Countdown to Tinker Bell Half Marathon: What Should I Do the Week Before the Race?

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Tinker Bell Half Marathon weekend is officially one week away. We’ve been busy putting the final touches on all our crafts and costumes to make the weekend as magical as possible. One of our Runs in Tutus traditions is making matching tote bags and Mickey ears to wear at the parks and Expo. We are happy to say that after a sister weekend of intense crafting and eating too many homemade Mickey pancakes, these have been finished! If you see three weirdos walking around the park in coordinated outfits and matching tote bags, you have likely spotted us.

IMG_8801These cute bags are definitely exciting, but it turns out there is more to race weekend then just crafting. We also have to run a race. We’ve all worked really hard over the past few months with early mornings, long runs and sore muscles. The work isn’t over just yet. The final week of training is crucial when it comes to having a successful race day.

Here are some things you can do this week to prepare for race day:

  1. Take care of your body. You want your muscles to work seamlessly on race day. Take some time this week to stretch and foam roll. You can find some foam rolling tips here. Sports massages are another great way to prepare your body, but any massage should be done at least 48 hours before the race. I’ve also become a big fan of the BFF, a body buffer that vibrates and “buffs” your muscles. This thing is awesome for getting muscles to relax and recover quickly, and even Jeff Galloway has endorsed it. If you see their booth at the Expo and you’re feeling sore or tight, definitely stop and give it a try.

  1. Stay hydrated. Drink A LOT of water throughout the week. You want to start hydrating well in advance of race day. It’s easy to forget this when traveling, so be sure to always have a bottle of water with you on long flights or road trips.
  1. Plan ahead and keep race day stress free. We already feel anxious enough about race day. Being prepared and planning in advance can help alleviate unnecessary stress. If you’re flying to the event, bring all your race items in your carry on luggage; give yourself plenty of time to get to the airport so you don’t feel rushed. Know what you’re wearing on race day and have plans for your meals, especially the night before and the morning of the race. Start packing early so you don’t forget anything! Check out our Tinker Bell Half Marathon Packing Checklist for ideas on what to bring.
  1. This isn’t a final exam; don’t try to cram. Unlike a final exam, cramming for a race is not effective. If you procrastinated on training or missed a few long runs, don’t try to squeeze it all in this week. Get in a few short runs, but don’t over do it. You will just end up feeling sore and fatigued on race day.
  1. Visualize success. Close your eyes. Imagine yourself crossing the finish line on race day. Focus in on every single detail: the crowd, your outfit, Mickey, the California sun. What does it feel like? Try to feel those exact emotions as you visualize your success. Open your eyes. Did you dream it? Good. That means you can do it.

  1. Faith. Trust. Pixie Dust. Think happy thoughts. Believe in yourself and trust that your training is sufficient. Have faith that this race will be the best race ever and make it the best race ever! Also, start to hoard pixie dust so that you have it stockpiled on race day.

See you in Disneyland!

-Amanda

RunDisney Registration Options: What To Do If The Race Sells Out

IMG_0605We are so excited to announce that all of the Runs in Tutus team successfully registered for the inaugural Lumiere Two Course Challenge event in Walt Disney World! RunDisney events sell out very quickly (like in minutes), so we never know how things will go on general registration day. Today’s registration was no exception. The Half Marathon, 10k, 5k, and challenge events all sold out in a matter of a couple of hours. We saw several comments on social media from folks who were not able to get into the races due to the high demand for the Wine and Dine Half Marathon weekend.

If you didn’t get into the races today, don’t despair! There are other ways to get a chance to earn that wine and bling. Travel agents and charity partners are both ways to score a race bib even after general registration sells out. Here are some details and pros and cons of each of the options.

Travel Agents

Details: RunDisney provides a select group of travel providers with bibs for all of the race weekends. The official list of approved travel providers can be found on the runDisney website under the registration tab for each race. The list can vary from race to race, so be sure to double check the official runDisney provider list before getting going with a travel agent. We ended up using a travel agent for Wine and Dine Half last year and the Glass Slipper Challenge earlier this year. It was overall a seamless process. We used Jim Stone at Acclaim travel, but we know that there are also many other great travel agents available to help you with your runDisnFullSizeRenderey race weekend.

