Friday, December 9, 2016

Happy Friday: Christmas In The Air

I always like doing the December Happy Friday post (which is a monthly post of something to make you happy and that's all!); there are invariably a ton of choices. This year I pondered the possibilities: another wonky Mickey's Twelve Days of Christmas video? Park background music? Maybe go straight off the rails and share Eddie Izzard's bit about the "Twelve Days of Christmas" carol itself?*

Then, at a completely unrelated time and connected to a completely unrelated thought, I was excited that the time had come to listen to my favorite Voices of Liberty holiday clip again. And I had my answer. This I pass on to you.


* FIIIIIIIVE GOOOOOOOOOOOLD RIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINGS

Don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn's dailymile here and Moon's dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The Fairest Week In Review: 12/07

It's CHRISTMASTIME!


I firmly believe the Christmas season begins on November 1, but as this statement often draws jeers from the crowd I wait for Black Friday like all the boring people to begin celebrating. Well, we have arrived - and we have a Christmas tree! I may or may not have jumped up and down a bit while decorating it. (I did.)

I also saw Moana with Elizabeth last weekend. I liked it quite a bit, although I would like to make two points: 1) Mulan did it first and 2) somewhere out there in the world exists hours worth of footage of Alan Tudyk doing nothing but clucking like a chicken.

Training last week was status quo:

Sunday | rest

Monday | ran 11.23 miles on the treadmill in 1:55

Tuesday | walked 2.3 miles outside in 40 minutes; 70 minute ballet class

Wednesday | ran 9.21 miles on the treadmill in 1:35

Thursday | walked 2.18 miles outside in 35 minutes; 70 minute ballet class

Friday | ran 5.22 miles on the treadmill in 60 minutes

Training this week will be status quo.

And with all that excitement out of the way, I give you the roundup.

- Elbowglitter has an unexpectedly adventurous run.
- Back at Square Zero makes running fuel suggestions.
- Sparkly Ever After reviews Jingle Bells, Jingle BAM! at the Studios...
- ... and easyWDW reviews the test mode of DAK's Rivers of Light.
- Living A Disney Life considers the new Tomorrowland cabanas. I still think nap pods rented by the minute would be the way to go here.
- Disney In Your Day checks out holiday decorations across WDW resorts.
- The Disney Tourist Blog recaps Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party.
- This Fairy Tale Life assembles a list of gift lists, including stuff for Disney people.

P.S. Happy day that shall live in infamy!

Don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn's dailymile here and Moon's dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Monday, December 5, 2016

In Which Jenn Posts ALL THE RACE PHOTOS

I am intoxicated.

I am drunk with power.

I am an Annual Passholder.

I get FREE PHOTO DOWNLOADS FROM DISNEY'S PHOTOPASS.

Which now does ALL THE RUNDISNEY PHOTOS.


Look upon my Wine & Dine Half Marathon Photo Dump and despair!!!
















Don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn's dailymile here and Moon's dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

In Which Jenn Tries To Let The People Choose Her WDW Resort

I know what you're thinking: Jenn, since when are you a Democratic Republican?*

Generally never. Well, I always consult with my traveling companions before I make WDW-related travel plans, but I certainly have the final word when the only traveler is me.

Nonetheless I found myself somewhat perplexed when attempting to select a resort for the WDW Marathon in January. Of the value resorts, Pop and All-Star Movies were both available. Pop was about $25 more expensive, but I like Pop and feel comfortable there; you could call it my home resort. I've only stayed at an All-Star once, but I wasn't the diametric opposite of a fan of the shared bus system and the location felt even more remote than Pop's for some reason. But then again, $25 is $25 - and isn't it good to try new things?

Given that there were arguments for each, I invited distinguished scientists for all over the world to help me make my decision. Unfortunately, none of them showed up, so I decided to take to Twitter, stumping for commentary and ultimately with a poll. There was a surprising debate with enthusiasts and detractors on each side, but I was resolved to fall with the people's decision. It came out thusly:


There you are, then! Razor thin, but All-Star Movies it was to be. Not what I would've chosen myself but I'd save a little money and expand my horizons. Nothing wrong with that. I brought up the resort on the Disney site for my dates and...

Nothing.

