The Fairest Trip Report Of All: 4/21

It’s trip report time again! I love trip reports! I’m recapping my April 2017 trip to WDW for the Dark Side Half. You can see all the posts in this report here. Onward!

As is traditional, I slept rather poorly the night before a Disney trip – my paranoia about sleeping through my alarm runs deep. Luckily Pat and I woke up in plenty of time, Pat’s dad drove us to the airport (we spent the night at their house for airport proximity), and we checked our bags and made it through air security with time to spare. We even took off and landed early for once. A good start.

Our first act was to head directly to the Magical Express, where a bus was happily already waiting for us – and for anyone wondering, our Magic Bands worked fine despite their duplication. Sadly, Port Orleans was the last stop, but hey, that increased the odds that our room might be ready by our arrival.

We hit the resort around 9:30am with one thing in mind: food. Currently running on airline pretzels and coffee, we headed straight for the food court for what turned out to be a subpar breakfast. The good news was that a mere fifteen minutes later we received the coveted text message that our room was indeed ready for us.

Admittedly we were a little disappointed to find ourselves in the Mansion area again since that’s where we were last time, but it was an easy and pleasant enough walk across Ol’ Man Island to Acadian House. I took the time to change and put on makeup because I am an unashamed Disney Dandy.

Here we split off – I headed out to the expo to pick up my bib. Meanwhile Pat decided to take a nap; he had slept even worse than I had somehow and there was no need for him to come to the expo anyway. I left him tucked into bed and rolled over to the South Depot for an expo bus.

Here I am waiting for the bus.
(Actually, I just wanted to show off my new ears.)

The expo wasn’t too terribly crowded; I picked up my bib and hopped into the main vendor area without difficulty. But I could see without even going in that official merch lines were insane. I took an exploratory turn about the area, but unsurprisingly nothing tempted me.

Another loop another the full expo area and I was about ready to go – yet it not even being noon, I saw no need to wake Pat. I found the perfect way to waste just a little more time: Senses spa had a booth set up, and they were doing chair massages, among other things.

I’d never had a professional massage before, and $15 for a ten minute sample seemed fair enough to me. I put my name on the list and wandered a bit more until a got a text message that my masseuse Angel was ready for me.

This being my first massage, what was my verdict? I would put it this way: a massage is equal parts ahhh… and AHHH!!!! A few days earlier I had stretched my back wrong and torqued the muscles in my shoulder next to my spine. Angel found the knot and hooooo boy did working it out hurt – but by the time my session ended I felt 100% better. Good show, good show. Money well spent.

Pat texted me just as I was finishing up – he had woken on his own and was ready to come meet me at the Magic Kingdom. I headed for the buses myself and picked one up for the Contemporary with the thought that I’d walk to the park from there. It worked, but verrrry slowly – the Contemporary was the last stop. Pat beat me to park, but we were reunited at The Confectionery in short order.

Complete with its own security checkpoint, which is so secure that the guards don’t
even care if your Minnie ears set off the metal detector.

First things first: Pat had decided he needed a hat lest his close-shaven head get sunburned. We hopped into the Emporium and surveyed the selection, where I was extremely dismayed to discover that the Mr. Toad hat I had decided I did indeed want to buy was gone. A great tragedy indeed. But Pat found himself a suitable lid, so in that way the mission was a success.

Next, the grand centerpiece of our trip: Splash Mountain. This was Pat’s favorite ride as a kid, but it was being refurbished when we went in January 2015. Naturally I made it our first FastPass of the trip, and we breezed happily past the 80 minute standby line and onto the ride. It was amazing, Pat loved it, and my only regret is that Disney lost our photo. 🙁 PhotoPass was a little wonky this time around, as we shall see…

By this point we were hungry again, so we headed into Tomorrowland (site of our next FP) for an ice cream snack at Auntie Gravity’s. Unfortunately neither of us felt like soft serve at the moment, so we regrouped and braved the line at the Plaza parlor. Soft serve has its place, but sometimes it’s worth a little extra effort for hand-scooped. Also, the chocolate disc Mickey ears that come on the kid sundae are totally worth the smaller serving.

Our Space Mountain FastPass was now open, and we doubled back for our ride (65 minute standby for those wondering). We got the left track, back car, which is the best combination, I think.

We stopped for a bathroom break at the less-traveled facilities behind the ride, at which point Pat determined that he was mere steps away from a pretty bad toe blister. This is where traveling with a Disney vet comes in handy, because I was able to lead him immediately to the First Aid center by Crystal Palace, where the nurse gave him a giant handful of bandaids. Crisis averted. Yes, I am available for rent as a private guide.

