Disney Princess Half Marathon

So, I ran the Royal Family 5k on Saturday, and then had to get up at 2:45 Sunday for the Princess half marathon. After only four hours of sleep, I wasn’t too thrilled to hear my alarm. I got up anyway, and put on my tutu.  It was if the world was instantly more fun! I was so excited to wear it.

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All 3 of us ready to run

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We made our way to the start line

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and since I had a free pass to the race retreat (thanks runDisney and FitFluential!) I left my mom and Karen outside for a couple of minutes so I could go inside and take pictures. The race retreat isn’t cheap, but I can see why. It has a private bag check, potties, tables, food, couches, TV’s, computers, and character photo ops!

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I grabbed a banana and a half of a bagel and some hot chocolate to warm me up.

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I quickly spotted my blogger group of friends and sat with them for a few minutes. Me and my fellow Belle, Meghann.

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Of course we had to get a Belle picture! Meghann, me, and Callie.

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I definitely will consider the race retreat next time, especially if it’s really cold. It was nice to not have to stress about breakfast or the bathroom!

I headed out and wished them luck, and met up with my mom and Karen right at 5:00. We decided to join the masses of people heading to the corrals. We came to a standstill for a long time, and then realized the culprit. Disney did something I don’t remember them doing at the past two marathon weekends I participated in…they had a row of port o potties on the way to the corrals…so the lines for them were literally blocking the people trying to get to the corrals! It was a bit frustrating and poor planning in my opinion. (But hey if that’s the worst Disney does, then that’s not too shabby!)

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We made a quick bathroom break ourselves, then headed to our corral. We got in about five minutes before the start, and had plenty of room to move around and take pictures.

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People behind us

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Before long, the fireworks went off, and it as time to run! There was so much excitement in the air, and of course, lots of tutus!

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As we passed the start, I yelled to Carissa who gave me another shout out. One for each race, I’ll take it girl! The first couple of miles were pretty uneventful. We tried to keep a good pace to clear out from the crowds. Unfortunately, that never really happened.

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We saw our first set of characters and had to stop. After all, our goals for this race were to have fun and get lots of pictures. The line was already really long, but we didn’t really care.

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As we were standing in line, look who I spotted in front of us! Dave Mari, who I ran Disney’s Wine and Dine with, Brandi, who I also ran with and who was my skirt helper for the booth at Wine and Dine, and Juli, who is a fellow Running Skirts sales rep!

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We took a picture with some of the men

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I had to take a picture with the Beauty and the Beast mile marker

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We then ran into these awesome ladies

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We finally made it to the Magic Kingdom and I started getting excited about running through the castle!

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We made it around to the TTC where these awesome drummers were playing.

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and then up the dreaded hill.

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During the full marathon, Bobby loved watching the tumble monkeys, and asked them if he could get on their trampoline, so I took this picture for him.

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We lost a lot of time stopping for pictures, and it was SO congested. I do not remember it being this bad for the half and full. I was constantly stopping, weaving, and bumping into people. It was impossible to even run two across, although some groups were walking 3 and 4 people across the road. oy.

I can see the castle!

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About to head into the Magic Kingdom

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About to turn onto Main Street USA!

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wwweeeee!

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I love love love this part of the race, but not going to lie, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I have in the past. When I turn onto Main street and see that castle I am bursting with emotion and I want to run…fast! There were sssooo many people I was basically at a walk the whole time, and spent my time going down the street a little frustrated that I couldn’t move.

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So I just took a bunch of pictures.

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We of course had to get the castle in the background

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We had to go to the bathroom, so we hit up the same one we used during the full marathon, the one in Tomorrowland. We were laughing because the women had taken over the men’s bathroom, too!

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Since mom was Cinderella I made her take her own picture with Prince Charming

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I’m ffllyyiinggg through Fantasyland!

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We made it to the back of the castle and this was actually one of I think three photo op’s we skipped. It was for Minnie and by time we realized it, we had missed the back of the line and didn’t dee it safe to swim upstream around all those people.

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We ran through the castle and out the other side and headed into Frontierland.

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Can you see me?

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and of course made a few stops along the way.

When we got to the backside of the Magic Kingdom, we saw a line for characters that was WAY long. My mom was getting tired and had a good idea. She said for us to stay in the line, and she would start walking and we would just catch her. Worked for us, so off she went. AAAAnnnddd we stood here for a long time.

