Friday, November 21, 2014

The Fairest Trip Report Of All: 11/09/14

It's time for another trip report! Yay! As I have in the past, I'll be saving our ADRs for a final food review post, but I've decided to sprinkle all the Food & Wine Festival stuff into the report itself. You can see all the entries in this report here. Okay, onward! 

Considering how late I was up the night before, I slept surprisingly poorly. By 10:30AM I threw in the nocturnal towel and got out of bed. I was a little distressed to find my phone hadn't charged, as it had experienced some minor water damage thanks to the hours-long shower of the Wine & Dine Half. I plugged it into the wall and to my relief it juiced just fine. That and the subtle but weird screen discoloration had evaporated entirely by the end of the day. Hooray for no rainy consequences!

With the exception of Nicole, who had apparently departed for Epcot hours ago, we were slow to get going. People wandered about showering, getting food and coffee, etc. Under normal circumstances I am up and at 'em at WDW, but exceptions must be made on occasion. I ate the rest of the snacks from the race box, which was kind of lackluster. What happened to the full Luna bar and piece of chocolate from previous boxes? Boo.

By noon we had made it to the Magic Kingdom, where much picture-taking and merrymaking was experienced. Our first stop was the Christmas shop in Liberty Square, where Estelle purchased some truly adorable red and green sequined Minnie ears. I played around with some Christmas hats but abstained from making a purchase... SO FAR.

Estelle made us some FastPass reservations, but we got mixed up and accidentally went to Big Thunder Mountain first. Whoops! Maybe I would've checked beforehand if the My Disney Experience app would deign to work on my phone. But no matter. We turned tail and took on Space Mountain, which I was able to ride without any unladylike incidents because I was wearing jeans. (But seriously, getting out of those cars is NOT graceful work.)

Here we split off for snack time, with Estelle traveling to Adventureland to snag a Dole Whip that would match the pineapples on her dress. Meanwhile, I led everyone else on a vital field trip to the Cheshire Cafe to purchase a food item I had been dying to eat for over a year. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you... THE CAKE CUP.

The cake cup is not pretentious. It is not fancy. It is, at its core, a box funfetti cake with sugary store-bought vanilla icing someone shoved into a cup and put a price markup on. But there is just SO MUCH FROSTING and I have SO MUCH LOVE FOR FROSTING that I couldn't resist. Indeed, Official Food Sharing Partner Katherine and I tag teamed this sucker - I scraped off the icing and she tackled the cake. It was great and glorious and I would do it again in a heartbeat. Note: the Cheshire Cat is edible but tastes like nothing.

From here we headed into Storybook Circus to poke around. Dumbo had a long-ish wait so we headed into the gift shop to see what we could see. There wasn't as much unique merchandise here as I would've liked considering the wealth of cute stuff that could be done with the circus motif, but the decor was suitably adorable. DeJanea even got her first set of mouse ears, embroidered with her name. (Can you believe I still don't have any?)

As we exited the shop, Katherine noticed that the line for the Minnie and Daisy character meet and greet was at a mere ten minutes, so we hopped in the queue. We split up out group so as to not overwhelm the photographer with a billion cell phone photos and whatnot. Daisy was deeply jealous of Katherine's tattoo and mimed that she wanted one too. I think Disney should definitely roll out some tattooed characters.

Side note: while between Daisy and Minnie photo ops, a suspicious event occurred. A wheelchair group came in the side entrance to see Daisy, but they instead ignored the cast member's instructions and hijacked Minnie - and interestingly enough, no one was using the wheelchair. Look, I know that disability and injury aren't always obvious to the naked eye. Maybe I'm being overly cynical. Maybe I'm being a jerk. I don't know. We didn't make a fuss or anything. But I think duplicitous wheelchair use is disrespectful to those with legitimate need, and Disney needs to continue working on their ADA policies.

Post characters, we met back up with Estelle for our actual Big Thunder Mountain Railroad FastPass, then headed back to Main Street to browse some shops.

While there, we received a tragic text message from Nicole that she had lost track of time and wouldn't be able to make our early dinner ADR at 'Ohana. Sadness!

But it was getting to be about that time, so we picked up the monorail to the Polynesian and grabbed a buzzer at the 'Ohana podium. It vibrated with unexpected quickness, and we were seated in no time flat. Our first act? An order of Lapu Lapus all around! According to our server, our tray full of pineapples made us the talk of the restaurant. More on this meal in a later post.

