Solo: A Dopey Story


Last year I was trying to plan the perfect family trip to Disney World when I came across this forum. After spending a few hours reading through the most recent posts, including a few trip reports, and getting a feeling of the community, I realized that I had found “my people”. So, I’d like to start off this report by saying thank you to everyone here. You have inspired me and guided me. Hopefully this trip report will do the same for others.

Our big family trip finally happened this past Halloween, and it was phenomenal. You can read all about it here. The focus was entirely on our kids, (ages 5, 3, and 1), so there were quite a few activities I wanted to do but didn’t bother trying. For example: California Grill Brunch. (Lord, please help me get there on time this Sunday, and in one piece!)

A few months before my family trip, a co-worker of mine convinced me to run the Dopey Challenge with him in January, which is a 5k, 10k, half marathon, and full marathon over 4 days. A chance for a solo trip! A trip without strollers and cranky, napless toddlers! Yes please! And it would make the family trip easier in that I wouldn’t feel like I was missing out on something because of the kids. I would just plan to do those things in January. And so, here we are.

Before I go into the plan (as it stands now anyway), I’d like to give a final plug for my Autism Speaks fundraiser. When my co-worker was trying to convince me to run the Dopey Challenge with him, I learned that Autism Speaks would be one of the charity partners. I was sold. I largely credit my older brother for getting me into running last year, and his son is on the autism spectrum. So, I’m doing the Dopey in honor of my nephew. I’m running Four Jogs for Jonah. If you’d like to know more about our story or want to help me reach my fundraising goal, learn more on my charity blog here:

I’ll also be doing a separate live report of the four Dopey races here: I want to keep that separate from this report, as I want it to be focused more on autism awareness, not my personal Disney World shenanigans.


Tuesday (1/7). Arrive at Love Field around 2ish for 405 departure. I’ll grab a late lunch and celebratory drink in the terminal. Land at MCO around 730 and Lyft to Pop. I’m undecided on whether I’ll venture over to Epcot or not. I may opt to settle in and get to bed early as I’m planning to be at HS around 6AM the next morning. But Epcot is open until 11, and I may not be able to resist, especially with easy access via Skyliner.

Wednesday (1/8). The first of many epic days. Arrive at HS around 6AM to RD Toy Story Land and hopefully get a morning RotR boarding group. Around 10 or 11 I’ll head to the RunDisney Race Expo to pick up my bibs and other RunDisney gear. Then head over to MK for lunch and FP+ for POTC, HM (my favorite!), and IASW. Then off to AK for things I missed on my family trip: Everest, Dinosaur, and some “sacred” place I keep hearing about for a light dinner and a yummy drink. I’m trying to keep the drinking to one a day, on account of the Dopey. But I will probably succumb to temptation, and then regret it at miles 3, 4, 5, 6, etc. etc. Rinse and repeat. Back to the plan… After the sacredness wears off (or sets in), I’ll check out Pandora and the Tree of Life at dark (didn’t see these on my first trip), I’ll head over to Epcot to see Epcot Forever at 9. Four parks in a day (plus the race expo). We’ll see if I can do it.

Thursday (1/9). Wake up at 245 to get on first bus to the 5k. Run a 5k as fast as I can. My PR (personal record) is 25 minutes. My goal is to beat that. Then I’m going to hightail it to HS to get a RotR boarding group. The timing will be tight. If everything goes smoothly I should be arriving at the front gate between 645 and 7. After getting a boarding group, I’ll Skyliner back to Pop to clean up and then Skyliner back. This day is really hard to plan because of the uncertainty in the RotR boarding group timing. I’ve actually made 6 different touring plans with RotR in various time slots. This is “Star Wars Day” for me: RotR, Star Tours, Docking Bay 7 for Lunch, MFSR, SW stage show (can’t remember the name), Meet Vader/Chewie, reservations for Droid Depot, Savi’s Workshop, and Oga’s Cantina, all capped with the SW Dessert Party and SW Spectacular. I’ve also got a late afternoon ADR for some snacks at Sci-Fi (really wanted to try this on the family trip, but didn’t work out), and evening FP+ for Tower of Terror. I might also do RRC via single-rider if there is time. Didn’t I say I was going to have some epic days?!?!

