Kill/Refurb/Marry: Extinct Attractions

It’s Kill/Refurb/Marry time again! I found this installment of the monthly blog hop particularly fertile. This time around we’re talking about extinct attractions. Strap in!

Kill: American Idol: The Experience

Man, an embarrassment of riches with this one. Body Wars is a decided no thank you on my part, but since I never rode it I can’t speak to it knowledgeably (although I can viscerally, and my viscera say: NO GOING INSIDE PEOPLE I’M LOOKING AT YOU MAGIC SCHOOL BUS).

I came THISCLOSE to killing Superstar Limo, too. Since I made it to California Adventure during the extremely brief period the ride actually existed, I think I am uniquely qualified to judge this perplexing and unpopular attraction as easily murdered.

And then I remembered that American Idol: The Experience was quite recently a thing. What are some words I can use to describe my opinion of AI:TE*? Awkward, forced, cringe-worthy, inferior prizes, total time suck for everyone involved. DO NOT WANT. Next!

* Hereinafter to be referred to as Aiight.

Refurb: ExtraTERRORrestrial Alien Encounter

I know. I KNOW. A lot of you just LOOOOVED this ride. But I do NOT like touching under the best of circumstances. I still haven’t even tried the replacement Stitch ride – I went through the line once but took the chicken exit in a panic because NO DON’T TOUCH AHHHH. Add a horror element and I can only imagine if I’d ever gone on Alien Encounter I would’ve had a nervous breakdown.

All that having been said, I find the concept very interesting. Can we bring it back, but offer a stand-off-to-the-side-and-just-watch option? All the animatronics, light flickers, and frightening sound effects, none of the saliva, hot breath, and fake alien fingers?

Marry: Horizons

The obvious choice is of course Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, but since it still exists in Disneyland I feel like it doesn’t qualify. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea? Again, Disneyland.

I thought about demanding that Dreamfinder be brought back immediately, but as the Journey Into Imagination still exists in a different, albeit inferior iteration, I don’t think that works either (and anyway I mentioned it last time).

I finally landed on Horizons, that much-loved dark ride that bowed in favor of Mission: Space. And as much as I love me some Gary Sinise, I must say the deletion makes me sad. I have fond memories of discovering the attraction with my family in sixth grade, and since this was in my No Roller Coasters Too Scary phase, I was thrilled to find something so gently entertaining. The scenes were cute and the finale “motion simulator” video was fun. And when I later found out that it was meant to be a sequel of sorts to the Carousel of Progress, I loved it even more.

If ever there was an extinct attraction with an enormous fan base, it’s Horizons – someone even recreated the entire thing virtually, which is a nice stopgap but not quite the same. Please, Disney, won’t you give us back our Horizons?

Jenn is running the 2015 Marine Corps Marathon for the Diabetes Action Team. Will you help her earn her bib while fighting diabetes? Click here to make your tax-deductible donation.

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Photographic Memory: Terror In Radiator Springs

JENN: It’s a Photographic Memory! This is the on-ride photo from our trip on Radiator Springs Racers in Disney’s California Adventure. I was initially super bummed when I realized I had forgotten to include this in the relevant portion of our trip report, but then I realized it was a golden Photographic Memory opportunity.

Moon is in the picture. Trust me.

MOON: It appears I’m hiding! That one is pretty recent. CA, right?

JENN: Yup, from our trip in January. Do you recall your experience on Radiator Springs Racers?

MOON: Hmm, well, I was expecting it to be pretty much the same as the Epcot ride.

JENN: Test Track, you mean?

MOON: Yeah. I remember there was a hill and that made things unhappy for me. I’m a HUGE baby.

JENN: Oh, there was not. There were DIPS. This is not the same.

MOON: You say dip, I say die.

JENN: But I just want to point out the photographic evidence that I protected you!

MOON: That you did! I survived to tell the tale.

JENN: Did you feel safer? Do you feel safer for the future, knowing I’m there?

MOON: I would give it another try if you’re there. 😉

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us atfairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

The Fairest Trip Report of All: 1/21

Hi guys! Time for another glorious trip report, highlighting our time in the Disneyland Resort. For the sake of flow, this report will be written by Jenn with Moon popping in for notes – don’t worry, these will be clearly delineated. As with my last trip report, a lot of food reviews will be held for a later post, so stay tuned for that. Hope you enjoy! To read all the posts in this report, click here. 

Our final full day in California. Sigh.

The parks weren’t opening until 10AM on this particular morning, which meant that we could sleep in. Which meant that we woke up about an hour ahead of schedule. Naturally. So we hung around the room for a bit before readying ourselves and walking down to the resort.

Disneyland was offering Extra Magic Hours (or whatever the equivalent is over there) for their hotel guests, but we decided to go in anyway. We were corralled at the hub for a bit until 10AM sharp, then set free.

Our first stop? Buzz Lightyear, as I had heard from many sources that the detachable guns made for a superior experience to its WDW counterpart. In theory, this is correct – they did FEEL easier. But I must have gotten used to the stationary WDW guns, because my score was pretty pitiful, all things consider. Moon smoked me – but then she’s always been better at first person shooters than I am. (And so are you. And so is everybody, ever. WHY CAN’T IT EVER BE MELEE?)