After dinner, most of our group went back to the Magic Kingdom. But Estelle wanted to go to the Grand Floridian to see the resident orchestra perform, and as I am not one to send a good soldier off into the night alone I went with her.

The orchestra was excellent and it was fun watching families dance to the music, but what I really liked was the pianist in the lobby who picked up after they finished their set. A little boy stared transfixed at the keys as the man played and the two ultimately struck up a conversation. We later spotted them plus the boy's mom continuing their talk on one of the couches. I like to pretend that this little boy was inspired to become a pianist and will one day remember that moment as the second he knew his ambition. Disney magic!

Hearts thusly warmed, we picked up the resort monorail to the Magic Kingdom and headed straight for the super-cute tree stump charging stations by the Tangled bathrooms (shout out for Estelle's favorite background music!). We located a lone unused charging slot among the available, so Estelle got a head start on battery power while I ran off to buy my boyfriend this plate from the new Haunted Mansion gift shop, Memento Mori. I was so excited because he's an architect and loves the Haunted Mansion and it's like they designed it just for him!

Upon my return another charging station had become available; we transferred our phones to it and just hung out for awhile. The Tangled area really is quite charming.

We couldn't wait for a full charge, though, because it was time for the Main Street Electrical Parade! I'm not normally a big parade person but I just LOVE Disney's night parades - MSEP is awesome but if they ever decide to bring back Spectromagic I won't mind that either.

Chalk this up to another thing FP+ has made irritating - parade viewing is now a thing you FastPass if you want a good spot. Sheesh. We ended up with an okay position in Frontierland, but I've always had good luck finding a spot by the hub and FP+ prevented that. The parade itself, however, was fantastic as per usual - gotta love the Alice floats!

Ditto on the fireworks. I kinda can't wait until the hub expansion. I'll miss the rose garden but boy do we need the room. Estelle and I ended up shuffled over to a backstage area just past the ice cream parlor, where the view was actually pretty food but it was kind of hard to hear the soundtrack. Oh well - like I don't know the music by heart anyway!

After the fireworks we skedaddled over to the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train for my first ever ride! The line was reportedly about forty minutes, which wasn't bad considering, so we hopped in. Estelle made friends with a mom and her little girl who was absolutely mesmerized by the jewel sorting and water mini-games in the queue - she kept having to go back and retrieve her.

We were very nearly there when the unthinkable happened: the ride broke down! Our consolation prize: a FastPass good until November 30 for any ride. We resolved to come back later in our trip to get our Mine Train ride in at last.

The park was close to closing, but we had time to sneak in a ride on Peter Pan, which featured - get ready - NO WAIT. No wait for Peter Pan! Now that's just crazy talk, but it's the truth.

We came off the ride after closing and were met with a confusing sight at the hub: the Main Street Electrical Parade was running again. Huh? When does MSEP ever run after park closing? That's IllumiNations' thing. But there it was. So we watched the parade again (at the hub with a great view, might I add) because duh. But it was a weird version - the canopy over Cinderella's dancers was missing, and the dwarfs that had cavorted with Snow White only hours earlier were nowhere to be found. Maybe MSEP was surprised to find itself running again too.

The park was, as I mentioned, now closed, but we weren't quite done yet. Happily for us, the Main Street Bakery was still serving; after grabbing a coffee for Estelle and a mint tea for me, we settled on a bench by the castle and I finally saw it: the Kiss Goodnight. Which I still think should feature Jiminy Cricket. It just feels right.

Then and only then was it time to catch the bus back to the resort and go to bed. In the morning: the Studios!

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, November 20, 2014

The Fairest Trip Report Of All: Wine & Dine Half After Party Recap

It's time for another trip report! Yay! As I have in the past, I'll be saving our ADRs for a final food review post, but I've decided to sprinkle all the Food & Wine Festival stuff into the report itself. You can see all the entries in this reporthere. Okay, onward! 

Picking back up where we left off after the Wine & Dine Half Marathon - the after party! Weather update: STILL RAINING.

First stop in Epcot: the Odyssey bathrooms. Very exciting, no? I needed that space to change out of my sopping wet pants and socks. But don't worry, the next stop was much more interesting: the New Zealand Food & Wine Festival booth for a venison sausage. The sausage itself was tasty but not as exotically flavored as I would've expected. The salad it came with was enhanced with an unbelievably sour dressing that got dumped in the trash.

