Universal Orlando Resort Blue Man Group

Disclosure: I was provided free tickets to The Blue Man Group show, however all opinions are my own.

A few weeks ago when I was visiting Orlando, I was able to experience my very first Blue Man Group show. I have heard of the show and seen advertisements, but really wasn’t sure what it was all about, and was excited to see. I mean, blue men are pretty intriguing right?

Blue man group at Universal Orlando Resort

I’m not even really sure what to categorize this show as to be honest. It’s lights, it’s music, it’s art, it’s comedy, all rolled into one evening. It definitely stretched my imagination and made me think more creatively. There are acts with the blue men catching marshmallows in their mouth, painting on canvases, drumming on pipes, and spraying pain everyone. I mean everywhere. The front few rows wear ponchos! It was so interesting every time they started a new act because you had NO idea what they were going to do next, which was so fun.

The show lasted about an hour and 45 minutes, and you can purchase tickets from the Universal Orlando Resort website. The venue is located in the Universal City Park area near Hard Rock, so you don’t need a theme park ticket to see the show.

They also have a concession stand inside the venue so you can have a snack during the performance.

Blue man group

I loved that due to the nature of the show (they don’t speak!) it’s great for all audiences, languages, and even for kids (3 and up is recommended). If you are into art and music and thinking outside the box this is definitely the show for you. If you are looking for something fun to do while visiting Universal Orlando Resort, be sure to check out the tickets page and order in advance.


5 Reasons to Stay at Loews Sapphire Falls Resort

Disclosure: I was provided a hotel stay and park tickets from Universal Orlando Resort, however all opinions are my own.

Recently I had the opportunity to stay at Universal Orlando Resort’s newest hotel, Loews Sapphire Falls. I had only seen pictures, which looked beautiful so I was really excited to experience this resort for myself. There is a lot that could be said about this gorgeous tropical retreat, but I condensed it into my five top reasons that you will want to visit (and stay at!) this property.

1.) Easy access to the parks: We arrived at the resort early in the morning so we could have a full day at the parks. After parking in the convenient parking garage, we set out to find our way to the theme parks. We discovered not only is there a gorgeous and tranquil walking path, but a leisurely boat ride that drops you off at City Walk. We took the boat and walking path during our stay and enjoyed both! There is also a bus if you prefer to take that instead.

2.) Beautiful and bright rooms: I’m a big fan of tropical and bright decor, and Loews Sapphire Falls did not disappoint. We were honored to have been upgraded to a suite which was HUGE! Below you can get a feel for the color scheme and amenities in the rooms. I’m not oing to post photos of the rest of the suite as to not confuse anyone about the rooms. One of my favorite things was the fact that there were power outlets and USB plus everywhere! I hate going to older hotels and not being able to find outlets for everything I need to plug in. Not the case here. It made me a happy girl.

sapphire falls resort


Everything was so nice and fresh and clean, I felt so relaxed the whole time. There are lots of blues and whites which are so peaceful to me.

sapphire falls resort

sapphire falls resort


3.) Extra options at the resort: I love staying at a resort where there is so much to do, you don’t even feel like you have to leave. If you are like me, then you will love it here. There was an arcade, several restaurants, and a gorgeous fitness center. This wasn’t like a little room with a few dumbbells and a treadmill. This was a real gym and it was so nice!

4.) Great pool area: Having a kid, one of the things I always look at when trying to decide where to stay is the pool. We did not have a chance to swim this time, but we did go check it out and it looks fabulous! First of all, when you walk outside they had corn hole, ping pong, and other games as well as a bar and tables to sit at and eat.

There were cabanas for rent, and nice sandy areas making you feel like you were at the beach.

There was also a water slide which I know my daughter would have loved.

This just means we have to go back, right?

5.) Early entry to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: When you stay at Loews Sapphire Falls, you have the added bonus of getting entry into The Wizarding World of Harry Potter an hour earlier than park guests not staying onsite. Especially at peak times of year, this is a huge deal! Getting to head into that part of the park with hardly anyone there is amazing, and great for photo taking. I was able to ride everything and see all the things I wanted to see within that first hour.

If you are planning a visit to Universal Orlando Resort, consider staying at Loews Sapphire Falls. You will fall in love with it’s charm and will enjoy the tranquility of this beautiful resort.




Holiday Like This at Universal Orlando Resort

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Universal Orlando Resort, however all opinions are my own.

