Friday, January 31, 2020

Disney World (November 2019) - Day 3: Magic Kingdom

Today, I'm picking back up with our most recent Disney trip at Magic Kingdom, which began after I ran the half marathon.

Disney Travel Day: Wine and Dine Expo & Animal Kingdom
Disney Day 2: Wine and Dine 10K & Kids Races & Hollywood Studios/Epcot
Disney Day 3: Wine and Dine Half Marathon & Magic Kingdom
Disney Day 4: Boarding the Disney Dream
Disney Day 5: Castaway Cay
Disney Day 6: Nassau
Disney Day 7: At Sea Day
Disney Day 8: Disney Springs and Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

My friends ventured over to Hollywood Studios while I was running so they could explore Star Wars land a bit more. After running, I snagged breakfast at the Pop Century food court (Mickey waffles, of course), then showered and made my way to the bus stop. By this time, my friends told me they were finished with Hollywood Studios and wanted to head over to Magic Kingdom which was fine with me!

Seeing the Christmas decorations was so exciting, especially so early in the season!

Our first few rides included several in Fantasyland along with our fast passes for Mine Train. Brayden loves the carousel, so that's where we started.

We also rode the Tea Cups which was hilarious because we had two separate vehicles for our group - the ones who wanted to spin and the ones who wanted to remain tame (me)! With three gown adults and one child, it was a tight squeeze but oh so much fun!

We also had fun waving at people from the TTA!

After posing for a few medal pictures with the castle, we boarded a monorail for the Polynesian and our dinner reservation at Ohana!

If you've never been, you need to go! This restaurant and all of the food offered there is DELICIOUS!

My favorite are the fried dumplings. I could eat them all day!

The assortment of meat is wonderful, too. Dinner here is served family style and all you can eat. The starters are placed at your table and the meat is delivered on skewers from the wait staff.

My mouth is seriously watering right now just thinking about it!

The best part and literally my favorite dessert on property is the bread pudding with bananas foster sauce and ice cream. It's seriously SO delicious!

Our dinner was scheduled early on purpose, so we would have a chance to return to the Magic Kingdom to watch the fireworks.

We had to stop for a purple wall photo first, though!

...and poor Everett got to hold all of our bags!

The castle lights were gorgeous as always and I was so excited to see them once again!

This was the first time for several in our group to see Happily Ever After and they all loved it!

We somehow thought the MK was open until 11 p.m. that night, but it actually closed at 9 p.m., so we joined the mass exodus to take a bus ride back to Pop Century. Brayden was handed these stickers by our sweet bus driver on the way! So cute!

An early(ish) night was in order because we had a big day coming up - the Disney Dream!! Stay tuned for more!

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Disney World (November 2019) - Day 2 Hollywood Studios

Hi again from yet another dreary Southwest Louisiana! Is it spring yet? :)

Speaking of spring, I've been de-cluttering, organizing, and doing a little spring cleaning. It's crazy how fast things accumulate and become un-oraganized. I always tell myself, I'm going to fold this neatly every time from now on or put things back exactly where they go every single time then...yeah right, life happens. Anyway, I've strayed from my main point here. While sorting and organizing things in my closet, I came across....none other long lost Princess Half Marathon video footage from 2019! To check out that footage, head over to YouTube!

Fast forward to our November trip and here we are at Hollywood Studios/EPCOT. We spent our time after the Enchanted 10K exploring Star Wars land and having dinner at the Food & Wine Festival.

If you have missed any of those recaps, check them out below. Links will be updated as those posts become available.

Disney Travel Day: Wine and Dine Expo & Animal Kingdom
Disney Day 2: Wine and Dine 10K & Kids Races & Hollywood Studios/Epcot
Disney Day 3: Wine and Dine Half Marathon & Magic Kingdom
Disney Day 4: Boarding the Disney Dream
Disney Day 5: Castaway Cay
Disney Day 6: Nassau
Disney Day 7: At Sea Day
Disney Day 8: Disney Springs and Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

Our first stop at Hollywood Studios was in Toy Story land for our Toy Story Mania fast passes. On our way there, we passed a DVC booth and they gave Brayden stickers for DAYS!

SO many stickers!!

For Toy Story Mania, Brayden and I shared a car while Jason was in his own.

