Monday, December 24, 2018

Merry Christmas Eve! Win Yourself A Present!

Hello and welcome to this very special Christmas Eve episode of The Fairest Run Of All! I am here today to tell you about a super sweet giveaway I'm co-hosting with Disney In Your Day. Well, I say co-hosting; Becky did most of the work. I'm just here to tell you to GO ENTER THIS HOLIDAY GIVEAWAY BECAUSE THE PRIZE IS SO GOOD. Observe:

Win it here

It's a race bib display holder! I know! Synergy!

I never should have agreed to host this giveaway because now I can't enter. But YOU can. Do it here. Do it now!

And with that, I bid you adieu for 2018. Christmas is tomorrow, and then my birthday, and then I'm just gonna chill until the new year hits me right in the face. I shall see you all in January for the WDW Marathon.

And so I exclaim, e'er I run out of sight, Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

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

Thursday, December 20, 2018

The Fairest Week In Review: 12/20

Good morning! We are deep in December!! It is peak Christmastime!!!!!

I have:

- decorated the tree
- wrapped the presents
- yelled at the cat for nosing around in the presents
- baked cookies (okay, that's a lie; Pat baked them and I provided moral support)
- replaced lunch with cookies
- watched Christmas movies
- demanded Pat wear my Santa Mickey hat

... so it's going well over here. I'm a big Christmas fan so naturally I am increasingly excited. And then after Christmas is my birthday, a day where ONLY I am excited so I have to march around all day demanding attention, and then New Year's Eve which is never as good as it's supposed to be, and then the WDW Marathon, which is invariably BETTER than I expect it to be. Yay!!!

After that winter is DTM, there is nothing to look forward to, and I wish I were dead. But right now it's Christmastime, and life is good.

Here's what training looks time in this glorious time:

Sunday | ran 5.37 miles outside in 55 minutes

Monday | walked 2.07 miles outside in 35 minutes

Tuesday | ran 5.38 miles outside in 55 minutes; 55 minute ballet class

Wednesday | ran 3.03 miles outside in 30 minutes

Thursday | walked 2.48 miles outside in 40 minutes; 55 minute ballet class

Friday | ran 15.1 miles on the treadmill in 2:30
Yeah, yeah, I probably should've done this outside, but I didn't feel like dealing with the cold weather.

Saturday | rest

Normally this is roundabouts where I'd leave you for the year, but I'm teaming up with the lovely Disney In Your Day for a giveaway on Christmas Eve so be sure to check back for that. It's a runner-tastic prize!

While you're waiting, kill the time with the roundup:

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

In Which Jenn Doesn't Need New Running Clothes - But...

My dresser is 80% running clothes. I have a draw each for sports bras, short sleeved tops and tanks, long sleeved tops, and running pants, plus a couple free-floating warm weather tops and vests and a collection of hats and gloves. Probably, most likely, I have enough running clothes.

And yet I can't help but coveting new things. It's so motivating to say to myself, hey, on tomorrow's run you can wear your new running socks - get excited! So even though I know, logically, that I don't need to spend the money, I have a hard time letting a running gear sale pass me by.

Mostly I'm talking about C9 by Champion, Target's athletic line. They release discounts periodically, and every time they do I can't help but browse. And then there was the time Target was offering a $10 gift card for every $40 in clothing purchased, C9 included. I walked out with a small but no less superfluous haul. And let's not even talk about what's on my Christmas list.

It's not strictly wanton! Since I've been running outside more and more a lot of the warmer stuff is quite necessary. And since it's a Target brand it's not like I'm constantly dropping tons of tons of money. And this is how I snagged a pair of running pants that had stripes in Figment purple and orange that doubled as part of a race costume. Practical!

But the best example of my playing with fire was when I ran the Baltimore Marathon. Guys, I did something very very stupid: I bought a pair of running capris a week before the race, and without even testing them, I RAN THE RACE IN THEM.

Like so.

Why? Why would I pull such an obviously boneheaded stunt? Was it the spectacular pattern? The superior design? Did all my other tried and tested running capris spontaneously combust?

