Friday, November 27, 2015

Happy Friday: Deck The Halls (Inexplicably Country Mickey Edit)

It's official: you now cannot deny that it's Christmastime. And you know what that means: Disney carol shorts! (Excuse the quality; this baby is OLD.)

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 25, 2015

The Fairest Week In Review: 11/25

JENN: Happy Thanksgiving Eve! So how's life post fall? Are you recovering nicely?

MOON: Mm-hm, but I'm still unable to run. But, stairs! And cello. I can play cello and do stairs for a bit.

JENN: All good things! I am officially injured now too. :( Although I couldn't tell you WHY.

MOON: Lol, phantom ailment!

JENN: My first run after I got back from WDW, for no apparent reason, my right Achilles tendon was like, "Hmmm, no, I'm not entirely sure I like this." And it's been repeating that message ever since, albeit with varying degrees of intensity.

I thought I had bested it by not running for a week, but then I took a shot at another run and my Achilles was like HELLO I MISSED YOU LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT MY SUFFERING. So. Yeah. That's where I'm at. I think November is just cursed. Although at least this time around I can still, like, walk and stuff.

MOON: Walking is good. Yeah, November has not been the best month. :( Although, at least nothing is broken.

JENN: Also, it's cold now. Who authorized this?!

MOON: Lol, I believe Earth left you a memo.

JENN: Unacceptable. Let's try to cheer ourselves up with the roundup.

- Back at Square Zero puts the harness back on motivation.
- Prairie Princess Runners understands that the treadmill is magical and wonderful.
- Pink Elephant on Parade can help you figure out if runDisney is for you. (If it isn't, we cannot be friends.)
- Disney Travel Babble got to eat breakfast in the Jungle Cruise!
- Davelandblog has an interesting experience on Pirates of the Caribbean...
- It's almost Christmastiiiiime! The Disney Tourist Blog has the scoop on Disneyland decorations. PRETTY.
- Speaking of which, Sparkly Ever After is way into Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party. (I was eh.)

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 23, 2015

The Fairest Trip Report Of All: 11/09

It's time for another trip report! Yay! I LOVE trip reports! This time around we're covering the 2015 Wine & Dine Half Quarter Marathon trip. I'll be including reviews of my Food & Wine Festival purchases within the trip report itself, but restaurant reviews will be in their own separate posts. Commentary from Elizabeth provided in red. Click here to read all the posts in this report. Onward!

Last day! I hate the last day. :/

On this particular trip I did something I have never done before at Disney: gotten up early for a mere training run. But what with the Quarter Marathon and all I felt I simply hadn't logged enough mileage. I wanted to cram at least a couple more in there.

And so I dragged myself out of bed around 7am and headed over to Hourglass Lake, the figure-eight path between Pop and Art of Animation. A couple loops later I had knocked out about three sweaty miles; I would like to have gone further but I still needed to shower and finish packing.

Aforementioned morning to-dos done, we dragged our luggage to bag check. This took forever because for some reason the lady simply could not find Elizabeth's name in the system, which was certainly exciting. Elizabeth already had her boarding pass so we wound up with both our bags under my name and that turned out fine. I also dropped off my carry-on with luggage services while Elizabeth checked out of our room. :(

ELIZABETH: Yeah, no idea what happened there. It made me a bit nervous for the flight (what if they somehow bumped my ticket?!?!), but everything was fine.

Finally ready to go! We hopped one of those weird reticulated buses to the Magic Kingdom and were through the gates by 8:40am. Despite MEMH being in place, some parts of the park weren't open. Fantasyland was available, however, and we skipped over the miles long Peter Pan line in favor of it's a small world. This also had a line. A short line, but still: a line. For it's a small world. In the morning. Weird.

A few steps away from it's a small world, Elizabeth realized she'd forgotten her new Everest hat on the ride. At this point we had entirely cleared the area, though, so we resolved to ask guest relations about it later.

Oh, and not sure where to drop this information, but: I got a million compliments on my dress all day. People make fun of me for being on the Hot Topic mailing list, but their Disney stock is a force to be reckoned with. You should definitely check it out, especially for Disneybounding.

It was way past breakfast time, so we booked it over to Sleepy Hollow in Liberty Square for a ham and egg waffle breakfast sandwich - only to discover they don't sell it anymore. Boo! We settled for a Nutella and fruit waffle instead. This was acceptable, but why does Disney make finding a good counter service breakfast so HARD?

ELIZABETH: It's a real failing. I refuse to believe that people wouldn't buy it. Who doesn't love breakfast food??

By this point our first FP+ slot had opened up, so we backtracked through the hub and disappeared into the cool darkness of Space Mountain (guys, it was already SO HOT). Right side and front this time, so not quite as good, but still fun.

Then it was back through Liberty Square and into Frontierland for our very welcome Splash Mountain FP+. Temperatures being what they were, the line for this was CRAZY. Sometimes those FP+ times really do work out! We got the front row and were splashed pretty good, but it was so hot outside that we were both dry in little more than an hour.

ELIZABETH: I almost wish they didn't have the ride so well air-conditioned, though, because we weren't overheated anymore by the time we got to the big drop, and it wasn't as refreshing.  It felt good once we were back out in the heat, though.

Is it just me, or is the woman in the third row
getting elbowed in the face?

We had some time to kill before our next FP+ (new refrain of my life), so we browsed the Christmas shop and then Memento Mori. I put some serious thought into buying a Madame Leota shirt but ultimately decided it wasn't worth the price.

Also on the docket were the Main Street shops, which we wandered through before ending at guest relations so that Elizabeth could inquire after her hat. Meanwhile I roved the candy store, increasingly frantic at the complete lack of Goofy's Candy Kitchen sour gummy worms anywhere on property. Do you not make them anymore, Goofy? Why not?! ;.;

Elizabeth returned, reporting no luck on the hat front, but she had been told to investigate at it's a small world again, which we did on the way out with no luck. But first: Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, my best FP+ get of the trip. So difficult to get on this ride without a million-year wait is it that it was only my second time. It's super cute but awfully short, no?