Pros: RunDisney travel agents sell race packages that are predetermined by Disney. The travel packages offer complete coordination of your race weekend. The travel agents are able to help with park tickets, room reservations, race registration, and in some cases a meal plan. This can make for a stress free planning process for those runners who plan on spending some of the race weekend in the parks and staying on property. While there are typically travel agents with additional race bibs after registration day, the biggest perk of using a travel agent is that they typically get bibs in advance of the general registration. This means you can register in advance and not have to worry about the stress of hitting the refresh button over and over again at noon. We did early registration with a travel agent for Glass Slipper Challenge and it was real magical.

Cons: If you use a travel agent you have to buy the whole package. This typically means if you want a race bib you also have to buy a couple night’s stay in an on property hotel and a multi-day park hopper for everyone on your reservation. If you already have an annual season pass or don’t have time to stay for multiple days in the park, then it might be inconvenient to be locked into a package deal. The packages have varied thus far from race to race so for full details it’s best to talk with a travel agent directly.

Charity Partners

RunDisney also partners with a select group of charities. This allows runners to enjoy a great race weekend and raise funding and awareness for a cause. Here are some pros and cons and details about charity partners.

Details: Select charities receive race bibs for each of the runDisney events. The list of approved charities can be found on the runDisney webpage on the registration tab for each event. The list of approved charities varies from race to race so be sure to look specifically at the list of approved charities for the race that interests you.

Pros: As with the travel agent, you can choose to register early with some charities which helps avoid the stress of open registration. Some charities offer extra perks like training groups, guidance, and a community of teammates to help make the race training extra magical. The biggest perk of running with a charity is that you get the chance to make a difference and raise funds for a great cause. That’s a pretty magical option!

Cons: Not all charities receive race bibs for runDisney events, so there may not be a charity that you are passionate about. If there aren’t any charities you are super passionate about, it might be hard to get the most out of the experience. While the charities all offer help and tips for raising funds, there is typically a required fundraising amount for each race. Make sure you are well aware of the fundraising goal and are confident you can raise those funds or cover the funding goal from your personal funds before you make the commitment to run with a charity.

IMG_0603If you are still hoping to get into the race of your dreams we highly recommend taking a look at charity and travel agent options.  According to the runDisney website, as of 5:00 PM eastern on 3/29/16 there are still bibs available through travel agents and charities for the Wine and Dine Half Marathon weekend. There are also travel agents and charities with bibs remaining for other sold out runDisney events such as the Disneyland Half Marathon in September. Just yesterday, the Children’s Bureau of Southern California team all4kids reached out to us to let us know that they still have race bibs on their team! The Children’s Bureau is a great cause and there are openings for the 5K, 10K, and Half Marathon events during the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend! For more information about team all4kids click here.

Have you ever participated in a runDisney event via a travel agent or charity partner? If so, let us know how it went for you in the comments.

Happy Running!

-Christine

Princess Half Marathon Preparations

7bd6a6cf-060a-4df2-b1ad-8c4dd5679936Guess what?!! The Disney Princess Half Marathon will be here in 2 weeks!!! This is the point where my Disney anticipation reaches a level where I am unable to discuss anything that is not relevant to ultimate princess magic. I’ve got my Spotify on nonstop Disney tunes, and I spend a large part of my day texting my fellow Runs in Tutus bloggers about all of our magical plans for race weekend. The Glass Slipper Challenge is our version of the Super Bowl. We can’t wait to see all of our friends and earn that epic bling!

In preparation for the royal weekend, here are a few ways to make sure you are prepared for a practically perfect princess half:

1. Stay hydrated: This seems like a no-brainer, but proper hydration is crucial for a successful run. If you are traveling by airplane to the race, be sure to drink extra water before and during the flight. If you head to the parks before the big race, don’t let the pixie dust distract you from chugging that H20.

