The Fairest Trip Report Of All: 2/24/24

Princess Half Marathon 2024 race expo banners

It’s trip report time yet again! Come along on my long weekend trip to Walt Disney World for the Princess Half Marathon. You can see all the post in this report here. Onward!

In case you missed it: the first day of my Princess Half Marathon trip began before I even left. But to summarize now that it is actually in the past… it was fairly uneventful. Well, except that I was the last of SIX stops on the Mears bus, which was fun. Hey, could be worse – could be not at Disney!

Right, so now we’re on Saturday morning. I woke up roundabouts when Becky was returning from the Princess 10K; naturally she showered and went straight to bed for a much-needed nap. In the meantime, I busied myself performing my morning ablutions, doing some light stretching, and poking around the Wilderness Lodge Copper Canyon one-bedroom I had serendipitously found myself in. You DVC kids know how to live!

I was just coming in from the balcony after admiring the view when Becky emerged from her slumber, and I joined her in a cup of coffee (because when you have a DVC kitchen, you can make a pot of coffee; you catch me at the very height of decadence). We chatted a bit before heading over to Roaring Fork for a late breakfast. Food reviews to come in a later post, of course!

From there, we parted ways for a bit – Becky headed to Disney’s Animal Kingdom while I picked up the bus to the race expo to grab my bib. Guys, has the last day of the race expo always been this nuts?! I used to come the day before for the marathon some years and it was never this bad. The line to get my bib was soooo long – then again, I’ve heard it’s been worse. Yowza!

I did get my bib eventually, and all was well. Aside from that I went to the exhibitor’s hall for my race shirt and the official merch area to look around, but that was about it; the population was simply too dense for me to want to linger, especially alone. Instead I took a my own private bus back to Wilderness Lodge, in which my bus driver played Disney music the whole time, which was great! I do enjoy a one-girl singalong.

While in the room I took a couple minutes to lay out my race stuff, just to make sure nothing was missing. Everything seemed to be in order, so I marched down to the bus stop and snagged a bus to Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Upon arrival, Becky informed me she was in Maharajah Jungle Trek in Asia, so I trekked (haha!) over there. Assuming she was way ahead of me, I power-walked on through, only to come out the other side having never come across her. Obviously the solution was to go back in; this time I found her by the tigers. Twice the tigers in one day? No one can live at that speed!

Oddly enough, Becky rejected my proposal to go through a third time, so we compromised and headed over to the Gorilla Falls trail in Africa (I still call it Pangani in my head). I haven’t done either of these attractions in quite some time, which is silly – in addition to the animals, there’s tons of great themeing, plus Cast Members eager to share their knowledge. It’s not as sexy as, say, Everest, but if you’ve been sleeping on the trails you should definitely give them another go.

We had a restaurant reservation waiting for us in the Magic Kingdom, so we reluctantly tore ourselves away from the wildlife and stomped out of the park. There’s always time for a cute photo op, though! The current frame is Encanto-themed, which I’m sure makes it very popular.

Our bus deposited us at The Most Magical Place on Earth with unexpected speed, and we had plenty of time to spare before our advanced dining reservation. I made the grave mistake of suggesting we wander through the Emporium – and I punished myself by buying something. Two somethings, as it happens.

One was a pair of purple floral Minnie ears I had admired back in November but failed to buy in the moment I saw them – only for them to vanish when I went back for them. I was pretty stoked to see them again, as it happens. All good there.

The second item was a total impulse purchase, and y’know what? I don’t regret it. Now, normally I’m not one for Munchlings – you know, those weird food-ified stuffed animals. BUT. They had a small assortment of the large ones marked down from $34.95 to – wait for – TEN DOLLARS. But wait, there’s more! Additional discounts apply! With my Annual Pass, make that EIGHT DOLLARS. Eight dollars for an oversized Disney plush! That’s practically free!

In conclusion: French Hot Chocolate Remy is now mine and he has only brought me joy in our short time together.

Magic Kingdom Emporium souvenirs - Minnie Ears and Remy Munchling

Where was I? Oh, yes, we were going to get food. I mean actual food, not fake transmogrified Disney-characters-as-food. It being the night before a race, we took a chance on Tony’s Town Square Restaurant. Don’t groan! We really just needed some pasta that didn’t give us food poisoning. Full restaurant review to come in a later post, but I can tell you now that we had fun and nobody died. What more could you ask for?

By now it was early evening, and we had an early bedtime ahead of us. We bid goodbye to the Magic Kingdom and allowed some very silly Cast Members (opinion: the best kind) to usher us onto a boat launch back to Wilderness Lodge. Bus-less is best.

Upon arrival, we swung through Roaring Fork for post-race pastries, then the gift shop, just to see what there was. Back in the room we met up with Becky’s friend Kristin who now has to be my friend too because of the transitive property. Sorry, kid. She was not there to run but did plan to spectate, which is also a very important part of a positive race experience. Thank you to all spectators for your service!

We busied ourselves briefly with last-minute race readiness and general bedtime preparation. Alas, you can’t stave off the inevitable, and eventually I found myself facing down sleep. To my great fortune, I had two helpers in the endeavor: my new stuffed animal obviously, but ALSO, did you know Wilderness Lodge pipes in the music from the Happily Ever After fireworks?! I found this strangely comforting, even if it delayed drifting off by just a bit.

In conclusion: it was a good day. Yet the question remains: did I have a good race? You’ll find out next week!

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

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