Then it was time for our Haunted Mansion FastPass (standby: 40 minutes). I had noted Pat’s nearby birthday on my reservation, so the hitchhiking ghosts plastered Pat with birthday cake at the end. Oddly enough, this was the only acknowledgement he received all trip.

We popped into Memento Mori after, which is mostly important because of this:

On the way back we were just in time for the Muppets American history show, the Paul Revere version. I left Pat there a little early so I could book it over to the Harmony Barber Shop for my 4:30pm haircut appointment.

Unlike last time I checked, the place was a veritable ghost town; my only competition for attention was a little girl who solemnly asked the CM to douse her hair in glitter. After she was obliged, I was ushered over to my stylist.

I was going to do a full post on this experience, but it turned out to be such a quick experience that it’s hardly warranted. The CM asked my what I wanted done. I asked for a bangs trim – I do my own, but haphazardly, and I was hoping she could fix them. A little combing, parting, and a single snip, and done. It took like five minutes and she only charged me $7 plus I gave her a tip. Highly recommended for the budget-minded – and how often can you say that about WDW?

I shot a text off to Pat that I was shockingly done already, and we met by the Jungle Cruise. He was eating a popsicle; we discovered that we had, across the miles, had the same thought: maybe I’ll get a Dole Whip. And then we both saw the line and had the same thought: nope. Not happening. Ah, the mysticism of romance.

There’s no way around this: 97% of the time, the Magic Kingdom is hot and crowded. This was one of those times. We decided to head out a little early and take the resort monorail to the Polynesian, where we availed ourselves of a few drinks at Trader Sam’s before continuing on to our California Grill reservation. More on this to come in a separate post!

After an amazing meal and a goodbye viewing of Wishes (I didn’t cry, I only almost cried), we just squeaked onto a bus back to Port Orleans. Nightly ablutions followed. In the morning: the Animal Kingdom on Earth Day!

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!

The Fairest Week In Review: 4/27

Guys, I am distraught. I am bereft. I am… NOT IN WALT DISNEY WORLD ANYMORE.

I hate everything. Look at this stupid exercise log from last week. Or don’t. I don’t care. I DON’T CARE ABOUT ANYTHING ANYMORE.

Sunday | ran 6.35 miles outside in 1:05
This went surprisingly well given the high-ish temperatures. An Easter miracle!

Monday | walked 2.12 miles in 35 minutes; 70 minute ballet class

Tuesday | ran 5.4 miles on the treadmill in 60 minutes

Wednesday | ran 4.17 miles on the treadmill in 50 minutes

Thursday | walked 2.31 miles in 40 minutes
I did not go to ballet this day because we drove to Pat’s parents house that night in preparation for our flight to WDW!!!

Friday | walked approximately 10.1 miles in WDW according to my phone

Saturday | walked approximately 7.7 miles in WDW according to my phone

Trip recap is afoot, of course. Just as soon as I stop crying so hard I can’t see the computer screen.

The Twilight Bark, I guess. Small one this week because, well, you know.

Fairytales & Fitness considers the implications of a race-cation.
Living A Disney Life ponders the times when Disney Springs is the right choice.
This Fairytale Life rounds up cute Minnie ears
– … As does Disney In Your Day.
Disney Tourist Blog is not 100% sure about Adventures by Disney.
And Mouse on the Mind is 100% sure the Plaza’s doughnut sundae should not be a thing.

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!

In Which Jenn Is Headed For The Dark Side

Tomorrow. Tomorrow. Tomorrow. TomorrowLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAND!!!

Tomorrow we go to Walt Disney World for the Dark Side Half, a brand new race for me! Needless to say I’m hella excited. It’ll be my second time taking Pat, and I’m super psyched to enjoy time with him in my favorite place in the whole world. While I loved loved loved doing the Dopey Challenge, it didn’t make for the most relaxing trip. This time around we’ll be able to slow down a little.

Trip bucket list:

  • Get Pat onto Splash Mountain as many times as humanly possible – an occasion two decades in the making (it was closed when we went in January 2015)
  • Catch Wishes one last time (sniff) from the California Grill
  • Take a picture on the Dark Side Half course with my double, Grand Moff Tarkin (is he there? Please say yes!)
  • Finally get my hair cut in the Harmony Barber Shop – I have an appointment this time
  • Try out some new Disney Springs restaurants, with an emphasis on drinks from Jock Lindsey’s
  • Get the white wine flight from the Brown Derby Lounge assuming it’s still available (Disney’s website still lists it on the menu, so here’s hoping; I WANT CHAMPAGNE, DAMMIT)
  • Get a pic with Anna and Elsa to show Pat’s niece, who is officially on the Frozen train
  • Enjoy my first-ever go round with the Flower & Garden Festival food booths
  • See Rivers of Light or, if the lines are too crazy, at the very least catch some Tree of Life Awakenings
  • Maaaaaaaaaaaaybe Pandora soft opening???

