RunDisney

The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! January 2016 Photo Report of the Disney Outlet Store

by on January 31, 2016

MMM positiveWelcome to the latest edition of The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! the longest running monthly look at the Disney Outlet Stores in Orlando. The new year has started off exactly where the old one left us: with Walt Disney World closing attractions. It has been a pretty cool month though, including a cool Star Wars runDisney race out in California (and Star Wars fans owe it to themselves to watch a great parody of Undercover Boss featuring Kylo Ren). Erin Foster took us inside Vanellope’s on the Disney Dream, and for those who don’t know, this is a complete Wreck-It-Ralph themed sweet shop (pinch us, we’re dreaming). And Guy Selga introduced us to Four Glorious New Ways to Kill Time at Disneyland, including the am I dreaming this, or is this real Jungle Cruise Skipper School. 2016 is shaping up to be an incredible year.

Now while all of you were off taking your kids to see Donald Trump, Outlet Intern Julia Mascardo and I were hard at work to bring you the quality Outlet coverage you expect deserve!

Enough jibber jabber! Who is ready to hit the Outlets? Remember that clicking on any picture will open a full size version of it (don’t say we didn’t warn you).

The first item this month made my heart grow three sizes (after double checking, that enlargement of the heart was actually due to eating the Pop-Tart Sandwich at Pop Century). Behold the Luigi’s Flying Tires hat! Anyone who has visited the Disney Dump has seen the remnants of this attraction, which opened with the debut of Cars Land in the summer of 2012 and was already closed by the ending of February 2015. Believe it or not, despite only being open for only 976 days, Luigi’s doesn’t even rank in the Top Five of Short Lived Disney Attractions. Originally $24.95, this baby could be sitting on your head for just $6.99. VIVA LA DISNEY OUTLETS!

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After seeing this, I know how Indiana Jones felt seeing the Fertility Idol.  (photo by Julia Mascardo)

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Tsum Tsums returned this month! However it was mostly the ones we have seen in the past (including all seven of the dwarfs), but one that was new was this crying duck. I had literally no idea who this was, but found out it was the Ugly Duckling from a quick scene in Lilo & Stitch. That’s what we call a deep dive, and I love it. I actually dropped Loot Crate this month and started up the Disney Tsum Tsum Monthly Subscription Program, so starting in February I too will annoy you with unboxing videos (although my last one didn’t go so well).

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Ugly Duckling Tsum.

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Ugly Duckling sequence from Lilo & Stitch.

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Disneyland Star Wars Half Marathon Recap

by on January 25, 2016

medalsA few months ago I got the hair-brained idea that I should participate in the Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend at Disneyland Resort. Last weekend, I followed through on that crazy scheme and came away with three medals and a new appreciation for Disney athletes!

The weekend started for me on Thursday evening, after I flew in and made it to my hotel on Harbor Boulevard. I was able to walk right across the street to the bus terminal and esplanade of Disneyland without any issues, and then mosey through Downtown Disney as I went to pick up my race bib and register.

rugI have heard many reports of long lines and insane crowds during bib pickup, and that was why I wanted to get that done during the last hour of opening on Thursday. My planning was rewarded with no line at all to pick up my race bib, and no queue when I wanted to look at the official Disney merchandise for the event. (These lines were much longer the next day, when I stopped in for one of the presentations.)

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The race bib pick-up and Rebel Challenge photo spot.

Because I was participating in the Rebel Challenge, I also had to get my picture taken so that it could be verified later that I had indeed participated in both races and finished. (This process went very smoothly on Sunday after the half marathon, I must say!) Then I headed upstairs and grabbed my shirts – one shirt for the 10K, one shirt for the Half Marathon, and one shirt for the Rebel Challenge. I decided to switch the size after I got a good look at them, and there was a special area for that and it took no time at all.