No. It's just that these pants had... A ZIPPERED POCKET. I could put my house key and a credit card and ID in my pocket and fear NOTHING. In perfect comfort too, unlike my sometimes sweaty and restrictive wristlet. It was 100% worth the risk. And it paid off, too - I didn't see so much as a lick of chafing.

A classic case of do as I say, not as I do, kids. But the siren call of shiny new running gear is so tantalizing sometimes...

Do you have a minor obsession with new running gear, too?

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

Thursday, December 13, 2018

In Which Jenn Is Determined To Embrace The Suck

I've been thinking a lot about my last Marine Corps Marathon vs. my last WDW Marathon. In both races I felt my energy flagging the middle. The difference? In MCM, it was a downward slope - but in WDW, I rallied in a big way.

Any number of factors can be influential when it comes to race performance - training, weather, injuries, hydration, fuel, the works - but in this case, I think the deciding factor may have come down to one thing: attitude.

Everyone knows the WDW Marathon is full of joy and fun - how can running through the parks be anything but? Sure, the bare stretches of road in between can be rough, but I never fail to be bolstered considerably by the incredible spectators and energy of the Hollywood Studios, Boardwalk area, and World Showcase finish.

Alas and alack, they can't all be runDisney races. But having thought back on my last Marine Corps Marathon experience, I think maybe I'm giving that race's own vibe too little credit.

Specifically I think back to the last couple miles of the race, in Crystal City, after you've conquered the dread 14th Street Bridge but still have a bit of a slog to the finish line. This is exactly where you need to pick up your chin and fight for your finish, but I must admit I sagged a little without that Disney boost.

And yet now that I'm not actively in the moment I remember so much good energy - the little kids holding out their hands for high fives and the spectators and their signs and their candy and, oh yes, their booze. The Fireball people and the very nice men who were carefully portioning out tiny cups of light beer which I gratefully took because COLD BUBBLES YES.

Why not take selfies with these incredible helpers like you might a runDisney photo stop? Why not collect all the high fives you can from streets lined as thick as the Boardwalk? Why not, as a self-same spectator sign suggested, embrace the suck?

Much easier, of course, to paint this happy picture after the race is over. But perhaps if I remind myself before my next non-Disney marathon to look for the little joyful touches, I can port some of that same spirit into plain normal boring real life and charge for the finish.

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

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

The Fairest Week In Review: 12/12

It's beginning to look a lot like... WDW MARATHON TRAINING PEAK TIME!!!

Yup, my pre-WDW Marathon 15-miler approacheth, and I am READY. For starters, it helps that it's only 15 miles. Should I do a longer run? Probably. But it feels like I just finished the Marine Corps Marathon and Two Course Challenge and I don't care to push myself. Besides, I've done a mere 15 miles before this race before. It's not like I'm running it for time. I'm running it for maximum FUN!


Other training notes ahead:

Sunday | ran 10.24 miles outside in 1:45

Monday | walked 2.28 miles outside in 40 minutes; 55 minute ballet class

Tuesday | rest
I had a cough and also my knees were kinda bothering me, so I took an unscheduled rest day.

Wednesday | ran 7.09 miles outside in 1:15
And then promptly added extra mileage to my remaining runs. I'm not saying I'm smart; I'm just telling you what happened.

Thursday | walked 2,04 miles outside in 35 minutes; 55 minute ballet class

Friday | ran 7.17 miles outside in 1:10
This weirdly good run was brought to you by sunshine and Ke$ha. It's amazing what taking a half day and running in the afternoon can do for a gal.

Saturday | rest


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

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

The Fairest Trip Report Of All: ANOTHER Nomad Lounge Review

Trip report time! See all the posts in this report.

Q. Oh Jenn, you've reviewed the Nomad Lounge in like 87 times. Why don't you try eating somewhere different in Disney's Animal Kingdom, like Harambe Market or Yak and Yeti?

A. No.

Q. Okay, well, if you must go to Nomad Lounge AGAIN, why don't you order a drink you've never had before?

A. No. The Hightower Rocks, essentially a watermelon margarita, comes with an enormous wedge of watermelon. It's a drink and snack. To stray would be to set oneself up for disappointment.

