Race Recap: Wayfarer’s Annapolis Half Marathon and 10k

Sometime in January or February, I got an email from one of my favorite events, Zooma, was not coming back to the Annapolis area this year. Instead, a new race would be coming to the area presented by Pacers Running – the Wayfarer’s Annapolis Half Marathon and 10k was born.

I read over the information and then clicked out of the email. My initial thought was to not participate as I mourned the loss of my favorite event. Also, my running plan for this year didn’t really allow for a 10k in June. I wanted to “come back” the right way – ease into the workouts, build slowly, etc. But, within 24 hours, I was registered for the 10k…I have no willpower obviously.

One of the things I really liked about the event was they stressed the journey over the destination. To help you focus on the journey, they had “events” along the way. For each “event” you participated in, you would earn a memento (I love swag!). By registering in February, you earned a “Founders Pin” (inaugural year of the race, first registrants helped “establish” the event if you will); in March, they encouraged runners to volunteer within their communities and earn a “community” patch. In April and May, Pacers hosted actual events – runners could mingle with each other and talk about/do what they enjoy most – running. April’s event was a book club session. Runners could participate in person OR through Facebook Live (which didn’t work). The event was in Virginia on a worknight so I opted for Facebook Live but ended up watching the podcast in order to earn my “book club” pin. May’s event was styled a “Downward Plog”. It consisted of a 3-5 mile fun run with a twist – you collect trash along the way – followed by a yoga session (it was my first time doing yoga with an instructor and I loved it!). Dinner and ice cream followed yoga. Participants earned a “community” patch at this event.

Packet pickup also started in May. Runners had a whole month to pick up their race day goodies. Packet consisted of a Vooray backpack, bib number, and whatever mementos you earned up to that point. This was a really nice way to do packet pickup since pick up locations were in Annapolis, DC and Northern Virginia.

We’ve had some crazy weather lately. On Friday, after some prodding from participants on the weather policy, Pacers finally announced (and I say finally because their biggest competition in Maryland had notified their runners a full 24 hours earlier) the game plan for Saturday. They decided to cancel the half. Everyone would run the 10k. Lightning/thunder would delay the start.

This was a smart decision on their part. The back half of the half marathon course is in wooded neighborhoods. Running back there is no fun and I can’t imagine being stuck out there during weather with no where to go. As it turned out, the weather was super humid but no rain on Saturday (of course!).

Race started promptly at 7am. I’ve run this course many times so I knew what I was getting into. I also knew it wouldn’t be a good run for me – I hadn’t slept well the night before and I do not do well in very humid conditions.

I stuck with my intervals for about 2 miles before I decided to just walk the rest. I was getting uncomfortable and really just wanted to finish. By this time, my rabbit and I had started talking. The humidity was getting to her too but she was determined to finish since she was running for a charity. I understand that feeling all too well and I told her I would get her to the finish one way or the other.

It was around this time we realized we were being followed. The race had barely started (and all signage said the race went to 10:30am) and we already had the escort of shame behind us.

We realized a little later that we weren’t last but we were clearly going to be the last supported runners on the course. This still stings but it lessens the pain (a bit).

I will give kudos to the escort of shame. No one who followed us was negative (at least not out loud so I can only hope they weren’t in their heads). Event management along the course continued to be supportive as we moved through. Both of us needed some time of assistance in the last mile – I needed water since I was starting to feel nauseous and she needed help because she was starting to cramp – and the escort was able to provide water (for me) and made sure traffic didn’t speed around her (as she slowly worked through the cramping as we crossed to a sidewalk).

I could have easily just focused on myself and walked away and left her. But I didn’t. I slowed my pace down more to make sure I stayed with her – if we were truly the last supported runners, I didn’t know where help would be if something happened to her. I wasn’t going to leave her just so I could finish. Before we both had issues, I would guess we would have finished around 1:40 – we actually finished at 1:56 – and that’s ok. Runners help each other. Would that 1:40 been nice? Yes! I haven’t had a 1:40 in a long time. It would have been a shot of confidence.

Anywho, we finished. We congratulated each other. Grabbed water and electrolyte supplements. We picked up our finisher awards. As this point, a friend of mine met us and told us we were not last. Apparently there was a whole gaggle of runners behind us and the escort of shame that we couldn’t see.