It’s always fun to Visit Universal Orlando Resort, but if you want a little “extra” something, be sure visit for the holidays. There are so many fun decorative touches throughout the parks as well as special shows and events you won’t want to miss. It’s just the perfect thing to get you in the holiday spirit!

1.) Universal’s Holiday Parade Featuring Macy’s: If you have any Mischievous Minion fans in your house, this parade is not to be missed. There are adorable floats with your favorite Despicable Me characters as well as those from Shrek and Madagascar. Don’t forget about the Macy’s balloons flying high in the sky! There’s singing, their’s dancing, and a lot of smiling (trust me on this one!) Be sure to catch the action
Dec. 18 – Jan. 6 at 8 pm.

2.) The parks all decked out for the holidays: Going from attraction to attraction at a Universal Orlando Resort theme park is a blast, but it’s even better when there is Christmas music in the background, beautiful lights, and garland everywhere you look. That little bit of extra magic was really fun to see and kept us smiling all day long.

3.) Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular at Islands of Adventure:

Seuss landing was adorably decorated and full of whimsy. I could have just walked around looking at the decorations all day! But, there is even more to see with a live retelling of the classic tale “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” featuring music recorded by Mannheim Steamroller.

You can even meet the green guy himself after the show. There is also a character breakfast with the Grinch, but it’s a separate ticketed event.

4.) Christmas at Hogwarts: This was definitely a highlight of our trip, and I’m so glad we went back into Islands of Adventure to see it. Walking through Hogsmeade all decorated for the holidays was cute, but the projection show took the cake.

Shows are done every few minutes, and the projection on the castle is breathtaking. Seriously, the pictures don’t do it justice. Trust me, you do NOT want to miss this!

Universal Orlando Resort

5.) On Site Hotel Decorations: 

We had the privilege of staying at Loews Sapphire Falls Resort, which was also very much in the holiday spirit. There was a huge tree in the lobby as well as an adorable village make of candy and desserts. They will also be having Christmas character meals, so be sure to call for more information if you will be there over Christmas. The other in site hotels have their own decorations as well. It would make for a fun evening to go visit them all!

These special holiday events and happenings are going on now through January 6th at Universal Orlando Resort. Which one are you most excited about?



A Fun Filled Fall

Hey guys! I feel like it’s been awhile since I’m done a post just kind of updating things going on in my world, and what i have coming up. I know I share bits and pieces on social media and especially on Instagram Stories, but I haven’t written out what’s going on in awhile so here goes!

We have quite the busy fall planned, and I realized the other day we aren’t going to be home on the weekend from Labor Day through Columbus Day! So what will we be up to?

Labor Day weekend: Disney invited me and my family to attend Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party on Friday night. We decided to make a weekend out of it and are staying two night at Saratoga Springs with my parents for a fun little getaway. Emma Kate and my dad have never been to the party, so I can’t wait to show them everything.


The two weekends after that: Bobby and I leave for our cruise with Carnival on September 9th. I am stoked to have this opportunity and can’t wait to visit some new to me ports and explore the beautiful Carnival Vista.

The weekend of the 23/24th of September is Emma Kate’s third birthday (CRAZY TALK!) and we are spending one night in Disney to celebrate as a family. We are staying at Port Orleans Riverside and have a character dinner. I’m not ashamed to say we are taking advantage of her being free one last time!

The last weekend in September I will be traveling to Rhode Island to run the Ocean Road 10k as part of the Cabot Fit Team. I’m so honored and pumped to be in some cooler weather for the weekend and run a 10k. It’s been awhile on both accounts!

Then Columbus Day weekend Bobby and I will be guests of both Medieval Times and the Wyndham Garden Lake Buena Vista Disney Springs. We can’t wait to dive into Disney’s Food and Wine Festival which Bobby hasn’t been to in four years. (We may or may not have a three year old tag along, we aren’t sure yet.)


Not to mention, my e-course, Social Side Hustle, will launch right after we get back from the cruise.

It will be hectic, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I absolutely love to travel, and now that Emma Kate is getting a little older I am hoping to do it even more. I love that I live in an area where we can take weekend trips to fun places and not go far (although I love the far away places, too!) I am so grateful for the opportunities I have gotten and can’t wait to bring you along for the ride. be sure you are following me on Instagram, because that is where I will post the most and also on Instagram Stories. Here we go!