2. Pack like a pro: Pack your race day essentials in your suitcase first. Nothing ruins a race-cation like realizing you’ve left your running shoes at home (Trust me. Been there. Done that). I like to keep my running shoes in my carry-on bag so that I have them with me in the event the airline loses my checked bag. The Florida weather can be pretty unpredictable so I leave most of my wardrobe packing until I can get a look at a reliable weather forecast. Here are items I’ve added to my packing list since I started traveling to runDisney events:

– A poncho for use in the parks and in case it rains on way to expo

– An empty water bottle

– Extra socks (again, in case of rain)

– Small pair of scissors for costume adjustments

– Sunscreen

– Small foam roller

– Snack food (e.g., granola bars, protein bars)

– Magic bands and transportation documents (e.g. magical express paperwork)

– Hotel room decorations (princess themed of course)

-Tiara

3. Print race waiver: RunDisney requires each participant to bring their photo ID and a signed race waiver to the race expo for packet pick-up. Race waivers are available on the runDisney website a couple weeks before the race. Each participant has a personalized race waiver that can be found by typing your name and birthdate in the search boxes on the race waiver webpage. RunDisney typically sends an email to participants with subject “Final Race Instructions” when the race waivers are available. Keep an eye on your inbox and make sure those runDisney emails aren’t going to your SPAM folder.

Worst case scenario you can print your race waiver at the race expo (but who wants to wait in an unnecessary line).

UPDATE: Race waivers are available! Print your waiver here!

You will see your bib number in the bottom right corner of your waiver. For Princess Half Marathon follow this link to check your corral placement based on your bib number. For Glass Slipper Challenge click here.

4. Double check your costume: If you are wearing a costume, make sure you take it out for a test run before you pack it up for the race. It’s also a good idea to take a look at the updated costume guidelines to make sure your race day fashion is runDisney approved. Here is the link to the newest runDisney costume guidelines.

5. Plan your pre-race meal: It’s never a good idea to try anything new before a race. This advice includes your pre-race fuel choices. A lot of Disney restaurants require advance reservations. Take a look at the restaurants and meal options available before you head to Disney so you can pick a meal that will be the best for you. Remember you can also choose to participate in Pasta in the Park the night before the 10K or Half Marathon. This is a fun way to get fueled up for the race and have an awesome pre-race party!

6. Have courage and be kind: You’ve been training and working towards this race for a long time. No race journey is perfect, but if you remember to have courage and be kind you will have a magical weekend. Trust your training, take a deep breath, and enjoy the magic! If you miss out on official merch because an eBay troll scoops it up before you can get to the expo, adjust your tiara and shake it off. If you have to wait in a line for a bus, sing a happy song. If you have to hang out in your corral for a long time before the race starts, make friends with a fellow princess. If the weather is less than ideal, let it go. You get to run a race in the happiest place on earth!!

See ya real soon, princesses!

-Christine

10 Reasons to Attend Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

IMG_6030The holiday season has finally arrived, and the Runs in Tutus family is more excited than ever. Why? Because we just returned from our very first visit to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (MVMCP)!! This event is basically the happiest night of all time. It combines two of our favorite things: Disney and Christmas. The party takes place at the Magic Kingdom from 7PM-12AM on select nights throughout November and December. It requires a separate event ticket that you must purchase in order to gain entry to the park on the night of the party. This event is absolutely worth it. If you plan to be in Disney World during the holiday season, you do not want to miss it. Here are ten reasons why Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is a must-see event.

  1. FREE HOLIDAY TREATS

When you attend Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, you get FREE sugar cookies and hot chocolate. There are several locations throughout the park that offer the complimentary holiday treats. All you have to do is look for the light up candy canes and the smiling cast members holding candy cane signs. We enjoyed our free treats at the Tomorrowland Terrace, and we didn’t even have to wait in line. I should also note that this was the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had.

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Aside from the complimentary treats, there are also a few extra special holiday themed desserts that you can purchase during MVMCP, like the Holiday Tree Cupcake at Gaston’s Tavern and the Peppermint Fudge Sundae at Plaza Ice Cream Parlor.