Unique swag with opportunity to earn mementos, free race day pics, different events/activities leading up to race day, event day staff organized and personable, beautiful course, month-long packet pickup


Not friendly to slower runners, photographers did not stay on course (no pics for slow runners), event staff at non-race day events was unprofessional and not very organized , post-race party isn’t a party (so no reason to really stay post race), slow to communicate


Volunteer: Hershey Half Marathon

Autumn is here (kind of) and that means it is time to volunteer!

On October 15th, I volunteered the Hershey Half Marathon in Hershey, PA.

I signed up very late in the game on September 28th and there were still a ton of opportunities available. I quickly picked out a shift at the chocolate aid and got ready to hand out chocolate!

My shift on Sunday was from 8am to 10:30am. They did ask us to get there closer to 7:30 to avoid the road closures. I aimed to get there closer to 7am so I wouldn’t feel rushed and had a little extra time just in case I got turned around.

I am glad I got there early! In the dark and not knowing the area really well, I completely missed the parking garage we were told to park at. I did see the restaurant they gave us as a landmark but I couldn’t figure out where to park on the first pass. Once I turned around and came back, I could see where I was supposed to turn and was able to quickly park.

I had a short walk of about 2 blocks to where we were setting up. Once at the tent, I met the station leader, Brandon. He had me sign in and then gave me my volunteer shirt. A really cool thing about the volunteer shirts – one of the kids at the local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital designs the back of the shirt! CMN is the beneficiary of the Hershey Half and I thought it was a really unique way to include them! (There is also a Miracle Mile where children and families (Miracle families) from the hospital come out to cheer on the runners!)

Since the race wasn’t happening yet, we could get warmed up with coffee or hot chocolate and donuts while we all got to know each other. Hershey had also brought us some chocolate too! I took my candy back to the car and grabbed my soda since I still had some time on my hands.

There were huge boxes of fun size Hershey bars just waiting to be given out. We used the empty candy boxes (from the volunteer candy stash) and made our own baskets of candy to give out once the runners came by.

We got in place and dodged the last cars that were allowed through (seriously – we thought the road was shut down and oh look! a car!)

Brandon brought out a portable speaker and started playing music and we all just started to relax and dance.

As the fast runners started to come through, no one took candy (boo!) but then the still very fast but hey I am at Hershey runners started to come and chocolate started changing hands.

I think my favorite runners were the ones who weren’t shut about collecting from all of us (I know I would!). I also really liked when a runner would come through and interact with one of us (whether it was a smile, thank you, or just something silly in response to us being silly).

Who knew handing out tiny chocolate bars would make your arm tired?!

Anywho, we stayed and handed out candy until closer to 11am. We didn’t want to leave anyone on the course without some delicious chocolate!

It was probably the easiest volunteer shift I have ever had – with very little to set up or breakdown and a leader who knew how to delegate and get everyone involved. (Very Disney even though I wasn’t at Disney).

Upon signing out, each volunteer was presented with a voucher good for 1 admission during the Hershey seasons (Halloween, Christmas, Spring Time or regular season). We could also help ourselves to what fun size bars were left – we had a nice amount left even after the runners came through!

My plan for the day was to at least visit Chocolate World before I made the drive home. The voucher changed my plans and off to the park I went!

Pros: still a lot of desirable shifts so close to race day, chocolate, volunteer shirt, voucher for 1 to the park

Con: I found communication lacking – volunteer “final instructions” weren’t sent out until late on Friday and addresses weren’t in the packet (coming from Baltimore, it would have been easier to navigate to an address vs a parking garage that was listed by one name but was really called something else)

Fundraising: Kellsie’s Hope Foundation

In August 2015, I started my journey of being a charity runner. Why? August 2016 marked the 5th anniversary of the passing of my dad. I wanted to run in his memory and do something vs be sad about missing him for all that time.

I knew I wanted to run both runDisney races for Star Wars – Light Side 2016 at Disneyland and Dark Side 2016 at Disney World. My dad introduced me to the world of science fiction and it seemed like a fun way to “include” him. I also knew I wanted to run for cancer research.

After researching the different organizations associated with runDisney, I zeroed in on Kellsie’s Hope Foundation. Kellsie’s story just spoke to me. It was bad enough as a “child” watching a parent go through cancer, I can’t imagine the roles being reversed.

