, but it was nice to see them out!
  • And pirate Minnie was at the finish line!




The Half Marathon:

  • Iridessa, Silvermist and Rosetta – I can never resist the fairies, and having never met Silvermist before this was one for the character list
  • Pirate chipmunks – Chip and Dale made another mischievous appearance, this time on Main Street
  • Peter and Wendy – during the half, Peter and Wendy were on the railway bridge, so not even a photo op
  • Lost Boys – the most boys were having a ball on King Triton’s Carousel on Paradise Pier
  • Pirates – the pirates were out in force again!
  • Pirate Pluto – this lovable pup was also kitted out for pillaging and plundering on Paradise Pier
  • Tinkerbell and Fawn – well it would be rude if Tink missed her own race, right?
  • Captain Hook and Mr Smee – this dynamic duo made a second appearance, this time in California Adventure

If you caught the Princess Weekend edition of Characters on the Course, you may be noticing there’s considerably less this weekend. This is primarily due to the fact that in WDW, Disney own all the land between the parks, so even when you’re not in the park, they can still put the characters out on the roadsides along the course. However in Disneyland, the majority of the half marathon course is on the streets of Anaheim, so there can’t be any characters along those 8 miles of the course. There were, however, some bands, DJs, and also a whole tonne of super supportive locals making that length of the course magical for us!

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My Thoughts on the Response to the Tinkerbell 5K

For those who don’t know, during the Neverland 5K at the Tinkerbell Half Marathon weekend, there were no character stops available on the course for runners. There are a few different rumours flying around as to the reason behind this last minute change, but the backlash was fairly substantial. Here are my thoughts on the matter..

The Tinkerbell weekend was my 5th RunDisney event, and race #9 and #10. I’ve been doing RunDisney for two years now, and while the characters are certainly a perk, the reason I participate is just to run.

During my first year of events, I didn’t actually stop for any of the character opportunities, and I still had a great time taking part in amazing events in incredible locations. Characters aside, you get exclusive access to almost empty parks, as well as a lot of backstage areas, which are pretty damn cool. Also, while the character ‘meet’s are cool, they are incredibly rushed. You’re pretty lucky if you get a few words out of the characters in the process of in-photo-out-go, for which you’ve probably queued 10-15 mins for, if not longer.

When I heard there were no characters out for the 5K, and may not be any for the 10K, I was a tiny bit disappointed, but having run this particular course before it didn’t bother me because I know its my favourite out of all the RunDisney courses that I’ve run, and to be honest, the little runner voice inside my head was actually pretty excited by the thought of running a better time, as stopping for 3-4 characters generally bumps up my finishing time by about 20-30 mins.

I can appreciate that Disney races do come at quite a premium compared to other races, and that participants have high expectations for the on course entertainment, but I consider the characters to be a perk and not a requirement, and in the same way that events can be cancelled with little to no notice due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances, other changes can be made with no notice.

This is all just my opinion on the matter, and the fact is, I’m just happy to be in Disney, and grateful for the fact that I’m able to run.

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Disneyland Day 5 and Tinkerbell Half Marathon

And another challenge weekend is over! The Tinkerbell half this morning was probably one of the most comfortable ones I’ve run, which is incredible considering how much my feet ached yesterday!I stopped for a few photos with various fairies, and also pirate Pluto, but aside from those few stops I kept a really consistent pace and completed the race in just over 3 hours, with about 25 mins being waiting for characters. I also walked away with not one but FOUR medals: one for the half, the Pixie Dust Challenge medal for doing the 10K yesterday as well, a regular blue 10th anniversary Coast to Coast medal, and also a pink Coast to Coast for having run the Princess and Tinkerbell races in the same calendar year!

After dragging myself back to the hotel, I soaked my legs in the pool then showered and had a nap, while Sarah headed into the parks, and I met up with her at about 1:45 at Fantasyland Theater for another Mickey and the Magical Map performance, before I got my long awaited burger from Galactic Grill. We then swung by the castle for me to take some medal photos, then went across to Frontierland and met Dr Facilier on the Mark Twain Riverboat.

On the hunt for more characters, we headed back to Town Square to no avail, so instead went to take some photos by the Small World wall (Disney basic) and went into Toontown for a bit. Being passed 4pm, Tinkerbell’s meeting spot in Pixie Hollow was now empty, meaning I could go in and take some more medal photos, then we hid out at my favourite sneaky parade watching spot for Soundsational.

After the parade, we went into one of the stores on Main Street so I could buy a jumper, having forgotten to bring my jacket in with me, and knowing it would cool down before the fireworks tonight, then took a few final photos by the castle before going into Fantasyland and doing the Storybook Canal Boats, only to realise while we were in the line that the last Mickey and the Magical Map show was due to start soon, so we ended up cutting out early to go see that one more time instead!

After drying our eyes and practically being forcibly removed from the theatre, the strangest thing happened: Sarah actually wanted to go to the Enchanted Tiki Room! I took her for her first time in WDW back in February and now she clearly loves it.. From there, we wandered around New Orleans Square for a little while, then decided to go to Troubadour Tavern for dinner, only to find it had already closed, so instead ended up at Refreshment Corner, although I ended up getting my food from Jolly Holiday, and we sat on the tables outside while Main Street Electrical went by. 

Once the parade was over, we headed into the centre of Main Street USA to watch the fireworks for my first and last time of the trip. They actually started with the same music as Wishes from WDW, but the majority of the show was a cute little dedication to each of the iconic Disneyland attractions – Enchanted Tiki Room, Haunted Mansion, Splash Mountain etc – which I thought was different and actually really cool! Once they were done, it was then time to say goodbye to Disneyland and drag ourselves back to the hotel. Once again this has been the most magical and I’m so sad to be leaving my happy place, but I guess it’s not goodbye, it’s see ya real soon..

Disneyland Day 4 and Tinkerbell 10K

The wondrous thing about races in California is that I only have to wake up at 4am, not 3:30 like in Florida, yay!

This morning I ran the Tinkerbell 10K, and I was pretty excited because having run a 10K here before, I know it’s a great course to run. After the drama yesterday about no characters at the 5K, I’m pleased to say there were quite a few out this morning, including Peter, Wendy, Hook and Smee, and also some Disney favourites dressed in their finest pirate wear. I ran it in a comfortable time of an hour and a half, which included a fair few photo stops so I was pretty happy.

After a quick shower and rest break, we headed back into the parks, and straight to Fantasy Faire to meet Rapunzel and Flynn, then dashed over to Tomorrowland to grab fastpasses for Hyperspace Mountain, which in itself was a bit of a queue, and then went across to the first showing of Mickey and the Magical Map.

Another trip with Mickey done, we walked over to Frontierland to grab some chicken nuggets from Stage Door Cafe, then battled our way through the crazy Saturday crowds to meet the Winnie the Pooh characters over in Critter Country: Pooh, Tigger and Eeyore. With the sun beating down on us, the only logical next step was so get ice-cream, and then take shelter in the Royal Theater for the Tangled show. From there, we decided to go into Fantasyland to do a few of the smaller rides we hadn’t done yet, starting with Casey Jr, but it broke down while we were in the line so that went out the window.. Instead, we opted for the cool air-con of Star Wars Launch Bay, where we met Darth Vader, before using our Hyperspace Mountain fastpasses.

As the Disneyland park was so packed, and I had planned another carb-load dinner in California Adventure, we hopped parks just after Soundsational, and explored Animation Academy for a bit before grabbing a spot for the Pixar Play parade. I’d felt pretty smug saying that we were at the start of the parade route so we wouldn’t have to wait too long, but it turns out I was wrong and we ended up sitting for a little longer than we’d bargained for, but hey!

After the parade we ended up back in Animation Academy, and learned how to draw Chip from Beauty and the Beast, before going to Pacific Wharf Cafe for me to carb load on bread and soup. Sarah and I then parted ways as I headed back to the hotel for another pre-race early night, and she stayed in the park a little while longer – or until at least it became too cold to be out without a jacket on!

Tomorrow I’ll be up at 4am again, this time taking on the Tinkerbell half marathon, completing the Pixie Dust Challenge and also earning my second Coast to Coast challenge medal, eek!

Characters on the Course – RunDisney Princess Weekend

As I began another year packed with RunDisney races, I decided that much more time this year would be spent stopping for some of the amazing character opportunities on the race routes, and this kicked off with the Princess Half Marathon weekend back in February.