Q. Fine, but couldn't Erika have tried something different?

A. No. She wanted to drink my drink, and the Jenn's Tattoo deserves to be shared with the world.

Q. All right, all right. Did you at least try some new food?

A. Yes! Erika got the cheese plate, which offered an assortment of cheeses (included a bleu, brie, and two types of hard cheeses) alongside almond streusel and sweet potato puree. Erika was not a big fan of the bleu cheese but was quick to note that her distaste was more of a personal preference than anything wrong with the cheese itself. She was very into the almond streusel.

I got the Impossible sliders, since I've heard so much about these plant-based burger wonders. And they were indeed enjoyable, with a good meaty flavor. They reminded me of a pleasantly prepared well done hamburger - I prefer rare, myself, but for what it was I liked it. The slaw on top of the burgers added some crunch but wasn't overly flavorful.

The sliders were served alongside yucca fries, which I enjoyed. They reminded me of a denser steak fry, with a crisp and nicely seasoned outer casing. I would not have been mad if there had been more on the plate.

Q. Great! Glad you enjoyed yourself. But next time you go to DAK, maybe you could try something new?

A. Ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm................

How many times have you been to Nomad Lounge? Twelve? Ninety? Eleventy-billion?

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

Friday, December 7, 2018

Happy Friday: Sweaty, Yet Satisfying

Let's just call this Christmas shopping inspiration. As I always say, Hot Topic offers the best selection of Disney apparel!

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

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

The Fairest Week In Review: 12/05

I've spent a lot of time in my most recent weekly recaps complaining about how a) I do not live at Walt Disney World and b) how where I do live is COLD right now. None of this has changed and I am still angry about it.

BUT! In the spirit of the Christmas season I thought it might be interesting to experiment with being, you know, kinda sorta a little positive sometimes maybe? So here is a thing I do currently like: seeing dogs on my run. All dogs are good but sometimes they see you running and they're like oh are we running ooooh!!!! and then they try to run and their owners don't let them but I know that for the moment my dog friend and I are simpatico.

Here are some of the runs on which I sometimes saw dogs:

Sunday | ran 10.08 miles outside in 1:45

Monday | walked 2.39 miles outside in 40 minutes; 55 minute ballet class

Tuesday | ran 5.29 miles outside in 55 minutes
My GPS watch started acting all wacky on this run, clocking sloooooooooow miles and then a weirdly quick one. Subsequent runs were less weird but still didn't feel quite right. I'm hoping the next update will make things a little more consistent.

Wednesday | ran 5.19 miles outside in 55 minutes

Thursday | walked 2.02 miles outside in 35 minutes; 55 minute ballet class

Friday | ran 5.07 miles outside in 55 minutes

Saturday | rest
We ran a fair number of errands, though, including getting our Christmas tree! Yay!!!

Enjoy some more feels from the roundup (or not; I'm not THAT curatorial):

Disney Adulting gets your Christmas list going with stocking stuffers.
Disney In Your Day plans your Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party experience for you.
Disney Travel Babble painstakingly assembles a Disneyland Christmas playlist.
The Main Street Gazette ferrets out more DAK details.
Living A Disney Life goes big with DCL concierge.
Kait Around The Kingdom shares some interesting info on each state's favorite Disney princess.

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

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

The Fairest Trip Report Of All: Everything Pop Food Court Review

Trip report time! See all the posts in this report.

Soooo I committed a cardinal blogger sin when it comes to this post about Pop Century's food court offerings: I didn't take much in the way of photos. I KNOW. Amateur hour.

In my defense, I don't usual eat at my resort's food court with much frequency, and I was caught by surprise when we hit up Everything Pop with the frequency that we did. Once I realized I had a post on my hands, it was practically too late.

Lack of pictures aside, I'm going to walk you through some of my Everything Pop food impressions all the same, as I personally find the written descriptions on food posts to be just as important - and often neglected! Here we go:

We picked up breakfast sandwiches on our first day, consisting of eggs, bacon, and cheese on a bagel (which I do not recall being toasted, although the whole thing was warmed). There were scads of these pre-made hanging out at the station, but it was actually pretty decent. Mind you, the scrambled egg was the usual mass-produced stuff and the bacon was, as per Disney standard, limp, but you can't really go wrong with the salty-fatty-cheese-y combo. It's not haute cuisine but it does the job fine.