ELIZABETH: I seem to be a bit cursed with hats. I always lose them, but then again I don't wear them that often, which probably exacerbates the problem. I did find that the Mine Train was fun but rather short.  Nothing can live up to Everest, alas.

After the fruitless hat check it was time to go; we picked up the monorails to Epcot and were there by about 12:30pm. We made a quick stop in Club Cool before heading right into World Showcase for our last Food & Wine Festival snacks. The extreme heat was not encouraging, and we tended in the direction of cool items, which occasional breaks in gift shops just for the air conditioning.

First up: the goat cheese panna cotta from the Cheese Studio. I enjoyed this for its subtle sweetness but I think the goat cheese flavor could've been even stronger.

Our second item was the pineapple wine from Hawaii. Elizabeth found this to be entirely too sweet. I liked it well enough, finding it similar to a pineapple-tinged Reisling, but I can't say I'd want a whole glass of it.

Next up I got another spicy hand roll from Japan and Elizabeth got the teriyaki steamed bun. I didn't taste this but if I remember correctly she liked it quite a bit.

ELIZABETH: Yep! I approved. I'm not very good at describing food experiences, but I was sad to not have it anymore once I'd eaten it.

We also made purchases in South Korea, where I grabbed the iCing sparkling grapefruit "rice brew" (so... sake?) I enjoyed so much last year. It was... okay. I found it a little cloying this time around. Probably wouldn't repeat it again. Meanwhile Elizabeth got raspberry wine and Korean barbecue short ribs; I tried the raspberry wine and found it a bit strong.

ELIZABETH: It was, though I do think pairing it with the short ribs was a good combination.

My very last food item of the trip was actually not a F&W Festival item but something I've been wanting to try for a long time: Tipsy Ducks in Love from China's Joy of Tea Stand. Cold coffee, tea, bourbon, and chocolate sauce, topped off with whipped cream. Whew! This was delicious but serious business on the sugar front. I finished most of it but I wouldn't recommend such a thing for everyone.

Our final order of business: our souvenirs! The Festival was selling a 4 pack of stemless wine glasses, all with the logo and all the same. They were kinda expensive alone, but split between two they were quite reasonable. We searched around a bit before finally locating them in the Festival Center. (Hello, Wonders of Life pavilion! It's been a long time!)

Then we had to head out. :( We grabbed a somewhat lethargic bus back to Pop and made it back just in time for our Magical Express bus... which was of course late. They're always late. Unless I'm late, I'm sure, in which case they are invariably on time.

And that's it. MCO's airport security line continues to be the WORST, but it was a pretty uneventful journey back. The Disney stores there don't have any sour gummy worms either. Heads up: the Southwest terminal is undergoing construction, which means that while eventually there will be great new food options, there are currently just less. Plan accordingly.

That's a wrap on this trip report! MOSTLY. (I still have two restaurant reviews to do!)

ELIZABETH: Woo! A Jenn-planned trip is great, as always. :)

Thanks for coming along on this journey with me - I hope you had as much fun reading it as I had writing it! I'll next be in WDW - very, very briefly - for the WDW Marathon. See you 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!

Friday, November 20, 2015

The Fairest Trip Report Of All: 11/08

It's time for another trip report! Yay! I LOVE trip reports! This time around we're covering the 2015 Wine & Dine Half Quarter Marathon trip. I'll be including reviews of my Food & Wine Festival purchases within the trip report itself, but restaurant reviews will be in their own separate posts. Commentary from Elizabeth provided in red. Click here to read all the posts in this report. Onward!

After our late night night, the plan for the morning after the after party was to sleep in. That plan was almost interrupted by housekeeping at 8:45am; I literally rolled out of bed, snuck the "do not disturb" sign onto the door handle behind the housekeeper's back, and returned to slumber. Crisis averted.

ELIZABETH: My brain, of course, decided that I needed to wake up every 20 minutes or so from about 8am on, because apparently that is my punishment for forcing it to stay up til the wee hours. At least the curtains in our window blocked the vast majority of the light.

We got up for real around 10:15am, and I ate some leftover race snacks while Elizabeth showered. We dressed, ran out the door, and caught a bus to the Animal Kingdom.

Having not had the luxury of post-race snacks, Elizabeth needed sustenance, so we stopped by Flame Tree Barbecue for ribs. They came with cornbread and beans and she let me try whatever. I found the ribs to be acceptable but the cornbread was really good, enhanced with cheese and jalapenos. Nice.

ELIZABETH: I was so hungry, everything tasted amazing. My only complaint is that Disney generally provides portions that are a bit too large for little old me to completely finish, and we were surrounded by some very hopeful ducks who would be HAPPY to help us, but of course you're not supposed to feed them. Sigh. 

From there we booked it to the noon showing of the Finding Nemo musical. I enjoy it - "Go With the Flow" is an especially great song, obviously - and the puppets are amazingly well done (MR. RAY!) but it definitely can't match my incredible love for Festival of the Lion King. There's a little part of me that wishes we just saw FotLK twice.

ELIZABETH: While I think they did an excellent job trimming down the story to fit within the (I think 40-minute?) time frame, I'm a little sad that they cut out the part with the whale-speak. "COME BAAAAAAAAAAACK!!!!"

After the show we were in the neighborhood, so why not check out the Expedition Everest single rider line? I think it posted a wait of something like 10 minutes, but we were on a train in less time than that. "Is this your first time on the ride?" the girl next to me asked. HA!

Also in the area: Maharajah Jungle Trek. Time for some tiger-spotting!

