we got there about an hour after the expo opened, and luckily parking was easy. somehow, we ended up parked in a lot that was really close to the entrance, which practically never happens. i counted this as a good omen for the rest of the weekend, which i was feeling pretty anxious about.
knowing that the actual bib pick-up area is usually pretty easy breezy, we headed straight towards the expo to check out the merchandise. i'd signed up for the "virtual queue" for the new balance booth - because of the popularity of their run disney-branded shoes, the lines to get in and even look at them, let alone buy them, get insanely long. with the virtual queue, you're assigned a time to stand in the relatively short line and enter the magical booth. this also lessens the number of people sitting around, blocking other booths and creating unsafe obstacles for the rest of the expo attendees.
anyway, the virtual queue was a great idea and works like a charm. and the booth was super cute:
our next stop was here:
but to get there, we were directed out of the expo, through the hotel, up the stairs, and into one of the ballrooms. at the door we were greeted with bright smiles and lots of disney cheer and were given one of these:
then we joined one of several lines formed inside the room.
maybe five minutes later, we headed out the side door, down another escalator, and back into the expo.
got a peek at an artist working on special marathon weekend sketches:
and then finally got inside to check out the goods.
had i known that items like this were going to sell out completely an hour after we left, i'd have scooped some up:
like, people in facebook groups are absolutely RABID about those wine glasses. and the inevitable eBay listings are already over $100 for the stupid things. insanity.
after i made my purchases (a couple of t-shirts, a water bottle, a hat - things i'll actually use), we headed down to get my bib.
and because i'd never done a challenge before (where you do both the 10K and half), the whole process of securing my third medal was all new to me. after i got my bib, a staffer took a photo of me that would be checked after i crossed the half marathon finish line before receiving my challenge medal.
phew. we managed to get through that whole process with a solid hour left to pick up the bean from school. i've been to other run disney expos where that would have been impossible. yay for me!