WIAW: Princess Half – Disney and Universal Food

Here is my last Disney and Princess Half post. It’s the area where I did the least amount of preparation, and while we never went to bed hungry….I know there were better food options that we weren’t able to take advantage of due to not having reservations.

To get a better idea of where we were each day, please see the below recaps.

Part 1 (arriving), Part 2 (the parks), Part 3 (the race).

Thursday: Beer in London, empanadas and a great slaw in Mexico, FREE drinks from around the world in Epcot courtesy of Coca-Cola Company, and chicken pot pie at Columbia Harbor House in Magic Kingdom (the seafood mac and cheese was super good, I tried to order a side of broccoli also, but the attendant didn’t hear me).

Epcot Food

Next Time: Have reservations at a restaurant in the Contemporary Hotel, and go to Magic Kingdom a little later, so you can have shorter wait time for rides.

Friday: Best FOOD DAY! Butterbeer drinking, pizza and salad at City Walk, and Sushi for dinner!

Universal Studios FoodNot Pictured: A stop at a local Hess gas station for treats (and drinks) at a reasonable price, there is one on Disney property.

Saturday: Lunch at Animal Kingdom burger and fries (totally forgettable), ice cream mid-day at Hollywood Studios, dinner at Big River Grill on the Boardwalk.

Mickey Ice Cream

Should Have: Made reservations at Trattoria al Frono, an italian restaurant on the Boardwalk.

Sunday: Post – Race Mimosas in the room, Lunch at Hurricane Hannah’s (I had the lobster roll, it was pretty good), and ice cream from Beaches and Cream.

Disney Boardwalk FoodShould Have: Made reservations for Beaches and Cream. We had some fun seagull chasing moments as they wanted our fries while we ate on the beach.

Princess Half RACE Recap

Okay Friends, here’s part 3 of 4….You may be sick of reading these, but if you ever plan a race with travel, or a Disney Race you will appreciate learning from my experience. I traveled for this race with friends from college. We decided to each be a different Princess (Belle, Snow White, Jasmine, and Cinderella) although we did discuss in the future picking a movie and all being different characters.

Disney Princess Half Bus

Clothing note: Make sure you back warm and cold weather clothes. You don’t know what Orlando is going to be like. I wore a blue long sleeve and blue gloves, I had also packed a winter headband but it was warm enough that I didn’t need it, I also had but didn’t bring an oversized sweatshirt which I would have ditched when the race started. I also would apply sunscreen at least to your shoulders as the sun was out in full force for the last 4 miles.

On Sunday morning we were up at 2:45 am, and out the door by 3:20. We attempted to get in bed early, but I think it was 10 pm by the time we fell asleep. We used the hotel room’s coffee maker to help get us out the door, but we also bought the VIP Race Retreat package with meant we had: coffee, bagels, fruit, water, and orange juice waiting for us. We took pictures and enjoyed everyone’s costumes while taking 2 bathroom breaks each.

Lining up for the actual race started at 5 am, the official race start was 5:30 am, but we didn’t cross the start line until 6:30 am! I was given corral H for a starting spot, which meant I would have left closer to 5:45 am, but my friends were given corral P,  so I stayed with them. We should have tried to switch/sneak to mine. The race tells you to pace at a 15 minute mile so that you can be ahead of the 16 min mile cut off. And this would be great, except for the wait time for pictures.

Pirates of the CarribeanWhile waiting for this photo we had 2 medics telling us we had 6 minutes to take our photo or the balloons (the 16 min mile/cut off pacers would pass us). This was not helpful or encouraging, all it did was create stress. What was worse, they were telling us at the back of the line, but not telling the people at the front of the line, who were taking much longer with their photos.

Our group of 4 ended up splitting. The front two ran ahead and said they would wait at “good” pictures stops where we could jump in with them (which we only did once). I was in the slower group and we would pause for selfies with the characters that the front two had skipped. The majority of the course is on random Disney roads, so the character stops are a welcome distraction!

Villian SelfieBy a stroke of luck we ran into them near the castle. If you’re going to split your group, have an exact plan of where to meet (aka, always on the left, at a specific mile marker, or landmark). This requires that you know the course, which is something we should have done better. As you can see, the course is full, and this continues for the majority of the race.

Disney Princess Half CastleThe castle itself…was an accident waiting to happen. Too many people, too close together, with little/no air flow. They should separate it into a run side and a walk/photo side. I’d include a picture from under the castle, but it’s just a bright light and a whole lot of bodies attempting to move in the same direction.