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Peppermint Fudge Sundae, photo courtesy of Disney Parks Blog

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Photo courtesy of Disney Parks Blog

  1. MICKEY AND HIS FRIENDS PERFORM THE NUTCRACKER

This show is adorable. It’s called “Celebrate the Season,” and it takes place in front of Cinderella Castle at multiple times throughout the night. Goofy, Mickey, Donald, Chip, Dale and more re-enact their version of the Nutcracker.

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  1. SNOW ON MAIN STREET

Throughout the entire party, there is “snow” falling all the way down Main Street!

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Snow falling on Main Street

  1. ALL OF THE CHARACTERS ARE OUT IN THEIR HOLIDAY FINERY

There are SO MANY characters out during MVMCP, and they are on point with their holiday themed attired. Winne the Pooh, The Seven Dwarfs, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Scrooge McDuck, Minnie, Daisy, Peter Pan, and Wendy – just to name a few. My favorite was seeing all the princesses in their holiday dresses during the parade!

  1. ELSA FREEZES CINDERELLA CASTLE

This show can also be viewed during regular hours at the Magic Kingdom, but it feels extra special during MVMCP! Elsa, Kristoff, Anna and Olaf come out in front of Cinderella Castle and help bring in the holiday season by freezing the castle and making it snow! You get to chant “ICE AND SNOW, ICE AND SNOW” while they do it. I always think chanting is fun.

  1. SMELL-O-VISION PARADE

The Christmas parade is incredible, and you definitely want to arrive along the parade route early to get a good spot. A lot of the characters will interact with you if you’re in the front. You’ll find lots of characters in their holiday themed outfits, and there’s a special visit from Santa. Most importantly, this parade includes SMELL-O-VISION! As the parade floats go by, it actually smells like Christmas. Gingerbread, peppermint and Christmas tree scents!

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  1. HOLIDAY WISHES

The “Wishes” fireworks show at the Magic Kingdom is Christmas themed during MVMCP – complete with holiday tunes!

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Photo Courtesy of Disney Parks Blog

  1. CLUB TINSEL

Club Tinsel is a Christmas themed dance party inside Cosmic Rays in Tomorrowland. We stopped in to get a glimpse of the little kids dancing around with Phineas and Ferb. The best part of this event was the DJ yelling out, “When I say Phineas, you say Ferb!!” We took a selfie with Phineas and danced around a little. This is worth stopping in on just because it’s so cute.

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  1. PLAY HOLIDAY DRESS-UP

How often do you get to wear your own homemade Christmas Mickey skirt? There is only one occasion where it’s appropriate, and that’s at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas party.

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We made our own Mickey Christmas skirts for the occasion!

  1. LIMITED EDITION MERCH

There is so much fun merchandise to purchase at the Magic Kingdom during Christmas time! Here are just a few of the things we saw.

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MVMCP Magic Band

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Ornament and cell phone cover

 

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MVMCP Shirts

 

Happy Holidays from our family to yours! -Amanda

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Disney World vs. Disneyland: The Ultimate Showdown

photo-2It’s no secret that I’ve been to Disney World more times than I can count. My first visit probably dates back to when I was an infant. This past May though, at the Tinker Bell Half Marathon weekend, I took my VERY FIRST trip to Disneyland. It was exciting and confusing all at the same time. I definitely enjoyed seeing so many new things, but admittedly I did get lost a few times. It wasn’t exactly the same experience as Disney World, but it did have its own unique attractions and features that made it worthwhile.

So which park is better? My first instinct is to yell “DISNEY WORLD!” at the top of my lungs, but that is probably a biased response based on my magical childhood memories of Disney World vacations. The truth is, there are good reasons to visit both places. Whether you are deciding on runDisney races in California vs. Florida or just making plans for a family vacation, here are some of the big differences between Disney World and Disneyland that really stuck out to me.

1. Disney’s Magical Express: This is a free shuttle service that is provided from Orlando International Airport to the Walt Disney World resort. It will take you directly to your hotel, and it plays fun Disney videos along the way. This service does not exist at Disneyland, which makes the commute from airport to hotel a little less magical. You will need to call an uber, a taxi, or rent a car upon arriving at the airport.