Brayden was mesmerized by the ride and didn't really attempt to play! Haha!

I thought I beat Jason, but he squeaked ahead of me by 4,000 points. We always like to make this game (and Buzz) a little competition. It's always up in the air who will win!

For lunch, we decided to stop by Woody's Lunch Box since none of us had eaten there before.

I give it an A. It was all really good!

Even though we weren't on the dining plan for this trip, we decided to order the Lunch Box Tart. Together, our group ordered and split the raspberry and the chocolate hazelnut.They were both really tasty, but the hazelnut one won in our book!

Before walking over to Star Wars land, we had to stop by the One Man's Dream exhibit for my traditional "Karen" picture! So fun!

Finally, we ventured over into Star Wars land. The lines were too long to wait in for the rides, so we spent our time wandering and observing!

Oh yes, and drinking Blue Milk!

Everyone in our group got in on the action, too!

The verdict? I liked it. Jason did not. Whomp whomp. Oh well!

We said goodbye to Star Wars land and Hollywood Studios, then set out for EPCOT and dinner at the Food & Wine Festival!

This was our first time riding the Skyliner and Brayden instantly fell in love!

The ride over to EPCOT was a super easy one and we enjoyed the journey!

Once inside EPCOT, we rode Spaceship Earth, then decided to take a break at the DVC lounge inside Journey to Imagination.

Although we had 7 total guests with us, we were still able to get everyone in and we all enjoyed the break!

Up next was the Food & Wine Festival! Since this was planned to be our dinner for the evening, Jason and I decided to order several dishes to try (and we shared a few of them, too)!

Our journey began at Hawaii with the pork sliders. These are so good!

Up next was Canada with the filet and cheese soup with pretzel roll (my favorite)!

Our next stop was in Brazil for the pork belly. This dish came highly recommended by my friend Lisa and it was delicious!

As we made our way around World Showcase, I had to stop in Germany for (yet another) traditional picture!

This is one I take every single trip!

Last but not least, we ended our evening with dessert at the Islands of the Caribbean booth for a Questio (I think)! 

It was the perfect way to end our evening and our day at Walt Disney World!

Up next: Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Winter/Early Spring Race Plans

Yesterday and today have been super dreary winter days in the south. Being cooped up indoors and unable to have any outside play time has my toddler (and myself) going a little stir crazy. To combat these dreary thoughts, I'm thinking happy the Walt Disney World kind! In just 26 days, we will be returning to the most magical place on earth for the Princess Half Marathon weekend and I cannot wait!

I'm getting ahead of myself, though...

Today, I'm sharing with you my winter/early spring racing plans (which includes Princess)!

What's first on the list?

Rock n Roll New Orleans

This race is one I've run every year since its existence (minus 2016 when I was very pregnant for my son). To note, I was actually registered for 2016 and determined to do the race, but I was deterred by my OB due to potential issues I was having. So to keep it safe, I had a medical form signed and had to bow out of that race. Regardless, I'm still planning on keeping the streak alive and doing this race as many years as possible. 

For 2020, I'm doing this race with my Florida buddy Melissa. We are both battling injury at the moment, so we are just planning on run/walking the whole thing and having fun. In all the years I've run this race, I've never ever stopped for beignets along the course and depending on the line when we pass Cafe du Monde, we might just get an order!! How funny would that be? Again, we will see the logistics once we pass by, but since we aren't running this one for time, why not live it up? 

Oh yes, and we will also be wearing the Mardi Gras Mickey ears, so if you see us, please say hi!

Disney's Fairy Tale Challenge

Ah yes, sunshine (hopefully) and good least that's what this dreary weather has me looking forward to! 

We are planning to arrive early for the Princess Half Marathon Weekend and stay just one day after the weekend is over, with hopes that we will be able to see Galaxy's Edge prior to the race weekend and Mardi Gras crowd. Although I have a game plan in mind, we shall see how it all works out. I am running both the 10K and the Half and somehow missed out on registering Brayden for the Kids Races. Oh well...hopefully next time! 

Our resort for this trip is Saratoga Springs (a first for us) and we can't wait! I do plan to make it out to a few meetups while there, so I hope to see some of you around!


Last but not least, where am I with my hamstring injury? Well, it's still there. 