ELIZABETH: We got a surprisingly good view of them, too, considering that it was the hottest part of the day. Tigers are awesome. :)

Post Trek we backtracked to Dinosaur. The wait was posted at 30 minutes but it was actually more like 10. We did some pretty solid work with the photo op, I think.

A quick pit stop for frozen bananas and we were heading out of the park and over to the Studios. You know that sinking feeling you get when you're watching the bus you want pulling away? I hate that feeling. But we were in luck; the traditional sideways logic of the bus schedule sent us another one in short order.

ELIZABETH: Can anyone eat frozen bananas without thinking of Arrested Development anymore? I know I can't.

*insert inappropriate giggles here*

We had a fair amount of time to kill before our first FP+ slot opened up, so we wandered over to Star Tours. The wait was posted at 30 minutes, but it wound up being maybe half of that. We got Storm Troopers, pod racers, Admiral Akbar, and the Death Star. I was NOT the rebel spy this time. I guess it's a transitional title.

It was then time for our Rock 'n Roller Coaster FP+, and we were glad to have it - the posted wait if I remember correctly was at least 90 minutes if not longer. As we passed into the "recording studio" waiting area, we had an amusing conversation with the CMs about their autopilot spiels. "Go ahead and scan your band. I'm going to forget you did and ask you to do it again in like two minutes; make sure you tell me no." Forget the first song we got, but the ride ended with "Love in an Elevator" and that made me happy. LIVING IT UP AS YOU'RE GOING DOW-OW-OW-OW-OW-OW-OW-OW-OW-OWWWWWWN

Then it was time for our Tower of Terror FP+, a reservation I had made for Elizabeth because I love her but ACK ToT ACK ACK. I dunno, though; all the times Pat made me ride it in January must have desensitized me to a degree. I was still apprehensive but much more resigned than anxious. I attempted to maintain absolute stone face for the picture but was lucky to get it as I kept involuntarily laughing during the ride itself. Okay, ToT, you win this round. WE'LL SEE HOW I FEEL NEXT TIME.

Multiple attempts were then made to find a bar for a drink, but Tune-In was packed. Instead we wandered through a couple gift shops before using our final FP+, good for another ride on Star Tours. This time around we got the Storm Troopers to start again, but everything else was new: Wookie planet (yessss), Leia, and Boba Fett to finish it out.

ELIZABETH: I just want to take a moment to gripe about how I seem to be getting more sensitive to 3D motion-simulation rides as I get older. Most rides don't bother my AT ALL (see: roller coasters), but recent years, I find myself getting a headache after Star Tours-type rides, and then I have to take it easy or risk feeling extremely ill.  Curse you, biology!! (End rant)

Backing up to the hub, we were frowning studiously at the 40 minute posted wait time for the Great Movie Ride when a familiar figure called out to us: it was Kim! We talked to her a bit about her experiences during the race and other topics, during which it was revealed that Kim, your husband is HILARIOUS. After swapping a couple stories they headed off to the Indy Stunt Show while Elizabeth and I considered our next move.

Plans to see Beauty and the Beast were thwarted by a capacity crowd (has it always been that popular?). Instead, we picked up a Fantasmic FP+ and then put our names down for a table in the Brown Derby Lounge. More on this in a separate review, but let it be known it was a very enjoyable experience.

After that I was not quite sated, for I had been unable all day to kick my craving for a carrot cake cookie for the Writer's Stop, a delicious, frosting-filled item I had not had in YEARS. This trip, I succumbed - the CMs let me slip through the Osborne Lights blockage just to grab my treat. It was huge and sugary and terrible and wonderful and I regret nothing. ALL THE FROSTING ALL THE TIME!

ELIZABETH: And I got to have some of it, wheee!

We caught the 7pm showing of Fantasmic next - and here I must admit to being annoyed. We were admittedly at the end of the time slot for return, but we still made it. How is it that pretty much the entire stadium was already filled up? Oh, sure, there was room at the far end, but I knew how that ended after the show: in a crush of humanity, all of whom walk at quarter speed. FP+ for shows, why do you even exist?

The bleachers had a nice view if not a close one, happily, so we just settled there. The rather loud family next to us was a trifle annoying, but eventually they settled down and we were able to enjoy the show. Being as we were already up top, we were also able to book most of the way out of the stadium before getting caught up in the crowds. Altogether a primarily successful venture.

ELIZABETH: I also find Fantasmic one of the more interesting light shows to watch, since it has more of the story line than the others. Just once, I want Mickey's power of imagination to NOT BE ENOUGH, though...

And then it was time: time for my final turn through the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights. I had thought that by timing it after the first Fantasmic, the larger portion of people would be heading out of the park and we'd have space, but I was wrong - it was v. crowded. Also not as many bars and things as last year? But still beautiful and wonderful and I'm going to miss it SO MUCH.

We danced around and sang to the light show, including my favorite, a rendition of "What's This?" from The Nightmare Before Christmas. Eventually, though, it was time to let go. "One more song," I kept saying to Elizabeth, and eventually I meant it. I left the lights behind with a heavy heart.

On the way out the Great Movie Ride listed a 30 minute wait, but as I was curious to see the TCM changes we decided to take a chance on it. We did get in a bit earlier, as they had room for two groups of two - but something when the CM pulled us forward, Elizabeth missed it? I got to the loading station and turned around and she was gone. Happy ending: the CM went back in and grabbed her and we were reunited thusly. In the front row, no less!

ELIZABETH: Hey, I was watching Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall on the preview screen. You try and pay attention to anything else at the same time!

The current changes are pretty minimal, but I like were it's heading. A lot of the live narration has been replaced by a canned Robert Osborne track, and while some might find this to be a downgrade I think it makes sense; after all, we know he knows what he's talking about. There were also new clips in the final clip show, and I think they may have spruced things up a bit? Let's take it further, guys: new scenes, please! P.S. We got the gangster. :(

After that we headed out of the park and caught the bus to Pop. Once back in our room I readied my running clothes for a morning run before typing up my notes and uploading pictures and such. Elizabeth found Mulan on ABC Family and we watched that glorious, glorious movie for a bit before drifting off to sleep.