QOTD: Are you traveling anywhere this fall? Any races or vacations? 

BlogHer 2017 Recap

Last weekend, I attended the mother of all blogging conferences: BlogHer 2017. Lucky for me, it was being held in Orlando, just a little over an hour away from me. I have always wanted to attend this conference, but plane tickets plus conference pass plus hotel was just not in the cards, so I was pumped when some of those things ended up being taken care of!


I arrived on Thursday to the beautiful Hilton Bonnet Creek. I LOVE this hotel yall. It was my 3rd time staying here, and it was just as beautiful as ever.

lazy river

I had the opportunity to have snacks and drinks with some blogger friends and some of the marketing team at Bonnet Creek, and it was a great way to kick off the weekend!

Thursday afternoon was registration, and my roommates arrived just in time. We heard Chelsea Clinton speak, then got checked in. 

With 2500+ bloggers trying to check in, the line was super long so we waited awhile before doing so. I went to the expo by myself after this, and compare it to the first day of a runDisney expo–a little crazy!

Then it was time for the Princess Cruise event. They are rolling out new technology similar to a Disney Magic Band but way prettier and more advanced. You can tap a screen and it will tell you how to get to the pool with the fastest route considering traffic flow on the ship.

princess cruise

I was pretty wiped out after that since I still had my cold, so I went to bed. The next morning we were up bright and early for the 7:30 newbie breakfast we had registered for. Imagine our surprise when we got downstairs and the line was well over 100 people long. We waited a few minutes then were told the breakfast was full to capacity and we would have to go to regular breakfast. Huh? We REGISTERED for this…why were they not checking names?! I was really irritated by this and it sadly wouldn’t be the last time this happened to people over the weekend. We got breakfast and headed in to the breakfast keynote, which was WAY more political than I was anticipating at a blog conference.

We then had our first breakout session, then lunch, then another breakout session. But let me backup. I was eating lunch with a Disney friend of mine, and he asked me if I wanted to meet Serena…Well, duh! So I ran off after him to the backstage area where we hung out for a few minutes before she took the stage. It was amazing! I was slightly starstruck and on a high the rest of the afternoon.

serena blogher

I ran over to another special event with HP, and then back for the afternoon session. The session rooms were super crowded as they did not have enough chairs so I had to sit on the floor. Not a huge deal, but just thought planning would have been better for the amount of people there.

After this, we were on our own for dinner. There was an event that night my roommates and I decided to skip, and instead we ubered to Disney Springs for dinner and drinks and had a blast.

My food was very good and I will definitely be back again.

We had a happy hour I was invited to that we attended next, so we ubered to a different hotel for it and met some more great people, and had yummy drinks and snacks.

We were all tired after that so we got in our PJ’s, made some drinks and watched TV in bed. Adulting is hard.

The next morning we had to pack up all of our stuff since we were checking out of the hotel, so we brought it all to our cars before breakfast. We ate, had another keynote (Gabby Reece and Laurie Hernandez!) and then I had another special event called “speed dating”. I had 90 seconds to talk with 6 brands and see if they wanted to work with me. It was super nerve wracking but also fun.

I went back into the expo after that was over because I had some time before lunch. I grabbed a mashtini from Bob Evans (yum!) and met with a couple more brands.

After lunch I had a meeting with another brand, so I missed part of the keynote but came back to see Carla Hall and Cat Cora speak.

Then we went to our last session which was by far my favorite. I am implementing things I learned as we speak, and can’t wait to do more! I decided to not stay for the closing party so I could get back to Tampa and help my husband with Emma Kate, but I was also too worn out to stay up late then drive home.

I had a blast getting to know my roommates more and also meeting other bloggers and brands. That in itself was worth it to me.

So to recap BlogHer:

Things I loved: Meeting new bloggers, hanging out with my roommates, meeting with brands, a couple of the sessions and special events. The host hotel was amazing.

Things that were just OK: variety of food. At breakfast there was no protein which made me sad. Some of the sessions didn’t have space/seating and were more surface level teaching than I would have liked.

Things I didn’t like: Being turned away for an event I registered for. This happened again later in the weekend for a special movie screening some people attended as well. Way way way too much political talk. And it was very obviously one sided. Was not a fan. Teach me about blogging! teach me about networking!

Would I attend again. It depends. If it was in an easy to get to location and my friends were going as well as great brands/sponsors, I would go again. I would just skip some of the keynotes and things I know that I’m not going to be a fan of hearing.

