The second day of my Disney dream trip had me “running” at 07:00-ish and then filling my belly at Epcot.
I say “running” because I get lazy about halfway through the route and walk the rest of the way. I’m in no way competitive. Why do I sign up and pay to run on public streets? I like the medals. It makes me feel accomplished. But I digress …
Anyways, I had signed up to run the half marathon, only because the 10K was sold out by the time I got wind of this event, and there was no way in hell I was running the full marathon. The Disneyworld Half Marathon event was the biggest running event that I’ve been part of. And this is after participating in the San Francisco Half Marathon and two Nike Women’s Half Marathons. Depending on your reported pace time, you’re sorted into groups from A to P. You also have to submit an official time from verified runs in order to be in one of the higher corrals.
If you’re slow and lazy like me (Corral N), or if you just prefer to walk the whole way (probably Corral P), you’ll end up at the back of the trail and it takes FOREVER to get to the starting line because (1) there’s a bazillion people all there for the same event, and (2) they do a mini celebration before each individual corral starts (i.e. countdown, fireworks, the whole shebang. Per corral.). We were advised that the starting time for the half marathon was 05:35, and the last bus left the resorts at 05:00, but we had no idea it would take so long to start. If you do this event and are lucky enough to have someone drop you off instead of waiting for the park buses, let yourself sleep in an extra half hour if you’re in a later corral. It was over an hour later when I made it to the starting line.
Even though they’re incredibly expensive, I like Disney runs because everyone is friendly and they’re a lot of fun, no matter what kind of runner you are. Bands, Disney characters, and cheer squads line the route, and even your fellow runners will cheer you on. While the full marathon ran through all four Disneyworld parks, the half passed back and forth between Magic Kingdom and Epcot. You don’t spend too much time in the actual park. Even though I was annoyed at such a late start, I was quite entertained by what I saw. A lady who shouted “It’s not fair!” at a group of male participants who decided to relive themselves in some bushes halfway through the course. All the women had to wait for 15-20 minutes for a portable toilet to be available. An elderly woman in her motorized scooter gave me a high five and told me I was “doing wonderfully!” The group of guys singing the training songs from Mulan. Props to those guys. I followed them for a while because they were great motivation.
The one thing that is incredibly irritating about Disney runs is that there’s so much to see in the parks and along the routes that a lot of people stop and take pictures. Like stop right in the middle of the path. While people behind them are running. Mind you, I’m not saying don’t stop and take pictures, and there are many people who are courteous (and smart) who look around them and step to the side before they stop and snap a photo, but I have trampled and almost trampled people in the past because they don’t do this. I’m sure this happens at other runs, but I’ve noticed it most with Disney runs. Any other runners have this problem? Or “runners”?
Fast forward 13.1 km, 3 hours, and 2 painful soles later, and we treated ourselves to a day at Epcot. Epcot isn’t really known for their rides (and I didn’t go on any of them), but they are known for one of my favorite things — cue The Sound of Music soundtrack — FOOD!
My favorite thing about Epcot was their world showcase. Several different nations from around the world are assigned their own districts and have regional foods and products (like craploads of American-distributed tea and imported British snacks in their little British town and some bomb pastries in the French town). Take a tip from me and don’t load up on food at just one district. You’ll be sorry. Lucky for me, I didn’t eat before I ran, and I was incredibly hungry after crossing the line, so I happily spent the day chowing down on British fish and chips, Asian tea, American ice cream, and French pastries. There’s also a Wether’s Original shop in the German town where I stared and drooled over watching candies being made (Sorry to the staff! I swear I’m not usually that creepy.).
Another interesting place to eat is the Coral Reef Restaurant. There are booths at one end and a wall full of aquariums at the other end. I spent the entire dinner staring at the fish behind the glass instead of talking with my companions. If you ask nicely and it’s not too busy, you can get seated right next to the aquarium.
One thing I learned during this day is how Florida weather can turn in an instant. Someone told me this, but I heard it about a lot of places I go on the East Coast, so I never really believed it. The whole day was clear and sunny. Then sky was suddenly gray after dinner. And then the rain came down. Hard. Oh, and there was also thunder, which I don’t play with, so we decided to skedaddle our behinds back to the hotel.
East Coast, what’s the deal with your storms?