Up next: the last day. :/

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 19, 2015

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

It's time for another trip report! Yay! I LOVE trip reports! This time around we're covering the 2015 Wine & Dine Half Quarter Marathon trip. I'll be including reviews of my Food & Wine Festival purchases within the trip report itself, but restaurant reviews will be in their own separate posts. Commentary from Elizabeth provided in red. Click here to read all the posts in this report. Onward!

I came into the after party a little earlier than last year because a) the course was half the length and even the delay couldn't quite eat into that lead and b) Elizabeth had my stuff, so I didn't have to go barrel my way into the changing tent and elbow myself some space. Seriously, any time you can avoid the changing tent, you are winning.

Meanwhile Elizabeth was no doubt doing much more exciting things that I'm sure she'll tell you all about now.

ELIZABETH: Haha, well I got some filet mignon from Canada and a meat pie at the Brazil kiosk (specifically avoiding foods I remembered Jenn said she wanted to try, because I'm awesome like that). Then I watched IllumiNations and rode Spaceship Earth by myself - and for some reason, it decided to duplicate my face and make it look like I have an identical twin during the part at the end where they show you what the future will be like. It was weird.

It took a little while to figure out how to get back in for the after party, but I ended up having to exit the park and then turn around and come back in, and they gave me the special yellow wristband, yay!

By that time they had turned some of the rides back on, so I rode Test Track and then decided to stake out a place to wait for Jenn, because my feet were tired.

My first act was to swing by the little rentals shop hidden away far to the left facing Spaceship Earth, where a Cast Member helpfully gave me a bag to store my Powerade/snack box/etc. in. That done, I called Elizabeth and we met up in front of that bastion of meeting points that is our favorite geodesic dome. She handed me my stuff and I quickly changed inside the bathrooms by Test Track.

For Test Track it was to be! Last year it was raining all night to such a degree that the ride was down for the entire party. Better luck to be had this year! There was so minimal a line that Elizabeth and I were able to separately design our own cars. I am pleased to note that mine garnered a pretty solid score and was SO PRETTY to boot. JUST SO PRETTY.

I really like the "build your own car" element, but anyone else kinda miss the old ride design...?

ELIZABETH: I do. I mean, the futuristic thing is kind of cool, but...the realistic former design was a lot more engaging, in my opinion.

Then, naturally, it was Food & Wine Festival time. Stop one: the Farm Fresh kiosk, where we snagged the bacon mac 'n cheese and cider flight. Although the mac had gotten mixed reviews based on what I'd read on the internet, I found it enjoyable, especially upon discovery that it was a tad spicy. Could've used a little more cheese, though.

ELIZABETH: It had cooled enough that eating warm food wasn't completely unappetizing, either!

The cider flight was rather awesome if very sweet. It came with raspberry, pear, elderberry, and pumpkin ciders. The raspberry was the sweetest of the bunch; the pear was, well, pear cider, so not that exciting; I really enjoyed the elderberry, which was pleasantly dry without being sour; and the pumpkin was pretty intense, pumpkin-y but also darned sweet, like drinking bubbly pie. An enjoyable flight but not to be undertaken if you're not up for some sugar.

ELIZABETH: Mmmm, cider. I DO think it would have been good if they had been labeled, but deducing which one was which was fun.

Happily, I am almost ALWAYS up for sugar, and to prove it I marched on over to the Ireland booth and got us a warm chocolate pudding with Bailey's sauce. This was akin to eating an undercooked brownie, and as I am a firm believer in baked goods that haven't baked, I approve. It is not, however, a particularly unique entry. Would buy again if I really wanted some chocolate.

Actually, I think before we did that we stopped at Scotland for a smoked salmon potato pancake, so we did get some salt in there. Good stuff as always but what isn't good when there's lox involved?

Moving on again. We rounded the bend and stopped by Germany for bratwurst in a pretzel roll and the Riesling flight. The former was good but not as good as it could be - I could go for a spicier brat and a fresher, larger roll. Still, I am and no doubt will continue to be a sucker for anything in a pretzel roll.

The Riesling flight included three sweet white wines, and thanks to the card I could list them for you now... except that as far as I was concerned they were all basically the same. Subtle differences, sure, but nothing you'd remember. Skip unless you really, really want some Riesling and are easing yourself into the idea of change.

ELIZABETH: Yeah, it could have been the psychological effect of them all being the same color, but... they tasted the same to me, too.

We were good on food by that point, but not on rides - we ducked into the Mexico pavilion and hopped a private boat on our search for Donald. Gotta love the after party for personal vehicles.

ELIZABETH: It was pretty awesome to be able to put my feet up, too :)

Next up: a spin on Spaceship Earth, which is always a welcome moment of respite. The ending animation is still fun and all, but I think it's time for an update, don't you?

By that point it was 3am, and the temptation to close down Epcot in an hour was strong... but we were tired and there was much to do the next day. We were lame and headed home.

ELIZABETH: Not lame - practical! Can you imagine how grumpy we would have been the next day if we'd had an hour less sleep?!

Tune in next time for more adventures in Disney's Animal Kingdom and 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!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Fairest Trip Report Of All: Wine & Dine Half - I Mean Quarter - Marathon

It's time for another trip report! Yay! I LOVE trip reports! This time around we're covering the 2015 Wine & Dine Half Quarter Marathon trip. I'll be including reviews of my Food & Wine Festival purchases within the trip report itself, but restaurant reviews will be in their own separate posts. Commentary from Elizabeth provided in red. Click here to read all the posts in this report. Onward!