It's NOT at all what it was, but I still have a nagging pain that just won't go away. To be honest, I severely slacked on my PT workouts during the holidays and am just getting back into doing them on a routine basis (4-5 times per week vs 2 times per week during the holidays). You know that slump where you feel like you've been injured forever and it won't ever go away? Well, that's where I'm at right now. I'm still doing Orangetheory and all, but long runs on concrete outside still make me nervous and with lingering soreness the next day. So, my plan right now is to run these upcoming races as best as I can and continue with an increase in PT workouts for now. I know it'll get better eventually, but this one really is taking forever! 

So, that's my upcoming plans and where I'll be over the course of the next month! If you're at either of these race events and see me, please say hi! I hope this winter weather is treating you nice! Have a magical day!

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Disney World Travel Day (November 2019)

Happy frosty Tuesday from the winter tundra of the south! Although it's been a hot second since we returned from our Wine & Dine Disney trip (with Disney Dream cruise), I figured it was high time to share a recap of our trip with all of you!

This trip was a combination of several of our friends and in total, there were 7 of us. We've always talked about doing a friends trip together, and I couldn't believe it was actually happening. We were the only one from our group with a kid, but it didn't matter to anyone and I loved it! 

For starters, I'm going to share our itinerary and link each post as it becomes available.

Disney Travel Day: Wine and Dine Expo & Animal Kingdom
Disney Day 2: Wine and Dine 10K & Kids Races & Hollywood Studios/Epcot
Disney Day 3: Wine and Dine Half Marathon & Magic Kingdom
Disney Day 4: Boarding the Disney Dream
Disney Day 5: Castaway Cay
Disney Day 6: Nassau
Disney Day 7: At Sea Day
Disney Day 8: Disney Springs and Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

Our trip began with a late start. First of all, Halloween happened to fall the night before we were flying out to Disney. Since we couldn't let Brayden miss one of the best nights of the year for a kid,  we decided to hang back around a bit longer in our home town to let him do a little trick or treating. We had a blast (so did he) and I do not regret it one bit!

We did end up getting on the road about 7 p.m. and because our flight was an early morning one, we decided to spend the night at a hotel near the airport (which was about 2 hours from our home). 

After about four hours of sleep (literally), we were at the airport, through security, and on the plane in no time. We purchased TSA precheck about a year ago and haven't regretted that decision yet. It's so easy and smooth, especially with a little one! On this trip in particular, we were told at first that the precheck line at the airport wasn't yet open (I didn't know they had a time cap?) and we would have to go through the regular security line. There were several of us with precheck, kind of milling around for a minute, and somehow (miraculously), they decided to open the precheck line a few minutes early! YAY!

The flight was smooth and we landed in Orlando without any issues. You could definitely tell it was a race weekend, though - Magical Express was crowded! Thankfully we were at the beginning of the line for Pop Century, but check out that line behind us!

Front(ish) row!

After arriving at Pop, we decided to check our bags since our room was not quite ready yet. While waiting in the bag check line, I literally received a text that our room was ready, so off we went! We were in the 50's building with perfect access to the Skyliner! So much fun!!

We dropped off our bags, then said goodbye to our friends who weren't running any of the races that weekend and headed over to the Expo. (See link for expo recap.)

After browsing the expo for a while, we decided we were hungry and made our way to Animal Kingdom to meet up with our other friends.

Lunch included a stop at Flame Tree BBQ for a little brisket mac & cheese. It was so filling and delicious!

Brayden was WORN out from all of the traveling, so he napped in the stroller while we ate. After lunch, we rode Expedition Everest (dumb, I know) then walked over to see the Festival of the Lion King!

This is one of our favorite shows at AK.

Before long, a local friend of ours joined our party and we all rode Kilimanjaro Safaris together.  (Brayden is here but he's not in the picture.)

For dinner, we hopped a bus to Disney Springs and I made a bee line to the Christmas store to check out their specialty Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend ornaments. I've seen this display for many races, so if you're running a race and want a special memento to remember it by, these make for a great souvenir! They often have the year, distance, or even the race name hand painted on them!

Dinner that evening was at Earl of Sandwich and it was oh so delicious! 

We called it an early evening because four of our six adults had the 10K to run the following morning! 

...and that's a wrap on our travel day/day one at the most magical place on earth! Stay tuned for more! :)

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