Let me preface this post by admitting to something…
I am not a massive Disney fan.
There… I said it.
Don’t get me wrong, I grew up on Disney movies. As a child, my room was all Ariel – Ariel curtains, Ariel sheets, Ariel bedspread, Ariel pillows, I had two copies of the VHS (one for home, one for grandma and grandpa’s house). I had an Ariel nightgown that I wore to summer camp for pajama day, and it got ruined when I was running around the gymnasium with my hands on my (Ariel) pillow on the floor and my butt up in the air, and someone tripped me and I went flying over the pillow and landed on the floor with my chin. Which I busted open… and bled all over my nightie. Womp womp. Anywho…
Naturally, as a little girl obsessed with Ariel, I pulled my shirt up through the collar to make a little bikini top and pretended the coffee table was the rock Ariel pushed herself up on while singing Part of Your World (you know you did it too!).
GIF Credit: GIPHY
After Ariel was Belle. After Belle was Jasmine. After Jasmine was Mulan. But that was kind of it. I’ve enjoyed Disney movies over the years, but I don’t eat, sleep, breathe, live Disney like some others do (no judgment here!). So signing up for a runDisney event seemed… crazy, at first. But I decided to go for it. And after months and months of waiting, I finally touched down in Florida for a long weekend of OD-ing on all things Disney.
Having lost my job after registering for this race weekend and paying for the entire trip, I already knew ahead of time that I would not be spending much money, if any, at the expo. I had joined a bunch of runDisney groups on Facebook and saw daily posts about the runDisney expo merch and how amazing it would be, plus all of the other vendors. Tempting? Yes. But I already spent a ton of money on this trip, and I knew I’d be getting three shirts with my registration… I didn’t need more stuff.
Before I start talking about the expo… let me quickly mention how I got there.
I stayed on property at Pop Century specifically because it would have shuttle transportation for race weekend. Pop didn’t do a very good job of marking which bus corral was for the races… I found this sign explaining schedule, timing, etc, but I still had to ask someone which line to get into to board the right bus. The buses are marked with color/numbers so you know which one will go back to your property.
Also, please don’t be fooled… just because you aren’t searching for a parking space on your own doesn’t mean this is a quick ride. WDW is massive, and the traffic on race weekend was insane – it easily took us 35-40 minutes to get from our hotel to the expo.
Bib pick-up and the expo run Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. I went on Friday morning around 11am, and my first stop was bib pick-up. The entire ESPN area was pretty well-marked for where to go, and they had someone announcing over a loudspeaker the same information. I just followed the prompts and headed to the first building for bib-pickup. The building was basically empty. I walked right up to the Glass Slipper Challenge booth that matched my bib number range, flashed my ID and signed in, grabbed my bib, and stepped off to the side to have my photo taken with my bib.
If you’re running the Glass Slipper Challenge (the 10K and half marathon), you must have your photo taken so they can verify that you are who you say you are when you walk through the GSC tent after the half marathon to grab your challenge medal. If for some reason to forget to have your photo taken, I did hear that people headed to the GSC tent and showed ID to get their challenge medals. But do yourself a favor… just get your picture taken at the expo!
Next I headed over to the GSC table to pick up my race shirts. I received THREE amazing short-sleeve tech shirts – one for the 10K, one for the half, and one for the challenge – a clear bag for gear check, some safety pins, and maybe a protein bar… I can’t remember!
I spent a few minutes snapping pictures with some of the backdrops – I guess if you go on Thursday, there are crazy lines to take pictures with princesses here. Since I’m not a crowd person, I was just fine with my solo pics.
We were pointed toward an exit where there were some cute quotes from Disney movies… of course, I found a Belle quote (she was the princess theme for 2017) and had to have a picture with it:
Then we (my friend Paula flew down to cheer me on, so when I say “we” I mean Paula and myself) headed over to the expo just to check it out. The way women were talking about the merch on the runDisney Facebook pages, I expected this place to be an absolute zoo.
Before we could actually see the expo floor, I could hear some fun dance music and spotted a DJ under some big, lit up Mickey ears. How fun! We entered the field house on the upper level and were shepherded towards some stairs on the side… when I walked next to the DJ to look down at the expo, here’s what I saw:
I spy astroturf. If I can see astroturf, there just aren’t that many people. I mean… don’t get me wrong… by the time we had been in there for a half hour, I had been bumped into by enough people that my anxiety was ratcheting up and I was just DONE. However, before we left we did check out that back right corner behind the big, pink Mickey ears to check out the official runDisney merch.
Cute stuff. But really… no. I guess I need to be a bigger fan?…
On the way out, we stopped by a table with gear belts called The Tube. I ended up picking one up in neon yellow… I currently wear a FlipBelt (which I love!), but this one has some zippered pockets and is a bit wider which was nice when I put it on… I felt like it sucked some of my squishy stuff in. 🙂
When we went up the stairs to leave, we got sidetracked by a big Beauty and the Beast display for the new live-action movie coming out on March 17th. Of course, we stopped for pictures.
And that’s it for me and bib-pick up and the expo. It was pretty seamless… but like I said, I wasn’t planning to spend money so I didn’t have to be there when it opened on Thursday with the big crowd of die-hard fans. After this, we swung back by the hotel to drop off my stuff and headed off to Animal Kingdom for the day. By the end of the day, my legs were pretty damn tired… probably not a good strategy the day before running a 10K, but I hadn’t been to Disney for a long time, so I couldn’t resist!
Stay tuned for Part 2: Enchanted 10K.
If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to comment below or shoot me a message at emilyblogged(at)gmail.com and ask! I wouldn’t consider myself an expert, but I’ve done it at least once!