I took part in the Glass Slipper Challenge; 10K on the Saturday and half marathon on the Sunday, and kept note of everyone who I saw for you nosey bunch to see who was out! (I joke, you being nosey makes my blog what it is)

The Enchanted 10K:

  • Moana – Disney’s newest girl boss wasn’t available to meet, but she cheered on runners from a bridge over the road
  • Elena of Avalor – as I’m not a fan, this meet didn’t warrant stopping for, but Elena was the first photo opportunity of the race
  • The Fairies – a mini Pixie Hollow appeared on the roadside, featuring Tinkerbell, Terrence, Rosetta and Iridessa and pixie dust was everywhere! I was so excited to meet them all!
  • The Evil Queen as the old hag – complete with bubbling cauldron, but don’t take the apple!
  • Dopey – while this lovable dwarf might feature more in the January Dopey Challenge, it was lovely to see him along the World Showcase
  • Geppeto – this puppeteer took over the Italy Pavilion to make runners into real boys!
  • Marie – as I ran as Nala, it was pretty cool to see another cat on the course in the France Pavilion
  • Genie on vacation – Hawaiian shirt and Goofy hat? Check!
  • Princess Minnie – Minnie got into the full swing of the Princess Weekend in a beautiful pink princess number towards the end of the course

The Princess Half Marathon:

  • Pirates – Captain Jack and Barbossa seemed to be abandoned on the side of the road, and were available for runners to meet both on the way towards the Magic Kingdom and on the way back out
  • Princes – Flynn Rider, Prince Eric, John Smith and Phoebus were the hit of the course, and the line was full of giggling girls, myself included
  • Mrs Incredible – in case there wasn’t enough girl power going on during the race!
  • Evil Queen and Maleficent – double villain trouble
  • Buzz Lightyear – Buzz was meeting and greeting in Tomorrowland
  • Queen of Hearts – off with their heads, if you can catch them!
  • Gaston – now personally, I’d be running away from him fast, but he had quite the queue..
  • Beast – Chip (me) just had to go and see the master of the castle
  • Frozen – Anna, Elsa and Kristoff cheered on runners from the side of the castle, so no photo ops
  • Woody – the cowboy of Frontierland!
  • Royal couples – backstage, you could meet Cinderella and Prince Charming, and Snow White and her prince
  • Penguins! – I love these little guys way more than Mary Poppins or Bert, so I was so chuffed for them to be out playing on the course
  • Sarge – in case runners started losing their motivation, this green army man was prepared to give press-ups to anyone who wasn’t smiling on the final stretch!
  • Genie on vacation – Genie was only duplicate from the races, but in that outfit, who cares?
  • Mushu – a nice surprise for the last mile, this lovable dragon greeted runners as they entered Epcot for the final stretch!
  • Oh, and Goofy and Donald cheered us in at the finish line!

It was so much more fun stopping to meet characters during these races, it really does make every mile more magical!

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February Disney Trip Day 6 and Princess Half Marathon

Hey gang! Well I dunno about you but I’ve had quite a day..

Up again at 3.30am and on a bus in under 20 minutes, but thanks to a crazy amount of traffic, it took us over an hour to get to Epcot for this mornings race! I finally got into my corral at 5:30am, which is when the race was due to start, but luckily thanks to the bad traffic, the start was delayed 10 minutes so I didn’t miss out on anything.
The race itself was a classic combination of hard work and a lot of fun; I probably spent about 30-40 minutes waiting for various character stops along the way, but also being my first half without my dad, I struggled a little bit to work with a proper pace and ended up winging it just a bit! I did come in quicker than the time I had set as a sort of goal, so no complaints here, and I was back to the hotel in no time for a bath and, today, a nice long nap, while Sarah went on a solo excursion.

Once I was back on my feet (just barely) I headed into the Magic Kingdom ready for a day of twirling around the place in my beautiful Chip skirt. First stop of the day was meeting Stitch in Town Square, and he loved my outfit and knew exactly who I was, pointing to the picture of Chip on Sarah’s tshirt! Then we had fastpasses for Space Mountain, but not until after I re-carbed with a Mickey pretzel, and we got put on the Alpha track – BOO. With some time to kill before Merida was back meeting (due to her being on parade) we went over to Be Our Guest and luckily there was a photopass photographer outside to take some photos of us in front of Beast’s castle.

Meeting Merida was big for us, as she was the last of all the princesses for us to meet. That’s right, it’s day 6 and we’ve done all of the princesses, eek! And speaking of princesses, next we had fastpasses for Enchanted Tales with Belle, where I was chosen to play Mrs Potts (because an adorable kid was cast as Chip) and Sarah played the operatic wardrobe! It was my first time being part of the show, and Sarah’s first time altogether, so it was amazing that we both got to be in it and meet Belle for photos too as well as get an Enchanted Tales bookmark!

We then wandered through Fantasyland to the Tangled toilets for some photos *cough* new range coming to The Happiest Fitness Co *cough* and met Peter Pan by the Neverland map. Afterwards, we ticked something off our Disney bucket lists by going to Starbucks and giving cute Disney names – Chip and Belle to be precise! A quick hub grass chill and a little bit of Move It Shake It, and we headed back to Be Our Guest for dinner!

It was my first time doing table service there, having only eaten once before during quick service lunch, and it did not dissapoint! We had steak which was delicious, and super filling, so fitting in the lemon meringue cupcake for dessert was a little bit of a struggle. After we ate, we had a photo with Beast, then headed back into the now cold and dark park, and to Ariel’s grotto for a quick mermaid meet.

As we headed to Main Street USA, the new projection show Once Upon A Time was starting, so we stopped midway down the street to watch it. Now I loved the old show, Celebrate the Magic, so I was a little unsure how to take this change, and as much as I hate being negative, I was so disappointed. Compared to Celebrate it just didn’t match up, and I didn’t even have to fight back a single tear – and I cry at everything. I’m glad I’ve seen it, but I probably wouldn’t bother again.

Finally, we finished up with a late fastpass to Big Thunder, because the wildest ride in the wilderness is ten times wilder at night!

And with that, it’s time for me to go to bed..

February Disney Trip Day 5 and Enchanted 10K

Well that was an early morning, but I’ve done the 10K!


The race was a lot of fun. I took it pretty easy and stopped for quite a few characters along the way, including Tinkerbell who was with Terrence, Rosetta and Iridessa (AMAZING) and also Dopey, Marie and the Genie! Stopping for characters did bring my time up, but I had so much fun I didn’t really care and I still did pretty well considering!


After getting back to the hotel and recovering with a bath and a quite lay down, we hopped on a bus to Hollywood Studios, then got a boat over to Beach Club for breakfast at Cape May Cafe. It was a classic breakfast buffet, with Minnie, Goofy and Donald meeting in their adorable beach outfits!

Back to Hollywood Studios, and our first stop of the day was meeting Moana, which is at the back of One Man’s Dream. The staging of her meet is amazing; you queue through the cave from the film, with a waterfall backdrop, and you meet Moana on an island beach by the sea – it’s all super pretty! After her, we ticked Pluto off the list by Disney Junior’s, him being the final of the classic six characters for us to meet, then headed down Sunset Boulevard and caught a showing of Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage.


Next up, it was our fastpass for Tower of Terror. If you know me, you’ll know I have a love/hate thing with this ride, but it actually seemed to be over a lot quicker than it normally is so win win! From there, we went to hang out and wait for the elusive Character Palooza, where we eventually met Tiana, Bert, Pinocchio and Pocahontas, then back to Pixar Place for Toy Story Mania. I, of course, destroyed Sarah, but she was a first timer so I’ll let her off..
Another character to tick off the ever growing list, we went to meet Olaf at Echo Lake because Mickey and Minnie had a crazy 50 minute queue. He really liked my medal and wanted one of his own, so he decided to run with me tomorrow, although I warned him there’d be a danger of melting!


The next character we went to see was Chewbacca, although Sarah was pretty surprised as she was expecting Yoda – these non Star Wars fans eh? Continuing her Star Wars education, we marched back across the park to Star Tours, which I was really happy with because it was a scenario I’ve never had before and I basically always see the same ones! Now the queue for Mickey and Minnie was a bit shorter, so we jumped in. I was a little upset that Mickey had been moved from his old spot, but when I saw the new area all was forgiven because that area is really nice and both Mickey and Minnie were really fun and Minnie’s dress was so pretty!


Starting to really feel the 5 hours of sleep I’ve had, we grabbed some dinner at Catalina Eddie’s, then left Hollywood Studios for Animal Kingdom so we could catch Rivers of Light. Well it turned out everyone else had the same idea. We got to the stands with 15 minutes to spare, only to find that they were already rammed, and were queueing people up for the later showing over an hour later. We did a full loop of the lake area, then I had a brainwave to follow the seating for Flame Tree Barbecue all the way down to the waters edge – it maybe wasn’t as great a view as you might get from the stands, but there was seating and hardly anyone there so it makes the perfect secret spot. The show itself was not mind blowing; sure it was pretty and the floats were beautiful, but I definitely wouldn’t be queueing over an hour like some poor unfortunate souls, and I won’t hurry back either.

I’m now exhausted and my feet are really feeling the events of the day, so we’re heading back to the hotel for a good nights sleep, and I’ve got another 3.30am alarm for tomorrow’s half!

February Disney Trip Day 3

So after our crazy early night last night, we ended up awake super early this morning. Typical.Our plans for the morning were to hit the RunDisney expo so I could get my bib and tshirts, so we had a fairly chilled morning at the hotel, grabbed some breakfast there and jumped on a transportation bus to the ESPN centre. Because Sarah had never been to an expo before, I was pretty excited for her to see what they were really like.


We got my bib and race shirts, and collected the pre-ordered pin I got for Sarah and my event jacket, then got stuck into the official merchandise, before getting into the 40 minute queue to pay. Yes, 40 minutes.. We also had a quick look around the main expo hall, but with fastpass commitments looming, jumped on a bus back to the hotel so I could dump my stuff, then hopped on another to Epcot.

Our only fastpass of the day was for Soarin’, a ride I haven’t done here since 2014 as it was being refurbished last year, and the new update is incredible! Honestly if you do no other ride in Epcot, do this.

 

Having seen that she meets in the French Pavilion on the World Showcase, I decided to bring my Aurora themed outfit forward, so we dashed from Soarin’ to the 2:30 meet, and while we were in the queue we overheard rumours that Belle would also be out in her blue dress, so after Aurora we got in the mystery line to meet Belle. She was super lovely, and it was my first time meeting her in her blue village dress, and another princess off the list!

Onwards, we grabbed a Starbucks and jumped onto a monorail across to the Magic Kingdom, then a bus across to Fort Wilderness for Mickey’s Backyard BBQ..