As we were getting to the castle my phone started looking funny, as if the screen was cloudy. I thought maybe it was sweat, but wasn’t sure. I think the Genie was about mile 8, and you can see that my phone is really not working at this point. The picture was taken, and afterwards my screen went totally out. (it returned to normal by that night, but it sure was weird).

Disney Princess Half GenieThe last few miles of the course is where all the hills are hiding. I knew we went on an on-ramp, but I wasn’t prepared for the other 3 hills. I wish we could have taken a few more turns through Magic Kingdom instead of taking this hilly run back to the Epcot area.

There are also a few out and immediate backs which are frustrating. The only thing keeping me from cheating was my own motivation. The post-race finish was also frustrating, we almost missed the medals because a volunteer was yelling “go all the way down” only to find out that she was at the end, and there were no medals past where she was. We went through the photo stop, and attempted to find the VIP Race Retreat where our gear and food was waiting for us. I was completely tired and a little worried about my hydration which was less than usual, and the weather was warmer than I usually race in. We ended up not having the time/energy to buy mimosas at the race, but we did mix some in our room instead, and then made our way to the beach outside of our hotel!

Swan Beach Disney WorldOverall…

  • Race Retreat was 100% worth the extra money.
  • Complete one large crowd race (of any distance) before doing a Run Disney race as it will prepare you for the random things that can happen.
  • Be patient, there were 24,000 people doing the race, and things are bound to have long wait times.

On Wednesday I’ll post part 4 of 4 – my thoughts on the FOOD!

P.S. Did you miss Part 1 or Part 2?

Chance Chat #9: On the Edge

Here’s a chance that I’d like to take….but I’m not quite sure it’s for me.

Kurt Vonnegut quote EdgeI am very comfortable in the center. I love the center, there’s plenty of people there, and its comforting. While the views may be exciting from the edge, I am not a fan of sweaty palms, or not knowing if I will sink or swim should I get pushed off the edge (and that’s assuming it’s water beneath me) I’m fairly certain I can’t fly.

I am hoping to venture a little farther out, but I’m going to take those steps one at a time.

Earlier this week I was watching a movie and a character said “I’m too good to stick around here” in which she was referring to her hometown. That quote I completely disagreed with. There is no such thing as “too good” even in her situation, she fought and hated her current state, while dreaming of another. I wonder if she had tried to find the good in her hometown if she would have been happier and ultimately gotten where she wanted to be faster.

Where are you at? Are you on the edge? Or are you comfortable in the middle with me?

 

February 2015 Recap

Whew! While only 2-3 days shorter, the last half of February flew by!! My march calendar is pretty open, although there may be some fun things that pop up! I promise my last two Disney recap posts will be up Monday and Wednesday!

Last month I tried Pho for the first time, and this week I saw a frozen version at Trader Joe’s, and it was delicious! Cold day, spicy soup, I have a feeling I’ll be enjoying Pho again in March.

indoor triathlon bikeI started February with an awesome Indoor Triathlon! I am not participating in Sunday’s tri as I’m still recovering from my Disney trip, which you can read parts 1 and 2.

my uggsI am still loving my new boots, and I just bought this rain coat from Athleta (which is quickly becoming my favorite store).

danceteam7thgradeNow that the dance team season is over I find myself finished with dinner and ready for bed at 8:30 each night, which means I really need a new hobby. Or I’ll just keep getting 10 hours of sleep each night, I don’t mind!

P.S. Make sure you’re following me on Instagram to see what I’m up to in the moment! @katie_LF

 

Princess Half: 6 parks, 3 days, sore feet.

I’m doing Throwback Thursday….to just last week, and wish I was still there! Today I’ve got a recap for the 3 days we reserved for visiting the parks prior to race day. Some people wouldn’t recommend it as you want fresh legs for the race. But we wanted to get the full experience. At one point we considered going to the parks on Sunday after the race, but I am very glad we didn’t make that choice!

Thursday:

Epcot

  • Highlight: the food/drinks in Epcot best quality for the park price. I bought wine in France as the price there $15 a bottle, whereas the wine available for purchase in our hotel was $18 for a half bottle.

Epcot France Selfie with Flat Stanley

  • Lowlight: We wanted to ride Soarin’ but didn’t care to wait in line for 2 hours, we thought if things worked out we could park hop back to Epcot that evening, or on Saturday.
  • Next Time: Visit multiple times as their food options were a 1000x better than the other parks.

Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom Fireworks

  • Highlight: short wait times late at night (10 pm-ish). We managed to ride Space Mountain twice in a row once waiting in the regular line, and then again using FastPass.
  • Lowlight: Arriving at 6 pm-ish was a mistake. Had we gone to the parks later, we could have had much shorter wait times, and done more in less time.
  • Next Time: take the time to call Disney before your trip so you can book rides/reservations appropriately using Fast Pass and the My Disney Experience app.

