5 Delicious Dishes To Try at the EPCOT International Flower and Garden Festival

Disclosure: I attended an event at Walt Disney World for the 25th anniversary of the flower and garden festival, however all opinions are my own.

The 25th anniversary of the EPCOT International Flower and Garden Festival is in full swing, and I was fortunate enough to get to taste some more delicious dishes at an event last week. (If you are not yet convinced you want to go to the festival check out my other post after reading this one!)

5 delicious dishes to try at Disney's EPCOT international flower and garden festival this year. So many outdoor kitchens for the 25th anniversary!

As I mentioned, this year marks the 25th year of the festival, and it was wonderful to get to hear from people who have been around since the beginning, and hear all about how the festival has changed over the years. Fun fact: Did you know that an artist used two cast members to “model” as Anna and Elsa in order to design the topiary for their characters? The poses we see are ones the girls came up with. How fun is that?!)

EPCOT International Flower and Garden Festival

Ok, so let’s get down to business. Like I said, I had the opportunity to try more of the festival offerings at the outdoor kitchens, and these are my (and Bobby’s, he added in one!) collective favorites from our sampling at the event:

1.) Spicy hot dog with pineapple chutney and plantain chips from the Pineapple Promenade. This is a fun twist on an old favorite, but be warned, it is quite spicy, so if that is not your thing, you may want to skip this one. I do love how the chips gave it a nice crunch!

EPCOT International Flower and Garden Festival

 

2.) Local wildflower honey-mascarpone cheesecake with orange blossom honey ice cream garnished with fennel pollen meringue kisses from The Honey Bee-Stro: This dessert was DELICIOUS and I may have had two. The cheesecake was so creamy and light, and the ice cream tasted amazing. I even loved the meringue kisses and I’m typically not a meringue kind of gal. Do not miss this one.

EPCOT International Flower and Garden Festival

3.) Pulled pig slider with coleslaw from The Smokehouse: This was probably my favorite non-dessert food that I tried. It had excellent flavor, and don’t worry, you can get it without the coleslaw! 

EPCOT International Flower and Garden Festival

4.) Spicy blackened shrimp and cheddar cheese grits with brown gravy and local sweet corn relish from Florida Fresh: This is one of Bobby’s contributions since I don’t eat seafood, but I did try the corn and grits with gravy and they were good! Bobby said the shrimp tasted fresh and we both said the corn/gravy had a little kick to it but it wasn’t unbearably spicy.

EPCOT International Flower and Garden Festival

5.) House-made potato and cheddar cheese biscuit with smokes salmon tartare from Cider House: Another one that was all Bobby, but he said he enjoyed the mix of the flavors of the biscuit and the salmon together. I tried one of the biscuits and it was delicious enough just to eat by itself!

EPCOT International Flower and Garden Festival

There are so many more things to taste at the outdoor kitchens, this is just a sampling. The flower and garden festival is bigger than ever and running longer than ever, and they have pulled out all the stops for the 25th anniversary. Be sure to make a visit before it’s gone May 28th. You can thank me later!

5 Reasons to Visit the EPCOT International Flower and Garden Festival

Disclosure: I attended a media event at EPCOT and was able to try out some of the delicious food and drinks, however I was not asked to write this post and all opinions are my own.

5 reasons to visit the EPCOT International Flower and Garden Festival this spring at Walt Disney World Resort

Every spring, Epcot is blanketed in gorgeous flowers, topiary figures and gardens, and is peppered with delicious food and drink booths. It’s one of my favorite times of year to visit Walt Disney World, and the weather is the best at this time of year, too. Every year EPCOT seems to outdo itself and this year’s festival is definitely one you won’t want to miss. I could go on and on about why, but I have condensed it down to the top five reasons to visit the EPCOT International Flower and Garden Festival this year. Check it out:

 

1.) Flowers: This one is kind of a given, but if you love nature and the beauty that surrounds us every day, you will love seeing EPCOT decked out in bursts of color and some of your favorite characters in plant and flower form. Emma Kate loved spotting her favorites like Daisy, and the clear blue sky gave us a beautiful backdrop. I love spring in Walt Disney World! These fun characters can be found all over the park as well as gorgeous gardens, even one with butterflies!