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About this time, Jen texted me and I sent her this picture to show her how crazy long the lines were!

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We exited the Magic Kingdom and headed out on the skinniest portion of the race. The past two times I ran on the grass just so I could pass people. I think this part is dangerous and needs to be changed! We hit the halfway mark and the STRONGER sign with Kelly Clarkson’s song blaring. Loved it!

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We got to the Grand Floridian and I saw Belle! There was a cast member standing there telling me the line was closed. Huh? She said Belle had to go get ready for the day and go to the park. I got very frustrated. We pay a lot of money for this race and should have the characters there until everyone is done. I was about to burst into tears. After all, she was the only picture I really wanted! A sweet girl at the back of the line offered me her spot! I was so grateful! Just then, the cast member decided to let us in anyway.

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Belle told me I must have been rummaging around in her closet haha.

We caught up with my mom about mile 8.

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This is the boring part of the race (comparatively) but it was still full of people and we were still weaving around to pass. We did a few run walk intervals, and finally made it to the overpass heading to EPCOT. The skies were looking mighty dark and you guessed it..it started raining. hard. I stuck my camera and my phone under my tutu and we kept going.

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We could see the entrance to EPCOT, and knew we were getting close. Poor mom was wearing down, so I had to keep telling her to come on, and keep up. I wasn’t going to let her wimp out now!

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We made it over the last hill, and I could see the EPCOT ball!

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We made it into EPCOT and I told mom we were going to run the rest of the way. She didn’t seem to keen on the idea but I knew she could do it.

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People kept telling Karen “I like your frog!” No one seemed to get it was Pascal from Rapunzel!

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I kept telling my mom we were almost there, and to finish strong. I told her she is stronger than she thinks and that she was ALMOST DONE! We passed the gospel choir right as they started to sing “Joyful Joyful” and I ran by and slapped all their hands.

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We saw Karen’s mom as we made the last turn.

We could SEE the finish line. I told her we can’t stop now, we are so close! We picked up the pace and ran it in.

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My favorite race photo of me, ever.

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That is…until we saw Mickey mouse! We stopped dead in our tracks and I think my mom was about to kill me!

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We regrouped, and crossed the finish line together. I always get emotional when I cross the finish at a Disney race, and this one was no different.

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WE DID IT!

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Of course, my mom started crying, and I told her she DID it!

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Medals, and pictures all around

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Number 10, in the books.

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It started raining again, and we couldn’t find Karen’s mom. I was supposed to go back to the race retreat but everyone seemed a little stressed out so I didn’t say anything. Come to find out, they got breakfast, mimosa’s, and cute Princess flip flops. So sadly, I didn’t get any. Bummer, but it’s my fault.

We got on the monorail to go back to the resort and Princess was officially over.

This race gets two huge thumbs up from me. The organization is great, the characters are fun, and where else can you run in a tutu?!? I know for a lot of people, Princess was their first half. I was so proud of EVERYONE out there on that course, bettering their bodies, and becoming more healthy. That’s what it’s all about. PR’s are great, running your butt off is great, but you don’t HAVE to do those things to be a runner, or a half marathoner. It took us well over three hours to finish this race, and I don’t really care! I am strong, I am healthy, and I am happy. I never thought in my wildest dreams I would be working on half marathon number twelve. I feel so blessed to have the ability to run, and a healthy body to carry me through each and every race. I never dreamed it, but it is HAPPENING! If your goal is to run Princess next year, do it! Don’t put it off. Start your journey TODAY. We aren’t promised tomorrow. Start with a 5k, work your way up if a half marathon is your goal.  It will be tough but I know you can do it. Disney is a place where dreams come true, and I highly recommend all of the Disney races.

As a very wise man once said, If you can dream it, YOU CAN DO IT!

QOTD: What is something you have done that you never thought possible?

*If you love my tutu you can have one made of your very own! My friend Rachel makes them, check out her shop. She can personalize one for you!

I was always planning to go to the race, but a couple of weeks before I left, I was asked by runDisney and FitFluential to come as a part of a group of blogger media. Part of my expenses for the trip were covered. However, I am obsessed with Disney and their runDisney races, so all opinions are 100% my own.

Jeff Galloway meet up

 

Friday morning came very early, but I jumped out of bed when my alarm went off. I was so excited to get to be a part of the Jeff Galloway meet up/tweet up. We had to meet the vans at 6:00 to drive over, and it was still dark when we got to EPCOT.