Nothing was available. No Pop, no All-Stars. Nothing value at all. Closest thing was a stay at Coronado at almost twice the price. Well damn. How did all value resort rooms sell out overnight? I mean, I know that race weekend is popular, but geez. Losing all options in 24 hours seems a trifle excessive.

I did not panic, though. I thought. I considered my options. I did some experimenting. And I discovered something very interesting.

I found that if I tried to get a value room just for the night before the marathon, I could. And if I tried to get a room for just the night after the marathon, I could. Oh, I thought, they must be different room categories, like pool view or preferred or whatever. I guess I could make two separate reservations.

But upon closer inspection, I found that this was not that case - at the very least a standard pool view room could be had on both nights at Pop. Then - this was the kicker - I tried to get a room for a full week encompassing my dates. No problem, totally doable.

I concluded that the rooms existed in the reservation system; it was only that the website refused to let me access them.

Hmmm.

Naturally I called up the WDW reservations phone line, and a lovely CM helped me grab the same room at Pop over the course of two nights and with an AP discount to boot.

I find this odd. Why would the WDW site have such a disapproving opinion of two-night stays? You could argue that they're trying to discourage shorter trips, but then why let me have a single night? Is it simply that something's wrong with the programming? Am I personally obnoxious and disliked?** Or is there a higher purpose here?

We may never know. But I now know this: if you can't get the dates you want at the resort you want, don't revert to plan B immediately. Poke around. See what you can find. And always try a phone reservation for the final word.

The door is still open for suggestions about where to stay in April for the Dark Side Half, so feel free to chime in.

This post is brought to you by musicals about the American Revolution.

* Sit down, Jenn.
** For God's sake, Jenn, SIT DOWN.

Don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn's dailymile here and Moon's dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Fairest Week In Review: 11/30

Okay. So. Um. Seeing as how I had a couple days off for the holiday last week, I endeavored to make it a cutback - four runs instead of the usual three, but short ones. And I kinda did...


Sunday | rest

Monday | ran 5.28 miles on the treadmill in 60 minutes

Tuesday | ran 6.2 miles on the treadmill in 1:05; 70 minute ballet class
I usually prefer to run and ballet on different days, but I wanted to get a rest day in between two sets of two runs as opposed to one and three. If that makes any sense.

Wednesday | walked 2.7 miles outside in 45 minutes

Thursday | ran 6.27 miles on the treadmill in 1:05
In solidarity with the poor suckers who paid money for the privilege of running a turkey trot outside in the cold. ;)

Spent most of the football game wondering if it is now acceptable to name your kids after Disney parks ('sup, Dak?).

Friday | ran 7.27 miles on the treadmill in 1:15

Saturday | rest

Yeah. I was gonna do five miles each time but it ended up feeling like not enough so I cheated a little.

Naturally the only follow up to a cutback week is to toss a couple long runs into the mix. But carefully. NO INJURIES WINTER 2016-17!!

Roundup.

- why I runDisney broke the new for me about the ridiculous new runDisney registration dates.
- Disney in Your Day is ready for those cold weather runs.
- Speaking of Muppets, ImagiNERDing found some wandering around Epcot!
- Gluten & Dairy Free in WDW shows how important it is to trust but verify, even at WDW.
- The Disney Hipsters highlight another amazing DAK detail.
- easyWDW continues to make me jealous by doing awesome things, like hanging out in Jock Lindsey's Hangar Bar.
- WDW for Grownups eats delicious holiday park treats.
- The Main Street Gazette digs up a vintage WDW holiday celebration.

Don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn's dailymile here and Moon's dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Monday, November 28, 2016

In Which Jenn Has Thoughts On runDisney Registration Dates

runDisney recently released the dates for the 2017-2018 season - including registration dates. Guys, they have gotten BONKERS.

I mean, yeah, it was already a little nutty, signing up for a race in, say, March that wouldn't actually be happening until November (to use Wine & Dine as an example - my records show public registration opened on Tuesday, March 29. It was actually supposed to be a week or two earlier but they pushed it back to accommodate race detail changes). Well, prepare to think of that as the good old days: this year you'll be signing up for W&D in January.