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RunDisney Makes Changes to Costume Rules

by on January 6, 2016

©Rikki Niblett

©Rikki Niblett

In a move that will surely leave a quite a few people scrambling, runDisney has announced their updated rules for costumes that participants can wear on the course. These changes come on the heels of the recent security changes that recently were announced for the parks.

Guests who participate in the race weekends can still dress in costumes as their favorite characters, however, there are a few modifications that you should know. Here is a look at the enhanced guidelines:

  • Costumes must be family-friendly and may not be obstructive, offensive, objectionable or violent.
  • Guests who dress like characters may not pose for pictures or sign autographs for other Guests.
  • Costumes may not contain any weapons that resemble or could easily be mistaken for an actual weapon.
  • Costumes may not contain sharp objects, pointed objects or materials that may accidentally strike another Guest.

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May The Course Be With You! Disney Unveils New Star Wars Half Marathon Event for Walt Disney World

by on August 25, 2015

©Disney

©Disney

Do you feel that? The force appears to have awakened at Walt Disney World and fans of both runDisney and Star Wars have something to cheer (or is it chEAR) about.

Disney announced today that a brand new Star Wars Half Marathon Event will be introduced in 2016 to the official runDisney lineup. Unlike the Star Wars half that takes place in Disneyland and focuses on the light, the Walt Disney World version will channel the Dark Side of the Force.

The event weekend will take place April 14-17, 2016 and will include a 5k, 10k, and half marathon. It will also include a special challenge race for those who complete both the 10k and the half called the Star Wars Dark Side Challenge. Little ones will also be able to compete in their very own kids races too!

Among the half’s many features will be a unique 13.1-mile course that takes runners through Epcot, Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios and finishes at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

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runDisney Events: What to Do? Where to Stay? What to Eat?!

by on August 10, 2015

522 (2)You’re doing it, you are going to finally do a runDisney event! Now you just have to figure out, well…everything else. Don’t worry, I’m here to help.

So you’ve just gotten to Walt Disney World and you’re excited because it’s fantastic. But if you’re visiting for a race, it might be wise to chill…just a little bit. Try to plan the trip in such a way that saves the bulk of park touring for the post-race portion of the stay. Seriously, all of that walking will add up, even for the seasoned runner, and it is easy to tire out before the big day even arrives. Consider trying to get accustomed to a sleep schedule that will allow for ungodly early wakeup call, or a late night running party on race day (depending on the event). Getting to sleep early two nights before a morning race is a great idea, it will help with being sleepy enough to doze off the night before the race, before too many of the pre-race jitters set in.

Where exactly should you be sleeping, and taking your post-race ice bath? Staying on property is likely the easiest option as certain “host resorts” will have transportation available to the race. When planning to utilize Disney bus transportation to the races, it is important to understand which resorts will be host resorts. These specific resorts will vary based on the individual race. A travel agent or the runDisney website will likely offer race-specific vacation packages for race weekend stays. Staying off-property, or at a resort that does not offer race transportation, and renting a car is definitely a fine option, too! The roads tend to get very busy on race morning/race night, especially since road closures have to begin before the race starts. Always allow extra time to travel to a race, and once you’ve allowed extra time, add an additional half hour to that.

The day before the race (or the day of the race for evening events), be sure to take it easy on the turkey legs and popcorn. Theme park food is notoriously overly salted, and extra sodium coupled with walking around in the Orlando (or Anaheim) sun for hours can potentially leave one dehydrated or under-hydrated for race time. Remember to keep drinking lots of water, and try to stick to your normal diet as best you can on the day or days leading up to the event. Even new runners will have certainly trained and know what their bodies can handle eating close to run time. The goal here is for the digestive system to be as neutral as possible, don’t allow it to freak out because of overly greasy or fried foods. Have some bananas, maybe some rice. You’re welcome.

