1965- Disneyland’s Tencennial

As part of a series of 60 blog posts by 60 bloggers counting down to the 60th Anniversary of Disneyland on July 17, 2015, I am writing about 1965.

1965 marked the 10th anniversary of Disneyland – Disneyland’s Tencennial.   On January 3, 1965, Uncle Walt gave TV viewers a sneak peek into the upcoming plans for his park on the “Disneyland’s 10th Anniversary” show on Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color.  If you haven’t seen the show, I’ve attached a You Tube link.  It’s a real treat watching Walt bring Miss Disneyland Tencennial, Julie Reihm, through his new attractions for the park with the legendary Imagineers.  Highlights include:

  • Mary Blair designing the facade of It’s a Small World
  • The Plaza Inn
  • The Haunted Mansion
  • Museum of the Weird
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
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Above, Walt and WED Imagineer John Hench in front of the Carnation Plaza model. Below, Walt in front of It’s a Small World facade during its construction. Photo credit: http://disneyandmore.blogspot.com

On June 9, 1965 construction began on “It’s a Small World” facade.  “It’s a Small World” was still running at the New York World’s Fair and wouldn’t be unveiled at Disneyland until May 28, 1966.  However, as seen in the Disneyland’s 10th Anniversary show, Mary Blair was hard at work designing the famous building and nighttime lighting techniques.


On July 18, 1965, Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln premiered at the Main Street Opera House.  This attraction debuted at the 1964 New York World’s Fair in the State of Illinois Pavilion and ran for the entirety of both of the Fair’s 6-month seasons.  During the second season of the World’s Fair, a duplicate version of the show opened here at Disneyland.  

Photo credit:  WDWInfo

Photo credit: WDWInfo

In 1965, the Plaza Inn also opens.  The Plaza Inn is located on the east side of the Central Hub.  It is a period restaurant 1880-1890’s and is decorated in authentic antiques and crystal chandeliers.  Walt Disney was very proud of this restaurant – see Disneyland’s 10th Anniversary show.  I hear the chicken is excellent so going to put it on my to-do list for the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend.


On December 18, 1965, Fantasy on Parade Christmas Parade premiers on Main Street USA and runs yearly at Christmas until 1975.

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Another Mother Runner Retreat Report – Day 3

THE Big Dam Bridge

THE Big Dam Bridge

Saturday, April 18th:  Once again we were up at 6:30am, ready for our long group run – the “Big Dam Bridge Group Run.”  It was our choice of how far and how fast we wanted to run – 3, 6, or 9 miles.  Some BAMR’s were even planning to run longer, but we were going for “only” a 10-miler.

538 (2)The Arkansas River Trail was nice and flat.  We had plenty of company on the trail with other morning runners and cyclists.  We had multiple aid stations with plentiful supplies of GU and NUUN.   It was great appreciated since the weather was a little humid.  Action Wipes and Trigger Point were waiting for us at the finish along with hot coffee and breakfast burritos from Mugs Cafe.

609 (2)After our roll-out, wipe and refueling it was time to head back for our morning sessions.  We struck the jackpot and drew “All Things Yoga” with Sage Rountree.  Yoga was exactly what we needed to stretch our muscles from our 10-mile Big Dam Bridge run.  Sage took us through yoga to do before, during and after our run – Parking Lot Yoga, Focus Tips and Reclining Twists.

599 (2)After yoga, I decided I needed a longer “comfort break” that included a nap and a shower.  And because it was our retreat to come and go as we pleased, I decided to skip Goal Setting and Goal Upping for relaxation and refreshing.

600 (2)I rejoined the afternoon session for “Nutrition” with Cassie Dimmick.  Cassie was outstanding.  She took out body fat assessment – which I will share in an upcoming post.  Cassie then discussed fueling on the run and her Top 10 Nutrition Tips.  My big takeaways were to limit my sugar and to gradually work towards 10-servings a day of vegetables (to avoid stomach pains).

604 (2)Our last session of the day was “Strength Training:  Not an Option” with Dimity.  We were introduced to squats (Sally Up!), hip hikes, hip extensors, glute bridges, and lunges.  I say this now, because I must have blocked out all the training, it  was a fantastic way to end our last session of the day.

