I really want to remember all the details of this trip, so for my sake — and hopefully someone out there in the Internet world — I’m going to break the weekend down into multiple posts:
- Race Weekend Begins: Getting there, Expo, Exploring the Hotel and downtown Orlando
- Frozen 5K Recap
- Disney World as an Adult, or: I Went to Disney World, and All I Found was my Favorite Beer
- Princess Half Recap
They will all be up at some point today or tomorrow, so don’t worry about this dragging out for weeks on end. Pinky swear.
For those of you who don’t remember the minutiae of my day-to-day life, I moved to DC after signing up for this race, and I had major FOMO of my friends/fellow princesses driving down without me. So, I flew to Atlanta, they picked me up at the airport, and we headed south to Orlando at about 5 PM on Wednesday afternoon.
Initially, we were going to stay in Deland with Liz’s mom, but at about Gainesville, we looked on Hotwire, and we were able to get a room about 5 minutes from where we needed to be the next morning for $99. Done and dusted. We ended up getting to Orlando around 1 AM, and I sincerely believe we were all asleep by 1:15.
The next morning (Thursday), we were up fairly early to get to the Expo on time (oh, and work before 8 AM, nbd). Sudie’s sister has run several Disney races, and I’m a fairly proficient Googler, so we knew to get to the Expo pretty early. It started at 10, and we were in line at the Wide World of Sports by about 930. It was chilly in line, and I guess that’s why Disney was letting people in early? Anyways, we were in by about 945, and we had our packets picked up within 10 minutes. So efficient.
Inside the first Expo building was all the runDisney merchandise — I came away with a Tervis tumbler and a headband — and the Dooney and Bourke purses. I’ll be honest, I have no idea why people get so excited about them. They aren’t the prettiest, and it seems people keep them as collectibles? Regardless, we saw people basically fighting over them, which is always fun before you’ve finished your first cup of coffee.
After picking up our coffee, we headed over to the Javitts Center to get the rest of our merchandise. It was a big expo — tons of things, including a beer stand with pink runDisney cups — and I think we probably spent about an hour in there. I saw the fabled NB Disney shoe; it’s cute, but again, wouldn’t wait in line that long for it. Maybe I’m just jaded?
After we left the Expo, we had to go into downtown Orlando to pick up some stuff/load the hotel rooms with goodies for the weekend. Sudie is a native Floridian, and Liz not only grew up in Florida, she went to UCF. So, when they heard we were going into town, they insisted we eat lunch at Tijuana Flats. I’m so glad they did. That cheese-less burrito bowl was everything I didn’t know I needed. After errands, we headed back to WDW with the intention of exploring.
We ended up staying at the Art of Animation, in one of the family suites, and I ultimately think it was the best room choice for us. When we started planning the trip, we had a fifth princess, who unfortunately had to work, and a room for 5 is a little harder to come by. This was nice because you could close a door between the sleeping space and the living space (where Sudie and I slept), and there were 2 bathrooms — a necessity with 4 girls.
Like everything that Disney does, the resort and its sister resort — Pop Century — were impeccable themed. We spent about an hour wandering around and walking around the lake that separates the two properties. Sadly, we had hoped this would be our pool day, but it was “frigid.” Well, in the 40s, which is definitely cold for Orlando.
After exploring, it was basically time to eat again. We debated our options, and we ultimately ended up going to Boardwalk for food. I absolutely loved the Boardwalk area. The shops were great, the hotel was beautiful (and made a stout drink!), and I felt like I was in the Atlantic City of my 1930s dreams.
Where we went to dinner was a little more…eh. We went to Big River Grille and Brewingworks, and it was a bit of a letdown. I guess my customer service expectations are a little high for Disney, and so we were all disappointed. Food was okay, beer was better, and soon we were back home for our first middle-of-the-night wake up call.
Next up? Frozen 5k!