Tower of Terror 10-Miler Trip – Day 2 – Expo & Parks

The run Expo opened at 10am on Friday morning.  Having been thru the chaos of the Dumbo Double Dare Expo in 2013 we knew we wanted to be there at opening to get first choice on official merchandise and try to beat the crowds.  Since that meant we couldn’t be at a park for rope drop I decided to take the opportunity to try the Tonga Toast at the Poly.  I was able to get an 8am breakfast reservations at Kona Café.  We decided to take a taxi over to the Poly instead of trying to connect at a park via bus and I was really surprised how easy it was to get a taxi.  I figured they would have to call one and we’d wait for a bit but there were a few sitting right there in the parking lot ready to go.  It was a $20 taxi ride from the All Star.  When we sat down at Kona I found myself pondering why it was so popular, the atmosphere of the place seriously looks like every 24 hour café in Vegas casinos.  Not a whole lot of theming or décor going on there.  Anyway, B and I split the Tonga Toast and an egg white omelet and both were delicious.  I’m glad I got over there to try the Tonga Toast but I don’t think it lived up to the hype I’d heard about it.  Actually, it’s not that, it’s really tasty, I think it’s more that I wouldn’t make the special trip to the Poly to get it.  If it was available in my resort food court or in the parks I’d get it again in a heartbeat.

After breakfast we went to find the busses to the Expo.  It was about 9:10 at this point and we were informed the first bus wouldn’t be there for another 20 minutes.  Having discovered getting a taxi was so easy we decided to just grab one to the Expo instead of waiting.  We’d heard the Expo usually opened early so didn’t want to wait until 10 if it wasn’t necessary.  Sure it cost us another $20, but we were there in 10 min and got dropped off right in front, no long walk from the busses.  We were able to get in line for the Expo at 9:25 and they opened at 9:30 exactly 30 min early from the listed time.  And you could tell by how they were directing the crowd it was definitely planned to open at 9:30.  We went right to the official merch booth to grab the good stuff and got….nothing.  There just wasn’t anything either of us wanted, it was downright sad.  I wish they would do the pint glasses for all events, but this one just had a plastic sports bottle type thing.  Tinkerbell just had some stereotypical girly plastic sports bottle as well.  I love my WDW marathon and DL half pint glasses, give me more of those.  I needed a sweaty band to wear under my hat for the run so picked up a RunDisney one.  To be honest, I got it equally for the run and to copy it and make my own at home.  Its $15 for a headband made with a little ribbon, I can make them for about $2.  I also ended up grabbing a magnet which is now on my file cabinet at work just so I had something with the run name on it.  They had a zip up which was just meh and a few shirts.  I wish they had some general villain themed stuff for this run or heck, even something with the villains in front of the Tower, but everything just had a picture of the Tower of Terror alone.  Boo.

The Expo for this race was a lot smaller than any of the past RunDisney events I’ve done but I didn’t feel like it was missing anything.  We hit a few vendor booths to pick up stuff and then headed over to pick up the bibs.  I got my bib right away, but B’s line had the slowest person on the planet manning it so it took her a bit longer.  I was in F and she was in D.  After getting the bibs we had to head back to the Expo building to pick up the shirts and gear bag.  Hitting the Expo first meant more walking back and forth but we were done with everything and on the bus back to our hotel by 10:20 which was awesome.  The Expo was just starting to get crowded when we went in to get the race shirts.  Our plan of attack worked so well in fact that we are planning to take taxis to the Expo early for both Wine & Dine and Dopey to be there and in line for the Expo before 9:30 to hit the Official Merch booth first.  It’s worth the money to us to avoid the crowded chaos and get in and out quickly.

Pic of my bib, I didn’t to take one of the race shirt but it was pretty cute and it’s a women’s cut so I may actually wear it.

After the Expo we dropped our stuff back at the hotel and headed out to Animal Kingdom, getting there around noon.  We went to Expedition Everest and walked on twice in a row via the single rider line.  After that we went to the Pangani Trail in search of the baby gorillas.  We saw no baby gorillas but did get cornered by an older cast member when we asked about them.  Seriously, she went on and on and on for like 10 minutes until another guest saved us by asking a question.  So, that was a bust, maybe we can find the baby gorillas at Wine & Dine.  The park was unpleasantly crowded so we left and headed over to Epcot (which is where I had booked our FP+ the night before).