MOON: I’m a boss at laser tag, too!

I got the bright idea to check in on the wait time for Space Mountain. Moon did not appreciate this, but upon seeing the 10 minute posted wait time she allowed herself to be herded into line. Our ride photo would not indicate an improvement for her the second time around.

Pathos.

No one in this photo is enjoying themselves except me.

Post-Mountain, we bounced over to Fantasyland, where we proceeded to take ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS pictures. It was awesome.

MOON: I’m sure there are going to be a lot of those…

So awesome, in fact, that we decided to go around the entire park taking silly photos. As we passed Big Thunder Ranch, I saw a HORSE! Yay! Unfortunately this guy wasn’t as accommodating as the pair I met during the Tinker Bell Half, but it was still nice to see him.

THIS IS TRUE.

And even nicer to see Woody. I coached him and Moon into their pose and the CM on duty suggested a “Woody’s Angels” spin-off. Do you think we could resurrect Bo Peep for that? I always liked her.

I was still bound and determined to find myself a cupcake, and we checked the Hungry Bear for exciting desserts as we passed. Admittedly the honey lemon cupcake was a feast for the eyes and I’d heard great reviews… but I didn’t want a LEMON cupcake. Too light. I WANTED a honking sugar-fest. But a GOOD honking sugar-fest, with vanilla or cream cheese frosting for preference and some sort of frosting-intensive filling. In retrospect I probably made a mistake, but we moved on.

The Winnie the Pooh dark ride was practically next door and had no line to speak of, so we took a ride in a hilariously-named honeycomb. Okay, I might be imagining things, but I remember the WDW version as being WAY better. The story at Disneyland lacks clarity. Am I making things up?

Oh, bother.

By this point I was in the mood for a snack, of which there were many inside the Pooh Corner gift shop. Despairing of ever finding a glorious, WDW-worthy cupcake in Disneyland, I gave up the ghost and bought one of those generic colored cupcakes that are all over both properties. It was fine, sugar-fest-y, even, but an underperformer compared to anything I could get at Starring Rolls. Disneyland bakers need to step up their game.

MOON: If I may be so bold and repeat my favorite tweet: “I just stuffed cake into my BFF’s mouth. The trip has climaxed.” There you go, guys. That’s the highlight of my trip.

Subpar.

We’d photographed our way through Fantasyland, New Orleans Square, Frontierland, Critter Country, Adventureland, AND Main Street and it was time to head across the yard to DCA. On the way out we stopped in a gift shop so I could look for a shirt I liked, but they didn’t have it in my preferred size and color so I vowed to look in the World of Disney store later.

Over in DCA, I made a beeline for the roller coaster, and Moon was kind enough to wait for me and take photos as my train took off. Then we stopped in at the Golden Vine restaurant, but the menu didn’t inspire us to spend that kind of money; we went back to Pacific Wharf and got tofu bowls from Lucky Fortune Cookery (another one for the food review post).

Our next stop was Carsland, where Moon got a churro cone. I guess they make them fresh to order, because Moon informed me it was going to take six minutes for hers to arrive. She gave me leave to run off and look for Stanley stuff in the gift shops.

I checked through pretty much every single gift shop in the place and came up with exactly one lame t-shirt and a magnet. I mean, Stanley has a freakin’ STATUE here; shouldn’t he be more heavily featured? Moon called, churros accomplished, and I directed her over to me for discussion. I ultimately bought magnets for my mother and grandmother. The cashier guy was super nice – he gave us First Visit pins and Mickey stickers (which now adorn my cubicle wall and my cell phone case, respectively).

I FOUND IT!

Also, Moon gave me her cinnamon chocolate dipping sauce from the churros because she’s not a huge chocolate fan and I drank that stuff like it was hot chocolate. Question: reasonable behavior or cry for help?

MOON: I’m sorry for being a fatty and eating all the churros!! But I couldn’t find youuu and I was hungry. :/ But at least there was sauce, right? You ate that like a champ!

It being vacation, it was time to imbibe; we hit up the wine place next to Golden Vineyard. The guy there was also very nice, offering us different pours if we didn’t like what we got and describing our potential purchases. I got a glass of Malbec and Moon got a Cabarnet, and we took our glasses over to the benches in front of California Screamin.’ (On the way, Moon was accosted by a lady who wanted to know WHERE DID YOU GET WINE?????)

I snagged a FastPass for the roller coaster and we sat and sipped our wine for awhile. I finished my glass at the EXACT moment my time opened up. Moon had fallen asleep, and upon my return she was STILL asleep. It was adorable.

MOON: Zzzzzzzzz…

I did rouse her after a time, and we decided to approach DCA the same way we had Disneyland that morning – circle around and take pictures. So we did that. And as we walked past Grizzly River run, I saw him: DUG!

Oh, and here’s a bear from the gift shop.

Also, at some point we took pictures with Chip and Dale. I don’t remember when so I’m just going to stick this photo here. Chip tried to mime me into giving him money for food, but I refused because HE DOESN’T DESERVE ANY. (Confession: I don’t like Chip and Dale because they’re mean to Pluto. I harbor the same distaste for the Roadrunner and Jerry Mouse.) 

