WDW Marathon Weekend 2016 - Expo and Intro

Are you ready to get this WDW Marathon Weekend recap started?! I thought so!

So let's get the details out of the way:

  1. I'm Katherine and this will be my 6th WDW Marathon Weekend - I ran my first marathon ever in 2011 at WDW and I've come back every year since!
  2. I'm traveling with my Dad who is running the 10k
  3. I flew in LATE Tuesday 1/5 which was suppose to get in at 1:30 AM EST 1/6.
  4. I flew out on Monday evening after the race
  5. I attended the Cigna Blogger Meetup on Friday and it was so much fun! More on that later!
  6. I spent 6 fun-filled days at WDW staying at Fort Wilderness and got to see so many friends! Every runDisney weekend just keeps getting better and better!

So with that, let's jump in!

I boarded my late night flight to Orlando which was suppose to get in at 1:30 EST which was already going to be a late night. I was staying one night at Pop Century before transfering to Fort Wilderness so with Magical Express and everything else I knew I wasn't going to get to my hotel until 2:30 or 3.

But... I also wanted to do something I've never done before, go to the expo when it opens on the first day. I've heard about the lines, I've heard about the crowds, and I wanted to experience it for myself and see the reported mayhem.

So I knew it was going to be a short night of sleep if I was going to get to Wide World of Sport (WWoS) around 10am and, well, my flight was delayed an hour and an already short night turned into an even shorter night of sleep. I finally got to my room and settled in at 4:30am, eep!

Still my alarm went off and because I was excited and at WDW I was ready to go! I repacked, got breakfast and was on a bus to the expo a little before 10am!

I got to the expo around 10:20 (20 min after open) and it was already pretty crowded. I made my way (with my pre-printed waiver) to the Dopey bib pickup and well, it was definitely the most crowded bib pickup that morning.

The HP Field House where Half Marathon, Full Marathon, Goofy Challenge, and Dopey Challenge runners could pickup their bibs. Dopey Challenge runners also picked up their shirts here and there was pre-ordered and official race merchandise available.

The HP Field House where Half Marathon, Full Marathon, Goofy Challenge, and Dopey Challenge runners could pickup their bibs. Dopey Challenge runners also picked up their shirts here and there was pre-ordered and official race merchandise available.

My line was about 20 people deep and we were not moving quickly. I waited about 15 min to grab my bib and then hopped in the t-shirt bag pickup line which they had placed in the same area for the Dopey runners.

The line to pick up the Dopey t-shirts got so long that it was blocked MANY of the Half Marathon bib pickup lines. Not great and I hope they reorganizing this in a different way next year. After another 10-15 min wait I finally had everything I needed and was able to go take a look at the merchandise and vendors!

In past years in the HP Field House, they placed some bib pickups upstairs and then some downstairs with a small merchandise store downstairs and all t-shirts were picked up at the Josten's Center. This year the small merchandise area was upstairs and felt... odd. The items weren't laid out as nicely and it seemed to be missing some of the merchandise. I looked at it quickly but decided to head over to Jostens to see if there was more in the larger merchandise store there.

Josten's Center is where you find some of the vendors, official race merchandise, t-shirt pickup for most races and also the large New Balance area where you can buy gear and the runDisney shoes!

Josten's Center is where you find some of the vendors, official race merchandise, t-shirt pickup for most races and also the large New Balance area where you can buy gear and the runDisney shoes!

I knew I wanted to stop by the RawThreads booth because, well, I can't runDisney without seeing what they have. I picked up a new top for the full marathon and one that I had been eyeing for a while and then made my way to the official race merchandise area.

Rudy Navotny making announcements at the expo right behind me!

Rudy Navotny making announcements at the expo right behind me!

There was LOTS of cute official merchandise this year. I got my Dopey "I Did It" shirt (which promptly was stashed in a cabinet once back at the hotel) and a Tervis tumbler! To buy these I waited in a very long yet quick moving line and, yes, I did see people with arm fulls of merchandise. It was pretty crazy.

Once I grabbed the merchandise I wanted, I then made my way back out of the expo and went to the outdoor area with more vendors because I had forgotten my spibelt. I grabbed a new one and ran into Patrick and then headed out. In total I was at the expo for 2 hours.

CONCLUSION: I will probably never go to the first couple hours of the expo again. I don't care that much about merchandise and I'd rather have shorter lines and give the volunteers some time to get into a groove before I go. It wasn't that bad but I prefer going in the afternoon when it's quieter.

I hopped on the bus to Fort Wilderness to check-in and then the plan was to head to Magic Kingdom but once I got to Fort Wilderness I just needed to chill out. I was pretty overwhelmed from the expo plus my short night of sleep was catching up to me so I just went exploring at Fort Wilderness. This is an amazing resort and if you've never spent time here, you should!

Our cabin in the 2700 loop!

Our cabin in the 2700 loop!

Once my dad got in we decided to head over to Disney Hollywood Studios to ride a few rides and catch the FINAL night of the Osbourne Lights. I LOVE these lights and I was so happy that they extended it so I could see it one last time!

After viewing the lights and grabbing a quick meal, we headed back to the resort and settled in for the night! Time to kick-off this Dopey Challenge with a Jungle Cruise expedition!

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