Random thoughts from my first solo/first marathon trip


#1
  • Solo trips are AWESOME!...and sad at the same time. I saw everything I wanted, when I wanted for as long as I wanted. I did the shows that my boys would never sit still through and lingered in Walt Disney: One Mans Dream way longer than I could have with my 3 DS. I road all the thrill rides without having to coax and sooth nervous little ones. Without my DW and the never-ending morning primping I was able to make rope drop every morning! Yet I did miss sharing the magic and excitement with my boys and having the arms of my DW to collapse into after crossing the finish line of my first marathon.

  • Loved exploring WS unencumbered, no strollers, no tired kids or wife. Loved the shows in Canada and USA...shops in Japan and Morocco. The torrential downpour sent the masses back to their hotels and I was able to watch Illuminations without crowds while enjoying Fish & Chips and a beer in the area next to Rose & Crown. My best view of Illuminations ever!

  • Pop was much better than expected. Having stayed at only Deluxe and Moderates in past I was concerned it wouldn't be as magical and special but it was great. It wouldn't work for my full family of 5 but I would definitely stay there again if I was solo or if just DW and I.

  • QS Dining plan was fine for solo trip but is still too much food for the way I eat. I grab a quick coffee and granola bar in food court for breakfast, had QS lunch but wasn't hungry again until late late evening.

  • The monorail has got to be one of the least reliable methods of transportation in the entire world, almost missed Welcome Show because of a 40 minute trip from TTC when ferry was not running.

  • Festival of Fantasy Parade is awesome! The dragon is spectacular!

  • Rode ToT for the first time (I never liked drops), Loved it! It is now a must-do.

  • First time on Space Mtn. since I was a kid....meh, not a must do.

  • 7DMT, Wonderful! So smooth, so well done. Bravo Disney!

  • Stitch was not as bad as expected......Captain EO was.

  • Overlooked and underrated: DW Railroad...a classic, Journey into Imagination, singing for the rest of the night and of course One Man's Dream.

  • I think the secret is out on Animation Academy, very very long waits. The line was almost to the gift shop. Sad to have missed it, but it gave me extra time to explore the shop. The hand drawn character prints are my current favorite souvenir.

  • Last but not least....RunDisney Races are fabulous!!!! This was my second race (did Wine and Dine last year) and I wish I could do them all!! They are by far the best run, most fun and well organized races out there. The medals are always stunning. The course entertainment is unmatched anywhere and how can you top running down Main St. and through Cinderella Castle! I couldn't think of a better reason to start running, run/walking or fast walking then to come run a Disney race. It is the most beginner friendly unintimidating race environment you will find. I can not wait to come back for another (i just need to figure out how to pay for it).


#2

Great observations, and I agree with virtually everything you said (other than the marathon part; NOT a runner, and I can not even imagine how tortuous that would be for me smile ).

To me, of the two bottom of the barrel attractions, if forced, I would actually choose EO over Stitch. I didn't even really like "Lilo and Stitch", and EO holds a small amount of nostolgia for me as I saw it when it first opened in DL in '86.

I don't think I've ridden the mono loop in about 4 years. I'll do the EP mono from the TTC, but not the loop.

I used to like SM, but it's in such bad shape it just hurts too much. Haven't ridden in 4 years and probably won't again in the future.

If I had never seen the original version of Imagination (which was my favorite ride in EP, and one of my favorites in all of WDW), then I might still enjoy it. But its current incarnation is such a faint shadow of the original, it just depresses me to ride it.

One Man's Dream is my only "must-do" in DHS.

I had the same hesitancy the first time I stayed at POP; it's my new "go-to" resort if I am not doing a "special" deluxe trip with DW.


#3

Great report - Sounds like you had a fabulous solo trip. Another Pop fan here!


#4

Congratulations on your first marathon!!! I couldn't think of a better place to experience your first marathon!

Your random thoughts are very insightful (our family of 5 is traveling to WDW in just 10 days). I have one question from your thoughts... We are planning to arrive at the Magic Kingdom for RD and watch the Welcome Show. I was planning to drive to the TTC then take the monorail instead of using the resort bus (we're staying at POR). I thought driving ourselves would be a better guarantee of arriving in time for the Welcome show just in case the buses were slow. But now I'm wondering if we should take the bus since it would drop us off by the front gates... What's your opinion?

Congrats again on your run - you've got me thinking maybe there's a RunDisney event in my future.


#5

Congratulations on your race! Great trip report!


#6

I have only seen this Journey into Imagination so I don't have a comparison but I could certainly understand how you'd be disappointed with a watered down version.


#7

I normally drive and take ferry but it was so foggy that they weren't running. I am not a huge fan of the bus so I like having a rental but busing to MK seems like the way to go. I'd check with front desk the night before as to when the first bus is expected in morning and be sure to be on it. You always have car as a back up plan.


#8

@vpillers, aren't you running Cast away 5k in a couple weeks?


#9

@J_ClaytonIII - wow, very impressive memory smile Yes, I am running in the Castaway Cay 5k in a couple of weeks - hmm... Do you think that qualifies as a "RunDisney event"? I never thought of that - very cool! You just made my day. For some reason, I only thought of the bigger Disney World or Disneyland races as being part of RunDisney.

Sweet, now off for another training run.