Friday:

Hot ButterBeer SelfieUniversal Studios: (we did Islands of Adventure first).

  • Highlight: Harry Potter!!! I’ve been to the Islands of Adventure and ridden Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey before, it was just as spectacular as I remembered. We all explored Diagon Alley together where we enjoyed HOT Butterbeer!
  • Lowlight: You have to purchase the Express Pass to avoid long wait times. It’s an additional $60 per person which wasn’t worth it for our group, but if you had kids, I would consider it!
  • Next Time: Ride Hogwarts Express, the lines were too long to wait, but we didn’t arrive until 12:30 pm, had we arrived in the morning it could have fit into our day.

 

Saturday

Expedition EverestAnimal Kingdom

  • Highlight: Expedition Everest: The decorations and details about the Yeti and culture were fun to look at while waiting in line for the roller coaster.
  • Lowlight: Dining Options….we ended up with the Disney version of McDonalds, for all their commitment to decorating each area as a different country, I wish they would have food similar to Epcot.
  • Next Time: I will probably skip AK, it was good to experience, but I love the other three parks, whereas this one is just “okay”.

Hollywood Studios

  • Highlight: Less crowds. After the hellish children filled crowds at Magic Kingdom, and the large tour groups at Animal Kingdom, the relative peace at Hollywood Studios was welcomed.

Sorcerer Mickey

  • Lowlight: Wait lines…while waiting for Tower of Terror I completely lost my patience for BS. The amount of people line cutting with poor excuses was pathetic. One woman said “I had to go to the bathroom” well that’s all well and good, but stand at the back of the line after you go like everyone else. It clearly says what the wait time is before you get in line, you should have an idea of how badly you have to go before you get in line. It would be one thing if you had told a cast member of your issue and had them escort you back to your original spot, but shoving ahead of other people is just rude.
  • Next Time: Prioritize Fast Passes to include Tower of Terror and Rockin’ Rollercoaster. They are the best part of Hollywood Studios. We weren’t able to ride Rockin’ Roller-coaster as it was 5:30 pm and a 2 hour wait.

This is part 2 of 4…To read part 1, click here.

 

Princess Half Pre-Recap

I’m back!!! I’ve got 3 posts drafted to recap my trip, but without a little ground work, they won’t make sense. So I’m starting with a basic layout of the trip to help those who may be planning for other Disney races in the future!

Wednesday: Fly to Orlando, (and enjoyed a Surly on our Sun Country flight) we chose to use the Mears Shuttle to get to our hotel. We stayed at the Swan, which I’ve stayed at before and loved!

Surly on Sun CountryThursday: Wake up and Packet Pickup! I really wanted to get to packet pickup early as I had heard horror stories of long lines. We took the hotel shuttle at about 9:45 am and were pleasantly surprised to see people milling around but nothing too crazy. At that point we saw the New Balance Disney shoes, but didn’t try to purchase, this was a mistake…

Afterwards we headed to Epcot and Magic Kingdom.

Cinderella's Glass SlipperFriday: Wake up and Packet Pickup again! My friend Kate couldn’t arrive until late Thursday night, so our morning was identical as we headed back over the Wide World of Sports and attempted to buy the New Balance Disney shoes, turns out we needed a reservation, and the 2014 styles were gone. The grey/white/black 2015 shoes are okay, but we had our hearts set on Minnie Mouse.

New Blanace Disney Shoes 2015From there we drove to Universal Studios, that evening we enjoyed a trip to JellyRolls! (a dueling piano bar on the Disney Boardwalk) as it was the last chance we had to stay up late and have a few drinks.

Animal Kingdom Backpacking Saturday: Wake up, head to Animal Kingdom, afternoon at Hollywood Studios. We needed to be careful with our timing as we still had to prepare for our early morning race.

Sunday: Up at 2:45 am. Race (full recap to come), and then lots of painful hobbling to the beach, food, and Downtown Disney.

Monday: Fly home, drive home, and slept hard. Tuesday: Mountains of paperwork, thankfully some of it was organized for me while I was gone, and I had enough time to take this short blogging break! Wednesday or Thursday: I will have a recap of our time in the parks!

Please let me know if you have any questions, or things you specifically want me to cover in my subsequent recaps.

 

 

Chance Chat #8: It’s Up To You

While I’m running the Princess Half Marathon this morning it is only fitting that today is a Disney quote! Pinterest has plenty of options for “Disney Quotes” but this one ultimately spoke to me.