The night before the 10K we picked up my usual pre-race meal of a pasta kids' meal. Learn more to find out about its magical powers. Erika got a chicken parmigiana and did not seem unhappy with it.

However, the night before the half marathon we'd been to Epcot to sample some of the glorious offerings at the Food & Wine Festival. We didn't quite want a full meal, but we did want a little something to fortify us before bed, so we chose a slice of cheese pizza to split. It comes with a Caesar side salad normally but we were able to request it on its own.

This pizza is... fine. It is not even Domino's good, but it is frozen pizza good or maybe a slight step above? The cheese was melted, the marinara was not offensive, and the bread held it all together. Not a sophisticated flavor profile but an acceptable carbohydrate delivery system for pre-race purposes.

For our lazy post-half meal we dragged ourselves down to the food court for lunch. I'm afraid I don't remember what Erika got but I went with the vegetable sandwich. This was a mistake.

In fairness, the description doesn't mention much about it beyond the vegetables, cheese, and bread involved. But in my head I was picturing something more panini-like, probably because of the provolone cheese. Sadly, nothing about this monstrosity was hot, including said cheese. It was a massive collection of cold vegetables on bread. And not even fresh veggies either - everything was cooked or dried, and it was all doused in pesto. Together the flavors were entirely too aggressive while being impossible to consume together for an overall flavor profile. Soggy and cold all at once. Disappointed. Disappointed!!!

And so we come to my final purchase of the trip: a whoopie pie. It was an impulse purchase by a sad girl about to leave her heart's home. How could I not? It's shaped like Mickey and covered in edible glitter!

Unfortunately this was only okay. The chocolate cake portion was one-note and too thick, obscuring the inner spread of vanilla frosting. The frosting layer wasn't thin per se, but it wasn't thick ENOUGH for the cake-to-frosting ratio. Mind you, I wish EVERYTHING had more frosting, or, alternatively, just buy me a can of frosting and give me a spoon. But if I wanted something sweet at Pop I'd get a cupcake or something next time.

Overall I find Everything Pop to be perfectly serviceable but largely uninspired. I think Landscape of Flavors across the lake at Art of Animation has more interesting options, although I haven't been there in a couple years so who knows.

How do you feel about Everything Pop? Do you have any frosting? Can I have some?

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

Thursday, November 29, 2018

In Which Jenn Has A New WDW Background Music Obsession

GUYS. With Thanksgiving is behind us, no one can disagree with me that it's officially Christmas time. Which means that I can now tell you, with no fear of repercussions whatsoever, about my newest background music obsession.

Okay. We know Christmas at WDW is, like everything that happens there, pretty magical. The special holiday background loops are part of what makes the ambiance so festive. I definitely listen to loops from the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and more.

But the thing about those loops is that they're all a little... dare I say it... generic. They're collections of holiday carols, lovely in their own right, but they don't necessarily scream Disney out of context. At least not to me.

You know what's full of holiday cheer AND feels super duper Disney to me? The Animal Kingdom Lodge Christmas music loop, that's what! 

That's right, these aren't your average run-of-the-mill season's greetings. These are holiday carols sung by African singers and choruses, and they have the distinct flavor of my very favorite park, Disney's Animal Kingdom, while still being merry and bright. And I am SO INTO IT. Thanks to the Disney Hipsters for sharing this amazing collection with the world!

P.S. At 15:30 an African chorus lays down a bass line chant while a fake Elvis sings "White Christmas" and it's everything I want December to be.

What's your favorite Disney holiday music loop?

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

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

The Fairest Week In Review: 11/28

Hello. I am cold. It's been a rainy, blustery, disgusting November, and I just want everyone who claims to love fall that you are WRONG. WRONG!!!

I've been distracting myself from the horrors of this god-awful season by trying to decide on a costume for the WDW Marathon. I could do Figment again, of course, which would be the easiest and most cost-effective option since I have all the pieces ready to roll. 

What a shocking idea!

