Thursday, September 6, 2012

Disney RunFest 2012

After a weekend of reading Disney Land Half Marathon tweets, seeing pictures and wishing I was there, I am definitely getting excited about my upcoming runDisney races here on the east coast! Only three more weeks until I am back “home” at Disney for the first ever Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler! This weekend will be even more special than my previous two runDisney races.
A year ago, I ran my first Disney race and my first half marathon. I figured for such a big accomplishment what better place to celebrate than Disney AND during my favorite time of year at Disney, the Food and Wine Fest!! I was just starting to discover the runDisney following, but truly had no idea until after the race when the blog recaps started popping up and I was finding more and more people to follow on Twitter who ran & loved runDisney as much as me!
This year when I go down to Orlando for the ToT 10 Miler, I have so many people I am looking forward to meeting in real life and spending time getting to know. We have meet-ups planned and group pictures and celebrations galore! I can barely stand the wait! It will also be a time to catch up with my other runDisney friends I met this summer when we planned a random “Hey let’s all meet at Walt Disney World and go for a run!” trip! Yep, we really did that! Five complete strangers, with no other ties than Twitter & Facebook and a love of Disney & running. What could be better!
For the complete “where did that idea come from?” you need to read Erin’s post at For the Love of Disney Running. She’s the one who started it all with a comment on Twitter. And I immediately jumped on it! Now there are people out there who would say “What? You met up with people you didn’t know? That’s dangerous!” or something silly like that. All I have to say is, if no one ever took a risk and did something different we’d probably still be living in caves!
So I drove the two hours south to meet my new friends! Erin and I were sharing a room at Port Orleans French Quarter – one of my favorite places to stay at Disney – so I met up with her there. Then we went and walked around Downtown Disney until it was time to meet the others at the Contemporary Resort. Of course, when it was time to leave DTD, it was pouring rain! Nothing better for bonding than running thru the rain together and getting soaked!
We met Rachel from Runner’s Tales at The Wave restaurant in the Contemporary for dinner. I call this the Seasons 52 of Disney. They change their menu four times a year and focus on local, fresh and healthy meals. We did not want to eat anything heavy as we were planning to run after dinner so we all ordered soups and salads.  The food was great and just the perfect amount to fuel us thru our run.
Check out the "mini" grilled cheese! It was SO small!!!
After dinner we changed into our running clothes and waited for the rest of the group to arrive. 
Ready to Run!
We spoke with the concierge about running routes from the Contemporary around Bay Lake, but there is no path that goes all the way around! So we were going to have to make do. Soon, Jen and Kristen joined us and we were off! We headed down the footpath to the Magic Kingdom, dodging tourists the whole way! I would love to know what they were all thinking! Five girls running to and from the Magic Kingdom!
Running the walkway from the Contemporary to the Magic Kingdom
 We stopped for pictures, asking random tourists and Cast Members. We had to document all this!
At the gates of the Magic Kingdom!
Then it was back towards the Contemporary. Now here’s where it gets a little dicey! There is a sidewalk in front of the resort but it eventually runs out. Which leaves us running on the road. Running with BIG HUGE Disney buses coming towards us! Now I am sure the drivers of those buses thought we were crazy! Which we were – crazy about running around the Seven Seas Lagoon any way we could!
Running down the road with Disney buses! Yikes!!!
 Eventually we were able to turn off of that road and head to the Transportation and Ticket Center, again dodging tourists!
There go those crazy runner girls! @TTC
 We headed towards the Polynesian and stopped for a few more photos before heading up what we called “the secret path” only because it was a little more twisty and tree lined!
It's about TIME we ran this route! So fun!
 The Polynesian is a lovely resort and was really fun to run through. We stopped for more pictures of course, attempting to capture the beauty of this resort and the very cool volcano by the pool!
Inside the Polynesian Resort
We ran down the beach connecting the Polynesian to the Grand Floridian and stopped for some silly pictures at the Wedding Chapel.
Not much of a Cinderella...
We stepped in to the Grand Floridian for a bathroom break and to cool off. Gotta love Florida Summer nights! It has been a long time since I have been inside the Grand Floridian. It is truly magnificent! I’d have to say this would be my dream resort to stay at! Maybe one day…
Inside Disney's Grand Floridian Resort - ahhh! Love it!!!
We ran thru the pool area and out to the boat docks. This is where we decided that Rachel, an engineer, needed to assist Disney in creating a running path all the way around the Lagoon. We saw exactly where the bridge should go and everything. Now we just need to get her working for the mouse!
Just across there...if we could just get a drawbridge! Then we could circle the lagoon...
Grand Floridian boat docks
Darkness was falling quickly as we headed back through  the Grand Floridian and Polynesian to the Transportation and Ticket Center. Since it was dark, we thought that a monorail ride back to the Contemporary would be wiser than dodging Disney buses on the road! So we hopped on. I kept my Garmin going just for fun! It was amazing the pace we hit! Something like 4 minute miles! If only…
Picking up the pace by riding the monorail...
We changed back into dry normal clothes and took our cars to the Polynesian. Some of the group had to leave. You know, work the next day and all that! Erin, Jen & I grabbed a spot on the beach at the Polynesian to watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks. I never knew that they played the music and speaking parts over the loud speakers at the resorts! It was better than being in the park! Less crowds, the beach, and an easy exit after!
Fireworks at Magic Kingdom as seen from the beach at the Polynesian
We hit the cafĂ© at the Polynesian for some after run refreshment. I really wanted something more but the restaurants and bars were all closed! It didn’t seem THAT late! So I ended up with chocolate milk and water – exciting, huh? I think Erin made the best choice!
Mine vs. Hers
We eventually said goodbye to Jen and headed back to Port Orleans. We had an early morning run planned for the next day! A VERY special run…
Have you ever wanted to just go for a run at Disney? You can! And if you need a buddy, I’m sure one of us crazy runDisney folks will drive over or fly down to meet ya!!

1 comment:

  1. Hi! I found your blog post because I will have to do a 20 miler while I'm staying at the Contemporary. Can you tell me more about running on World Drive? (is it safe? I see your pics with the disney busses!) and how about that secret path to the Polynesian? either way looked like you guys had fun!