Top 10 Vacation Tips To Save Money in Walt Disney World

If you have been hanging around here more than one second, you know that I love all things Disney, and this of course includes vacationing in Walt Disney World. However, it can be very expensive to vacation there especially if you have kids. Over the years I have learned a thing or two to help cut costs while still having a ton of fun. Some things just don’t matter as much if it means you get to still go to your happy place, right? Check out my top 10 10 vacation tips to save money in Walt Disney World:

Save Money in Walt Disney World

1.) Bring food from home or order groceries: All WDW hotels have mini fridges, and all DVC (disney vacation club) rooms have microwaves, and 1, 2, and 3 bedroom DVC villas have full kitchens. If you are driving to WDW, bring food with you or stop when you get to Orlando for groceries. If you are flying, take advantage of grocery delivery services like Garden Grocer. One of my favorite Disney memories is staying at a DVC resort and grilling burgers and eating outside with the family at picnic tables. (Yes all villa resorts have grills!) We aren’t big breakfast eaters so have brought milk, cereal, and protein bars for breakfast, and even made sandwiches for lunch. It saves a ton of money because let’s face it, Disney food is pricey.

2.) Purchase base tickets: Choose a base ticket instead of a park hopper to save money. Remember, with a base ticket you can only go into one park per day, but you can go in and out of that park as many times as you want. If you have little ones, consider going to a park in the morning, then going back to your resort for a nap and swim, then head back to the park in the early evening.

Save Money in Walt Disney World

3.) Target gift cards: If you have a Target red card, you already (hopefully) know you save 5% on all purchases. Did you know this includes Disney gift cards? Pick up a couple everytime you shop at Target then save them for your trip. You can even pay off your hotel or package balance with them.

 

4.) Souvenirs from home: Disney shirts, toys, and the like are SO expensive. Like it’s painful. Thankfully, I have a Disney Store outlet near my house with great prices. I have bought toys and clothes for Emma Kate there and then given them to her when we are at Disney. We have even surprised her in the morning and said “Mickey or Tinkerbell left her a present overnight”. This way we can stay out of the stores and save some money. You can literally find a lot of the same toys from the parks at the outlet (there is even one in Orlando near Disney!) or online when the Disney Stores has sales.

5.) Bring your own water:  We always bring out own water from home by the case, but you can also bring a refillable water bottle, or ask for free ice water in a cup at any counter service location. A bottle of water at WDW is $3+, and I can get a whole case for that much. Save your money for other things!

6.) Choose where you stay wisely: There are tons of on site WDW hotels, and if you go at certain times of the year and are flexible with your dates, you can go when prices are lowest and snag a resort of package discount, maybe even free dining. However, don’t be afraid to look outside Disney property. There are several great hotels near Disney Springs as well that can save you a lot of money. Remember, holidays and summer are the most expensive and most crowded.

Save Money in Walt Disney World

 7.) Chase Disney Visa: We have a Chase Disney Visa credit card that we use for everyday purchases (please note, we pay it off in full every month!) and we earn points that translate into Disney dollars. (holla!) We use the cards for everything from gas to daycare bills to groceries and money adds up fast! I have a friend who paid for 3/4 of a Disney cruise with her points, so it is like getting free money! They also offer merchandise discounts as well around the parks.

8.) Share meals: At the sit down restaurants (not the fancy ones) we have found that portion sizes are quite large, and Emma Kate and I can easily split a meal. You can always get a mickey bar or popsicle later if you are still hungry, which is actually what I prefer anyway. 🙂

9.) Have an “off” day: Disney Springs has been revamped over the past couple of years and now it’s a destination in and of itself. The best thing? It’s free! (well, unless you have a shopping problem.) Free parking, free wifi, free live music, and chocolate samples. You can also play with Legos and there is a splash pad area that has kept Emma Kate entertained many times while we eat outside at Earl of Sandwich. Take a day “off” from the parks in the middle of your trip and hit up Disney Springs for a half day, then spend a half day at the pool, or ride the monorail around and look at some of the gorgeous hotel lobbies.

10.) Bring your own stroller: Lastly, if you have small kids, bring your own stroller. This will save you from renting from an outside company or renting one of the uncomfortable hard plastic ones from the parks, which by the way you cannot take back to your hotel. It may not be a huge savings but every little bit counts when you want to have the vacation of your dreams!

Save Money in Walt Disney World

Related: Tips for Pandora with a Preschooler

5 Things Friday XXXI

Hey-o! Happy Friday my friends. We made it through another week, which means time to catch up on some things that I either haven’t mentioned on the blog or that you may have missed on social media. (Psstt Follow me on Instagram and Twitter for the most up to the minute happenings!)