You guys, I cannot put into words how much fun Backyard BBQ was. There will be a full review in the coming weeks, but OH MY GOSH. There was amazing food, incredible entertainment and we just had the best time dancing with Mickey and the gang! 100/10 would recommend, and yes, that is 100 and not a typo.

From Fort Wilderness, we got the bus back to the Magic Kingdom, rejoiced at the park being much quieter than Tuesday, and took a good spot to watch Once Upon a Time and Wishes. The whole area between the partners statue and castle was sat down which was amazing. That was, until about 5 minutes before it was due to start, when the whole front of the audience decided to stand up. Ugh. We actually ended up leaving midway through in order to make our fastpass for Buzz, but having already watched it this trip and knowing we’ll see it again, it wasn’t really a problem.

After Buzz, we had our last fastpass of the day at Haunted Mansion, then as we still had 10 minutes til park close, we decided to run over and get on Big Thunder Mountain because the queue was pretty short, plus I love riding Big Thunder in the dark – it just seems to make it more fun!


Now past park close, we walked through a fairly empty Liberty Square back to the castle, and decided to hang out until Main Street emptied out a bit to get some photos in front of a clear castle, and we managed to sneak a photo shoot with one of the remaining Photopass photographers on Main Street. We eventually left the park about 11pm – an hour after park close – and got back to the hotel about 11.40, now pretty wiped and ready for a good nights sleep!

Today:

– Characters met: 7

– Total steps: 20,226

– Total distance: 8.46 miles

Tomorrow we’ll be in Animal Kingdom!

My RunDisney Princess Weekend Outfits

This time next week, I will be at the airport getting ready to leave for Florida!!!!! I’m a teeny bit excited, can you tell?

And while this trip is a holiday for the most part, it also involves me taking part in the RunDisney Princess Half Marathon weekend’s Glass Slipper Challenge – the Princess 10K on Saturday 25th and the Princess Half Marathon on Sunday 27th. Do you know what that means? TWO RACE OUTFITS.

I’m putting a lot more effort into my costumes this year, and I’ve been grinding away at my sewing machine to create two outfits that I’m super proud of!

Nala RunDisney costume

I spent a lot of time thinking about what princesses I wanted to represent in the races, and after much consideration, I figured I’d give some exposure to an underrated, non-human princess – Nala from The Lion King. The skirt and ears are my own creations, and I’m completing the look with a performance t-shirt from AWDis Cool, the cutest ‘Lion in Training’ socks, which I was given in the Disney Halloween gift exchange, and my RunDisney New Balance trainers which I bought last year. This will be my costume for the 10K!

Chip RunDisney costume

If you’ve seen my other trip outfit posts, you’ll see that Chip is a bit of a running theme – no pun intended. Beauty and the Beast is definitely one of my favourite princess movies, but I didn’t really want to do Belle, so I opted for my next favourite character. I planned this ages before the medal designs were released, so I was SO HAPPY when I discovered that the whole weekend is going to be BatB themed, making this costume even more relevant! When it comes to half marathons, I’m a bit fussier about what I wear, so I kept it simple with another handmade skirt, and a white performance t-shirt, plus my yellow running belt for storing my phone, and my New Balances.

I can’t wait to kick off another year of racing!

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RunDisney 2017 Update!

princess-half

Yesterday the event information for the RunDisney Princess Half Marathon Weekend was released!

While I hadn’t forgotten, what with my trip getting so close now, my stomach actually did a turn when I got a text from my dad while at work to tell me that the event guide was live, and all of a sudden everything became very real and I actually got a little overwhelmed when I got home and it was time to check all the info – especially finding out my bib number, and ultimately my corral.

If you didn’t already know, I’m running the Glass Slipper Challenge, which consists of the 10K on Saturday 25th and the half marathon on Sunday 26th. I’ve run a weekend challenge before, at the Star Wars weekend in Disneyland last year, and I’m excited but also a little nervous to be participating solo this year, having previously raced with my dad.

Despite the slightly over-complicated route to get all the info I needed – downloading my waiver to find my bib number, then finding the corral listings – I let out a huge sigh of relief to discover that I’ll be starting in Corral G, the 2:25-2:36 finishing time. Its exactly where I wanted to be; close enough to the beginning that I’m not waiting forever to get across the start line, but also not surrounded by people running a much faster pace.

I was also really curious to see the course maps. I’ve run the half marathon course at WDW before, and I was sort of pleased to see that its the same route as last year as I know what to expect: start in the Epcot car park, run up to the Magic Kingdom, then back via the road by the golf courses and finish up in Epcot again. I was, to be honest, more interested in the 10K course as its not a distance I’ve done in Florida before, and I’m pretty happy with that too – its similar to the 5K route I ran last year, just with a longer stretch outside the park at the start of the race, and an extra loop around the Boardwalk as part of the World Showcase stretch.

It feels like forever since I last wrote about RunDisney, especially having spent the majority of 2015 blogging my training for last years races, but I’m really very excited to be racing again this year as part of my upcoming trip! As per usual, the best way to follow my adventures will be on Twitter and Instagram, and if possible again this year I’ll also get back onto Periscope for live course updates!

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Oh Boy!

If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll know that for the last few months I’ve been frantically retweeting about The Happiest Fitness Co‘s new collection, which released on the website this morning!

The Disney savvy of you will know that today, November 18th is the official birthday of Mickey Mouse, after his first official appearance in Steamboat Willie on this day back in 1928, so I was looking at production timeframes and realised that it would be possible to have the collection ready for sale today, it had to be done! Fun fact: its also my dad’s birthday today!

So here it is, the full collection!

The Happiest Fitness Co Oh Boy! collection

The Oh Boy! Logo Tee

The Happiest Fitness Co Oh Boy! collection

The Oh Boy! Tank Top

The Happiest Fitness Co Oh Boy! collection

The Oh Boy! Unisex Tee

The Happiest Fitness Co Oh Boy! collection

The Oh Boy! Women’s V-Neck Tee

The Happiest Fitness Co Oh Boy! collection

The Oh Boy! Snapback

The Happiest Fitness Co Oh Boy! collection

The Oh Boy! Beanie

This collection is super exciting for me as its one of many firsts: the first male/unisex t-shirts, HATS.. Its simple, versatile and I’m dying to get a chance to shoot a proper lookbook for it!

All of the shirts are 100% cotton, making them suitable for workouts or lazy days alike, and perfect for park days!

I’m really just so happy with this whole collection, and I hope you all like it as much as I do! Stock is limited, so don’t miss out!

PS. I’d love you all if you went and followed THFC on Twitter and Instagram!

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February Disney Trip Update!

I did a little squeal yesterday as the countdown to my trip to Walt Disney World with Sarah dropped into double digits, eeek!

I always struggle between the 180 day ADR booking and the 60 day Fastpass booking because there’s not much to do in terms of planning in that time, so I generally use this time to sort out my plans in terms of what park on what days, and also my outfits for the trip, which is one of my favourite things to do! There is, however, something quite exciting that has happened..

Thanks to a bit of surprise Disney magic, we’re going to be extending our trip by one day, and we will be spending our last night in..

Disney's Polynesian Resort

Disney’s Polynesian Resort!

I still can’t really believe that this is happening, and its going to be such a perfect end to our trip! It came totally out of the blue, and its just making my excitement for this trip go through the roof!

Not quite so exciting, but equally as important, I’ve finally booked my flights for the trip. I got a really great deal on a British Airways flight through American Airlines, booked in the nick of time as the prices have rocketed since! I’m also well on the way to having all my outfits for the trip planned, and I’ve finally decided on my running costumes for the races: I’ll be running the 10K as Nala from The Lion King – an often forgotten princess! – and the half marathon as Chip from Beauty and the Beast, and making all my own costumes this year! I’ve also submitted all my proof of times for corral assessment.

 

Now we’re into the double digits, its not long til we can sort out Fastpass+ bookings, then its just a case of paying off our booking (which is on Boxing Day, ha!) and we’ll be on our way!

EEEKKKK

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Best Rest Rides at Walt Disney World

Speaking as a person who has not only had to do WDW parks on major jet lag, but also after being up since 3am and running a half marathon (hello RunDisney life), I know that there are always those days where you need to chill out, but also don’t want to miss out on any valuable park time, so I’ve got you covered!

Tomorrowland TTA People Mover

Magic Kingdom

TTA People Mover

Has anyone ever actually had to queue for PeopleMover? I don’t think I’ve ever been on it and not been allowed to ride around and around for ages because there’s no one else waiting. Its the perfect way to still experience MK while keeping your feet up.

Walt Disney World Railroad

One of my favourite things to do sometimes is just get on the train and ride a loop or two around the park!

Epcot

Ellen’s Energy Adventure

Hello 45 minute sit down! I will admit to drifting off while riding this one time..

Living with the Land

This educational little boat trip is one of my Epcot favourites; I love looking at all the plants and trying to spot hidden Mickeys, plus I normally follow it up with a trip to Sunshine Seasons for Mongolian beef and a red velvet whoopie pie!

Spaceship Earth

Its iconic Epcot, plus a nice relaxing trip through history and into the future!

Hollywood Studios

The Great Movie Ride

I don’t care if people think its a little cheesy, but its a nice gentle ride and I always like waiting to find out if I’m in a gangster or bandit car!

Animal Kingdom

Kilimanjaro Safaris

So I always try to make this a morning ride, but its the perfect way to ease into a day in the park, plus you never get the same experience twice!

What do you do on your down days in the parks?

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Putting the Running Shoes Back On

Tips for buying running shoes

After taking time off from running through October, yesterday was meant to mark the start of my next leg of training in the run up to my 2017 races. The reality of that, however, was that I caught a 24 hour bug going round my family and spent the whole day sofa-bound, oops!

