Friday, January 17, 2020

The Fairest Trip Report Of All: 1/09

And now for my favorite kind of post - the trip report! I'll be covering my 2020 Marathon trip. Onward!

I was coming from my parents' house in NC this year, and my dad very graciously drove me to the airport. Guys, the Wilmington airport is SO TINY. There are literally only three airlines there and you can stand in the center of the terminal and see EVERY SINGLE GATE. Like, in the ENTIRE airport. It's bonkers.

I did experience one small adventure even in this scaled-down setting - my crotch set off the TSA scanner. >D The TSA lady said it was because my running pants were almost perfectly smooth aside from the seam down the middle, which the machine evidently did not like. Go figure.

Luckily my first flight took off on time, and even my second flight out of Atlanta went off without a hitch; despite my high anxiety over, oh, everything, I actually made it into Orlando early. I still managed to push back our first FP+ of the day while waiting in the airport, just to be safe.

MCO gets the Disney party started early.

Disney had sent my Magical Express tags to the wrong place, sadly, so I had to pick up my own luggage. Well, actually, I didn't have to - according to the DME lady I spoke to on the phone, I could give my baggage claim ticket to the people at the DME check in area and they would still get my bag. But I was leery of potentially losing all my race stuff, so I decided to get my own bag anyway.

Miraculously my flight's bags were already spilling out onto the carousel when I arrived, and there I also found my trip buddy Erika. We grabbed my bag, hopped on the bus, and hightailed it over to Pop Century.

We weren't there long, though; after a quick-change and bag check, we grabbed a gondola for the Studios. Can I just tell you how much I freaking LOVE the gondolas? They're so low-stress! No waiting! No wondering! Will the bus be there when I arrive? What if the next one doesn't arrive? What if the bus is there but too full? None of that with the gondola, my friends. I adore it.

Anyway, we arrived in plenty of time for our Slinky Dog Dash FP+, and I was finally able to ride the coaster everyone's been talking about. It was super cute and fun, but definitely not the 85+ minute wait worth of fun it seems to average on the daily. I'd totally ride again with a FP but not without one.

We were overdue for lunch, so we moseyed on over to Woody's Lunchbox (review to come), which was a mad scene. Hell, the whole park was a mad scene. Rather than fight it, and with our next FP+ not for some hours, we chose to exit the park and head over to the race expo a day earlier than planned.

I had pondered getting an Uber for this part, to save time, but the Skyliner was so quick and easy coming over we elected to just gondola back to Pop and take the bus from there. Wide World of Sports was business as usual, with bib pickup being fairly smooth. We took a quick spin through the expo for our shirts and, since we were there, for me to grab some Clif Shots (mocha please!), but we headed out in short order. (I've discovered at this point I prefer to do my own KT Tape.)

On our way out (I think), we saw a line for Goofy, and being Goofy Challengers we obviously had to snag a photo with him.

From there we went into the official merchandise building, and may I just say that whoever made the decision to make it separate from the main expo deserves a raise - it's so much more pleasant now that you don't have to stand in line for the privilege of being squished into a too-small space.

Anyway, we went in there, and were dismayed to find that the only Goofy Challenge merch was a single "I Did It" shirt. :( I guess it's possible it sold out before we got there? But it was only the second day of expo and there was plenty of merch for the other races and even Dopey, so...?

Ah well; that much less to drop money on. Erika picked some stuff out, including a jacket I had been eyeing up for, oh, I don't know, three years? And the graphic on the back was even cuter this year. But I talked myself out of it because what do I need a jacket for in Puerto Rico?

So I picked out a Tervis insulated travel mug and got in the checkout line. And as I watched Erika buy the jacket I coveted, I thought to myself - I won't live in PR forever, right? I'll be cold someday. And I've wanted that jacket for ages. Thus after making my purchase I turned right around, grabbed the jacket, got back in line, and bought it, and I continue to regret nothing.

We took the bus back to Pop to drop off our purchases in our now-ready room, then took the oh-so-simple Skyliner back to the Studios. We had been in position to miss our Star Tours FP+, but I managed to push it back while we were on the bus. We were able to make it to Star Tours where we had a fun new adventure on what the internet tell me is Kef Bir, plus I want to say the final battle from the latest movie? Also Lando Calrissian was there! I love Lando!