It was then that I made my most exciting discovery of the entire trip: one of the famed DISNEYLAND KITTIES! Disneyland sets up feeders to support feral cat populations that keep the rodent numbers down. Cast members warned, and rightly so, that they were wild, but this particular cat was incredibly sweet, rubbing against my hands and everything. Until some stupid kid came up and started yelling MEOW!!!!! at him which freaked him out and he ran away. Why do people continue to bring CHILDREN to Disneyland? I just don’t understand it.

We continued our tour with Condor Flats, but there wasn’t much there beside Soarin’ and we get that at WDW. After that we found ourselves back on Buena Vista Street… so I went into Starbucks and bought ANOTHER cupcake. Because it LOOKED epic. I say LOOKED… but more on that later.

I was so young and full of hope.

Moon convinced me to leave the parks, but I wasn’t ready to let go. She went back to the hotel while I headed into Downtown Disney and the World of Disney store to find my shirt. It was pretty much exactly the same as a shirt I had almost bought at WDW, but it said Disneyland instead; I figured since I still liked the design it would make a good souvenir. Unfortunate WoD didn’t have red in size small either, so I settled for purple. Whatever. Purple brings out the green in hazel eyes, right? The universe knows what it’s doing. I also found a shot glass and got a small pack of notepads for coworkers, but otherwise I managed to hold on to my money.

What I couldn’t hold on to was my sense of perspective – as usual, the prospect of leaving Disney property bummed me right the hell out. A normal person, having completed their business, would then go back to their room. I chose to walk alllllll the way down the DTD street to the Disneyland Hotel and back, ducking into a few shops for no reason whatsoever. My initial plan was to pick up the monorail and ride it into Tomorrowland before exiting, but it was down… which also saved me from the temptation to stay in Disneyland, so I guess that was just as well.

Goodbye… sniff…

Eventually I was able to drag myself away; I met Moon back at the hotel and we pondered the remainder of the day. Various driving excursions were considered, but as I am a nervous driver in new situations we abandoned those ideas in favor of staying safely close to home.

Step one: hot tub! At this dinner-ish hour, the pool area was practically empty. There was one family there, but they left shortly after we arrived. We did have one admittedly cute encounter – their little boy came up to us just before they departed and asked us very gravely if we would like him to turn the hot tub jets on for us. I don’t even like kids and I found that adorable.

Eh.
Much better.

Step two: dinner. We settled in at the Rainforest Cafe because it was right across the way from the DTD movie theater (we will get to step three shortly). This will serve as the final section of our Disneyland food review post, but let me just say now that they don’t skimp on the vodka.

Step three: movie. The reason we wanted to drink was because we had selected Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones as the evening’s film. WAIT HEAR ME OUT. Moon and I have a tradition with some friends that we watch horror movies together, both good and bad, and mock them and/or clutch each other in terror. We KNEW a PA movie would be mockable, but we hoped it would be a fun mockable. There is a method to our admitted madness, okay?

As you might have guessed, however, this particular PA installment was passable at best. The most interesting part was that when we walked in – a few minutes into the previews at that – we had the ENTIRE THEATER to ourselves. A couple came in shortly after, but they left about halfway through (if that informs you of the quality). Meanwhile, Moon literally stretched out across the seats and fell asleep about a quarter of the way in. The most frightening thing about the entire experience was sitting in the dark alone.

MOON: There’s also a tradition of me drinking a little too much in excitement for being scared and then my subsequent snoozing. I had a nice nap. Much better than the movie, I’m sure.

I woke Moon up at the end and we walked back to the hotel in the hush of Disneyland Resort at 11PM at night and went to bed shortly after. Our vacation was essentially over. In the morning: TRAVEL TIME.

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us atfairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon! 

The Fairest Trip Report of All: 1/20

Hi guys! Time for another glorious trip report, highlighting our time in the Disneyland Resort. For the sake of flow, this report will be written by Jenn with Moon popping in for notes – don’t worry, these will be clearly delineated. As with my last trip report, a lot of food reviews will be held for a later post, so stay tuned for that. Hope you enjoy! To read all the posts in this report, click here.

I had suddenly remembered, the night before, that Disneyland opened its gates at 8AM on this morning, which would require an early start if we were to make rope drop. To which Moon said: NO. And really, if I were smarter, I would’ve been right there with her – we’d had a long race day and needed the sleep. But because I am me, I dragged myself out of bed early and was in line at Disneyland by 7:45AM. Because I am a crazy person.

MOON: I am not a crazy person. Here’s a confession: I was awake before Jenn woke up. But, I’m laaaaazy, so I stayed in with my three blankets.

The assembled faithful were allowed into the park at 7:50AM and permitted to walk as far as the Partners statue, about halfway up the hub; the other half was blocked off by rope. The cast member on duty started asking people where they were headed, and I can offer you this observed trend per his expertise: people closer to the Partners statue are headed directly to Peter Pan, whereas those closer to the railing and bolting for Space Mountain.