My point is, its time for me to get back into the swing of things! In just 16 weeks from this weekend I’ll be taking on the Glass Slipper Challenge at the WDW Princess Half Marathon weekend, and autumn/winter is my favourite time for training so I’m actually really glad to be doing it now! I’ll be taking things nice and easy in the first few weeks as I’m still a little concerned about the problems I’ve been having with my foot, but once I start my new job at the end of the month, I’ll be spending a lot less time on my feet during the day so will definitely need to hit the roads again, and I’ll be able to get back into a proper routine.

I’m also – and you could say more importantly – starting to think about my running costumes for next year! I have four Disney races booked already, but right now I’m just concentrating on the princess races. As much as I love the Disney princesses, I don’t know if I’ll dress up as one of them or go a little more abstract or do a side-kick; I keep turning to Etsy for inspiration but I think I’ll make any outfits myself to save money!

I don’t think I’ll be posting weekly about my training for these races, but I’ll definitely do a few updates in the coming months so stay tuned!

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RunDisney Paris Trip – Day 2 and Half Marathon!

The great thing about racing in Disneyland Paris is that the starts aren’t quite as stupidly early as in the states; today we were up at 5.15am.


Pre-race breakfast was provided at the hotel, but I only had a banana and bowl of dry Frosties with some juice because the options were basically fruit and cereal! We headed to the race area and got into our corral, C, about 45 minutes before the race was due to start, but due to a hold up on the course the whole start of the race was delayed, meaning it was about 7.45 before we’d actually crossed the start line, by which time we were quite cold and I was already hungry again, oops..


The race took a different route through the parks to the 5K the previous day which was nice as it meant we didn’t know what to expect, and they also had completely different characters around – I think the only repeat I saw was Spiderman. I stopped for photos with Chip and Dale who were hanging in the Studios park, and also Robin Hood in Disneyland, but it was nice to see the other characters around – Alice, Captain America, Darth Vader – and Cinderella and Prince Charming were in Fantasyland with one of the floats from Disney Magic on Parade. We left the parks at about 5/6K and did quite a bit of backstage before hitting the roads of the surrounding towns. It was over 16K before we were back in the official Disney area, where we finished the race running through hotels Santa Fe and Cheyenne, and then around the lake, through Disney Village and a final loop of backstage to the finish line! Despite taking things really easy due to my foot injury from earlier in the week, we still finished in a really respectable time of about 3 hours, and were met at the finish line by Mickey and Minnie which was perfect, even if Mickey was taken away from me just as I went in for a photo!

Walt Disney Studios

Disneyland Pairs Sequoia Lodge

Once we’d got our race medal and Castle to Chateau medal, and grabbed our food bags, it was time to find Mum and Hannah and slowly make our way back to the hotel to grab a proper breakfast; the Disney hotels had extended breakfast hours for runners. Super quick rest and shower before we packed up the room, dropped the bags off in the car and as we made our way back towards the park the heavens opened and the rain began to pour! Because of this, we opted to get the bus to the parks, and ran straight through to Walt Disney Studios Park for the 12.50pm performance of Mickey and the Magician. I’d really been looking forward to seeing this, and it was a welcome sit down and break from the rain. I enjoyed the show, but personally felt a bit let down by a slightly less than perfect Elsa who hit a few bum notes, but was really impressed with the Lion King scene.

 

With very little time left before needing to leave, and empty tummies, we left Studios and Dad and Hannah went to get us a table at the Rainforest Cafe, while I shot back into the Disneyland Park with Mum to get some albeit rainy photos of my medals by the castle, and pick up a few gifts for family before we joined back up for lunch. Still on a bit of a carb fest, I had Rasta Pasta which was AMAZING, and they were doing 15% discount for runners which was a nice surprise! Few last bits bought from the Village, then back to the car to make the drive back to the Eurotunnel!

See you next time, Disneyland Paris!

RunDisney Paris Trip – Day 1 and 5K!

And I’m blogging yet another Disney trip! I’m gonna do a separate post on the Run Disney pasta party, which was technically our first day in the parks, so I’m gonna start with Saturday.


Of course the day started with the Run Disney 5K. We were in corral B, and running as a whole family (Mum and Hannah included), it was a gentle pace but that was exactly what I needed following my foot injury earlier in the week. The course was perfect, very much park based with just a small amount of backstage, and packed with characters and photo ops. We finished in around 45 minutes, and were greeted at the finish line by Donald, Daisy and Pluto which was so nice – I’ve never met characters at a finish line before!

Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris Phantom Manor

Disneyland Paris Casey's Corner

After walking back to the hotel, grabbing breakfast and having showers and a bit of rest, we headed into the Disneyland Park just after 10am opening. First on the agenda was Pirates of the Caribbean, followed by Phantom Manor. The park’s Halloween decorations are just creeping out so I’m in my element getting lots of photos!
We grabbed a drink at Casey’s Corner and wandered the shops for a little while while waiting for my sister to arrive in the park having had a post-race nap, and then went for lunch at Cafe Hyperion. Full of nuggets, next stop was Its a Small World, which actually had a pretty long queue, but as I haven’t done it on my last two trips it needed to be done! Then it was time for our Fastpasses for Buzz, so we did that, then went and got an ice cream from Gibson Girl, before deciding to do a round trip on the Disneyland Railroad.

Disneyland Paris

As the wait for the train was pretty long, by the time we’d done the full circuit it was gone 5pm, and my parents and sister headed to the Disneyland Hotel to meet a friend of my mum, while I stayed in the parks to watch Magic on Parade. I had originally planned on watching it from near the start of the route, but ended up outside City Hall as it was already getting pretty busy and I found a decent spot.

Disney Magic on Parade

Disneyland Paris Its a Small World

After the parade, I met up with the lovely Gaetane to shoot my Its a Small World outfit (stay tuned for this!); it was really cool to get to meet her and chat Disney for a little while, then we parted ways as I reunited with the family for dinner at Bistrot Chez Remy – cos where else would you celebrate a Ratatouille themed 5K?!

Bistrot Chez Remy

Full of fuel, it was back to the hotel for rest and an early night before the half marathon the following morning!

A Super Run Saturday

Its been ages since I wrote about running, and with 4 weeks to go until our Disneyland Paris races (and the Bournemouth half marathon the following week!), training is having to ramp back up, and today was a good run!


Super, in fact!

Bournemouth ParkRun was celebrating its 3rd birthday, and as a result there was a superhero theme to today’s run; naturally I saw it as the perfect opportunity to showcase my amazing new Captain America leggings from Poprageous. In order to get in a longer distance, Dad and I decided to run the 2.5k from our house to the park before the race, then carry on from the finish line to visit my nan, which was about another 4k.

Despite telling ourselves that we’d keep our ParkRun pace quite slow today, I went off pretty fast, but was feeling good through the whole course – although I’m back to struggling with stitches again, yuck! Slowing down a little in the second half of the timed 5K, we crossed the line in 33 minutes, paused for a slice of birthday cake, then continued on our way.

As I was timing the run in one distance, pausing MapMyRun only for when we were waiting for ParkRun to begin and our cake break, as we ran on towards our next destination and keeping a pretty fast pace as we had done throughout, it suddenly became fairly apparent that we’d hit 9K well under the hour mark, and if we could hold the pace as we were, there was a good chance that we’d manage 10K in a new PB. Unfortunately, at about 9.7K the road began a bit of an uphill, but I was determined to push on, knowing that just around the corner from the top I could coast a downhill, and that pushed me past the 10K mark in 1:02:59! Its only about 20 seconds faster than my previous PB, but its a confidence boost that I really needed; I’ve been feeling a little out of practice recently, what with recently holidays and my hatred of summer training.

Overall, we ran 11.5K in 1:14:41, and it felt really great!

Bring on Disneyland Paris next month!

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YearOfFit – Virtual Running Explained

I feel like recently I’ve been talking a lot about virtual races, and it kinda dawned on me that, being a relatively new concept, a lot of people probably have no idea what I’m wittering on about!

What is a virtual race?

Virtual races were design to eliminate the logistic or geographical issues with the traditional fun run; rather than having to be at a certain place on a certain day, these races allow you to run, or even walk, the required distance in your own time, at your own pace, and submit proof of completion to earn goodies like medals and t-shirts.

For some races, you might be required to complete the distance on a specific day, others may have a time-frame like a week or month, and some of these allow you to split your distance over multiple runs, eg. five 1K runs for a 5K.

Why should you take part?

I’ve had a lot of people ask me ‘isn’t it just like buying a medal?’, and yeah, I guess it kinda is, but there’s a lot more to it than that. Its really a way of motivating people to get out and be active, especially for people who may not be able to take part in actual races, and its also a great way to encourage children to get into running.

Also most races are organised as charity fundraisers, with a proportion or all profits going to a good cause. What have you got to lose?

The Happiest Fitness Co are holding the Frying Pan 5K virtual run in July, sign up here today and use VIRTUAL10 to get 10% off registration!

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More Disney Plans!

I very much doubt that me announcing more Disney trips is much of a shock to my regular readers anymore, but I just love sharing my plans with everyone!

image

Now I’ve already shared my big plans for this year, including Shanghai, Hong Kong and Disneyland Paris, and with this year already packed with magic, I’m now starting to sort my 2017 adventures!

Brace yourselves.

I have already booked Walt Disney World for February with the lovely Sarah from Belle’s Moments, eek! We’re going to be staying at Port Orleans Riverside for 10 days to coincide with the Princess Half Marathon weekend, where I’m hoping to be doing the Glass Slipper Challenge – 10K Saturday and half marathon Sunday! I say hoping because race registration doesn’t actually open until next month, which is actually when I’ll be in China so fingers crossed I can get it sorted ok! So that’s one trip down..