1.) Dumbo Teaser: Did you know that there is a live action version of the beloved story of Dumbo coming out in early 2019? YES! I grew up on this Movie, and Emma Kate’s “must do” ride every time we go to Magic Kingdom is Dumbo. I can’t wait for us to watch this together! Take a peek at the teaser now:

2.) Bermuda, Bahama, come on pretty mama: Bobby and I are heading out on a press trip with Carnival Cruise lines next week, and we will be going to a new to me port (Bermuda) on the new to EVERYONE ship, the Carnival Horizon! I had the privilege of checking out this beauty at the naming ceremony last month, and can’t wait to sail on her for four nights with some other amazing bloggers. I will have wifi on the ship and will do my best to update as much as I can, signal permitting (again, the best place for updates will be Twitter and Instagram/Instagram stories).

carnival horizon

3.) Nerd Alert: If you follow my Instastories you may have already seen this, but lately I have been having problems with fatigued eyes, headaches, and having a hard time falling asleep at night. I decided to take the plunge and get some blue light blocking glasses. I found some cheap ones with great reviews on Amazon, and so far I am loving them! My eyes don’t feel so worn down at night, and I am falling asleep way faster than before. You can check out the affiliate link for the ones I purchased here.

4.) Action Hero: I was invited to be a Women’s Health Action hero! I will be partnering with them on different campaigns throughout the rest of the year, testing out products and things and telling you which I like, and why. It’s an amazing encouraging and uplifting program and I am so thankful to be a part of it. Look for #WHActionHero on social media for more.

5.) Adventure Island: Last weekend, Bobby and I took Emma Kate and my parents to Adventure Island courtesy of the water park, and we had a blast! We had never been and I will admit I was super impressed. It’s so fun to know something so great is just a few minutes from my house, and I hope we get to go back (especially because I totally want to rent one of the super cool cabanas!) Emma Kate loved the splash pad area with slides and more, and we even all went down a super fast and cool raft ride together (EK and my mom were not fans but they did good!) Bobby rode the brand new Vanish Point slide and said it was a lot of fun, and an adrenaline rush as you anticipate the floor dropping out from under you (YES it happens my friends!) Check out AdventureIsland.com for a fun promo they have going on through July 1 that involves Busch Gardens.

5 Things Friday XXX

Greetings! It’s been awhile since I did one of these posts (like, October!) so I thought it was high time to do a little catching up for those who don’t regularly follow my Instagram stories.

1.) Great but quick trip to NYC: I wrote a post about the naming ceremony and my time on the Carnival Horizon, but I haven’t talked a lot about my evening in the city and the next morning before getting on the boat.  Carnival put us up at the Sheraton Times Square, so we were right in the middle of the action. Amanda and I walked down 5th Avenue, past the Plaza hotel, and all through Central Park (even to the fountain from FRIENDS, see below). I have been to NYC one other time but not to the park and was super pumped to check it off my bucket list. The weather was rainy and chilly, but that didn’t stop us.

2.) Moving on up: The way Emma Kate’s daycare is structured, they go ahead and move children up at the start of summer instead of fall. Even though she turns 4 in September, she misses the cut off of September 1, so she moved from the young 3’s to the older 3’s this week, and I cannot believe how much she has changed in a year! Below is her last day of 2’s vs. last day of young 3’s and she had changed so much. I’m happy for her but sad for me at the same time. My little toddler is no longer so little.

3.) Timehop Sweetness: Some days I really dislike Timehop and things it reminds me of, but some days I love it! I was reminded yesterday that it has been TEN YEARS since we brought Bella home to be a part of our family. How adorable was she as a puppy?!? Dying over here. She was so tiny that she had a hard time jumping over the threshold to get in and out the back door.

4.) Disney Day: I have a gold Florida resident pass which means I am only blocked out for Christmas and spring break, but Bobby and EK are blocked out all summer as well after this weekend, so we are going to brave the crowds and go to the Magic Kingdom on Saturday with my parents. I just want to soak it all in one last time as a family before fall….along with every other family in central Florida I’m sure! Be sure to follow along on my Instagram stories and on Twitter.

5.) Make money blogging: I have gotten a lot of questions over the years about how to work with and pitch brands and how to make money blogging and via social media. Well I finally got my rear in gear and created a quick guide you can purchase. Check it out here and let me know if you have any questions, I’m happy to help! 