After asking about 1000 questions, I registered to run for KHF. Now what?

My first attempt at fundraising crashed and burned. I hosted a spirit night at my local Chik-fil-a. I did everything I could – handed out flyers, shared on Facebook, texted all my friends. I even got balloons donated by the local grocery store just to dress up the restaurants. After spending my evening at Chik-fil-a, I walked away with a $50 check – and most of that was thrown in by the restaurant…more than likely out of pity. Oh, I remember being so upset.

Second place I turned was the Baltimore Orioles. The O’s have an amazing fundraising program. You can sell tickets to one game – at a price that fits your budget or you can sell vouchers to games throughout the season. I chose to sell tickets to one game.

Again, this first attempt didn’t go the way I envisioned. A group of 10 joined me on game night. At $5/ticket towards KHF, I raised $50. While bummed and really not waiting too, I moved to my third attempt.

My third attempt went better. I proceeded to share my “why” on Facebook and texting friends. I discreetly asked at work – not my employers – but my co-workers and vendors that I interacted with (yes – the mailman and UPS driver were asked). It was incredibly hard for me to ask friends and family but I did. It didn’t take long before I had hit my goal.

While fundraising for Light Side, I was also able to fundraise for Dark Side. I simply swapped out the donation links once I hit the goal of Light Side.

I did cry during both races. At Light Side, a lady came up behind me and said my dad was proud of me (I wore a sign on my back that said “I run in memory of my father” — get it?) and at Dark Side as I crossed the finish line. I truly felt like Dad was with me – as weird as that sounds.


Further down the rabbit hole of fundraising I went. I was more confident with my “why” and ask. I was more comfortable with “no”. I registered to run Wine and Dine 2016 with Kellsie’s Hope.

This time around, I knew I could NOT ask friends and family to support me. I started looking for other ways to raise my goal.

It was at this time, I discovered the volunteering in exchange for volunteering. My best friend was stationed in Virginia and while here, she was determined to run a half in the “local” area. She signed up for a half marathon in Delaware and asked me to join her. I wasn’t trained to run but I did tell her I would volunteer and join her that way. When I went to sign up, I discovered the race management would reward volunteers with either 1. a free race entry or 2. a donation to the cause of their choice. Guess which one I picked?

After discovering this little fact, I started looking at races I had on my schedule. I discovered 2 of them would make a donation if you organized a group to volunteer. I immediately reached out for more information and started talking to my runner friends. I managed to organize 2 groups of 10 (one for each race, with a little crossover) and received donations from both events.

Since I was still away from my goal, I turned again to the Orioles. I picked another game with a giveaway and started selling tickets. This time around, I managed to sell about 25 tickets (yey!) and raised $125!

Towards the end of the summer, a runner friend who is a teacher by weekday (and an amazing runner by weekend) started telling me about hosting an exchange student for the school year. She is a runDisney runner and completely Dopey and was planning her trip for 2017. She wanted her student to participate too but of course, the 5k bibs were sold out. I registered once again for KHF and told them I was raising money so her student could run. I worked a couple races in exchange for donations and boom – a truly awesome first trip to the States was made even better with a first trip to Disney World and a first 5k.

Still with me?

That brings us to the current year – 2017. This year, I decided “just because” to be a fundraiser for KHF. I signed up to raise $1000.

After plotting my plan of attack, I went to work. I started with the Orioles. This time I went with vouchers. Once I posted to social media, another runner friend stepped up and talked me into organizing a game day for his child’s school. Together, between vouchers and game day tickets, we hit my goal of $1000 in no time.

Around this time, my best friend told me she wanted to come to Princess 2018. We decided the best way to secure a bib would be charity. She is active military so if she can’t go, she isn’t out of any money. At the time, she was pre-deployment so I took care of securing her spot. Since she was going to deploy at anytime, I took on her commitment of $1400 (she’s a little crazy and doing all 22.4 miles at Princess).

With 2 fundraising campaigns going on at one time, I was admittedly, a little overwhelmed. I decided to focus on my O’s fundraiser until it’s conclusion and then turned my attention to her.

I worked 4 races and organized 1 volunteer group to secure the bulk of her donations. I also reached out to some of her family to ask for donations as well. Lastly, a few of my family members who hadn’t donated to my initial $1000 for 2017 donated to her page.