Keeping on the race theme, in May I’m hoping to be able to go out to Disneyland for the Tinkerbell Half weekend, so that I can run the Pixie Dust challenge, and also qualify for my Pink Coast to Coast medal – fingers crossed that stays on into 2017! Right now nothing for this trip is planned; my parents might join me but it all depends on their plans for the year, but I’d love to go out for a week and maybe do Universal Studios out in LA too!

That’s it, right? NOPE

Hello September, hello Disney Cruise Line booking! Once again I’ve booked with Sarah for the 7 night Mediterranean trip, and what’s even more exciting than going with her is that another one of my absolute favourite people is booked on the same cruise with her family, so its going to be the most fun! I have done a cruise before, but not a Disney cruise and I think there’s gonna be a stark comparison between my previous cruise memories and this one! Sarah is a Disney cruise pro, so I’m hoping she’s going to show me the ropes, and I’m really interested in all of the stops we’ll be making on the way!

Three big trips, yay!

I also have my Disneyland Paris annual pass now, so I’m hoping to visit there a few more times this year and next, including the Halloween Soiree this year!

EEEEEKKK °o°

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My RunDisney Bucket List

Its safe to say that having run four races already this year, and two more booked for September – plus I’m already planning my 2017 events! – I’m pretty hooked on RunDisney. Yeah, I’m not even sorry..

Rebel Challenge 2016

So I thought I’d write my ultimate RunDisney bucket list so I’ve got something to aim for in the next few years, yay!

Race Events:

  • Walt Disney World Marathon weekend
    • 5K – 2016
    • 10K 2019
    • Half Marathon – 2016
    • Marathon 2019
    • Goofy Challenge
    • Dopey Challenge
  • Star Wars Half Marathon weekend – Light Side (Disneyland)
    • 5K
    • 10K
    • Half Marathon – Rebel Challenge completed 2016!
  • Princess Half Marathon weekend
    • 5K
    • 10K
    • Half Marathon – Glass Slipper Challenge 2017 done!
  • Star Wars Half Marathon weekend – Dark Side (Walt Disney World)
    • 5K
    • 10K
    • Half Marathon
  • Tinkerbell Half Marathon weekend
    • 5K
    • 10K
    • Half Marathon – Pixie Dust Challenge 2017, done!
  • Disneyland Half Marathon weekend
    • 5K
    • 10K
    • Half Marathon
  • Disneyland Paris
    • 5K – 2016 done!
    • 10K – 2017 done!
    • Half Marathon – 2016 done!
    • 31K Challenge – 2017
    • 36K Challenge – goal for 2019
  • Wine and Dine Half Marathon weekend
    • 5K
    • 10K
    • Half Marathon
  • Super Heroes Half Marathon weekend
    • 5K
    • 10K
    • Half Marathon
  • Castaway Cay 5K

Extra Magic:

  • Coast to Coast Challenge – gained January 2016
  • Castle to Chateau Challenge – September 2016!
  • Pink Coast to Coast Challenge – gained 2017!
  • Castaway Cay Challenge – January 2019
  • Kessel Run Challenge
  • Pasta in the Park Party
  • Post-race breakfast
  • Participate in an inaugural race – Disneyland Paris 2016!

Can you tick off any of these?

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YearOfFit – 7 Things You Need to do After Finishing a Race

You’ve spent all this time training, and now you’ve run the race, so now what?

Rebel Challenge 2016

1. Walk it off

I know how much its taken for you to cross that finish line, but you need to keep moving. I’m not saying you need to walk miles, but just don’t stop completely once you’re done – otherwise you may not be able to start up again!

2. Stretch!

I also know how much your body is going to want to just sit down and curl up for the rest of the day, but I guarantee as soon as you do, your muscles are gonna start to cool and you’re really going to feel the effects of the distance you’ve just run. Just do a quick 5-10 minutes of stretching once you’re finished, and then maybe a bit more a few hours later. You’ll thank me, honest.

3. Congratulate those around you

I hate runners who don’t join in with the community spirit. You’ve all just completed the same course, so give someone a pat on the back or tell them they did a great job. Its not much, but its a nice gesture and you’ll feel better for it.

4. Take a finishers photo

Grab that medal and strike a pose. It doesn’t matter if you think you look too sweaty or worn out, preserve that proud memory!

5. RE-FUEL

This is totally dependent on your body’s needs, but especially after a long distance, you’re probably going to need to take on some food pretty soon after crossing that finish line. Grab a banana!

6. Collect any sponsorship money

No, not the second you’ve crossed the line, but if you did your race for a charity, try and get your money in as soon as you can after the event; its just good manners, and saves them having to chase you.

7. Feel proud!

It doesn’t matter whether you were first or last to cross the finish line, or whether its your 1st or 50th race, you should always feel incredibly proud of your achievement!

Remember, a 12 minute mile is just as far as a 5 minute mile, so just get out there and enjoy it!

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YearOfFit – Top Tips for Buying Running Shoes

Running is a great way to keep fit. Its a good workout, its versatile and the selling factor for a lot of people is that its cheap – but your running shoes shouldn’t be.

Tips for buying running shoes

I’m all for a bargain, but I strongly believe that getting a good pair of running shoes is an investment, and you shouldn’t just rock on up to Sports Direct and pick a pair based on the colour matching your favourite yoga pants. Trust me, your feet are worth it.

1. Get accessed

This isn’t as scary as it sounds, promise! If you go to a proper running shop, they’ll put you on a treadmill and get you to run a little bit to access your running style, meaning they can recommend a pair of shoes that will suit you best. It may be that you turn your feet out a little while you run (an over-pronator, like myself!), or you have weak knees or ankles, but by getting a professional to look at your gait, you can find a pair of shoes that are going to work with your body.

2. Shop around

Once you know what sort of shoes you need, you’ve got the freedom to shop around a bit! Try different brands, get a feel for all your options and check out outlet stores!

3. Always wear good socks

Even when you’re just trying on potential shoes, you should try to wear the right socks. Special running socks are available to give your feet more support, and you like to wear these, then be sure to take them with you when you try on new shoes; they can make a big difference to the fit! Wearing the wrong socks can also lead to blisters!

4. Know sizes

I always used to think it was as simple as knowing your shoe size, but some brands of running shoes recommend you size up or down. Asics, for example, recommend you buy their shoes half a size bigger than your regular size. General rule of thumb is a thumb – you should be able to press down about a thumb’s width at the end of your big toe, to allow space for your feet to move happily.

5. Don’t be afraid to be afraid of change

If you find a pair of shoes that work for you, don’t be afraid to stick to that same make and model. My dad, for example, always buys the same pair of Asics, because he knows they suit him, and that’s a totally normal thing for runners to do!

6. Know your shoe mileage

Believe it or not, running shoes have a sort of use-by date. Different companies may say differently, but in general you should be replacing your shoes after about 300-450 miles, just due to general wear and tear, and to keep you running at your best.

Do you have a favourite shoe brand?

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#YearOfFit – Fun Runs That Really Are Fun!

There are two types of people in this world: those who enjoy running and those who don’t.

SONY DSC

For the latter, the term ‘fun run’ generally seems like the furthest thing from it, but whether its a charity fundraiser, New Years resolution or mid/early-life crisis, most people will probably take part in at least one during their life, and today I’m going to tell you something that might surprise these people: some races really are fun!

Race For Life/Pretty Muddy

These ladies only races for Cancer Research UK are the ideal first race for any new runner. They’re laidback, there are normally a lot of tutus and people dancing, and you don’t even have to run it, so there’s that too!

Colour Runs

There’s a few different runs that do this now – The Color Run, Run or Dye etc – but the aim is pretty simple: show up in white, run around and have paint and coloured powder thrown at you, finish with an awesome party! I was gutted to miss our local Run or Dye last year, but I’m hoping to do the Brighton Color Run in September, and I’m so excited!

RunDisney

Do I really have to explain why these races are so much fun? Firstly, you’re running around the Disney parks. Secondly, there are character meets along the course, as well as a tonne of great entertainment and supporters cheering you on, and lastly, YOU’RE IN DISNEY. As you well know if you’re a regular reader, I have four RunDisney races under my belt already this year, with two more in September, and I’m already buzzing to do more in future years!

Virtual Runs

This is a fairly new and upcoming concept, and some people really don’t understand the point behind them, but I’m obsessed with virtual runs! Virtual races came about to combat the geographical and logistical restrictions of official races; the organisation of large events, participants having to sort travel etc. So how do they work? Just like any other race, you sign up online and pay your entry fee. This may be a charitable donation, it may also cover goodies like medals and t-shirts, all depends on the race. Your race may have a particular day, or a time period for you to complete it over, and all you have to do is complete the distance on that day or during that week or whatever, then submit a proof of run, like MapMyRun stats, photos etc to the organiser, and then you’ll receive your medal/shirt/certificate/whatever through the post. Its the satisfaction of a race without the hassle!

I’ve already completed one this year, and have 6 more coming up this year so far. I’m also thinking about organising one – if anyone would be interested please let me know!

ParkRun

ParkRun is an international organisation that holds weekly races all over the world, but there’s probably one pretty near where you are too! Its totally free to take part, with events run by local volunteers, and its a great way to get into running and join a community. Once registered, you’ll be issued with a personal barcode, which serves as your identification when you complete each race, linking your time to your account. I have two ParkRuns near me; I’m a regular at one and have visited the other once, but they’re both really great and its a real community, plus when you hit milestones (25/50/100 runs complete etc) you get a free t-shirt!

