WDW Marathon Weekend 2015 - Marathon and Dopey Finish

Day 4, here we go!

Woke up feeling tired but had taken it super easy the day before so my legs felt tired but not worn out and I was ready to run this marathon. I had already decided that if my body felt good in the first 5 miles then I would take it up a notch and really try to race this bad boy. It had been awhile since I had set a course PR here and I wanted to see what I could do.

This was my 5th time running this marathon and my experience and increased endurance showed this time around. But I’ll get to all that.

Woke up, threw on my clothes and was on a bus just after 4am. Met up with my Australian friends and we made our way to the corrals. It was chilly but a good running temp (~50) and I was excited to run. We got into corral E and chatted and stretched until it was time to go. Carissa and Rudy were great announcers as always as we impatiently waited for our turn. We were in corral E again and they efficiently moved through the corrals and we were sent off about 10 minutes after the official clock time.

The beginning of the course is the same as the half marathon and the characters in this part were identical to the day before. I decided I was feeling good so I said goodbye to my friends around mile 2 and kept going. Made it up to the castle and it was just as beautiful, really it never gets old.

We then wound around seeing similar characters out as the half and then were back out on the roads. We made our loop around the race track (which is super cool) and then started the journey to Animal Kingdom. It was around here that my legs started feeling sore but not sore enough to slow me down, so I grabbed some Tylenol to help my . We looped through that park and then started the slightly longer journey to Wild World of Sports (WWoS) where it is endless looping. They fit about 2.5 miles into WWoS and you just… keep… running around. It’s a bit nutty. During this part I got some pics with characters I'd never gotten before.

We finally broke free of WWoS and made our way to Hollywood Studios and the final stretch of the race. I LOVE the final miles of the WDW Marathon. I would go as far as to say it’s the BEST last 5k of any marathon I’ve ever run. You run through the studios, then the Boardwalk/Beach/Yacht area, and then through Epcot. People are cheering the whole way and there are so many distractions and it’s just great and gives you a nice burst of adrenaline to kick it up for the last stretch.

My legs were tired but not completely gone so I just kept pushing, I was on pace to come well under 4 hours and I was thrilled about that. I was about to SMASH my previous course PR of 4:11. The final mile turned into my victory lap. Picked up some magic from the Fairy Godmother just before mile marker 25, waved to the crowed, waved to the pricesses, grabbed a hug from Duffy, and then set off on the last .25 mile or so to the finish!

We wove through the final turns and there it was, the finish line. I was ecstatic. I ran across with a goofy looking grin with an official time of 3:48:22.  I had not only set a new PR but done so by 23 minutes and beaten my previous Dopey marathon time by a little over a half hour. Crazy!

I had a blast at the marathon this year. Not only did a set a course PR but stopped for pictures and really just had a blast out there. I really fell in love with the WDW Marathon course all over again and also felt invigorated by completing the Dopey Challenge on such a strong note. I really proved to myself how far I’ve come this year and a little bling never hurt either.

The Dopey Challenge is a uniquely challenging experience and, I think I’m hooked. Last year’s Dopey Challenge left me drained but this year I faced the challenge as a stronger more confident runner and LOVED it. I cannot wait to push myself further next year and do it again!

Cheers until next time runners!

WDW/Universal Oct '14 - Part 6: Hollywood, Animals, and Downtown Disney

Welcome back all!

If you need to catch up you can read Part 5 here!

Today was a pretty chill day. After a late night at Epcot we took the morning slow and headed over to Disney Hollywood Studios (DHS) for some thrills and chills. We rode a few rides including a spin on the Great Movie Ride and a stroll through the animation gallery. Unfortunately we didn't end up riding Toy Story Midway Mania this trip :(

Additional thoughts:

  • I'm thrilled the Great Movie Ride is getting some TLC from TCM! This ride is a bit dated but it's still great and a great anchor to the original theme of the park.
  • The art in the animation gallery is so nice. I love seeing all the art and we got a peak at the Big Hero 6 art. Love!
  • The Wandering Oaken area is really cute. Love the specialty drinks and the snow. Very cute!


We then headed out in the late afternoon and then went back over to Animal Kingdom for a couple spins on Everest and a ride on Kilimanjaro. This park is really beautiful. 

We then headed over to Downtown Disney so Wookie could catch the Giants game (World Series!) and we could just chill out. We took the bus to Coronado and then hopped a bus to Downtown Disney from there.

We then wandered around some stores (DStreet is a dangerous place to shop), grabbed some chocolate samples from Ghirardelli, and then headed to Splitsville to eat some food and watch the game. Downtown Disney is a mess but Splitsville is super cute. I really enjoyed chilling there.

It started getting late so we compromised and headed back to the room to watch the very end of it. Super chill day to make sure we were ready to the Magic Kingdom the next day!!!!

WDW/Universal Oct '14 - Part 4: Hollywood, Hoop Dee Doo, and Halloween Fun!

Sorry all for the unexpected hiatus. Holidays and life were just taking up more time than usual. Thinking about eating turkey and then eating turkey really distracts a girl. Anyways on with the next installment from my Orlando trip report!

