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Disneyland Half Marathon 2014: The Expo and Our First Day in CA

Disneyland Half Marathon 2014: The Expo and Our First Day in CA

Hey, guys! Alright, so this week is going to be all about Disneyland (my apologies for those of you who aren’t QUITE as obsessed as I am…haha). I’ll be sharing my New York City Marathon training for both weeks 8 and 9 in one post over the next couple of days, but I wanted to go ahead and get my Disneyland Half Marathon/Dumbo Double Dare recaps going…starting with the expo!

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So we arrived in California around 9:30am on Friday morning after a delightful 6am flight from New Jersey, and caught a cab to our hotel. (I know shuttle/shared van options are way cheaper, but when it comes to Disney, I’m willing to invest the extra expense in getting there as quickly as possible!)

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We stayed at the Del Sol Inn this time around; it’s basically your standard motel, but for the price, its location right across the street from the Disneyland Resort, and the fact that we are quite literally ONLY there to sleep, it suited our needs perfectly.

We dropped off our bags and made it to the expo about an hour before opening, where I was met with an eerie quiet outside the doors of the Disneyland Hotel (there was an INSANE line out there last year).

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We learned that, apparently, they were having us eager expo-goers line up downstairs inside the building this year (which was fine by me), so we got in the ridiculous line for official runDisney merchandise and waited for our turn to enter the building.

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They opened the doors a little bit early, and led us back upstairs and outside into the hotel, where we then we organized into ANOTHER line to actually enter the expo. We inched closer and closer to the runDisney merchandise booth, and I discovered that they were letting small groups of people in at a time, presumably to avoid the MASS CHAOS that I experienced during last year’s expo.DSCF0208

Anyway, we finally made it into the main merchandise area, and found that it was a LOT calmer than last year. We were able to gather our desired purchases and complete check-out in under 30 minutes — last year, I spent over TWO HOURS just waiting in line to check-out!

My big disappointment of the morning? Even though they started letting us in by 11:30, and I was in the main merchandise area just 15 minutes after 12, they had already SOLD OUT of the commemorative Stitch-themed Disneyland 10K pins! Needless to say, there were several of us who were just a tad upset about this. I have a pin from every Disney race I’ve ever run, and I don’t see how they could run out of something just 15 minutes after the first day of the expo! (I will neither confirm nor deny that I’ve already purchased said pin from eBay, even though it infuriates me to no end that there are people selling them there in the first place). I know it seems childish to complain about, but they are something I’ve collected since my very first runDisney race and those silly little pins mean something to me now, so to run out at 12:15pm on the first day of the expo is NOT. COOL.

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Anyway, after all the runDisney excitement, we moved on to check out the rest of the expo. We grabbed our shirts and packets, which was painless as always. After you’ve been to one runDisney expo, you pretty much start to see the usuals over and over again, from Sparkle Athletic and SparkleSkirts to The Stick to One More Mile to Raw Threads to BeeCause Charms and Sport Hooks.

I mean, runDisney expos are AWESOME in that they do tend to attract some of the biggest and best in running-related vendors. You’ll find basically everything you could ever want — and, clearly, I DO manage to do a little bit of damage — but they’re all starting to look sort of the same to me now!

However, I will say that this year’s Disneyland expo was A MILLION TIMES more organized than last year, and even though you sort of feel like cattle at times with the way they move you from one line to the next, it’s clearly 100 percent necessary to keep things calm and orderly when there are THAT many people trying to get their hands on a limited amount of stuff.

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After the expo, we headed to California Adventure for a few hours. We caught a couple of the major attractions, like Soarin’, since the parks were pretty much dead (and I knew they’d get more crowded over the weekend!)…

On the big wheel!

On the big wheel!

…and we met some of our friends…

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…and, of course, took lots and lots of cheesy Photopass photos. :)

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We also had dinner reservations at Carthay Circle. Like last year, I reserved us the World of Color package so we could choose from the prix fixe menu and have special viewing area for that night’s show at 9pm.

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I have to tell you, it’s pretty expensive…BUT I think the ambiance, the food, and the fact that I can waltz up 15 minutes in advance for World of Color and have a reserved spot right in front of Mickey’s Fun Wheel makes it WELL worth it.DSCF0281

Who are your favorite vendors at a runDisney race?

What’s your favorite part of a race expo?

What did you think about this year’s Disneyland Half expo?