When we left off I was standing in line for the Wine & Dine Half Marathon bus with Kellie and Nicole. All seemed well. They were adorably dressed as Mousketeers. I was dressed as an abstract representation of normcore, a costume so ironic as to be invisible to the naked eye (okay, I wasn't wearing a costume. SOMEDAY).

We boarded a bus and I regaled them with tales of how my one cat is really stupid. We arrived. We hung out. We got watered. We pondered a bathroom break. We tracked down Rae and Kim. We found Danielle. The deejay played music ranging from OMG YES to STOP THAT RIGHT NOW. So far so normal.

It was shortly before we were about to leave for our corrals that things got weird. One of the announcers got on the PA system and informed us that there was a severe weather situation and we were all to evacuate to the baseball stadium. The race was NOT called YET but we would be holding in the stadium until further notice.

Okay then. We all got up - all, I don't know, what, 13,000 or so of us? - and piled into the stadium.

Our little group worked its way through the bowels of the building looking for a bathroom WITHOUT a million-person line, eventually settling on where one enterprising woman had annexed a men's bathroom for coed use. Men were permitted inside so long as they didn't care that women were in there using the stalls - and what I found to be a surprising number chose to look elsewhere. These are the same men who think nothing of stopping off to the side of the course and peeing in the woods, right?

I want to take a moment here to thank all my blogger buddies for hanging out with me while the race was postponed. If I had been alone I would've been SO BORED AND STRESSED. As it was it helped enormously to be surrounded by people I knew.

Finally, after about an hour, we were informed that the race would be going on - but the course had been "slightly modified." Modified how? This remained a mystery from the time we left the stadium to the time we were allowed into the corrals. It was only then that we were informed that the course was now 7 miles. :( :( :(

In some ways this was just as well - it was VERY humid and not too cool either, and we wouldn't be missing big chunks of the after party. And certainly I can understand why Disney chose to delay the race; if they felt it was potentially unsafe then they needed to protect both their runners and themselves from a legal standpoint. But I'm not gonna lie: I'm STILL bummed we didn't get to run through the Animal Kingdom. I wanted to tell the Festival of the Lion King people I loved them again, dammit! (And that SUCKS for everyone who had trained for their very first half marathon.)

But there was nothing else for it but to take my 7 miles with gratitude. After all, it could've been worse - the whole thing could've been cancelled! And so I splintered off from the group to take my place in corral E, sad but not without hope for the future.

The race itself was, not unexpectedly, frankly wonky. Mile 1 came where expected but as there had been no time for the organizers to make many modifications beyond course length we were hitting the Mile 8 marker scarcely after my GPS had registered a mile and a half. And then just before mile 2 there were people handing out Clif Shots. I appreciated the gesture but yeah, no thanks.

My favorite bit of weirdness, however, came when I ran over what would have been the 15K chip time pad. It hadn't been recalibrated, and so I got this text:


It felt like no time at all before I was entering the Studios - and as I traversed the backstage area of the course I got a lovely surprise. A girl ran up next to me and informed me that a) she recognized me because b) she read my blog and c) my WDW Marathon registration post had inspired her to sign up last minute too. This made me so happy that all I could was blabber out a thank you like an idiot, but if you're still reading: thanks, person! Say hi in the comments! Hit me up at the marathon! :D

After a bit of twisting and turning and tunneling we wound up in the highlight - alas, the now former highlight - of the race: running through the Osborne Lights. Knowing I would likely never experience such a thing again, I couldn't resist stopping for a few pictures.

From there we ran out of the park and hit the path between the Studios and Epcot. I have mixed feelings about this section: on the one hand, I know exactly how far I still have to go and I don't always appreciated being forced to allay my ignorance. On the other hand, the Boardwalk area is beautiful, and once you hit the Boardwalk/Beach/Yacht Club resorts there are a lot of great spectators, signs, and cheering. My favorites were the guys who had dragged lawn chairs out and were watching the race go by while sipping beers. Nicely done, guys.

I ran over the bridge and through the International Gateway into Epcot. There was a small part of me that hoped that the race course had been diverted through World Showcase, but alas, it was not to be. We ran the usual course down through England/Canada/into Future World. Just past Spaceship Earth I met Elizabeth where I waved at her vigorously and with gratitude but for her own sake did not go in for the hug (OMG SO MUCH SWEAT GUYS THE HUMIDITY UGH).

And then that was about it. Out of Epcot, to the finish line, bam, done. My GPS registered 6.9 miles. Sigh. But I did high five Mickey, so there's that.

I collected my medal and water and Powerade and snack box but declined the free beer in favor of better stuff in the after party. Elizabeth had my clothes, so I skipped all the changing tents and suchlike and went straight into Epcot... but I'll save that for 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!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Fairest Week In Review: 11/17

JENN: All right! So, I understand no running has occurred but you have an exciting reason?

MOON: Well, running occurred before Tuesday, but on Tuesday... Well, it's not that exciting, really. I just fell on the street.

JENN: Oh no! Are you okay?!

MOON: The fall was pretty nasty. Phone, keys went flying (although I kept my shoes) My hip got pretty smashed. I still can't lift my leg. I've discovered this past week that you kind of need your hip for most things.

Official FROA injury mascot.

JENN: Yeah, it's helpful... Have you been checked out?!

MOON: So, I called Christian [bf = med student]. It definitely wasn't broken because I could still get up and everything, so I decided to wait on getting it looked at. I also had to drive to Long Island on Thursday morning and had work pretty much until that time. This is a terrible excuse, but I had a wedding to attend, dammit.

JENN: Ah, yes, wedding cake and pretty dresses are VERY IMPORTANT.

MOON: Eighteen course Chinese banquet? Yeeeeeah. Well, more like five for me since most of it was meat, but still. I'm glad I went. The wedding was awesome. I heard the best vows of my life. I also got to dog sit!