From there we embarked upon our first journey to Batuu; we started by taking a lap, just to get acquainted with the very impressive area.

From there we got in line for Oga's Cantina. Full review to follow, but suffice it to say even this lukewarm Star Wars fan was impressed and digging it!

After our prescribed two rounds at Oga's (although we were offered a third - rebellious!), we slipped into line at Smuggler's Run, where the wait was only posted at 35 minutes. We wound up assigned as pilots, and it was super fun! I was the right pilot, with the up-and-down, and while to be honest I couldn't really see more than a minor adjustment on screen based on what I did I got a huge kick out of the experience. I think we got 100% completion? Or something? I'll have to pay closer attention next time.

The park was closed at this point, but we stopped in a gift shop on our way out - and found the coveted Redd ears! I immediately bought a pair because I am at times a suggestible follower. Shut up; they're adorable! ;P

And then it was time to head back. We jumped in the line for the gondolas and while it was predictably a bit long it moved quite efficiently. And when we got off to transfer to Pop, there was hardly any line at all! Seriously, guys, the Skyliner is THE BUSINESS.

We popped (ha!) into the Pop food court for dinner (further discussion on these offerings later), then went back to the room to chill before heading to bed. In the morning: the Magic Kingdom!

Don't forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions, leave a comment or email fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

In Which Jenn Is Off To Orlando Once Again

And away I go! (Almost.)

Tomorrow is day 1 of my WDW Marathon (or in this case, Goofy) trip, and as always, I am JAZZED. There've been some hiccups - my MDE tags went to the wrong address; WDW sent my Magic Bands too late - but everyone knows that a bad rehearsal leads to a good performance. As we say in ballet: merde!

As per usual, I shall now provide you with my bucket list for this trip:

- Do not die during Goofy! I'm undertrained as hell BUT my KT Tape regimen seems to be working and I'm feeling good about my nutrition and hydration over the last week or so. And if nothing else, my costumes are on fleek. (Do they kids still say fleek? I'm finna find out.)
- Facebook Live either running up Main Street or through World Showcase. I always mean to do that and then remember too late.
- By hook or by crook or by 5am alarm, I want to ride Rise of the Resistance. Duh.
- Pick up a bunch of stuff from Basin - I need more solid shampoo and oatmeal soap.
- Try Woody's Lunchbox - or Baseline Taphouse - or both? Hmmm...
- Witness Epcot Forever in the flesh!
- I must meet Kevin!

And so now I leave you, dear sweet readers, but not for long. Hell, a lot of you are probably right there with you. We never walk run alone!

Don't forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions, leave a comment or email fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

In Which Jenn's Race Costumes Are Ready - With A Twist!

Ruh roh, guys - I guessed wrong, a little. Looks like this marathon weekend is gonna be a pretty warm one. So much for all my long pants and gloves and heat packs!

Doesn't matter too much, though, as my race weekend wardrobe has acquired a ringer. Behold:

- For the half marathon, I'm running as Spaceship Earth! I've shared this outfit before, with an important substitution - I originally included my black running pants with the colored stripes, as they felt rather Epcot-y to me. Well, check those SE leggings - Pat got them for me for Christmas! There's a man who knows what I like.

They're super soft and comfy, but they're midrise and not really designed for running; I was skeptical they would stay up during runs. But I tested them on some training runs and lo and behold, they work! They're long but I plan to run the half extra easy, and I think in the early morning and with such light fabric I'll be okay. Anyway, how can I resist such a perfectly synergistic offering? You can get the tank here and the leggings here. I don't see the ears on the Shop Disney site but I think they're still in the parks.

- My Sally costume for the marathon is the bigger risk as it is - I've never run a race in shorts! But I didn't bring any capris and I freaking LOVE these shorts so I think it'll be fine; just some extra Vaseline for safety. The compression socks will be a game day decision, but Sally has striped socks so I had to get them, obviously. And the arm warmers are just throwaways for the morning (tune in the next month or so for super easy and cheap throways from tights!).

