Wednesday, April 29, 2020

The Fairest Trip Report Of All: Imaginary Edition

Normally the week after a Walt Disney World trip is followed by a series of trip report blog posts. Alas, last week's WDW sojourn didn't happen. 

But this didn't stop me from opening up my planning spreadsheet and punctuating every single day with statements about what we should be doing at that time. I was constantly telling Pat things like "We should be in Disney Springs right now;" "Our Splash Mountain FastPass just opened up;" "Our Oga's Cantina ADR is for 7pm tonight;" etc. I'm sure he loved it. 

And then it occurred to me - what if I combined these erstwhile plans with a little imagination and wrote a trip report anyway? In my mind's eye, how would a flawlessly executed vacation have gone? Maybe a little something like this...

Saturday, April 18
We get up and go to the airport. Our plane takes off early and lands super early, yay! We head down to the Magical Express and the bus leaves almost immediately after we get on; Caribbean Beach Resort is the first stop.

I change into my Alice in Wonderland dress* and head straight to the expo, where I get my corral A bib for the Star Wars Rival Run Half. From there Pat and I pick up the bus to the Contemporary and manage a quick walk-in lunch at The Wave. Then we walk over to the Magic Kingdom where we knock out our FastPasses at Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, with stops at the Hall of Presidents and the Haunted Mansion in between.

We eat a quick carb-loading dinner at Pinocchio Village Haus on the upstairs level, where we get one of the coveted tables by the window that looks into it's a small world. Then we grab the bus back to Caribbean Beach, where I lay out my race stuff the morning and readily fall into a deep sleep without freaking out in the slightest.

* Yes, I will be telling you what I planned to wear every day, like it's the introductory chapter of a Babysitter's Club book. Enjoy it.

Sunday, April 19
I wake up with my 2am alarm without once dreaming I slept through it. I put on my Picard/Riker '20 shirt and stuff a Clif Shot in my shorts pocket before heading out to catch the bus. It is a running-perfect 65 degrees. I have a fabulous race where I never have to stop to pee and I meet my A goal: a sub-2 hour half. Hooray! Grand Moff Tarkin is waiting at the finish for a photo op. The snack boxes have liquid cheese, mini Clif bars, chocolate toffees, AND Oreos.

I take the bus back to the room, shower, and snuggle into our big king bed for a nap. A couple hours later I wake up, pull on my Mulan swimsuit, and meet Pat out at the pool. We chill for a bit and then head back to the room, where I change into my 2017 Star Wars Dark Side Half shirt and a gray pencil skirt before we grab the Skyliner to the Studios.

We have a leisurely lunch at the Brown Derby Lounge, where I order the champagne flight, which is back on the menu. After lunch, we knock out our FastPasses. Pat gets the HIGHEST EVER score on Toy Story Midway Mania, we do the shocker for our on-ride photo at Rock 'n Roller Coaster, and I don't get at all anxious in line for the Tower of Terror.

Our ADR for Oga's Cantina is up, so we head over there. We get standing spots at the bar and the bartender lets us have three rounds, which are all fun and delicious! After our drinks, we grab quick Ronto Roasters wraps, then jump into the end-of-the-night line for Smuggler's Run. We only wait 20 minutes and get to be the pilots. Then it's back to the room and bedtime.

Monday, April 20
I pull on my flowery Simba and Nala dress and usher Pat out the door early so that we can catch the bus in time for Animal Kingdom's Morning Extra Magic Hours. We follow the crowds to Pandora but enjoy a short wait for River Journey while everyone else trips over themselves trying to get onto FoP. Then we saunter over to Kilimanjaro Safaris for a magical early morning viewing - we see ALL the animals! The lions are out! The cheetahs! The warthogs! The zebras! The baboons!

We stop at Kusafiri for a breakfast of coffee and paw print brownies, which are miraculously back on the menu. Then it's time to knock out some FastPasses for Dinosaur and Expedition Everest. In between I drag Pat to the first showing of Festival of the Lion King because it's my FAVORITE. I sit in my preferred spot at the edge of the lion section and every single tumblemonkey high fives me.