623 (2)Our evening activity was centered around Dimity’s Favorite Pre-Race Dinner – Pizza & Beer at Diamond Bear Brewery.  We had already run to Diamond Bear Brewery on Friday’s Little Rock Group Run and was happy to actually partake of their beer.  I believe I had the Dogtown Brown.  It was delicious.  Unfortunately, I didn’t realize before downing my beer, we would be broken into teams to come up with skits to perform and compete with each other.  But it was all in good fun and a great way to bond, celebrate our new friendships and create lasting memories with each other.  (It reminded me of a cross between Sorority Rush and Camp – in a good way.)

637 (2)Next up – Day 4

Another Mother Runner Retreat Report – Day 2

Up & ready to see Little Rock

Up & ready to see Little Rock

Friday, April 17th:  We were up at 6:30am to jump-start Day 2 with a 3 to 6 mile Group Run around Little Rock.  Gail slept like a baby.  I, however, was up all night riding the porcelain bus.  But there was no time for stomach issues…

Morning inspiration

Morning inspiration

We met our AMR’s for some morning inspiration and a quick group photo.  We then broke into groups, led by our fabulous RUNBassadors, according to the distance we wanted to run.  And then we were off to tour the city ….

We stopped for photos

We stopped for photos

We took off down Markham Street toward the Clinton Presidential Library.  Little Rock has many sculptures and we took our time to stop for photos.

422We ran around the Heifer International Village.   Heifer International’s mission “is to work with communities to end world hunger and poverty and to care for the Earth.”  You know it’s the Christmas catalog where you can purchase a goat or a cow – that’s Heifer.  Good stuff.

Clinton Presidential Park Bridge

Clinton Presidential Park Bridge

Then we crossed over the Arkansas River to run on the Arkansas River Trail.  The weather was perfect for a morning run.  We even forgot it was Friday and some people actually had to go to work.

The view of Little Rock from the bridge

The view of Little Rock from the bridge

We ran up Main Street passing Cregeen’s Irish Pub.  This pub was built in Dublin and shipped to Little Rock.  We passed Mugs Cafe – their coffee is delicious.  We ran pass Diamond Bear Brewery (we would circle back to here again on Saturday night).


More sculptures, more photos

And then we ran back over the river to the hotel to drop off runners since we had already run over 4 miles.

541 (2)But some of us continued on because we were dead set on running 6-miles.  But again, some of us just wanted to see the Capital building.

My favorite photo from the AMR Retreat

My favorite photo from the AMR Retreat

In the end, our 3 to 6 mile Group Run turned into a fabulous 7.24 mile tour of Little Rock.  It was the best way to see the city up close and personal. Having our personal tour guide really made the difference.  Thank you RUNBassadors!


After our run we freshened up with Action Wipes .  They leave you feeling really fresh when you only have time for a quick wipe down.  At 9:30am it was time for our Small Group Sessions.  We were broken up into 4 groups which would each rotate through the program.  Our first session was Trigger Point PRE-hab, Not Rehab with Master Trainer Britney.

512 (2)I have had the Trigger Point Grid for years, but frankly, I rarely used it because I was scared of pain.  I was looking forward to learning the correct way to use it to my advantage.  Master Trainer Britney took us through a series of releases:  soleus, quadriceps, piriformis, thoracic spine, latissimus dorsi, petorals.  Yes, there was whimpering, but my body felt amazing afterwards.

Hanging out in the Oval Office

Hanging out in the Oval Office

Midday it was time for Little Rock Exploration – shopping or a tour of the Bill Clinton Presidential Library.  We chose to have fun reliving the 90’s touring the Presidential Library.


Speed with Sara by the River Front

Our afternoon session was “Speed with Sarah” outside by the river front.  Sarah took us through her favorite post-run flexibility and mobility drills.  We did the grapevine, high knees, quad stretch, power skips, pigeon/v stretch, extended lunges and hello sunshine.  We were getting in another workout and it was fantastic.

Our next session was with Coach Christine, “9 Ways to Train Smart for a Perfect Race.”  Coach discussed how to train – be it course or distance specific.  She explained the importance of mantras, visualization in training and techniques of how to “nail race day.”

559 (2)Soon it was time for dinner and we were in for a real treat.  We were going to experience a “Farm to Fork” dinner at Dunbar Garden.  “The Dunbar Garden project is a two-acre outdoor classroom. Their mission is to preserve the relationship between education and the natural world by providing hands-on, outdoor, education for school children, teenagers and adults. One key focus is teaching children the origin of the foods they eat. There are over 150 hands on gardening and environmental education classes for school children taught each year.”