JENN: So lucky!!!

MOON: Yeah, it was pretty awesome. The only downside was a lot of walking.

JENN: So how's your hip now?

MOON: Still limping, but I do feel improvement. I had packed all my running gear because I knew I would finally have a few days of relative ease but, that didn't happen.

JENN: Awww. In a couple weeks, once your hip has healed - maybe over the holidays!

MOON: I had just gotten my run back onnnnn.

I know. :( I can relate - last year it totally sucked when I busted my foot.

MOON: :(

JENN: I'm sorry. :( I hope it gets better soon!

MOON: So, let's hear about you!

JENN: Nothing much to report - week after the Quarter Marathon (recap coming up tomorrow) so I was kinda making up for lost miles. Plan to do one more light-ish week this week and then the week after that I'm gonna jump back in training for the WDW Marathon.

Speaking of running and Disney... to the roundup!

- Elbowglitter insists on having fun while exercising.
- Pink Elephant on Parade, Fit2Flex, and Live Run Grow all have their Wine & Dine Quarter Marathon reviews out already.
- Main Street Gazette points out a little Disney detail in the Studios.
- Living A Disney Life discusses the best rides for when you're short on time.
- The Disney Hipsters highlight Pete's Silly Sideshow - got some good pictures there last year!

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 16, 2015

The Fairest Trip Report Of All: 11/07

It's time for another trip report! Yay! I LOVE trip reports! This time around we're covering the 2015 Wine & Dine HalfQuarter Marathon trip. I'll be including reviews of my Food & Wine Festival purchases within the trip report itself, but restaurant reviews will be in their own separate posts. Commentary from Elizabeth provided in red. Click here to read all the posts in this report. Onward!

This day, I did something very unlike me: I let everyone sleep in. That's so not my bag. But the day before had been somewhat stressful, we had a mid-morning breakfast ADR, and - most importantly - we planned to be up VERY LATE. So: we slept to a whopping 8:30am. Decadent!

We were out the door by 9:30am, though, as we needed to make it to the Wilderness Lodge by 10:30am. We made good time - bus to Magic Kingdom, resort launch boat to the Lodge - and arrived about 15 minutes early. After a quick bathroom stop (the Artist Pointe bathroom is surprisingly low on fancy details) I got in line at the Whispering Canyon Cafe desk, only to be informed that I would not be given so much as a pager until my entire group had assembled. Harrumph.

So we hung around the lobby until our Blogger Summit arrived, unfortunately waylaid by a dawdling bus, and finally managed to snag a pager around 10:50am. Then it was another 20 minute or so of perusing the gift shop and generally killing time until our pager went off. Was the ordeal worth it? Full review of the restaurant to come, but SPOILER ALERT: oh yes.

ELIZABETH: The fountain and bridge inside the building were pretty cool, too.

Post breakfast Elizabeth and I snagged a bus to the Animal Kingdom and picked up our first FP+ for the day, Kilimanjaro Safaris. The animals weren't out much, no doubt feeling lazy due to the heat, but we got some great views of the white rhinos wallowing in their mud bath.

ELIZABETH: And baby giraffes!!

From there we ran over to Expedition Everest for FP+ #2. We asked the CM at the front of the line for the back seats, but she got confused and ended up putting us at the very front of the train. This was good too - great view to be had! Everyone knows I love Everest, and naturally the moment we got off the ride we jumped into the 5 minute single rider line and went again. Wee!

We nosed through the Everest gift shop a bit where Elizabeth got a hat and I got a Powerade. Then it was over to Dinosaur for our last FP+, after which we looked around THAT gift shop for awhile (look, we really needed the air conditioning).

ELIZABETH: Yeah...I like to think that I am fairly tolerant of the heat, but MAN was it unpleasantly hot.

While there, I checked the Festival of the Lion King show times and determined we would make the 4pm show just fine.

BUT NOT WITHOUT A FASTPASS. Our next act was to march over to the FP+ kiosks in the Oasis and pick up an FP+ for the show - no problem. We got into the FP+ line about 20 minutes early, only to be let into the show at the exact same time as the regular line. I ask you: WHAT IS THIS FASTPASS FOR?

Luckily we still got my favorite seating position (Lion section, far end next to Simba), and being that The Festival of the Lion King is the greatest show ever, I soon forgot my FP+ gripe. The bass singer (is his name Mufume? Am I making that up?) did the squeakiest "COUP" ever during "Be Prepared" which was hilarious and awesome. And high-fiving tumble monkeys FTW!

ELIZABETH: Anything that involves gymnastics and giant trampolines is a win in my book.

At this point I felt it was time to make my exit. We headed back to the front and I left Elizabeth at guest relations to figure out the location of the nearest mailbox. I ran for the bus and was at Pop Century again in due time, where I purchased a kid's pasta meal. With a cookie, not apples or carrots, and I'll let Leslie Knope explain why.

ELIZABETH: I didn't do anything too exciting in the meantime (I felt weirdly aimless without Jenn to tell me where we were going next!), but I did get to the Conservation Station in enough time to watch the animals being put away for the night, and saw It's Tough to Be a Bug, which I had never done before. I'm not a huge fan of the shows where your seat pokes you, but other than that it was actually pretty cool.  One poor kid (looked about 2) started screaming halfway through and her mom had to carry her out (it's apparently a common occurence).

Then it was a waiting game - I killed a couple hours updating photos, typing up notes, and prepping for the race. Around 7:30pm I met Kellie and Nicole in the bus line and it was time for the Wine & Dine Half Marathon to begin!

OR SO WE THOUGHT. Tune in next time...

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 13, 2015

The Fairest Trip Report Of All: 11/06

It's time for another trip report! Yay! I LOVE trip reports! This time around we're covering the 2015 Wine & Dine Half Quarter Marathon trip. I'll be including reviews of my Food & Wine Festival purchases within the trip report itself, but restaurant reviews will be in their own separate posts. Commentary from Elizabeth provided in red. Onward!