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We waited in line, and had to sign a waiver. We were given our shirts (I was bummed I was given a large in my bag when I had ordered a medium, but oh well!) and I changed shirts on the spot. Who cares, right?

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me and Callie.

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me and Meghann

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I didn’t care that it was chilly out, I was about to run through EPOCT with no one in it, with some amazing people.

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Bob chatted to us for a bit and introduced us to Jeff as well as Rachel, the winner of the Disneyland half, Betty from Fitness magazine, and Suzy Favor Hamilton, Olympian. We split up into two groups to run. One of course being Jeff’s run/walk group, and the other group was led by Bob and Rachel, a straight running group. The plan was 2 miles around EPCOT, and we took off at a VERY quick pace. I am a warm up kind of girl so it was tough keeping up!

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We made it around the world showcase 1.5 times and then stopped in Germany for a great buffet breakfast. We each also got a princess tiara! I also took the opportunity to get a pic with Rachel. She currently lives in my hometown of Mandeville, LA, so of course we became instant BFF’s.

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I also got to chat with the super friendly Jeff Galloway.

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Rachel, Betty, Jeff, Suzy, and Bob all gave a short speech.

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aannddd then we had a dance party.

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To wrap things up, Minnie Mouse came to tell us hello and we all got a free 1 day park hopper pass!

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We were then sent outside to our own private character photo session. Minnie was very excited I was wearing her signature polka dots.

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I felt like a giant next to Rapunzel.

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The lovely Kelly Olexa. Love this lady so much!

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We had a great time at the meet up, I got to meet some great other bloggers and readers of my blog (hi guys!) The weather was great, company was awesome,  and I feel so blessed to have gotten to be a part of it. runDisney are some great folks, and I cannot thank them enough!

Disney Princess Half Marathon Expo

 

Hello from the Grand Floridian! We leave this morning, and while I am sad to leave my favorite resort…I will be happy to sleep in my own bed, and see my husband and pups. We have a long drive ahead of us though.

I am going to apologize for doing these recaps out of order, but a lot of my Jeff Galloway meet-up pictures are on my other camera, and I didn’t bring that cord with me to WDW, so for now I am going to tell you about the Princess half marathon expo.

On Friday after the meet up, we had a little free time. I joined Kelly Olexa at the pool for a bit before heading over to lunch with some of the girls and then out with the group to Disney’s Wide World of Sports.

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I had a turkey sandwich and some zebra domes.

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It was a beautiful sunny day, and I was excited to pickup my packets and also do some shopping.

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We were greeted by sweet Laurie, the expo director who told us a bit about the in’s and out’s of a Disney race expo.  Bob and Jennifer also spoke briefly (both awesome runDisney friends!), and then we headed into the tent to get our bib’s for the 5k an half marathon.

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Word of advice, print your waiver before leaving home. I am so glad I did and didn’t have to deal with the hassle of the computer lines and such.

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Getting my 5k bib was seamless and simple, and I took some photos while I waited for the group.

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eeeekkkk!

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We then walked the red carpet (oh yes!) to the expo to get our t-shirts and do some shopping. I was ready, wallet in hand.

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After I got my shirts, I hit up the official merchandise and did some serious damage.

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Then I headed to the Running Skirts booth to see if Juli needed any help. I chatted with them for a bit until my mom, Karen, and her mom arrived. We did more shopping before going to check into our hotel.

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Since I have worked a Disney expo before, as well as participated in other runDisney races, I knew what to expect as far as the set up goes, but Princess had that whole new element of royalty and girly girl fun which I absolutely loved!

QOTD: What has been your favorite race expo?

A Royal Welcome

 

Hello Friends! What a day! y time in WDW has been amazing so far thanks to runDisney and FitFluential. There is still a whole lot more in store so stay tuned. I am Tweeting as much as I can but I have NO cell service in certain areas so I am sorry for the delay sometimes!

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Thursday morning my dad dropped me off at the airport at 6 for my 8:40 flight. I landed and hopped on Magical Express and checked into Animal Kingdom Lodge. The good news is I had a savannah view room, but the bad news is it was all the way at the very end of the hall. Those of you familiar with AKL know what I am talking about. It’s quite the hike!

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I even brought my stalker zoom lens and made a few new friends off my balcony.