564We got to mix and mingle with our fellow AMR’s exploring the grounds.  We enjoyed visiting with the goats and chickens.  The food was so delicious.  Dinner was chicken, greens, bread (with the best butter I have ever tasted) and strawberry shortcake for dessert with fresh whipped cream.  It was BEYOND good – BEYOND.

561The day was chock full of fitness, fun and newly formed friendships, but it was time to turn in because we needed to hit the hay for our Big Dam Bridge Group Run.  And no, I’m not joking.

Next up…AMR Retreat Report – Day 3

Another Mother Runner Retreat Report – Day 1

2012 Disneyland Half Marathon Expo

Look – I even have the tech, 2012 Disneyland Half Marathon Expo

I consider myself to be a BAMR – Bad Ass Mother Runner.  I have been following Another Mother Runner since I read their book review in SELF Magazine.  I ripped out the page and drove right out to the bookstore to purchase their first book, Run Like A Mother – How to Get Moving – and Not Lose Your Family, Job or Sanity in 2010.  At the time, I was new to running, was training alone and needed to find people who understood why I was running and its importance to me and my family’s well-being.

Rocking my Badass Mother Runner tech at my 1st Dopey Challenge

Rocking my Badass Mother Runner tech at my 1st Dopey Challenge (completed the week after my last chemo treatment)

I connected with the Mother Runners right away.  But I fell in love with them when I downloaded and listened to 22-hours of AMR podcasts on the drive from Connecticut to Walt Disney World and have been deep into their tribe ever since.  So when AMR announced they were hosting their first-ever AMR Retreat: Run + Refresh I was excited, but chest-fallen.  I knew I wouldn’t be able to attend because I had already blown my running budget for the year.

Thank you nuun hydration!

Thank you nuun hydration!

Cut to Friday, February 27th:  The Disney Dream arrived back in port and I to cell service.  Once my phone had recovered downloading a few days of texts and emails. It took me another 10 minutes to discover nuun hydration had been trying to reach me to tell me I was the winner of their AMR Retreat Giveaway.  I had won a spot for me and a friend to the AMR Run: Retreat + Refresh.  I was FLOORED – I was going to A-R-K-A-N-S-A-S for Spring Break!

Capital Hotel Room

Capital Hotel Room

I was excited to invite one of my favorite running buddies, Perfectly Goofy Gail, to join me for the weekend.  She had never been to a running retreat or the great state of Arkansas either.  And although Gail does not have human children, only fur babies, I knew she would enjoy the weekend as well.  Regardless of how the weekend went, we knew we were going to love sleeping in our Capital Hotel room!  Note:  When we run the Little Rock Marathon, we will be staying at the Capital Hotel. 

460 (2)


The retreat began on Thursday, April 16th with Registration and a Welcome Reception from 4:15pm to 6pm.  We met in the Mezzanine where we picked up our swag and snack bags.

Swag Bag 1

Swag Bag 1

We received our Another Mother t-shirts and swag from nuun, GU, Action Wipes, KT Tape, belega, Pro Compression, and Hyland’s Calms Forte as well as discount codes for savings from all the partners.

463 (2)

Swag Bag 2: nuun, Gu, KT Tap, balega, Pro Compression, Calms Forte, Action Wipes

Then we were welcomed by the team, Dimity and Sara to Little Rock.  We took turns introducing ourselves to our new BRF’s. With that the weekend was officially kicked off and we were let loose to explore Little Rock.

SBS and Dimity kicking off the weekend.

SBS and Dimity kicking off the weekend.

Next up…AMR Retreat Report – Day 2

Hot Springs National Park


When I heard I won the Another Mother Runner Retreat from NUUN Hydration I flipped.  Not only was I going to a RUNNING RETREAT to hang out with other MOTHER RUNNERS, but I was going to Little Rock, Arkansas!!!

446Sure, Arkansas may not be the first Spring Break destination that comes to mind, but for me it was an important State to visit.  First, it was one of the last three U.S. States I hadn’t visited.  Now I had come close to stepping foot in the “Natural State” on our 1997 cross-country trip to New Orleans when we made that wrong turn in Memphis and crossed the bridge over the Mississippi River. But I hadn’t officially stepped foot on Arkansas soil.  Second, Arkansas is home to 8 National Parks.  And since I have a life-long quest to see as many of our National Parks as possible, I was nipping at the bud to visit.