Earlier I had sent out a text informing my travel buddies (to review: Estelle, Nicole, Katherine, DeJanea, and Erica) that I had finished the race, and I was surprised to hear that I was the first of those of us running to finish, at least as far as was known.

I sent back my location and DeJanea and Erica found me just as I was finishing up my sausage. Our mission? To penetrate Darkest Mexico's pyramid and ride the Gran Fiesta Tour with the Three Caballeros.* Not only were we successful, we practically had a boat to ourselves. Indeed, we noticed as we were debarking that the boat in front of us was populated exclusively by two Mexico cast members. Taking a break? Sweeping the ride for drownings? Who knows? Weather update: STILL RAINING.

At this time we found Estelle, but soon split off again to accommodate differing gastronomical needs. I stopped off at the Germany booth for a bratwurst in a pretzel roll, which I very much enjoyed because PRETZEL ROLL. Neither the sausage nor the accompanying mustard were particularly groundbreaking, but PRETZEL ROLL. Did I mention the salty wonderful PRETZEL ROLL? PRETZEL ROLL!!!

Estelle and I then hit another booth, I think a beer booth? It was somewhere nearby, but unfortunately we didn't get anything because Estelle came to the unfortunate conclusion that she had lost her wallet. I instructed her to continue searching all pockets and purses in case she'd missed it while I ran over to the Brazil booth, following which if it hadn't turned up we would hit guest relations.

I'm going to leave you in wallet suspense while I talk about the Brazil booth. FAVORITE BOOTH OF THE FESTIVAL. Pao de queijo aka cheese bread? AMAZING. GLORIOUS. EXEMPLARY. The cheese was baked right into the dough and suffused the bread entirely; no lava-like pockets, just cheesy bread all the way through. LOVE.

I also purchased the cocada coconut candy, which was essentially just coconut and sugar. If you like coconut and sugar, which I do, you would like this, which I did. If you don't, you wouldn't. It's kinda like eating the inside of a Mounds bar without the chocolate, only the sugar "glue" holds together a little more; for example, it's too hard to easily cut with the side of a fork.

As I was eating my cocada, Estelle and I were traveling to guest services, where, upon arrival, they did not have her wallet. Estelle did, however, find the receipt for the cab she had taken to the after party in her coat pocket, so we strolled over to Soarin' while she called to see if they had it.

Results were not yet conclusive as we walked into the Land pavilion, but Estelle shooed me over to Soarin' while she waited in Sunshine Seasons for a call back from the cab company. I hopped in the standby queue (spookily empty, although once past the divergence point it got more crowded) and took a ride on a glider. By the time I got out, Estelle had received word that the cab company did, in fact, have her wallet. Yay! Weather update: STILL RAINING.

We headed to the front of the park so that Estelle could grab her wallet at the cab stand. I was getting pretty chilly and chose to wait for her in the locker area next to Spaceship Earth. Once Estelle had returned, we took a ride in a time machine while Dame Judi Dench told us all about knowledge on cave walls and the first backup system.

It was nice and toasty inside Spaceship Earth, but outside it was cold cold cold - so cold that it was getting to be too much for me. It was 3:30AM and the after party ended at 4AM. Although I was awake enough to stay out longer, I was starting to literally shiver, so I reluctantly decided to pack it in. Estelle went off to find other members of our group and I caught a bus back to Pop Century. Then I had to brave the walk from Pop to Art of Animation, and just in case you were wondering, weather update: STILL RAINING.

I made it, though! And I took a hot and wonderful shower and went to bed. In the morning: MORE WALT DISNEY WORLD! Yay!

I leave you with this thought.

*And pals though they may be, if some Latin baby says yes, no, or maybe, EACH MAN IS FOR HIMSELF.

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 19, 2014

The Fairest Trip Report Of All: Wine & Dine Half Marathon Recap

It's time for another trip report! Yay! As I have in the past, I'll be saving our ADRs for a final food review post, but I've decided to sprinkle all the Food & Wine Festival stuff into the report itself. You can see all the entries in this report here. Okay, onward! 

Hit it, Gene!

Minus the Volkswagen connection, this should give you a pretty solid idea of what the 2014 Wine & Dine Half Marathon was like. In a word: wet.

Not that we were entirely without warning. The weather forecast kept flip-flopping in the days leading up to the race. For a long while there it looked like we would dodge the aquatic bullet. But, alas, it was not to be.