As they say: one more sleep! Man, some things just never get old.

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!

In Which Jenn Makes Her First Running Costume EVER

I just counted, and here are how many runDisney races I’ve done, not counting Sunday’s Dark Side Half: eleven. And here’s how many of those races I’ve run costumed: zero. I mean, my focus has been primarily on making it through the race something semi-akin to the right temperature and without chafing my thighs off. I’ve historically left the cosplay to others.

That ends this week with the Star Wars Dark Side Half.

No more halfhearted Minnie ears plus whatever I was gonna wear anyway. Instead, I’m dressing up! By moderately augmenting a regular race outfit. Whatever. Shut up.

You’ve heard of Star Wars villain Grand Moff Tarkin…

For comparison. And appreciation. Because he’s awesome.

Peter Cushing’s bone structure is INSANE.

Now get ready for… GIRL MOFF TARKIN.

Yeah, no. Not super impressive stuff. No light-up skirts or elaborate props here. On the low end of good. But being easy and not too cumbersome, I think it’s a good entry-level effort.

If you’re looking to nab a cartoonish but passable Grand Moff title of your own, the process is pretty simple and relatively cheap. I got a suitably dark gray running outfit from Marshalls for $19. The rank insignia is made out of foam board, which I purchased in the necessary colors, cut, and glued. The pen caps or whatever the hell he’s got are pipe cleaners wrapped around safety pins (I know I’m missing one on either side; this will be corrected before the race). It all came to less than $10 at Michaels. The belt buckle is just tinfoil wrapped around leftover foam board and attached to a running belt. And although the Grand Moff rarely wears a hat, I’ve got a military-style cap in my arsenal just in case it looks like rain.

The one thing I do NOT have and cannot get are Peter Cushing’s cheekbones. Do you think I should try to contour them on?

See you at the Dark Side Half Marathon!

Will you be at the race? Are you dressing up? 

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!

The Fairest Week In Review: 4/18

This week. This is the week. Walt Disney World, here I come!!!

But first, last week’s workouts:

Sunday | rest
I initially planned to go for a run this day, but thanks to the events of what shall now be referred to as The Mimosa Incident, this proved to be impossible.

Monday | walked 2.42 miles outside in 40 minutes; 70 minute ballet class
My backup plan was to run Monday morning, but again: The Mimosa Incident.

Tuesday | ran 10.25 miles outside in 1:50
This actually went pretty well. The champagne-laced curse is broken!

Wednesday | ran 5.24 miles on the treadmill in 60 minutes

Thursday | walked 2.11 miles outside in 25 minutes; 70 minute ballet class

Friday | ran 7.26 miles on the treadmill in 1:15

Saturday | rest

Stupid mimosas.

Not much news on the WDW planning front, except to say: FRIDAY FRIDAY FRIDAY. I’m going home, kids!

The Twilight Bark:

Elbowglitter ponders whether virtual races are worth doing.
Fairytales & Fitness visits Hershey, PA’s Chocolate Spa. Someday I should do this.
The Runner’s Guide to WDW wants to set us up for runDisney success.
Disney In Your Day shares fond memories of the Flower & Garden Festival. T-Minus 3 days…
An Open Suitcase remember’s the Magic Kingdom’s Swan Boats.
WDW for Grownups admires Epcot’s Morocco’s urban spice garden.
easyWDW reviews the Polynesian Village Resort’s Spirit of Aloha Luau, and to be honest I kinda forgot that was a thing…
Living A Disney Life packs up for WDW!
Rolling with the Magic gives an ADA review of Journey Into Your Imagination. (If you want me to link to your blog, write about Figment. Slam dunk!)
– Speaking of the Imagination Pavilion, check out this photo of ImageWorks’ bygone Rainbow Corridor. I want it back. 🙁

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!

In Which Jenn Wants You To Share Your Tower of Terror Screams With Others

Unlike your larger majority of Disney parks enthusiasts, I don’t have a ton of family memories from Walt Disney World. My parents took me twice, once when I was so young I hardly remember it (beyond my love of Figment and fear of Snow White’s witch), and the other when I was twelve. I do remember some stuff from the latter trip, but it all felt kind of perfunctory. I think my parents like Disney parks just fine but were largely checking a box on the Traditional Family Activities list.

