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: www.RunJordanRun.com/autism.
I’ll also be doing a separate live report of the four Dopey races here: forum.touringplans.com/t/four-jogs-for-jonah. 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…