Backing up: after prepping myself for the race in our suite, not forgetting to don several bajillion wrist accouterments, Nicole, Katherine and I left the safe haven of Art of Animation for the bus line at Pop Century. The line was predictably long but there was a decent bus arrival rate and we had plenty of time. We collected Kellie on the way to the bus, thus completing her and Nicole's extremely impressive coordinating Genie and Iago costumes.

Pop is pretty darned close to ESPN Wide World of Sports, so the buses deposited us at the starting area almost obscenely early. We bypassed the lengthy lines to take a photo with a cardboard cut out of a champagne glass, instead meeting up with Kimberley, checking our bags, and wandering into the runners-only area and the water station.

Before we got rolling I decided it would be wise to hit the port-a-potties, so I hopped into one of many, many loooong lines. At some point I became aware that Danielle from Live, Run, Grow was behind me, but I didn't want to be all weird and just whip around and announce "I KNOW WHO YOU ARE!!!!" so I kept my mouth shut... until such time as I overheard her mentioning that she was looking for a Kellie who she had last seen at the NYC Marathon. So I whipped around and announced "I KNOW WHERE KELLIE IS!!!!" which is almost as bad but I had information to impart!

Anyway, Danielle (who was hanging with a Jenn who isn't me) took it all in stride, and post bathroom break our groups converged for the long walk to the corrals. Katherine and I ducked into the D corral just about as the rain was starting to make its presence known. Thank goodness I had brought that hat.

There wasn't much to do except kinda randomly futz around and lament over the weather until the corrals started moving forward. We shed our outer layers, high fived or something similarly affirmative (I don't remember; did we yell Steve Holt?), and we were off!

Or anyway Katherine was off - like a SHOT. I stuck with her for a bit but when she stepped on the gas about half a mile in I mentally wished her Godspeed and decided to stick with my current, slower pace. I didn't want to spend my post-marathon energy too quickly and make myself miserable later.

From here on my half was a solo act, but I really didn't mind at all. I had my music playing and I was at Walt Disney World and rain or no I was happy. I settled into a slow but steady rhythm and zoned out, although I did spare a thought for the poor Main Street Electric Parade character photo ops who were getting rained on.

Entering Animal Kingdom sure caught my attention, though! I saw Rafiki under the bag check area with pretty much no line, and kind of regret not stopping for a pic, but as he himself would say: What does it matter? It's in the past! I was too distracted by the glowing red fangs that marked the park's entrance.

Running through a park was as awesome as ever - a truly galvanizing experience. Gushing bathwater of the sky notwithstanding, I all but skipped my way past the Tree of Life and Expedition Everest, mouthing music lyrics and occasionally punching the air for emphasis because I am a dork.

I ran out of DAK and under a parking fee booth - where some FESTIVAL OF THE LION KING dancers were hanging out for photos! And being completely ignored. I very nearly caused an accident veering over to them, but caught myself, politely sidled off the course, and came up behind them, probably scaring them half to death. I was about to orchestrate a selfie photo when a Cast Member popped up to take the picture for me.

Naturally this whole time I was gushing like a crazy person about how much I love their show, punctuating it with a final "You're the best ever!" As I ran away I heard the cheetah girl yell back, "No, YOU'RE the best ever! Thanks for stopping!" And of course with this exhilarating event to propel me I knocked out my fastest mile of the race.

From there it actually got - dare I say it - a little boring. It felt like it took FOREVER to run the roads between DAK and the Studios. A lot of characters weren't coming out because of the rain, and the running conditions were getting a little questionable, too. I never had any close calls, but I discovered it was wise not to step on the slippery paint jobs on the asphalt. That and with the darkness and the reflection of the rain I needed to concentrate if I didn't want to lose depth perception. (Actual momentary thought: OH MY GOD WHERE EXACTLY IS THE GROUND???)

After what I can only assume constituted approximately fifteen years' worth of running, we made it into the Studios - where I got teased like all get out. I caught a glimpse of the Osborne Lights and I was all "SQUEE! It's happening!" And then the course turned me AWAY. I was a little mollified, though, when I discovered that we were now running through the workshops tunnel from the dearly departed Studio Backlot Tour (complete with disco ball, for some reason). The lights for the costume shop and everything were on, and it occurred to me that this might be the last time I ever saw them, so I drank it in.

Finally, finally, FINALLY I came upon the Osborne Lights, where I got my photo taken but it didn't turn out that great. I'm surprised they didn't have a ton of official race photographers staking out the area. I was also surprised by how quickly I ran through it, but it was still a magical experience.

