Disney Girls Trip Part 3: After the Race

I left off with my recap of the Expedition Everest Challenge. The next day was Sunday, and we had plans to relax! We slept in and then decided to go to Downtown Disney for lunch at Earl of Sandwich. Jen had a Groupon, so of course we had to go, duh.

After we ate, we hit up Starbucks. (In case you weren’t aware, regular Disney coffee tastes awful, so I’m super happy Starbucks invaded the “world”).

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We shopped a little then headed back to the resort to go to the pool. I really like the pool area at Caribbean Beach, and we even scored two chairs under an umbrella mostly in the shade. Hooray for saving our skin!

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It was cool enough outside I didn’t even sweat nor did I need to get in the pool to cool off. This worked out because I was way too lazy to get out of my chair.

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We sat and chatted a few hours then got ready for dinner at Narcoossees at the Grand Floridian. Jen and I are both big lovers of this resort, and we thought back to a girls trip we took in 2009 when we stayed there. Hopefully one day we will get to stay there again! It’s so beautiful, but also really, really, expensive. If I ever win the lottery, this is where I am going. I guess I need to start buying lottery tickets if I want to win…

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We were given a nice table by the window and we had a delicious meal!

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I had to get a chocolate martini since that’s what we got when we ate here on our last girls trip. It was very good.

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I had steak for my meal, then finished it off with almond crusted cheesecake. I wasn’t even hungry but this dessert is so good, I got it anyway (and proceeded to eat the whole thing). Everything was really good and we had a great time!

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We are pretty boring old people so we took a cab back to the resort and went to bed. We had a big day coming up at the Magic Kingdom!

QOTD: What is your favorite dessert?

Splitsville Luxury Lanes: Downtown Disney

When I was visiting Walt Disney World in February, I had the pleasure of speaking with the owners of the recently opened Splitsville Luxury Lanes at Downtown Disney.

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At first glance, many will think it’s “just a bowling alley”, but the truth is it is so much more. The pictures and my descriptions really don’t even do it justice, you will have to go check it out for yourself. It truly has a “wow” factor that can’t be explained. However, I will do my best to convince you that this is a must do on your next visit to Disney World.

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I started my morning at Splitsville with a tour of building. WOW is honestly the first word that pops into my head. There is so much to look at, you could come back 100 times and still notice new details on every visit. I had the privilege of interviewing Guy, one of the owners. Guy explained Splitsville to me as a mix of hip and retro with a fun sensory overload.

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Owners Guy and Mark were college roommates. When they came up with the idea of Splitsville, they wanted the customers to walk in and be wowed. To love the entertainment, atmosphere and the food…then say “oh, and by the way, we went bowling, too.” The claim to fame here is actually the food, and it did not disappoint (try the nachos, you will be blown away!) The menu is huge and you will find something for even the pickiest of eaters, like me.

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A lot of the portions of the food are made to be sharable. Unlike traditional locations for bowling, you can actually eat at your lane while you bowl. You will find fare such as nachos and hamburgers, as well as fancy dishes like mouth watering steak and even sushi! The food here is very fresh (hand tossed fresh pizza dough for example). There are two kitchens, several bars, and plenty of places to dine. They also have an amazing drink menu, with my favorite being the birthday cake martini complete with sprinkles dotting the rim of the glass.

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Hands down, my favorite places to enjoy a meal are the outside tables. I have eaten both out on the downstairs patio where you can sometimes be entertained by a live band, or upstairs on the covered balcony, complete with it’s own bar and breathtaking views of Downtown Disney.

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My husband Bobby and I enjoyed dinner on the upstairs balcony in April

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I had never been to a two story bowling alley, so riding up the escalator was very cool. During the day families of all sizes come to enjoy themselves, and at night the upstairs lanes become more fun for the “big kids” like me.

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There are pool tables, the second kitchen, as well as more places to dine upstairs.DSC_0678

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There is a podium to walk up to if you would like to bowl, and one if you are there to only eat. If you choose to dine in, there are several different options for seating. (Inside, outside, balcony, etc.) It was a gorgeous day, so we chose to eat and have our interview outside on the downstairs patio.