Me, I was in it for the Matterhorn, and the moment we were set free I made a beeline for the line – I’d say I was in maybe the second or third car to take off. And… it wasn’t that exciting. >.< Is that bad? It’s an iconic attraction! But essentially it’s like Space Mountain, the same sort of spiral-down ride track, only you can see the whole time so you’re never surprised. I’m glad I got to experience it but I can’t say I’d wait in any kind of line for it.

I had time to kill before Moon joined me, so I headed deeper into Fantasyland. My first stop was Snow White, now that we no longer have it in WDW, and I got my own car! It was a fun ride as always, but I can’t help but feel that the old WDW version had a more cohesive story line. Oh well. Another one bites the dust, eh?

MOON: In the meantime, I was enjoying a nice, long shower…

Now for a new experience: the Sleepy Beauty Castle walking tour! Not particularly exciting, really, but the little dioramas were quaint and cute and the entire attraction at that hour was blessedly empty and quiet. I had a pleasant walk through the displays.

I then made the grave tactical error of getting into line for Peter Pan. It had been broken down for the first half hour or so of park opening, and the line had backed up, but I figured what the heck. Well, the heck was that after about fifteen minutes it broke down again. Is it very different in Disneyland from WDW? At the time I banked on the idea that is wasn’t and jumped out of line with the intention of popping over to Disney’s California Adventure to ride the roller coaster, but at that moment Moon texted me to inform me she was on her way.

On my way out of Disneyland to meet her, I had a celebrity moment: I saw Chef Oscar outside of the Carnation Cafe! He’s been working at Disneyland since 1955. NINETEEN FIFTY-FIVE. Naturally I took photos like a crazed paparazzi. Because I am a nerd.

We met in the between-parks courtyard and determined that we would indeed proceed directly to DCA. First order of business was of course to grab FastPasses for Radiator Springs Racers; just the FPs alone have their own queue. Sheesh.

Our return time was for a little after 4PM, so we had some time to fill. I did something I’ve been dying to do since 2001: ride the roller coaster, California Screamin.’ Moon declined with such a firm tone that I put up only a token effort to convince her to accompany me before hopping into the fairly short line. And was it worth my decade-plus wait? YES. YES IT WAS. I freakin’ loved it – just enough intensity for a thrill, but nothing like those big killer coasters that you have to psych yourself up for. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll brave a 205 foot vertical drop and like it, but there’s something to be said for a coaster you can approach as pure, courage-unnecessary fun.

We headed back to Buena Vista Street and the Fiddler, Fifer, and Practical Cafe – aka Starbucks. The line was several billion yards long, but we wanted hot drinks so we soldiered through for a tea for Moon and a soy latter for me. We sat at a table outside and did some leisurely sipping, idly watching the Five and Dime performance that had set up a ways away.

MOON: I was so excited for tea that I ordered a large. We’re talking 24oz of tea. I forgot these things can’t go on rides. That much liquid makes one uncomfortable. Just saying.

After our break, we headed over to the Monsters Inc dark ride. The queue here was awesome, and the ride was good, but… um… I DESPISE Boo. She is incalculably annoying. The only thing she did in the entire film that I enjoyed was burst into tears when Sully accidentally scared her. So as much as I dig Billy Crystal, I will never 100% warm up to Monsters Inc.

SNACK TIME. We made our way down to Hyperion Wharf and stopped in at Ghirardelli for our free square of chocolate – dark chocolate raspberry this time. Tasty! Then we did the Boudin Bakery tour, which came complete with lovely sourdough bread samples. But the tour pained me terribly. Colin Mochrie, you are a great and clever man and you are SO MUCH FUNNIER THAN THIS. Did they write that script for you? DON’T LET THEM DO THAT. Don’t they know improv is your thing?

As we weren’t quite lunch-ready, we decided to take a spin around Mickey’s Funwheel. Moon selected the non-swinging cars and that was cool with me as it would make photography less tricky. Following the interminable inching crawl of a line that all ferris wheels inevitably provide, we made it into a car and rose high up over the park. It wasn’t what I’d call exciting but the views were definitely impressive.

After disembarking, we poked around the various Hyperion Wharf eating establishments and eventually settled on the Hyperion Wharf Cafe, which featured bread bowls from the Boudin Bakery. We both got Shrimp Louis salads, although I don’t think Moon’s agreed with her particularly. No need to revisit these in the food review post: they were kinda creamy and not very green. Good bread, though.

MOON: I hate shrimp.

It was time to head back to Disneyland, where we first picked up passes for Roger Rabbit’s CarToon Spin, and second got terrifically lost trying to find Big Thunder Ranch, which is NOT in fact in Critter Country. I think critters should be in Critter Country, don’t you? While we were there, Moon did pick up a sweet Davy Crockett hat, so it wasn’t a totally loss.

Eventually we located the ranch, where I discovered, much to my dismay, that the place billed as the home of the happiest horses on earth was horse-free. I did pet a donkey named Pablo, but he wasn’t really enjoying it. (Cisco wasn’t home.) (Ignore my parenthetical; only my dad would get that joke.) Moon enjoyed the fiddling cowboy, so at least there’s that.

Our FastPass time had opened up; we selected a much more efficient route this time and before long we were on Roger Rabbit’s CarToon Spin. Two words: Patty cake?!