I did briefly consider doing a Disney parks tour guide. but decided the plaid skirt I was eyeing to complete the look wasn't worth the cost. Now I'm ruminating on attempting Marie from The Artistocats, but I'd need a white skirt or something. No way in hell I'm wearing white leggings.

All of this is keeping me going as I train in sub-optimal weather conditions, like so:

Sunday | ran 10.16 miles in 1:50
My first long run since the Wine & Dine Half Marathon. It was... okay.

Monday | walked 2.13 miles outside; 55 minute ballet class

Tuesday | ran 5.05 miles outside in 55 minutes

Wednesday | ran 5.14 miles outside in 55 minutes

Thursday | rest
Thanksgiving, so I spent a lot of time in the car. Oh New Jersey, why can't I quit you? No, seriously I'm asking.

Friday | ran 5.21 miles outside in 55 minutes
I took the day off, so I dragged myself outside in the cold to run and then spent the entire rest of the day inside playing The Witcher. Balance!

Saturday | rest

Roundup time!

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

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

The Fairest Trip Report Of All: 11/05

Trip report time! See all the posts in this report.

And now for the final day of the trip report. Boo hiss.

We got up early to shower and finish packing before dragging our luggage to the airport check-in desk and heading to Disney's Animal Kingdom.

There was a very long line for the DAK bus, but several buses arrived one after the other to get us going quickly. I realized why too late: DAK had Extra Magic Hours this morning. I had totally forgotten to check. Amateur move.

Oh well! I resolved to keep a close eye on available FastPasses, and we kept on with our day. Obviously since we had missed the start of EMH the Flight of Passage line was too long. :( I later thought I had picked up an FP for it but it turned out in my haste I just got a River Journey FP. I swear I remember it being FoP when I booked it but what can ya do.

Anyway, back to the morning at hand: River Journey was only about 25 minutes so we did that instead. I know this ride is much maligned but I rather like it. It could definitely stand to be longer with a more involved story, but I think it does a wonderful job creating a sense of place.

After communing with the strangely atonal Shaman of Song we stopped at Pongu Pongu for breakfast. Erika got a breakfast sandwich that seemed perfectly serviceable. Meanwhile I took the opportunity to check off one of my bucket list food items: the lumpia, a sort of egg roll with pineapple and cream cheese filling.

I understand that this, much like River Journey, is a somewhat controversial item, with those who try it falling into distinct love-it-or-hate-it camps. Well, somehow i still managed to be straight down the middle - I thought it was pretty good with a crisp sugary crust and creamy filling, but it could be improved with some more textural contrast on the inside.

Next I intended to lead Erika to Kilimanjaro Safaris, as I had previously seen in the MDE app that the line was too long. Unfortunately after our breakfast I saw that the wait time had jumped a fair bit during that short time, so I instead steered our little party toward Dinosaur, which had practically no line. In the meantime I picked up a safari FP and all was right with the world. 

I had also previously obtained an Expedition Everest FP, so we headed over to Serka Zong for a trip through the mountains. I always like to visit with my friend the Disco Yeti.

We had some time to kill before our safari FP, so we took a spin through Gorilla Falls, which nabbed us some particularly nifty views of the... mongooses? Mongeese? Those and the gorillas.

Our FP time opened up and we boarded our safari. Our driver was very good; his delivery was friendly but not too squeaky-enthusiastic if you know what I mean. We got to see a couple of teen giraffes having a fight, and a mother hippo and her baby sunning themselves.

Post-safari we popped into Zuri Sweets so Erika could get a chocolate snack, and then Dawa bar for a Ngumu jungle juice for me. This used to be POG juice mixed with rum but they now use peach schapps instead. It was still good but I think I might prefer the rum slightly better.

Refreshments in hand, it was time for my FAVORITE THING: Festival of the Lion King, of course! For some reason part of the standby line was routed through the back door, which put us in the giraffe section, but I asked the Cast Member nicely and she let us walk across to the lion section (I like doing the weem-aways). We got tumble monkey high fives and all was right with the world.

Lunchtime was upon us, so I unceremoniously dragged Erika to my beloved Nomad Lounge. More on that to come!

