I ran a marathon at Disney!

Hello friends! Are you considering signing up for the Walt Disney World Marathon? I’d like to tell you about my experience and why I love RunDisney events.

After I completed the Princess Half Marathon, I definitely wanted to sign up for another RunDisney event. I decided on The Walt Disney World Half Marathon. This is usually held around the second week of January. Only one thing went wrong… it was sold out!!

If you read my previous post about my first RunDisney race, you’ll know my friend Brittney enables my running habit. I called Brittney and she convinced me I could finish a marathon. I bit the bullet, and signed up for the full marathon.

So, I’m signed up. Now what? I followed Jeff Galloway’s half marathon training plan, so I figured he could get me through a full as well. Thus, I began the journey of increasing my miles from 13.1 to 26.2. I trained for about 7 months and it went by very quick. Due to life kinda getting in the way, the longest run I was able to do was 18 miles.

A few things I remember about increasing my miles:

Completing your goal makes you feel really great about what you can accomplish, AKA “runners’ high”.
You get to set a lot of personal records.
Much to my dismay, you don’t get a medal for running more than 13 miles in your neighborhood. haha!
Other runners are kind and encouraging.
Long distance running is very time consuming. My long runs would be on my only day off. I spent half my day running, recovering and soaking my feet.

Before I knew it, Marathon Weekend was here in a flash and it was time to check into my Disney resort.

Pro tip: If you know you are going to sign up for a RunDisney event, book your hotel as soon as you can.

Although January after New Years crowds start thinning out, It tends to be a bit busier at Disney World during the January Marathon Weekend. Because of this, I had a hard time getting a 4 night consecutive stay. I had one night at Pop Century and then 3 nights at Caribbean Beach. At Caribbean Beach I had 1 night in a pirate room and 2 nights in a standard room.

I don’t mind hotel hopping and frequently hotel hop by choice. Disney will even move your bags to your new hotel if you call bell services.… Read the rest

New Character Dining at Disney World this Winter!

Disney just announced an immersive character experience at Artist Point in the Wilderness Lodge. It will be a prix fixe menu while visiting with Snow White, Dopey, Grumpy and even the Evil Queen. The price and menu have not been announced yet but I’d expect something upwards of $50 for an adult as Artist Point is now considered Signature Dining.

What do think of the change? Excited? Disappointed? Let me know in the comments below!

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New Disney Parks Playlist on Apple Music

Have you heard that Disney has a new Disney Parks playlist. You can find it on the Play Disney Parks and Apple Music apps. I know I’m super excited about this!

Check out the Animal Kingdom playlist! I can’t wait to listen!

Also, If you haven’t checked out the new Play Disney Park app, you should. The graphics are super adorable and it looks amazing. If you’re at the parks it makes waiting in line for attractions a bit more interactive and fun. If you are at home you can enjoy a little Disney Magic with some trivia.

Check out more info here. I already downloaded a playlist on my phone. Whoops! 🙂… Read the rest

No one’s too young for Disney! Infants at Disney. Part II: All about the parks.

If you are skipping right to Part II, welcome! If you want to head back to part I, about packing click here.

In my last post I went over essentials for plane travel and arrival in Orlando. I also recommend considering renting a car if you are staying on Disney Property. Having baby, infant carrier, stroller and diaper bag on a Disney Transport bus can be quite cumbersome, but not impossible. If you are staying at a Walt Disney World Resort, you can utilize the free transportation all around Disney World.

Here are some tips for using Disney’s transport:

  1. Baby wear.
    • Very helpful for busy buses when you might need to stand.
  2. Fold your stroller.
    • Get this done before the bus comes, it makes boarding the bus easier. Side note: If you are on the monorail or boat, you don’t have to fold your stroller.
  3. Have a plan for who carries what.
    • This makes getting on and off buses less stressful, for sure. Decide who will carry the infant carrier and stroller, and who will carry baby and the diaper bag.
  4. If you are staying on property, send your purchases to your resort for free.
    •  Just ask the cast member who is checking you out for help. You definitely don’t need to have extra bags on a busy bus at the end of the night.
  5. If the bus is very full, you can choose to wait for the next one. 
    • This will allow you to be first on board and secure a seat. Just stay at the front of the line and step aside, while a few more sardines are squished on board.
  6. Try not to leave the park right after a parade or firework display. 
    • It is mass exodus out of the parks after any parade or fireworks. Linger in the shops, have snacks, people watch on a bench, etc. It will be better than waiting in a gigantic line of people and being on a crowded bus.

For touring Disney’s theme parks with baby, I recommend starting the day early, use your 3 fast passes and have an early lunch in the park. Use your My Disney Experience app to get a few more fast passes for later in the evening. Leave after lunch and head back to your resort for nap time and swimming. After nap time, head back into the park to do a few more attractions, have dinner and watch the fireworks.… Read the rest

No one’s too young for Disney! Infants at Disney. Part I: Packing.