The travel process for this trip began with so much more excitement than usual! Some background first: Elizabeth lives in Annapolis, and I live just outside of DC, but our respective sets of parents live outside Baltimore a) within three minutes' drive of each other and b) about 10 minutes from the airport. Therefore we both spent the night at our parents' houses.

I woke up at 5:45am to a confirmation text from Elizabeth that she, too, was awake. Good. I dressed, threw together a few last-minute items, and went downstairs to grab my luggage - at which point I received a phone call from Elizabeth: she had forgotten her wallet in Annapolis. To reiterate, we were currently just outside Baltimore.

ELIZABETH: The moment I realized I didn't have it is definitely in my top ten "awful sinking feeling" moments.


We briefly pondered what alternative means of passing airport security might be available, but ultimately decided that the best course of action would be for Elizabeth to drive back to Annapolis, grab her wallet, come back, and see if she could make the flight. "If I go fast I can make it in 35 minutes each way," she said. "Without her license...?" my dad said. So that was the plan.

ELIZABETH: See how dedicated I am to making my flight?  Willing to risk license suspension!  Seriously, though, at this point all I could think was "Oh god, I've messed up my own vacation AND JENN'S. THIS IS TERRIBLE."

In the meantime, it was determined that I would proceed with the flight as planned - should Elizabeth miss it, it would be much easier to find a new flight for one person rather than two. My dad dropped me off at the airport and I quickly made it through luggage check and security. I grabbed an egg sandwich from the Potbelly outside my gate and waited for the plane/Elizabeth.

Alas, it was not to be - she didn't quite make it, thanks to a long line at security. A quick phone call cemented her plans to shoot for a standby flight, and she promised to text me while I was in the air so that I would know what was up when I landed. In the meantime I snagged myself a window seat toward the front of the plane with a bunch of ladies on a girls trip to the Food & Wine Festival. They all ordered vodka cocktails, and it was pretty amusing to listen to them discuss their food plans while I did the magazine crossword.

I landed to the good news that Elizabeth had made it via standby onto a 9:15am flight, so she was only about an hour and a half behind me. Not too shabby. Thank God Southwest runs like 18,000 flights to Orlando daily. One small problem: I had Elizabeth's Magic Band (and luggage tag, but no use for that now). Luckily the Magical Express people assured me that if she just gave her name at the podium upon arrival she'd have no trouble boarding.

ELIZABETH: I ended up sitting next to a teenager with headphones and a middle-aged woman who didn't say anything to me on my flight, so it was a bit boring, but I did get to read a bit and take some calming breaths after the stressful morning.  The moment when they called my name from the standby list is now in by top ten "blissful relief" moments.

The Magical Express dropped me off at Pop Century in due time, where sadly my room was not yet ready. I left Elizabeth's Magic Band at the desk and wandered off. It being HOT AS BALLS in Orlando (what happened to the cool weather of last year?!), I changed into shorts and a tank in the bathroom before checking my carry-on at luggage assistance and snagging a bus to the expo.

Bib pickup wasn't too crowded - I had my bib pretty quickly - but the exhibition hall was INSANE. I briefly ducked into the official merchandise and briefly pondered a wine glass, but ultimately decided the crazy-long line wasn't worth it. Had quite enough of that at MCM, thank you very much. I took a quick spin around the rest of the expo but nothing exciting was going down. Much better to get the hell out and hit up Epcot.

Meanwhile, I got a text from Disney informing me my room was ready. I let Elizabeth know; she assured me she was on the bus and would meet me shortly.

I picked up my own bus to the Boardwalk area resorts and walked to the International Gateway to enter EPCOT! YAY! In a celebratory mood, I made my first stop of the Food & Wine Festival the Desserts & Champagne kiosk, where I bought the cheapest champagne available. I sipped it slowly while wandering around looking through gift shops. I had arrived.

ELIZABETH: I think it was around this point that I texted you saying that I would be needing a drink once I arrived...

By my count Elizabeth should be showing up soon, so I decided to kill time by charging my phone at the Mission: Space wall outlet. My friend! I plugged in and watched CMs attempt to recruit people for that post-ride Space Race video game - they were even successful once or twice.

And then ELIZABETH ARRIVED! YAY! I directed her to my spacey location and we wept and hugged and spoke of the terror and uncertainty that had tainted our solo journeys. Or we just high-fived. Something like that. Anyway, we were just in time for our first FP+ reservation for Soarin' so we hightailed it over to the Land and took in a ride before it all closes down in January - in the top row, no less. Looking forward to that additional ride bay as well; even the FP+ line for this one seems to take forever.

By then it was waaaay past lunchtime (and you know you need to eat when a single glass of champagne makes you just a trifle loopy). Time to get serious about the Food & Wine Festival. Indeed, we got SO serious we skipped our remaining FPs (just for Spaceship Earth and Mission: Space so whatever).

ELIZABETH: Beer was far more important to me than rides at that point. :)

Incidentally, I want to share our payment strategy in case anyone else ever travels with people they want to share food with but not a bank account. We got a gift card from the gift shop outside Soarin' and each put $50 on the same card. We used this card for all our F&W purchases. Warning, though: while the card we got is attached to a wristlet, ours somehow fell off. Luckily I noticed at the time and was able to rescue it, but I'd keep an eye out if I were you.

Our first stop: Mexico for sweet corn cheesecake and chicken chilaquiles. The latter I had last year (and was on the list) and if anything it was BETTER than a remember - not too sweet and a unique cross between a flan-type dish and more traditional corn pudding. The chilaquiles were fine but kinda limp and boring in my opinion.