From there we headed back to Harambe to see the Harambe Village Acrobats, and act I had wandered past before but never stopped to watch. It was good! None of the tricks were mind-blowing but the stacks of humans they created were impressive all the same, and their energy was really good. Erika and I even allowed ourselves to be pulled onto the stage to learn a dance.

We took a bathroom break at my favorite WDW bathrooms by the FotLK theater (CLEAN!), at which point I discovered the Avatar FP I thought I had wasn't. Blast and damnation. But there wasn't much to be done about it so late in the day, so we pondered our alternatives.

Here I am pondering my alternatives.

Initially we thought we'd sneak in one more ride on Everest, but as we headed in that direction we happened to walk by the Theater in the Wild just as the Finding Nemo musical was about to start. Great believers in providence, we took in the show instead.

Then it was time to say goodbye to all our company. We boarded a bus to Pop, grabbed some snacks, took one last lap around the gift shop, and hopped on the DME bus to the airport. Plane ride and home. The end.

Thanks for slogging through this trip report with me! I still have a couple more related posts up my sleeve including food reviews, so keep an eye out. See you for the WDW Marathon 2019!

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

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

The Fairest Week In Review: 11/21

Happy almost-Thanksgiving! I hope you enjoy many and variegated pies while enduring less travel time than I will (6 hours round trip if I'm lucky - top that!).

Alas, I am traveling to New Jersey to finish visit family (if ONLY, subconscious that made me type "finish" first), I will be forced to skip this year's Turkey Chase 10K. This bums me out a little as it's a race that allows me to walk to the start and finish. On the other hand, it's supposed to be, like, 30 degrees tomorrow, so maybe it's just as well.

No matter; I have other races to try for. Like this:

Sunday | rest
Okay, maybe not like that.

Monday | ran 7.22 miles outside in 1:15
There it is.

Tuesday | walked 2.1 miles in 35 minutes
Skipped ballet as it seems to make my knee sadder. 

Wednesday | ran 7.36 miles on the treadmill in 1:15
It was cold and gross but most importantly dark so I wussed out and went to the gym.

Thursday | 25 minute home workout
It wintry-mixed all day so I skipped the walk, but I snuck in a home workout including abs, back, and shoulders. Pullups are hard even with a chair, guys.

Friday | ran 7.12 miles outside in 1:20
Remember how it wintry-mixed the day before? Well, some of that turned into straight up slushy ice on the two bridges I cross on my route. Needless to say I very gently picked my way across, out and back.

Then I saw a community production of Sweeney Todd with Elizabeth and discovered that you don't come out of a Sondheim musical humming any memorable tunes. But then I'm probably the only person you know who owns the soundtrack to 1776, so what the hell do I know.

Saturday | rest
I say rest, but it was a busy day full of activities and errands. But no active workouts occurred. so here we are.

Okay, roundup time!

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

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

The Fairest Trip Report Of All: 11/04

Trip report time! See all the posts in this report.

I was able to wander right onto a Pop bus post-half marathon, and I rolled on back to my room and immediately hopped into a much-needed hot shower. (I don't care what the experts say about ice baths and crud - you can pry my hot shower from my HOT DEAD HANDS.)

By the time I emerged, I figured I might as well stay awake until Erika got back, so I riffled through my snack box and watched the ubiquitous Friends marathon until she appeared. She took her own shower, and then it was nap time!

I woke up about 3 hours later, which is without question the longest nap (of, like, 3 total) I've ever taken at WDW, but I'm learning to chill now so I can party later, y'know?

Erika wasn't far behind me, and we chilled in the room for a bit while a sudden Florida rainstorm came gushing down. After a bit - as is so often the case - it subsided to a drizzle, and we took advantage of the lull to duck over to the Pop food court and snag lunch.

After lunch we killed time for a bit before heading out to the Wine & Dine Half after party. It officially started at 10pm, but the official word was that mix-in began at 8pm. Being a paranoic, I had hustled us over half an hour too early - but I was delighted to discover that cast members had just begun handing out party wristbands at 7:30pm. That's a 30 minute bonus to us!

I was overcome by a sudden thirst, so we took a quick trip to Club Cool followed immediately by the Light Lab for a cider flight. I didn't care for the blueberry peppercorn, but then I don't like blueberries so I saw that coming. The berry one was pretty good - predictably sweet - but the rose cider was my surprise favorite. It was much more dry than the rose ciders I've had in the past, and I enjoyed it immensely. 