We decided to hop back over to DCA and made a beeline for the Cove Bar, a gorgeous space jutting out into the lake. We had a table by the water after only a brief wait, and were soon enjoying some lovely cocktails. Needless to say, silliness ensued.

King of the wild frontier.

I hope you will forgive us if I confess that our first and only ride on Radiator Springs Racers was performed while slightly inebriated. We weren’t actually driving, so that’s cool, right?! The ride was fun but I kept getting distracted by all the ways I could see they had re-skinned Epcot’s Test Track. We won, though (although Mater says “You’re all winners today” which is a total cop-out).

Please don’t be mad, but… I have never seen Cars. BUT. I now MUST see it, because – wait. Hold on. Please prepare yourself for a bit of a mind-bender.

GUYS, MY GRANDFATHER’S NAME WAS STANLEY AND HE OWNED A GAS STATION.

IT WAS A SINCLAIR GAS STATION.

(Source)

AMAZING.

The sun was starting to go down, which signaled that it was time to go back to the hotel to change. Our walk was interrupted by this weird guy who tried to get us to go to some sort of timeshare breakfast, but eventually we extricated ourselves and made it to our room for some downtime.

Then it was right back to DCA for dinner and World of Color! But first we rode the Little Mermaid dark ride because there was no wait and it was warm in there. As far as I can tell it is exactly like the one in New Fantasyland only there’s no castle. Downgrade. Still love Ursula, though.

Oh, and the carousel! The SEA CAROUSEL. King Triton was way into it, and so was Moon. She speaks whale. Or possibly upset stomach.

MOON: VAT! VHERE ZEE VHALES? I rode that whale like nobody’s business.

We chose Paradise Garden Grill for dinner – review to come – and wandered around the Paradise Pier area taking pictures. In so doing, I came to this dismaying realization that the World of Color viewing area was pretty much exclusively for FastPass holders. As a denizen of the Hollywood Studio’s Fantasmic set up, this threw me for a complete loop and made me feel stupid all at once. I should have done more research… bleh. Well, I’ll know for next time.

There was nothing else for it: we took spots in a roped off section behind the main area and waited; I tried to play the color wheel game but for some reason they had already stopped playing. We managed to keep ourselves entertained all the same until World of Color began.

Verdict? I liked it. The scenes were well selected and the combination of lights, water, and projection was clever and well done. Oh, and it reminded me that Brave‘s “Touch the Sky” exists, so I am forever in debt to it for that. But I’d still rather watch Fantasmic or Wishes. I believe Moon loved it, though, so that was great!

MOON: I did think it was a bit too long, but I thought the water mechanics were pretty fantastic.

We exited the park with the masses at that point, but our destination was not the hotel just yet – it was Downtown Disney. I was bound and determined to find myself an epic cupcake. At WDW, they are EVERYWHERE – in Starring Rolls and Boardwalk Bakery and Contempo Cafe and they even pop up as specials in counter service restaurants – but Disneyland was coming up completely short. I was determined to locate myself a good cupcake in one of the DTD stores.

Which were all closed. INCLUDING TANGAROA TERRACE. Seriously? 10PM is when you close the Disneyland Hotel’s food court? Who signed off on that? Poor Moon followed me all over what felt like the entire planet before I dejectedly entered the mercifully open late Earl of Sandwich and purchased a brownie creme. Don’t get me wrong; I LOVE me a good brownie creme, which is essentially a brownie-and-frosting sandwich… but I wanted an epic cupcake. Harrumph.

MOON: I imagine all the cupcakes in CA sneering and laughing at Jenn as she trekked through all Disney property in search for one. At least there was a brownie!

But I took my brownie creme home and I showed it who was boss (hint: me; I have teeth so I win) while Moon showered and then I showered and then it was bedtime. One more day in Disneyland to go.

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.com. See ya real soon! 

The Fairest Trip Report of All: Tinker Bell Half Marathon Recap

Hi guys! Time for another glorious trip report, highlighting our time in the Disneyland Resort. For the sake of flow, this report will be written by Jenn with Moon popping in for notes – don’t worry, these will be clearly delineated. As with my last trip report, a lot of food reviews will be held for a later post, so stay tuned for that. Hope you enjoy! To read all the posts in this report, click here.

JENN: I had set no less than three alarms for 3AM, but I woke up no problem to the first one and actually felt pretty okay. Hooray for Eastern Standard Time!

MOON: I was already awake! And terrified!

JENN: Did you sleep at all?

MOON: I did BEFORE the fireworks started going off. I mostly listened to music all night, I think.

JENN: Oh dear. I seem to recall that you weren’t feeling too hot…

MOON: 
Yeah, I felt pretty bad that morning. I was really scared to get out of bed and put on clothes because my energy still felt low and it still felt like 30 degrees to me. So, I checked my phone when I decided to get out of bed. In my text inbox I had the BEST message. I will not disclose it here, but I finally felt the resolve I needed.

JENN: Yeah, I remember asking you if you were up to running and you were all I’M DOING IT.

