Gaston's Gallop: A RunDisney Trip Report (11/5-11/9/21)

Note from JordanRunner: I’m writing up this report as I have time (which is very limited) and will not be polishing it. Please forgive any errors and omissions. Feel free to ask about anything and I’ll do my best to answer. I may include personal opinions and commentary, so I apologize in advance if I offend anyone or go off topic.


A friend and I ran the Wine & Dine 2-course challenge (10k and half marathon) with some park fun mixed in. The trip was November 5th (Friday) through November 9th (Tuesday).

Friday - lunch @ Sanaa, race expo @ WWoS, DS
Saturday - 10k , MK, dinner @ BOG
Sunday - half marathon, HS, EP
Monday - AK, HS, EP, VMAH @ MK
Tuesday - AK then home


I won’t go all the way back to the Jurassic Period like a James Michener novel (or a Disney history lesson by Jim Hill), but I would like to establish some context. Back in 2019 I ran the W&D races for St Jude as part of a large family trip to celebrate my son’s cancer recovery. Trip Report and Race Report. It was an amazing trip and reporting live from the races was really fun.

I wanted to run again in 2020 and was even signed up with St Jude to do it. But the COVID pandemic changed those plans. I think just about every race around the country (and probably the world) was canceled, though many turned into “virtual” races. For these, runners could complete the race distance wherever they wanted before some deadline, tracking it through a phone app, and submitting their results online to get their medal.

Although I decided to defer my St Jude fundraiser to 2021 I still ran the races virtually last year. To make it more interesting I filmed myself doing it and talked about childhood cancer and St Jude at each “virtual” mile marker. If you care to see the video (its about 23min), PM and I’ll send you the link. I don’t think its really appropriate to share here.

Through the first half of this year, all RunDisney runners were anxiously awaiting the announcement of the 2021 events - would they be virtual again or in-person? On June 30th they finally announced that all events would be in-person and registration would open up two weeks later! I reached out to my St Jude contact, who was now scrambling to negotiate bib contracts with RunDisney. Unfortunately, they were not able to get it settled before general registration opened up. In fact, they were not sure if they would even be able to participate at all. Considering the pent up demand for in-person racing, especially RunDisney events, I decided to just register myself in lieu of waiting and doing it through St Jude. I didn’t want to risk the event selling out and then not being able to participate through St Jude either. I even reached out to a few other charities and they were all in the same boat. Two weeks was just not enough time for them to get everything in order.

Over the next week or so I convinced my RunDisney buddy (“B” hereafter) to do the 2-course challenge with me. That’s a 10k (6.2 miles) on Saturday and half marathon (13.1 miles) on Sunday. So on registration day (July 13th), about 15 minutes before the website opened up we were sitting at my desk (B and I are coworkers) mashing the refresh button for the registration link to activate. I rushed through the registration (even registered B through my account to save time), and we were in! The event did sell out, but I can’t remember exactly when. Not as quickly as I expected though.


St Jude did eventually get the bib contracts worked out with RunDisney, but it took so long I also had to register myself for the WDW Marathon (in January) a few weeks later. I will finish this part of the story closer to the end of the report. In short, I ran these W&D races for St Jude, but not as an official team member.

The theme for the W&D races was villains, just like last year’s “virtual” races. Last year I wore a Gaston shirt (see pic above), and I decided to do that again. In case you haven’t seen my posts around these parts, or can’t see my profile picture, I’m a little bit of a Gaston fan. B thinks its ridiculous because Gaston was a “horrible person, a truly evil villain”. I think he’s a hilarious, narcissistic goon. He makes me laugh every time I see him. Laughter is one of the best things in life. Thanks Gaston!

Well, I think that’s enough background and I’m out of time anyways. I’ll add more background/context if it’s needed as the report goes on.

Next up, we begin Gaston’s Gallop


Great start to a race weekend report. I can’t wait to hear how it all shakes out for Gaston.

IMO … never apologise to others for being you. If they are offended, that is their problem to resolve, not yours.


Thank you for sharing your trip report with us!

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Friday November 5th (Day 1)


The week leading up to this trip was insane. I volunteered to be den leader for DS6’s Tiger Cubs den, and we had their first den meeting on Wednesday night, so most of my “free” time leading up to this was spent planning that. Then we had his birthday party on Thursday after school. He couldn’t decide between inviting his classmates, baseball team, or the neighbors so we decided to host it at the park and just invite everyone. We figured some wouldn’t come since it was a school night. We were wrong - we had like 30 kids and their parents show up. It was crazy. After that I started packing for my trip, which I have never done the night before. I’m a planning master and typically have everything lined up and mostly packed 2-3 days before.