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I texted the lovely Kelly Olexa, and we decided to head to the pool for lunch and relaxation.

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After an hour or two, Meghann arrived and joined us at the pool. Kelly had to do some work, so Meghann and I decided to hit up Animal Kingdom. We had time before dinner and a 4 day park hopper to use!

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It was interesting being at the park so late when most people were leaving.

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Meghann rode Everest (I don’t like dark rides) by using our awesome media fastpass that lets you get a fastpass for the current time. it. is. awesome.

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We split a soft pretzel (so glad we did later, we ate LATE!) and headed back to the hotel to get ready for dinner. We met the others in the group in the lobby. But first, we had a goody bag in our rooms!DSC_0204

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cheese!

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we had an amazing time with amazing people and ate amazing food!  Callie, Meghann, Kelly, me, Brittney, and Christie. Ok, time for the expo, (I am writing this Friday) more later!

QOTD: What is your favorite place to dine in WDW?

Beyond the Parks Part 1

 

I go to Disney World a lot. During my many visits, I have been fortunate enough to experience the different sides of Disney. Sadly, some families go straight from hotel to theme park and back again, and miss out on some of the most entertaining and exciting parts of Walt Disney World. I want to share some of these tips and activities with you in hopes to make your Disney vacation even more unforgettable! There are so many things (and I won’t even be including them all!) so I am going to break this up into two posts. I will post part two in a few days.

What to do in Walt Disney World Beyond the Parks

Waterparks: Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon are Disney’s two waterparks. If you have an annual pass, you can save $4 on admission. Or, if you purchase a package with your vacation, you can add on the “waterparks and more option” so you can hit up both waterparks! I have been to both more than once, and don’t really prefer one over the other, they are both fun for different reasons….and both have great lazy rivers! They are open from 10-5 seasonally.

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Miniature Golf (and regular golf!) I have played mini golf in Disney, but not regular golf. My dad has and had a great time though. Disney has two mini golf courses and four championship golf courses. I think golf is one of those great things to do when the parks are super crowded, and it’s also just plain fun!

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Water craft: You can rent watercraft from certain resort marinas throughout WDW. You can rent Sea Raycers, sailboats, SunTRACKER® pontoon boats, Boston Whaler Montauk boats, pedal boats, kayaks and canoes among other things. The marinas you can rent them from are:

  • Disney’s Beach Club Resort
  • Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
  • Disney’s Contemporary Resort
  • Disney’s Port Orleans Resort
  • Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
  • Disney’s Polynesian Resort
  • Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  • Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
  • Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground
  • Disney’s Old Key West Resort
  • Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort
  • Downtown Disney Marketplace

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Afternoon Tea: Sometimes it’s nice to just relax and unwind after a long morning in the parks. One of my favorite ways to do that is by going to afternoon tea at the Grand Floridian in the Garden View Tea room. Tea is offered from 2-6 pm and reservations are suggested. And, if you have a little girl on your trip ages 3-11, you can take her to the Perfectly Princess Tea Party held at the Tea room. Contact me for more info on this fun outing!

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Fitness Centers/Spas: If you will remember my post on the gym shared by the Grand Floridian and the Polynesian, you will know that working out on vacation/hitting up the gym is something I love to do! Not only can you get your sweat on at a lot of the resort’s in the gym, but you can also get pampered at the spa! The Grand Floridian has one (currently being refurbished) as does Saratoga Springs. I have been to both and only have good things to say. Book a massage, it is vacation after all!

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Bike and Jogging Paths: I have also done a post already about the jogging path’s between the Grand Floridian and the Polynesian resort. I love running in Disney World, and s lot of the resorts have great places to run. If you stay at the Boardwalk, Beach Club, and Yacht Club, you can run around the Boardwalk and all the way to Hollywood Studios. If you stay at Wilderness Lodge of Fort Wilderness, there are beautiful wooded trails connecting the two…which brings me to my next point, BIKES! There are several places you can rent bikes throughout WDW. I have rented bikes from the Wilderness Lodge before, and it was a really fun activity on a day when the parks were really crowded.

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Ok this post is getting really wordy so I will save some more fun activities for next time, so stay tuned!

QOTD: What is your favorite “overlooked” Disney activity?

I am a Disney Vacation Planner with Travel with The Magic. My services are FREE for my clients! E-mail me at heather@travelwiththemagic.com for a quote. There are some discounts out that you could be taking advantage of!