Shortly after that the course snaked out of the Studios and I had a disheartening experience: I observed that we were going to run to Epcot via the Studios-Boardwalk-Epcot walkway, which meant I knew EXACTLY how far I still had left to go. Which, with my post-marathon legs and the by that point getting ridiculous rain, I had very little interest in doing. Running while essentially taking a two-hour-long shower is a novelty that wears off pretty quickly.

But there was nothing to be done but continue to put one foot (carefully and firmly) in front of the other and press forward. The no-joke rain and chill had driven most spectators off the course, but the Boardwalk resort area path pulled a few people from their rooms to cheer which boosted morale a bit. A couple of smart and prepared people had even erected a tent for the purpose. And of course the Boardwalk lights were beautiful as always.

We crossed the bridge and entered Epcot via the International Gateway - almost there! Indeed, even more almost-there than I expected; by my recollection barely any of the course made its way through Epcot. We pretty much went straight into Future World, past Spaceship Earth (where was the gospel choir, b t dubs?), and then hit the finish.

Speaking of the finish, I saw as I approached that the clock read 2:29 and change. Not that clock time really mattered, but I liked the idea of coming in under 2:30, so I powered forward and finished at 2:29:58, with a net time of 2:20:25. Not a PR by any stretch, but not bad under the circumstances.

I pressed through the finish area, collecting my space blanket (never more judiciously deployed) and a random Yeungling that I told the guy not to open; I just chucked it in my bag. I got my regular medal, got my Coast to Coast medal, got my food box and PowerAde, got my checked bag, and headed into the changing tent.

Which was a MAD SCENE. There was no organization and no privacy, and spacing was a total free-for-all. Hey, at least it was heated! I put my stuff down on my space blanket and shuffled things around for easier carrying. I was wildly pleased with myself for having the foresight to pack a complete change of clothes, but the changing tent was so crazy I just swapped out my shirt and sweatshirt and headed back out into the cold.

Next stop: the after party! Because no way was I missing the after party no matter how discouraging the weather might be. But this post has gone on long enough, so we'll get to that tomorrow. See you then!

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!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Fairest Week In Review: 11/18

MOON: How was your week?

JENN: HA. The beginning part or the end part? The beginning part was awesome - I was still in Walt Disney World. The second half kinda sucked a little. I missed a step on the stairs and busted up my foot pretty bad.

Not only could I not run all week, I was supposed to have a ballet performance on Saturday. I hoped by the time it rolled around I'd be able to at least do one of my dances, but no dice. My friend Lucy was in town to help out with the show, so I threw my costume on her, taught her the steps really quick, and she subbed for me in one dance. The other just didn't have me. Oh well. What can ya do.

Artist's rendering.
!! Nothing broken or sprained I hope?

JENN: Nah, I had two physical therapists look at it and the consensus was an irritated tendon. It's not 100% yet but it's better. I'm gonna do floor barre at ballet tonight, which is basically the same as regular barre only you do it lying on your back. Maybe by the end of the week I can run a little? I don't want to push it too fast so we'll see.

MOON: Awww... I am sorry to hear it! I missed a step this week as well, but I lucked out and was okay. Sometimes they just seem to come out of nowhere.

Well, on the bright side: this happened the week AFTER the Wine and Dine.

JENN: EXACTLY. If I had had to miss the marathon or Wine & Dine I would've been CRUSHED.

MOON: Although, I can see yourself wheeling yourself through WDW.

My week was pretty good. Still keeping up with strength and speed training.

JENN: Did you have your 5K yesterday? You should do a post on it!

MOON: Yup! On Sunday I participated in the MMRF (Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation) 5K at the National Harbor! I WILL do a post. But, to be brief: was awesome, but COLD.

JENN: Yay! Looking forward to your report.

I'm a trifle behind on blog posts for the roundup, what with all the WDW-ing that went down last week, but here's a smattering. Go forth and conquer!

- We Run Disney explores the science of dating a marathoner.
- Fairytales & Fitness showcases a nifty race shirt blanket.
- Parkeology made WDW46 happen!
- At Disney Again mourns the Maelstrom. Never stop crying.
- The Disney Hipster blog highlights the signs of New Harambe. They are totally gorgeous and I took a bunch of pictures of them while I was there.

