5 Reasons to Run a runDisney Race

It’s no secret that I love runDisney races. My very first one was in January of 2010, and I have been hooked ever since. The great thing about these races is that now there are so many, so there is something for everyone, at many different times of the year. If you are on the fence about signing up for a race, here are just a few of the many reasons why a runDisney race may make sense for you and your family.

5 reasons to runDisney

5 Reasons to run a runDisney race:

1.) Vacation for family: I like to call this a “racecation”. You don’t just have to come in the night before, run, and then go home like any other race. No no, you can make a whole week of fun out of a runDisney event! Many of the events are across multiple days, and then people sometimes choose to add a few days for relaxation after the race as well. With so many resorts, parks, and other activities to choose from, there is no shortage of fun. Just don’t forget to wear your medal around the parks, you earned it!


2.) Everyone can participate: What some people don’t realize is that a runDisney event consists of more than just a half marathon. Most of the event weekends also include kids races (all the way down to the diaper dash!), a family fun run 5k, and some even have a 10k and full marathon. So everyone from the smallest mouseketeer to grandma can join in the fun.


3.) Characters and course entertainment: Where else can you stop along the course to snap a picture with a few princesses or the big cheese himself? Not to mention the idea of running THROUGH Cinderella castle or around the World Showcase in EPCOT? There are plenty of things to see to keep your mind busy and a smile on your face as you race to the finish line. Not to mention, there are tons of awesome spectators along the routes!


4.) Great expo/speakers: One of my favorite parts of a runDisney race weekend would have to be the expo. So, so, so many vendors with great products for you to test out and purchase. There is also a plethora of official race merchandise, a speaker series where you can hear from some of your favorite knowledgeable runners, and not to mention those coveted New Balance running shoes.


5.) Amazing bling: I have a lot of race medals, but my favorites generally are those I earned from completing runDisney events. The designers do such a great job of incorporating magical components, shimmering touches, and even moveable parts. I always feel so accomplished after running a race, so having a beautiful medal to commemorate my experience makes it even more worthwhile. These guys are always outdoing themselves!


I could go on for days about why I love runDisney races and think you would too, but these are the top five that came to my mind. If you have any questions about runDisney, or want to know more about my personal experiences, I would love to hear from you or even help you plan your next trip! Email me at heather@travelwiththemagic.com so we can chat!

For more information on registering for a runDisney race, visit rundisney.com

RELATED: Sign up for my FREE My Disney Experience and Magic Bands E-Course!

QOTD: What is the main reason why you run runDisney races? Is there something that just keeps you going back for more?

#DisneySide at Home Party

Last weekend, I hosted a #DisneySide at home dinner party for some friends and family. We had a couple of people not able to make it at the last minute, but we still had a lot of fun!

Travel With the Magic was sent a #DisneySide party kit which I then used to help decorate and prepare for the festivities, at no cost to me. (All opinions are my own).

I am sure you have seen that Disney launched it’s #DisneySide campaign earlier in the year. Basically, Disney is encouraging everyone to “show your Disney Side”, and that can mean so many different things. You can show it through food, a favorite Disney character, how often you visit the parks, watching your favorite animated classic, and more.



The colors were bright and fun, and I added a few of my own decorative pieces as well.




The kit included some party favors and door prizes which I handed out after dinner.


On the menu was pulled pork, chicken, corn, salad, potato salad, and cake! Do you see the hidden Mickey?


As we ate (oh by the way, I asked everyone to wear Disney clothing to the party to show their #DisneySide!) we all went around the table and shared our favorite Disney memory. It was so much fun to hear the similarities and differences in everyone’s favorite moments. I love that my friends and family love Disney as much as I do, and that we can all share magical moments and special times together!

Moments spanned from runDisney races, to watching fireworks with family, to getting some “extra” pixie dust from cast members. It took me some time to think about mine because I have so many favorite moments, I wasn’t sure which to pick!

After dinner, we played Disney bingo, and used Hershey’s Kisses as the game pieces.


Our winner! Bingo!


I took some time to thank everyone for coming, and handed out door prizes.


Karen won a prize!


Then, it was time for some cake! The plates, cups, and napkins were a big hit.


I even got my dad to wear his Mickey ears, his way of showing his #DisneySide.


*Be sure to check out the Disney Side home celebration page for ideas, activities, and themes for throwing your own party! Be sure to tag photos with #DisneySide, and I would love to see them as well! (@HeathersLG or @TravelwtheMagic and we can retweet your photos!)