On Friday morning I got up at 400a, brushed teeth and got dressed, packed the final few things and was out the door. Parked in the “B” garage (the furthest one) at Love Field to save $40 but then had a good 15 minute walk to security. No big deal, good for warming up my legs anyways.

The airport was empty. I walked through security and got to my gate around 500a. Waited a bit and boarded, seated at 549a. Put my magic band on and I was in Disney mode.

We were in the air flying over Dallas at 615a, and I got some cool shots from my window. It was clear skies until about half way to Florida, a little after the sun was coming up. The clouds and sunrise made for some amazing views. It was a solid hour of beauty out the window. Before this I was thinking I would never do a 6am flight again, but then I changed my mind. I’m now thinking about moving my January flight to 6am. Unfortunately, the reason for the beautiful skies was the crazy weather system over Florida which pretty much ruined the second half of the day for me and B. I’ll get to that in the next post.

We landed on time, can’t remember when exactly, but I was in the terminal waiting for the tram at 938a, walking by the Hyatt fountain at 943a, and getting in my Lyft at 946a. Entered the bubble at 1011am. Dang that was fast timing!


You do a great job of including pictures that help tell the story. Thanks for taking time from your busy schedule to share with us.


Wow, great pics!

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The plan for this morning was to meet B at AKL for brunch/lunch. My Lyft dropped me off at 10:18 and B was just a few minutes later. Awesome timing, as he had driven in from out of state (he left at like 3am). It was nice having his vehicle for getting around today.

We had been going back and forth on the meal for a while. We really wanted Mickey Waffles to kick off our trip, but didn’t want to pay for the full Boma smorgasbord. Thanks to @dianelynn’s idea, we ended up going to the Mara for some waffles and then doing a light lunch at Sanaa at 11:30.

Mobile order at the Mara took a while, not sure why. They should be churning out those mickey waffles. Anyways, they were starting to go in our bellies at 1046a.

AKL is so beautiful we spent the extra time walking around and looking at stuff. B is a DVC owner, and he wanted to show me some rooms, so we did a DVC tour of the 3-bedroom. That room is insane. Would love to stay in a 3BR someday.

We showed up at Sanaa around 1123a and I was drinking a Tusker Lager and eating the spicier items from the bread service (B is a self-proclaimed wuss) at 1147a. Had the Pumba Grub for dessert. When B was here last year with his family he learned from the CM that he could get one even though its a part of the kids meal. It was delicious. Oreo crumbles with chocolate pudding, some melted marshmallow and graham cracker at the bottom I think.

We left AKL at 1223p to head over to ESPN WWoS for the race expo.


Totally off the hook
Maybe someday…

Man look at that rain…

Ohhhhhhhhh bread service dude :drooling_face:


Excited to read how the trip went! This is very similar to what I’m planning in February. Fly out of DFW on first AA flight Friday morning. Expo Friday, 10K Saturday, Half Sunday, Park day Monday and home Tuesday.


I miss this. I want it for dinner daily for the rest of my life. :drooling_face:




Race Expo

We parked at WWoS at 1240p and were walking into the fieldhouse to get our bibs at 1246p. I took some pics on the way, including the resort bus drop off area and the promenade between all the buildings. It was such a good feeling to be here - RunDisney is alive and well! Crowds were minimal. So glad we didn’t have to deal with the eBay pirates that arrived to hoard merch the day before (sharing a pic here I stole from a FB group).


Example of a runDisney pirate, look at all that merch!!!

There was no wait at all for our bibs (bib in hand at 1252p), and I got “start group 1” which is equivalent to Corral A in the before-times. I’ve always been in Corral C, so I was pretty excited about this. My proof of time was not even below the required time to submit, so we think they were giving s1 to people who had done RunDisney events in the past. There were definitely some people in the first corral that were not “runners”. Depending on how many runners there are, there can be 15-20 minutes between each corral’s start, so being in the first one really gives you a time advantage for getting to a park after the race. And you’re not waiting around before the race as long, which was a VERY good thing this time.