2) Merchandise: Who doesn’t love a good Disney souvenir am I right? Not only is there a ton of new merchandise out just for the festival, but you can even buy these adorable gift cards to put on your wrist as you walk around the “world” sampling food and drink, and purchasing that new garden statue or cute light up purple rose cup.

EPCOT International Flower and Garden Festival

The mouse ears pictures below are sure to be a hit! I just love the detailing.

EPCOT International Flower and Garden Festival

This is one of two magic bands available during the festival. Any collectors dream come true.

 

 

3.) Play area for kids: I have a very active three and a half year old, but happen to be a very tired mommy. I love the special play area for kids, not only because it keeps my child busy and exploring, but because it has chairs, and umbrellas, for tired walking feet. Double win for our family! This play are can be found on the right on your way into World Showcase.

 

4.) Garden Rocks concert series: Music lovers listen up! During the festival there will be over a dozen musical acts at 5:30, 6:45, and 8:00 pm on the Garden Rocks stage. There will be some old “familiar” faces as well as some new ones!

 

5.) Food: Not to be missed are the outdoor kitchens, which is my favorite part. There are over a dozen stops that open at 11:00 am daily. Check out the Disney Website for a list of all the kitchens and menu items. Below are some of my personal favorites.

 

  • Maple Popcorn Shake with Crown Royal Maple Whisky and
  • Griddled Maple Pound Cake with Warm Peach Compote and Sweet Corn Gelato

  • Beef Brisket Burnt Ends and Smoked Pork Belly Slider with Garlic Sausage, Chorizo, Cheddar Fondue and House-made Pickle

  • Toasted Pretzel Bread topped with Black Forest Ham and Melted Gruyère Cheese. (I had two of these!)

There were so many other delicious things to eat and drink but I just wanted to share my absolute MUST HAVES. I would love to know your favorites! So be sure to get to EPCOT as soon as you can. Don’t wait, because the festival will only be around until May 28th, 2018.

 

runDisney Wine and Dine 10K Recap 2017

At the beginning of November, I had the opportunity to run the runDisney Two Course Challenge, made up of the Wine and Dine 10K and half marathon. I registered last minute and was under trained, so I just had fun with it, and fun was definitely had!

I didn’t take many photos during the race since it was dark when I started and dark when I finished, but I did take some video, which is at the end of this post. I will give a brief recap though.

I woke up at 3:00 and met my friend Amanda to go to the bus at 3:45 (last bus is at 4:00 and we were at the back of the resort). We were on a bus within five minutes, and got to the start with TONS of time to kill. (Side note: notice how straight and thin my hair looks here? Remember this for later).

This is one thing I dislike, that you are forced to arrive so early if you use Disney transportation. It was a few minutes after 4:00 when we arrived and the race didn’t start until 5:30. We hung out at the start and just chatted, went to the bathroom, etc. and then said our goodbyes and headed into our respective corals. I got as close to the front as I could and sat down. This is where I stayed for about 40 minutes waiting for the race. I didn’t want to play on my phone too much as I didn’t want the battery to die, so it was honestly pretty boring, heh. Finally they started moving the corals up, and then the race started. I was in coral B, so thankfully didn’t have to wait too long.




I started running and immediately remembered something about runDisney races, you get zero time to warm up since you are sitting in a corral for so long, then you take off on cold muscles. By the time I realized it was happening, my leg that has been bugging me tightened up like crazy and I knew I was in for a long weekend. It wasn’t bad, but I could “feel” it if that makes sense. My quad tightened then it worked its way down to my knee by mile three and was hurting a little.

Honestly, the first 3 miles were really boring until we got into Hollywood Studios. I only saw I think one character in the park, and the line was super long so I passed. We then headed across the way to the Boardwalk It was so humid the decking was slippery so I had to be careful.

I saw the line for tourist Genie, and it was long but not SUPER long, so I hopped in line because, why not? I don’t know if I have ever taken a picture with him. (Notice how wavy my hair is now!)

It was nice to take a little breather in the super thick humidity, and then I moved on to EPCOT.

I saw these guys in Canada (do you think they wold be upset if they knew I never saw their movie?)

I then knew I was in the homestretch. It was so weird running here in the dark, it’s usually daylight by time I get to this point, and think I have only run in the dark here the year I did Dopey.

