I can’t believe WDW Marathon Weekend has come and gone so quickly. Since we went to Universal & then Costa Rica right after Marathon Weekend, I feel like I’m finally processing that I’m now a year away from another Marathon Weekend. Another year of planning & training that leads up to my favorite week/weekend of the year!
This year we flew in LATE Tuesday (technically 12:30am Wednesday) and we didn’t make it to Caribbean Beach Resort until about 1:45am. We settled into our room in Aruba building 53 quickly and it was lights out by 2. We were playing the morning by ear but we were up by 8, so we decided to hop on the Skyliner and have breakfast is France!
Bonjour! It was the perfect way to kick off the trip and Mickey, Minnie, & Goofy were all meeting at the International Gateway!
After breakfast it was time to head to the expo. We walked over to the Beach Club and caught the expo bus from there. We got to Wide World of Sports around 10:45am and I printed my waiver and headed to the Dopey Bib Pickup. I lucked out and there wasn’t anyone in my bib pickup line, score! I then headed across to get my t-shirts (I love that Dopey Challenge get their bibs and shirts in the same space). We then headed to the main expo area and wandered around the vendors, it was a little crowded and I didn’t need anything in particular so it was a pretty quick lap. I had done the RawThreads pre-order but I was getting that at their trunk show at the Swan hotel.
We then went to the main merchandise area but the line was still snaking through the auxiliary room so I decided my time at the expo was done. Honestly, the past 2 years I just wandered around the official merchandise looking at things but not buying anything so I didn’t feel like I was missing anything.
Overall, I was in and out in an hour & ready to head back to Caribbean Beach. We had some time to kill before the groceries I ordered were delivered so we wandered over to Old Port Royale and then to the Riveria to check it out too. That hotel is gorgeous and I love all the artwork throughout the resort. Maybe next year we check out the restaurants there!
The Instacart delivery came and we were ready to head to Epcot for some eating around the World and an evening in Epcot. We took the Skyliner over to Epcot but there were two more stops to make.
First, Ample Hills for some some ice cream (we got the flight and I really enjoyed Cookie au Lait, Nonna D’s Oatmeal Lace, & PB Wins the Cup). We then headed over to the Swan to grab my RawThreads shirts. Love this company and these shirts!
We then had fun at Epcot, drinking beer, eating too much caramel corn (psh no such thing), and snacking around World Showcase. We rode most of the rides in Epcot, including a ride on Spaceship Earth before it changes again, and two rides on Test Track! We then strolled back to World Showcase and easily found a great spot for Epcot Forever. This show was really fun and beautiful, those kites are crazy awesome. I also decided that I just love watching fireworks in World Showcase lagoon. It’s such a special and intimate experience, I’m sure I will love HarmoniUS when it comes!
We then walked back to the Skyliner and were back at Caribbean Beach & tucked in by 10pm. The Skyliner is awesome! The first early morning was coming up & I had a new group of fitness 80’s Disney bounds to run in!
I was up by 2:45am and got myself ready to go, it was day one of the Dopey Challenge and I was ready to kick things off!
I left for the Aruba bus stop at 3:35am and just missed a bus. I was on a bus by 3:50am and then it went to Riveria and around to the other side of Caribbean Beach (Martinique, Old Port Royale (OPR), Barbados, & Trinidad) before heading to Epcot. The driver started counting seats around OPR so if you are staying Barbados or Trinidad it might be worth it to walk to an earlier “island” for the pickup.
The bus left Caribbean beach at 4:05 and we got to EPCOT and were off the bus by 4:15. Easy peasey!
I went through backcheck quickly to have them look at my fanny-pack and then met up with the running Ohana quickly. The game plan for today was to treat this like an easy training run, the goal was to finish and then get back to the resort ASAP to make it for Extra Magic Hour at Animal Kingdom.
The running group milled around and caught up until it was time to get to the corrals at 5am. The announcers were great as usual, even though Rudy was definitely missed!
I was with Jeff and Nathan in corral A and we chatted while we waited. At least it wasn’t too cold this year but the mylar blanket I brought was appreciated!
The National Anthem was sung, fireworks were shot off, & it was time to go. We were in (I think) the 5th mini-wave and were off through the backstage of Epcot.
The start was similar to past years as we started by running the backstage roads before entering World Showcase between Norway and China. We then ran around World Showcase to the International Gateway where we exited, ran through backstage again, and entered World Showcase between the UK and Canada before running the rest of the way around World Showcase and exiting between Mexico and Norway. I ended up running with Nathan and Jeff the whole time, we didn’t stop for any characters but running with friends in Epcot is always the best! We just kept it easy and enjoyed the run!
The race then ended by running backstage, through the Wonders of Life/Play pavillion construction and the Universe of Energy/Guardians Coaster construction before running out the normal way. This finish was really anti-climatic, which will be a theme throughout the weekend.
It was a great race with friends but I had a park to get to!
Characters that I saw out on the course:
Backstage (mile 0.5)- Chip & Dale (Rescue Rangers)
Italy – Geppetto
France – Beast
Mexico – Panchito
I got my medal and hurried through the post-race area before heading to the front of Epcot to catch a Lyft back to Caribbean Beach. According to the race information, the buses back to the resorts wouldn’t start running until 6:30, plus I wanted to test out taking a Lyft from the finish to see if it was an option to make it to Hollywood Studios after the 10k. I crossed the finish line around 6:15, hustled through the post-race chute, and then called a Lyft as I started making my way across the parking lot back to the front of Epcot.
I grabbed my Lyft and was back to the room around 6:40am, this was going to work! I showered and got myself together and we then made our way over to Spyglass Grill to grab breakfast sandwiches at around 7:10. We ate and were at the bus stop by 7:30, a little later than I originally hoped, but we were still mostly on schedule. When we got to the bus stop at Trinidad the next bus was until… 8:13. Blergs. We then tried to call a Lyft and the driver just couldn’t figure out how to get to us.
So back to the bus and we didn’t arrive until 8:30ish & decided to hit a few other attractions since the line for Flight of Passage was already long. We rode pretty much everything including Flight of Passage, 2 rides on Everest, and the BEST safari I’ve ever been on by 2pm. We really enjoyed our morning in Animal Kingdom and then headed back to Caribbean Beach for a nap before our early dinner at Victoria and Albert’s, aka our big honeymoon splurge.
It was once again a perfect food experience at Victoria and Albert’s and I walked away too full but so happy with everything I ate. This is an expensive experience but it is totally worth skimping on some other areas to make this work in our budget and I highly recommend it to anyone thinking about it.
We were back to the room by 9:30 and it was lights out very quickly since another early morning awaited me!