Are there any races you’d love to take part in?

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10 Things to Know Before Your First RunDisney Event

You’ve got a RunDisney event on your bucket list, or maybe you’ve signed up for your first one this year; you might want to read this..

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Don’t expect a PB

You can have every intention to go out and smash it on the day, but as soon as you see how beautiful the castle is all lit up, or that perfect sunrise shot you just have to take, not to mention all those great characters along the route, you’re gonna start caring less about your race time and more about having a good time! Now this doesn’t mean you won’t get one – I did! – but just don’t stress over it, ok?

Don’t stress over organisation

RunDisney events are impeccably organised, so do not stress yourself for a second about anything. Hakuna Matata.

Check costume rules

Yes yes yes to dressing up, but be sure to double check those guidelines, the last thing you want on race day is to be told that the outfit you carefully coordinated isn’t allowed.

Also please don’t be that person who waits until race day to wear their costume for the first time, rookie rookie mistake..

Pick up your participant t-shirts before forking out on merch

Instead of going straight for the official merchandise, go and grab your race packet – we thought our participant shirts were pretty awesome, so didn’t feel the need to buy all the other shirts on offer. Yay happy credit card!

Join the New Balance virtual queue

You’ve seen those shiny new releases and you just can’t wait to get yourself a pair, but silly as it sounds, sometimes you can’t just walk up to the booth and ask for a pair. New Balance set up a virtual queue, whereby you enter your details early in the day, then when it’s your turn, head on down to the desk and you’re golden!

If you’re doing a longer distance, there will be more than just parks

So the longer the distance, the more park you get to see, which is great, but it does also mean you’re gonna see a lot more of backstage and highways. In WDW for example, the 5k and 10ks generally only feature Epcot, while the half includes the Magic Kingdom, but there’s a whole lotta road between the two! Now the lovely RunDisney team try really hard to put on great entertainment on these stretches, but there just isn’t the same scenery going on!

There are early mornings involved

3am, just sayin’..

You are not alone

This works on many levels. 1) Chances are you will be running with at least 10,000 other runners, possibly up to 25,000. Believe it or not though, you probably won’t feel too crowded! 2) Most other runners are really nice and supportive, whether they’re just chatting to you as you go or counselling you as you hit the wall; complete strangers may just become your best friend for a few miles. 3) There are a few runners who can spoil it, those who can’t share their race nicely. They might shove past you because you’re not going ‘at their pace’, they might tut and groan; ignore them, you’re having a way better time than they are.

Don’t feel silly wearing your medals to the parks!

Everyone does it, and you’ll get all sorts of people congratulating you, asking questions, sharing stories etc, it’s a lot of fun. And if you run more than one race, multiple medals is 100% acceptable.

Races are totally walker friendly

Don’t be worried if you don’t think you can run the whole course non-stop, you’ll find the majority of people taking regular walking intervals – some as early as 100m into the race! Just be considerate and move to the side so others can pass you.

You’re gonna have an awesome time, I promise you, so just go for it! The goodies are worth every second!

Friday Favourite Five – RunDisney Moments

Nothing brings me back to normality more than a regular blogging series, and 2016 welcomes the return of FFF!

If you’re a new reader, every Friday I choose five of my favourite things of a certain topic, simple! Oh, and welcome!

I’m still reeling from my Disney trip, and with four RunDisney races under my belt, I’m choosing my favourite moments from those experiences!

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1. The first time we entered Epcot on our first race

All of the races start outside of the parks, so that first step from backstage into the actual parks is pretty special. On our first race, the 5k, we race into Mexico on the World Showcase and the lake was lit all around with torches and all the countries were lit and it was just kinda surreal!

2. Running down Main Street USA

During the WDW half marathon, we got to run down the middle of Main Street, with crowds cheering us on as we headed towards the castle.

3. This selfie

If you read my post on the WDW half, you’ll know I really struggled with a chest infection the whole way round, so seeing this little guy and getting a hug and a selfie at the 7 mile mark was really helpful!

4. The Star Wars 10K

This was actually our favourite race; lame as it sounds, it was just all really good! We ran a good pace, it was a good course, we got to see a load of the parks, BB-8 was there..

5. The three medal finish line

Finishing the Star Wars half marathon sealed our completion of not only that race, but also Rebel Challenge AND Coast to Coast, meaning we received all 3 medals then and there. It was everything we had worked for and it was 100% worth it.

Have you ever run a Disney race? Would you?

My Disney Trip Haul!

I’m home, I’m jet-lagged, and something I always hate about coming home from holidays is the dreaded unpacking of the suitcase, am I right?

What made it a little more bearable for me today though was knowing that my case was full of Disney goodies, and who doesn’t love a good haul post?!

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Now a fair amount of this is RunDisney stuff, so that’s where I’ll begin!

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To start off, our medals and race shirts were all included in the entry fee; for the 5k it was just a regular cotton t-shirt, and the 10k, 2 halfs and Rebel Challenge shirts were all long sleeved performance tops. The medals are all 100% awesome, and pretty chunky – weighing just under a kilo for all six!

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As well as our free shirts, we picked up a few extra goodies at the RunDisney expos. To surprise Dad, I had pre-ordered the limited edition WDW race weekend jackets for both of us, and we both ended up wearing them for the majority of the rest of our trip because they were so nice and warm! We also got a Coast to Coast shirt each, because you only get a medal for completing it, and also the Rebel Challenge ‘I did it!’ t-shirts, which also had a map of the courses we ran on the back, then I got a couple of headbands – two WDW half marathon ones and a Rebel Challenge.

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If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll know that I was pretty desperate for a pair of the limited release New Balance trainers, so of course I was super psyched to get my hands on a pair of the Red Carpet Minnie Mouse ones, which also came with a pair of gold shoelaces and clip on bows.

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I was pretty restrained in only buying two mugs, (I had my eye on quite a few!) but Chip was top on my list, and I fell in love with the pastel Disneyland beauty. Obviously I bought the first Cogsworth I found because I had to bring him home with me, although I discovered mine is missing his pendulum yesterday when I unwrapped him, so fingers crossed the lovely Disney team with magic up a new one for me!

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I’m a huge collector of Vinylmations, and somehow came home with 9, oops! I did get two of them at Disney’s Character Warehouse, the outlet store, for only $3 each so that was a bonus.

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Isn’t my new BB-8 dress amazing?! Its by Her Universe, but was sold all over the parks and Disney Springs, and I’m obsessed. I actually wore it to Hollywood Studios one day, and bumped into some Stormtroopers, totally panicked and said ‘this isn’t the droid you’re looking for’..

And lastly, I was really lucky to finally meet the lovely Maggie from Elephant and Mouse, who was staying in the same resort as us and was kind enough to meet me with an order of ears so I didn’t have to pay international shipping! I got two different fluffy Donald Duck pairs, and a pretty purple galaxy pair. She makes incredible ears, so go and visit her Etsy shop here!

Oh, and not forgetting this cutie!

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We came home with a family set!

Are you heading to Disney anytime soon?

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Disneyland Day 4 – Star Wars Half!

Wow..

All of our races are over; a year of training and it all came down to today. Last race, last half marathon, completion of Rebel Challenge and Coast to Coast.

How did it go? Unbelievable. No longer subject to that nasty chest infection that held me back last week, we smashed it out of the park, starting and maintaining an astonishing pace – about 6:40/km. The course started very similarly to yesterday’s 10k through the parks, then after after about 4.5 miles we took to the streets of Anaheim, which was a lot of nice and flat, straight roads lined with high school cheerleaders, marching bands and some major Star Wars fans and cosplayers. It was electric! As for our time, would you believe we set a PB?! We crossed in about 2:39 (still waiting on chip time though), beating our previous PB by about a minute, insane!

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We also got the fun of not only collecting our half medals, but our Rebel Challenge and Coast to Coast, both of which are awesome, so we now have a total of 6 medals from this trip! Pooped, it was back to the hotel to eat, bath and generally recover.

After a solid amount of rest time, we headed into Disneyland via the Downtown Disney monorail, which drops off in Tomorrowland, and in serious need of energy, grabbed Cheese-3PO burgers from Galacitc Grill, and yes, Cheese-3PO. All the burgers were Star Wars inspired and it was cool.

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Next up, I dragged Dad over to Fantasyland and we stood in line for probably too long, but I finally had the character meet of my dreams: Rapunzel and Flynn together. The girls in front of us in the line were totally crazy, screaming and throwing themselves at Flynn, and Punzie was having none of it which was pretty funny, but when it came to my turn we had a good talk about running and my medals so that was basically magical. Next? Well if I told you we went to see a show you can probably guess it was Mickey and the Magical Map, right? I’m kinda obsessed, and was pretty upset I couldn’t video it because I don’t have the right memory card for Dad’s camera, but oh well.

The park was super busy today; I’m pretty sure everything except the Winnie the Pooh ride had a 40+ minute wait. We passed Big Thunder, Pirates of the Caribbean and got all the way to Splash Mountain before realising this though, so we grabbed a Fastpass for Splash because the time slot wasn’t too far away so we just chilled out on a bench nearby for a bit, thinking of our poor achey legs.

From Critter Country we walked back through the park to Tomorrowland, and to the Star Wars Launch Bay, but didn’t really fancy the 45 minute wait for a Chewbacca meet, so we sat and watched a bit of a film about the making of the new and upcoming movies, then made our way back to Fantasyland, this time the Royal Theatre, for the Tangled show at Fantasy Faire, which was just as funny, if not better than the Frozen version.