I made it that final familiar stretch I have run so many times, and crossed the finish line somewhere around 1:04. Not bad for all my stopping!

wine and dine 10k

I was smiling when I finished, which is all I cared about. I was so thankful to have the opportunity to run so last minute, and in my favorite place. It’s often during races I am reminded how truly blessed I am.

wine and dine 10k

Now on to the half marathon recap! But first, in case you missed it, here’s my expo recap, and don’t forget to check out my video below:

EPCOT International Flower and Garden Festival

Last week, Amanda and I visited Walt Disney World to wander around at EPCOT’S International Flower and Garden Festival. This yearly festival runs from March 1st until May 29th, and has food, fun, and of course…flowers!

flowerandgarden

A few years ago, the festival introduced “outdoor kitchens” taking advantage of the popularity of vacationers loving to try snack sized portions of food, which is a genius idea. There are 15 kitchens spread around the world showcase, two of them being newcomers this spring for the 24th year of the festival. You can use snack credits for many items as part of the Disney dining plan, and you can even pre purchase an adorable gift card that can be used as you eat around the world.

flowerandgarden4

flowerandgarden5

Don’t forget about the Garden Rocks concert series. These mini concerts will get you movin’ and shakin’ along with the music at the America Gardens Theatre. You can check out the full concert lineup here, as well as information on dining packages.

flowerandgarden1

There are also tons of adorable topiaries, exhibits, and gardens to see during your visit to EPCOT. With 13 topiaries sprinkled around the park, you are bound to get a few great photos with some of your favorite Disney characters in plant and flower form.

flowerandgarden3

A favorite of mine were the kid play areas. I know my daughter is going to flip when she sees these when we go back in April.

Be sure you don’t miss the bonsai and butterfly exhibits either, they are great for learning and teaching your kids, as well as just plain cool.

flower and garden

The festival center also has special weekend events for you to check out, and you can also sign up for special tours and events going on during this time, like the like the Royal tea garden tour. It looks super fun! Of course there is also tons of fun merchandise to purchase as well to commemorate this special occasion. You can find several booths selling everything from t-shirts to  mugs to garden essentials.

flowerandgarden6

Spring time is a great time to visit the Walt Disney World Resort, so be sure when you do, that you block off plenty of time to spend in beautiful EPCOT at the International Flower and Garden Festival.

QOTD: Have you ever visited Walt Disney World during this time? What is your favorite thing about the festival?

Emma Kate Does Disney: Part 5

Today is my last installment of our trip, check it out:

This was our last full day at Walt Disney World (see what we did in part 4 here), and we were headed to EPCOT. Emma Kate had been saying she wanted to meet Ana and Elsa for WEEKS, so our plan was to arrive early, do the standby line for the meet and greet, and then do our fastpass for the Frozen Ever After ride later that afternoon.

KohFzs_II7O2Z-Z1sIJ7ICBxjCc7wTTnt9b5-YtGTOspX92IB

Emma Kate just so happened to wake up REALLY early, so we played on the playground at Saratoga Springs for a bit and then just decided to go ahead and drive over to EPCOT. We had NO idea they were letting people in early, so we got lucky with a short standby line for Ana and Elsa.

VX_cqTXVCV6bAouOjZlwU5z3eJyAqP7fwLdeA-kf6i4pX92IB

We got closer and closer in line, and I started to hype Emma Kate up and get her ready to meet her favorite princesses. She said she was going to give them big hugs and smile pretty. Aaaannnddd this is what we got:

a63W_vZ9qXr7JJ8x4zf6tB-oo9X-Og8235hmOtBpUNUpX92IB

vF3igLipXkfUcbYgy327hm-t6A_3xhyaaRTnTHGev08pX92IB

She was TERRIFIED of Elsa and would not hug her. EK’s face just cracks me up! We moved on to Ana, and she warmed up enough to hug her, but she made it clear she was NOT happy about it.

sK_pDlcHBXLptbv2OyQOZ9QHifQfll1LMrwa42CNPDIpX92IB

US85swQWFctlabdsyKuWpyiHWNzdkcSQ7p8pNLTIVx8pX92IB

Bless it. Look at the side eye poor Ana is getting.

OBLK0vuySpAE1d6o1niwDwqKGRGHkorhaVDTm3Ulqj0pX92IB

kpahlftcTKLHVt2WAkP8xEpx6axHC3WtdI7My-NZjAQpX92IB

I die. Of course when we left she said she wanted to go hug Elsa…too late kid. We will try again when we go back in April and see if it’s any different. I think Emma Kate was just a bit overwhelmed.