MOON:  Yeah! Although, I was still scared I wouldn’t have enough energy to run the whole thing. This was my inner dialogue all night: “Nooooo…”

JENN: I was a little worried, but I’m not gonna lie – I was relieved you meant to try. Didn’t want to go without you!

MOON: Anyway, I ate a Clif bar and tried to mentally tell myself all would be well.

JENN: So yeah. We dressed and ate and put on makeup in the effort to improve photos and walked down to Disneyland. We were by no means alone – there was a constant stream of fellow runners all around us, acting as shepherds.

By contrast to the Princess Half, it was COLD out. Moon and I had on hoodies. These will be important later.

MOON: And very much missed pieces of clothing…

JENN: We headed past the Disneyland/DCA courtyard and through Downtown Disney, then banked I think a left into the Paradise Pier hotel area. We briefly hit the family reunion/pre-race area, but I hardly even remember what was in it. The tents for bag check, but we weren’t using that service. We kinda milled around a bit and then left.

STEVE HOLT

MOON: I remember the Princess being a little more organized this respect.

JENN: Yeah, the Princess pre-race was much more high-energy, with a dance party and photo ops. Of course, it was also much more crowded.

MOON: Yes, but you also knew where you were supposed to go!

JENN: 
True!

We headed toward the corrals, gleefully skipping past the frequent security checks on your bib letter before you could proceed. Corral B, baby!

MOON: Hip, hip for Corral B! Starting in B was a huge improvement from the Princess Half. SO much less congested throughout the entire run. I stayed with many of the runners I started with; that’s always kind of nice!

JENN: By that point it was only 4:30AM, so we had half an hour to kill. While it was a little boring, it did allow us to stand pretty close to the front of the corral, which was a bonus. We took some pictures and social media’d a bit to keep ourselves entertained.

Eh.

Much better.

There were hosts on a stage to the right of the first corral that kept up some chatter, but it was mostly filler. The event really began with the singing of the National Anthem, the start of the one wheelchair participant, and then – corral A was off! Ten minutes later WE WERE TOO.

MOON: So, I just have to say: once I started running, I was all set. I felt good (although coooold), and adrenaline kicked in!

JENN: By contrast – I did not feel good.

I have documented before how my lungs tend to react with extreme negativity whenever I try to run in the cold. It wasn’t freezing out, but it was definitely chilly. We crested our first hill and, while it was very steep, I had to take in just enough extra air that I could feel the restriction kicking in. Gotta say, it scared me.

MOON: Maybe this is when my throat’s weirdo illness worked in my favor. I didn’t feel much!

JENN: Just like in the end of Signs when the boy doesn’t die because he has asthma!

MOON: Ha!

JENN: Luckily the feeling eased on flatter portions of the course, but I was rather tragically Not Feeling It.

This is where we have THEME PARKS TO THE RESCUE! We ran into Disney’s California Adventure in short order and there it was: the World of Color fountains going. Quick calculations determined that if I stopped for a picture it would also give my lungs a brief rest, so I called Moon over and we took some quick photos.

MOON: This is the part when Jenn recaps all the important things… Of which I have no recollection. Although, I DO remember lights and general pretty things!

JENN: Haha, you were in the zone! Whereas I was desperately seeking distraction, and the parks did not disappoint. We took our very first steps into Disneyland – running steps – and it was awesome. We stopped for a photo op with the castle – I had read that it was tiny by comparison to WDW’s, but I didn’t realize how tiny! It was still fun running up the drawbridge and through the tunnel.

Jenn was unprepared, expression-wise.

MOON: Yeah, it was almost like running through a miniature town.

JENN: From there we ran through Fantasyland (loved the characters on the carousel!) and past it’s a small world, its facade all lit up, and we stopped for a photo there too.

But my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE stop was next! HORSES. They were SO cute and sweet and I wasted way too many precious seconds cuddling with them but it kicked my morale up several notches and that’s what counts!

MOON: You should have mounted up and gloriously crossed the finish line on horseback.

JENN: IF ONLY.

Roundabouts then we left the parks and it all goes downhill from here, folks.

MOON: So… The Anaheim Suburbs. Running through Anaheim was not the most exciting portion of the run…

JENN: I dunno, guys. I knew the second half of the race went through the streets of Anaheim but… really, Disney? That’s IT? Cheerleaders? They weren’t even doing any fancy routines, just yelling encouragement. Which we already have from spectators, and while they are less likely to come in coordinating outfits they sport funny signs. They win.

There were a couple marching bands, too, but I never saw any characters or the promised Polynesian dancers. Or puppets or displays or other ways WDW dresses up its boring street sections. Maybe we came through too early or something.

MOON: Well, at least there was lots of water!

JENN: You mean the water stations? Or did I miss a fancy water entertainment portion?

MOON: Ha, yes, you missed the part where World of Color shoots magical colored water into your mouth as your run past.

JENN: God, I’m so oblivious.

MOON: Yeah, water stations, ha!

JENN: It was in the streets of Anaheim that Moon started to pull away from me. All the ill portents aside, she had conquered sickness and was feelin’ it. I was not.

MOON: I periodically looked back because I really wanted us to stay togetherrrr. Most of the time I could spot you!