SOLO: A Star Wars Story Giveaway!

The newest Star Wars movie SOLO: A Star Wars Story, comes out SO SOON, so in preparation, myself and a few other Disney loving bloggers decided to host a giveaway!

This prize pack is worth over $300, and there is no purchase necessary to enter.

YES!!!! One (1) WINNER will receive a SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY inspired gift pack, with new collectibles and toys from Disney / Star Wars. The STAR WARS gift pack giveaway includes:

GET EXCITED! This is hosted by The Positive MOM and Disney Mom guide, as well as myself and…

Co-Hosts: The Momma Diaries, The Jedi Father, Mom Start, Dangerous Cupcake Lifestyle, Living One Full Life, Life Food Family, Life In Pumps, Two Married Geeks, Thirty Mommy, See Lindsay, WhollyART, Raising Three Savvy Ladies, No Guilt Life, Centered Mama, Heather Lopez Enterprises, My Mommy Style, Picturing Disney, The Healthy Mouse, Fancy Shanty, Classy Mommy, Ottawa Mommy Club, Southern Family Lifestyle, The Farm Girl Gabs, Susan’s Disney Family, 3 Decades 3 Kids, and Dellah’s Jubilation.

SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY opens in theaters on May 25th and you can now get tickets now! Check out the trailer below:

Solo: A Star Wars Story Official Trailer

Watch the new trailer for Solo: A Star Wars Story and see it in theaters May 25.

Ok, on to entering the giveaway. Just check out the Rafflecoptor widget below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

6 Tips for Running the runDisney Wine and Dine Half Marathon

The runDisney Wine and Dine half marathon weekend is definitely a favorite of mine because I love to eat, and naturally love EPCOT’s Food and Wine Festival. This is also a great time of year to visit Walt Disney World as it’s starting to slowly cool off, and Christmas decorations are starting to go up!

rundisney wine and dine half marathon tips

Since this race has switched to a daytime race, I decided to update my tips post so that it makes more sense for the current race weekend situation. Here are my best tips for running the Wine and Dine half marathon.

rundisney wine and dine half marathon tips

1.) Hydrate in advance: Don’t wait until the night before to decide to start drinking water. The race will be HUMID and you will sweat a lot. Carry a water bottle with you days in advance, at the expo, to the parks, etc. Also hydrate on the course. There are plenty of water stops. I take one cup of Powerade and one cup of water at each stop starting with the second one. (I typically run through the first one).

rundisney wine and dine half marathon tips

2.) Prepare for before and after the race: If you are checking a bag, make sure you don’t put any valuables inside as runDisney is not responsible for anything stolen. If I’m driving I put my car key in my bag as well as a phone external battery and charger and a jacket because I always get cold quickly after a race. If you are meeting someone at the finish line, make sure you have a plan as to where you are meeting because cell service may be spotty with all the people in one small area.

rundisney wine and dine half marathon tips

3.) Watch your footing: runDisney does a great job of lighting up the roads, there are still some dark spots early in the morning and I have seen people trip and fall on the reflectors in the middle of the road! Also, running through Animal Kingdom will be tight, and has some uneven pavement so pay extra attention running through that park.

rundisney wine and dine half marathon tips

4.) Watch your food intake: Do not eat any news foods the day of or before the race. I know the unique foods at the Food and Wine festival are tempting, but save it for after the race and at the after party! As far as on course calories, there will be either sport beans or gels, so make sure your stomach can handle it, or bring your own fuel.

rundisney wine and dine half marathon tips

5.) Read the official race program: Be sure you know the course, where the aid stations are, and what time to get on a bus. Be sure you get to the race in enough time to go to the bathroom and check your bag. A good reason to know the course: real bathrooms! You will be running through the parks, so I always try to take a bathroom break if needed in a “real” bathroom. There is also a map showing you the set up of the pre race area and where to go to get in your corral. If you are in corral A in particular, they close it off early and start moving them up around 5:00. I have missed my corral before and had to weave through a lot of people to get up to A because they had already moved to the starting line. Not a fun experience!

rundisney wine and dine half marathon tips

6.) Enjoy the after party! If you registered for the half marathon, you get automatic entry into the party at EPCOT on Sunday night. It starts at 10:00, and be mindful if you get there early that they shut everything down from 9-10 to clear out the park so you won’t be able to get food or ride anything during this time. Take lots of pictures, enjoy the food booths and a park with less people in it. Congrats on a great race!