Then we went to the Exhibitors hall to pick up our race shirts and got my bib autographed by Jeff Galloway at 100p. He’s the person that taught me that I could be a runner. I read his book back in 2018 and learned about the “run-walk-run” method. He has recommended run/walk intervals depending on your fitness level or physical ability. I can’t run more than 10-12 minutes at a time, so I usually do 3/4 mile run, 1/4 mile walk (my phone app is set up to yell stats at me each quarter mile). This is usually 6-7 minutes jogging and 2-3 minutes fast walking. For races, I tighten that up though and typically only walk about a minute at a time. When everyone is running by you it is pretty motivating to get going again!

Short Spiel Alert! If you don’t think you can do a 5k, you are probably wrong (obviously if you have certain medical conditions you can skip this spiel). Just read up about Jeff Galloway’s training plans. If you can walk around the Magic Kingdom for a few hours, even with a bunch of breaks, you can probably do a 5k no problem! Talk to your doctor about it, and start slow. I believe you can do it, and there is no greater finish line than a Disney 5k to set as your goal.

We finished up at the merch superstore around 115p, which was scaled down from what I remembered in 2019 (as was the exhibitor hall). I picked up my pre-purchased commemorative race pins (pic below showing all my race pins, the 2021 W&D are far right), and we browsed around looking at the merch. I really liked a hat they had which was simple - just had the running mickey logo, the year, and I think it said “Every Mile is Magic”. I forgot to get a pic. I really liked it but couldn’t bring myself to pay $35 for a hat. So I passed.

We left around 125p and headed over to SSR so B could show me around (it’s his home resort) and check out the DVC Preview Center there before walking over to DS.

For completeness, I’ve copied the maps of the expo below in case anyone is curious how things were laid out there.

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ESPN adventhealtharena-491x428

And lastly, all RunDisney runners are given a “virtual” goody bag which is mostly just coupons. But we did get a $15 Disney gift card that could be used this weekend only. I’m sharing a screenshot of everything else below…


I LOVE that you had Jeff Galloway sign your bib. That’s one to keep forever for sure! I’m so glad I decided to really give this method a shot. I had learned about it back in 2017 as I prepared for the 2018 10K, but I was afraid to switch methodology at that point in my training and opted to stay the course. When I re-started my running during Covid (and even before, really) in early 2020 I began using it. I have increased both my distance and my speed over time and have been really really happy with it. I do a 90/30 right now. During long runs, especially, I find it beneficial. In fact last Sunday toward the end of my 20 I was doing a lot of self talk, and often found myself saying, “You only have to do these 90 seconds, and then we can re-negotiate”. I never ended up needing an extra walk break (except for going up those two mega hills I did encounter in what was my mile 18) because really I can do anything for 90 seconds, with the promise of a 30 second rest after.


You’ve piqued my interest in the book. I’m not a runner or even a walker. In fact, I’m an overweight 50 something year old who has always admired those of you who participate in the RunDisney events. I’d love to participate someday and now I’m wondering if the book is my entry point. Thanks for sharing your report!


Glad to hear this! I am dreading my 6am flight in December but it was the only option that wasn’t 5pm.

This specific “pirate” actually got her AP revoked and was issued a trespassing order (i.e. can never come back on Disney property) after this incident! Someone on Twitter tagged RunDisney and it seems like they raised up the issue.


I was just going to mention this! I’m glad they’re trying to do something about it…she is easily identifiable because her pink hair is her ‘trademark’ look for her account. I wish they could find a way to eliminate this behavior. I wasn’t able to get the shirt I wanted because I couldn’t go until day 2 and there are morally questionable people like this out in the world.


So great that you got your bib signed! I wasn’t aware Jeff Galloway had a heart attack recently (not sure if you heard them talking about it while we were in the corrals) and is just getting back out there. I’m glad he was able to meet folks.
The Galloway method is what got me running and I encourage it for everyone. If you’re worried about it on an actual bigger, race, I also highly recommend running with the pacing group! They’re amazing people and will cheer you on and keep you on track. They do the 90-30 the whole way.


Yeah I think that was somewhere around early spring last year. I think it’s been roughly 6 months. I follow his FB page


Yeah that’s what I was talking about with him. He said he feels great. In any case, I hope I can still run at his age. He is an amazing inspiration.


I’m hoping to have time to wrap up day 1 later. Just a quick walk around Disney Springs in the torrential rain before we got so waterlogged we looked like we had jumped in the lake (even though we had umbrellas!). We abandoned plans and just went to our room for the night. So not much else to report for day 1 anyways. I’m heading out of town in a few hours, so we’ll see if I get to it. If not, stay tuned on Monday.

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