Sunday, September 12, 2010

Pre Race

It has now been a full week since I ran the Disneyland half marathon and if I don't get these blog posts up now I fear that I never will. The purpose of this post is to document the two days of excitement leading up to the main event of the Disneyland Half Marathon.

Flight/Arrival in California

We departed Denver early Friday morning. The flight with an almost 2 year old "lap child" (as his ticket said) went remarkably well. He was entertained by Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and drinking apple juice.

We arrived at the Orange County airport and everything seemed to be going well until I turned on my cell phone. It is a Nokia Nuron. Also known as a cheap version of a touch screen based smart phone. I turned on the phone only to realize that the touch screen would not work at all which makes it very difficult to do anything including take pictures, send text messages, or even make calls. So we spent a good portion of the day on Friday figuring out how we could get me a useable phone for the rest of the trip. I was disappointed because I planned to use the phone to take pictures during the race as it is much smaller than a camera. So without my trusty phone I took fewer pictures and posted fewer Facebook updates than I was anticipating.

Luckily, the rental car had GPS so we were still able to find an In-n-Out for lunch on Friday without my phone. No trip to California is complete without a stop at In-n-Out.

Health & Fitness Expo

After getting settled at the hotel and Elias down for an afternoon nap, Crystal & I headed to the Health & Fitness Expo at the Disneyland Hotel. This is where we received our bibs, shoe tracker, shirt, and goody bags. We spent some time looking around at the expo but were hoping for more freebies. And a note for anyone considering a Disney race in the future the shirts run very large. And we were not able to exchange them for a smaller size. Luckily, I don't mind my workout attire a little baggy.

Goofy's Kitchen

We took a break from the race activities and had dinner at Goofy's Kitchen in the Disneyland Hotel. I was surprised at how easy it was to get reservations considering the hotel was swamped with people for the expo. This turned out to be one of the highlights of the trip and we learned that Elias LOVES the characters! He was not shy at all about approaching the characters and giving them hugs. The food was pretty good and it was a very fun end to our travel day.

Elias thrilled to see Goofy!

The Beach

We planned Saturday morning as our beach time. Turned out not to be a very good day at the beach. It was chilly & cloudy despite there being plenty of sun when we departed Anaheim. So Elias did not get a chance to swim in the ocean but did have fun playing at a playground.

Pasta in the Park Party

I am going to preface this section by saying that I have participated in several of Disney's offerings with a fee beyond theme park admission including backstage tours and preferred seating for shows. I have never been disappointed or regretted paying the somewhat exorbitant fee so I didn't hesitate to buy tickets for the Pasta in the Park Party. Here is the description of the event that was sent to race participants:

This will be your official pre-race party to get you geared up for 13.1 miles of pure celebration! Eat and spend time with your favorite Disney Characters inside Disney's California Adventure Park the night before the big race. Reserved World of Color Preferred Viewing included with ticket!

It sounded like a fun way to spend the night before the race. However, the event was not at all what I was expecting. We showed up about 15 minutes after the event started because we were enjoying our time at California Adventure and I was expecting a casual come and go buffet with characters roaming. The event was more like a formal awards banquet with a long line to see 1 Disney character (either Mickey or Minnie). We struggled to find somewhere where all four of us could sit together. We ended up at a table with staff from Disney running and Jeff Galloway. I didn't really know what to say to them and was more concerned about my two year old not eating and throwing food in a formal setting. Not exactly what I had in mind and definitely not worth the money. The food was pretty good but we could have had just as good of pasta somewhere outside of the park much cheaper.

At least we got a pre-race picture with jogging Mickey (the line was too long to see Minnie too)

In addition, the World of Color preferred viewing was for the 10:15 PM show. Not exactly ideal when you have to be on the shuttle for the race at 4 AM. So we obviously didn't stay for the show. Very disappointing considering the World of Color viewing was one of the primary reasons that I purchased the tickets to the dinner.

I think Disney should do a better job of advertising this as a pre-race banquet for the staff and sponsors and not a fun event for race participants. As a side note I did eventually get the courage to ask Jeff Galloway for advice for first time half marathoners. His advice was to add in some walk breaks around mile 5. Since our only goal for the race was to run the whole thing without walking we decided not to take his advice. I guess I know going forward that for future Disney races I don't need to attend the pre-race banquet or party or whatever they call it.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for posting this. I've signed up for the Disneyland half this fall and was trying to figure out whether or not the pasta party was worth it - it is not cheap, is it? A couple of others have also posted that it wasn't what they were hoping for, so I think I've just saved myself some cash. Unfortunately, because I haven't run anything longer than a 5k, I'm starting at the back. I might have to sign up for a 10k this summer in hopes of moving forward in the corrals. Sounds like it'll be a busy course!