To get excited about the race, be sure to check out my past two Wine and Dine race recaps from 2011 and 2012! Be sure to follow me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

QOTD: Will you be running this weekend? Do you have any tips to add?

Looking for more info on runDisney races? be sure to check out their website for more information!

Summer Movie Excitement

WOW there is a lot going on these days in the movie world. I’m sure you have all seen the excitement over how well Avengers Infinity War is doing in theaters, and you all know about Solo: A Star Wars Story coming out at the end of this month. I wanted to share a few little “extras” with you that you may not have heard about or seen, so let’s take a peek!

First up, Disney Nature’s all-new film PENGUINS is coming out just in time for Earth Day next year, and a trailer has been released! Check out this synopsis and the trailer below:

Disneynature’s all-new feature film PENGUINS is a coming-of-age story about an Adélie penguin named Steve who joins millions of fellow males in the icy Antarctic spring on a quest to build a suitable nest, find a life partner and start a family.  None of it comes easily for him, especially considering he’s targeted by everything from killer whales to leopard seals, who unapologetically threaten his happily ever after.”

Disneynature’s Penguins Official Trailer

Watch the all-new trailer for Disneynature’s Penguins, coming to theatres Earth Day 2019! Disneynature’s all-new feature film “Penguins” is a coming-of-age story about an Adélie penguin named Steve who joins millions of fellow males in the icy Antarctic spring on a quest to build a suitable nest, find a life partner and start a family.

I know Infinity War is on everyone’s minds these days, I men how impressive that it is breaking all the records! This movie was ten years in the making, and I wanted to share a great new featurette that talks about the Avengers going to Wakanda. Check it out:

 

Wakanda Revisited | Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Infinity War

“We don’t fight for one life. We fight for all of them.”

Lastly, I have a trailer for Marvel Studios’ ANT-MAN AND THE WASP, which opens in theaters everywhere on July 6th. Check out the story line below:

“From the Marvel Cinematic Universe comes ANT-MAN AND THE WASP, a new chapter featuring heroes with the astonishing ability to shrink. In the aftermath of CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR, Scott Lang grapples with the consequences of his choices as both a Super Hero and a father. As he struggles to rebalance his home life with his responsibilities as Ant-Man, he’s confronted by Hope van Dyne and Dr. Hank Pym with an urgent new mission. Scott must once again put on the suit and learn to fight alongside the Wasp as the team works together to uncover secrets from the past.”

Marvel Studios’ Ant-Man and The Wasp – Official Trailer

Real heroes. Not actual size. Marvel Studios’ Ant-Man and The Wasp is In theaters July 6. ► Subscribe to Marvel: http://bit.ly/WeO3YJ Follow Marvel on Twitter: ‪https://twitter.com/marvel Like Marvel on FaceBook: ‪https://www.facebook.com/Marvel For even more news, stay tuned to: Tumblr: ‪http://marvelentertainment.tumblr.com/ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/marvel Google+: ‪https://plus.google.com/+marvel Pinterest: ‪http://pinterest.com/marvelofficial

So. Many. Things.

So. Many. Good. Movies.

So much to look forward to in the next couple of months! Which movie are you most excited about? Have you seen Infinity war yet?

 

runDisney Star Wars Half Marathon Race Recap 2018

When I ran last year’s runDisney Star Wars half marathon, I had no idea I would be running again this year. Thanks to the generosity of Raw Threads, I was able to do the challenge and I had a blast! I ran both races by myself and just had fun (and yes my lack of training was disturbing) but it didn’t matter, I was in my happy place.

runDisney Star Wars Half Marathon Race Recap

My alarm went off at 3:15, and I had no idea if it was raining or not. (Before I went to bed it was looking like it was going to be a soggy run.) I got dressed and headed out to my car, and there was no rain! I drove the easy drive over to EPCOT, and sat in my car and ate breakfast before walking over to the buses. I again went to the bathroom here as opposed to at the Magic Kingdom (DO THIS. Lines were INSANE at MK parking!) I got on a bus around 4:35, and made it to the start of the race and into my corral at 5:05. I really liked not having to wait so long in the corral, and didn’t mind driving to EPCOT at all. It was all pretty relaxed!

runDisney Star Wars Half Marathon Race Recap

Soon corral C was moving up, and I got a shout out from race announcer Rudy before the fireworks went off and we started the race. I try not to do a ton of “thinking” at the start of a half marathon because I can easily psych myself out. Mile one hits and you think “crap I have to do this 12 more times!” The first several miles were boring and dark (and smelly, running by one of the plants) with a few characters scattered about. I stopped for one, this little guy.