If you have any questions let me know, I would be happy to try and answer.


Wyndham Orlando Resort International Drive

Disclosure: I was hosted by Wyndham for my stay in their resort. However, all opinions are my own.

Over Memorial Day weekend, Bobby and I decided we wanted to take Emma Kate to her very first water park in Orlando. When Wyndham Orlando Resort International Drive invited us to stay as their guests, I knew this would be the perfect opportunity.


The best thing about this resort is that you can stay where you play. It is the official resort of I-Drive 360, and there is so much to see and do, many things within walking distance (Like the Orlando eye). It’s also only twelve miles from the airport, so you are literally close to everything. The resort also offers a complimentary shuttle to Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, and SeaWorld.


I loved all the greenery and tropical plants surrounding the walkways and the pool areas. There are also plenty of dining options including a bar in the lobby and at the pool. The resort is also home to Gatorville, he poolside grill and bar.


The rooms all have pillowtop mattresses, 40” flat screen tv’s and mini refrigerators. We were in a king room/family suite that included a separate area with bunk beds and another TV for the kids.


I really love the idea of the bunk beds, I just wish there was a door or partition to close off this area from the rest of the room. Emma Kate LOVED the bunks though and hung out on the top one all evening.


Another thing I liked is there is complimentary wifi at the resort. I was given a password upon check in and logging on was super easy.



Also, there are TWO outdoor pools as well as a heated spa, and a renovated fitness center. The lounge chairs at the pool looked so nice and relaxing!


This resort also boasts over 60,000 square feet of meeting space. There are two grand ballrooms, and a catering team ready to meet your wedding, party, or business needs.


I wish we had more time to explore the area, as there were so many things within walking distance we could have done! There is the Sea Life Orlando Aquarium, the 7D Dark ride adventure, and great restaurants and shopping like Tervis, Buffalo Wild Wings, and the Sugar Factory.

Probably the best thing about this resort is the price. Rates start at just $79 per night, so it’s perfect for a quick getaway, girls weekend, or business trip.

QOTD: Have you ever stayed here? What do you look for in a resort?

Trattoria al Forno Bon Voyage Character Breakfast

Last weekend, we had the opportunity to snag a reservation for the new Bon Voyage character breakfast at Trattoria al Forno. The reservation was early, 7:30, but I was not going to pass up the chance to check out a new dining experience that just opened a few days prior!

bon voyage breakfast

This breakfast location is on the Boardwalk. I have eaten dinner at Trattoria al Forno before (which is NOT a character meal), but it has been awhile since  have been there. I was very happy to see another character meal that had some male characters. The characters you have the opportunity to meet are: Rapunzel, Ariel, Flynn Rider, and Prince Eric. There is also a song that plays and kids are encouraged to wave their napkins and dance/follow along with Ariel, which is super cute. My toddler is REALLY into the Tangled characters right now, so I couldn’t wait to see how she responded in particular to Rapunzel and Flynn.

We arrived late to our reservation because there was a mix up at our hotel with our bill, but there was not a problem and we were able to check in easily. We were told to park our stroller outside, and we waited to be seated. Music from Tangled was playing, and there was a cart selling Rapunzel and Ariel dresses and merchandise.

Very quickly, our name was called and we were led to our table. There was an autograph card, cute brochure, and our silverware and napkins as well as some small plates in the center of the table.


Our server greeted us promptly, orange juice in hand, but we were told we could have something different to drink. Bobby opted for the OJ and I got a coke since I was in serious need of caffeine but dislike Disney coffee. Emma Kate got some milk, and then we were given pastries for the table to share.


I love that the pastries told a “story”. Of course we have the sun from Tangled, the “braided” bread for Rapunzel’s hair, the clam shell cherry pastry from the Little mermaid, and then vanilla and blueberry muffins. They were of course, all served in a frying pan. My take on the pastries: They were VERY sweet. A little too sweet for 7:30 in the morning. I was going to get the pancakes, but changed my mind after eating all that bread and sugar.


Emma Kate and I got the yogurt parfait, and Bobby got the fruit salad. They are pretty small portions, but I had to remind myself more food was coming. Bobby then decided to get the “Shipwreck al Forno”, which was a calzone with scrambled eggs, soppressata, bacon, sausage, and a blend of cheeses and Sunday gravy. I opted for the  “Tangled Eggs” which was tomato & basil scrambled eggs, fresh mozzarella, Sunday gravy and roasted Potatoes. Emma Kate loves eggs, so my thought was she would eat most of that, I would eat the bacon and potatoes and her waffles.