After the princess photos, we headed over to ride the Nemo ride, and then check out the aquarium.

BMNyVRyFAa6cnHS6cfVrmwOwbVxu30f4Loe06km2ocEpX92IB

EK was going through a hardcore Nemo phase so she loved this ride.

tKn2Lw0Equ8UPoG2iEHazM9HySsQfXhHr6wNY5VRzRIpX92IB

After this, we rode Living with the Land. This is always a favorite of mine. I’m a total nerd and love seeing how they grow their fruit and veggies.

We walked around the world showcase and got some food and wine offerings. My dad tried sushi in Japan, and we all got food in Italy, and I had a glass of alcohol. Emma Kate was starting to get tired from her early wakeup, but it was time for our Frozen Ever After fastpasses. Our plan was to ride the ride, then let her nap in the stroller while we ate some more food and walked around.

We got in the fastpass line, and right as we got up to the front to get on a boat (we were literally the next ones to get on)…the ride broke down. I kid you not. We were in the loading area, so we just stood there for awhile, me holding Emma Kate. They turned all the lights on, evacuated people off the ride, and people began leaving. About this time, poor EK started to fall asleep in my arms. I decided to sit down against the wall with my dad and just let her sleep. We had nothing else to do, so may as well hold our front of the line spot and wait.

rvQasJVbzcpQbJTauBt5vupnIchBfOyN0o9Q_LL7pLspX92IB

Because we were right where you board and no longer in the actual que, we had plenty of space and started talking to a cast member from Norway who had been here for a few months. He was a super nice guy with zero accent, and he said he had worked very hard on his English. We talked about the differences in our countries, etc. all while waiting for the ride to come back up. Finally, about 45 minutes later, they started letting people board. Emma Kate woke up and was very confused, but she got to see the ride.

We were all pretty tired by this point, but we had to make one more stop for my favorite drink.

cUjB4kwiMs1Ia5P4S2YJ5LruTsFfiba13FizTix0BYQpX92IB

I couldn’t hold my huge toddler and drink my drink, so I put her in the stroller and she was NOT happy about it. She cried the whole way to the parking lot, which was super fun for everyone. Poor thing needed a longer nap.

We watched some football, took Emma Kate to the playground, and got ready to have friends over. A few years ago when we were staying club level at the Grand Floridian, my parents struck up a conversation with a nice couple and they have kept in touch. When we stayed at Saratoga four years ago, they come over one night and we BBQ’ed out by the playground and had a great time, so we did it again this trip!

Saratoga has a really nice covered pavilion with fans and picnic tables right next to the playground, we we all hung out while my dad cooked and Emma Kate could play. After dinner, they went home and Emma Kate went to bed. my mom watched her while my dad and I walked to Disney Springs (have I mentioned I LOVE the proximity of this resort to Disney Springs?)

lc7u6BjfmmIS2H9cwum77Lj10-YQSDG-OOuZkMgHpTwpX92IB

We walked through some of the shops and watched a show up on the stage. Then we decided to get ice cream from Ghirardelli and not tell my mom. However, my dad made a huge mistake and paid with his credit card, and my mom saw the bill when it came in so we were busted! Anyway, it was delicious, and a nice relaxing way to end out trip.

_XaMoNa7mx0z9O72s5__tTn1c71EXCYj1guNo6GuvogpX92IB

The next morning, I got up early and went for a quick run before we left.  I had not had the chance to run the whole trip since I was with Emma Kate 95% of the time, but I didn’t want to pass up a chance to run somewhere different. I went out while it was still dark, and it was so nice and peaceful.

bNrQ-k8f0QdP9mBfv3mCVaRhoo1Gyf5PknPjaZeuKwspX92IB

After I got back and showered, we loaded up the car and started our long (long long) drive home. With it being my first time to take a toddler to Disney, I learned a lot.

It was Halloween, and we decided to stop and spend the night in Destin to break up the trip. We went to the beach that afternoon and Emma Kate was not a fan of the sand.