No slight intended on their part – I mean, as Eeyore so wisely tells us, we can’t all and some of us don’t. I found my own way to WDW love, and they support that even if they find it a touch confusing. I even dragged my mom down to Orlando that one time, and may manage to do it again this November.

The point, though, is that my mind is largely void of the WDW remember-whens that many others cherish. But there are a couple incidents that stand out in my mind. Here’s one:

Okay, so it’s April of 1998. It’s my parents and brother plus my aunt and two cousins. They’re from Florida, admittedly not central Florida, but this isn’t their first time at the proverbial rodeo. Their signature pro-move in this pre-ubiquitous-cell-phones era: a set of walkie-talkies.

My cousins are trying to convince me to ride the Tower of Terror. This being twelve-year-old Jenn, I am not having it – I didn’t really get down with thrill rides until high school, and even now I’m not huge into drop tower. I mean, I’ll ride ToT when someone coerces me because the effects are cool, but I don’t do it alone.

They give up on me, leaving my half of the family at a showing of that live action Beauty and the Beast performance that I don’t think I’ve ever even seen since then… They also leave us one of the walkie-talkies.

So we’re sitting there in the amphitheater, waiting for the show to start, minding our own business, when suddenly…

AHHHHH!!!!! AHHHHH!!!! AHHHHH!!!!!!!

It’s crackly, grainy audio from the walkie-talkie, luckily too weak to bother the others around us, but quite distinct: it’s my cousins on ToT, screaming their way down the drop.

I think of this every time I ride it today. And part of my really wants to call someone up right as the tower window opens and…

What do you remember from your childhood WDW trips?

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!

The Fairest Week In Review: 4/12

You can’t really appreciate your taper without peaking. With that in mind:

Sunday | rest

Monday | ran 13.14 miles on the treadmill in 2:10
Practice half! Not bad, not bad at all.

Tuesday | walked 2.36 miles in 40 minutes; 70 minute ballet class

Wednesday | ran 10.27 miles outside in 1:55
Running outside is hard, man. Actually I think it’s ’cause my route is a little hilly, but hey, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger while also sapping your will to live, so.

Thursday | walked 2.09 miles outside in 35 minutes; 70 minute ballet class

Friday | ran 5.23 miles on the treadmill in 60 minutes

Saturday | rest
Side note: I am not convinced Morton’s The Steakhouse (Alfred, Lord Tennyson much?) is worth the money.

Less than two weeks to Walt Disney World!!! I trust you’re all up to date on the conclusion of the bad girl Magic Band saga. It is very disappointing. But at least I’m going home!

The Twilight Bark:

This Happy Place Blog is BACK with a WDW trip report!
Mouse on the Mind misses SpetroMagic as much as I do. I love MSEP but I honestly feel like Spectro was the better parade…
Disney In Your Day takes a close look at Splash Mountain. Pat is so excited to ride it again for the first time in decades!
A Pinch of Pixie Dust digs the new Disney Springs.
Living A Disney Life seeks out more unusual WDW snacks.
ImagiNERDing swings by the Tri-Circle-D Ranch at Fort Wilderness.
easyWDW visits Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar. Totally on our list to hit.
EPBOT highlights a really cool Epcot hallway, because Disney nerdery knows no bounds.
Disney Travel Babble hits up the California Adventure version of the Food & Wine Festival.
– If you must think, think pink (drinks) with WDW for Grownups.

I can’t believe these are all the gifs of this scene Google had.

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!

In Which Jenn’s Magic Bands Are Disappointingly Tasteful After All

You didn’t think I’d leave you hanging, did you?

If you haven’t been following my Magic Band drama, let me sum up, Inigo Montoya-style: I tried to put “Pork Butt” on my Magic Band and Disney wasn’t having it. (Read the full story here to get the scoop on how I found out, who I talked to, and why “butt” is a bad, bad word and Nemo never should’ve touched it.)

But wait, there’s more! After calling a Cast Member to begrudgingly let her change the name, I subsequently received two separate Magic Band shipment confirmation emails. Could Disney IT have decided to flout the system and send me the bands I originally requested anyway?

Well, I have both boxes now, and I can tell you the answer is this: kind of but not really.

Because I spoke to a Cast Member on the phone, we received these plain, boring just-our-names Magic Bands:

But(t) because I never called back Disney IT, who originally flagged the issue, we also got these:

So Pat gets his Bort, but I get… nada. Boo. The inside is just a string of code.