JENN: I stopped at every water station for water AND Powerade, but Moon started up again sooner than I did and little by little she pulled away. But not TOO far away – I could see her up ahead, and I gotta say, she kept me going. Aside from those water stops, I didn’t stop once, even though I was tempted to.

At one point I saw a hill coming and my internal monologue let out a belting NOOOOOOOOO but I saw Moon run right up it and I decided I would too. No walking for me!

MOON: I was pissed we had to run up the same obnoxious hill TWICE! Anger shot me up that one. And the promise of the race ending…

JENN: So Moon was keeping me going up ahead. And then around mile 12, when I was really starting to feel the sad, I heard the voice of the 2:15 pace guy. I had seen him in our corral before the start and I knew that if I could JUST KEEP AHEAD OF HIM I would pull out a good time. I intend to write a more involved love letter to the man who propelled me forward when I needed the push, but for now let’s just say that without him and Moon I could never have pushed past my sluggish body and made a PR.

MOON: And to add: there were so many jackets on the ground! I was so cold near the end. I seriously wanted to pick them up and wrap myself in them.

JENN: Oh, right, I totally forgot to mention that part! So as we entered Disneyland part, we ran up Main Street, and we were elated – Moon was feeling good, I was boosted by the sites and sounds of Disney, and were happy. All that adrenaline warmed us up, so we counted it down – THREE TWO ONE!!! – and tossed our hoodies.

We had made a huge mistake.

MOON: Way too overzealous. I still regret it. I feel cold now.

JENN: By the end of the course I had salt crusted on my face from sweat that had dried too quickly in the cold. It was crazy. But anyway. Where was I? Oh yes. The end of the race. I lost sight of Moon by the time I passed the 13 mile marker, but I had Pace Charming on my heels and even though I once or twice felt like I might puke I powered through and FINISHED BECAUSE STEVE HOLT.

FINISH HER!!!!

How was the end of the race for you?

MOON: Well, before I talk about that I just want to shout out to my favorite part of the race.While running through the Anaheim suburbs, I passed a lady who was out in her bathrobe, sporting a MIMOSA (the sun had not yet risen). When I ran past her she said, “Good morning!!” And that made me laugh, therefore… Great success.

JENN: Haha, excellent! I enjoyed the Red Hat Ladies, myself. But WHERE WAS THE GOSPEL CHOIR?! In the Princess Half we had a gospel choir at mile 13 and it was AMAZING.

MOON: Yeah, it’s pretty hard to give a race that and then TAKE IT AWAY for the next. But, I did well at the end. I found the end a little ambiguous at first because I wasn’t sure it was happening… and the kind of a windy path.

Survivors!

 Annnyway! Remember before we left and we said we would reveal our goals for the race?!

JENN: Yes!

MOON: Sooooo, did you make it?!

JENN: Well, no. Technically. I had wanted us to be at the parks at opening and we didn’t get on our first ride until 9:40AM. But that was my own fault – I dawdled in the shower and afterward. We probably could’ve made it if I’d really hustled us, but it felt nice to relax a bit. I think it was okay. I got a PR by about six minutes, and that’s what counts. 🙂 You?

MOON: While I didn’t finish with my personal best time, I did finish with a new official best time!

JENN: Yay!

MOON: I wanted to run the entire race – no walking. This happened, yay! I also wanted to finish under 2:20. This ALSO happened, yay! And those were my goals before getting sickly. The day before my only goal was, “Don’t drop out.”

JENN: Ooh, incidentally, my time was just under 2:15 and I think your official time was just over 2:13? The clock seemed a little off but that’s where we ended up. Not bad either way. AND we stopped for several photos!

MOON: You’re right! So, all in all we did really well. That pleases me. 😀

JENN: I guess it would’ve been nice to get those 4-5 minutes back, but they really improved my morale and gave my crotchety lungs a rrest.

How did you feel post race? Those reflective blankets were a LIFESAVER.

MOON: Yeeeeeah, I wanted all the reflective blankets.

JENN: We pretty much just got our snack box, water, and Powerade, and got the heck up outta there. It was COLD.

Snack box contents.

One thing I must say I rather enjoyed – the course actually ran right past our hotel. We had finished so early, runners from the last couple corrals were still coming through. To get to our room, we had to do the dart-across-the-course thing. Felt pretty good. 🙂

MOON: I still don’t know what happened to my Powerade.

JENN: Neither do I. I also don’t know what was up with that bibbed girl who was running on the opposite side of the street from the course as we walked back.

MOON: Haha, yeeeeah, girl was on the wrong side of the street. And this time it wasn’t because of lost costume parts like our lobster friend from last year’s race.

JENN: And that was our race experience! Next up: DISNEYLAND.

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.com. See ya real soon! 

In Which We Register for the Tinker Bell Half

Hi there! We were at our respective jobs when the Tinker Bell Half opened for registration today at noon. That meant 30 miles between us. So we did the only logical thing – we hopped on GChat and talked ourselves through registration! Are you registered yet? We’re SO EXCITED! Especially because we’ll be seeing Disneyland for the first time in a very unique way… read on for more!

JENN: Ready?

MOON: I’m all set.

JENN: Awesome. You know how to get to registration?