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 17, 2014

The Fairest Trip Report of All: 11/08/14

It's time for another trip report! Yay! As I have in the past, I'll be saving our ADRs for a final food review post, but I've decided to sprinkle all the Food & Wine Festival stuff into the report itself. You can see all the entries in this report here. Okay, onward!

I woke up much earlier than expected and, upon discovering that Estelle was headed to the Animal Kingdom for rope drop, I dressed quickly and joined her.

We picked up a bus and made it to the gate just as they were letting us in - fifteen minutes early! In fact it was still 5 minutes before official park opening as we entered the line for Expedition Everest (have I mentioned that this is my favorite?). The line was still listed at a mere ten minutes when we got off, so we went through again. Has anyone else ever noticed the random hawk that flies past the mountain as you encounter the broken tracks? We never had before but it's a nice touch.

I had a breakfast ADR to catch, but there was still time for a quick walk-on ride on Dinosaur before I headed out. It took a bus fakeout and two or three bajillion years, but a bus finally came to take me to the Polynesian; I think it was supposed to go to the Contemporary first, but as I was the only person on the bus and had been waiting so long the bus driver took pity on me. And a good thing too, because I was increasingly late for that ADR.

Lucky for me, I managed to make it to Kona a few minutes before our table was ready. Whew! Finally count included me, Katherine, Erica, DeJanea, Nicole, Kellie and her sister, and Kimberley and her husband. Awesome to match all these names to faces! More on this in my ADR post at the end of this report.

Estelle and I had made FP+ reservations earlier that day, our first being for Finding Nemo: The Musical at 12:30PM. I knew I would never make it at this point, so I texted her to go on ahead while we poked around in the Polynesian. Highlight: the tiki birds have their own bowls.

After some browsing, we caught a bus back to the Animal Kingdom, sending the rest of the group on ahead while Katherine and I renewed her Annual Pass in the super-long line at guest services. Crazy theory: My Disney Experience has increased the need for guest services. Oh, also! A random guy at the bus stop said he liked my white rabbit t-shirt. So there's that.

From there, Katherine and I strolled on down to Everest, where we poked around the gift shop to exclaim over yeti cats and locate one of those things, you know, with the glass you can open, and there are drinks and stuff inside? You know those things? Well, we bought PowerAde from them. It was really electrolyted. Electrolit. You know.

Wait. Hmmm. I know I went through Maharajah Jungle Trek to exclaim over tigers, but now I can't remember if I did that with Estelle or Katherine. Based on its positioning in my photos, I think I did it with Katherine. Actually, now I'm remembering that more solidly, but the brain can invent things. Yes? Is that right? Do you remember something about a lack of bats and a particularly sleepy tiger? Whatever. TIGERS ARE AWESOME.

Anyway. At some point before or after that, Katherine and I breezed on through the Everest single rider line, then Estelle showed up so she and I could use our FP+.

Katherine, DeJanea, and Erica hit the standby line while Estelle and I walked to Mr. Kamal's so I could buy a falafel sandwich. It was pretty delicious too - soft pita and all that, although the falafel could stand to be a little crispier.

At this point I split off from the group to wander aimlessly and look for this shirt I've been on the hunt for for years - it's the one with Winnie the Pooh peering at a tiger through a magnifying glass, but it says "Tigre, eres tu?" Last spotted in the spring of 2004. If anyone knows of its current whereabouts, please contact me immediately. Also I modeled tiger hats.



On my sojourns I happened across Estelle in Harambe, so I joined her in her appreciation of the musical group Burudika. They led the crowd in something that was kind of like the electric slide, only to Shakira's "Waka Waka?" Such a colorful culture, Harambe!

By the time the show was over, our FP+ for Festival of the Lion King was upon us. Important Fact: If you use the FP+ line, you will be let in a different door, one which, if you take the section directly across from it, will deposit you in the elephant section, not the lion section like if you come in the normal door. Oh well. It's still the best show ever. Now I know!

As soon as the show let out it was time for me to head back to the resort to prep for the Wine & Dine Half. I caught a bus to Art of Animation in delightfully unexpected short order and was back in the room by 6PM. This gave me over an hour to charge my phone, dress, bib up, hydrate, eat my mini Clif bar and steal Katherine's, and just generally get things rolling for W&D. More on that in my next post!

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!

Friday, November 14, 2014

The Fairest Trip Report of All: 11/07/14

It's time for another trip report! Yay! As I have in the past, I'll be saving our ADRs for a final food review post, but I've decided to sprinkle all the Food & Wine Festival stuff into the report itself. Okay, onward!