It is becoming more and more common for restaurants on property to offer a pre-race menu the night before/day of a race. The menu typically features carb heavy pasta dishes, which are a great choice for keeping your energy levels up. runDisney also offers a “Pasta in The Park Party” add-on option to race registration. The party features a pasta buffet and a character meet and greet the evening before the race. If neither of these options sound appealing, ordering a simple rice or pasta dish from a quick service or table service restaurant will also do the trick! Consider Portobello at Downtown Disney, Via Napoli or Tutto Italia in Epcot, Tony’s Town Square in Magic Kingdom, or Landscape of Flavors at Art of Animation. Just stick with what you know. Though there are plenty of restrooms along the course, runners will certainly want to limit their bathroom stops during the race.

With dinner covered, let’s not forget about breakfast! Some of us can’t have a bite to eat before running, and others are able to indulge a little bit more. It is important to plan morning meals (for morning races) the night before, since runners need to be at the starting line well before the race begins. Many quick service locations will have snacks available for purchase specifically meant for race mornings (offerings will vary). Obvious rule of thumb, choose something you would normally eat and drink before a training run. The resort room will have a coffee maker for a little caffeine jolt before the big race, and there are cups of water near the starting line, just after bag check if needed!

Anyone accustomed to running with a water belt or water bottle should definitely have it handy on race day. Plenty of water and Powerade will be provided on the course, but a small reserve of water can’t hurt! In the event a water stop was too crowded, too slow, or simply not convenient for stopping, it’s great to be able to drink at will. Don’t rely solely on the water belt or bottle, and be sure to hydrate at normal increments during the run. The same thing goes for gels or goo packs. Certain flavors might not be available on the course, so if there is a favorite that keeps you going, bring your own just in case! First time racers, please make sure to discard trash in proper receptacles, or at least keep it to the side of the road for easier pick-up, and less tripping for those of us who are clumsy. During the Full Marathon, the food stops will also include bananas or oranges which are a perfect fuel source. For races in Disneyland, spectators will sometimes offer Twizzlers, pretzels, or other snacks. This is probably the one time it is okay to consider taking candy from a stranger, as long as you are hungry enough.

Once the race is over (yay! You did it!), there will be a snack box, banana, water, and Powerade at the finish. The snack box usually contains some type of salty snack, a mini Luna or Clif Bar, and a wildcard option. Waiting for friends, or hanging around the finish area can sometimes go longer than planned, bring an extra energy bar or snack in your checked bag to have after the race. You can never have too many snacks, especially after running a Half Marathon!

Now that all of this eating, drinking, and resting advice has been diligently followed, it’s time to go out and enjoy the parks! Eat and drink anything! Everything! Enjoy hobbling around World Showcase, just make sure to wear that medal!

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So, You’ve Decided to runDisney: A Starters Guide

by on August 3, 2015

114So, you’ve decided to runDisney. Well, congratulations! Whether this is your very first race or you have 50 races under your proverbial water belt, runDisney races are like nothing you can experience anywhere else.

runDisney events stand out for the obvious reason of on course entertainment (it is Disney, after all). Depending on which race you choose (we’ll get to that), you can meet a whole host of characters you might not see during your casual park touring. Even more so than entertainment, Disney races are extremely popular because, let’s face it, you’re running through friggin’ Disney World (or, Disneyland but we’ll get to that too!). If you grew up going to the parks and you’re a total fanatic, you get to see a side of the World that you simply can’t see any other way. If it’s your first visit, well, you might not want the surprises ruined, but wow you’re in for an amazing journey.

There are so many races from which to choose, and lately runDisney has been adding some new events here taking away some events there with regularity, but it’s important to have at least a vague idea of what you’re getting into. Let’s start at the beginning, on our marks, get set, let’s go!*

*Please note that although I would love to, I am not able to run every race every year (I did it once, though!). Courses are subject to change, and experiences may vary since the time I ran most of these races (2014/2015). Please be sure to check course maps before registering, as race details are subject to change from year to year!