runDisney Star Wars Half Marathon Race Recap

Soon  we headed into Animal Kingdom. I had a cut on one of my toes from the day before, and my band aid came off around this time and was in my sock driving me crazy. So when we got to Pandora I took my shoe and sock off, stopped to do an Instagram story, and also went to the bathroom (no rushing for me haha!)

runDisney Star Wars Half Marathon Race Recap

I enjoy running through Animal Kingdom I think because I have run through it the fewest number of times. Something I really liked about this race that I now remember from last year are the abundance of character opposites. So. Many. Characters. As we were leaving Animal Kingdom, there were literally about 10 different photo oops, so I just got in line and started taking selfies (not posting them all because there were so many!)

runDisney Star Wars Half Marathon Race Recap

As I was standing in line, I spotted someone familiar right in front of me. Dave! Back in the day Dave and I ran Wine and Dine half together. Maybe 2011, 2012? I Hadn’t seen him in years so it was great to catch up for a minute!runDisney Star Wars Half Marathon Race Recap

 

This one was kinda creepy but fun! About this time it started sprinkling on us but thankfully never turned into a full blown rain.

 

runDisney Star Wars Half Marathon Race Recap

 

After spending about ten minutes taking photos, I decided to move on because I knew the longer I was on my feet the more it was going to hurt!runDisney Star Wars Half Marathon Race Recap

 

I was then back out on the road, headed towards Hollywood Studios. These couple of miles were pretty boring, but I took some sport beans, some Twizzlers from a stranger, and lots of Powerade to combat the humidity and trudged on. I made the turn into Hollywood Studios, took more photos with characters (not posting them all, again there are so many!) and knew I was getting “close” and at least the rest of the race would have interesting things to look at. runDisney Star Wars Half Marathon Race Recap

 

runDisney Star Wars Half Marathon Race Recap

Almost as soon as I came in, I was out of the park and on the Boardwalk. Thankfully I had stayed enough ahead of the masses that it wasn’t bottle necked yet. I did stop for this fun photo around that time though.

runDisney Star Wars Half Marathon Race Recap

By this time I was ready for it to be over and said I wasn’t stopping anymore (I ended up stopping for two more pictures!) I mean I couldn’t resist this guy.

Now I was in EPCOT and int he home stretch. I enjoy this part of the course because we go all the way around World Showcase like at the end of the full marathon.

runDisney Star Wars Half Marathon Race Recap

I stopped one last time in front of the EPCOT ball for a quick picture and then came on home. Actually, there was one more stop right before the final turn. I just couldn’t run by when there were no lines haha! I videoed the finish for Instagram as I ran through, and I finished around 2:45. I got my half medal and challenge medal, and headed to the car. No photo taking this time, I wanted to get off my feet and out of my soaking wet clothes.

runDisney Star Wars Half Marathon Race Recap

Yes it was humid, yes it was hard being untrained, but I had so much fun and am so glad I decided to run. runDisney will always hold a special place in my heart, and I don’t see myself turning down any of those races anytime soon!

Tips for Running a runDisney Race

I have gotten a lot of questions from people about runDisney races over the years. Tips for getting the most out of the weekend, what to expect, when to go where, special things to note that are different from regular races. Well, I thought it was high time to compile all of my info into a blog post of tips for running a runDisney race to share with you all!

tips for running a rundisney race

 

 

Expo: Try to get to the expo the first day it is open if you are able. Merchandise can run out, especially in popular sizes, after the first day. For marathon weekend, all the Goofy merchandise was sold out by Friday afternoon, and the expo had a line to even get into the building!

tips for running a rundisney race


Waivers: A couple weeks before the race, waivers will become available online and you will be able to see what corral you are in for the half and full marathon. Feel free to print it out in advance, but there will be printers at the expo you can use if you forget. Remember, you have to PERSONALLY pick up your own bib and show a photo ID.

Characters: There are plenty of characters along the course, especially within the parks. Have your phone or camera out and ready to hand to the cast member, and give them any instructions you want to give. They aren’t all “great” at photo taking, I had to tell the to tap the screen to focus the picture after getting a few blurry ones. Bummer. There will also be professional photopass photographers on the course and at some of the character stops, so be sure your bib is visible to the camera when they are taking your photo. If you purchase Memory Maker or if you are a gold or higher annual passholder (for FL residents) you get all the photos for free! Huge perk in my opinion!

tips for running a rundisney race

Fueling: There are PLENTY of aid stations and I have never brought my own water bottle. There was water and Powerade available about every 1.5 miles. I do bring my own fuel/gel minus one for the half and two for the full (there is one clif shots or sport bean stop during the half, and two during the full). If you aren’t used to taking these products, be sure to bring your own or practice with them before the race. These are the ones I take and love. They taste like vanilla frosting!

