Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend Expo 2019


Earlier this month, my friends and I participated in the Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend at Walt Disney World. We visited the Expo on the second day of its opening to pick up our bibs, packets, and do a little shopping!



Something I love about runDisney is there's never a lack of signage or cast members to ask directions from. It makes everything super easy to navigate!


With this being the 10th year for the Wine & Dine Half, runDisney had the Expo all decked out with signage and celebrations!


I loved how they paid homage to the themes of all of the different Wine & Dine races since 2010!


I might have worn my "I did it" shirt from the very first Wine & Dine Half! I know this is going to sound silly, but this is a race I ran on the inaugural year, the 5th year, and now the 10th year. I kind of like that pattern and want to keep it up!






Our first stop after picking up our bibs was the runDisnney merchandise area!

Speaking of merchandise - visiting on the second day was interesting and always a little nerve racking because you never know what the hot ticket item will be and what will be sold out. This year, it was definitely the pins. I have a pin from every single runDisney race I've run and I never pre-purchase them. Well, I guess I will need to now because the only pins that remained for sale at the Expo were from the 5K. I also missed going to the after party at Epcot but I know they had a special edition pin there. Oh well.

The passholder merchandise also seemed to go pretty quickly but other than that, I can't think of anything else I saw that was missing or seemed to be out of stock. (If you know of something else that sold out quickly, please let me know!)
After navigating through the runDisney official merchandise area, we walked over to the Visa center to pick up our race shirts and browse through the rest of the expo. Since runDisney has moved out of this building, it's created a lot of extra room! I like it!


I loved all of the photo opportunities at the expo!


We quickly glanced through several booths but didn't purchase anything. I came super close to getting a travel sized BFF but decided against it. Maybe one day!


Our friends were waiting on us at Animal Kingdom (so was lunch), so we said goodbye the Expo for now...


...but not without a few pictures, first!
 

I mean, we just had to!


My little kids racer wasn't feeling it at all. He was tired and just wanted a nap!


Bye, Wide World of Sports! Until we meet again!


This race is on the smaller side when in comparison to Marathon Weekend and I love that about it! If you're looking at running your first runDisney event and are leery about the crowds, this would be a great race to start with! Don't get me wrong, it's still crowded but it's not marathon weekend level of crowds! 

Up next: The 10K!

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party 2019

On our most recent trip to Walt Disney World, we had quite the adventure with our group of friends! It all began with the Wine & Dine Half Marathon weekend where we ran, park hopped, and ate plenty of delicious food. After the weekend was over, we boarded the Disney Dream for a 4 night cruise to the Bahamas. The magic didn't stop there, though. Once our cruise was complete, we returned to Walt Disney World to attend the very first Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party of the season! Needless to say, the trip was amazing, magical, fun-filled, and the best part - none of us wanted it to end (aka, we didn't all get on each other's nerves)!

I said all of that to say, I'm doing these recaps out of order because...well, Christmas is upon us and with the parties in full swing, I felt like it was appropriate to share this one first!

We were SO excited for the Christmas party and couldn't wait for the evening to begin! It had been years since many of us had been to a party (and a first time for some), so we were ready!


Our game plan was to arrive early, hit up as many rides as possible before the party started, grab a quick bite before the party started, then spend the hours during the party enjoying party things!


Someone was exhausted on the ride over to the party and fell smack asleep on the bus!

After arriving at the party, we were ushered behind the gates on the side of the tree (runDisney fans will remember this as the previous route for the WDW and Princess Half). Instead of being lead outside of the park, we were directed down an alleyway where we were given our first cookie of the party!


I LOVE the toy soldiers! They are my favorite part of the parade!


Of course, there were several merchandise carts there as well.


We got suckered in and each bought a party shirt and a commemorative pin.


New changes for the party this year included:
  • Fun ride overlays (Tomorrowland Speedway, Space Mountain, Mad Tea Party, and Monsters Inc to name a few)
  • A brand new Fireworks show

Also, I didn't remember such a wide variety of cookie/drink options from the last time I attended the party! (That was at least 4 years ago, so my memory on that might be fuzzy.) It was a nice surprise, though!


As soon as we walked into the castle hub, our first order of business was to take a group picture.