Unfortunately, I only had 4 days in Little Rock, but it would be enough to take in some of its highlights.  My first stop once I touched down at the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport and got my rental car, was to drive the hour southwest to Hot Springs National Park.


Equipment of the time

I didn’t know what to expect when I looked up Arkansas’ National Parks.  The only research I had done was to check locations and driving distances from Little Rock, since I was trying to fit my NP visits into my already scheduled AMR Retreat.  I knew Hot Springs was a National Park with hiking trails, camping, and hot springs.  Considering we had visited Yellowstone National Park last summer, I had my fill of hot springs then and thought I knew what to expect.  I couldn’t have been more wrong.



When I pulled into Hot Springs, Arkansas and drove down Central Avenue to the National Park Visitor Center I was greeted to a town that reminded me of a cross between Gatlinburg, Tennessee and Atlantic City, New Jersey.  Rows of turn of the century bathhouses line Central Avenue.  My first stop was the visitor center and the Fordyce Bathhouse.  This restored bathhouse has floors of equipment of the time.  Rooms upon rooms of steam cabinets, tubs, massage tables, chiropody tools and hydrotherapy equipment are on each floor of the bathhouse displaying the popular treatments of Hot Spring’s heyday.


Inside the men’s spa

Then I walked along Central Avenue.  I saw locals filling their jugs with water from the thermal fountains and open hot springs.


Filling jugs with water from the fountains

I only had a couple of hours in Hot Springs National Park before I had to go back to pick up Perfectly Goofy Gail from the airport, so I decided to climb Hot Springs Mountain and see the views of the park from Hot Springs Mountain Tower.  I opted to take the car up the windy drive to the tower.  The tower is open all year and requires a separate admission to the top.  It was clear day and well worth a visit to see the views of the surrounding mountains.


Hot Springs Mountain Tower

Unfortunately, my visit to Hot Springs National Park was too short.  I did get a great overview, but I wish I had more time to walk down Central Avenue, camp in the park and bathe in one of the bathhouses.  We will definitely have to put Hot Springs on our list to visit as a family.


The view from Hot Springs Mountain Tower

Have you visited Hot Springs National Park?  What did you think?


Race Report: HMF Middletown Half or Running with Jeff Galloway

Hartford Marathon Foundation’s (HMF) 2nd annual Harvard Pilgrim Middletown Town Half and Legends 4-Mile was held Sunday, April 12th.  The Middletown Half was the 1st of the Triple Half Series.  HMF half marathoners will earn an exclusive HMF Triple Half Challenge jacket and finisher’s medal when they register at once to run the Harvard Pilgrim Middletown Half Marathon (April 12), Mystic Half Marathon (May 31) and Eversource Hartford Half Marathon (October 10) – currently sold out.

A conversation with legends...

A conversation with legends…

In 2014, I had run the Legends 4-miler since I was recovering from surgery.  Last year I was jealous of the Half Marathoners.  I remember my friend, Janice, telling me the course was tough with lots of hills.  Of course, I didn’t remember her warning and since I never look at the course or the elevation until the night before the race…

From plane to bib pick up...

From plane to bib pick up…

I was traveling on business in Florida the week prior to the race.  I touched down and went straight from the airport to bib pick up.  Luckily, I was able to catch the 2pm, “A conversation with the Legends: Kathrine Switzer, Jeff Galloway and Amby Burfoot” at Middletown City Hall.  Amby shared how it’s his 50th anniversary running Boston.  Kathrine shared how “Talent is everywhere – it just needs an opportunity.”  And Jeff explained how kids benefit from finding the right exercise.  What a great opportunity to learn from some of the greats in running.

332After the event, I was off to shuttle kids from events, unpack and fuel for the half.  My overall goal for 2015 was to get faster and work towards qualifying for Boston.  Since my coach was also running Middletown Half, he had asked to run together, “if I wanted,” when he was reviewing my 2015 race schedule and I was over-the-moon excited.  #GiddyAsASchoolGirl.

With Team HMF before the races...

With Team HMF before the races…

Jeff’s kind of big deal.  He’s such a big deal, my own Team HMF teammates were besides themselves about picking him up from the airport.  He’s a #RockStar and it’s apparent when you’re around him.  He takes the time to acknowledge all his legions of fans.  We were stopped on the way to the start line, in the corrals, on course and he couldn’t have been more gracious.  He’s my personal coach, but he’s a lot of people’s coach.  And he loves it.  He really loves running and helping others love running.