GIF6ZFlpN2Y6QyhtRnKIUgEleNNEMyxrP5xnVDqvNwwpX92IB

jUadoCDbhauPDEh0igta2MspsSe2nV__Zw5eeo2kU40pX92IB

I found out that there was trick or treating at the outlet mall, so that’s exactly what we did!

j6Tl6Svmqu1N8DRgICmz7Toqrot1XOzGiS7CtFaY2gopX92IB

Fc0cU8RX6xwheYJ0doqQwqn3gDGPefH-yEq-cYgLzUspX92IB

The next morning we went back to the beach and Emma Kate hated it even more than the day before and wouldn’t step foot on it and wanted to go “bye bye”.

Lz3WiklmwlMkqj2W2wJfN5k1RWCQTrAbrGbfh9veUgEpX92IB

l3fRWDhHubm0dLsrJkegIMo34BduZwW8ymCsc1UwVI8pX92IB

We stayed out all of 15 minutes and then I took her to the pool while my mom and dad stayed at the beach. Confession: I will admit I was a little frustrated. I had so been looking forward to spending the morning on the beautiful Destin beach, and here I was, finally there, and I got to see it for ten minutes. Then I was stuck at the freezing pool (the hotel building cast a shadow on the pool) by myself just me and Emma Kate, cold and pretty miserable for over an hour, just being frustrated I wasn’t in the sun on the sand and had no idea when I would be back. I had my little pity party then got over it and we played until my parents came. We stayed for a bit longer, then headed up to the room to pack up and drive home.

We made a bunch of mistakes, and will know better for next time. While Bobby and I have only taken her on day trips to Disney since we’ve moved to Tampa, we have made adjustments and Emma Kate has done a lot better overall than she did in October. We will be taking her back in April for a few nights and I know we will have a great time!

QOTD: Have you been to Destin? Have you ever trick or treated at a mall?

Disney Days at Princess Half Weekend

I’ve already recapped the runDisney expo as well as the 10k and half marathon, but not what Jen and I did on the other days we were in Walt Disney World.

Jen picked me up from the airport Friday and we went to the expo before checking into Hilton Bonnet Creek.

002

Check out the gorgeous view from our room.

10edaba6-4d30-48a2-8de7-ea03c5dd702d

We ate dinner at the hotel, and called it an early night.

019

The next day was the 10k, and after the race we went to Celebration and had Chick-fil-A biscuits, and then headed back to the resort to shower and change before going BACK to EPCOT. We headed straight for Via Napoli, craving some pizza for lunch.

via napoli

It was a gorgeous day and we were able to sit outside and enjoy the atmosphere. We may or may not have eaten that entire thing, plus we both had appetizers.

via napoli2

Wasn’t I just here?

ca182e88-513a-4b84-8279-525ba7dbacd8 IMG_2421 (2)

We walked around world showcase and went to Test Track, the Nemo ride, and Spaceship earth.

036

But not before getting some much needed caffeine. We were both delirious! I forgot which direction Spaceship Earth was when we came out of Starbucks. That’s when you KNOW I’m tired!

dd54a1b9-a053-4e3a-a3a3-aa4a09403329

Can’t you tell we need sleep?

142e3fc9-40d6-411b-b218-d25a687aed63

043

We went back to the resort and sat outside by the pool and had dinner at a restaurant called Beech. The temperature was perfect, and the food was really good.

035

The day had been very peaceful and relaxing, and we only had one race to go!

The next day we ran the half marathon, then came back to the room, packed up and loaded up the car. Then we headed downstairs to our amazing pool cabana, compliments of the resort, so sweet!

045

These cabanas can be rented for a full day for $300 and include lounge chairs, a sofa, television, refrigerator with snacks and drinks, a safe, and a button to press to call over a server if you need food and drinks.

048

052

We spent all afternoon napping, eating, and relaxing at the pool. It was glorious, and an amazing special treat after all the running we had just done!

42fe1112-4183-4caf-a73e-9d5262bd5a73

60e5a24d-8293-4651-a12e-c29e8976c070

caf84a78-d435-4d07-931f-31a838656106

By late afternoon it was sadly time to go, so we drove over to our home for the next two nights, Port Orleans Riverside. We got SUPER lucky and have a room in a building very close to the food court. However, that night we had dinner plans at California Grill! Let’s just say I’m so glad I packed my flats, my feet were hurtin’!

86a116be-d690-40ec-bf4b-d824efc8a781

After dinner we were craving something sweet so we walked to the food court and I got a Mickey ice cream sandwich. It hit the spot!