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Photo courtesy of Disney.com

2. Variety of Parks: At Disney World, you can visit Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom and a couple water parks. Disney transportation is provided to take you from park to park. In California, you can visit Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure. The two park entrances are right across from each other so you can easily park hop back and forth. Obviously, Disney World has more variety and more things to do – from Animal Kingdom safaris to the Epcot World Showcase and even a simple monorail ride. However, Disney’s California Adventure does have quite a few unique places that you can’t find at the Walt Disney World resort. Some especially unique things include Paradise Pier and Cars Land.

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Paradise Pier in Disneyland

3. “It’s a Small World”:  Seriously you guys, if you need one huge reason to go to Disneyland, this is it.  The “It’s a Small World” ride in Disneyland makes the Disney World version look like a joke. It is hands down the happiest thing I’ve ever experienced. It has to be at least four times the size. The outside of it is so beautiful that I felt the urge to take a picture every single time we passed it.

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“It’s a Small World” in Disneyland

4. The Shows: It could just be me, but I thought the shows in Disneyland were much better than Disney World. Maybe it’s because of its proximity to Hollywood, but I was really impressed. This isn’t to say that the shows at Disney World are bad. I really love the Beauty and the Beast show in Hollywood Studios and the Lion King show in Animal Kingdom, but Disneyland takes the lead on this one. The Aladdin show in California Adventure is HILARIOUS. The Genie had me laughing out loud every five minutes. In Disneyland, I enjoyed Mickey and the Magical Map so much that I saw it twice.

5. The Castles: You cannot go to Disneyland expecting the same Cinderella Castle experience that you get in Disney World. It is MUCH smaller. And it belongs to Sleeping Beauty. Enough said.

6. Resort Transportation: The process of getting from your hotel to the parks is completely different in Disneyland. There are only a few Disney owned hotels, and these are in close walking proximity to the park. Even some of the non-Disney hotels are close enough to walk. Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel has its very own park entrance connected to the building (but it’s a very pricey hotel). In Disney World, if you stay at a Disney hotel you can get to all the parks and resorts by free shuttle service.

7. Pirates of the Caribbean: I put this one on here because I really felt like the ride was a different experience in Disneyland. During the ride, you do see a few different things along with some familiar scenes, but what really felt different was the ride setup. Walt Disney’s Dream Suite is right above the ride which makes it feel really special. There is also a restaurant called Blue Bayou that’s inside the ride. It makes the whole opening scene of the ride really unique and worth visiting.

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Blue Bayou – photo courtesy of Disney.com

8. Fireworks: In my opinion, nothing is quite as magnificent as the fireworks displays over Cinderella Castle in Disney World. I’m also a big fan of Illuminations in Epcot. When it comes to fireworks, they are just bigger and better in Disney World. There are WAY more fireworks shows and they are way more often. Although, in Disneyland’s defense, there is a really cool fountain and light show called World of Color. Unfortunately, depending on drought conditions, fireworks are cancelled way more often in Disneyland (forest fires are NOT magical). Disney World is always ready to go with any situation. One time I was there for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and it was pouring down rain. Not only did the fireworks still happen, but they started right on time.

9. Character Appearances: There were way more character appearances in Disneyland and they were very spontaneous. In Disney World, I feel like taking your photo with a character always involves a Fastpass or some extremely long line. In Disneyland, I just ran into Minnie and Mickey right at the front of the park, and I saw someone else just spontaneously run up to Cinderella and take a selfie.

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Hanging out with the ultimate power couple in Disneyland

10. Celebrity Sightings: I can’t finish off this list without mentioning that Disneyland has far more celebrity sightings than Disney World. Melanie ran into Seth Green once, and we ran into Kathryn Hahn in May. Also, I think Britney Spears was there this weekend recreating her Oops I Did It Again album cover with her sons. 

To sum all this up, you really just have to visit both places. You can’t expect the experience to be the same, but you just haven’t seen every bit of Disney magic until you’ve been coast to coast. What do you think is the biggest different between the two? Send us a tweet @runsintutus!