That's the new pattern across the board - all races now have a registration date that drops approximately 11 months in advance. Which is interesting because, unless I'm even further out of the loop than I realize, this is basically the opposite of what the runDisney community would prefer. It's hard to know your schedule that far advance, and a lot can happen in a half year's time. A lot of people also have to budget carefully for these trips and may not be prepared to drop the dough on registration that early, especially when those dates fall post-Christmas.

I casually tweeted my bewilderment about runDisney's decisions and got a comprehensive response from DopeyRunr:


Aha. Money again. Hardly a surprise. And, okay, runDisney is a business, not a charitable organization. But I find the move odd nonetheless given the recent slowdown in race registrations as a whole.

In the past year, the only race I can remember selling out completely within hours is the Wine & Dine Half Marathon, which is boosted by its after party and gift card bonuses, plus in this past case those wanting to run an inaugural race challenge. By comparison, at the time of this writing the WDW Marathon Weekend - a race weekend that is happening in scarcely more than a month - still offers available registration for the marathon, Dopey Challenge, AND Goofy Challenge. The Star Wars - Light Side Half Marathon and 10K two weeks later are both still available. The Dark Side Half, 5K, and Half + 10K challenge? Still available. Tinker Bell? Half and challenge are yours for the running. Princess is sold out, but I don't remember if that was immediate - perhaps a reader can tell us.

I remember when you couldn't get into ANY half or challenge without hunching over your computer obsessively refreshing at the exact moment registration opened. And yet at the Marine Corps Marathon expo, the runDisney booth was offering discounted registration fees if you signed up for the marathon and its challenges or Avengers Half on site, with a free sling bag to boot.

I dunno, runDisney. Things trending as they are, you might want to rethink this one. Make that money, sure, but you might find it harder to do if you only focus on income and not what your customers actually want.

What do you think of the registration dates? Am I being too nitpicky? 

Don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn's dailymile here and Moon's dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Fairest Trip Report Of All: Festival Center Wine-Tasting Seminar

Trip report time! I'll be covering my November 2016 trip. You can read all posts in the trip report here. Onward!

Tomorrow's Thanksgiving, so I think - for a wide variety of reasons - now would be an excellent time to talk about wine.

This year I attended the Food & Wine Festival for the third time, but this wine seminar is the first upcharge activity I've attended, purchased on a whim for $15 to keep me occupied on my solo journey.


I lined up about half an hour in advance of the seminar and wound up in the very front row (they do ask you to move all the way down the table, so if being in the middle is important to you, let a few people skip ahead). The event was sold out, so a) make reservations early and b) arrive at the staging area in advance if you want a good view.

Three wine samples were already poured at each place, and crackers, water, and a note card and pencil were provided for pallet-cleansing and note-taking, respectively.


I was less concerned about what wine or winery I tried and more about time of the event when reserving; in the crapshoot, I came up with a winery known as Tasca. The event was hosted by a PR guy from Tasca, who along with a host toasted our session before diving into the history of the company.


Tasca hails from Sicily ("What's the first thing you think of when you think of Sicily? Probably the heat," said the PR guy. "Sophia from the Golden Girls," said the girl next to me, and I thought that was a much better answer). The wines are made by a noble family, but the Tasca guy repeatedly hammered home that these are farmers who get in their and do the work themselves. He even used the phrase "blue collar" to describe them, but I'm not sure that term applies if you can call yourself a count and own a huge estate. Nevertheless.

PR Man ran through what looked to be a PowerPoint presentation on the various wines, but it boiled down to this: one white, two reds. The white was light and crisp and not too sweet and I enjoyed it immensely. Both reds were duds as far as I was concerned. The first was okay but the second was like drinking an oak tree that had been liquified and mixed with red wine. I know some people dig tasting the cask but it's not my jam.

The whole experience took, I don't know, maybe 45 minutes? It was interesting and enjoyable and I certainly liked trying new wines, but I didn't like how the whole thing felt like a PR pitch. I suppose that's to be expected, since each seminar is hosted by a specific winery, but I think I'd like it more if, say, a sommelier came and said "here are three wines I like and why." Something a little more personal, a little less marketing-speak.

For $15, though, it's one of the cheapest events on offer at the Food & Wine Festival, and all the water crackers you can eat! I doubt I'd pay a whole lot more for the experience, but if the price stayed reasonably steady I'd do it again.

Have you attended any Festival Center seminars? What did you think?

Don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn's dailymile here and Moon's dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!