The next morning we ate breakfast in the food court before driving over to the Magic Kingdom. I HAD to get a Mickey Waffle, of course.

53e81b18-4f7b-4b4c-9357-5f3f739d96e4

it was more crowded than I expected for a Monday, but there was nothing we “had” to do so it was ok.

dc3536c1-6520-4b6e-a657-fb7e827c77a1

First stop, Starbucks!

4d2be373-5d0c-4b83-9aa1-d62bf7ff6397

We rode Haunted Mansion, Buzz Lightyear, Big Thunder Mountain, the people mover, and I think that’s pretty much it! We had lunch at Cosmic Ray’s, and then just walked around a bit.

f62d2196-0650-411c-acee-c9f2910222b5

062

It was starting to get pretty warm and more crowded, so we went to the candy store then said farewell and took the monorail to the Polynesian for an afternoon treat.

067

We again enjoyed sitting outside eating our treats (notice a theme of all the JUNK FOOD I ate on this trip?!?) and I was happy to get my Dole whip float.

16a07f6c-e8bd-4c07-9679-e1a7fa6766fb

We got back to the resort and changed clothes before hopping a boat to Disney Springs. We had dinner at Earl of Sandwich, and for dessert, you guessed it…more ice cream!

3147529d-b442-4346-9aaa-87d4c285dae6

We hit up some of the shops, then decided to take the boat back to the resort. When we were about to head back, I realized New Orleans was going to be having severe weather when I was flying into the airport the next day…as in the schools were closing and they were telling people to stay home! I searched several weather sites, talked to my parents about what the local news was saying, and called Southwest trying to change my flight to an earlier one to beat the weather. They said there was no severe weather (HAHA) and it would be $175 for the new flight. Guess I was taking my chances with the weather, but I was super nervous. (you can see what happened here.)

The next morning was sad. Jen left around 6:30 and I had an hour to wait until the saddest bus ever came to pick me up. I was also super nervous about my flight with the weather. I did not want to be stuck in the Orlando airport all day or be on a flight that couldn’t land, I just wanted to snap my fingers and be home. I sat outside on a rocking chair trying to soak up every last bit of “Disney” that I could before I had to go back to reality. Always such a sad day.

46bfaa8f-a211-48ea-b90b-bbca72033284

It was definitely a whirlwind trip but it was also a lot of fun, and I am glad we were able to make it happen last minute. I sadly have zero Disney trips on my calendar right now “officially”, but am hoping to take Emma Kate in the late fall. I just can’t with the heat haha.

QOTD: What “must do” rides are your favorite in WDW?

runDisney Enchanted 10K 2016

The first part of the runDisney Glass Slipper Challenge is completing the Enchanted 10k on Saturday morning.

rundisney enchanted 10k race recap

The alarm went off at 3:00, and we grabbed coffee and food, got dressed and drove to the race start. We were shocked at how little traffic there was, and made it there in plenty of time. Since you don’t have to walk a mile to your corral, we hung out, met up with some friends, etc. Jen was racing this one alone, so we said our goodbyes and I wished her luck as she headed towards her corral.

bca57de9-daf1-423f-ba7c-6d8fe814d4d1

I was going to be pacing my friend Darrell, who had never run a 10k before. I have never been a pacer for anyone, and I had SO much fun. He said his goal was to not stop, be conservative in the beginning, but not leave anything left in the tank at the end. Got it.

a48cfd60-07d4-4d01-bd9d-24cd4a58aa06

We ended up in our corral for about 45 minutes before we got going, and it was cold. When it was finally our turn, we made our way up to the starting line. Finally time to get going, and hopefully get warm when our blood got flowing!

0ba22951-a420-459e-995c-562e5e741154

Very early on we saw Anna and Elsa and it was snowing! Disney magic is pretty cool, right?

fccbb663-874c-411c-a0b1-158871305eca

We talked and talked and miles one, two, and three flew by and I finally warmed up. Darrell couldn’t believe we were already halfway done when we crossed the 5k timing mat. We were keeping a steady pace, faster than he thought he could maintain, but still conservative enough that we could chat.

As it got lighter outside, we made our way to the bask stage area of EPCOT, and were about to get to my favorite part of the course.

a7c138d9-6f7d-4ac5-bca2-b7a100f59b43

I love that they light the flames on the torches for the race, it’s such a nice touch. The sun was just coming up, and the lagoon looked beautiful. When we got halfway around, I told Darrell to keep running and that I would catch up, and that I had to take a selfie with Spaceship Earth.