To date, I have raised over $6,000 for Kellsie’s Hope Foundation. I have had the opportunity to run almost all the runDisney events (still need Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend, Castaway Cay and Disneyland Paris) and made some great friends along the way. I have also raised a lot of money for a great cause in memory of my Dad – who I am sure is scratching his head saying ” My kid doesn’t run.”

I can’t say it’s been perfect or pretty. I can’t say I haven’t gotten mad at myself for taking on so much. I can’t say I haven’t yelled or cried depending on the moment or the mood.

I will say it is all about attitude and believing in your “why” and the cause. If you don’t have those things, you are not going to succeed. Same goes for running. If either were easy, everyone would do it.

Just for fun, I am $100 away from hitting $2,000 (remember, the original goal was $1,000?). Would love to hit that goal and if you would like to donate, please go here!

Disclaimer: in the past 2 years, I have also raised money for Children’s Miracle Network, Special Olympics of Maryland, Avon’s Breast Cancer Foundation, and the Children’s Tumor Foundation.

Princess Training: The First 5k

Good morning Princesses!

Time got away from me for a little bit and I just realized you have probably completed your first 5k sometime this month! Congratulations!

You took the first HUGE step of half marathon training (ok, maybe the second – the first would probably be signing up for a half marathon!). Next up will be your first 10k for a proof of time for corral placement.

I would recommend the Couch to 10k – which should have been offered after completing the 5k program. Princess POT is due by November 14th.

When I first started this process – way back when in 2013 – POT was a little later. My 10k worked out to be the same weekend the official training wanted me to run 6 miles. Don’t panic! Follow the training for the first 10k. I would think this would put you at doing a 10k sometime in late October.

Official Princess training starts October 24th. If there is overlap between the two plans, complete the 10k training first. After you’re 10k, then jump into the half marathon training ­čÖé

You totally got this! It’s a long string of firsts which also means it’s a long string of achievable goals. I know that kept me going as I trained!

As the miles get a little long and we start to change seasons, let’s talk about gear you may want to add to your “kit”. You already have a fitted pair of shoes (or two), a good sports bra (or 5!). But here are some things to consider:

Do you have ID? I do not run with my license on me. Instead I run with a Road ID. If something were to happen to me, medics would have some basic info about me – no allergies and my blood type – and my mom’s number. These come as bracelets, shoe tags or wearable attachments.

Need music when you run? So do I. I ran a race back in June and they had partnered with Aftershokz. What I love about these headphones – they don’t go in your ears! The speakers sit just outside your ear (so the top part of your cheek closest to your ears), leaving your ear open so you can here that dog bark or car honk or someone trying to get your attention. I run early in the morning or around dusk solo. These let me have my music while giving me piece of mind knowing I can hear everything.

Lastly, runner lights. I don’t know the technical terms for them. But I have 2 small lights I can attach to my clothes. They have 2 settings – a solid light or a strobe type effect. You can typically find these on the counter at most running stores. There are also “vests” you can purchase. They look similar to what would be worn if you are in the movie “Tron” – literally small robe lights that are made into a wearable.

There you have it friends! Keep on running and I’ll see you again at the start of half marathon training!!!

You just signed up for…WHAT?!

Disney Princess Half Marathon registration opened this week to the general public and as always, thousands of princess in training registered (I’m sure thousands of returning princesses are now dusting off and polishing that tiara — I know I am!).

As a returning princess and a princess who is beginning the training journey herself, I thought it would the “charming” thing for me to do and share of the insight I have picked up over the years.

Congratulations! You are registered for the most royal of all race weekends! Whether it’s your first 5k, 10k, half marathon or challenge – you will be awesome! If you are moving up a distance, you got it!

The mix of excitement, doubt, panic, and overwhelming now what are completely normal. Let me point you in the right direction to get you settled…

1. Do your homework:

Ok – you went to the race page long enough to click register but have you actually read all the information available on the runDisney Princess Weekend page? If not, you really should. While not all the information is available, there’s a lot of info you will need – now, as you plan, and closer to the event.

Tip: do not rely on Facebook groups or the people in those groups to relay the correct information to you. The website literally has everything on there that you could possibly need to know and more about the weekend.