We ordered the “Mickey Waffle” with fruit and bacon for Emma Kate. The timing was great, because once we ordered and were snacking on our pastries, the characters started to come around, and we also got to dance to the song with Ariel.


Flynn Rider was up first, and Emma Kate LOVED him. He spent a ton of time with us, talking about Maximus and apples, and even offered to do “the smolder” for us for a photo. Emma Kate just stared at him and he gave her a big hug and looked right at her when he spoke to her.


Next up was Rapunzel. She spent the least time with us out of all the characters, but it was still a good interaction. I even asked where Pascal was.


Soon after our appetizers arrived, as did Prince Eric. He was so good with Emma Kate, and she was in heaven. We asked him where Max was, and he said out for a walk.


Ariel was last, and she got down on the floor with Emma Kate and they talked about hair bows and the fact that Ariel was on Emma Kate’s shirt. It was super sweet and EK was just fascinated.


Here are some shots of our appetizers. Previous review posts showed glitter on the crab and crown, but that was not the case with our meal. The fruit was good, the yogurt was just ok, and I wasn’t a huge fan of the granola.



After all four characters came by, our food came out. Poor Emma Kate wanted to see them again and had no interest in eating. She did eat her strawberries, but I had her waffles. I was a little confused because the menu says “mickey waffle” but these definitely were not Mickey. Don’t get me wrong they were super cute, but the menu was just misleading.


Bobby’s Calzone came with King Tritons spear (which he apparently cut out of the photo). They take the triton away after they set your food down though.

Bon voyage character breakfast

The calzone was really filling and basically tasted just like pizza.  I had the tangled eggs, which I KNOW I took a photo of, but it seems to have gotten deleted. This was just ok, and the potatoes were a little peppery. I will say the bacon was very good. If you have eaten at Disney restaurants before, you typically get this really thin as we like to call it “Disney bacon” that isn’t very good, however mine and EK’s meals both came with “real” bacon and it was thick and juicy!

Here are my pros and cons for the meal:


Great character interactions with hard to see characters (in some instances). They spent a lot of time with us and posed for several photos. It was nice to do something different and also not have to have a park ticket. Having a plated meal was something different as opposed to the typical character buffet, but I’m not a huge breakfast person so I was underwhelmed with the options. Bobby’s calzone was good and filling. I loved the fun touches like Tangled music playing and the frying pan of themed pastries, even though they were a bit too sugary. The service was great, it felt very relaxed, and everyone was very friendly. The restaurant was only about 3/4 full despite me having a hard time getting a reservation. I’m guessing it was since it was the first week of operation and they wanted to ease everyone in. I imagine it will be a bit more of a madhouse when they fill all those tables.


This restaurant is very dark and has dark wood furnishings. I felt like I needed a flashlight! (I brightened up my photos/edited them so they look way brighter than they originally came out.) This of course made it really hard to get good photos, too. Brightening up the place for the meal wouldn’t be the worst thing. Also, the tables are really close together. When the characters came by, there wasn’t really anywhere to “go” to get photos/have an interaction, so for most I ended up standing Emma Kate up in her booster seat, because there were servers constantly going behind our tables and there was no other option of a place to stand. My food was just “eh” as were the appetizers. One of the reasons we like the buffets is because Bobby can eat a ton with a  lot of variety and we feel like we got our money’s worth. With a plated meal, it made us feel the price was even more steep. We have a tables in wonderland car d(which is a 20% discount but also ads in 18% gratuity) and our bill was just under $71, which is hard to stomach for two people.  It was definitely an “experience” and I am glad we did it,  but not something we will be doing again for the price (especially after EK turns 3 and we have to pay for it!)

Final verdict: If your child loves these characters, definitely DO IT one time for the character experience. If you are going “just for the food”, I would skip out on this one due to the price.The price for this meal is $34 for adults and $20 for kids. They also accept Tables in Wonderland and the Disney Dining plan.

*RELATED: Confused by My Disney Experience, fastpass+ and Magic Bands?  Sign up for my FREE My Disney Experience and Magic Bands E-Course!

QOTD: Thoughts on the Bon Voyage character breakfast? Would you go? Do you love these characters?