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It was great to just sit and people watch while enjoying our food, and the company. I really enjoyed hearing about the story behind Splitsville and their vision for the future.

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Guy spoke with enthusiasm about reinventing bowling for America. They are about good food as well as good entertainment, and wanted a hip carnival atmosphere for customers.

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He also talked a lot about teamwork, and the employees seemed to be a tight knit bunch. Everyone was so friendly and went out of their way to greet us and make sure we had everything we needed. You can tell they all take pride in their workplace.

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Guy also mentioned the possibility of more Splitsvilles popping up around the country. There are already locations in Texas and Virginia, as well as two other Florida locations. I know they would love to expand to Disneyland in California as well.

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When I went back to Disney with my parents in May, I took them to Splitsville for lunch and some bowling. We had a great time and can’t wait to go back next time we are in town. It was truly one of the highlights of my trip.

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I had a great time learning more about this great place and hope to be back for a visit soon!

Splitsville Luxury Lanes is located in Downtown Disney’s West Side area. You can learn more about pricing and hours on their website. You can also follow them on Twitter.

QOTD: Have you been to Splitsville? What looks the most awesome to you about this place? Do you like to bowl?

Disney Springs

You may have already heard the exciting news that Disney is revamping Downtown Disney and giving it a new name: Disney Springs.

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The revamped area will replicate turn-of-the-century lakeside towns of Florida. True to the new name,  and Disney’s love of storytelling, the area will focus around an all new “town center”, with several bubbling springs leading to three other areas called The Landing, Marketplace, and West Side. The new construction will expand from the current 75 shops and restaurants to 150! The expansion will be starting next month and should be complete in 2016. There will also be two parking structures added, which I am happy to see because quite frankly, the parking lots and traffic can get dicey at certain times of the day. So glad to see Disney is wanting to improve this!

I took the following information from wdwnews.com regarding the three new areas:

  • The Town Center, which offers a sophisticated mix of shopping and dining along with a promenade where guests can relax, refresh and reconnect.
  • A colorful and thriving commercial district called The Landing with inspired dining and beautiful waterfront views.
  • The family-friendly Marketplace that will continue to delight guests of all ages by combining new experiences, such as an over-the-water pedestrian causeway, along with classic Disney favorites, including an expanded World of Disney store.
  • A West Side that provides an exuberant atmosphere with lively entertainment, along with a series of new elevated spaces that provide both shade and an overlook to the activity below.

 

I was so excited when Splitsville opened, and now a whole new revamping of Downtown Disney with boutiques, anchor stores, and more shopping and entertainment. I think this will be a fabulous addition to Walt Disney World and give families even more options for when they take a Disney vacation. I love the Disney details throughout the parks, resorts, and restaurants and cannot wait to see the Disney magic and pixie dust sprinkled all over the new Disney Springs.

QOTD: What would you love to see at the new Disney Springs? What stores or restaurants?

*Check out my post yesterday about the new runDisney marathon weekend Dopey Challenge!

 

 

 

Disney Post-Princess

I will be blogging about all of my race experiences later this week, but right now I am pretty darn tired. I am writing this on Tuesday night for Wednesday’s post, and we just got back from Disney this afternoon. I have been unpacking and cleaning then realized I needed to blog. Oops! I thought it would be fun to recap the day of the race (after the race) and Monday, what we did with my family etc.

After we got cleaned up on Sunday morning post half marathon, we headed to Epcot. My mom wanted pizza, and we were able to walk up and get seated immediately at Via Napoli, yes! I was starving, and pizza never tasted so delicious. A sweet Princess runner came up to our table and said she read my blog (hi again!) we chatted for a minute, it was great to meet her and see a fellow runner wearing a medal!

After lunch we walked around Epcot a bit, not even riding anything, and realized we were exhausted from our 2:45 wake up call. We decided to head back and rest, and I took a whopping one photo of the day.

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We went back to Animal Kingdom Lodge, and headed to the hospitality suite for a snack before taking a nap. Well, the nap never happened. Sean Astin was in the suite, and we ended up hanging out with him for two hours. I interviewed him about the race so stay tuned for that later! My parents picked us up for dinner and we ate at Trails End buffet. So good, but I was basically a zombie by this point and had been up for almost 19 hours. We made it back to the resort and fell into the bed for a good snooze before our last day in Disney.