Before the race...

Before the race…

Middletown Half was supposed to be a training run for me in preparation for my time-goal race, the Cheshire Half.  I expected to take it easy and finish under 2:30.  Jeff wanted to run 30/15 intervals. However, Jeff likes to chat.  Jeff likes to chat while running.  Jeff likes to chat while running uphill.  Jeff can run fast.  Kimberly doesn’t like to chat while running fast and uphill.  30/15 intervals should be super easy for Kimberly on a non-hilly, no talkie course.  The soon-to-be 70-year old Olympian was kicking Kimberly’s behind.

Run/walking along...

Run/walking along…

The Middletown Half course is hilly and the weather was hotter than expected.  Yes, I had to take more walk breaks than anticipated.  Yes, I was slower than I anticipated.  But I wouldn’t have traded those 13.1 miles with Jeff for anything, not even a PR.  I had the best time listening to his stories, to runners asking him questions on course and to his advice back to them.  Not only did I have a great training run and a deeper appreciation for my coach, but I gained a new running buddy.  We learned a lot about each other and shared a lot with each other.  And we all know, it is not the length of time you’ve known someone, but the miles you share with each other that cement a running buddy friendship.


Crossing the line together…

My Team HMF teammates were waiting for Jeff and I to round the turn into the finish and joined us as we crossed the line together.  And even though I couldn’t appreciate the finish at the time (because I was POOPED), I will remember those 13.1 miles with coach as some of the best of my life.

Here’s some press from the race: 

Below are some tips from Jeff Galloway to help you get faster:


by Olympian Jeff Galloway

Longer Long Runs

Increasing the length of the longest long run has produced the greatest amount of improvement that I’ve seen among my coaching clients. Several surveys have shown more than 13 minutes of time improvement when runners increase their longest long run from 20 miles to 26 miles before a marathon. Comparable time improvements are experienced in 10K runners and half marathoners when they increase their long runs above race distance as noted in my YEAR ROUND PLAN book that covers all the distances. Long runs must be at least 2 min/mi slower than current ability, with liberal walk breaks. The slower the pace, the quicker the recovery. I suggest doing the long runs every 2-3 weeks.

Speed Repetitions—increasing the number

My runners have improved by an average of over 6 minutes in a marathon (3+ minutes in a half marathon) by increasing the number of speed repetitions to 14 x 1 mile for the marathon, and 14 x 800 meter for the half marathon. I recommend that each of these be run 30 sec/mi faster than goal pace. The recovery interval is a 5 min walk between miles and a 3 minute walk between 800’s. These workouts prepare one to maintain or pick up pace at the end of the goal race, instead of slowing down. See GALLOWAY TRAINING PROGRAMS & HALF MARATHON books for details (www.RunInjuryFree.com).

Improve Running Form

Most runners I’ve monitored have improved several minutes in a marathon by fine-tuning their running form. As the mechanics become smoother and within one’s limits, there is a significant reduction in aches, pains and injuries. The two best ways to improve form are water running and cadence drills.
• water running uses the same basic motion as when running on land, using a flotation device so that the feet don’t touch the bottom of the pool. When done for at least 15 minutes, once a week, the legs find a more efficient path through the water—eliminating extraneous motion.
• The cadence drill is done for 30 seconds, counting the number of times the foot touches the ground. This drill is detailed in most of my books. I’ve found the key to improving speed on the mechanical side is quicker turnover.

Race in Shorter Events

Dropping down a standard distance or two can improve your mechanics for running faster and your ability to handle a higher level of oxygen debt. On non-long-run weekends, during a half marathon program, try some 5K or 10K races. When training for a marathon, race at the 10K or half marathon distance. At first, the faster pace of the shorter distance may seem awkward. But after several short races, you will adapt—especially if you do some speed training for the shorter/faster event. These performance improvements can translate into faster times in the longer distances. My book 5K/10K details the training and the racing strategies for these events.

Hill Training

The only way I’ve found to build strength for running is to run hill repeats. On a moderate grade hill, start at a jog and pick up the turnover rate of the feet and legs as you go up the hill, shortening your stride. Walk down the hill for recovery. Don’t sprint, and follow the other hill training guidelines in my books and at http://www.RunInjuryFree.com. The strength from hill training will allow you to perform better in speed sessions which will help you improve in your goal race. You’ll also run faster on hilly courses, during your races.