Hotels: Be sure to stay at a host hotel on property (or at Hilton Bonnet Creek, they have half and full marathon transportation) for the least amount of stress come race morning.  Not only will you be surrounded by other runners, but it is the only way to have official race and expo transportation, which is important when you don’t have a car!

*Bonnet Creek note. While they do NOT have a bus for the 5k or 10k, I drove myself to these races and there was no traffic in the morning, and it was super easy. You could also Uber for very cheap as it’s less than a 10 min drive.

tips for running a rundisney race

Transportation: There are buses outside of the host resorts to take you to the expo and the race and back if you stay on property. Typically there are big signs out front of the resorts directing you to race transportation pick up. If you aren’t sure be sure to check with the front desk at your hotel. After the race, there are buses near the family reunion area to take you back to your resort, just look for the signs so you know which line to get into. Keep in mind the time when you decide to get on a bus. There is a LONG walk from the family reunion area to the corrals for marathon weekend (half and full) and Princess weekend (half), and it is a slow walk full of people, so allow yourself even more time than you think you would ever need. Trust me on this one!

Sweepers: You have to keep a 16:00 per mile pace or you will be swept off the course. They have busses at certain cut off points to transport those who cannot maintain pace. Keep in mind Disney doesn’t start the timer as far as SWEEPERS go until everyone crosses the start line, so you have a bit of a head start as long as you aren’t the last one to start. Try to get to the front of your corral to have more time.

tips for running a rundisney race

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weather: You can’t control the weather, neither can Disney. I have run in Disney in weather in the 20’s and in the upper 70’s. Be prepared when you pack for ALL weather situations, they can quickly change. A garbage bag is a good alternative to a poncho, and remember that if you throw off old sweatshirts, etc. Disney picks them all up and gives them to charity. runDisney has had to cancel a race before due to lightning, so just make sure you pay attention as they will make announcements for these types of situations on social media.

RELATED: I love this jacket for running!

tips for running a rundisney race

Finish line/family reunion area: After you cross the finish line and get your medal, Disney will give you water, Powerade, and a little box of snacks. Then you can take photos, get your bag at gear check pickup, and meet your family in the family reunion area. There are big signs with letters on them so plan a meeting spot to meet up with friends and family after you finish the race otherwise you may be wandering around for awhile because cell reception is horrible with so many people in one place.

Training: There are training programs on the runDisney website to help you get ready for your big race day!

Gear check: Disney gives you a big clear bag when you get your race shirt, and there is a sticker with numbers on it, you put it on the front of your bag (or they will give you a sticker race morning, depending on the race) and this makes it your gear check bag (be sure to tie a knot in the top of the bag so your stuff doesn’t fall out!) I pack my Magic Band for walking back through EPCOT to our hotel if I feel like it and am staying in the EPCOT resort area, my license and keys if driving, flip flops, a jacket, a towel, and my hotel room key if staying off property.

Corrals/proof of time: You are put into a corral based on your proof of time from a 10k race or longer. If you have no proof of time, you will be put towards the back. Be sure to put an accurate proof of time, runDisney checks them and puts you into a corral accordingly. There IS a cut off date for proof of time! The volunteers DO check corrals and have flashlights to read your bib to make sure you are going into the right ones.

tips for running a rundisney race

Bathrooms: There are plenty of port-o-potties at the start, but there will still be lines so arrive early. There are some at the family reunion area but we usually skip these and use the ones right before you get into the corrals, they usually have shorter lines. There are also potties all along the course, but we usually try to wait and use the “real” bathrooms in the parks. There are some you run right by in Tomorrowland in the Magic Kingdom, as well as in Frontierland. When running the full we have stopped at the ones at the Ticket and Transportation center as well, and you run right by some in Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios.

 

tips for running a rundisney race

Family fun run/5k: The 5k is typically the day before the 10k, early in the morning. It is a fun run, but you still get a shirt, bib, and medal. There are characters along the course, and it’s a fun relaxing way to get a taste for runDisney racing. The 5k typically doesn’t fill up as fast as the half marathon. No strollers allowed.

tips for running a rundisney race

Kids races: The littlest runners can take part in runDisney races too! There are kids races at the Wide World of sports (think diaper dash and kids one mile run). These typically take place Friday and Saturday at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex. Kids get a shirt and a medal. Emma Kate has done 2 and loves it!

tips for running a rundisney race

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spectating: Have a plan! Disney has info for spectators on their website. The chEAR squad packages are nice, but not necessary to see someone at the finish. I know a lot of spectators that catch their runners at multiple points during the races, relying on Disney transportation to get them around and the monorail to the finish line.