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The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! April 2015 Photo Report of the Disney Outlet Store

by on April 30, 2015

MMM positiveThe end of April is upon us, and thus comes the second – yes, second – Outlet Report of the month. That’s right, on April 1st, when you were wondering whether or not the Motorola selfie stick was real or if Olaf was truly replacing Stitch’s Greatest Escape, we gassed up the Merch Mobile and headed down State Road 535 to cover a non-Disney owned Outlet Store (don’t worry, we grabbed an extra bottle of Xanax for the road rage.)

Since that day a lot has happened. The BOATHOUSE opened at Downtown Disney, offering a S’mores Baked Alaska that is surely going to be near the top of our next article spotlighting outrageous eats at Walt Disney World. TouringPlans’s own Daisy Lauren did her must-read Best Week Ever from Tokyo Disneyland Resort (you’ve got to see the picture of the Chandu Tail from Tokyo Disney Sea.) And one crazy person even wrote about all the special events that WON’T be coming to Orlando anytime soon (although who wouldn’t want to go to A Celebration of Twister?!)

Enough jibber jabber! Who is ready to hit the Outlets? Remember that clicking on any picture will open a full size version of it (don’t say we didn’t warn you).

Our first item is one I had speculated we could be seeing after the Mickey Mouse kitchen clock magnet made its way to the Outlet last month. This Stand-By Entrance timer magnet was marked down to $3.99. I’m pretty shocked to see this already because I don’t think it came out that long ago and it is a very clever idea. I guess people just want to use the FP+ of the kitchen (AKA the microwave.)

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The timer can only hold times up to 99 minutes and 59 seconds, so it is definitely not the Anna and Elsa Timer Magnet which goes up to six hours.

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Lessons from My 1st runDisney Event

by on March 30, 2015

runDisney Expo

Your runDisney Experience begins at Disney’s Wide World of Sports, where you’ll find everything you need to prepare at Expo!

Committing to run your first big race is a bit overwhelming, particularly when it’s a runDisney event. There are a lot of things you don’t know as a novice, things that a more experienced runner might not even think about. If you’re thinking about registering for a runDisney event – particularly a future Princess Half Marathon – here are some things I learned from my first Glass Slipper Challenge.

Find Your Perfect Fit

While runDisney offers a lot of special opportunities, not every event is right for you. It’s not always easy to find extensive information, and even consulting other runners may not give you a clear picture of what to expect.

Running challenges – like the Glass Slipper Challenge – look like great fun when you’re signing up months in advance, but don’t forget that you’ll actually have to RUN those races eventually, and running for consecutive days can take a big toll on your body. You still want to enjoy your race AND your vacation, so be confident, but also realistic before you decide to be Dopey. There’s always next year!

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A Tale of Two Runners and runDisney

by on February 15, 2015

To the shock and utter amazement of those that know me well (and even myself), I am contemplating signing up for a runDisney event in 2016. I have scoured every inch of the runDisney website and read many other people’s blogs about their experiences. However, I had concerns about what hotel was the right one to stay at for these events, so I asked two previous runDisney racers: Dave Russ, a casual runner who mainly does 5ks to support local causes, and Jordan Viebranz, a more seasoned runner who loves sharing his experiences and motivating others to participate.

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What runDisney event(s) have you participated in?

Dave: I did the Tower of Terror 10 miler in 2014.

Jordan: I participated in the Goofy Challenge this year. Last year (2014) I participated in the 10k and the full marathon.

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Healthy Habits at Walt Disney World

by on February 4, 2015

Photo Credit - Savannah Sanders

Hollywood Studios Walking Path

Getting and staying healthy is a popular resolution this time of year. But what can be a struggle at home may seem nearly impossible or just not at all fun when you’re on the road.

Healthy habits at Walt Disney World?! That’s crazy talk.

When I go on vacations, I love to indulge myself. It’s all part of the experience! However, on my last trip, I tried to make an honest effort to keep up the healthy lifestyle I strive to live at home.

I spoke with a primary care physician at the Mayo Clinic, who gave me an insight into the do’s and don’ts for maintaining personal health and wellness. Here were his recommendations:

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