Erika had gotten a full-size rose cider, and I gave her my rejected blueberry sample. I picked up my two remaining minis, and we double-fisted into the night and over to World Showcase.

First up: a ride on Mexico's Gran Fiesta Tour boat ride with the Three Caballeros. Erika, a Brazilian native, reinforced something I've been thinking for years: what are you doing in Mexico, Jose Carioca? You belong in Brazil! Maybe that long-rumored Brazil pavilion will open and he'll finally have a proper home?

We took a couple minutes to explore the Dia de Muertos exhibit at the front of the pyramid, which was surprisingly cute. 

Our feet carried us out of Mexico and deeper into World Showcase, where we finally found ourselves in Japan's Mitsukoshi department store... just as it started to rain. Like, kinda hard. After thoroughly examining the shop's contents, we took a spin through the Kawaii exhibit and... it was still raining. Boo.

I turned over some options in my head and was just suggesting that we head to Morocco's indoor exhibits when I witnessed some brilliant people walking up to the second floor of the Mitsukoshi building. IllumiNations was starting in about 15 minutes, and that platform had a protective eave. I dragged Erika up the stairs and we staked out some of the last spots available for the show.

Unfortunately the rain was causing more trouble than driving people indoors: an announcement rang out that IllumiNations was postponed due to weather. My heart sank - this was my last chance to see it before it was replaced. Luckily it went off about 15 minutes later. Whew! 

I've since been informed that the show may be delayed as much as 2 hours without getting cancelled, but I wouldn't want to spend 2 hours holding my spot! The one thing I don't get is that it was raining at the official start time, and it was still raining when the show started. What changed that it could run after all? Go figure.

The rain showed no sign of stopping, so we decided to be brave little ducks and venture out into the open. The time of Food & Wine Festival snacking was once again upon us.

To begin we stopped at the Japan booth right in front of us for teriyaki buns, which had delicious steamed dough although I found the chicken mixture inside a bit too sweet.

Next up was the Brazil booth. Since Brazil doesn't have a resident pavilion, the kiosk was staffed by regular cast members. Erika helpfully taught them how to say the names of the foods they were selling in Brazilian Portuguese, and the CMs invited her to stay awhile and coach them.

Alas, she had to decline, as we had delicious pae de quiejo to eat. Erika tells me this awesome cheese bread is usually eaten as a snack. Also she has a bag of them in her freezer, so I'm thinking party at Erika's house?

The ears-over-hoodie look is very big in Brazil.

We made a stop at France so that Erika could pick up some of the raspberry creme brulee, which she deemed to be very tasty. Then we abandoned World Showcase for Future World and Mouse Gears as I wanted to make some purchases before it closed.

My first order of self-indulgent business was selected a new Minnie ear headband because NO CERTAINLY NOT YOU CAN NEVER HAVE ENOUGH. I hemmed and hawed between the rainbow and Dia de Muertos versions before deciding on the latter on the principle that it might be discontinued soon.

I also wanted to get some embroidered mouse ears for Pat's niece, but they've moved the embroidery station since I last used the service and I had to search around for it a bit. The cast members at the station were lovely and helped me add the cheapest possible item so I could get to my Disney Visa discount threshold (a reusable tote, since you asked). 

Sadly the weather was starting to get to us. Erika resorted to buying the world's most expensive poncho in Mouse Gears. My hoodie, increasingly damp, wasn't keeping me as warm as it had earlier in the evening. Visions of Splash 'n Dash danced in my head.

So I did this day what I did that day: rode indoor rides to keep off the rain and chill. First Spaceship Earth, then Soarin.' And that was all lovely, but when we were done it was still raining and we were getting cold. 

I halfheartedly asked Erika if she wanted to go one more round of snacks in World Showcase, but she vetoed in favor of going back to the room. This sounded like a plan to me. Dammit, one of these days I WILL shut down Epcot!

We picked up a bus to Pop pretty quickly and basically went straight to bed, one more day in the most magical place on earth ahead of us.

Next up: the last day. :(

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