We have an unhurried lunch at Nomad Lounge - Hightower Rocks all around! - before taking a train to Conservation Station so Pat can show off his amazing art skills at the Animation Academy (we draw Mulan, my favorite princess). I pet a bunch of sheep and goats and even the donkey comes over to the fence to say hi to me. Then it's back to Pandora for our Flight of Passage FastPass.

A bus is waiting for us at the station for Epcot, and we're in World Showcase in no time. We watch the new Canada film and my love for Catherine O'Hara redoubles; we watch the France film and my love for Saint-Saens' Organ Symphony redoubles. We also do the American Adventure because I freakin' love it, and Spaceship Earth once more before the refurb. Then we head back to the resort for a late dinner at Sebastian's (rolls and butter!) before turning in for the night. You see, we must get up early, for it's...

Tuesday, April 21
... time to rise and resist! I put on my Marie dress and we head straight to the Studios - the gondolas are open early for us and everything. We grab coffee while waiting for the Rise of the Resistance boarding group mayhem to begin when the park officially opens. We hit the app at precisely 7am and get the first group! Amazing! We sneak in a ride on Slinky Dog before heeding our boarding group call, then jump into the Resistance line. It's just as good the second time around.

We get green milk bread pudding and blue milk for breakfast before hitting our opening FastPasses: additional spins each on Midway Mania and Tower of Terror, with a ride on Star Tours in between. After that we run to BaseLine Taphouse for an early lunch.

We take in showings of the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular and Frozen Singalong. After that, it's finally time for our last FastPass: Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway! I can only assume I really enjoy it, but I still wish they'd refurbed The Great Movie Ride.

That's all for the Studios for the day - we hop in a gondola and, since we're swinging through Caribbean Beach anyway, stop by our room for a quick nap. We need it since our next stop is Epcot for Evening Extra Magic Hours! The gondola dumps us off at the International Gateway and we immediately get to work on Drinking Around the World. We have drinks and sometimes snacks in all the countries, including Tipsy Ducks in Love, those Viking shots, sake, and more, all culminating in margaritas in the Mexico pavilion while we watch Epcot Forever. It is truly a magnificent evening.

Wednesday, April 22
It's Sleep In Day! We get up whenever we wake naturally and hang around the hotel room for a bit, just hanging out and watching dumb television. When we're ready, we roll over to the pool and splash around a bit, then go back to the room and change (new Snow White collared dress today - haven't debuted that one on the blog yet!). A bus for Disney Springs is waiting for us at the closest stop.

We enjoy a lunchtime bar crawl, swinging by whatever restaurant catches our eyes - Jockey Lindsey's certainly, maybe The Edison - Homecomin' - Wine Bar George...? Maybe one of those chocolate chip cookies from the Polite Pig? We go to Basin so I can get more bar shampoo and The Dress Shop so I can pick out a pretty dress and World of Disney to get Pat's niece some Minnie ears for her birthday and Goofy's Candy Company for the sour gummy worms Pat loves. Everything is on sale.

From there we take a bus to the Contemporary and walk to the Magic Kingdom, where we have some late FastPasses lined up. We knock out Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, and Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin (another highest score for Pat!), ride the Peoplemover, and then enjoy the fireworks from an awesome location.

We take advantage of Evening Extra Magic Hours running around riding whatever's got a short line, then take the monorail to the Polynesian for a late meal and drink at Trader Sam's. Then it's back to the resort and into bed!

Thursday, April 23
We sleep in just a little this day too, although we get up a little earlier so we can get a gondola to Epcot in time for our first FastPass. We grab breakfast in the Land and ride Soarin' first; the lines are so much shorter since they added the third theater. Then our Test Track window opens, where we make the all-time best-rated car! After that is Mission: Space (orange team all the way) and a leisurely ride on Living with the Land. We swing by China so I can get a photo with Mulan in my Mulan skirt and shirt, and after that we're off to our ADR at Space 2020, which has opened by now! It's an absolutely amazing experience and the food is fantastic.