I got the Sally cosplay top from Thredup, but I betcha it was originally from Hot Topic. The Sally ears are no longer available but Disney has a new version. Shorts are from Old Navy and socks are from Amazon.

Pat did ask me "Why did you bring TWO pairs of sneakers?" but nobody's perfect.

See you at the start line(s)!

Don't forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions, leave a comment or email fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Monday, January 6, 2020

In Which Jenn's Disney Wardrobe Will Work Out Fine

I was all worked up about my Disney wardrobe for my upcoming trip - and it turns out the weather is going to be pretty Florida-y after all!

Despite the extremely variable climate of Florida in January, it looks like it's going to be in the high 70s and low 80s while I'm there (which could be interesting for my race costumes, but we'll get to that tomorrow...). I have knee socks and extra layers, but I probably won't need them.


- I'm excited to debut my Oswald dress! (I didn't wind up wearing at at Universal because it was pouring down rain). I got it from but I don't think it's available anymore. Ditto my rainbow ears - Disney now makes a different version.
- My Three Caballeros t-shirt is very old! I plan to pair it with some high-waisted black shorts and my Dia de Muertos ears - which Disney only seems to release around the holiday, in various forms.
- I freakin' love my Ursula cosplay dress from my constant in Disney shopping, Hot Topic, paired with Purple Potion ears, which are still available in the parks but I don't see online unfortunately.
- My Li Shang's Training Camp tank was from Box Lunch. The Mulan skirt is from Thredup; I'm afraid I don't know the provenance. I believe the Spaceship Earth ears are still available in the parks but I don't see them on the site.
- My Jack Skellington & Zero dress is also from Hot Topic. Once again, Disney has replaced the Sally ears with a new version. They sure have been shaking things up on the ear front lately!

As always, if you see me out in the parks, say hi! I promise I'm only a little bit awkward. >D

Don't forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions, leave a comment or email fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Saturday, December 21, 2019

In Which Jenn Packs For WDW Three Weeks In Advance

Yes, I own this luggage for realsies.

Look, I don't know you. I don't know your packing habits. But I can tell you my usual ones, which some might describe as anal-retentive: I have a spreadsheet. Everything I need to pack is in that spreadsheet, and once it's in my suitcase, which happens at least a day in advance, I mark it off. I save every individual trip's packing list so that I can go back and consult it to check for items I may have missed. And of course I check the weather to make sure my clothing items are appropriate.

Yeah. About that last bit...

So this time around my WDW Marathon trip is but one leg of my personal Grand Circle Tour of the east coast. Next week I fly to Baltimore for Christmas with my husband's family; the week after that, we drive down to NC to visit my family; and then, the week after THAT, I fly down to Orlando for the Goofy Challenge.

Which means I am packing all the portions of my trip at once... including for Orlando weather. In January. Let me tell you from experience: NO ONE KNOWS WHAT THE WEATHER IS GOING TO BE LIKE IN ORLANDO IN JANUARY.

I mean, sure, once you close in, your local weatherperson can give you an idea. But three weeks out? Total crapshoot. I've been down for the marathon and been already warm at the start line. I've been down and FREEZING TO DEATH. Hell, one time it was even delightfully moderate. Do I know what I will be encountering in 2020? Nope. Not a clue. Zilch. Nada.

And here I am. Packing for it.

Obviously I can make some educated guesses. Some contingency items. Knee socks to wear with my dresses. A pair of running shorts to supplement the pants, just in case. Arm warmers and gloves, for safety. Those shake-em-out hand warmer pack things.

In an extreme worst case scenario, I can always go to Target or something while I'm in NC for emergency supplies. But man, I sure wish I was working with more information while I have access to the stuff I already own, ya feel me?

To make a long story short: YES I will be making you look at my Disney Dandy wardrobe and running costumes for this trip! ... Just as soon as I figure out what that looks like. >D

Don't forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions, leave a comment or email fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Friday, December 20, 2019

Happy Friday: Goofy's Supplication Methods Are Questionable

This is not my first time expressing both my undying love for an tremendous confusion regarding the Disney Singalong Songs video The Twelve Days of Christmas, a staple of my childhood and possibly the reason my imagination is so... um... boundless.