Did you run Harvard Pilgrim Middletown Town Half and Legend’s 4-Miler?  #What’sYourNextRace?

Race Report: 2015 runDisney Castaway Cay Challenge 5K

The Castaway Cay 5K Challenge was announced by runDisney in 2014 between registration for 2015’s Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend and the announcement of the Inaugural Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend.  Unfortunately, because the Inaugural Castaway Cay Challenge 5K 4-night sailing was Monday, January 12th on the Disney Dream, the boat would not arrive back into port until Friday, January 16th the day of the Star Wars 5K.  Regardless the WDW Inaugural Castaway Cay 5K Challenge sold out in record time.

Speaker Panel

Speaker Panel

Being a huge Star Wars fan, I didn’t want to miss the race.  So when the Princess Castaway Cay Challenge 5K race was announced for a sailing directly after the runDisney Princess Half Marathon weekend, I needed to earn the Challenge medal.

Easy morning snack for the runners

Early morning snack for the runners

I had run the Castaway Cay 5K during my April 2013 7-night Disney Fantasy sailing.  The cost of the race was included in the sailing and same-day registration was offered.  Children weren’t allowed to participate, there was zero entertainment and the course was an uneventful 2-laps around the “loop of death” and hot airstrip.  However, finisher “medals” were awarded to those brave enough to run 3.1 miles in the hot sun and humid air.  Click here for a video recap.

Early docking of the Disney Dream into Castaway Cay

Early docking of the Disney Dream into Castaway Cay

Cut to 2015 – at a $65 entry fee (not including Active.com’s fees), plus having to run at least 1 of the Princess Half Marathon races (along with Travel & Expenses) AND the price of a 4-night Disney Dream sailing, this runDisney Challenge would top the list as THE most expensive runDisney race I have ever run (cue Disneyland Paris 2016).

At the start

At the start

A registration confirmation number for the 4-night Disney Dream sailing was required to register for the Castaway Cay Challenge.  Plus registration of a Princess Half Marathon weekend event was also required to receive the challenge medal.  Runners could run any of the runDisney races including the Princess 5K, 10K, Half Marathon or Glass Slipper Challenge.

DDR-150225-Nautical_6x8-16001892_GPRPacket Pick-up for the Castaway Cay Challenge 5K was during the Princess Health & Fitness Expo.  At the one booth labeled Castaway Cay Challenge – runners received race bibs, Challenge tech shirts and swag.  We also received the official Challenge brochure detailing:

  • Packet Pick-up Schedule
  • Cruise Schedule
  • Packet Pick-up and Waivers
  • Race Day Schedule: start, spectator viewing, timing, wave starts, bibs, bag check, safety, costumes, weather, photographers, speaker panel


I’ll recap our Disney Dream sailing in another post, but our sailing dates were Monday, February 23 through Friday, February 26.

Castaway Cay Challenge Speaker Panel:

The Castaway Cay Challenge Speaker Panel was held on Tuesday, February 24 from 4 to 5pm in the Buena Vista Theatre.  January’s Inaugural speaker’s panel included Runner’s World editor Elizabeth Comeau and runDisney nutritionist Tara Gidus.  February’s Princess speaker’s panel included Jeff Galloway, Official runDisney Training Consultant and a less than enthusiastic runDisney cast member.

Race day information was provided including a Runner Checklist, Pre-race schedule, course overview and Post-race information.  Then Jeff Galloway took the stage.  He gave us a pep talk and then took questions from the audience.

DDR-150225-Nautical_6x8-16001734_GPRCastaway Cay Challenge Race Morning:

Cabanas was open for continental breakfast at 5am.  Runner’s call time was 5:45am in the Walt Disney Theatre.  Outside the theatre fruit, coffee, tea and water was provided.  Normally the Disney Dream does not dock in Castaway Cay until the morning.  Usually guests are not allowed off the boat until 9am for Castaway Cay 5K (the island doesn’t officially open until 8:30am).  On this day, runners and spectators were off the boat at 6am to walk the mile to the 7am start on the airstrip.