MOON: Nope! Show me, great leader.

JENN: Go to rundisney.com. Then select the Tinker Bell Half Marathon – actually, hold on. Go here: http://www.active.com/framed/event_detail.cfm?CHECKSSO=0&EVENT_ID=2070078

You may need to make an Active.com account. Let me know when you’re in.

Maybe we should get some wings…

MOON: Okay, I’m on. Select TB half?

JENN: You’re registered to Active already and everything? Nice!

MOON: I’m quick! Just like the race will be 😀

JENN: STEVE HOLT!

MOON: STEVE HOLT!

JENN: Okay, let me know when you’re past the waiver. It gets much more interesting once you’re past the waiver.

MOON: Okay, I’m on the next page.

JENN: Awesome. Info fill out time! Woo! I think for the Princess we got small tech shirts? But these are apparently long-sleeved, so I think I’m going to go medium… I don’t like tight sleeves. I bet I can ask to swap sizes if I guessed wrong.

MOON: I’d assume so.

JENN: What do you want to say for anticipated finish time? Yesterday I did 13.1 in 2:15! 😀

MOON: Wow!! Nice!

JENN: And then my legs were sad. But still.

MOON: 2:30 in the event of traffic? I did 6 miles. 😀 I’ve done 6 miles twice in a row, hoping to keep up with it.

JENN: The only thing that worries me is that by erring on the side of more time we invite the possibility of yet MORE traffic in front of us… On the other hand, I don’t want to overshoot.

MOON: I figured with our previous proof of time, we don’t want to go too far off it in case they cross examine the two? Maybe 2:20?

JENN:
I suppose so.

MOON: I figure most people in corrals B and C are probably around there.

JENN: 2:20 sounds good. Let’s do that.

MOON: Okay. Do you happen to know our time from the last race?

JENN: Yeah, I still have the texts in my phone [You can set it up so that your split times are texted to you as you run]. One sec.

Feb 24
2:51:47 [We will explain why we think we can go so much faster this time when we recap the Princess. Stay tuned!]

MOON: What about the commemorative stuff? Are we doing team?

JENN: I vote yes! I know you want a sash.

Like these!

As for the other stuff, I got the Princess necklace on eBay for $12. This is merely a notation and not a guarantee that anyone will be selling the Tinker Bell necklaces… but there were a good five or six Princess necklaces on eBay when I looked.

MOON: I don’t think I’m buying them because we get a sash.

JENN: Indeed. We might be able to buy it there if we really like it anyway. I can’t remember if it was an exclusive pre-order.

MOON: Maybe if we did the MFing marathon

JENN: Oh, I’m buying ALL THE THINGS for the marathon. Oh, hey, the final registration page. I was waiting for it to ask me my favorite princess so I could get all up in arms about the lack of my beloved Mulan, but they didn’t, so I guess I’ll have to save that for the next Princess event.

MOON: Ha! Okay, I’m all done.

JENN: Me too!

MOON: Woo!

JENN:
Now I’m teaming us! [Teams register separately and then register their team for an additional fee now.] As much as I enjoyed being Team ALLONS-Y! at the Princess, let’s be www.FairestRunofAll.com this time, because now we are awesome. Or something.

MOON: Ha, okay!

JENN: We’re teamed!

MOON: Yay!

JENN: Okay, now let’s talk about the amazing thing we realized!

But first, a story. My family accompanied my mother on a business trip in… I think it was 2002? And one day while my mom was off business-ing, my dad and brother and I went up to Disneyland.

We went to purchase tickets to Disneyland proper, but the cast member in the ticket booth convinced us that, because there was a Music in the Parks event going on, we were better off going to Disney’s California Adventure, which was still in its infancy.

We agreed to this, because how should we know that baby DCA was generally considered wildly inferior and Disney was trying to push people through its gates any way it could? So we went to DCA, and… um. It was crowded anyway. The freakin’ roller coaster WASN’T WORKING. You know what was there? That weird limo dark ride where you’re supposed to be hunting celebrities with Joan Rivers. It was just… no.

Now, I’m excited to go again because wonderful, wonderful things have happened in the decade or so since and DCA is now considered a full-fledged member of the Disney park pantheon. And in a weird way, I’m happy that we didn’t go to Disneyland, because it allows this:

Our plan is to fly in the Friday before the race, sleep in Saturday, hit the expo, maybe take a swim, and go to bed.

Moon has never been to Disneyland. I have never been to Disneyland.

And that means the very step we take in Disneyland will be a running step.

The very first time we head down Main Street, USA, we will be running down Main Street, USA.

And the very first time we see Sleeping Beauty castle, we will be running toward it. And then through it!

MOON: The levels of glory are stacking pretty high. Especially since this is our second go at a Disney event. So we will definitely have to run the Marathon weekend in 2015

JENN: Wonderful things are afoot. I said aFOOT.

MOON: HA. Ha. Ha.

JENN: Thank you. Thank you.

YOU SHALL BE OURS.

Yay! Tinker Bell Half secured! We’ll delve deeper into our plans for the trip as time progresses. For now, we’re happy just to be registered – we hear registration is over 50% full already! 

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.com. See ya real soon!