-Amanda

The Best Walt Disney World Restaurants (according to us)

PicCollageThe Runs in Tutus team has been on dozens of Disney vacations, and one thing we know for sure is that your Disney Dining experiences can really make or break your Disney vacation. There is nothing worse than being hungry in Disney World and realizing you have to wait in line for an hour to eat, and even if you do plan ahead and make reservations, all Disney restaurants are definitely not created equal.

We’ve always been the kind of group that plans our dining reservations well in advance, and as a result we’ve tried a number of the most popular restaurants. So without further adieu, may we present the best Walt Disney World Restaurants as determined by each tutu wearing food critic on the Runs in Tutus team. These are all table service restaurants in the price range of $15-$30 per adult.

Christine’s Pick:
San Angel Inn Restaurante, Epcot World Showcase

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Christine and Mom at dinner!

This restaurant is located inside the Mexico pavilion at the Epcot World Showcase. The ambiance is spectacular and it feels like you are dining during twilight in 17th century Mexico overlooking the Mayan ruins. You can also get a glimpse of the boats entering the ride in the pavilion (Gran Fiesta Tour starring the Three Caballeros.) The service is wonderful, the food is delicious and there are vegetarian options, which is a plus for us because Amanda and Melanie are vegetarians. You may have to ask the server to bring a vegetarian menu because there are options that may not be listed on the regular menu. Added bonus to this restaurant is it’s located inside, so you’ll have a chance to cool off in the air conditioning or find shelter from the rain. Reservations are strongly recommended.

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The meal is extra magical if you find Donald Duck standing outside in a sombrero afterwards!

Melanie’s Pick:
Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater, Disney’s Hollywood Studios

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Photo courtesy of Disney.com

This restaurant is extremely unique with its 50’s drive-in theater setup. The tables look like adorable little cars and the lights are dimmed down low so it feels like nighttime. There’s a big movie screen that shows retro sci-fi clips while you munch on tasty classics like Fried Dill Pickles and an All American Burger. The vegetarian options at this place are amazing: Veggie Burgers, Vegetarian Sheppard’s Pie, etc. The restaurant is also calm and quiet because kids are occupied by watching the movies. It’s indoors with good air conditioning, which is always nice on a hot summer day. For adults, there are even sci-fi themed cocktails with glow-in-the-dark ice cubes! We usually make a reservation for this restaurant. If you really want to get one of the car style tables, you will definitely need a reservation. Sometimes the picnic style tables in the back don’t have quite as long of a wait if you go during off peak times.

Amanda’s Pick:
Sanaa, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas, Kidani Village

animalkingdomlodgeWe went to this restaurant one year to celebrate Melanie’s birthday and it was so magical! The food is a fusion of African and Indian, and the restaurant overlooks the animals roaming in the Sunset Savanna – zebras, giraffes, birds and more. It is absolutely beautiful. There are meal options for everyone, and we really enjoyed the unique choices and flavors on the menu. The service was impeccable, and we received the best rendition of “Happy Birthday” at this restaurant – complete with drums and a little African flair! The restaurant is a bit of a pain to get to if you aren’t staying in the Animal Kingdom Resort Area, but it is well worth the trek. After your meal, you can enjoy the view outside and get a closer view of the animals by the campfire. Reservations are recommended and usually aren’t too difficult to get. You definitely want to make your reservation for a time of day when the sun is out, otherwise you will miss the spectacular view. animalkingdomlodge2

While these three restaurants take the lead for now, we did have some very close contenders including Chefs de France, The Hollywood Brown Derby and Liberty Tree Tavern. If you’re running the Wine & Dine Half Marathon in November, you’ll definitely want to look into reservations now so that you can get into some of the good ones. Do you have a favorite Walt Disney World Restaurant that isn’t listed here? We’d love the hear about it and try it out.

Bon appetit, Princesses!

8 Tips for Planning a Race-cation at Disney World

FullSizeRenderWe love running for many reasons. One of them is that running gives us an excuse to go to Disney World multiple times a year. Race-cations can be fun, but they require a little more organizing and planning than running in a local race. Here are a few tips to make your race-cation more magical. Please note that these tips are specifically for Disney World. Tips for Disneyland will be coming soon.