#10

I would say it most definitely is a RunDisney event. I'd also imagine that it will act as your gateway drug to more RunDisney races just as last years Wine and Dine did for me. Next thing you know you are signing up for marathons as an excuse to visit WDW.
Good luck with your 5k in paradise! See you at the starting line for WDW marathon in the future.


#11

I nearly forgot my food report! I'll break it down in 3 categories...The good, the not so good and the stuff I wanted but couldn't fit in my stomach.
The Good:
Pork Egg Rolls and Fried Rice at Yak and Yeti - Egg rolls were delicious, rice was mediocre both went well with my Safari Amber
Jalapeno Pretzel - Fantastic as always
Zebra Dome Cupcakes - rich and delicious
Lobster Roll at Columbia Harbour House - I will not argue what is a proper lobster roll but my belly will argue that this was yummy! A great lunch that did not leave me feeling bloated.
Dole Whip - I need to invest in the machine that makes these so that I can make them at home. Dole Whip Floats are my preferred delivery method
Sweet and Spicy Chicken Waffle Sandwich - While not very spicy, this may very well be me new favorite MK lunch!
The Pork Shank and LeFou's Brew at Gaston's - After a huge lunch I wasn't hungry until well into EMH and it so happened that I was outside Gaston's when I determined that I couldn't take another step w/o food. Not sure if I was because I was starved but the pork shank was fabulous and filing and LeFous' brew was equally good. Sweet enough to give me the perk I needed but not sickly sweet.
Carrot Cake Cookie at Writers Stop - So good! I ate that giant cookie all by myself
Chicken & Lamb Shawarma platter at Tangierine Café - since my family is not open to this cuisine I took advantage of my solo situation and stopped for the combo platter and an Efes Dark. Loved it, and could have used another pita. The Efes Dark complimented the strong flavors nicely and I was tempted to order a second but decided to move on in search of other beers.
African Stew at Boma - Pleasantly surprised by this quick serve belly filler
Fish and Chips at Yorkshire County Fish Shop - I was lucky enough to enjoy these crispy pieces of heaven with a Bass Ale in the seating area next to Rose and Crown moments before Illuminations. Would it have been too gluttonous to have ordered a double order of both? What a way to cap off a most memorable trip!

The Not So Good:
Hot dog in Pretzel Roll at Min and Bill's - Hot dogs, mustard, pretzels....it sounds so perfect. Yet so poorly executed. The dog was boiled and grey and jammed inside the worst excuse for a pretzel in all the world. I don't care what the dishes say, this grey stuff was vile. Tossed into the trash can midway through. So disappointed.
School Bread - Ok, I am probably going to take some heat for this one and maybe having if I had it early in the morning I'd have a different opinion but I was not a fan. Maybe I just don't like cardamom?

Stuff I couldn't fit in my stomach and will have to catch next trip:
African Bloody Mary - I know it gets mixed reviews but I feel like this will help me get off to a good start on my next AK day.
Orange Grand Marnier Slush - Cold and rainy Epcot day did not make me crave a frozen drink
Grey Goose Citron lemonade Slush - See above.
Pot Roast Mac n Cheese at Friars Nook - It is going to be tough for this to make me forgo the Chicken waffle but I feel like I need to try this next trip


#12

I agree with you on the school bread; won't have it again. IMHO you didn't really miss much with the orange slushy; I found it too sweet, way too small for the price, and seriously lacking in "kick". For the same price you can get a blood orange margarita at La Cava, which is an all-round MUCH better drink - probably my favorite in WDW...


#13

adding Blood Orange Margarita to my Must Do List....It seems to be getting very alcohol heavy.


#14

Great trip review. I know it's been awhile since you posted it, but I ran across It when I searched the word "solo" in TP. I'm taking a solo trip to do the Princess 10k in 2017 and have been looking for info. I'm curious about your timing around the race. I did the Tinkerbell 10k at DLR last year (my first 10k - I'm a walker), and I'm signed up for the DLR Star Wars & Tinkerbell 10k in 2016.

How many days were you there before? How many after? I don't want to overdo it before the race, but I'm also concerned about how I'll feel after. I'm coming to WDW from Calfornia, so I'm planning a one week trip. Any tips you can give would be great. Thanks.


#15

I went two days before. Since it was a January race I wanted to have an extra day in case I ran into any weather related travel delays. My arrival day I checked in, when to the expo for packet pick up and spent the rest of the afternoon at AK. I did overdo it just a bit the day before at DHS because it was my first full day in WDW and I was touring solo so I was able to get so much done.
Sunday after the marathon I did the remainder of the day in MK to force myself to keep my legs moving, I did one more full day at Epcot on Monday and my departure morning back at MK until about 1:00pm before I had to leave for the airport. So, 2 days before and 2 days after.
I am glad I stayed the extra day and used it to walk the parks rather than sitting on an airplane, it helped my legs recover.


#16

Thanks for the info. I'm in CA, so my internal clock will be three hours behind. My race is Sat. @ 5 a.m., so I'm planning on arriving Thurs, (I get there at night), Fri I'm going to the Expo with maybe some time at Epcot. I figure that'll be easy ahead of the race. But afterward I'll be there six more days. I like what you said about moving. My plan after the race is to do the mono loop I've always wanted to do. Some walking, but nothing crazy!


#17

Enjoy your race, let us know how the trip goes!