But today I would like to discuss a bit of a sleeper from the tape which has been inexplicably stuck in my head the last couple days. Can I interest you in a trippy dancing fade-in Goofy asking Santa to bring him an elephant as a present? I THOUGHT SO.

Like, who art directed this thing? Did they do it in Powerpoint? Was Goofy freestyling or did a choreographer get involved? Is the elephant a metaphor for acid the entire time, hence the suspiciously Dumbo-esque lineup toward the end?

Additionally, does this video start with "... we phase in Santa Claus" as what happens on the ninth day? Because if so, that is also weird.

Not as weird as "Hip Hop Noel," though. That really is the gold standard.

Don't forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions, leave a comment or email fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

In Which Elizabeth Goes To Kings Dominion

Occasionally, my friends will run a race or go to theme park without me and then make the grave mistake of telling me about it, at which point I strongarm them into writing me up a guest post. So let's welcome back the indomitable Elizabeth, who is here to tell you all about the Halloween haunts of Kings Dominion in Virginia!

I went to Kings Dominion’s Halloween Haunt for the first time this year, and it did not disappoint!  There were two main components: scare zones and mazes (i.e. haunted houses). The scare zones were designated, themed areas where employees (I keep wanting to call them “cast members” because of Disney…) will jump out and scare you, or possibly creepily follow you through the entire area until you leave. I’m not sure why the mazes are called that, because they are really just twisty paths through the haunted houses, and you’d have to try *very* hard to get lost. One of my friends refused to go in the first one we encountered because she was convinced she’d be trapped inside, and we had to reassure her afterwards that there were not, in fact, any dead ends.

The scare zones were interesting to walk through during the day, because it looked like theming that wasn’t fully thought out: “Oh, some random watch towers? That’s...atmospheric, I guess.” But then once it was dark and the actors were in place it suddenly made sense that this was supposed to be a prison yard full of violent escaped convicts. The prison yard and the carnival themed scare zones were probably the creepiest, and one of the zones featured actors on roller blades that had some kind of sparking device on them that meant they would charge at you *while spraying sparks* and it was VERY startling the first time this happened to me. The actors in the french revolution-themed scare zone didn’t seem to be working that hard at actually scaring us--they had large fans that would snap very loudly, but the actors would just sort of snap them in a desultory manner without even trying to sneak up on you first.

Speaking of the French revolution, the main entertainment of the night was the big musical numbers that featured Marie Antoinette being beheaded, followed by song and dance numbers from contemporary musicals, like The Greatest Showman (why? I don’t know). The beheading scene was pretty entertaining but we left shortly after that.

The first maze we went through was “No Vacancy: Condemned”, which I chose because it was touted as being a “mystery” that you would presumably solve. This was also the only maze we encountered where everyone got a flashlight. I was disappointed that there was not an actual mystery--the plot of the house was that the woman who ran this hotel had a bad habit of killing the guests, which you found out when the “ghosts” jumped out and screamed at you about it. The flashlight element was pretty effective, as they kept the lights down and you were in control of what you could see in the rooms.

In general, the mazes were really well done and my main complaint was that I didn’t have enough time to appreciate all of the excellent set design and costumes because I needed to keep moving through the space to avoid holding up the line, as well as being constantly distracted by the actors. We didn’t go through every single one, but I’d say “Blackout” was the most disappointing haunted house. It’s called that because the entire thing is in complete darkness--which IS creepy, except what happened was that all the guests formed a giant conga line, so no one was bumping into walls. I’m pretty sure this was an excuse for the designers to cheap out on set design as well, because aside from a few times we walked through fishing line hanging from the ceiling, I’m pretty sure it was just a plain hallway with some actors in it. The actors would get right up in your ear to say creepy stuff, which did make me jump a couple of times, but overall I was not impressed.

IMO, the best-designed mazes were No Vacancy, Blood on the Bayou, and Lockdown.Cornstalkers was also good and had the advantage of being the only maze that was outdoors, as far as I know.

Thank you, Elizabeth! Next time I'll have to tag along. :D

Don't forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions, leave a comment or email fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!