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I also have some personal tips….

-Have FUN! runDisney races are great for running with friends and family Don’t take yourself too seriously!

-Take lots of photos! Where else do you get to run through a castle and get character photos in your running gear? Enjoy the cool things you don’t get to do at other races

-Be prepared. All right boy scouts, always be prepared for any situation. Don’t forget things like chapstick, tissues, layers to keep warm, sunscreen, and your camera.

-Wear your medal around the parks after the race, be proud! Other runners will be doing the same.

-Bring extra safety pins in case there aren’t any or enough in your bag or you lose them (guilty).

-If you are wearing a costume practice in it beforehand to make sure it doesn’t rub or chafe. I use body glide especially when wearing costumes!

-Need packing advice? Check out my “packing for a runDisney race” vlog to make sure you have everything you need!

-Check out the runDisney website and Facebook page, they are always updating them with great info and photos to get you pumped up!

-Check out my runDisney page for lots of tips and race recaps from past races!

QOTD: What are your best tips for running a runDisney race I have left off?

*This post contains affiliate links.

Star Wars 10k Race Recap 2018

Thanks to my friends at Raw Threads, I was able to run the Star Wars Dark Side Challenge this year. First up, my recap of the 10k race.

Since I was staying off property, I woke up at 3:15 then drove my car to EPCOT and hopped on a bus to the Magic Kingdom parking lot. It was super easy and not stressful at all, plus I got to sleep later than normal so I was fine with it. I got in B corral at 5:00, just as they were moving A to the starting line and preparing B to move in behind them.

I had no goals for the race really. I was very under trained, but thought I would try to run hard and just “see what happened.” I knew I was going to stop for photos the next day during the half so I didn’t really worry with it for the 10k. I tried to get as close to the front of the corral as I could, and just took off when the fireworks blasted above my head. It was dark. Really dark. I couldn’t see my Garmin so I just ran by feel. The first three miles are really boring because you just run straight down World Drive in the dark. I would glance at my Garmin every now and then when we went under a light and I was consistently running in the 9:00’s but I don’t know what I was running when I wasn’t looking in the light so I just wasn’t really sure what my overall time was going to end up being.

It was super humid and it started to get to me about halfway through, as did my lack of training. However I only stopped one time and it was to take a GU and drink some powerade. We finally made it to Hollywood Studios and things got more fun since there was a lot more to look at.

I made it across to the Boardwalk, and there were several people out cheering. I got into EPCOT, and that last mile was tough for me. I wasn’t looking at my Garmin (still dark) and honestly I didn’t want to know. I was pushing pretty hard, not I’m going to throw up hard but I was giving it a good try. I crossed the finish line in straight up 59 minutes, about 30 seconds slower than my PR. Of course I wanted to PR but was proud of my effort and how close I got!

After I got my medal I stood in a couple of character photo lines since I was by myself and didn’t really have anything else to do. Plus I knew the lines would be a lot longer the next day.

Aside from the boring first couple of miles, I definitely enjoyed the back half of this course. There were a lot of characters out for photo opportunities and it’s a must for any Star Wars fan!

Our Polynesian Vacation

My family and I had a blast on our vacation to Walt Disney World resort last week, and I wanted to share some of the highlights with you in case you missed me live posting on Instagram stories. My parents are Disney Vacation Club members, and last year we stayed with them in a two bedroom villa at Bay Lake Tower. While it was wonderful and huge, we didn’t want to spend as many points this year so we only stated 3 nights, and we all 5 stayed in one studio villa. Yup, you heard that right.

It was a tight squeeze, but we were literally only in the room to sleep so it worked out fine. Plus, the room had two bathrooms (kind of, two showers and sinks), so that helped us to spread out a little bit. We arrived early Friday morning, checked in, and then headed straight to the Magic Kingdom. Having a small child in a stroller, staying on the monorail is a HUGE plus. No stroller folding, and quick easy access to the Magic Kingdom.