Tampa Tuesdays: Cooking With Cabot + A Giveaway

It’s time for another Tampa Tuesday post! As stated when I started these, not all posts would be specifically about Tampa, but would include things I do and experience in the surrounding areas. Today is one of those days, as I talk to you about a special Cabot Cheese event I attended in Orlando a couple of weeks ago. When I arrived at the beautiful East End Market in Orlando and headed upstairs to the APEX room, I was greeted and immediately pointed towards a delicious looking create your own parfait bar, Olde Hearth Bread Company muffins, Lineage Coffee Roasting coffee, Divine Chocolate,  Florida Milk, and all the Cabot cheese I could eat. Yes please!




We ate breakfast, got to know each other, and just had a nice relaxing few minutes to hang out before we were introduced to some of the Cabot team.

One of my favorite things we discussed was the department of gratitude. Did you know that Cabot uses reward programs to thank those that do goof. You can log your volunteer time for different events . It’s pretty cool!


We then got to meet our awesome demo chef for the day, Jimmy. I particularly liked him because he grew up in Mississippi. We all huddled into the kitchen and watched him make some delicious food! First up was cornbread. Now we are speaking my language! This southern girl was fascinated by the fact he put sweet potatoes in the cornbread! Of course we all got to taste before moving on to the next thing.



Anyone who knows me well knows that mac and cheese is one of my favorite things ever. This one definitely did not disappoint. You can check out the recipe here.


Jimmy also showed us how to make taco shells out of cheese. I will for sure be trying this out. They were so easy to do and delicious. I may have eaten a shell by itself. Don’t judge me.



After all the cooking (well, Jimmy cooking!) we did a little self care with Candace. She talked to us about stretching, and taking time for ourselves. She knows we are on the computer a lot as bloggers, and we need to MOVE! So we did just that with these fun drumsticks. Candace is so passionate about healthy living, it was fun to hear a like minded fitness lover talk to us!


Soon it was time for lunch, which was such a treat. As if we hadn’t eaten enough already, we were brought outside to enjoy the courtyard and beautifully decorated tables.


I may have found a new favorite thing: Lemonade with lavender. It was so light and refreshing, I may have had two glasses.


The rest of the food did not disappoint either, and hit the spot! We had grilled cheese sandwiches by La Femme du Fromage made with Cabot cheese of course, Houndstooth Sauce Company’s tomato basil soup, salad with apple slices, and the Skyebird lavender lemonade.


We even were “treated” to an adorable and rich dessert from Gideon’s Bakehouse: Pistachio Toffee Dark Chocolate cookies. So amazing. Then we headed back inside for our competition.


My friends know I am one of the most competitive people alive, and so of course this was no exception. We were divided into teams (my team was called “seriously sharp”,) and given a basket full of goodies and told to create a cheeseboard. The best board would win a prize, so we went straight to work. (We only had 30 minutes!) We decided on a Valentine’s Day theme and just kind of went with it. I may or may not have used my fingernails to cut out hearts from cheese. It was totally worth it, because…we won! Isn’t our board beautiful?!?


The winning team with Candace.


We all said our goodbyes and were given a great goody bag (as well as one to pass on to someone else). It was overall a great day, and I am so glad I had the opportunity to learn more about Cabot, meet amazing bloggers, and just generally connect with more people in my new state. A huge thank you to Cabot, Isabel and Sunday Supper, and everyone else who helped with the event!

Cabot, being so generous, offered to host a giveaway on my blog! One lucky reader will receive this box as seen below. This is their legacy gift box, and it’s amazing! To enter, please follow the instructions below. Winner will be selected Monday March 20th and announced on the blog next Tuesday. Good luck!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

runDisney Princess Half Marathon Race Recap 2017

A couple of weeks ago I have the privilege of running in my 6th runDisney Princess half marathon. I ran the Glass Slipper Challenge last year and in 2014, but this year my friend Jen and I decided to save some money (and some sleep!) and just run the half marathon. (Pssst. There is a video at the end of the post so hang tight to watch a recap from my Instagram Stories!)

Every year we dress up, and this year was a bit crazy for both of us and we didn’t have time to create elaborate matching costumes like we have done in the past. However, we still dressed up and per usual kept our costumes a secret until the night before the race. We went to bed early, and my 2:45 am alarm came way too soon.