Then it's off to DAK; I miraculously pick up a fourth FastPass for Flight of Passage on the bus over. Once there, we immediately head to Everest and ride twice in a row through the practically nonexistent single rider line. We get drinks at the Thirsty River bar and then wander through Maharajah Jungle Trek to say hi to the tigers. I drag Pat to another showing of Festival of the Lion King, after which we head over to Pandora for our FoP FastPass.

We stop at Santuli Cateen for dinner, swing through Nomad for a to-go round of Hightower Rocks, and settle in for a showing of Rivers of Light. Miraculously, the shamans are back! Otherwise why bother? The park now closing, we watch a few rounds of scenes on the Tree of Life before taking a bus back to Caribbean Beach. We stop at the pool bar for a drink or two and then head back to the room.

Friday, April 24
Our last theoretical day. :( We get up early, check our bags, and hightail it over to the Studios to grab a boarding group for Rise of the Resistance. Our group is a higher number this time around, but that's okay because it means we can head straight to the Magic Kingdom and still make Morning Extra Magic Hours. Once there, we get breakfast waffles at Sleepy Hollow and then hit a bunch of Fantasyland rides while the waits are low. Then we knock out our FastPasses: Peter Pan's Flight, The Haunted Mansion, and Splash Mountain (Pat's favorite!), which a quick spin on Space Mountain in the middle. I make Pat take photos in front of Cinderella Castle and they all turn out cute.

Our perfectly-timed boarding group is called soon after we get off Splash, so we take a bus back to the Studios and heed the call of the Resistance. I magically pick up a Smuggler's Run FastPass while in line, so we ride that too. And THEN I get FPs for Runaway Railway while in line! I'm on a roll!

We ride Runaway Railway and then head out of the park, taking the gondolas to Epcot so we can have lunch at Nine Dragons at Pat's request. Then, alas, it's time to head back to the resort and collect our bags. The Magical Express whisks us back to the airport, and we have a drama-free trip home. The cats are thrilled to see us, and though I'm sad to no longer be at Disney, all is right with the world.

So that's my pretend Disney trip! A silly exercise, to be sure, but it was kinda fun to write and at least all my planning spreadsheets didn't go COMPLETELY to waste. Here's hoping WDW is able to open again safely in the not so distant future, and we can all go home soon!

Don't forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. It would thrill me extremely if you would leave a comment with any questions or thoughtsSee ya real soon!

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

In Which Jenn Runs The Race Her Own Darn Self

Back in January of 2017, some brave Walt Disney World Half Marathon registrants set a precedent: when your runDisney race is cancelled, you run it anyway on your own.

And so last Sunday, the woulda-been date of the Star Wars Rival Run Half Marathon, I set out on the streets of San Juan to run 13.1 by myself.

I wore my intended race outfit, as viewed below. You see, when it comes to the Stars, I prefer to Trek. ;P

I started at 5:45am, which is probably somewhere in the general area I would've started the race anyway, give or take a corral, a wave, and an on-time start.

(PAT: What time are you getting up to run? ME: 5:15am. PAT: Wow, that's really early. ME: [hysterical laughter])

There were no spectators, no signs, and no water stops. All I had at my disposal was my normal running trail. It was (as Puerto Rico has a nasty habit of being) hot and humid and I'm not sure I would've had enough hydration if I'd brought 18 more bottles of water.

But I did it! I logged my 13.1 miles, then went home and made Mickey waffles. It's not the race I wanted, but it made me feel better to make it happen on my own all the same.

Perhaps it is best to remember Spock's iconic quote: you may find that having is not so pleasing a thing after all as wanting. It is not logical, but it is often true.

All of which to say: I want to try again next year!

Don't forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. It would thrill me extremely if you would leave a comment with any questions or thoughtsSee ya real soon!

Friday, April 17, 2020

In Which Jenn Needs A (Disney) Drink

Darn it, guys, these are not the posts I had planned for April. We were going to discuss my park wardrobe. We were gonna geek out together over my race costume. We were going to squee joyously over my trip plans. And today, I was going to drive the point home: tomorrow I go to Walt Disney World!

Only I'm not. If you can imagine.

Ah, well. We're all coping as best we can. And one way I've been coping with missing Disney is with alcohol.