Hello Everyone! I’m splitting this post into two parts. The first part focuses on packing and plane travel. If you’ve already flown with your baby and you want to skip this part head over to Part II: All about the parks.

Back in January of 2017 we brought our almost 3 month old to Disney World. Although I’ve been frequenting Disney for some time, I’ve never taken an infant and made sure to note a few tips and tricks.  Please don’t think “they are not old enough” or “they won’t remember”. We will always remember Max’s first trip and he will enjoy looking at the pictures when he is older. It’s a fantastic memory and absolutely worth it for us.

Of course, make sure to clear everything with your doctor. Since we had the trip on the books long before Max was born, we asked questions right away. We also ensured that we were prepared with all vaccinations our little one needed before flying.

The biggest concern I had was making sure I had everything I needed for our travel days. For travel in general, I recommend a diaper backpack or regular backpack for baby gear. I have the Be Right Back Ju Ju Be backpack. It’s pricey but 100% worth it. It’s machine washable, comfortable, antimicrobial and seems unbreakable as I’ve put mine through a lot of trauma. It unzips to lie almost flat so it’s also quick when getting inspected at security. You will only need to buy this one bag, in my opinion, it’s worth the investment.

Diaper bag packing tips:

  1. 2 days of wipes, diapers, food/formula.
    • I buy diapers, wipes, formula, and other grocery items once we get to Orlando. Traveling light is always best when possible, especially if you are not checking luggage.
  2. Baby safe sanitizer sprays/wipes. Comes in very handy.
  3. Baby’s birth certificate and shot records.
    • Put extra copies in another bag in the event you lose one. Also take pictures to keep on your phones. At the airport, we asked what would happen if we forgot Max’s birth certificate and, the airport agent said we would likely have to purchase a seat for him if we couldn’t prove his age for being a “lap infant”.
  4. Pack a bag of bags.
    • This goes back to girl scout days, ya’ll. I put many small ziplock baggies inside a bigger ziplock. You can squeeze the air out and it takes hardly no space.
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Running around The World, my first RunDisney race ever!

I started running back in 2012, well more like “slogging” which is what I call “slow jogging”. Back then I was living next to Central Park in the (upper upper upper) East Side, and it felt like everyone was a runner. Some of my friends suggested that I start running as way to be healthier and relieve stress. Since Central Park was very pretty, and literally there were no excuses left, I started on my venture to become a slogger…”ahem”…runner.

Let me just start by saying that in Middle and High School, I was the person who avoided running. I was never the athletic girl and still today I don’t consider myself a high level performing athlete. I’m an average girl who wanted to find an inexpensive way to be healthy and get some exercise.

A mile seemed doable, 4 miles impossible and 26.2 was just… crazy! I stepped out my door and decided for the first time, to try for 2 miles of mostly speed walking in Central Park. I ended up somewhere on the Upper West Side of Manhattan before I realized I was so lost, with no metro card, no money and my phone battery had also died. Let’s just say that at Disney World I know my way around but since I wasn’t at Disney and I didn’t know my way around Central Park, my first 2 miles run turned into 4.5 miles. Seeing as how I didn’t think I could ever manage 4 miles and I just had (albeit not on purpose), I signed up for a 5K with my new found “runners high”.

I used my Iphone and the Nike app to train for the 5K, and to my surprise I finished the 5K and I wasn’t last! I cried as I crossed the finish line and texted my friend, Brittney. She’s always been my biggest supporter and has even just earned her Abbot World Marathon Majors six star medal. She quickly asked when I was signed up for my first half marathon at which point I laughed and said let me run a 10K, first. I signed up for a few more 5Ks in NYC and after my next one decided I should look into a Disney race!

I decided I would do the Princess 10K. Once the race registration opened up, I had to wait until pay day which meant… 10K IS SOLD OUT!… Read the rest

Extra Magic: Touring Walt Disney World

As a former cast member, and Disney enthusiast, I’m always looking for something new to do at Disney World. I’ve been on several tours over the years and if you haven’t been backstage or taken a tour, I would highly recommend trying one out. There are a variety of tours to fit different budgets, time constraints, and interests.

Some things to consider:

  • Tours might take an entire day or most of a day.
  • Toddlers and small children under 4 are most likely not able to attend the tour.
  • All tours require payment in full at the time of booking.
  • Cancellation policies can be strict. For example, you will lose your deposit if you cancel without at least 48 hours notice.
  • Some tours are not wheelchair accessible.
  • Most tours do not include theme park admission.