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Saying goodbye to the Disneyland Park, we moved over to California Adventure. I’d made plans to meet up with my friend Nancy from Le Ears before we had dinner at Ariel’s Grotto. The food was great, and we were sat right on the water’s edge at Paradise Pier, soaking up all the atmosphere while we ate. The reservation was actually part of the World of Color dining package, which meant we were given preferred seating for the showing later that night. After dinner we went back to Cars Land (yes again, I can’t get over it) to see it all lit up, then cut through Bugs Land to Turtle Talk with Crush at the Animation Academy building – we love that guy!

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Exhausted, but still on our feet, we took a slow walk around the shops on our way back to Paradise Pier for World of Color; our preferred seating area opened at 8.45, and we got there about 9pm, which meant sitting down for a bit, and getting pretty photos of Mickey’s Fun Wheel.

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Now when we were last in Disneyland, which was in 2010, we saw World of Color which was relatively new then, and I remembered it to be crazy impressive. The current performance running, World of Color Celebrate was created for the 60th anniversary and is presented by Neil Patrick Harris, and did not fail to impress me just as much as the original! If you’ve never seen WoC before, go YouTube it right now, and thank me later.

The show took us past park closing, and we’ve officially been awake for over 18 hours now (and throw in a half marathon) so all that’s left is for me to say goodnight before I wipe out!

Today was our last day in the parks, and the last full day of our trip, and what a trip it’s been! Our flight is tomorrow (Monday) at about 5pm west coast time, and arriving back in the UK at midday Tuesday – please tell me it will be nice and warm? Coming home means normal blogging will be resuming, and I’ve got lots more about this trip to write about so be sure to stay tuned!

Disney, I’ll see ya real soon!

Disneyland Day 3 – Star Wars 10K!

Well what a day!

Being a race day, I was up just before 4am; because Disneyland is so compact, we could just walk to the start line from our hotel, no need to wait for buses etc, which meant we could afford that extra half an hours sleep. Today was the 10k, and we were in corral B, but it was very noticeable how fewer people were taking part in this race compared to last weeks.

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We got off about 7 minutes after the first group, and it was a really good race! The first mile and a half was done on the perimeter of the Disneyland park, before we weaved in and out of backstage, then across to California Adventure after about 3 miles. Everything was still lit up as it was just before sunrise – which was when we hit about 4-5 miles – and the characters were awesome: BB-8, Stormtroopers and Jango Fett to name a few! We finished in 1:15, which isn’t our fastest (1:03) but considering stopping for photos etc it’s pretty damn close!

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Medals and snack boxes acquired, we walked back to the hotel for a quick recover, then into California Adventure via the Grand Californian Hotel to beat the crowds, and straight to Toy Story Midway Mania. The park had only just opened so we only waited about 15 minutes, and afterwards we did Mickey’s Fun Wheel and Ariel’s Undersea Adventure, both of which had less than a 5 minute wait. In need of energy, we took another walk down Radiator Springs, and grabbed food at the Cozy Cone Motel; I had a bacon mac’n’cheese bread cone (YES) and Dad had a pretzel twist, then we sat at Flo’s V8 Cafe and watched the world – and the cars! – go by for a little while. We were taking things easy today after all!

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Onwards, and we slowly walked around the park we had been running through a few hours earlier, before deciding to head back to the RunDisney expo for a last look around, then caught the monorail from Downtown Disney into the Disneyland park. First up was another performance of Mickey and the Magical Map, then back across to Royal Theatre to catch the Tangled show, but the times had been changed and the showing we had hoped to see wasn’t on, so once again we postponed seeing it, and feeling a little drained, decided to go back to the hotel for a swim and chill session. The Paradise Pier Hotel has a rooftop pool and hot tub – ok it’s only on the roof of the third floor but that still counts right? – and it was just what we needed for our achey legs.

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After suitable recovery time, we once again set off for California Adventure, first of all hoping to get another ride on Radiator Springs Racers, but it was having some technical issues, so it was California Screamin’ instead! Finally hoping to catch the Pixar Play Parade, we set up camp on the parade route across from Paradise Pier nice and early so that we could sit and rest our legs for a while. I know I’ve said this about basically every show and parade we’ve watched this trip, but once again I was blown away! There were bugs, toys, cars, bubbles.. It was so much fun!

After the parade it was carb-loading time, so spaghetti and meatballs at Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta hit the spot just right. Now dark out, we were really excited to go back over to Cars Land to see it all properly lit up in all its neon glory before heading back to the hotel for an early night of good solid rest.

Tomorrow is our last race, eeek!

Disneyland Day 1!

I’m just gonna prefix today’s post with a little bit of background on me and Disneyland, because I know I’ve been talking a lot more about coming back here than I was about WDW. I was really lucky as a little kid to spend a lot of time at WDW and Disneyland Paris, going basically every year til I was about 5/6, and while I have a pretty good memory, there’s not a whole lot of those trips that I can clearly recall, so my first clear ‘adult’ memories of Disney parks are from Disneyland, which we visited in both 2008 and 2010. Basically, my Disney park love is cemented here, and after over 5 years, it’s pretty amazing to be back.

You know what’s great? Jet lag. We were awake at 6.30am.. After mooching about for a bit, we walked into Downtown Disney and grabbed breakfast at La Brea Bakery. The RunDisney expo didnt start til 10am, and we had to pick up our park tickets from there, but as it was only about 8.30 and we were stuck for things to do, we decided to head over to the Disneyland Hotel anyway, only to discover there was already a huge wait line for the event merchandise! So of course we got in it.. Well all that queueing, plus our actual packet pickup took us all the way to half 11, crazy right?!

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Finally it was park time! Coming straight from WDW, it’s pretty strange walking into Disneyland; everything seems a lot smaller, more classic, like you can picture Walt popping out of one of the stores. I affectionately refer to the castle as Little Pink; she’d look so tiny next to any other parks castle, but decked out in the diamond celebration decorations she really is stunning right now.

First up we headed into Tomorrowland, which is where most of the Star Wars stuff is, so it was pretty busy. We grabbed a Fastpass (old school paper kind) for Hyperspace Mountain, and went to check out Super Hero HQ, the Avengers area, and Star Wars Launch Bay, which are just separate floors in the same building, before heading out of Tomorrowland and towards our first ride for the day: It’s a Small World! I love the Californian one because you actually board the boat from outside the ride, which is great in the Anaheim sunshine.

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Next up we headed into Toon Town, a land not found in WDW or DLP, but home to classic attractions like Mickey and Minnie’s houses, and lots of kiddy friendly play things, it’s pretty sweet. Onwards, we walked through Fantasyland, including the castle walk through, and cut across into Frontierland to do Pirates of the Caribbean, and into Critter Country for Splash Mountain and the Winnie the Pooh ride, then back to Frontierland for Big Thunder Mountain.

With the queue for Matterhorn bobsleds being kinda crazy, we filled the time before our Fastpass for Hyperspace Mountain by going on the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage, a real submarine ride through Australian reefs with familiar characters. As the name suggests, Hyperspace Mountain is Space Mountain reimagined with a Star Wars theme. Now I was a little dubious, but it was AMAZING. Exactly the same track, same ride, just with a space battle taking place around you; tie-fighters blasting, ships exploding, all just totally cool!

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Food finally on the brain, we headed back towards Main Street, only to find that the Soundsational Parade was just about to start, so we found a spot and watched that through before continuing on to get food in Frontierland at Stage Door Cafe. Refuelled, next on the agenda was the Indiana Jones ride, but after about 20 minutes of queueing, the dreaded ‘unforeseen circumstances’ announcement went out, so that was a bust. We turned to retail therapy, returning to Main Street USA. A mug, a Vinylmation and a shopping bag later, we were back in Tomorrowland, having a blast with Buzz and exploring the galaxy with Star Tours, before finding a spot for Paint the Night.

I’m not entirely sure I can put Paint the Night and the Disneyland Forever fireworks into words. Disneyland, you have blown me away. Paint the Night was like a combination of Main Street Electrical, Festival of Fantasy, and basically all the best Disney parades mixed together, totally phenomenal, and Disneyland Forever was just as awesome; as well as fireworks and castle projections, there were also projections on the Matterhorn, down Main Street and there was more than just Tinkerbell flying around up there!

It’s been a long, but magical day and now I’m pretty pooped, so goodnight California, look forward to doing it all again tomorrow!

WDW Day 5 and RunDisney Half Marathon!

Has anyone ever run a half marathon with a chest infection? No? Just me..?

Yep, today was the big day, and the cold I’ve been battling since arriving in Florida was rearing its big ugly head, manifesting in my chest making every single breath hurt. Throw in the stress of all this setting off the weird little heart palpitations I get from time to time after about 9 miles, and I was not exactly fighting fit..

But we did it. It was not a record time, and I couldn’t even muster a sprint finish, but it was still epic. Looking back on it, now 12+ hours later, it was even more epic, mainly because I can breath properly now but still! There was a tonne of great entertainment, the cheering crowds were incredible and some of the sights were phenomenal.

We started once again in the Epcot parking lot, and from there ran up to the Magic Kingdom, down Main Street USA and right into Tomorrowland, then into Fantasyland and through the gloriously lit castle, before heading through Frontierland and out backstage. We then took a fairly straight route back down towards Epcot, finishing up with a loop down to the World Showcase and back, and finally that magical finish line was in sight!

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To celebrate, lunch was at Beaches and Cream, and included an sundae the size of my face – not that I could finish it! From there we walked into Epcot via the International Gateway so we could catch a monorail to the Magic Kingdom ticket centre, then decided to get the ferry boat to the park from there.