Other sources you can use to prepare for the weekend are The Runner’s Guide to Walt Disney World (available on Amazon – so you can get a print or digital version) and blogs. From personal experience, both the Guide and reading blog reviews were how I researched my first Princess in 2014. With the blogs, I was getting good, bad and not so great moments shared with me so I could prepare for anything. The Guide provided a lot of insight into things I wouldn’t have even thought about.

2. Gear up:

If you are like me and this will be your first big race, please get proper gear! I knew before I started training in July 2013 that I needed to go to the “running store” and get properly fitted for running shoes. Do this – you will thank me later. Spending money now on the correct shoe for you will be a lot cheaper than spending money later on doctor bills because you picked a “cute” pair of shoes. Get fitted – then you can pick colors based on what your shoe comes in.

Another very important piece of gear to have fitted is a sports bra. I can remember after 2 months of training, I did my first 5k. The next morning I woke up with back pain and couldn’t figure out why. I was talking to my mom and she suggested maybe I didn’t have the best sports bra on the night before. It didn’t even dawn on me until I was hurting! Most running stores have seen the uptick in female runners. They will offer bra fittings so you can get the right kind of support (the twins and your back will thank you!).

As you progress through training, there will be other gear you may want to look into – watches, fuel, hydration packs, all kinds of clothes (see how quickly you dislike cotton), personal packs (like a Spibelt), glasses (check out Goodr), etc.

But right now, before you even think of taking a step, go get your shoes and a good sports bra.

3. Training:

Do you want to run, walk or do a combination? Only you know what your body will respond to.

When I started training in 2013, I knew I needed to run/walk. I didn’t think I could run. I quickly stopped training with intervals and tried to run as far as I could and then walk. Once walking, I couldn’t convince myself to run again. Fast forward to now – I am starting to build back up. This time around, I am making myself stick with intervals. Not only have I seen an improvement in my time (which are not speedy), I am seeing a consistent and steady pace that I am comfortable with. A comfortable pace is one where you can have a conversation and not feel like you are dying.

Also, look into training plans. There are so many out there. runDisney recommends the Galloway method – run/walk/run. You may want to start by doing a Couch to 5k program or train for a race through your local running club.

Decide how you want to train. This is your training plan for your race. No matter the distance – you got this!

4. Racecation:

You will be at Disney after all! Are you traveling alone? Going with a friend or family? Think about if you want to spend the weekend or week. You don’t have to book now but these are things you want to think about.

Tip: plan to arrive one day prior to your first race at least. You will need to attend expo to pick up your bib and race shirt.

5. Other sources

Join social media groups for a support network. It’s good to join groups to bounce ideas off of and share in the excitement. As stated before, do not rely on them for correct race information. While what is posted may be correct, it’s a good rule of thumb to use your race website for all correct race information. However, you may see the link to print your waiver in a group sooner than you would on the race page (we’ll get to that later).

Two books I read when I started training (and ones I plan to re-read now that I want to train properly again) were: Running Like a Girl and Confessions of a Fat Marathoner. Both books go into the good, bad and ugly of running – from losing your confidence after a bad training run to the thrill of crossing the finish line. Check them out and let me know what you think.

Take a deep breath. Let it all sink in. Over the next few days to a month, start putting your thoughts, goals and expectations into place. Do your research and properly gear up. We’ll focus on all the other “things” to a runDisney race but first things are first.

Feel free to ask me questions!

I’ll see you at the finish!

Race Recap: Disney Princess Half Marathon

My favorite!

Dust off that tiara and get ready for a magical 13.1 throughout Walt Disney World… come with me!

As you know by now, expo started Thursday before the race. I had the first flight out and somehow made it to expo by 10:30am. 

Tip: always just leave your luggage with bell services – this way you can just hop the bus to expo!

I was prepared for a HUGE line – complete with building wrapping (it happens) however I was able to just walk through the doors and into the building to pick up my bib.

After getting my bib, I picked up my volunteer credientials for the 5k and 10k and then decided to head to Disney Springs. My shirt would be waiting for me when I came back.

Once at Disney Springs, I used my bib to take advantage of runner promos and freebies. Score!

I also picked up lunch, dinner and a super tasty cupcake from Sprinkles to enjoy on my birthday (which was the next day).

I then headed back to expo. I had a vendor shift with Endure Jewelry until close and wanted to make sure I was done expo before I had to work.

This time there wasn’t a line to get into Josten’s Center. I was just able to walk in.