We were able to walk in and get a table right away at San Angel inside Mexico so that was great and it was delicious.  And we may or may not have taken the leftover chips with us in B’s backpack and snacked on them for the rest of the day.  We hit most of the stuff in Future World, walked around World Showcase and tried some of the food/drinks from the festival booths. But by far the most important thing was riding Maelstrom twice (once in the afternoon and once right before closing) as a farewell cruise.  We had a FP for the first ride, but had to do standby at the end and the line was long with other people doing a farewell ride as well.  I like Maelstrom but I’m not up in arms about it being replaced with a Frozen ride like a lot of people are, I’m interested to see what they do with it.  While I’m hoping I’m wrong, I’m expecting the same ride track with just a Frozen overlay.  So we hypothesized what Frozen stuff would go in each room of the ride.  Bye bye polar bear, hello Snow Monster.  I’m still more upset at Disney taking away Horizons in Epcot and going back even further, Adventure Thru Inner Space at Disneyland.  Those two are still my all time favorite rides.  On a side note, if you were an Adventure Thru Inner Space fan google and watch the virtual ride thru on YouTube.  It’s awesome, the level of detail is amazing.

Maelstrom fun fact, one of the vikings in the boat on the mural by the loading area was wearing mouse ears, look at the pic below…

 

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Tower of Terror 10-Miler Trip – Day 1

We flew out on Thurs morning with a direct flight to Orlando.  We booked thru American but the flight was on Alaska and for some reason the reservations wouldn’t let us check-in online so we had to go to the counter which sucked.  We were both annoyed at the added time in line since we weren’t checking bags, that is, until we lucked out with an awesome lady working at the Alaska counter.  She quickly checked us in and moved our seats to an exit row and left an empty middle seat between us – woohoo!  We had so much space, it was awesome, especially for a long direct flight.  The flight itself was uneventful and we landed around 6pm.  We only had to wait about 10 min for the Magical Express and we were on the way.  Everything went smooth, got to the hotel a little before 7 and were checked in and in the room by 7:10.  We stayed at All Star Music and were upgraded to a preferred room for some reason, which was awesomely close to the drink refills and bus stops (the drink refills being key for a soda-holic like me).  I did the online check in ahead of time and there was only one person in front of us in line compared to a long line at the regular check-in, so I’ll definitely be doing that for the future trips and would recommend it.  Epcot was the park open the latest that night, but it was only until 9pm (the Halloween party was going on at MK and we didn’t want to pay for tickets since we’d be late).  We decided to just dump the bags and head over to Epcot so we could at least get the Annual Passes purchased.  For the Premier APs you have to buy them at Guest Services, not the regular ticket booths.  The problem with this is that the people at Guest Services are generally having issues.  There were two windows open with people being helped and two people in front of us waiting.  Even with only two people in front of us it took about 40 minutes for us to get the passes, it was a little ridiculous.  One guy was complaining at the first window the entire time we were waiting and being helped.  A manager should really have come to handle him and let the two employees help the others in line.  By the time we were done the line was at least 15 people deep.  But at least I finally had this little beauty in my hand…

We basically only had 30 min until park close at this point but I had a ticket in my hand so felt the need to at least do one ride.  The plan was to hit Test Track quickly via the single rider line, then grab food at one of the first W&D stands in World Showcase entrance/Mexico area right before closing.  Which would have totally worked had TT not broken down right before we were about to board.  Rebooting took about 10-15 min, so by the time we walked off it was right at 9pm.  Wah, wah, no food for us.  The food court at Music was closed for renovations so we took the bus back to Sports, ate there then walked back over to our hotel.

Once back in the room I was able to link the passes and book some FP+ for the trip.  That was one of the sucky things about buying the passes this trip.  You can’t book the FP+ without a ticket linked and once you buy the premier AP it is active immediately, not on the first day you use it.  Doing it this way means we missed the 60 day window for both this trip and the trip for Wine & Dine half next month.  Which means no FP+ for Seven Dwarf Mine Train or Anna/Elsa on either trip.

Knocking Stuff off the Disney Bucket List…

I’m back from a short couple days in WDW for the Tower of Terror 10-Miler!  I’ll post some recaps about the trip and run later, but wanted to post about knocking a few items off the bucket list.  First, the most exciting (and quite frankly one I thought would be a little harder) – B and I made the RunDisney Facebook page with our costumes.  Woohoo!

Close up of the pic:

We’ll see if we can repeat the accomplishment at Wine & Dine.

I also tried the Tonga Toast (good, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to get it again) and I got my Premier Annual Pass.  Made it to all 4 parks in the two days I was in FL and will be breaking it in at Disneyland this weekend to see the Halloween stuff.

Booyah!  Three things off the list…

 

Dopey Training – Week 13

Last week was Week 13 of the Galloway training plan, but I did the long runs from Week 14.  Because I am headed to WDW in 2 days for the Tower of Terror 10-Miler run next weekend!  Woohoo!  It was finally cooler here last weekend, only highs in the low 70s which made it nice to run in.  Saturday’s run was 5.5 miles and I usually completely run anything 6 miles and under.  But I decided to do an interval since I had to run again on Sunday.  Tried a 2:00/:30 ratio and it worked pretty well, but I wasn’t pushing the pace as my body is still not used to, nor enjoying back to back running days.