QOTD: How do you show your #DisneySide? What is your favorite Disney memory?

runDisney Marathon Weekend Extras

Everyone knows that runDisney is about well….running! But, did you know there are other fun events you can participate in during the race weekend?

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Let me give you a few examples for marathon weekend that is coming up in less than TWO weeks!

Race Retreat: You can be pampered by signing up for the VIP Race Retreat for before and after your runDisney event. Before the race, stay warm and dry inside a private tent where you will enjoy a pre race breakfast, coffee, water, and PowerAde. There is also a private restroom area and your own bag check. Stretch out before the race on the padded stretching area or lounge around on the comfy seating. After the race, come back to the tent to check your results on the computers, enjoy brunch with hot and cold beverages, and reunite with family and friends. There is even a changing area and a self treatment/first aid station. Have some sore muscles? Enjoy a 10 minute massage for just $10. This is especially a good idea if it’s COLD outside!


Even more exciting is that this years VIP Race Retreat has a Mary Poppins theme! You will also receive commemorative socks and a towel, special character meet and greets, and access to a live video feed of the finish line. You must sign up for the race retreat at runDisney.com, space is very limited, so hurry! (Fees apply). I had the opportunity to go to the race retreat once before a couple years ago for the Princess half marathon and it was a great relaxing atmosphere. Recommended especially for first time racers that are a little nervous.

Pasta in the Park Party: Carb up before the race at the Pasta in the Park Party. With your ticket you will get exclusive access to EPCOT as well as a pasta buffet (and dessert!) followed by a special viewing area for Illuminations. You may also run into Minnie, Mickey, and other guests while you party the night away with a live DJ and face painter. When I attended, it was a great time for special character interaction. I got to stand and talk to Rapunzel for at least five minutes. (Rumor has it Dopey will be making a special appearance!)


Breakfast: Are you participating in the family Fun Run 5k or the Walt Disney World 10k? You can have even more fun by purchasing a ticket for the special Monsters Inc. themed breakfast at the finish line at EPCOT. (Did you know I LOVE Monsters Inc.? This sounds so, so fun!) This event is from 7:00-9:00 am the mornings of the 5k and 10k.


Cool Down Party: After all the magical miles have been run on Sunday, it’s time for a celebration! Head to the Cool Down Party at Downtown Disney. Party with your best running friends, eat, shop, and enjoy special discounts at select stores by presenting your finishers medal. Admission is open to runners, their families, and the public.


ChEAR Squad: If you are not running but still want to spectate the races, you can take part in one of three levels of ChEAR squad packages. More information and to sign up can be found here.

Related: Sign up for my free My Disney Experience and Magic Bands E-Course!

Want more info on runDisney races and “extra” events? Check out runDisney.com.

Disney Vacation Recap November 2013

You may have already read my race recap from my time in Disney, but I have yet to post what we did when we weren’t running.  We checked into the gorgeous Wilderness Lodge on Thursday. I haven’t stayed here in a few years and forgot how much I love it. We had a standard club level room but lucked out and had a beautiful Courtyard vied.



We hung out in the lounge and some with Jen and her family, then Bobby and I had dinner at the Captain’s Grille before going to EPCOT for the runDisney meet up.


We slept in a bit then headed to Magic Kingdom for a couple hours. I love taking the boat over!



The park was all dressed up for Christmas. I love it!


Bobby discovered Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom, and we spent a lot of time on the trip playing.


We took Jen over to the expo with us and picked up our race bibs.


That night we ate with Jen and family at Trails End at Fort Wilderness. It was an early dinner, so we had some time that night and decided to just wander around the resort, which is one of my favorite Disney past times. We went over to the villas and sat by the fire. There was NO ONE in there, and it was so nice to just sit and hang out.


The next day we met Jen, Jeff, and Wyatt at Downtown Disney after Wyatt’s kids race. We had lunch at Earl of Sandwich then Bobby and I saw a Disney Infinity tent set up. If you tested the game you got a free t-shirt, so we figured…why not? We waited in line about 15 minutes, played the game and got our shirts.


On our way out of Downtown Disney, we ran into my Healthy Living Summit roomie Amanda, and local pal Larissa and chatted for a few minutes before Bobby and I headed back to the resort for a nap. We had a long night ahead of us!


We had a blast running Wine and Dine, and didn’t go to sleep until almost 4:00 in the morning. We got up around ten for breakfast and to say goodbye to our friends before heading to EPCOT.


In the parking lot I ran into more bloggers!


It was our last day to enjoy food and wine at the festival and it was HOT outside. Don’t worry, I cooled off with some frozen adult beverages.