 

Comments

  1. Sounds like the expo went much better this year! I will be making my first trip to disneyland in May. I admit I know WDW inside and out but feel I need to do a bit of studying up on DL!

    • That’s for sure, and I felt the same way before my first DL trip last summer! I did so much studying, you’d think there was a test or something, lol. If you ever have questions, let me know — not that I’m an expert or anything, but, I’m sure you know by now that I’m something of a compulsive Disney trip planner… ;)

  2. I just found your blog and I love it! It’s adorable!

    I’ve run the DL Half every year since 2010 and this is the first year I skipped it. I’m glad to see they did something about the utter cluster that happened at the expo last year. What a disaster! I waited 2 hours to buy Dumbo merch, too.

    Like you, I’m running NYCM! I was supposed to run it in 2012 but it was canceled while I was at the expo, so this is a few years in the making. Good luck with your training! I’m off to peruse the rest of your DL recaps! :)

    • Aw, thanks! Glad you found me! :)

      Oh, for sure, there was definitely a big improvement at the expo. It was so calm and orderly, I couldn’t believe the difference from last year!

      UGH…I can’t even imagine what that must have been like. SO excited for you that you get to run NYCM this year, though! I’ll be following along with your training! :)

  3. Nobody does lines like Disney, and good to hear that they learned from last year. All the expo recaps I read talked about a complete disaster.

    • YUP! This year was so efficient it was almost funny to think about the disaster that occurred last year. Definitely a big improvement!

  4. I’ve heard such nightmares about runDisney expos but this year at Princess I never had any issues! I arrived super early on Saturday and didn’t wait in any lines… then i went back in the afternoon and again it was totally clear. Maybe I just had luck on my side!

    • Princess was SMOOTH SAILING, believe me! I think they did a great job with that one, and there’s definitely more room at WWoS than at the Disneyland Hotel, so maybe that has something to do with it, too?

  5. At runDisney expos, I’m usually at the TrackShack booth stocking up on whatever gel, glide, etc that I forgot to pack. Looks like you guys had fun!

    • Haha, see, I would totally do the same thing, but I’m one of those OCD packers who literally takes DAYS to fill a suitcase because I make these crazy lists and think of EVERY. POSSIBLE. SCENARIO. It’s ridiculous.

  6. LOVE that picture of you and Todd at Paradise Pier making the heart shape!! So cute – should totally be y’all’s Christmas card this year! :0)

    I have to say I cannot believe runDisney has not fixed their merch sell out problems yet. How many times do they have to screw up to get things fixed/more stuff made? Ugh. I am sorry you had to get your pin on eBay…that is not even a little bit fair! Other than that, though, I am glad you had a wonderful time!!

    • Haha, thanks! It’s one of my favorites from the trip, too, even though it’s super corny… ;)

      Thank you! That’s exactly what I’m saying. I HATE having to track these stupid things down on eBay, but I especially hate having to pay twice what they’re worth. Of course, I could just NOT have it…but…I guess we all know that it’s just not an option for a nutcase such as myself… ;)

  7. So glad to hear that runDisney changed things after last year’s expo fiasco. Glad to know that they’re listening to feedback!

  8. That’s crazy that they ran out of the pins so fast! I never even know what they have at the expo until I go so I’m never disappointed when I get there. I controlled myself and only bought the white Dumbo “I Did It” shirt and a keychain. I really wanted all of the Raw Thread shirts though!

  9. That is crazy that they run out of pins that quickly. And it sucks that some people bought them just to sell them on eBay, but at least you were able to get one that way. Thank goodness the checkout process was easier this year, I can’t even imagine waiting in line for over 2 hours!! That’s craziness! I really like all the shirts you got, from what I can tell they are super cute!

  10. I always pre order the pins, although I am quite surprised they sold out so quickly. Perhaps they stocked more the next day? I do know that at a recent Disney race, there were loads of pins left on the last day. I think I am over the rD merchandise and worrying about being at the expo when it opens. My closet is full of jackets, shirts and race shirts!

  11. It says you arrived on Friday morning, but that was the second day of the expo, and the parks were busy then too, so I’m assuming you meant Thursday? I’m surprised I didn’t see you, because I was at the official merchandise area around that time too! I thought I saw some pins still available, but maybe they were for the half. We pre-ordered ours as I didn’t want to have to worry about it after hearing about last year’s debacle!

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