Sunday was 15 miles.  I was originally going to run with B but she had some child care issues so I was on my own again.  I had major stomach issues again and had to take a pit stop at my house at mile 11, then go back out for the last 4.  Which sucked, let me tell you.  I need to figure out the whole stomach problems/fueling issues.  I guess I just need to try to wait longer after eating before going out.  I realized I’ve never had the problem during actual races, just training runs.  Probably because being in a middle corral pretty much ensures I’ll have a solid 45 minute to an hour to digest before starting to run.  I’m also really hoping I can do the rest of the long runs with either B or my brother (who is now back on schedule for the Galloway Dopey plan).  The mileage of this weekend officially pushed me into the “Why the f*%k did I sign up for Dopey?” territory in the middle of the 15 mile run.  I keep telling myself only a few more painful weekends left to go.  At least I didn’t feel like I was struggling to finish the distance as much this week.  No major aches or pains at least, other than the PF in my right foot.  It was just the stomach issues that threw me off this week.

Last night (Monday) was Max’s first obedience training class and since he is so hyper the trainer told me to make sure I exercise him right before the classes.  So even though running was the last thing I wanted to do yesterday I sprinted 1.5 miles with Max before class.  I don’t know if it wore him out but I was toast after it.  Haha.  I may just call that my Monday workout and take it easy this week before ToT.  And if anybody cares, Max did really well in the class, even listened so well he got a cheeseburger as a reward for dinner on the way home.

 

The quest for the 10 minute mile

A few weeks ago I posted that I had a goal of completing my weekday 5K loop at or below a 10 minute mile average pace.  Last week I did it 10:15 pace, so making progress.  Well, last night I knocked a teeny bit more and did it in 10:13. But the more exciting part was when I looked at the splits.  For the first time ever in a run I managed negative splits.  It’s a miracle!  I usually go out fast and then fade as the run goes on, I have a hard time picking up speed even if I take it easy to start.

I’m doing the long runs from Week 14 of the Galloway plan this week since I’ll be at WDW for the Tower of Terror 10-Miler next week.  It’s 5.5 miles on Sat and 15 miles on Sunday, and I’m meeting my friend doing the Disney runs with me for the 15 miles on Sunday.  This will be the first time I do a long training run with someone.  Usually I prefer to suffer in solitude so no one has to hear me bitch and moan.  We’ll see if my slowness kills her from boredom.

Running in the dark….kinda sucks.

Last weekend was a step back week for me (I’m a week ahead of the Galloway plan because of Tower of Terror next weekend), so I just had to do 3 miles.  I ended up doing it on Sat night so I could get an idea of what it’s like to run in the dark.  Hmm, that made it sound like I strategically planned to do that, didn’t it?  In full disclosure I ended up meeting up with a friend to catch up over a little day drinking on Sat afternoon, which led to a post-day drinking nap.  I woke up about 20 min or so before sunset, took Max on his evening walk then decided to just bang out the 3 mile run.  I grabbed my super duper bright flashlight and set on my way.  I used to be the product manager for flashlights where I work so picked up this $150 handheld ultra bright one in a sample sale, so this is good flashlight and I figured it’d light my way sufficiently.  Not so much.  It was still dusk for the first mile and I was on a good pace, then it really got dark and I slowed down more and more.  I kept obsessing on how the flashlight batteries must be dying.  Or maybe when it’s pitch black there is only so much light you are going to get.  It didn’t seem like I was outrunning the light, just not enough light getting to the ground.  My neighborhood is pretty dark, not a whole lot of street lights or house lights near the curb.  Plus, it’s old (1950s-60s) so lots of cracks and uneven sidewalks from overgrown trees.  Adding to that, my depth perception is not the greatest in the dark.  So I was paranoid I was going to twist my ankle or eat it at any time.  This experiment left me thinking two things:  1.  I am never runing again in my neighborhood after dark.  If I want to run outside at night I need to find a running group that goes somewhere with more lighting.  2.  I really hope Disney puts a lot of lights on the course for ToT and Wine & Dine.  With my luck I’ll trip and jack up my Dopey training.  I’m not worried about the start time of the RunDisney events, during the winter I usually go to the gym between 9-10pm anyway because I hate waiting for machines when it’s crowded.  Just worry about being able to see and not fall on my face.