We “slept in” until 7:30 (sad I was finishing the race at that time the day before!) We got breakfast in the hospitality suite and chatted with race announcer Rudy before heading to Hollywood Studios.

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It was super crowded so Bobby rode Aerosmith and we did Star Tours before deciding we were hungry. Mom wanted to ride the boat from port Orleans to Downtown Disney, so we did just that and ate lunch at Wolfgang Puck’s Express.

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We stayed at Port Orleans the last night with my parents

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On the boat to Downtown Disney

After lunch, we wandered around a bit then decided we needed some ice cream.

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Oh yes, I ate all of it by myself

We rode the boat back to the hotel, it’s such a nice little ride.

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It was such a nice relaxing day and awesome not to have any major plans except for dinner. We walked around the resort just enjoying the grounds and sat in the food court and chatted.

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Our royal room:

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It was soon time for dinner, so we headed to the Magic Kingdom for a long awaited feast at Be Our Guest restaurant.

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We ate in the West Wing, and honestly I loved it. I was bummed at first, but the main room seemed so noisy and this one was much quieter and more intimate. I also loved that you can get your photo with the Beast after! I met another sweet reader in line for photos, and she just got engaged!

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We tried to recreate the picture behind us. Totally dorky.

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Right as we were walking out of the restaurant, we realized Wishes was about halfway over. We stood on the bridge and watched. It was SO COOL. Fireworks were coming from both sides. it was an amazing wyt to end the night.

My mom took the below photo without me even knowing, and it’s not one of my favorites ever!

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Love it! We headed to Gaston’s and got some er….drinks? Before leaving.

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It was an amazing last day, a perfect way to end the trip! Stay tuned for meet up, 5k, and half marathon recaps!

QOTD: Have you eaten at Be Our Guest? Do you like Fireworks?

Back in my Favorite Place

 

Good morning from sunny Florida! I am back in my favorite place, Disney World! I will be running the runDisney Princess half marathon this coming weekend, and doing some work the next couple of days. So, this is how my first day transpired.

My dad took me to the airport and I flew on a smooth stress free Southwest flight from New Orleans to Orlando.

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I left a chilly, overcast city behind and was welcomed into a beautiful day in Florida. I checked into the beautiful Animal Kingdom Lodge, grabbed a quick lunch and then headed to Downtown Disney after scoping out my room, which was thankfully already ready. I was also happy to be upgraded from a pool view to a savannah view. It pays to be nice to the people checking you in!

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My savanna view. I had three giraffes right outside last night when I came in from EPCOT!

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I was on a mission in Downtown Disney…I wanted to get one of the marathon Dooney bags. I have been kicking myself for a month for not getting one, they are so stinkin cute. I had a hard time parting with the money to get one, and when I realized if I bought it after the fact with my annual pass I could get a discount (and hubby said it could be my Valentine’s Day gift), I knew I was going to head straight to the World of Disney to get one. As of Friday, they had some of the bags, so I was hopeful there would still be some left. However, when I showed up, I was told they were gone. However, a very kind cast member looked up the sku number and told me Tren-D (another store at Downtown Disney) may have a couple left says the computer. So I hauled it over to the store, and the ladies behind the counter told me they hadn’t had any for two weeks. I explained that I was told they had a couple, and a nice manager (after some prompting and pushing by me) agreed to look in the back, saying maybe one or two were damaged but they hadn’t been taken out of the computer yet.

She comes out of the back with the LAST BAG. We looked it over trying to find the “damage” and couldn’t see anything wrong with the bag. I as SO happy and thanked her over and over for going and checking even though the ladies said there weren’t any left. So i was able t get my bag and my discount. Score!

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For some reason, my eyeliner decided to walk off and didn’t make it into my bag, so my next mission was to find make up somewhere in Disney. I didn’t think this would be a problem, Disney is huge with TONS of stores so eye line should be a piece of cake. Um….negative! No store in Downtown Disney had it (I even went to guest relations!) so I sent out an SOS on Twitter, and SO many awesome people offered suggestions. Two people assured me a store at the France Pavilion of Epcot had makeup, so I immediately hopped on a bus to the Yacht Club and walked over to EPCOT. They in fact did have eyeliner (albeit expensive eyeliner, but still, eyeliner none the less.)