Friday (1/10). Wake up at 245 to get on first bus to 10k. Run a 10k. I don’t need to run this one very fast. In fact, slower will be better as I have an 8AM ADR at Garden Grill; so, there is no reason for me to finish the 10k before 730ish. This gives me about 90 minutes, super easy, maybe I’ll take more pictures during this one. After Garden Grill, I’ll ride Soarin’ and Spaceship Earth before taking the monorail to the Contemporary. Autism Speaks is having a team breakfast there until 11. Then I’ll head back to Pop to clean up properly and take a nap. Around 3 I’ll head to HS to see Beauty and the Beast, which is my favorite movie. I couldn’t live with myself if I skipped this. I was really hoping the sing-a-long would be open in Epcot for this trip. But no… Dinner at Mama Melrose’s, followed by MFSR (single rider), Slinky Dog (FP+), RRC (single rider), and Fantasmic! I might skip Fantasmic depending on my exhaustion level, but I was really sad to miss it on our family trip (had to skip it due to exhausted kids).

Saturday (1/11). Wake up at 245 to get on first bus to half marathon. Run a half marathon. I’m hoping to finish in about 2.5 hours, which will put me at the front of Epcot right around the time it opens. My plan is to RD Test Track, and use a FP+ for M:S Orange. Then I’ll get breakfast-to-go at Kringla Bakeri, eating some schoolbread as I walk to the Skyliner. Back at Pop, I’ll do laundry and float around in the pool for an hour or two. Then back to Epcot for a stroll around World Showcase, Spaceship Earth (FP+), and Soarin’ (FP+).

Sunday (1/12). The Day of Reckoning. Wake up at 230 to get on first bus to marathon. Run my first marathon. My goal is to finish. I don’t care how long it takes me, but it would be great if I finished in less than 5 hours, which would be around 11ish. This should give me enough time to bus back to Pop, shower, and Lyft to the Contemporary for brunch at California Grill (ADR @1245). The rest of the day will be MK: Parade at 3, photos of my 6 Dopey medals in front of the castle, POTC, HM, and 7DMT (FP+), and dinner at Liberty Tree Tavern. Close out with HEA, OUAT, and Kiss Goodnight (if I have any steam left). This is my final park experience until at least 2022, so I really hope I can manage it. Then comes the night cap: DW is meeting me at Pop around 10ish (we’re going on a celebratory trip the next morning, more on this on Sunday if I’m still alive), and we’ll Skyliner/Lyft to Beaches and Cream for a late night dessert.

So, do you think I can do it? I’m giddy with excitement, but I’m also nervous about the marathon. My last long run was 21 miles, and every inch of my body was rebelling against me. How am I going to do 26 miles?!?! Stay tuned to find out…


Yay for sacred spaces!!!

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Yay! I’m sure you can do it!!!

Good thinking to plan on NOT aiming for a time on the 10K day – I’m a little worried about your plan to run the 5K fast both because it is the first of four long days (keep in mind that after you have finished the half marathon you still haven’t even run half the miles of the whole Dopey Challenge!) and because it is SO CROWDED that it is very difficult to run fast. Please be careful – we don’t want you hurt on the first day!

And why do you want to be on the first bus?! To be at the front of your corral? I guess that is a reason on the days you need to try to finish by a certain time (5K and marathon for that ADR), but maybe give yourself an extra 30 minutes of sleep on the other 2 mornings?!

Calling @MouseGirl42 who I know has her own Dopey wisdom.

I’m sorry I won’t be there but will be following along!


During the Wine & Dine, I was on the first bus, and was able to get character photos at the start area with only 5-10 minute waits. By the time I was done, the lines already had 100s of people. My thinking is this: I’d like to get character photos first thing, then take my time getting a cup of coffee, bathroom break, and getting to my corral with enough time to relax for a bit. I’ll also be trying to meet up with my co-worker who won’t have a phone with him. Hopefully he’s easier to find than you @DumboRunner LOL!