We got dressed, put on our traditional fake eyelashes like we do every year (you would THINK we would be better at this by now!) and headed to the bus.

unnamed (4)

(Coming soon: A tutorial on how I created my costume, the easy/I’m terrible at sewing kind of tutorial!)

We got to the bus stop in front of the Yacht Club, and were the last people loaded before we left. What was interesting was we were on a park bus, not a regular greyhound which was a first for me with runDisney. There was a lot of traffic, but we made it to EPCOT by about 4:15 and walked to the family reunion area where we met up with a friend before checking Jen’s bag. It was chillier than I expected, and I was thankful for my throw away sweatshirt I remembered to bring.


We had never gotten to the corrals this early before, and they were pretty empty! runDisney got smart and put a row of port-o-potties close to the front corrals so we were able to go to the bathroom with no line and then jump in D corral. Karen was also in our corral, so she hung out with us and started the race with us, too. Our plan was to just have fun and take walk breaks. I was super undertrained and this was just a “for fun” race.


The race started a few minutes late because the traffic was so bad, but finally we made it up to the start line with the rest of our corral.


After a quick hi to Rudy and Carissa, we were off on our 13.1 mile journey!


The first couple of miles are always so uneventful. It’s dark, there is nothing to look at, and you start thinking about all the miles ahead! Thankfully we just all chatted together until around mile 2 when Karen decided to stop for a character photo that we decided to skip (lines were already so long! I can’t imagine how bad they were for the corrals behind us.) We made it to the Magic Kingdom gates and I was excited we were getting closer to the more exciting parts of the course.


After a quick stop at the med tent for body glide, we were on our way towards the TTC. I have to admit, I was a little bummed at the low crows at this spot. Traditionally this is my second favorite spot in the race because of all the energy from wall to wall people screaming and cheering, but this year there was hardly anyone and it made me sad. Did anyone else notice this? It wasn’t very cold outside so I’m not sure what the deal was. We passed my favorite drummers and kept going towards the big hill.


When we made the turn to get to the Magic Kingdom, we thought it was odd that the 5 mile marker wasn’t in it’s usual place. (The things you notice when you have run this course over a dozen times!) We would later find out the course through the Magic Kingdom was slightly altered which is why the markers were in a different place.

We made the turn onto Main Street, my favorite part, and again it just didn’t have the same crowd and energy I am used to seeing, but it’s still my favorite part.



We stopped and found a girl by herself trying to take a photo and we took turns getting pics for each other. I love runners!


Next stop was the bathroom in Tomorrowland. We used to stop at the ones at the TTC, but a couple years ago they started locking those for us for some reason, which means even more princesses waiting in line in Tomorrowland. We had a several minute delay, and then were on our way again.


unnamed (3)

We made it out of the Magic Kingdom (sad times) and made another bathroom stop at the next water station (too much coffee!) We arrived at the long stretch of single lane road, and Jen and I can’t figure out why its always so COLD on this part of the course! Any ideas? Before long we were at mile seven by the Grand Floridian. I took a picture with Snow White, since the line for her in the Magic Kingdom was dozens of people long. This is as close as I was going to get.


The next few miles were uneventful again, just running out on the road. We saw the race going the other way towards the Magic Kingdom around mile 2.5 I guess, and I saw the balloon ladies! I yelled for the princesses to run faster! We grabbed a CLIF shot at the free station around mile nine, and took a walk break to eat those (I am not coordinated enough to run and eat at the same time). Next we were making the turn on the loop of death at mile 10 (it KILLS my IT bands) and had a 5k to go. At this point we had gotten to the length of my longest and one and only really long run from this training cycle of 10 miles, and I was getting tight even though we weren’t running fast at all. My right thigh/quad up near my hip flexor started to hurt, but we only had a couple miles to go so I just pushed through.

[Tweet “Check out my @runDisney #PrincessHalf marathon race recap!”]

Soon we hit mile 11, and looped around and up the overpass and down into EPCOT and mile 12. A photographer caught me doing an Insta story on my phone. Oops. But seriously, if this doesn’t sum up my life I don’t know what does.


We looped around the small part of the course that goes through the park, and then I could hear the gospel choir singing! Miles 13 came and went, and we were in the home stretch of the finish line.


Can I just say that I love getting race pictures free as an annual passholder?!?



We made it! After crossing the finish line in 2:32, we had to get pixie dusted of course.


We got our medals, and headed over to the Media/VIP tent for some much deserved food and of course, mimosas.