We knew the forecast called for rain most of the evening and we wanted to get a picture before we were all drenched and had to wear ponchos.


We loved seeing the Christmas overlays throughout the park - these two were located near Splash Mountain.


The lines for rides were super short, even though the app said they were between 20-30 minutes. We hardly waited for Small World, Pirates, and Haunted Mansion. In between rides, we also grabbed pizza at Pinocchio's. 

After dinner, and per Brayden's request, we rode the carousel. We were just loading up when the announcement was made that the party officially began! It was fun hearing the Christmas music on the carousel, too!


Our mission from here on out was to see the parade, ride the rides with Christmas overlays, snag as many cookies and hot chocolate as possible, and see the fireworks. The line for the cookie stop with egg nog was CRAZY, so we skipped that one. They were seriously lined up 30 minutes before the party officially began! I know the lines go fast but we definitely did not have time for that.


We may have missed the egg not stop, but we didn't miss the other stops! Another change from previous Christmas parties I attended was the wrapped cookies. I loved this as they were easier to handle and carry around or save to eat later.


The Mad Tea Party was our first stop once the party began. The Christmas overlay of flashing lights were red and green and the music was all Christmas themed.


We decided to be the chicken cup! (aka the teacup that didn't spin a whole lot...) And yes, we squeezed three adults and a child into one!


These fools wanted to spin as fast as possible....so, they all took their own tea cup!


Outside of each cookie/drink stop was a large blow up peppermint to signal guests where to go. This stop even had peppermint cookies (and I was all about that life)!

About 45 minutes before the parade began, we found a spot along the route. We knew the chance of rain for the 10 p.m. parade was super high, and because we didn't want to miss the parade, we decided on the first one. I'm so thankful we did because I heard they had to cancel the 10 p.m. parade and use the rainy day cavalcade instead!


I love how Mickey and Minnie lead this parade and Santa ends it!


Who can forget my favorite toy soldiers? :)


As soon as the parade was over, we made a bee line for the Jingle Cruise. The line had finally died down by this point - it was seriously 120 minutes for a while! We waited maybe 15 minutes in line which wasn't bad compared to the length of the line all evening!


This naughty/nice list always makes me laugh because this is totally something Jason would do! This Jason scratched his name off of the naughty list and added it to the nice list!


Our next order of business was to see the new Minnie's Wonderful Christmas Time Fireworks presentation. We found a great spot on Main Street, too!


Because of the weather, the smoke from the fireworks hung around the castle. Even though it made it hard to see some of the projections, we LOVED the new show, the music, and the fireworks themselves!

Another ride to check off of our list was Space Mountain! We decided ahead of time to be "reindeer" for the on-ride photo.



Since my husband is ALWAYS a goofball, this was his version of a reindeer, and I'm still kinda laughing about it....


I'm not joking when I say that was seriously, hands down the version of Space Mountain I've ever seen! We all LOVED it!


One of the friends in our group said we all had to have red magic bands for the party, so we did!


A ride we never made it to was the Tomorrowland Speedway. I did like the Christmas overlay, though and thought it would be fun to see at night!


Brayden's final request of the evening was to ride Dumbo. While the rest of our party rode Space Mountain again, we headed over to Storybook Circus.

We had the chance to ride Dumbo twice without even getting off of the ride! (That's never happened to us before and it was amazing!) 


While in the Storybook Circus area, we saw another peppermint decal and decided to see what it was all about. To our surprise, it was a snowman pretzel! The best part...it was WARM!


By this point, it was nearing midnight and we decided it was time to head back to our resort...but not before a few pictures first, of course!


Main Street was so beautiful with the snow and the lights! It's one of my favorite places to be!

 


Y'all know me and those toy soldiers - I couldn't leave without taking a picture!


Despite the rain, we all had a blast at the party and wouldn't change a thing! I think we would all unanimously agree that the party was a blast, we seriously had a magical time, and the Christmas overlay to Space Mountain was by far our favorite part....or maybe the all new Minnie's Wonderful Christmas Time Fireworks...that's a tossup!


Until next time...see ya real soon! Have a magical holiday season!


For a video recap of our time at the party, check out the clip above! :)

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