Friday, January 17, 2020

The Fairest Trip Report Of All: 1/09

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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

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




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

I found Pat a shirt!

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

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

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

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

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


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


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




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

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

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

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

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