Now I was able to do my favorite thing, cheer other runners on as they came through the finish. I LOVE seeing runners tearing up, holding hands with loved ones, and just getting to experience the looks on their faces as they are mere steps from the finish line. There is just nothing like it, and it makes me so happy.


Mimosas make me happy, too.


So does this guy. Always takes time to talk to runners and makes us all feel so special. Jeff Galloway is the best!










Carissa came into the tent for some food and we were able to say hello for a minute and grab a picture.

princess half

We hung out and ate some more, met with a couple of people, and then headed back to the resort. I am so thankful to have a friend like Jen who gifted me with the opportunity to run in another Princess half marathon. I also love our little tradition of running the Princess half!

If you want to see a video I took during the race as a recap, and also see what Jen and I did for the rest of the day after the race, be sure to check out the video below. Please note this video is my Instagram story from the day, and apparently it doesn’t like when you have still shots mixed in with your videos, so there are about 5 times during the video where you will see it “Freeze up” for a couple of seconds. These are the places where I had still shots that won’t come up, so just ignore it, it will keep playing!


For more race recaps and general runDisney information, photos, and posts, check out my runDisney page!

Marathon Weekends at Hilton Bonnet Creek

I had the privilege to stay somewhere new the night before the runDisney half marathon, somewhere I honestly never thought I would stay. I am a Disney loving “stay at a Disney hotel” kind of girl, so I was a little reluctant to try out Hilton Bonnet Creek, but I am So glad I did!

bonnet creek

I hope to have more info for you on the actual hotel and all the activities and food and things there at the end of February, but for now I want to specifically talk to you about Marathon Weekends.

Hilton Bonnet Creek has put together a special rate for those staying for runDisney race weekends, and it comes with some great extras that are not offered at Disney owned hotels. There was also a runner’s concierge in the lobby, and they could answer questions for us, get us signed up for the bus the morning of the race, and they also had a goodie bag for us. (Note that to ride the bus to the races you have to sign up ahead of time and are given a wristband as a “ticket” for the bus to and from the race.)

Hilton Bonnet Creek is actually inside the gates of Walt Disney World, so it is super close to the parks and other Disney activities. Check out the balloon at Disney Springs you could see out my room’s window!

bonnet creek view

Those staying with the special marathon weekend rate are also given a card that saves you 10% on hotel food and beverages during your stay. They have so many restaurant options, and even special carb loading menu items for runners.

The real magic however came on race morning, where we were greeted in the lobby with signs and our own personal cheerleaders! The music was loud, the DJ was getting everyone pumped up, and it really helped to wake me up since it was, you know, 2:45 in the morning.

bonnet creek cheer

They also provided a continental breakfast for the runners. It was nice to hang out in the warmth of the lobby, chatting with other runners (and using real bathrooms!) before heading to the race start.

bonnet creek food

I ate a protein bar, a banana, and grabbed some water. (I had brought some food with me also since I wasn’t sure what I was going to feel like eating). I was told that the reasoning behind the certain food items was that they wanted to provide things that would be easy to eat in the corrals or walking to the corrals. Smart thinking!

bonnet creek breakfast

We took some photos out in front of the bus and were cheered on as we boarded. It was EARLY, yall, so it was such a nice touch!

marathon weekends

cheerleaders bonnet creek

Oh, something else I didn’t mention, all runners staying for Marathon Weekends get a late 2:00 pm checkout, how cool is that?

Please note that at this time, there is no official transportation to the 5k and 10k races or expo which was a bummer, but the runner’s concierge can help you set something up if you would like. We grabbed a cab to come back from the expo and it was quick and easy. There is also  Mears shuttle you can take to and from the airport that cost approx. $21 each way when booked online.

They also had a runners reception at the pool with rum runners at noon after the half marathon, but sadly we had a boat to catch and were not able to stay. Next time!

I give Hilton Bonnet Creek Marathon Weekends a thumbs up, and would definitely stay here again for a race weekend!

marathon weekends thumbs up

The enthusiasm, the little touches, the breakfast, and the proximity to other Disney activities really swayed me. I think they have a good thing going here, and I sadly just learned about it last year! If you have any questions about marathon weekends, let me know and I can get the answer for you.

QOTD: Did you know this existed? What do you think about the early morning cheerleaders? Who wants to stay here now?!?

Disclosure: I was provided a free stay to check out marathon weekends for myself, however all opinions are my own.