After receiving my shirt, I did a quick walk through of the official merch. Even though it was after 12 on the first day, I was pleasantly surprised with how much was still available AND cast members were restocking! 

Coming out of the merchandise area, I noticed a fancy food booth where you could get champagne and accompaniments. I also saw:

How cool! You could get your Disney nails done right there are expo! If I didn’t have to work, I would have loved to have gotten a mani and sipped on some champagne!

Fast forward to 9pm or so…

Finally back in the room! After checking out day 1’s haul, it was time for bed!

Friday morning was a tad chilly. I was a volunteer that morning and tried to perk up the runners as they went by me at o’ dark thirty! I amused myself at least!

Saturday morning was a little better. I was a screaming fan for the 10k. Though I didn’t so much screaming, I did do a lot of cowbell…and waving! I must say volunteering is kinda awesome. I think my two favorite costumes of the 10k were: Taco Belle (hahahaha get it?!?!) and Moana’s chicken!

Sunday morning — race day! Well kinda…

So fun story – I set 3 alarms. Guess which alarm woke me up? Oh you know the one that goes off everyday at 5:30!

Tip: always schedule a wake up call!!!

After a brief panic attack and lots of unDisney language, I was dressed and out the door.

Four modes of transportation, lots of tears, and embarrassment later, I was FINALLY at the staging area. As I was getting closer, I heard the fireworks for the last corral go off…….

I went directly to the runDisney info table and confirmed I heard the last corral start. I then explained what happened. After a round of it can happen to anyone (which you don’t want to hear at that moment), I asked if I could please have my medal. The runDisney staffer said he needed to check. He came back a few minutes later and I burst into sobs (again)! I thanked him over and over and then headed back for my bus.

Once on the bus, I noticed there were 2 others with me. They had medical issues. I told them they had been faster than I was and congratulated them. 

At this point, there was nothing else to do but learn from a horrible morning and try to make the best of it. 

In hindsight, it was probably good I didn’t race. My feet were so swollen my shoes didn’t fit properly and once I got home, I was a fevery mess.

Any race day horror stories out there??

Disneyland in January

My whirlwind Disneyland adventure began immediately after the Star Wars 10k! After a quick costume change, I was back and ready for my day at the parks!

I was really excited for my day. I have done 2 other Disneyland races but normally I fly in on Saturday, do the expo scramble, hit the park like it’s going to disappear and then bed, race, gone! This trip, I had the entire day to spend at Disneyland and just enjoy the magic.

First up, Walk in Walt’s Footsteps tour (*note – I am going to be vague only because I do not want to ruin it for you!). I figured there would be no better way to “see” the park.


I checked in, received my name tag and listening device and picked my lunch. I had a few minutes to just sit and relax so I took that time to finally eat my post race breakfast.

We started the tour at the Firehouse – Walt’s original Disney apartment. From there, the magic (and chills) just began to wash over me.


It was really cool to listen to clips from the past and hear Walt talk about his vision of Disneyland. We proceeded down Main Street and our guide pointed out little things along our way.

We stopped at the main “hub” and little extras I had never noticed at the castle (probably because I am always running around and don’t have the time to notice). We walked across the drawbridge and into Fantasyland! We made our way around the park with stops at Alice in Wonderland, Matterhorn and monorail, Lilli Belle train car and Pirates!

While waiting for the group during a pit stop, I noticed where I was. Being near Pirates, I knew Blue Bayou was around (I’ve eaten there the two other times I was at DL) but I never noticed this door. This will probably be the closest I ever get to Club 33!


It was now time for the biggest part of the tour – the Disney Dream Suite! I laughed, I teared up, I got chills… if I ever got to stay here, I don’t think I would be able to sleep from excitement. It was simply amazing…

Fun fact: did you know the Haunted Mansion is based of a house in Baltimore?!?! I will try to find out more of the history and see if the house is still around! How cool!!

Anyway, after the Dream Suite, it was time for Walt to say good-bye. We headed to the partners statue and listen to Walt for one last time.


Then it was lunch time! We headed to the Jolly Holiday Bakery for lunch. Our pre-ordered lunches were waiting for us – yum! While eating, we received our second tour keepsake (the pin pictured was my name tag for the tour) – a beautiful pin that opens and has the opening day speech inscribed.