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Despite exhaustion, we still packed a fair amount into our afternoon: Philharmagic, character meets, a ride on the train, Splash Mountain, Space Mountain etc, but the rain began to pour down so we didn’t fancy sticking around to get soggy on a Jungle Cruise, and having been up since 3am, we settled on an early return to the resort so we could get some washing done.

Hello bed..

WDW Day 3 and RunDisney 5K!

3.55 was the dreaded alarm for this morning. First race day was here!

Why so early? Well for starters, the races are all super early, today’s being 6am, and to ensure we had enough time to get to where we needed to be, we had to be on a bus to Epcot by 4.30, yikes!

It wasn’t so bad really; we were in bed about 9pm last night so we got a solid amount of sleep, and we were just so focused on the event that tiredness didn’t factor at all. The bus took us from the resort to the Epcot parking lot where all the race start and finish lines are. It was a huge area – had to be for 20,000 participants – and just like the expo, it was seamless; we could see exactly where we had to go, there were no queues for anything!

We were in Corral C, which meant we were set off about 10-15 minutes after the first group, but we were right at the front which was awesome! The count went down, the fireworks were set off and off we went! The course took us around the side of Epcot from the parking lot, underneath the Test Track course and into the park through Mexico, before running around the World Showcase, down the stretch to Future World, a quick detour by The Land and back out of the park by Spaceship Earth and to the finish line!

After the race, we went through the classic routine of collecting medals, water, Powerade and a cute little snack box of crisps, Oreos, a banana etc, then to the only queue: the wait for the bus back to the resort!

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Quick shower, change and snacks and we were back at Epcot just after park opening. We started off with Spaceship Earth, then went to meet Baymax(!!!) before doing the new Pixar short films show, and Living with the Land before starting on the World Showcase, this time in daylight! For lunch we had a reservation at Teppan Edo, which was awesome, and we to let that settle before going on Test Track, we stopped at China to watch the acrobat display. After TT, we did our last two Fastpasses for the day: Character Spot and The Seas with Nemo and Friends, and totally exhausted from our early start, we headed back to the resort to recover!

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Did you catch us on Periscope?

WDW Day 2!

Good morning!

I say good morning because while it’s still the evening here, the time difference means it’s about 2am back home!

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Today was our Animal Kingdom day; we got up about 7ish, had a leisurely breakfast and got a fairly quiet bus to the park. Despite being earlier than opening time, we were let in to head down to the tree of life and wait for the remaining areas to open at 9am, before we joined the crowd making a beeline for Expedition Everest. Quite honestly, today was a really lucky day for wait times, and we hit all the big ticket attractions – Kilimanjaro Safaris, Festival of the Lion King, It’s Tough to be a Bug – with minimal waits, and pretty much walked into Flights of Wonder and Finding Nemo the Musical! In fact, despite having three Fastpasses booked, we only used one of them, for Dinosaur. We also went to hang out with Rafiki at Planet Watch for a little while.

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After feeling we were done for the day, and with the prospect of the races looming, we grabbed a cab to the ESPN complex for the RunDisney expo. Having no idea what to expect, I expected the worst: huge crowds, long waits, lots of pushing and shoving.. Nope. I honestly don’t think it could have been any easier. After picking up our bibs, then our race shirts and the commemorative jackets I had pre-ordered, all of which took maybe 15 minutes tops, we hit the main expo area. There were tonnes of great exhibitors with cool products, including the official RunDisney merchandise area, and the oh-so- popular New Balance, and we even got to meet Jeff Galloway, former Olympian and official ‘coach’ for RunDisney; it was cool, there was a selfie. Apart from a few little RunDisney bits, we didn’t really buy anything, although I’ve got my eye on a pair of the limited release New Balance shoes..

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From the expo we went back to French Quarter to drop our race stuff and hang out for a bit before we caught the boat to Disney Springs for a bit of light shopping and dinner at Wolfgang Puck Express, before calling it a day and boating back to the resort to get ourselves together and properly rested for the race.

So tomorrow is the 5k, which is really a no-pressure run, and it kicks off at 6am – 11am for my UK supporters. I’ll try and Periscope a bit of it, all depends on our wifi signal, but in any case, wish us luck!

RunDisney 2016: The Final Checks

We leave tomorrow. WE LEAVE TOMORROW.

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In 4 days time we’ll have finished our first race, 6 until our second. This time next week we’ll be celebrating the end of the first week at the Cool Down Party. ISN’T IT CRAZY?!

I wrote my first RunDisney post on January 28th 2015, and since then I’ve written 38 training updates, and it all comes down to the next two weeks. This is insane. Can you tell I’m excited?

This week was for tapering, the word that most runners simultaneously love and hate; the cutting down of training run distances to prepare your body for an upcoming race. As per usual, we ran three times this week: a 5k, a 7k, and another 5k, which we did today. The next time we run will be in Florida!

So we’re all packed, or at least I am at this stage in the day. Four running costumes, plus spares, and one pair of running shoes, because I only trust one pair of my shoes at the moment! I’ve got a roll of Dynamic Tape and spray for my knee, Dad’s stocked us up with painkiller gels galore, and of course I’ve packed probably too many pairs of Mickey ears, which means I must be ready!

Tomorrow is going to be crazy long, starting at 5am UK time with a 4 hour coach journey, a 9 hour flight and finishing in EST, so we will be categorically pooped by the end of it all, but I’ll be in Disney World and it will be 100% worth it.

If you didn’t catch it yesterday, you can read our itinerary here to see what we’ll be getting up to, and I’ll be live blogging every day! You can also keep up via Twitter, Instagram and I’ll be streaming some of our trip on Periscope, so be sure to follow me @lottiedoesdisney!

Are you ready for the fun to start? I AM

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My Disney Trip Itinerary!

You know who I love? Disney lovers.

My Disney friends just get me; instead of the classic ‘you’re going to Disney again!?’ that I get from my colleagues and non-Disney friends, whenever I’m getting ready for a trip, I know I’ve got a team of people that are just as excited for what I’m going to get up to as I am, and that always makes me so happy.

If you’re one of these people, you’re awesome.

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So given that I leave on Monday, I just thought I’d share our rough plan for our trip:

Monday 4th – arrive in Orlando, check into Port Orleans French Quarter. It’ll be quite late and we’ll be exhausted, so probably dinner and bed, maybe a quick trip to Disney Springs!

Tuesday 5th – Magic Kingdom day, starting with the Keys to the Kingdom tour, and ending with dinner at California Grill.

Wednesday 6th – Animal Kingdom, then over to ESPN Wide World of Sports for the Run Disney Expo where we’ll be picking up all our race packs, eek!

Thursday 7th – RunDisney WDW 5K at 6am, followed by a day in Epcot with lunch at Teppan Edo

Friday 8th – Hollywood Studios, and an early night..

Saturday 9th – RunDisney WDW half marathon at 5.30am, yikes! We’ll be recovering with lunch at Beaches and Cream, then heading into the Magic Kingdom to celebrate our first week of races being over!

Sunday 10th – start the day with a recovery swim, then spend some time in Disney Springs for the Run Disney Cool Down Party. We’re gonna need some down time!

Monday 11th – after a day of rest, Monday we’ll be attempting the Four Park Challenge, wrapping up with a Fastpass for Illuminations at Epcot!

Tuesday 12th – a bit of Epcot in the morning, and over to Hollywood Studios for the afternoon, finishing with Fantasmic!

Wednesday 13th – we’ll be saying goodbye to WDW in the Magic Kingdom, before we head to the airport for our flight to LAX. We’ll be arriving pretty late again, and checking into the Paradise Pier hotel in Disneyland.

Thursday 14th – we’ve got to go to the RunDisney expo to pick up our race packs and park tickets before we go into Disneyland!

Friday 15th – breakfast on Main Street USA, then we might hop across to California Adventure.

Saturday 16th – RunDisney Star Wars 10k first thing, then more park time!

Sunday 17th – RunDisney Star Wars half marathon, and we’re done with all our running, YAY! The rest of the day will probably be spent in California Adventure, and I’m hoping we can meet up with my lovely friend Nancy in the park! To end our trip, we’ve got a dinner booking at Ariel’s Grotto and preferential seating for the World of Color show!

Monday 18th – as we’ve only got a 4 day park ticket, today will be for outlet shopping and hitting up Walmart before our flight home in the evening, then Tuesday we’ll be back on British soil..

  I’M SO EXCITED!!!

I’ll be live posting the whole trip, hopefully everyday, and don’t forget to keep up with me on Twitter (@lottiedoesblog) and Instagram (@lottiedoesdisney)! I’ll also be trying my hand at Periscope (@lottiedoesdisney), so give me a follow for our live streams!

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RunDisney 2016: 2 Weeks to go!

Yep, in two weeks time we’ll have completed our first week of races and I know I say it every week, but really where has the time gone?! Despite being Christmas week (did you all have a fabulous one?), training waits stops for no-one when the big days are so close!

Two runs this week, both around five miles to test the water with my knee recovery. The great news is, its doing really well! I’m halfway through my physio treatment now and it all seems to be going in the right direction; this week I was taught how to properly tape it so that I can do it myself while we’re away as well.

In any case, both the runs went well, a little slower than usual; on Wednesday because of me being out of practice, and today because of far too much Christmas food! I can only describe it as all being comfortable. At this stage we should be tapering down, so we just need to keep moving, not worrying too much about this distances or pace, and this coming week especially, we just need to make sure we’re not going to be causing injuries!

So just one more week of running until we leave, its all getting so exciting! One more week, three more training runs..

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PS. Do you follow me on Twitter? This week I’m going to be posting a bunch of polls to see what you guys want to see during my upcoming trip and would love some input! I’m @lottiedoesblog 🙂