That night, we met some friends at the Polynesian for a few minutes then headed over to ESPN to watch the Saints play on Monday Night Football. We someone got lucky and snagged the two amazing lounge chairs front and center. We were so excited we couldn’t stop smiling. The game was great, and we had a blast.


It was another late night, about 1:00 by time we got to bed, and the next day was our last day. We went to Hollywood Studios and did some of our favorite things.


That evening we had dinner at Citricos at the Grand Floridian, then changed clothes and headed over to the Magic Kingdom for Mickey’s Very merry Christmas Party! (Recap to come!) I wanted to eat the huge gingerbread house. It’s amazing.




The party was a blast, and it even “snowed” on Main Street.


We walked around the new Grand Floridian Villas after the party and took some pictures of the gorgeous lobby.



After another late night, we slept in then drove home. We had a great trip and made lots of new memories!

QOTD: Do you stay up late on vacation? Do you nap on vacation? We did every day!

*I would love to help you plan your magical vacation! email me at heather@travelwiththemagic.com or go here and request a quote. Be sure to put my name on it!

Senses Spa at Disney’s Saratoga Springs

It is a special day in Walt Disney World. The newly reimagined Senses Spa at Saratoga Springs Resort opens TODAY!

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I jumped at the chance to check out the redesign. I was lucky to get to visit and get a massage at the spa at the Grand Floridian in February, so I was curious to see the differences between the two spas. While they may share the bulk of the same spa menu, one thing they do not share is the same theming and décor. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but I was blown away!

senses spa

Dark woods, stone, and Native American influences are sprinkled throughout the large space. We saw lots of cool touches like Italian mosaics, hummingbirds, and even hidden Mickeys. The idea here is to look like a 19th century wellness retreat in New York.

I am not going to go into the spa menu as much since I already covered the basics in my last spa post, but I did want to share with you the beauty of this location.

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There is a mani/pedi room with the same amazing massage chairs you will find at the Grand Floridian spa.

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There are several types of treatment rooms available, all with gorgeous lighting and great touches like hot bar racks to keep your robe warm.

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Couples treatment room

The walls have a beautiful texture to them, and I just loved these outdoorsy light fixtures in the hallways.

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Can you spot the hummingbird in the relaxation room? This is where you relax and wait before your treatment begins. By the way, these lounge chairs are so soft. I didn’t lay down because I knew I would never get back up!

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The men’s and women’s locker rooms have these plunge pools, as well as my favorite heated tiled chairs, just like on the Disney Cruise ships. Unfortunately, they weren’t turned on or I would have been taking a quick nap. What a great treat after participating in a runDisney race, huh my fellow runners? Something to think about!

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The tiles on the wall were imported from Italy. Check out that hummingbird! Also, can you find the hidden Mickey?

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We took a peek into the locker room which resembles the one at the Grand Floridian, and they offer all the same amenities at both locations.

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The bathrooms have blow dryers, straighteners, and other items you may need to primp after a relaxing massage or an invigorating facial.


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During the tour, I was told about special seasonal offerings that sound so amazing. I really want a pumpkin enzyme facial! Sounds amazing, right?

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Be sure to check out their website for details and to make an appointment!

QOTD: What is your favorite spa treatment? Have you been to one of Disney’s spas?

Vacation Information

Good morning! Simple post today because honestly, I am very very busy. We are heading home from the beach today .

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(sad times, didn’t we just get here?!?) and, 2014 prices and packages come out today for Walt Disney World, and Disneyland! Remember, I can book a trip for you at NO extra cost to you.

Also keep in mind I can book all kinds of other trips for you like Universal, Sandals, Atlantis, etc. and cruise lines like Royal Caribbean and Carnival. If you are unsure if I can help you, never hurts to email me and let me take a look for you.

You can email me at heather@travelwiththemagic.com

Travel-With-the-Magic-LOGO with blue border

Those of you who have already emailed me about a quote, don’t worry I haven’t forgotten you, please be patient as it will take me awhile tomorrow to get to everyone! Have a great day!

QOTD: Where are you planning to travel next?

Top 5 Disney Restaurants in the Parks

Last week I wrote a post on my favorite restaurants at the Disney resorts. Now it’s time for my favorites in the parks!


This was a tough decision, and I tried to spread them out amongst the parks as best I could so there was at least one place per park (all sit down restaurants). Just know there are a lot more great places to eat other than these, but the ones below are some of my favorites!

