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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

the most fun 2.3 miles EVER

a couple of weeks ago, my twitter feed was abuzz with excitement and anticipation over an announcement made jointly by run disney and D23 about one of those super fun running meet-ups at the disneyland resort to kick off the D23 expo.  these things are crazy popular and tough to get into, although i've gotten lucky once.  remember when i got to meet sean astin at the tinkerbell half meetup back in january?  good times.

i wasn't a D23 member, but i briefly considered coughing up the $35 to join da club so that i'd be eligible for the run.  when i pulled up the site to learn more about it, i was happily surprised to find that free memberships were being offered.  score!  i filled out the form and wrote down my membership number to include in my RSVP for the meetup.

like the eager beaver that i am, i got my email all ready to go so that i could just hit "send" when the announcement came up.  i had it open and waiting, and i refreshed the disney parks blog every fifteen minutes or so.  of course, i was trying to get stuff done at home at the same time, and of course, the moment i stepped into the shower...that damn post was published.  i sped through my shower like a madwoman, ran over dripping wet to the computer, let out a wail, and got my RSVP out.  the timestamp on the email was seriously like five minutes after the announcement went up, and then there was nothing to do but wait.  emails were to be sent out to the attendees around 2pm, with the list of folks going up on the blog shortly thereafter.

and then...i didn't get in.  i was bummed, but as the teen tried to console me i came up with all sorts of reasons as to why this was a good thing.  you know, like i wouldn't have to get up before the asscrack of dawn to drive down to anaheim.  and, uh, i... well, shit.  that was really the only positive point i could come up with.  huh.  still, i tried to forget about it and go about my day.  i only pouted for a little while.

so imagine my surprise when an email popped up the next day inviting me to join the meetup after all.  seemed that one of the lucky ducks who'd been selected had to back out (sorry not sorry), which left an opening for me to slide right in.  do you have any idea how elated i was?  well, you probably do.

despite my insane level of excitement and anticipation, that 4:45 am wake-up call was bah-roo-tal.  but i dragged myself up, got outta the house, and found myself parking at the anaheim convention center right around 5:30.  i was the only car parked on that level, but i knew it would be packed by the time i left.

i'd heard that folks were camping out overnight at the entrance to the expo, but i was still surprised at the number of people already lined up around the convention center at that hour.  insane.  they were wrapped around the building!

the run disney folks were easy to find, what with the banners and cameras and excited runners checking in.  as i waited my turn in line, i checked out the display of medals for all of the different races.

nearby, an artist was hard at work on this awesome chalk drawing of ursula from "the little mermaid."

i was handed a reusable bag with my special D23/run disney shirt inside.

ducking behind the backdrop, i threw on the shirt and stuffed my jacket and keys inside the bag before handing it over to one of the cast members.  selfie time!

check out my awesome limited-edition run disney/minnie-themed new balance running shoes.  i'd stood in line at the tinkerbell expo six months ago for these, and had debated selling them - they were going for $400+ on ebay!  but in the end, i decided i couldn't get rid of them and busted them out for the first time at this run.  no better place, right?

as i looked around, i noticed a few familiar faces that i recognized from the last meetup i'd attended.  this is kelly, one of the owners of team sparkle - hard at work on girly-ing up a fellow runner's shirt.  homegirl is always prepared.

a special guest arrived to say hello to us all and pose for pictures.

after a quick intro by bob, our run disney guru, and ali vincent (winner of season 5 of "the biggest loser"), we got ready for our 2.3-mile run/walk.  get it?  D23...2.3 miles?

oh! i forgot to mention that one of my fellow team superheroes was there too.  after having only communicated via facebook and email with her, it was great to finally meet and hang out together.

the run took us across the street and into california adventure park.  this is my fifth go-round at running through the disneyland resort when it's not yet open to the public, and i don't think it'll ever get old.  although i must admit, it goes so quickly that it's all a big blur in my head.  thank goodness for pictures.

if you look closely, you can see me in the middle of the pack here.

busted.  ha!

one lady brought her dog.

all too soon, it was over.

the final stretch took us past the ever-growing line of expo attendees.  half of them looked a little confused at the sight of us, while the other half cheered us on as we scampered by happily.

mickey was there to high-five us at the end.

before we all parted ways, bob announced that there were a couple of fun surprises in our bags - a run disney-themed mickey vinylmation figurine, which i already have from earlier this year.  and to go with him, a limited-edition D23 medal.  they only made 100 of these things, so it's extra special.

see how excited we all were?  okay, we were still trying to catch our breath and cool down here.  trust me, there was a lot of enthusiasm in the air.

ali vincent is really friendly and super sweet.

group photo!  i'm a little hard to find, but maybe you'll find my little head a few folks to the left of mickey.

i really wanted to go to the expo myself, but...yikes.

instead, i decided to go back to california adventure and sneak onto my favorite ride - radiator springs racers.  the park had been open for half an hour by then, and i figured i could squeeze through the single rider line pretty quickly.  as i passed the fastpass distribution kiosk for it, i was surprised to see that there were still passes available.  we never get there early enough, and i'd actually wondered if the things even existed.  yup, they sure do - and here's proof:

i was on the ride in about ten minutes - a hell of a lot shorter than the posted 60 minute wait for the non-single rider line.  whee!

it was so much fun, i went right back and rode it again.

a turkey leg sounded pretty stinking delicious by then.  after all, i needed some protein after the run, right?  heh.  except that when i got there, i was too early.  BOO.

i got to chatting with a really nice cast member who'd noticed my shirt and shoes.  by the time we were done gushing over the run disney events (like the upcoming disneyland 10K, which i'm stupid excited for), the kiosk was finally open.  oh yeah.

and the craziest part?  by the time i got to my car, it wasn't even 10:30 yet.  i'd already had a full day's worth of stuff!  so awesome. the disney parks blog posted about the meetup too, including this video (watch closely around :10!):

the announcement for the disneyland half meetup is supposedly coming in the next few days.  cross your fingers for me, will you?  i'd love to have another kick ass experience to recap.  are you listening, mr. bob hitchcock??


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