When you call to book your tour, the agent on the phone with you will go over everything in detail. Make sure to ask any questions you may have. You can call to book your tour at: 407-939-7529 or 407-WDW-PLAY 

For the animal enthusiast:

Interested in taking a ride on a Segway? For something off the beaten path check out the Wilderness Back Trail Adventure which is at Ft. Wilderness Resort.

Will you pick the dark or light side? Check out the Star Wars Guided Tour at Hollywood Studios to train as the next Jedi or Sith.

The Behind the Seeds tours at Epcot’s Land Pavilion is a great choice if you are interested in hydroponics or natural science. It’s an hour long and only $25/$20for adults and children. it’s something the entire family can attend without breaking the bank!

If you are like me and Magic Kingdom is your favorite park, check out the Keys to the Kingdom tour which includes lunch and a keepsake. It’s my favorite tour I’ve ever been on at Disney and you’ll have lots bragging rights that you got to visit the famed utilidors. For the lighter version of the keys to the kingdom take a peek at the Walt Disney: Marveline to Magic Kingdom Tour.  If the little or not so little ones in your life love trains then the Disney’s The Magic Behind our Steam Trains Tour might be for you.… Read the rest

To add the dining plan or not? That is the question.

Recently, my family and I went to Disney on a “runcation” (what’s up runDisney fans)! A runcation, for those who don’t know, is when you go on a vacation to run a race. It’s basically another excuse for me to plan more trips to Disney…like I need more excuses.

Lets get back on topic, EATING! Eating around Disney World is one of my favorite things to experience. Disney never falls short of having plentiful varieties of cuisines to please everyone’s taste buds and who doesn’t love Mickey shaped food!

If you are staying on Disney property you can have the option to add the dining plan. It can be a great value but you could also end up spending more money with the dining plan too. Is it for you?

I’ve added the dining plan on many past trips but it has been years since I’ve considered it. Why change my mind now? This was the hubby’s second trip ever and I wanted him to be able to experience the dining plan, for research purposes, of course. Also, the appeal of having everything paid for upon arrival and essentially stress free vacation sounded amazing.

Pierre and I spent a long time writing out and planning the pros and cons of the dining plan. We were on the fence about adding it and whether we would be able to get our money’s worth. If you’re like me and considering the dining plan I’ll give you a break down of what we found out!

There are three tiers of dining plan available:

Disney Quick-Service Dining Plan

Disney Dining Plan

Disney Deluxe Dining Plan

The Quick Service plan for everyone over 3 includes 2 snacks and 2 quick service meals per night of your stay.

The Disney Dining Plan for everyone over 3 will include 1 snack, 1 quick service and 1 table service per night of your stay.

The Disney Deluxe Dining Plan for everyone over 3 will include 3 meals and 2 snacks per day. Meals can be table or quick service on this plan, but I do not advise using your meals for quick service.

All the plans include a refillable mug to use at any Disney resort. This is especially great if you like to visit the other resorts. You can also get an alcoholic beverage for one of your beverages under all of these plans.

A few things to consider, if you have a child aged 3-9 they HAVE to order from a children’s menu where it’s available, which is everywhere because, hey it’s Disney World.… Read the rest

Max’s First Hair Cut

First Hair Cut: Harmony Barber Shop in the Magic Kingdom

A dream of mine was always to bring my own family and children to Disney. I was so happy to be able to do this I knew we also had to get Max’s first hair cut in the Magic Kingdom.

You can book a haircut up to 180 days out. Just call (407) 939-7529 and ask for the “My First Haircut package” (or any haircut you’d like). You can also go for walk-in appointments but they are very limited. I would recommend calling to secure the time and day you’d like. Less stress and worry on vacation is always the best!

You’ll be required to leave a card on file but you are not charged at the time of booking your appointment. A $10 charge will be included if you do not show up. You can also pay with a different card once you get there, so no worries.

The My First Haircut package is $25, which is a great value when you also consider you are getting a pair of special Mickey Ears! What a great souvenir and memory from your little one’s trip!

Children haircut’s (9 and under) are $18 and Adult haircut’s are $19. Tipping is optional.

I called right at 180 days and got the first appointment of the day on a Thursday. We went straight to the barber shop upon park opening at 9am. I made the earliest appointment because I knew Max would be in a good mood after waking up and having breakfast! Momma’s know best, use your best judgement when booking your time.

The Barber shop is located to the left of main street. If you find yourself getting close to the castle, you’ve gone too far.

As a first time mom I was super nervous about how Max would handle a haircut. The ladies in the Barber Shop were incredibly welcoming and warm and we were immediately helped. Max got so many stickers and a light up wand to play with upon arrival. His attention was immediately on the light up wand and he didn’t even notice he was getting his ears lowered!

Diane was our stylist and she was quick and clearly skilled at making sure our little one was comfortable and happy the entire time. She packaged up his first trimmings in a cute little bag adorned with pixie dust and a Mickey Mouse sticker.Read the rest