Wait wait wait - not like that! Rather, I've been following along with La Cava del Tequila's Instagram Live streams. You know La Cava, right? Mexico pavilion? Site of my first-ever tequila shot?

They've been explaining how to make a lot of their fancier drinks, but I've kept it simple - I made a paloma (grapefruit soda, tequila, lime) and a classic margarita (tequila, orange liqueur, lime, agave syrup), both of which were excellent for a person who has mostly let bartenders mix her cocktails for her.

And to really drive home the Disney angle, I've been using some of my Disney household items. There's the cutting board above, plus I finally got a chance to put my modest collection of Disney shot glasses to good use!

Sorry, my bad - Disney doesn't make shot glasses. They make, um, "mini glasses," or as I have heard they are more recently referred to, "toothpick glasses." Sure, Jan.

Anyway. Even though I rarely take shots outside of celebratory events, for a few years there I purchased quite a few shot glasses at Disney parks. Observe!

That Disneyland glass is really hard to photograph. Please rest assured effort was made. And I can't believe it's been almost ten years since I bought the 40th Anniversary glass!

Now that I've actually found a purpose for these bad boys, I may have to pick up a few more, if I see one with a nifty design. And I bet they'll have something for the 50th anniversary...

Cheers, guys. To making it home some day.

Do you collect Disney shot glasses? Sorry, toothpick holders?

Don't forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. It would thrill me extremely if you would leave a comment with any questions or thoughtsSee ya real soon!

Monday, April 6, 2020

In Which Jenn Takes On The Virtual Parkeology Challenge

Are you familiar with the Parkeology Challenge? You can get the full lowdown here, but the gist is that you ride every single ride in the four main WDW theme parks. If it's a ride with cars/physical movement, it counts. So, Main Street vehicles? Counts. It's Tough To Be A Bug? That's a show; don't worry about it.

It's not something I've ever put too much thought into attempting myself, because I tend to be high enough on the anxiety scale as it is. 🤪 But when the Parkeology guys offered a virtual version in an attempt offset quarantine doldrums, I was all about it!

Basically the idea was that the Parkeology guys would spend 8 hours tweeting a ride, every 10 minutes. In that 10 minutes, it was up to you to tweet back a selfie that interpreted that ride. You could prep your selfies in advance or you could perform extemporaneously.

I chose to take all my photos the weekend before to keep the stress levels down, and starting 11am last Saturday I was right there tweeting my "rides." Some of them were frankly phoned in, but others I'm quite proud of!

With that in mind, I'm going to make YOU look at them. Presented in the order they were "ridden," with my effortlessly witty commentary intact, here are my entries in the Virtual Parkeology Challenge 2020, plus some hard-earned badges!

Photos after the jump because holy hell there are a lot of them...

Friday, April 3, 2020

In Which Jenn Takes The Cinderella Approach To Running

Last week I got a hot tip from one of my runDisney Facebook groups - the Rock 'n Roll Marathon store was selling their themed tie-dye Launch 5s for $25!

Now a) I've never used the Launch and b) I'm not running a Rock 'n Roll race this year (I did once and it was not my favorite). But for $25 bucks plus a five spot in shipping I was certainly willing to give it a shot.

They came yesterday and I was surprised how much they cheered me up. I mean, obviously as a runner and a girl-type girl I'm always gonna be jazzed to try a new pair of shoes. But the tie-dye just made me feel happy and excited to try them out on a run at a time when I have been experiencing, shall we say, a modicum of stress, sadness, and disappointment.

Perhaps you can relate.

If you're still a position to run, I would encourage you to get yourself a hopeful running treat. Alas, those $25 Launch 5s are no more, but I'm sure there are any number of multi-hued sneakers available on this great internet. Or get a colorful new tee, or a fun headband. Maybe some patterned compression socks. Whatever floats your boat.

Anyway, I got up this morning and ran 7 good miles in my new tie-dye shoes, because we may not be able to race right now, but we can still train. We will keep our chins and our feet up. And when those registrations open back up again, WE WILL BE READY.

Don't forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. It would thrill me extremely if you would leave a comment with any questions or thoughtsSee ya real soon!