IMG_2421 (2)

We made it around to the other side, and I snapped a shot of the water and sky before turning towards the boardwalk.

304c7064-2f60-48de-a563-8dec1a01b6eb

That’s when I noticed the crazy long character photo line! Guys, this isn’t even the whole line. I couldn’t back up enough to get it all in the photo!

IMG_2424 (3)

We went up the small hill towards the boardwalk and had another pretty lake to run around! We hit mile four and then five, and only had just over a mile to go!

2c2a7849-3876-4c21-9cf9-7b9b23dc3abd

When we got back into EPCOT with just over a half mile left, I told Darrell it was time to pick up the pace, that now is the time to give it all you had because we were ALMOST DONE! We pick up the pace and made the final turn towards the finish line.

I have run so many races now that I sometimes forget what it feels like to cross the line after completing a distance for the first time, especially at a place like Walt Disney World. Darrell’s runners high was contagious, and I told him it was time to start training for a half marathon…and I would of course pace him.

597151d5-bb23-46e6-8555-645e9e563cab

I SO enjoyed pacing and encouraging my running partner along the way, and hope that I have the opportunity to do it again sometime. We finished in 1:17, and Darrell definitely could have run faster in my opinion! Next time maybe?

fd309ee2-ae7d-4265-acfc-d8121c0bfb7e

Jen had a great race as well and said she had a lot of fun. Big win for all!

enchanted 10k

The only downsides to the race for me were people holding hands 3-4 people across blocking the course, people lying about proof of time and being in the wrong corral, (the gun went off and people started walking right out of the gate, and we were not in the last corral), and having to wait in the corrals for so long to start. I understand why they do it, to spread people out, but it’s still pretty boring (and cold!)

One race down, one to go to complete the Glass Slipper Challenge. In 24 hours I would have two shiny new medals to add to my collection.

QOTD: Have you ever paced someone? Did you enjoy it?

Birthday Bash Day 3

Even though we didn’t get to bed until well after midnight after the Halloween party, there was no rest for the weary, because Debbie had to leave that next afternoon and we had to see as much of EPCOT as possible in a few short hours. We ate breakfast and walked over to the transportation and ticket center where we hopped on the monorail to EPCOT.

IMG_8883

We had fastpasses for Spaceship Earth and Soarin’, and at 11:00 we headed to the World Showcase for lunch.

IMG_8900

We ran into this lady on the way and she had a very short line so we jumped in for a photo opp. I told her all about how I wore her yellow dress with lights in it to the Halloween party, and she didn’t seem all that impressed. I must have not explained the lights and the tutus correctly, because clearly it was an awesome costume.

IMG_8905

By the way, anyone else think her eyebrows are a bit much? Something just didn’t look right? (In my own little world I am convinced I would play the best Belle, so maybe that’s why.) We hit up a couple of food booths and headed back towards France because I really wanted my favorite drink and they don’t open until noon.

Hello Grand Marnier Slush, we meet again.

IMG_8909

I didn’t eat lunch with the others because I had plans with this fellow. Haven’t seen him since February and it was great to catch up!

IMG_8921

My mom and Debbie had already headed back to the resort to catch Debbie’s magical express bus, and judging by the time I figured I could make it back to see her off, so I hustled to the monorail and made it back to the Polynesian just in time to say farewell.

IMG_8917

Now it was just me and mom for a day and a half. Mom wanted to organize her things and shower before our dinner at Citrico’s, so I spent some time with another favorite family of mine at the pool.

IMG_8924

After catching up, I got ready for dinner and mom and I hopped on the monorail once again. No way she looks 60, right? (This hopefully means I won’t look 60 when I am 60!)

IMG_8938

IMG_8942

Dinner was just “ok”. We have ebbs and flows with Disney signature restaurants, and there were a lot of screaming small children running circles around the tables this time around. (Note this is a white tablecloth restaurant, we were just a little surprised at the Chef Mickey’s level of chaos.)

It was here that I told my mom I had another SURPRISE for her after dinner, but we weren’t leaving until 8:30. To be honest, I wasn’t feeling great and was SO tired, and kind of wishing I HADN’T planned said surprise, but I would later end up being SO GLAD I didn’t bail because it was one of the highlights of the trip, and it deserves it’s own blog post!