Thursday we woke up bright and early because we were meeting up with my kicka$$ Bia boss who was in Orlando to get some watches in the Fit2Run stores (whoooo hooo!). We told her we'd meet her at 9 at Disney Hollywood Studios. Plan for the day was early to DHS, back to the resort to chill, then Hoop Dee Doo and Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween party. It was going to be a long, but AWESOME day!

After a bit of a delay at the resort we hopped a bus and were at DHS in no time. First stop? Rockin' Rollercoaster!

Disney Hollywood Studios Highlights:

  • Tower of Terror is always great even if it does take all of my courage to get on it. Maybe one day this won't scare the bejesus out of me. Wookie enjoyed the different drop profiles!
  • Rockin' Rollercoaster - LOVE THIS RIDE!
  • Star Tours - still the best way to blast throughout the galaxy and the update is still awesome!
  • Great Movie Ride - Really glad the rumor is this isn't going away! This really is the classic ride for this park
  • Overall - really sad at how empty this park feels now. I can't wait for them to officially announce all the rumored plans!
Your days are numbered...

After just a few rides I convinced Wookie it was time to go grab some lunch and hang out for awhile at the resort. I knew we had a long night in front of us.

We opted to get dropped off at All Star Sports and grab a bite to eat from their food court and just hang out there. The pool area at AS Sports is really awesome, the surfboards are a great touch!

We headed back to the room changed and then headed back out. I wanted to show Wookie Wilderness Lodge and the pathway from WL to Fort Wilderness that I had run oh so many times while working at WDW.

Transportation: Bus to MK -> Boat to Wilderness Lodge -> Walk to Fort Wilderness

We were running slightly behind so I was a little anxious but logically I knew we had more than enough time since I had planned it that we would get to Pioneer Hall 45 min early.

We got off the boat at Wilderness Lodge and was immediately met with construction. The whole pool area was being redone (totally missed that note) and what was most weird was they didn't really have it walled off. You could really see what was going on in the pool area. IS THERE A PART OF WDW THAT DOESN'T HAVE CONSTRUCTION WALLS?

We looked at the lobby, I showed him the spring that "fills" the pool, and then found the path to Fort Wilderness.

If you've never walked from WL to FW, you should! It is such a retreat from all the hustle and bustle of the parks. We even met a few friends!

You even get to pass the Tri-Circle-D Ranch!

We made it over to Pioneer Hall, got our picture taken and then waited to enter for our dinner. I had reserved category 3 seats for the 4:30 show but was hoping to get "upgraded" since the show didn't look too full, and low and behold, we got GREAT seats.

They were category 2, all the way in the back, but dead center. It was awesome!

All you can drink sangria, yes please!
Our view of Pioneer Hall!
All the grub!

I LOVE this show! Seriously. The best bang for your buck on property. The food is delicious, the drinks are flowing, and the performance is amazing! Our waitress was also really great, very attentive, I wish I could remember her name!

Do you like food? Do you like laughing? Do you like a little cheese in your theater performances? If you have said yes to all of these, you need to get to Pioneer Hall PRONTO! This is my favorite "hidden" gem in WDW.

So after eating, drinking, laughing, and having a great time, it was time to say good bye to Pioneer Hall and head over to the Magic Kingdom for the Halloween party! I think the show/dinner ended around 6 and we were in MK by 6:30 just in time for the party. We stopped at the Fire Station to get the Sorcerer's card and get Wookie set up with a SotMK game and then we were off. First stop? Space Mountain!

Here are my notes on the party that night, I'll include my full MK thoughts (attractions and whatnot) when we spend a full day there.

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party:
  • The atmosphere can't be beat but the music in the areas was very loud and for some reason made me anxious and was just sensory overload for me.
  • It was VERY crowded. There were just people everywhere and combined with the loud music, it just made it feel even more chaotic in my mind
  • The trick or treat stops were often and offered up a lot of candy
  • We only took a picture with the "Old Hag" (aka the Evil Queen in disguise) but the character meets looked fun!
  • Boo to You! - The parade was amazing as always, this is a don't miss part of the party!
  • Celebrate the Magic - This is a great show, I love the projection shows on the castle. It plays so many tricks on your brain!
  • Hallo-Wishes! - Wow! Just wow! This show is AMAZING!!!!! Be sure to stand back towards/on Main St so you can see ALL the fireworks.
  • Merchandise was okay, some cute pins but everything else was just "okay".
  • Villians Mix and Mingle - It's been a couple years since I had seen this show but it was short and ending with the Queen of Hearts dancing alone on stage was a weird way to end it.

Looking for a "head" out :P

Overall, this party is tops! It's so much fun and everyone is in costume. I really enjoy it and recommend everyone to try it out if they've never been.

After a final ride on Seven Dwarves coaster (more on that later), it was time to drag our tired feet home. We were both pretty spent by the end of the night and I was getting a little cranky. I was excited to get into my bed and dream of more WDW adventures to be had the next day!

As always you can see all the pictures from our trip here: Universal/WDW Trip October 2014

Katherine' Orlando Picture Pinterest Wall!

I'll be posting a lot of pics here as I explore Universal and WDW on vacation! Come along and check in regularly because I'll be updating this frequently!

We'll be doing all of Harry Potter (both parks), Hoop Dee Doo, Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party, Food and Wine Festival, and a ton more! Come along for the adventure and fun!

Check out this page for updates: Universal/WDW Trip Pics (Oct '14)