We rode the mine train (my dad’s first time) while my mom took Emma Kate to see some princesses, we rode Ariel, as well as Winnie the Pooh and Aladdin’s Magic Carpets. We recently introduced Emma Kate to the movie Aladdin, so she was pumped to ride the carpet ride! After lunch at Columbia Harbor House, my dad got his hair cut, and Bobby and I decided to take EK back to the Polynesian. We got our things from the car to the room since it was ready, and then mom and dad met us there shortly thereafter.

We loved our room and building location, and even had a pool view plus sideways castle view! We were hoping the wee one would nap, but no such luck, so we decided to head to the pool. Emma Kate LOVED the splash pad area when we were there over a year ago and I had been talking up the “awesome slides” for days, and she was so excited. We lucked out and were able to get chairs right in front of the splash pad area, and Emma Kate played for over three hours going up and down the stairs and the slides. I was tired just watching her!

 

Bobby and I had a “date” that night at the Grand Floridian Cafe, so we got showered and changed and took the monorail over for an early dinner. Honestly, my food was not good at all, but we used to really like this place (Bobby did like his food) so not sure if I just picked a bad menu item or what. After we ate, we walked around for a bit then decided to walk back to the Polynesian since the weather was so nice.

 

We split a Dole Whip then called it a night, and were all in bed at 9:00!

The next day we went to EPCOT. (pro tip: walk to the transportation and Ticket Center from the Poly instead of riding the monorail all the way around!) My parents had not seen the Flower and Garden Festival yet, so we rode the Frozen ride, met Mickey Minnie and Goofy, then walked around the world showcase to look at the flowers. I of course got one of my favorite ever adult beverages in France and we decided to head back to the hotel because Emma Kate was begging to go back to the pool.

Once again we lucked out with the chair situation, and ordered lunch from Captain Cook’s and ate by the pool (hello pulled pork nachos!) Emma Kate once again played for hours. This time we went back and forth from the big pool and big slide to the splash pad area. She played until 6:00! My parents went up about 4:00 to go on their dinner date but I figured, as long as she was happy we were staying at the pool. 
We watched the torch lighting ceremony, had some marshmallows at the campfire, and headed back to the room to get cleaned up. We ate jambalaya that my mom had cooked and brought with us (the villas have microwaves!) and just hung out in the room until my parents got back. We were all pretty wiped and we were in bed by 8:30!

The next day (Sunday) we went back to the Magic Kingdom to hit the things we didn’t do on Friday. We arrived right as it was opening, and grabbed breakfast from Starbucks and took our time heading over to Buzz Lightyear, the Peoplemover, Dumbo, and the Jungle Cruise.

We also watched the castle show with Emma Kate lloovveeess. We knew it was supposed to rain later in the afternoon, so we told Emma Kate it was her last chance to go to the pool if she wanted to do so, so we hopped on the monorail, headed back to the hotel, and ate by the pool again while Emma Kate played.

 

I was watching the radar, and watched it get darker and darker and knew it was about to rain. We decided to head up before we got soaked, and literally as soon as we got into the building it started MONSOONING outside! We lucked out and just missed it.

We then got cleaned up and ready for my dad’s birthday dinner at Trail’s End buffet. Again not wanting to use our car, we decided to take the monorail to the Magic Kingdom then a boat to Fort Wilderness. It worked out perfectly in between rain bands and just started to sprinkle as we got to the restaurant. Emma Kate was so good while we ate, and we enjoyed embarrassing my dad with some happy birthday singing by our waitress.

 

I saw another break in the rain on the radar, so we grabbed a boat from Fort Wilderness to the Contemporary, then took the monorail back to the Polynesian. My dad had to leave to drive home right after since he had to work the next day, which was sad because it made me feel like the trip was “over” even though we were still going to a park without him the next day.

Monday morning we packed up, loaded up my car, and headed to Animal Kingdom. It was COLD! The rain had brought a front through, and it was 53 degrees, which is insane for mid April in Florida! It was extra magic hours, so we arrived a few minutes before regular park opening and walked right onto the safari ride. We then hit up Starbucks before letting Emma Kate play for almost an hour at the Boneyard playground. She loves it there!

 

We were all tired so we decided to eat lunch at Flame Tree then call it a day and drive back to Tampa. I hate how fast fun trips go by, you just want to hang on as long as you can but poof, they are here and then gone in an instant. We had a wonderful 3.5 days in Disney with my family, and I wish we could have stayed longer, but Emma Kate was getting really worn out. She didn’t nap a single day we were there and played so hard.

I highly recommend staying on the monorail if you have small kids and can swing the cost. We loved how easy it was to get to everything and the activity and food options are top notch. I’m ready to go back! I am so thankful my parents have DVC and let us come stay with them for free!