DDR-150225-Nautical_6x8-16001980_GPRWe were in Corral A (of only A & B).  The Princess Castaway Cay Challenge had not sold out according to the runDisney representatives.  We guessed there were less than 250 running.  Once at the start there was an inflatable start/finish arch, a DJ, announcer/cruise director and Princess Minnie Mouse.  Jeff Galloway also gave us a motivational greeting and then we were off…

DDR-150225-Nautical_6x8-16002702_GPRHaving run the regular Castaway Cay 5K, I was happy the sun wasn’t up yet.  Running the airstrip without sun at 7am was delightful!  The course had us head west towards Serenity Bay.  There we approached our first character stop – Princess Daisy Duck!  Unlike the regular Castaway Cay 5K, ship photographers were also on course taking official photos which could be purchased along with your other ship photos.

DDR-150225-Nautical_6x8-16003227_GPRNot far from Daisy was Pluto – both within Mile 1.  The course ran along the Serenity Bay bike path.  At the end we turned and ran back.  On the same stretch of path, the characters were switched out to Goofy and Donald!  Back east on the airstrip we ran until we came to Mile 2 and our first water stop.  Then we took the Observation Tower bike path loop (of death).  No Disney characters, only cast member characters, were on the loop’s path to cheer us on to Mile 3 and the turn to the finish. We finished the 5K in 37:26 (according to my Garmin since the race was not timed).  Considering we stopped for  4 character stops we made EXCELLENT TIME and it was a runDisney 5K #ALLTHEPHOTOSTOPS PR!

DDR-150225-Nautical_6x8-16002193_GPRAfter the finish, Mickey posed for photos with our Castaway Cay 5K and Challenge medals.  Since the island was not officially open, we boarded the boat and got ready for our 9am Castaway Cay 5K.

669Castaway Cay 5K Part II:

Since we had to board the boat and pick up our new bibs for the 2nd race of the day, we decided to change out of costume.  We headed down to Evolution to pick up our new race bibs and disembark.  The 9am 5K was going to utilize the same course as the 7am race, but now the entertainment was gone.  The sun was also up and the temperature was rising quickly.  The race began with little fanfare and we repeated our steps from earlier.  We finished and picked up our 2nd Castaway Cay 5K medal.

Back on the boat we went to apply sunscreen and to eat breakfast!

DDR-150225-Pier_8x10-16006925_GPRRunner’s Celebration:

The following day Castaway Cay Challenge participants were invited to a celebration reception in Evolution.  Both Cinderella and Minnie were there for photos.  Jeff and the Captain congratulated the crowd.  There were small bites and treats provided.  The rooms were decorated with an impressive runner ice sculpture.  It was a nice touch to close the event.

763But what was most interesting was the Captain asked if we enjoyed the event and if we should have additional runDisney Castaway Cay Challenge events in the future.  Considering the success of the Walt Disney World Marathon Challenge cruise and the lower number of runners with the Princess Challenge cruise, it will be interesting to see if runDisney and the Disney Cruise Line expand the challenge to the other race weekends.  I had received a survey asking my interest in a post Wine and Dine cruise.  And the Challenge is not currently listed on the 2016 Princess Half Marathon event page.

778Final Thoughts:

I like the Castaway Cay 5K and the Castaway Cay 5K Challenge.  However, the Challenge race was more exciting with the characters, the support and entertainment.  I felt the additional $65 cost was justified and warranted for the level of runDisney support and entertainment I received.

768I would like to participate in a Castaway Cay 5K Challenge again.  However, I would ONLY participate if the sailing did not conflict with another runDisney race.  I would also like to be able to earn the challenge medal without having to cruise on a specific sailing date.  For instance, I like to cruise with my family during spring break (when the kids are out of school) and would like to earn the challenge medal then.

683Also, the race weekend/cruise burns a lot of vacation days.  Taking 10 days off in January to participate in both the runDisney Walt Disney World Marathon “weekend” and Castaway Cay Challenge 5K or taking 7 days off in February to participate in the runDisney Princess Half Marathon “weekend” and Castaway Cay Challenge 5K cruise is hard to justify every year, but definitely is a special way to celebrate a major accomplish with family and friends.

Did you run the Castaway Cay Challenge in 2015?  What did you think?  Would you run again in 2016?

Race Report: 2015 runDisney Glass Slipper Challenge – Princess Half Marathon

Early registration for Annual Passholders and Disney Vacation Club Members for the Princess Half Marathon Weekend will open on Tuesday, June 30, 2015 EST.  General registration for the Princess Half Marathon Weekend will open July 14, 2015.

