Monday, January 16, 2012

Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend: Part 2

Friday morning my family and I woke up bright and early (4 am!)  for the Walt Disney World Family Fiesta 5k and everyone got dressed up. I wore my donald costume...

my donald costume
Ashley and Alex dressed as poncho-wearing caballeros (the theme of the race was three caballeros)...

Alex and Ashley (my brother and sister)

And mom decided to be boring and skip the costumes this year...haha. Once everyone was ready to go, we left our hotel rooms (and my dad who promised to "vigilantly guard our rooms from pirates" while we were gone) to go downstairs and catch the bus.

If you've never run a Disney race before, here's how it works:
If you're staying at a Disney hotel, you get on a bus to the race area at an ungodly hour. The bus drops you off at the pre-race area. In this area there is a place to check your bag (a bag given to you by Disney that can hold all of your post-race gear) and a fun waiting area where you can meet up with friends and get excited while you wait for the race to begin. There's always a fun dj playing music and teaching everyone fun group dances to help warm up before the race. Once it's time for the race to start you walk to the start line.
the 5k start line

The fun thing about the 5k (rather than the half marathon) is that the start line is RIGHT next to the pre-race staging area, so you can take your time and enjoy the music, have some fun, and even watch earlier corrals (faster runners) start the race before you. At the half marathon, you've got to walk a mile to the start line leaving less time for the pre-race area and the nerves are much higher so there isn't nearly as much excitement in the air.

Before the race, there was definitely a party "let's have fun!" sort of vibe going on. Everyone was following along with the dj's goofy dance moves (for a good laugh sometime, you should really watch pre-teens mortified faces as they watch their mom and dad do the "wobble"). I think because the distance is shorter, most of the first-timers are less afraid of not finishing the race and more excited to be there.

My family and I huddled together and tried to stay warm before the race started. Soon the dj called the first group of runners to start. There were three waves based on expected pace times and when the dj called your group, you were supposed to go past the gates to the start line.

Before the race we created a little bit of a game plan. Alex and my sister would try to run the entire race together (neither of them trained for it). My mom and I would try to walk the entire race together so that we wouldn't get too tired before the half marathon. And we would all meet up at gear check.

Soon it was our turn to start and we were off. Alex and Ashley left Mom and I in the dust within the first few minutes of the race and we wished them luck. One awesome thing for Disney fans to look forward to at these events is the "backstage" scenery along the route. The first mile of the race was completely filled with backstage goodies. We passed what looked like the graveyard for all of the parks broken down vehicles. There was a bunch of old trams used to transport guests from the parking lots to the park. Then we passed an old jungle cruise boat.

Some old trams
After that we entered EPCOT near the Mexico pavilion after running under the outdoor loop of test track.

At this point in the race, my mom's "happy feet" were getting out of hand and we split up too. Near the start of every race my mom gets what she calls "happy feet" and she wants to run off and forget pacing. I really wanted to walk the race and stop for pictures so that I'd feel nice and fresh for the half the next day, especially because I hadn't done almost any training. We had been run/walking despite our plans for the first mile, but Mom didn't want to walk anymore. She hates stopping in the middle of a run, and when we came to the first character photo spot, she decided she didn't want to stop and I told her I'd just meet her at the finish. I spent the rest of the race run/walking and stopping for almost every photo, just trying to take it easy and have some fun along the way. I had a great time!

The next mile or so went around world showcase (all the countries) in EPCOT. It was really neat to pass all of the countries and take photos. The view was amazing too.

Posing with Mulan and crew

Playing in the UK phone booths

the gorgeous view

After passing through world showcase, we went through future world, past spaceship earth....
Spaceship Earth

 and out of the park to the finish line. I picked up my medal and my family was there waiting for me.
The bling

Mom with her bling
Alex and Ashley with their bling

Everyone had a great race and we went back to the hotel to swap stories about our race experiences. Mom caught up with Alex and Ashley near the end of her race, and got to cross the finish with them. Ashley had fun and wants to do it again next year, except stop to take more photos like I did. Alex had a blast and wants to run a half marathon soon.
Alex Running

Ashley and Mom near the finish

I was so proud of my brother and sister, I made them wear their medals all day at the park afterwards. That night we all (Mom, Dad, Alex, Ashley, and I) celebrated at Hollywood Studios and filled up on some carbs for the half marathon the next day. We ended our awesome day checking out one of the last showings of Osborne Spectacle of Lights.
Spectacle of Lights
Stay tuned for part three: the half marathon; and if you missed part one of my report please check it out here.


  1. I read this weeks ago and thought I left a comment...apparently not! It looks so fun, and I can't wait to read the next installment!

    I also tagged you in an 11 things post on my blog if you are into those...

  2. I'm a new asthmatic runner looking to do the Donald 1/2 in 2014, and noticed you still haven't posted about the 1/2 marathon! I'd love to read about it! I love your blog too, I'm planning on getting a Road ID bracelet my next paycheck, thanks for the suggestion!

  3. Being a Cast Member its always great to hear the guest opinons on our work. Also you are so true about walking in MK and atching the sun rise is an amazing experince. (actual if you can see it at any park its a magical experience)