My Disney Bucket List

I leave for WDW two weeks from tomorrow for the Twilight Zone 10-Miler and I’m getting excited.  Not only for the run/party or the quick weekend away (which I desperately need, I’m so burned out at work!), but because I realized that in my head I’ve subconsciously been viewing the trip as the start of what I have now dubbed the “Disney Year”.  Because we are going to do so many RunDisney events this year (ToT, Wine & Dine, Dopey & Star Wars Rebel Challenge) it actually made financial sense to buy the Premier Annual Pass and enjoy having it for Disneyland day trips over the year as a bonus.  I keep thinking about things on my Disney Bucket List that I can knock off.  Disney Bucket List you ask?  Yup, every Disney fan has one.  Ever had the thought that you want to do a Disney Cruise, visit Aulani, the Paris parks?  You’ve got a Disney Bucket List.  So, here is mine in no particular order….

  1. Visit all the Disney theme parks – Isn’t this on everyone’s Disney Bucket List?  I have been to Disneyland, WDW and Paris, but not the Asia parks. I’m thinking an Asia Disney trip to do them all after Shanghai opens.
  2. Complete all of the RunDisney events – Well, almost all. I don’t see myself ever flying to FL to do the short Expedition Everest Challenge, but the rest are on the list. So far I have done the WDW Marathon, Dumbo Double Dare & Tinkerbell. Have Tower of Terror 10-Miler, Wine & Dine, Dopey and Rebel Challenge coming up in the next few months. Then only Glass Slipper (PHM) and Avengers remain. Until of course they add more, Paris Half? Yes, please!
  3. Have an annual pass to Disneyland and get my money’s worth out of it – Been there, done that! Had passes for years when I lived in LA.
  4. Get the Premier Annual Pass (both CA and FL parks) and get my money’s worth out of it – This one is on deck for this year! Buying the pass on the trip for the ToT 10-Miler. I live less than 1.5 hours away from Disneyland, so it will get a lot of use there too.
  5. See the Halloween versions of Space Mountain and Haunted Mansion at Disneyland
  6. Try Tonga Toast
  7. Try a waffle sandwich in Liberty Square
  8. Go to Club 33
  9. Stay at all the WDW resorts – This is on a lot of Disney bucket lists also. I’m a commando style park visitor, so I don’t see myself every spending the money on deluxe resorts but you never know. So for now this is really hit the Value and Moderate hotels I haven’t stayed at yet, Art of Animation (staying there for Wine & Dine) and Coronado Springs.
  10. Go on a Disney cruise
  11. Go to Aulani
  12. Be the first person on a ride for the day – Done it, Splash Mountain in WDW with my bro years ago.
  13. Drink around the world in Epcot – Done it a few times, last being after the 2013 WDW Marathon!  And it doesn’t count unless you hit every country (well in my mind anyway).
  14. Work at the original studios in Burbank – Did internships there in college, so was onsite a couple days a week for two years. I didn’t get paid, but I’m still calling it working there. I seriously loved seeing the Team Disney building every time I drove on the lot.  And even though I didn’t get paid I did get an employee discount at the store on lot.  Random side note, the production companies I interned at were all located in the original Animation building, one of the oldest on lot.  Awesome.  And I once saw Fonzie (Henry Winkler) at the copy machine, took all my willpower not to say “Aaaayyyy” to him.  Double Awesome.
  15. Work at a Disney park, if not during my actual career then in retirement part time.
  16. Visit the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco
  17. Go to Star Wars weekend in WDW
  18. See the Osbourne family Christmas lights
  19. Eat at Cinderella’s Royal Table
  20. Here’s a random one – make out on the Haunted Mansion. Yes, you read that right. When I was a kid for some reason I thought it would just be awesome to make out with a boyfriend on that ride (who knows why, I was a kid). Anyway, never did but I still remember thinking that every time I go on the ride, so who knows, maybe I can do it in middle age. Haha.
  21. Go to Disneyland on its actual birthday for a big anniversary year – I went on the bday once years ago for a random year and there was free cake! Want to see the festivities for a bigger anniversary like the 60th in 2015 (which I’ll just so happen to have an annual pass for, woohoo).  Besides, who doesn’t like free cake?
  22. See all the holiday festivities (Easter, Halloween, Xmas, Lunar New Year, etc) and get pics with the characters in holiday costumes
  23. Go on a Disney trip with my niece and nephew. Don’t have kids of my own and would love to visit WDW or the Asia parks with them. I’ll even let my bro and SIL come along cause I’m awesome like that.
  24. Go to Boardwalk to eat/drink. I can’t believe I’ve never been there.
  25. Go to one of the all-night events at a park
  26. Eat at Be Our Guest
  27. Make the RunDisney website/blog/social media pages with one of my running costumes. Egotistical? Maybe.  But I want it.

What’s on your Disney Bucket List?