321The 3rd and final race of the 2015 runDisney Princess Half Marathon weekend was the Princess Half Marathon.  It was also the 2nd race of the 2nd annual Glass Slipper Challenge.  Running today was Perfectly Goofy Gail and Photo Bomb Becca.  Today we were running as King Triton’s OTHER daughters – Adella, Attina, and Alana.

309The Princess Half Marathon began at 5:30am on Epcot Center Drive, right outside Epcot Park.  This course runs up World Drive 5 miles.  There it enters Magic Kingdom Park for 1 mile and then heads back to Epcot Park via Floridan Way and World Drive.  This course is the exact same course as the WDW Half Marathon, but it seems to be packed with more characters.  This could be all the tutus and tiaras from the Princesses on course 😉

328To see our recap of #allthecharacterstops and #allthefun of the Princess Half Marathon, please view our video.

Did you run the Glass Slipper Challenge?  Are you running again in 2016?

Race Report: 2015 runDisney Glass Slipper Challenge – Princess 10K

Early registration for Annual Passholders and Disney Vacation Club Members for the Princess Half Marathon Weekend will open on Tuesday, June 30, 2015 EST.  General registration for the Princess Half Marathon Weekend will open July 14, 2015.

095The 2nd race of the 2015 runDisney Princess Half Marathon weekend was the Princess 10K.  It was also the 1st race of the 2nd annual Glass Slipper Challenge.  Running today was Perfectly Goofy Gail and Photo Bomb Becca.  We had purchased our #NewBalance Minnie Shoes and Minnie ears months ago and had finally found the PERFECT event to wear them.  Our theme was #TutuMuchMinnie.

119The Princess 10K began at 5:30am in Epcot Park in the same local as the 5K.  This course runs out of Epcot parking for around 3 miles, then ventures into World Showcase, out to Disney’s Boardwalk and then back into Future World ending in the same Epcot parking lot.  Again, Anna & Elsa greeted the runners, from high above on a snowy overpass, in the 1st mile.  White Rabbit was stationed at the 1st hairpin turn.  And Tinker Bell & Periwinkle were right before Mile 2.  Miles 3-4 saw Jiminy Cricket and Marie.  Sports Mickey was positioned on Disney’s Boardwalk.  Princess Minnie was waiting near the International Gateway.  Her line was one of the longest I have ever seen during a runDisney race.  Goofy was posing for photos in Future World.

151I’m not a big fan of the WDW/Princess 10K course.  It was on par with the last 3 times I have run it.  I would like to see less miles (3) in the parking lot and more miles in the park.  To see more of the course, costumes and Princess 10K please see the video above.

Did you run the Glass Slipper Challenge?  Are you running again in 2016?

Race Report: 2015 runDisney Frozen 5K

Early registration for Annual Passholders and Disney Vacation Club Members for the Princess Half Marathon Weekend will open on Tuesday, June 30, 2015 EST.  General registration for the Princess Half Marathon Weekend will open July 14, 2015.

017The 1st race of the 2015 runDisney Princess Half Marathon weekend was the Frozen 5K.  Luckily for runDisney, the weather cooperated with the Frozen theme, it was chilly cold.  However, unlike for WDW Marathon weekend, we were prepared this time with warm costumes.  Running today was Perfectly Goofy Gail and Photo Bomb Becca AKA #HotAcorn.  We were dressed as Chip & Dale with our #HotAcorn.

040The Frozen 5K began at 5:30am in Epcot Park.  The Princess Half Marathon weekend races share the same courses as WDW Marathon weekend, however I think runDisney does a better job with course entertainment during Princess weekend.  This was certainly true for the Frozen 5K.  runDisney brought out the big guns for THIS 5K.  The course runs out of Epcot parking and into World Showcase and into Future World back out into the parking lot.  However, on this course the photos stops were A-List Disney Characters – Minnie Mouse, Pluto, Mickey Mouse, Goofy, Anna and Elsa.  Note – Anna & Elsa were on stage far away and high above the common folk.


Also, because this was the FROZEN 5K, Let it Go was the course music all 3.1 magical miles of the race.  And not only was it played in English, but as we ran from World Showcase country to country, the music changed languages.


This was my 3rd time running the Princess 5K and this was the best show so far.  Well done runDisney.

Did you run the Frozen 5K?  Are you running again in 2016?


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