Okay, as promised, here come the recaps from my adventures in running the 2014 Dopey Challenge!
I’ll begin with the expo, since that’s always a highlight of any race-cation for me. Since you know I loves me some merch…
Todd and I arrived in Walt Disney World on a frigid Tuesday morning (30 degrees in Florida…NOT COOL) and checked in at the All-Star Sports Resort. We booked our trip with Marathon Tours (it was the only way to get Todd into the half marathon), and I was very pleased with how everything turned out.
I was excited to get in some time at my happy place (Magic Kingdom!) before the race weekend craziness began.
Was it the smartest idea to kick off the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend with a full day on my feet? Notsomuch. But I have absolutely no regrets. Todd hasn’t been to Disney World since he was a teenager, so I felt very privileged to be his tour guide for the week! There’s nothing like sharing the excitement of The World with a newb.
The next morning, I made sure we arrived at the expo at least an hour early. I was anticipating (and fearing) another insane expo experience like last year’s Princess Half expo or the mass chaos I witnessed at the Disneyland Half Marathon.
As soon as we parked the car and I saw a line stretching all the way out of the building, I knew exactly what that was for: the coveted 2014 runDisney New Balance sneakers. You know, the sneakers I just HAD TO HAVE.
We joined the rest of the crazies in line and waited for about 30 minutes before we decided it might be best to split up. Thinking that a mob would come in and swarm the Dopey merchandise and there would be nothing left by the time I was finished with the sneakers (‘cuz who knew how long THAT was going to take?), I sent Todd to go gather anything Dopey-related in my size, and I continued to wait in line.
Mind you, this was not a line to actually TRY ON the sneakers…this was a line to MAKE A RESERVATION to try on the sneakers. So after standing in line for over an hour (did I mention it was freakin’ freezing that morning, BTW?!), it was finally my turn. I was ushered over to an iPad where I entered my name and cell phone number, and was told they would text me when it was my reservation time. And, no, they had no idea when that might be. But I was told that whenever I was summoned via text message, I would have 20 minutes to get my butt back to the New Balance booth.
I then went and found Todd in the official merchandise area (he made for such a fantastic expo partner; I found him sitting in the corner guarding a pile of merchandise he thought I might like, haha) and did
a little a lot of shopping.Fortunately, it turned out that I was worried about nothing — I know a lot of the merchandise sold out later in the day, but at that point, the official merchandise booth was still very calm and they had plenty of everything in stock.
My absolute favorite? The “I Did It” shirt — I love the design, and the fact that it’s a tech shirt. Too cute!
It was then time to go in search of the beautiful Dooney & Bourke marathon purse, which I have been madly in love with ever since runDisney tweeted a picture of it a few weeks ago. I love the Disney Dooney bags and this was my first marathon, and I’ll be damned if I was leaving without it…so…
As luck would have it, shortly after we put our purchases in the car, it was my turn to try on the shoes! I’m not sure I loved the idea of not knowing my reservation time in advance, but it did end up being a very smooth, organized process and the New Balance people definitely did give you plenty of personalized attention. I may or may not have ended up with both a Minnie and a Mickey sneaker (I really wasn’t all that impressed by the Goofy or the Cinderella designs).
Then we went to pick up our bibs. You know, since that was kind of the reason to attend the expo in the first place. As always, everything was well-organized, and packet pick-up was a breeze.
I’m absolutely in love with the race shirts — finally, women’s cut shirts that actually fit properly! And it was awesome to walk away with six shirts: one for each individual race, and one for both the Dopey Challenge and the Goofy Challenge (completing both the half and full marathons).
We spent some time checking out all the other vendors — including some of my favorites, Team Sparkle, Bondiband, and Raw Threads — and then headed to Epcot to chill out in the countries for awhile and grab some dinner at La Hacienda de San Angel — my favorite location to watch Illuminations! I figured it was best to get my Mexican food fix early before the longer races began (running the 5K the next morning = lots of heartburn, just sayin’).
Overall, it was a very successful expo experience, and I was anxious to kick off the Dopey Challenge the following morning!
Next up: A recap of the Disney Family Fun Run 5K!