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WDW Marathon Weekend 2019: Arrival & Expo Day!

It’s finally here, it’s finally here! WDW Marathon Weekend 2019 and my 6th Dopey Challenge!

It’s been a long and stressful year and I was counting down the days so intensely for this trip. I was excited to be at WDW, experience the parks and some delicious food with my fiance, and of course run and see running friends. The final day of work before our red-eye flight felt long but mostly because I was just antsy to go go go!

Just 3.5 hours unutil

Just 3.5 hours unutil

Our flight took off on time at 1am MST and landed early at MCO at around 6:15, I got some sleep on the plane but once I landed I was feeling a mixture of excitement and a sore neck from sleeping funny but I was SO ready to be in Orlando! We let Disney Magical Express handle our luggage so we headed straight to the check-in counter for the bus and were on a bus by 6:35am. We had to wait for the bus to fill up but it didn’t take long and we were on our way and luckily Pop Century was the first stop (if I’m remembering correctly). I had put in a room request for a specific type of room but at check-in decided to scrap that plan and take whatever was available, so we got a room in the 80’s section on the top floor with a view of Roger Rabbit and the computer pool. In the future I’m going to try to not have a room facing a pool though, it was louder than I wanted it to be.

Pop Century Roger Rabbit and Pool

The updated Pop Century room are really nice. Having a coffee maker in the room and all the storage in the bathroom was a real help during the Dopey Challenge. This only made my love of Pop for my race weekends grow!

It was about 8am at this point and we were ready for some breakfast and more specifically MICKEY WAFFLES!


After breakfast we headed back to the room for a nap, I had put in an order for Prime Now that would be arriving soon though so I was nervous to fall asleep. I just ordered some food stuffs that I knew would agree with me during all the running (bread, peanut butter, cereal, La Croix, post-run celebration/hang out beer, carrots, and Clif Bars) and sunscreen since I had forgotten to pack some. I drifted off to sleep until my phone rang telling me that the Prime delivery person was there and then on the way back from grabbing the delivery I saw that our luggage was about to be delivered so we were all squared away by 10am and I went back to sleep for couple more hours. In the past I’ve used Prime Pantry for food delivery during race-cations but Prime Now gave me more fresh selections and bypassed any funniness with the package being delivered to the desk, I will definitely do this again!

When I woke up, I knew it was time for the expo! I needed to grab my bib and be back to the hotel by about 3 to make sure we had time for the fun we had planned that evening. I got myself together and luckily was able to grab a bus quickly to the expo and was there by 1:05. I had about an hour to spend at the expo which really isn’t much time given the crowds of past years.

Wide World Of Sports

I went directly to the bib pickup and I loved that Dopey Challenge runners get their bib and shirts all in the same area, saving that time/walking is really nice. They were also making a big hoopla for any Perfect Dopeys that came through so I got a nice little announcement by my volunteer which was fun. The lines were short and the process was easy.

Dopey Bib Pickup Area

All the other bib pickups were pretty empty too!

All the other bib pickups were pretty empty too!

Now I had to decided, do I go to the main expo or go to the Official Merchandise area since I didn’t think I’d have time for both. I opted to go to the Official Merchandise area, fingers crossed that it wasn’t too busy and I’d have to wait to get in. I got to the building and then kept walking around and around and around the area with ominous signs saying that the line was ahead but low and behold I was able to walk right onto the merch floor. Huzzah!


The merchandise was cute but nothing was really catching my eye so I just walked around and then left. They also had a really cute Oswald photo op setup. I decided to call it a day after looking at the merchandise instead of going back to the expo since I was already close to the buses and hoped I’d be back to WWoS to go to the main expo floor later in the weekend (spoiler: I didn’t). I was there for all of 40 minutes and this was probably the easiest expo experience I’ve had in a while and I was really thankful for that!

I got back to Pop a little after 2, got changed, since we had a fancy dinner later that night at California Grill, and then we headed to the Magic Kingdom!

Castle smooches!

Castle smooches!

Time for the Wildest Ride in the WIlderness!

Time for the Wildest Ride in the WIlderness!

We rode Haunted Mansion and Big Thunder and then played a round of Sorcerer’s of the Magic Kingdom before heading to our reservation at California Grill. We were seated in the back room (the Monterey Room) which was really nice since we had a nice relaxed view of Bay Lake but it would’ve been nice to sit in the main dining area with the view of the Magic Kingdom. The food was good, we really enjoyed our Tuna Crunch Roll and the Wontons but thought the main courses were a little fussy. We ended with the chocolate cake which was really good. Verdict: If we go back we’ll just go to the lounge and get drinks, appetizers, and deserts since those were what really shined!

California Grill Place Setting

California Grill Chocolate Cake

Most people plan to watch the fireworks from the restaurant but I really wanted to be on Main St so we left around 7:30 and walked back over.


We watched Happily Ever After and then went to Tomorrowland to maybe ride something but then got indecisive and just decided to head out. It had been a long day and I had day 1 of Dopey to tackle as well as the first of my 80’s Disney bounds for the runDisney weekend! After getting myself all organized for the next morning it was time to lights out!


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