QOTD: Favorite food and wine festival food? Favorite signature restaurant in WDW? Favorite menu item at a fancy restaurant?

Disney Girls Trip: Part 4

On Monday, our last full day in Walt Disney World, we got up and headed to the Magic Kingdom, my favorite! We again had beautiful weather, and I was excited to see some of the new areas of the hub were finished. I love the way it turned out!

unnamed (31)

Of course, we had to properly caffeinate before we started the day.

unnamed (32)

We had a fastpass for Big Thunder Mountain and Haunted Mansion, and we also rode the people mover and Pirates of the Caribbean.

unnamed (33)

We had lunch reservations at Liberty Tree Tavern, and we hit up the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train before heading out of the park.

unnamed (34)

Oh, after lunch I also had a dole whip float. However, I was very disappointed to find out you can no longer get the vanilla soft serve with the pineapple juice, only pineapple ice cream. They said the vanilla soft serve was “not popular enough”, but based on everyone’s sad messages on my instagram photo, I do not believe this is true at all. The good news is you can apparently still get the vanilla ice cream at the Polynesian.

unnamed (35)

We got back to the resort mid afternoon so Jen could do some work, and I decided to go for an easy 3 mile run. I love running in new places, it keeps me occupied to have new surroundings to look at.

unnamed (36)

unnamed (37)

unnamed (38)

It had definitely warmed up and I got hot quickly, and considered hitting the pool but decided to just hang out in the shade outside instead.

unnamed (39)

That night we headed to EPCOT to have dinner at San Angel Inn. It was May 4th, so we were being Cinco de Mayo festive a day early.

unnamed (40)

unnamed (41)

The next morning we had one last breakfast in the food court and one last Mickey waffle before Magical Express came and picked us up to go back to the airport.

unnamed (43)

I had a great time and am so sad it’s already over, we have been talking about this trip forever! It was just the little break I needed in my favorite place.

QOTD: Have you ever been on a girls only or boys only trip?

Disney Girls Trip Part 2: Before the Race

I left off with our packet pickup at the Animal Kingdom Parking lot. From there, we hopped a bus to EPCOT. We had some fastpasses and then dinner reservations at Via Napoli. We were there during the Flower and Garden festival, so it was fun to see all the topiaries.

unnamed (8)

Hi Epcot!

unnamed (9)

First things first, we needed some caffeine. I tried the new S’mores Frap at Starbucks. It was delicious!

unnamed (10)

Then it was time to laugh at our funny pictures on Spaceship earth They did not disappoint.

unnamed (11)

We rode Soarin, then headed over to the World Showcase to make our way to Italy for dinner. We really worked up an appetite with the long walk.

unnamed (12)

I rewarded myself for a job well done on the long walk with some yummy food.

unnamed (13)

PIZZA! We may or may not have eaten the whole thing…

unnamed (14)

After being sufficiently filled with carbs and lots of cheese, we waddled towards the exit and called it a night.

The next morning started off the way every day should start, with a Mickey waffle!

unnamed (15)

Hello Caribbean Beach resort!

unnamed (16)

We got on a bus for Hollywood Studios, ready for our first full day.

unnamed (17)

it was so strange with the hat completely gone.

unnamed (18)

Once again, we caffeinated, then we hit up Toy Story Mania.

unnamed (19)

For some reason I thought the coach was being taken away in April, and was bummed I forgot to go get a photo during Princess. However, it was still there, so we stood in line of course.

unnamed (20)

We had lunch at Mama Melrose. I have note eaten there in about 7 years, and it was surprisingly better than I remember. I had some pasta to get me fueled up for the big race, and then we headed back t the hotel to nap. It was such a gorgeous day outside that I decided to nap outside our room in a hammock. Ever have one of those naps where you aren’t really sure if you fell asleep or not? That was me. Oh well.

unnamed (21)

We grabbed some dinner at the food court and then just hung out in the room. It was so odd waiting around for a night race, we didn’t need to be on the bus until about 8:15, which, let’s be honest, it normally when I am about to start heading for bed!

unnamed (22)

Next up will be my race recap, stay tuned!

QOTD: Have you ever run a night race? Do you prefer it? Favorite ride at Hollywood Studios?