well, most of us, anyway. the hub, not a huge fan of walking around (and standing in line at) amusement parks, had managed to score himself a dinner meeting with a client based in the miami area for that night. so he grabbed some stuff, gave us hugs and kisses, and hopped into the rental car to make the 3-ish hour drive down to mee-ahhh-mee.
as for the rest of us, we were excited to go check out the magic kingdom park at disney world, which is the one that's most like our own disneyland. during our last visit almost three years ago, we'd only had one day to play and chose to visit disney's hollywood studios park. but this time around we had more time to play with, so we headed out to the bus stop, oh-so-conveniently located right outside of our building.
i'd forgotten how much of a pain in the ass those disney buses can be, though. and especially on a half marathon weekend. we watched several of these - headed for other destinations - pass us by:
although i was pretty happy to note that this bus stop was one of those designated for the special run disney transportation stops. this would make things super easy for me bright and early on race day.
after watching yet another bus headed to the race expo approach us, we decided to switch gears slightly and head on over to the coronado springs resort to pick up my race packet. i'd seen some scary-looking posts on the run disney facebook page warning of ridiculous crowds and crazy long lines, but i was tired of sitting around. i figured i could just grab my stuff and stick it in a locker at the park. yay for finally boarding a bus!
apparently, the expo is usually located at disney's wide world of sports complex. but somehow, it was booked this year for the atlanta braves' spring training. this was weird, considering the half is a disney event - you'd think they would've checked their calendar for this kind of stuff. and because the parking is limited at the hotels, the only way to get to the expo was by bus - whether you were staying at the resort or not. for locals, they had to park in downtown disney and catch a shuttle to the hotel. i was so glad i didn't have to deal with that crap. and in no time, we were there.
these fabulous tiaras and sashes were reserved for a very elite group - 324 women who were "perfect princesses." this meant that they'd participated in all five princess half marathons:
i would've loved to walk around the expo and check things out, but with both girls in tow and the magic kingdom waiting for us, i settled for heading over to the official merchandise shop to pick up some necessities. the line to get in was pretty long, but i gotta give 'em credit - it moved really fast.
later on, i found out that taking the time to wait in this line would totally pay off. a lot of people turned away from that scary-looking line, thinking there would be another opportunity to pick up commemorative items, but a lot of it sold out quickly.
at the sight of this poster, the bean scampered over and tossed a "mom! will you take my picture please?" over her shoulder as she assumed the position. i couldn't stop laughing, which is why the picture ended up fuzzy:
as we left the expo, we came across a few more photo ops. the bean and her curtsy crack me up.
these guys were posing with runners too, but we didn't want to wait in line.
a short bus ride and a stop at the lockers and stroller rental and we were finally here:
as much as it pains me to admit this, their castle really and truly kicks our castle's ass.
AND! just inside the gate to tomorrowland was something that totally brought me back to being a kid:
i LOVED the peoplemover ride back in the day. i was so sad when they took it out of disneyland, only to replace it with a short-lived ride that was shut down because it sucked ass. the track is still there, unloved and unused. but here, in humid ass orlando, it lives on:
i don't know why, but i really didn't take a ton of pictures here. not that you would have noticed, since this post is still full of visual aids, right? oh, well. i still got gems like this:
we rode the flying carpet ride (which is pretty much the same as the dumbo ride over in fantasyland) and then caught the fireworks show before heading out to main street.
we had a reservation for a character dinner here:
the girls had a great time getting autographs and photos with winnie the pooh and friends.
i am forever teasing the teen about her somewhat eeyore-like attitude, and when i realized that she was even dressed like him that night - well...
the park closed at 11:00 that night, which worked out perfectly for us. because it was such a short trip, we wanted to try and stay awake and keep the same hours as though we were back home. i didn't want to throw the bean's routine off too much, and luckily it seemed to work just fine. she stayed up till 8:30 pacific time, and got up right around 7, just like always. and with one last glance at the awesome castle, we said goodbye to the magic kingdom:
till next time, anyway.