You know how you’re supposed to sleep well in the days leading up to a race? Yeah, well, that didn’t happen. Thursday night my sister and father headed to Orlando on a 9:00pm flight and my sister kept sending me text messages that woke me up until 1:30am. (Thursday night: 6 hours sleep) She checked in at the Beach Club and they got an upgraded view of the Boardwalk two doors down from the elevators. TWO DOORS. That was the most conveniently located room we’d ever pulled at Disney.
Whilst I toiled away in my office on Friday morning, my sister went to the expo to pick everything up and exemplified lesson number 1: Go to the expo with a plan you developed after reading your race program. My sister didn’t read the program, she was completely unaware of how things were laid out, and as a result spent more time than she needed to wandering around from building to building. The official race merchandise section was packed, as it was at Disneyland, and she didn’t realize she had to bring a signed waiver or that she had to pick up her t-shirt in another building. Try as I might to guide her through over the phone with my own expo map in front of me with the booths I would’ve visited clearly marked on it, there was little I could do for her. But you save yourself time and aggravation if you at least, like, open the thing before you get there. Or when you get there. At some point open it and read it: You’ll thank me. They had lunch at Le Cellier, rode Soarin’, and then went to the Very Merry Christmas Party.
Now I did not attend said party, but my sister judged it the inferior of the two holiday parties and said the Not-So-Scary Halloween was substantially better. The line for cocoa and cookies was incredibly long (and she was not leaving without her complimentary food and beverage) but the ride lines were short and they didn’t have to wait for anything so in that sense it was a good time, just lacking the ambiance of the Halloween party.
After work, I went back home, changed, ate my pre-made dinner, cleaned up a little bit, checked through my bag to make sure everything was there, and then headed to the Metro. It was my first time at Reagan airport in DC and I had my doubts as to whether or not it really took 15 minutes to get to the airport. Well, it did so I ended up walking around the airport for two hours, which was further facilitated by the fact that US Air kept changing my gate (3 times in all). The flight was more or less uneventful. At 1:00am, the Magical Express doesn’t feel quite as … magical, especially when you’ve been waiting 25 minutes for additional passengers that materialize less frequently than the ghosts in the Haunted Mansion. The bus driver turned off the video that plays on the way to Disney in favor of letting all 4 passengers doze off, a gesture I actually kind of appreciated.
I got my key at the front desk and headed up to room 3514, which it turns out is separated from the UK Pavilion by some trees and nothing else, which means it was one long walk from the lobby. I got lost a few times in that labyrinth of a hallway and my sister didn’t even budge when I came in.
4 hours later she was up to get ready for the 5k and I budged… a lot… I’m one of those people that once I’m up, I’m up and there’s nothing I can do about it. I loaned her my polka dot Minnie sparkle shirt and she wore a black t-shirt… Well, around 6:30 when she was out in the Animal Kingdom parking lot I started getting phone calls and text messages about how cold she was.
Me: “Did you take the garbage bag?”
Me: “I told you to take the garbage bag.”
Her: “I wasn’t walking around wearing a GARBAGE BAG.”
Me: “Well, then, I can’t help you.”
Needless to say it was a little chilly out (low 60s high 50s) and she was less than happy about it, but it certainly helped her get her butt in gear and she did her fastest 5k and spent the rest of the weekend lamenting how the 5k people got the short end of the stick compared to the 1/2 marathoners, and refused to wear her race t-shirt but I did convince her to wear what she referred to as her “magnet medal” because it did bear a definite, plastic-y resemblance to the fridge magnets they sell at Disney…
After she returned, we all headed over to the Captain’s Grill in the Yacht Club for breakfast. For the first time ever we saw other people there. It was actually crowded. We normally go there because it’s a) empty and b) they have a buffet that doesn’t have characters so it’s cheaper. One of us gets the buffet, the other something cheap off the menu and then we kinda split the buffet. Cost saving measure. But this time it was crowded and my dad got the buffet and we just kept sending him back for biscuits, bacon, and mickey waffles…
Afterward it was time to go to a park and we were so behind schedule. Usually, we head to a park by 8:00am. Today we weren’t getting on the boat to MGM til 10:30. We felt like total slackers. My father, who was the original family member who loved Disney world, learned that he really doesn’t like crowds so the fact that MGM-excuse me, Hollywood Studios-was crowded did not make it easy to navigate him around the park without getting complaints about how many people were there. It was not, however, anywhere near the complaints I got from my mother in Disneyland, though.
We blew through pretty quickly, doing Muppet 3D theater, Great Movie Ride, and Star Tours but refusing to wait for Toy Story Mania and too late to get fastpass, and my sister and father rode on Tower of Terror. She nagged me about not riding, and I responded that if she did the 10 miler with me I would go on it. That shut her up.
I ideally didn’t want to go to a park Saturday. In fact, I ideally wanted to sleep in and be lazy by the pool but as with all things our ideal scenario rarely works out well if at all. Unlike races you might do in other places, Disney makes you feel like you need to go out and do something, which normally means walking around, standing in line, and exhausting yourself. lesson 2: If you’re racing in Disney, learn to say no.
After MGM, we headed back to the Beach Club and immediately went to Beaches and Creme for lunch. I LOVE Beaches and Creme. I don’t know why. It’s not that I find the food amazing, there are no reservations and you have to wait to eat in a relatively small, tight restaurant, but I love kitsch, the ice cream options, and the onion rings so I just roll with it. I opted for a caesar salad with onion rings and french fries but didn’t end up eating most of it. It was at this point that I remember, “oh yeah, I should drink water…” and started chugging. The verdict from my father was that the orange sherbert “frozen sunshine” milkshake was delicious and the restaurant was “eh, not bad.”
When we headed up to our rooms, it was then that I realized the close proximity of the UK Pavilion because we could hear the British Invasion cover band from our balcony. Loud and clear. Everything from the Beatles covers to Kashmir by Led Zeppelin. Conducive to napping? No. Plus the lazing by the pool wasn’t the best idea given it wasn’t exactly warm out when the sun went behind some clouds sooo… I dozed in bed while my sister watched the Real Housewives marathon. lesson 3: Once you get comfy in bed, it’s hard to get yourself to do anything.