1.) Coral Reef: Enjoy your meal while sitting next to a gigantic fish tank! You are even given a fish guide so you know which ones you are looking at. Bobby gets fish, I get steak, but we both get warm chocolate lava cake! This is a more fancy place for a park, but kids stay entertained watching the fish. Ask for a seat next to the tank if you can. You may have to wait a little longer but it’s worth it.



2.) Liberty Tree Tavern I love Liberty Tree for lunch in particular. Why? Four words: Ooey gooey toffee cake. This my friends is the best dessert on Disney property. I also order the pilgrims feast (turkey, dressing, potatoes, green beans) it’s a nice break from fried fried fried that I eat at a lot of other Disney meals. It’s a nice sunny restaurant, very well themed, and of course it’s right in the Magic Kingdom.



3.) Be Our Guest: I ate here for the first time in February and think Disney did a fabulous job with the theming. We sat in the West Wing and I was bummed at first but ended up loving it. It was much more quaint and quiet than the main ballroom. I love that you can take a picture with the Beast after dinner, and the menu is very nice for a park restaurant.


4.) Yak and Yeti: This is in Animal Kingdom, and has great theming. It is Asian inspired, so again a nice break from what a lot of the other restaurants offer. I usually get sweet and sour chicken with rice and Bobby gets some kind of shrimp which he really enjoys. We typically do lunch here, and love sitting in the room that has giant windows overlooking the park. People watching at it’s finest!


5.) Sci Fi Dine In: Best atmosphere of the park hands down. Who doesn’t want to eat in a car at a drive in movie theater? With that being said, the menu is limited, and I honestly don’t ever order anything but a cheeseburger and fires and a cookies n cream milkshake, which is to die for. If you are looking for a fancy culinary experience, this is not the place. However if you are wanting a unique experience don’t miss this one!


Others I love but couldn’t choose them all:

Le Cellier (Epcot)

Crystal Palace (Magic Kingdom)

Splitsville (Downtown Disney)

QOTD: Did your favorite make the cut? What am I forgetting?

*Remember I can book your trip for you at no additional cost to you! heather@travelwiththemagic.com




Top 5 Walt Disney World Resort Restaurants

A couple weeks ago, I wrote a post about my favorite Disneyland restaurants. It was such a hit, I had people asking me to do the same for Disney World resort restaurants. There are SO many great places to eat in Disney World that I decided to break the post into my top five favorite places to dine in the resorts, and then another post with my top five favorite restaurants in the theme parks. Also keep in mind these are all sit down or “table service” restaurants in this particular review. Enjoy!

Disney world resort restaurants

1.) Trails End Dinner Buffet

We “discovered” this buffet on a recent trip. It’s one of those places I always knew existed, but didn’t get a lot of hype. Luckily, I went out on a limb and booked it, in an effort to try something new. This place is now a must go to for my family and a hidden gem among Disney World resort restaurants! It’s a good old fashioned country buffet with all the comfort foods you could imagine. Not to mention, the price point is great for a Disney buffet. For sweet tea drinkers: this is the real deal. Only place on property that makes tried and true “homemade” sweet tea. Everything from ribs, to fried chicken, to mac and cheese, green beans, corn, mashed potatoes, and cornbread is yours for the eating. For dessert there is red velvet cake and soft serve ice cream with toppings like gummie bears and hot fudge, as well as some other southern favorites. You won’t leave here hungry and the servers are very friendly. *Please note there is NO PARKING at the restaurant. You have to park at the front of Fort Wilderness and take an internal bus to the back.


2.) Citricos

This has been a long time favorite of mine at the Grand Floridian. Beautiful, elegant, and delicious are a few words I would use to describe Citricos. It has my favorite steak in the world, as well as a great drink menu. The sweeping views of the grounds are relaxing, and the open kitchen is fun to watch. A great fancier meal while not being stuffy, Citricos gets two thumbs up. it is on the second floor of the Grand Floridian, so you can stand at the railing and listen to the orchestra or pianist at night while you wait for your table. So romantic!


3.) California Grill

Situated on the top floor of the Contemporary, California Grill is the place to be when the sun goes down to watch the Wishes fireworks show. There is even a private viewing deck outside for diners to visit. If you love sushi, you have to try the food here. I personally don’t eat sushi, but the husband loves this restaurant, and I enjoy the steak. It has a fun lively atmosphere, with wall to wall windows looking out over Bay Lake. It can get a little loud, but the food and views make up for it. *Check in for the restaurant is not on the top floor, please follow directional signs


4.) Ohana Dinner

This place is pure fun, and we always leave so full! Ohana serves food family style at the Polynesian resort. They bring a huge portion of different menu items in big bowls or platters, and you can eat as much as you want. For the meats, food is brought around on giant skewers and then pieces are put onto your plate. Be sure to save room for dessert, the bread pudding is delicious! For those with little mouseketeers, there are fun games going on during meal times, and celebrations like birthdays and anniversaries are always acknowledged.