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I walked to the front of EPCOT and hopped on a bus back to the resort and went to the Mara for a quick service dinner. It was so nice to sit by myself and eat and relax. Then it was back to the room for some work and watching the Bachelor of course! I would say it was a fabulous first day and I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings! Make sure you follow me on Twitter and instagram (runningwithsass) and my Facebook fan page for updates and photos.

QOTD: Do you like to go go go on vacation or relax?

California Fun

 

It’s MONDAY! not just any Monday, but Monday the 13th which means one month from the best day of the year, my birthday!!! wow!

Here is a quick weekend recap in case you were away:

Friday I posted the beginning of our Disney trip

Saturday, I announced I was going to Healthy Living Summit and revealed I had made the cover of a real estate magazine in our paper.

Sunday, I told you about our new gym and lazy weekend.

Whew! Ok, so as promised, I am flip-flopping between telling you about our vacation, and telling you about my California trip. So, this is how CrAzY things were….that Friday we drove home from Orlando aaalllll day and got back to our house around 5:00 or so. I threw a load of clothes in the wash, repacked, said goodbye to Bobby, and drove the little over an hour drive to my parents house. I was already so exhausted and I hadn’t even left yet!

I went to bed early, I had to get up a little after 5 am so my mom could drive me the 40 minutes or so to the New Orleans airport. My flight was on time for 7:30 am. We took off, and I slept on and off until we landed in Denver. Honestly, I was in so many airports I don’t remember much about this one! I just remember getting some lunch, finally figuring out the WiFi, and posting THIS. I got on my second plane of the day after a gate change, and finally landed in CALIFORNIA!

I stepped outside and what’s this? Mountains!

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The fabulous Crystal and baby Kenji picked me up from the airport and it was a beautiful day! I kept taking pictures of the mountains, we don’t have this on the MS gulf coast, y’all!

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My mom had texted me earlier that day to tell me I had left my swimsuit at her house, GAH! So crystal was sweet enough to swing me by Target to pick up another one. We decided to do something kind of  “California-y” for lunch, so we stopped my In N Out burger! (I know I posted this before, but you get to see a little bit of it again!)

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We then went to Crystal’s house so I could settle in, and we just hung out and relaxed for a bit. I thought it was so cool you could see mountains from her backyard! After trying to figure out what to do, we decided to drive to Disneyland and go to downtown Disney and walk around, and eat at Storyteller’s Café at the Grand Californian hotel. I have never been to Disneyland, and of course next time will have to get tino the parks, but it was still just fun to BE there, and see the hotels, etc.

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It was interesting to see how different Disneyland’s layout is to Disneyworld.

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Paradise Pier Hotel

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Grand Californian

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Downtown Disney, heading to the Grand Californian

When we got into the hotel, there was a bridal party lined up about to go into a room for the reception. It was so cool, they all had balloons made into things and were wearing them as hats, etc. The Bride even had a balloon “carriage” so of course I took pictures.

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So fun!!! We walked through the lobby…

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it reminded me a lot of the Wilderness Lodge in Disneyworld.

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we made it to the restaurant!

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looking out opposite the restaurant

This is a great time to bring up something…it was COLD outside! and not humid! I was loving this weather! It was a really cute restaurant, with a plated or buffet option. Of course, we opted for the buffet. The food was really good and very plentiful. I enjoyed the meal, and Kenji was quite entertaining.

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After dinner, we walked around in the World of Disney, and I got a Disneyland mug.

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I even asked a random guy to take a picture of us.

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funny man Kenji was such a trooper

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as we were leaving, we could see fireworks over the stores!

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I was so exhausted, it was 10:00, but my body thought it was 1:00 since I had been in Florida all week. I was zonked from the time change, and jet lag. I slept so good that night, and I usually don’t sleep well in new places!

Ok I will save the rest for the next California post. Smile coming up in that post you will see some interesting outdoor workout equipment and my journey to San Diego, which was QUITE scary for this girl!

QOTD: Do you prefer Disneyland or Disneyworld?