What does one always do the night before leaving for Walt Disney World? If you answered "Sleep poorly," you are correct! I think I achieved a grand total of four hours of sleep, but I was nevertheless up and ready to roll when my alarm went off at 5AM.

I dressed quickly, shoved the last of my stuff into my bags, and my dad drove me to the aiport. (Always be careful to select parents who live near the airport.) Dude, BWI is crowded at 5:45AM. Who knew? I skipped the first two security lines in favor of the last for my terminal, which was shorter but not as much as you might think. I barely had time to buy and consume my traditional pre-flight Jamba Juice before boarding began.

My flight took off a little later than scheduled thanks to insufficient water on board (?), but I still landed early. Immediately I entered into a flurry of text messages with Nicole, Katherine, and Erica, and after a bathroom break to change into shorts I met them at the Magical Express desk.

We piled into the bus and were excited to discover that Art of Animation was the very first stop! That never happens! Of course, when we showed up there was another bus in the unload spot and they wouldn't let us off until that bus left, but still. We had arrived!

Listen: the Finding Nemo rooms in AoA are ADORABLE. Everything from the chairs to the mirrors to the dressers are perfectly themed and SO CUTE. Even the hallways are decked out with bubble lamps and paintings I'm desperate to steal. Oh, and the hallways are INSIDE! Climate control and everything!

At this point we got a text from DeJanea that she was on her way, and we decided to get a snack while we waited. We headed down to the Landscape of Flavors, where I selected one of those Mickey-face chocolate ganache tarts I'd had my eye on for awhile. My verdict: tasty, but kinda one-note.

The rest of the group wandered around the gift shop; in the meantime, I was off to get my Magic Band fixed (raise your hand if you're surprised I already needed my Magic Band fixed. Nobody? Huh...). For some reason it refused to open the door of our room. I don't know exactly what was wrong with it, but whatever it was the fix required the Cast Member at concierge to reset the whole thing for me. My Disney Experience: Lackluster Since 2013.

Luckily DeJanea arrived shortly after this, and after a quick room pitstop to drop off her stuff we were off to the Wine & Dine Expo! We grabbed a perfectly timed bus and debarked at the ESPN Wide World of Sports.

I was excited to discover the my pre-printed race waiver had gotten wet in my bag (suspect: lens solution) and I needed to get a new one. Turns out Nicole did too, so we stopped at the computer/printer area set up for this purpose at the beginning of the race check-in area. There was no line; we knocked that out quickly and caught up with the rest of the group.

I signed in, got my race bib and such, and then headed over to have my photo taken for my Coast to Coast medal redemption. The photographer had me hold my bib just below my face and my wrist with its Coast to Coast wristband right next to it. Why? Beats the heck out of me; when I picked up my Coast to Coast medal the next night no one checked anything except the band.

Katherine, Erica, DeJanea and I checked out the mini-race merchandise store that was set up in the check-in area, but it was pretty sparse. We headed out, stopping at the ticket will call area so that Erica and DeJanea could pick up their tickets for the after party.

From there it was time for the main expo area, where we picked up our shirts and immediately made a beeline for the large official merchandise tent. There was no line, which surprised me - and also very little merchandise, which did kind of surprise me when I considered that the expo had only been open for a few hours. Katherine and I examined a pretty cute tank top we probably would've purchased if only the remaining shirts weren't exclusively large and extra-large. Oh well, Disney. I guess occasionally you do save me money!

We made a quick jaunt around the expo, but nothing much of interest was about - there wasn't even the change for extensive sampling a la the Marine Corps Marathon Expo. We quickly decided that our time would be much better spent in the parks, so we caught a bus to the Boardwalk and used the International Gateway entrance to Epcot (!!!!).

GUYS GUYS GUYS GUYS GUYS IT WAS MY FIRST FOOD AND WINE FESTIVAL! And it was so much FUN! First stop: the France kiosk, where Katherine and I shared an escargot tart. This was deliciously garlicky, but I really only tasted the garlic; where is the snail flavor?

We back tracked in the opposite direction because I was reliably informed that Greece was back toward the bridge to Future World. I got my much-anticipated griddled Greek cheese with pistachios and honey and it was... fine. It was fine. No, I mean, don't get me wrong - it was tasty. But it had clearly been hanging out under a heat lamp for awhile and the cheese had congealed a bit. The flavors were good but it just wasn't gooey enough, you know?