1. Train for the race: I know this sounds silly, but you would be surprised how many people show up to a half marathon unprepared to go the distance. Find a training plan that works for you and commit to the program. It’s ok if you have to start from no prior running experience. When I first started running, I had just finished cancer treatment. I had to work up to the minimum mileage required for the first week of most marathon training programs. That meant I had to train 6 weeks more than the number of weeks listed on the training program. It was hard work, but WORTH IT! It doesn’t matter where you start. The important thing is to keep putting one foot in front of the other and work towards the final goal of epic Disney bling.

2. Register as soon as possible: Some of the RunDisney events are known to sell out minutes after the registration link goes live. Be on alert and ready to register as soon as the link is posted. Be aware that the website might freeze during registration time due to high traffic. Keep calm and try your best to get on to register. If you aren’t able to register before the race sells out, you can also get race bibs through charities and travel agents. To be sure that your bib comes from a reputable source, use only the charities and travel agents listed on the RunDisney website. Selling and buying race bibs from an unofficial third party is strictly prohibited. Don’t buy your bib from a rando and end up banned from Disney races. #unmagical

3. Stay “on property:” RunDisney publishes a list of host hotels for each race. If you book in a host hotel, you get free transportation to and from the airport, and to all of the race events. This includes transportation to the expo and the race. You also get free transportation to all the Disney parks and the ability to manage your reservation through the MyDisneyExperience app. The app allows you to buy park tickets and link meal reservations with friends.

4. Make time for parks: Many RunDisney events occur during off peak times which makes for fun times at the parks. In our experience, the parks are the least busy the Monday following the race. Thanks to the MyDisneyExperience app, you can now book FastPasses in advance of your trip (FastPasses are reservations for riding the rides in Disney World). FastPasses are amazing because they help minimize the time you spend waiting in lines.

5. Make meal reservations: Nobody likes a hangry Mousketeer. Do your pals a favor and plan ahead of time where you would like to eat for your pre/post-race meals. Many restaurants in the park require reservations. If you don’t have park tickets, you can eat in one of the hotels or somewhere in Downtown Disney. Either way, reservations are recommended.

6. Submit a proof of time: Disney races are amazing and magical. They are also large, popular races. This means you can expect tens of thousands of your closest buddies to join you at the start. RunDisney manages crowds by corralling runners into groups based on expected finish times. The fastest runners start first and then the rest of the crew starts a group at a time in about 5 minute intervals. If you have a particular pace you prefer to run, I strongly recommend you submit an official proof of time at the time of your registration or shortly after. All races have a designated deadline for submitting a proof of time. You can find proof of time information on the RunDisney website. If you do not submit a proof of time, you are automatically placed in the last corral. There is nothing wrong with the last corral, but if you have a certain pace in mind that is faster than the last corral, it might be difficult to work through the crowds to get to your comfortable speed. A proof of time for a RunDisney half marathon can include any race 10K or longer. If you are new to running, I recommend signing up for a local 10k as a training run and using that 10K time as your proof of time. For the Walt Disney World Marathon, you’ll need to submit a race 10 miles or longer.

 7. Arrive to the Expo early: RunDisney releases special merchandise before each race. The merchandise includes shirts, shorts, jackets, mugs, wine glasses, magnets, pins, and headbands. The race merchandise is very popular and often sells out within hours of the first day of the race expo. Unfortunately non-runners can also come to the expo, so local trolls like to snatch up the race merch and sell it for a profit on eBay. If you have your heart set on a commemorative race item, I recommend you arrive at the expo early on the first day of the race weekend. For the Princess Half Marathon, this would mean a Thursday arrival.

8. Consider a race costume: Many runners at Disney races wear tutus, sparkle skirts, and race costumes. It’s part of the fun. Costumes should be comfortable and appropriate for the climate on race day. For more tips on making the perfect running costume, check out our costume planning post here.

That’s all for now. Hope these tips help you get started on your next running adventure. If you have any other tips, we’d love to hear from you!

-Christine