And my plan is to sleep on the post-trip trip with DW. We have practically no plans. So I will catch up on sleep then.


So excited for you! My family arrives (off site stay) on the 11th and have a PPO BOG reservation on marathon morning. I’ll keep an eye out for you/your Bib number! And, even if we don’t see you, we’ll be cheering you on virtually!!! YOU CAN DO IT.


In addition to the lack of Beauty and the Beast Sing-A-Long, the announcement that Splash would be closing for refurb really bummed me out. I let DW ride with DS4 back in October, thinking I would ride it in January.

It just closed today… BOOOOOOOOOO

Photos courtesy of WDW News Today


Best of luck in your running! I’m doing my first ever marathon on Sunday as well, just not as a Dopey. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: Hoping the forecast cools it a bit!


Good morning! I’m enroute this morning as well (see the further adventures of a serial Dopey… aka I’ve got my own TR thread started).

I’m with @DumboRunner, in that I suggest against racing for time on the 10k and half days. The 5k, given that it’s relatively short, you can probably get away with running for time, but you need an aggressive recovery strategy afterwards.

I will also say, while I’m not opposed to park touring after your runs (I like it, it keeps you moving, and helps with recovery) I would definitely tame yourself on the late nights. Out until the nighttime spectacular and up at 0245 every day will quickly take its toll and probably exact it’s price on marathon day.

As for me, I plan to be in bed by 9-9:30 so I can get up at 3 - 6 hours sleep will be valuable in ways that only 4 (or less!) will make it tough.

I’ll say this too: I’ve done the theme park commando thing at WDW, I’ve done the deployment thingy where I really go sleepless for days. I don’t recommend it as a route to success for Dopey. I do recommend the same strategy with your park touring that we hear when running: pace yourself!


I’l definitely be listening to my body. However, there is a chance I’ll be ok with less sleep. First, I’m used to 5-6 hours of sleep because all three of my kids (5,3,1) were terrible sleepers until they were 1. Our DD1 is 13 mo and still wakes up twice a night. Second, a few weeks ago I was diagnosed with sleep apnea. My brain was waking up every 12 minutes (on average), so I was not getting REM sleep. I have no idea how long this has been going on. A week ago I started using a CPAP, and I feel like a million bucks. It is crazy. When I woke up the morning after the first night with CPAP, I felt like I had already had a cup of coffee.

What I’m not sure about is putting in 25k+ steps of park touring in addition to running, on top of sleep deprivation. We shall see. My #1 priority is the marathon, so I will cut back on touring if I need to.

Hope to see you sometime this week @MouseGirl42!


^^^^ This ^^^^ You do not want to arrive at Sunday morning with 22.4 miles of running behind you, plus all the walking to the start line and after the finish line – and it is at least a mile to the start line at Epcot for the half and full – plus all the walking (and standing, I find that as tiring as the walking) in the parks AND multiple nights of little sleep – and then hope to have a non-miserable marathon.

I always get to bed by 8pm to try to ensure 6 hours per night. Between excitement and stress (fearing the alarm won’t go off, having too much on the check list in the morning!), I never sleep well for runDisney races.


The single rider line on RnR was not very good last time I tried (worse than stand by). Instead of calling a single rider for every odd numbered group (like at universal or on EE) they seem to call only when there was one spot left at the vehicle, so it was so slow.


Good to know, thanks!

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Let’s get this party started


Yeah yeah. Autism. Okay. Personal record. Blah blah. Run a marathon. Ho hum.

But Kringla Bakery? That’s what I want to hear. Because it is all about me and you promised me you would photograph the ingredients information. Promised! You can’t take back a promise. It is against the rules! :wink:


You are supposed to Carbo-load before endurance running, not cheese-and-sauce load :wink:


Yes they seat odd numbered groups together - so two groups of 3 take up 3 rows, with the odd one out from each group sitting together. Very efficient for the standby line, but terrible for the single rider line.

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Rest assured it’s in my touring plan as a note.

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I’m a glutton for punishment, what can I say

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And as you can see, I subbed the sauce for more cheese, lol…