Next up: craft beer in The Odyssey. Where I got carded! ("You look twenty" said the CM. Score.) We got the Craft Beer Lovers Craft Beer Flight, which included a blonde ale, a tripel, a vanilla espresso porter, and a bourbon barrel aged imperial stout. The blonde ale was forgettable; the tripel spicy and up my alley; the vanilla espresso porter was good but INTENSE; and the bourbon aged stout was pretty good but I find I don't remember it too well either. Overall a fun experience.

Our next nibble was in China, where we split the Peking duck in a steamed bun. The duck was very good and crispy, but the steamed bun - and I LOVE steamed bun - was rather stale by my estimation. I'd get it again, though, in the hopes that we just happened to get one that sat out a little too long.

ELIZABETH: Yeah, the bun kind of seemed like an afterthought.  The gyoza bun (from Japan) that I had later was much better, in my opinion.

Skipping past a bunch of kiosks with major lines (HELLO GERMANY), we moved on to Japan, where we both got spicy hand rolls. Being a sushi person, I love these, but I kinda wish they were regular tuna instead of spicy - the spiciness kinda masks the deliciousness of the fish.

On to the dish I was most looking forward to: pao de queijo from Brazil. And guys, it was good. It was really, really good. I enjoyed it immensely. But... somehow it wasn't as revelatory as I remember. It was bready cheesy goodness but it didn't blow me away as it did last year. Change in the recipe or change in me? Things to ponder...

By that point we'd traversed most of World Showcase. We were hot. We were sweaty. We needed something good and cool. So we impulse bought the sugar cane cocktail in the Dominican Republic. This reportedly contained rum but to me it mostly tasted citrus-y. The sugar cane stirrer was an interesting novelty but that's all. I wouldn't order this one again.

Our last F&W item for the day was a doozy: the nitrogenated or whatever chocolate truffle thing from the Chew Lab. This was good - cold on the outside, creamy chocolatey moussey goodness on the inside. Once you get past the presentation, though, it was really just chocolate mousse. Good, but maybe not worth doing more than once.

ELIZABETH: The best part was watching the gentleman who was serving them be constantly enveloped in mist. I think I remarked something along the lines of "Gee, I wonder which one is the nitrogen-cooled dessert?"

We were right next to Club Cool, so we ducked in so Elizabeth could try the new sodas. We both mourned the loss of China's watermelon soda together. After that we caught a ride on Nemo in The Seas, then headed out, grabbing the monorail series to the Magic Kingdom; we had decided to eschew IllumiNations in favor of MK's parade and fireworks.

For our first act, we went straight to the FastPass kiosks in Fantasyland. We were briefly confused by the way MDE insists on showing you everyone you know's FPs in addition to your own, but managed to figure out a FP for Splash Mountain.

While waiting for our time slot to open up, we wandered around New Fantasyland. The wait for The Little Mermaid was pretty minimal, so we hopped in line. The ride is cute, but we wound up stuck just outside the Under the Sea room. CUE EAR WORM. Why couldn't that have happened in front of Ursula? I WASN'T DONE SINGING ALONG.

We knocked out a quick Storybook Circus walk through purely for the sights before heading back toward Splash, stopping on the way for a line-free ride on the Haunted Mansion. Like the Tower of Terror, the Haunted Mansion lists 13 minutes when there's no wait; with the help of a Cast Member who suggested I use flash, I was able to get a photo of this phenomenon.

The line for Splash Mountain was listed at only 10 minutes, but whatever, we had FPs and we might as well use them. I was extremely amused when Elizabeth forgot which drop was the big one again.

ELIZABETH: I forget how long the ride is! I blame other theme park splash rides that just bring you up and drop you.  There's no suspense.

Our original plan had been to catch the 8:30pm parade, but as we walked back toward Fantasyland and saw all the empty spots in Frontierland we decided to grab a place for the 7pm iteration. Elizabeth held down the fort while I ran into Adventureland and found a cart that could sell me some Powerade (no red, only blue, sadly). The Main Street Electrical Parade went by in all its glory and was awesome as per usual. Still kinda miss Spectromagic, though.

Time for my new favorite strategy: watching the fireworks from the Tomorrowland bridge before bolting over to Space Mountain before everyone else shows up. This does not provide for the most perfect view of the fireworks, but I got distracted halfway through when I suddenly realized I couldn't remember if I'd packed my face cleanser and then I couldn't concentrate anyway.

 Space Mountain was all but a walk on when we got there, though, so it totally worked - AND we got the left side track in the back car, my favorite combo.

Friendship tip: you know you're simpatico with someone when you scream in perfect unison on Space Mountain.


If you have the time, you can't ride Space Mountain and not also ride the Peoplemover. Gotta love the Peoplemover. We took a relaxing spin, and as we passed by Space Mountain we saw the wait time was up to 45 minutes. STRATEGY.

On the way out...

ME: I kinda want to stay for the 8:30pm parade...
ELIZABETH: Is it different?
ME: No. I'm just crazy.

Nah, we'd had a long day and we were too tired for a double-parader. But know that I am the sort of person who would've.

We grabbed a bus back to Pop, retrieved my bag from luggage assistance, and grabbed sandwiches from the food court. Elizabeth got a pulled pork sandwich she said was fine, and I got a vegetable sandwich that was also fine but VERY oily. Props to the CM who served it to me for repeatedly referring to me as Princess, though. When you're applying the term to the adults ("adults") you know you're dedicated.

Dinner was followed by a brief wander through the gift shop so that Elizabeth could get a postcard for her grandmother, and then it was off to our room for unpacking and the like. I showered and typed up notes for this report, and we fell asleep to the dulcet tones of the ending of Footloose (the original not the remake, because we remake?).

Fun fact: our room number was 1402. You may recognize this as the same number as the haunted hotel room in Steven King's novella/movie 1402. Are we murdered by the paranormal during this trip? Tune in next week to find out!

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!