Featuring: THUMB.

Katherine and I, being grand champion sharers, next split an Aulani Sunset cocktail (delicious!) and a tuna poke. I LOVE raw tuna, but this batch wasn't quite up to snuff for me. The seaweed salad underneath was unexpectedly good, however, with a peppery backbite.

Next I was excited to sample the smoked salmon and potato pancake from Scotland, which was tasty because smoked salmon is tasty, but I found the potato a little bland.

By this point everyone in the group had acquired treats, so we hunkered down on the ground by one of the generic gift shops and passed things around for tastes. Nicole came by with watermelon juice and a vegan cupcake from Terra, which she basically gave to me because she is a) awesome and b) didn't much care for either. I thought the watermelon juice was really good but the cupcake was too weirdly dense to be mistaken for a non-vegan dessert.

We took a food break to ride Mission: Space (well, all but Nicole, who does not do More Intense Orange Team). Speaking of More Intense Orange Team, we all got a kick out of the number of times they basically said "Are you sure you want to ride this ride? Maybe you don't want to ride this ride." I was allowed to be the pilot as per usual, because in my heart I am Tom Paris.

Gary Sinise is all about it.

That was quite enough time spent not eating delicious foodstuffs, so we hightailed it back to the World Showcase for more edible excitement. We tried to stop in Mexico for a Gran Fiesta Tour, but it had a line. A LINE. FastPass+, you continue to wound me. QUIT MAKING LINES APPEAR WHERE THEY NEVER DID BEFORE.

After such a disappointment, there was nothing to do but sample more foreign delicacies. My next item was the kimchi dog and an iCing sparkling grapefruit rice brew from the South Korea booth. The kimchi dog wasn't spicy enough for my liking but the "rice brew" (which tasted like sparkling sake; I don't know what the difference is) was pretty good and grapefruit-y.

Finding ourselves in Japan, we stopped in at Mitsukoshi and promptly proceeded to lose and find each other repeatedly as is traditional. I bought a cosmetics bag for my mom because Shinzi Katoh keeps making perfect things for her and some incense for my boyfriend, found Nicole, lost Nicole, found Katherine, and then we walked blinking into the night until we ran into the rest of the group at the Food & Wine Festival booth for Japan. I got myself a spicy handroll, which was basically just a spicy tuna roll but good if you like the textures of sushi (which I do).

Somewhere in there we also stopped in Sommerfest in Germany for snacks and my first grapefruit beer. This was awesome and I would 100% get it again, but if you don't like sweet beer it's probably not for you.

My last stop was at the Champagne and Desserts booth, where I bought a trio of stuff I wasn't that into for the one thing I was: the opera cake. It was good and chocolately, but the cheesecake roll and creamsicle thing that came with it were only okay.

By that point we were all, shockingly enough, SUPER tired, so we headed back to the hotel where I was thrilled to discover my luggage had indeed been Magically Expressed to the room. It was somewhere in here that Estelle arrived; she immediately turned around and headed to Epcot to get some food of her own and see that fireworks because she's a smart girl who knows what's up.

Meanwhile, Nicole had headed out for a snack, and upon her return SHE BROUGHT ME A CUPCAKE. An ELVIS cupcake from Everything Pop! Verdict: peanut butter frosting awesome, rest of it just okay.

I kinda wanted to see IllumiNations myself, but I was so darned tired and I've seen it so many times that I ultimately deferred. I instead showered, wrote down notes for this report, engaged in some socialization, and passed out at what at Disney could be considered a very early hour. Got get your sleep before HALF MARATHON DAY, no?

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, November 13, 2014

In Which Jenn Crashes Back Into Reality

So, what's a good follow up in five glorious days at Walt Disney World and a rainy but ultimately successful half marathon?

Why, coming home and promptly falling off the stairs, of course!

I don't know what I did to my foot but I know it NEVER WOULD HAVE HAPPENED if I'd just stayed at Disney. 

Did I mention I have a ballet performance on Saturday? And that I was going to start Dopey training next week?

Sigh. Ah well. I had a friend who's a PT look at it and while my foot is swollen she said she didn't feel anything out of place, so there's that. With any luck, by resting it I'll be able to power through my two dances on Saturday and then maybe tentatively try a short run next week. With Dopey coming in January, though, I don't want to take any risks. 

So that's the bad news. The good news is that I have a trip recap coming, so that'll be fun, right? Also, I continue to have the prettiest cubicle in all the land.

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!