It's Up To YouThis is a way of summing up my “Chance” word without saying it. I love the slow and steady road. However life doesn’t always have extra time to take it slow. Sometimes you just have to try. Push yourself. Take a leap. Your feet might find land, or you might be in the water, but if you know how to swim you’ll be just fine.

This week I saw a job opening for a position that I’ve considered in the past. After a quick update of my resume, I emailed the acquaintance who posted the opening, and while I haven’t heard back from her, I do plan on officially submitting my resume this week. Even if it doesn’t work out, I think it’s good to take that leap, see what happens.

Is there something you want to accomplish but haven’t given it a try?

Disney Princess Packing

Hello Friends! I’m currently flying the friendly skies to Orlando, and so pumped for a long weekend with my college friends!  I started my packing last week and I think I’ve got it all, but whatever I forgot I’ll just have to live without, or buy it from Mickey Mouse!

Here’s what my suitcase looked like last week before being rolled (note: not folded, rolling works better).

Disney Princess Half Packing List LAYERS!: (weather says to be 70-50 degrees). Rain Jacket, Fleece Jacket, 2 scarves, 2 Cardigans.

Other Clothes: Sundresses. tunic tops, leggings, workout tanks, and 1 pair of jeans.

Shoes (not pictured): running shoes, booties, sketchers, sperrys, sandals.

Race Day Outfit: Tank, long sleeve, headband that covers ears (cold weather), cheap gloves, capris and shorts. Most likely I’ll wear the capris, but just in case I’ve got the shorts.

Technology: Iphone, Garmin, Ipod, Ipad, Kindle. (and associated chargers).

Additional Items: Sunscreen, band aids/body glide, plastic baggies, water bottle.

What did I forget to pack? I will have car access on Friday/Saturday so I could pick it up outside the house of mouse.

Linking the Stories

Happy Monday friends! If you aren’t working today, lucky duck, I hope you’re enjoying the day! I worked a few hours yesterday, so this morning I’m taking a couple minutes to type up a post in response to the Minnesota State High School League Dance Tournament.

 

First of all, HUGE shout out to the 36 teams who made it the State Tournament. Not all teams get to advance, so they should be proud of themselves.

News coverage for the Dance Team State Tournament has always been minimal. The Star Tribune does the best reporting that I’ve seen out of all news sources, especially with last year’s opinion piece “Dance team: A sport that doesn’t get the respect it deserves“. On Friday night after the Jazz competition WCCO did have a short piece (1:14 minutes), however they spent much more time detailing Hockey Sections (2:55 minutes).

The schedule for the State Tournament is always similar. Class A Finals are at 5:30 with awards following, then Class AA and Class AAA dance finals, with Class AA awards, brief break, and then Class AAA awards. I volunteer for a Class A team, we stayed until Class AA awards and then got on the bus back to the hotel. While on our ride back I started seeing strange reports on twitter. A couple text messages and phone calls from friends who were still in the stands gave me the update. Fairbault won.

I spent most of the night on twitter watching the conversation, and tweeting at news coverage wondering when they were going to weigh in. While they all dropped the ball as it was happening, days later we have everyone weighing in. Sunday afternoon I found a Deadspin.com report, this morning the first thing in my facebook newsfeed was that Cosmopolitan.com had picked up the story. Patrick Reusse who I had the privileged of meeting when I was an intern for the Edina Chamber of Commerce has put in his two cents.

And WCCO had coverage that aired on Sunday evening, however it solely outlined the controversy and did not acknowledge the 30 other teams that competed on Saturday.

I’m sure this is not the end of the controversy, but I hope everyone is keeping their eyes and ears open and learning from the situation. Also, if you’re reading the articles I listed, I strongly encourage you not to read the comments, that’s where the trolls hang out, and there is no winning in that debate.

Chance Chat 2015 #7: Dating Philosophy

I’m sure some people are sick of Valentines Day by now, but this is my space and while I’m single I’m sharing my dating philosophy for 2015. I’m not really sure what constitutes a “philosophy” but that’s what I’m calling it, so roll with it.

Dating Philosophy It’s been a while since I was in a serious relationship, and I prefer it that way. The dates I’ve gone on have been fun, and thankfully I don’t have too many horror stories. While I could be frustrated with random dates, and even more frustrated with plans that are never actually made…. (Men: if you say “we should go out” it is then your responsibility to make that plan, I am not your weekend scheduler). For the most part I just sit back and let things unfold as they’re supposed to. I’m not going to chase after someone hoping they’ll eventually be interested in me. I’d rather have fun doing what I like, and if someone likes being with me, wonderful!

Do you (or did you) have a dating philosophy?

*note: I am not saying that a girl can’t ask a guy out, I’m just saying if a guy initiates, I expect him to follow through if that’s what he really wants.