Oh well. At least Pat is happy. He really really wanted to be Bort, which is apparently a reference to The Simpsons…? I pointed out that I’m pretty sure the Magic Band triggered content (your name on signs and stuff) reads your actual MDE account name, not your band’s name, but he’s very insistent that SOMEONE WILL SEE IT and THEY WILL LAUGH. I don’t know. You’ve seen it now; did you laugh?

I’m fairly confident that both sets of bands are connected to the same MDE accounts and will work fine for Magical Express, FastPasses, etc., but just in case we’ll bring both sets with us. Less than two weeks to go!

Am I forgetting anything? Oh, I know: BUTT. (FACE!)

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Happy Friday: If You Have Time To Walk, Pan, You Have Time To Do Push-Ups

This joke is not funny. I know this. But I chose it for this week’s Happy Friday all the same, and here’s why: the green army man who is always on the hill around mile 20 of the WDW Marathon. In 2016, he yelled at a runner dressed at Tink, “Didn’t I tell you you could never, never land?!” and for some reason, in my mile-20-of-a-marathon stupor, I found this UPROARIOUSLY HILARIOUS.

In loving memory:

What marathon madness has made you laugh uproariously for no real reason?

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!

In Which Jenn Dresses For Disney

The first time I went on an adult trip to Walt Disney World, I didn’t care how I looked. I was in the most magical place on earth; what did it matter? It didn’t! Until I saw the photos – and hated them.

Vanity, you may say, thy name is Jenn – for since then I have slowly developed an increasing interest in “looking cute” in the parks. This is in the name of the aforementioned pictures, of course, but also – and this is just me – the self-esteem boost of feeling my look makes my happy place even happier.

I started by merely dressing to flatter my shape and slapping on a little makeup, but over the last couple years I’ve gotten pretty into dressing in Disney clothes. I’m not sure if this counts as Disneybounding since my understanding is that’s more dressing to evoke Disney as opposed to straight-ahead Disney stuff. Either way, I have amassed a bit of a collection.

Sometimes people in the parks ask me where I got my dress/shirt/headband, and 90% of the time my answer is this: Hot Topic. Look, I know: Hot Topic has a reputation for being where the goth/punk/emo/scene teenagers shop. But have you seen their Disney collection? There are PAGES of Disney items on their website. Clothes, accessories, costumes, toys – the works. If you love Disney stuff, you need to peruse their collection, stat. Bonus: there is never NOT a discount code available.

Aside from that, you can pick stuff up here and there. Graphic tees aren’t hard to come by – I’ve seen ’em at Target, at Forever 21, even Five Below. Dare I even add that the Ocean City, MD boardwalk offers a copious number of Disney princess mug shot t-shirts – piercings! Tattoos! – if that’s your bag.

Naturally the Disney Store sometimes has some more fashion-y offers, but I find them hit-and-miss. I’m of course SUPER excited about the new Dress Shop in Disney Springs! Disney + retro = LOVE.

Anyway, I thought it might be fun to share my planned wardrobe for this month’s trip! I’ll be there five days, so I’ve assembled five outfits plus a backup outfit (bottom).

Multiple angles for maximum scrutiny!

Now with added Ruffian!

  • Peter Pan Neverland icon dress (still available at Hot Topic)
  • Mint lace mouse ears (still available at Hot Topic; they also come in plum)
  • Snow White tank (no longer available at Hot Topic; I didn’t see it on Amazon after an admittedly cursory search but I did see it on ebay)
  • Sequined Minnie ears (I got these in WDW but if you can’t wait to get to the parks you can get a pair in the online Disney store)
  • Chesire Cat print dress (no longer available but I’ve seen it pop up on ebay and Amazon)
  • Glitter cat ears (no longer available at Forever 21 but these gold ones are remarkably similar)
  • Ariel tattoo icon dress (no longer available at Hot Topic but I’ve seen it on ebay and Poshmark; this is a similar pattern)
  • Alice in Wonderland collar dress (still available at Hot Topic in sizes L-3X)
  • Black Minnie pocket shirt (no longer available at Target)

Shoes will be Chucks, as a rule, because they go with everything. Some people with low arches find these have insufficient support, though; as always, roll with what works for you.

It’s funny, dressing Disney has created a lot of memorable moments for me. There are the compliments, of course (people are WAY into my Ariel dress), but it’s more than that. I’ve had fun chats with Cast Members, and even made friends with a little girl in the Pirates line. I may be vain, but I’m having fun with it!

Do you like to dress up for Disney? Where do you get your stash?

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!