5.) Cape May Café Breakfast

Cape May is a character buffet (at breakfast only) at the Beach Club resort, and serves your standard breakfast fare, but plenty of it! I love that the characters come around to your table for photos, and really seem to take time with you, even if you are a “big kid” like me. The restaurant is beautiful and open, and the food is plentiful. It’s a great way to start your day before heading off to the parks. I have seen Minnie, Goofy, as well as Chip and Dale in their beach gear at this restaurant.


RELATED: Sign Up for my FREE My Disney Experience and Magic Bands E-Course

QOTD: What are your favorite Disney World resort restaurants?

Trip Recap January 2013


Hi guys! Happy Tuesday. This is kind of a weird week for me since we are in Louisiana with my family while Bobby takes care of some business in New Orleans. You would think I would get a lot of work done not being in my actual house with distractions like laundry and dishes, but I am having a really hard time focusing here. I thought a fun picture post would be a good one for today, sharing some of my favorite photos from marathon weekend that weren’t in my race recap. We were in Disney for 6 nights, so a lot of other fun things went on besides the races themselves!

We stayed the first four nights at the lovely Yacht Club. Bobby had never stayed here before so it was fun to experience something new with him. We had a great room with a king bed and a huge balcony overlooking the quiet pool.





We hung out at Hollywood Studios Friday


Then picked up Karen and Jason from the expo and went to dinner at Trails End Buffet at Fort Wilderness. It was a fantastic meal with good friends and we went back later in the week!


On Saturday after the half marathon, we got cleaned up and headed over to the Magic Kingdom for lunch at Liberty Tree Tavern (and to stay loose for the marathon the next day!)




The next day after the Full marathon we went to dinner with Jen and Jeff at ‘Ohana



We had a great time with them as usual, and we were sad they were leaving the next day.


Monday morning we checked out of the Yacht Club and into the Beach Club for two nights on the concierge level. We called it a late anniversary weekend getaway.


Our room wasn’t ready so we ate breakfast and walked over to EPCOT. I love the proximity of this resort. Bobby even found a limited time magic photo op in Canada, but the characters weren’t there yet.



We ate lunch at the quick service place in China, before meeting up with Karen and Jason so they could eat in Mexico.


We texted Crystal and found out she was nearby, so we went over to France to meet up with her and Mary. The four of us met four of us first met this same weekend back in 2009. Crystal was running the marathon and the other three of us were not even runners yet. Too funny!


As we were taking photos, a random Japanese couple ran up to us and asked to take a photo with us. Sure! They handed over their camera and we took a picture. Bobby was laughing so hard, but he still managed to snap a photo with my camera, too.


After the mini photoshoot, we got a call saying our room was ready. We were dreading unpacking the car, so we just decided to go ahead and walk back and get that taken care of.


View from our room





Appetizers in the concierge lounge




We had dinner at the hotel at Cape May Cafe, and it was nice to just walk back to our room after dinner. The next day we went to Animal Kingdom with Karen and Jason.


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We at lunch at Flame Tree BBQ (side note, we loved all the eating outside we were able to do in the gorgeous weather!)



We went back after lunch and spent some time just relaxing at the resort, and went back to Trail’s End for dinner. We were sad to leave the next day, but we had a great trip and I can’t wait to go back for Princess!


QOTD: Would you prefer vacationing where it’s cold or hot?

Trip Teasers


A huge thank you for all the sweet comments you left me yesterday on my three year blogiversary post. I feel so loved, and I am so sorry I have been a slacker at replying to comments, but I go home TODAY and things will hopefully go back to normal! I love Disney so much, but I will admit I am quite homesick, and ready to see my husband and my baby furry children. They probably forgot who I am by now.

I have one more seminar this morning, and then my flight leaves this afternoon. I am sure I will snooze all the way through it, as I am typing this post at midnight Thursday night and I have to be up by 6:00 in the morning today Smile

Not going to lie, I am zonked, so I just wanted to leave you with a few photos of my trip, and please come back, things are going to be getting back to normal, no more traveling until January! Check out these and remember more to come, especially my Wine and Dine race recap! That will be up early next week.

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Have a great Friday everyone! Get outside and be active!

QOTD: There’s no place like home, or world traveler?