I would HIGHLY ┬árecommend this tour. It was amazing. I had no idea what to expect – but I am glad I didn’t know. It was incredible to be immersed this way in the magic without having much of an idea of “what’s going to happen”.

After lunch, I decided I was going to try to catch the Dapper Dans in action. I have never seen their “show” at either park and gosh darn it – it was going to happen! I lucked out and had a cast member help me find them. I joined the small crowd watching and just enjoyed listening. You don’t hear or see this kind of act everyday! As people left, I was in the front of the crowd and to my surprise, the Dans asked if I could help in a song (I really can’t sing and dislike crowds looking at me). I joined them “on stage” and was told when they pointed to me I should say “you”. Luckily, a cast member was there and was able to snap a pic of me with the Dans.


After this awesome Disney experience, my day was made even further when I got to meet:


By this time, my friends joined me and it was time to hit some attractions I had never done before (or Disney World doesn’t have). We did a carriage ride up Main Street then headed to the Launch Bay in Tomorrowland.

We did Autopia (where I got my drivers license!) and found Nemo on the Finding Nemo Voyage. We then rode the carousel and I discovered Disney sells pickles! (How I didn’t know that is beyond me but they were so good!).

Dinner was at Cafe Orleans where I could get my beloved Monte Cristo sandwich and Mickey beignets (yum!).


After dinner, I picked up a tasty Dole whip to hold me over until we made it to California Adventure Park. I seriously just collect food when I’m at any Disney park…I don’t buy things – I buy food!

I managed to book the World of Color Dessert Party for the night I was going to be there. I was really excited – I had never seen WoC before and neither had my friends. Before checking in, we hit up Ghirardelli and Boudin Bread Factory (free samples of chocolate and bread – yes please!)

It was then time (or by this time my knee was telling me it was time) to head over to where we needed to check in for the World of Color Dessert Party!

It was wonderful! We were first in line and were the first ones seated. Once at our table, we were brought bottled water and cheesy breadsticks. All three of us had menus showing us what would be on our dessert plate. I was also pleasantly surprised – we could could order both adult beverages – the World of Color Cooler (the blue drink) and champagne (did not last long enough for a picture – oops). I had also arranged for my friends to be surprised with best wishes – they just got married this past weekend so I had to do something to mark their special day while I was with them in Cali!

The show was awesome! I was worried it would be hard to see because the fast pass area was right in front of us. You couldn’t even tell people were there. You could even feel the heat from the pyrotechnics during the show (it was a little chilly). I sang along with the music and danced (or hopped) in my chair. I loved it!

After the show, our waiter brought over boxes, extra water and hot tea to go! I loved ending my long Disney day in this way.

Fast forward to Sunday morning (what you thought I was done?! Silly!) – it was half marathon day. I was going to participate as a spectator. I purchased the Spectator Viewing Party package.

The event started at the ESPN Zone in Downtown Disney. There was a breakfast buffet set up along with coffee, tea and juice. You could purchase alcohol as well (mimosa anyone?!)

By the time I was finishing my plate, the first wheelchair finisher was crossing the line (I “slept in” on half marathon day):


Then I headed down to Main Street to cheer on the runners! It was so cool to be on Main Street during the race and not be running! I saw my friends running and cheered them on and stayed until the last few runners had passed me by. Then I decided to play on Main Street since who knows when I’ll get to do this again!

I headed back to the ESPN Zone to warm up and wait it out while my friends did the long, boring miles between the park and the finish.


I should half marathon like this more often!

Once I was alerted my friends had passed the 15k mark, I headed out to the special cheering section for the viewing party. I was expecting the bleachers but what we had was so much better! We had lounge style seating – comfy seats with ottomans so we could lounge! It was awesome. We also had a great view of the finish line and the last few steps runners would take before finishing.

I loved cheering on the runners. I know by that point myself I need to dig deep (even that close to the finish).

It was a whirlwind trip but not nearly as crazy as my Disneyland trips normally are. Jammed packed with new experiences, I loved every minute of my time out in Cali.

I would highly recommend Walk in Walt’s Footsteps and the World of Color Dessert Party. I enjoyed the Spectator Viewing Party and would recommend it if your curb crew includes older or younger people (the nicer seating was much nicer than a cold bleacher). With breakfast and parking included, it could make for an enjoyable morning if your crew will be waiting awhile.