14-16 January

So, I’m sitting now at home in quite hot and humid conditions. We arrived home this morning after a long day of travelling.

We left Disney at noon Monday, spent some time in the American Airlines lounge and had some yummy soup and beer before getting on a 6-hour flight to LA. The flight was okay, I had a rude guy next to me who like to elbow me because he was hogging the armrest big time. We were quite stiff getting up after that flight but arrived at LA on time and hobbled our way to the One World Business lounge where we ate some yummy curry and other snacks and killed just over an hour before they let us know they were boarding early.

This flight was dull. 16 hours… thankfully we both slept some. Dinner was mediocre, so didn’t eat it and kept sleeping. Thankfully we had our fill in the lounge beforehand. Nothing great to watch on entertainment…

We arrived in Australia, woo! Hello humidity. Bought some duty-free, took ages to clear immigration as Australian’s don’t get their own queue anymore, we now have to share with everyone – sigh. Thankfully by the time we got through immigration are bags were circling… we went through customs – we had declared that we had some free samples of dog food that we were given at the Disney Expo… they were thankful we declared it and took it off us. Sorry Abby!

My mum was there at the passenger pick-up area and took us home!

We had an amazing trip and its sad to see it finished. I have updated the photo pages so we are all up to date. Enjoy.

Cindy and I are back to work next week and now counting down to China in May.

Until our next adventure.

Posted in USA 2018 & 2019 | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sunday 13th January 2019 – Marathon Day

After a very sleepless night (for me), we were up again by 2.30, dressed and out the door for the 3am bus.

This morning was our ‘Australia Outfit Day’. Kath had a shirt from in-training with a big Australian flag on the front (and weird Australian things like vegemite toast, a beer, koala etc) and I wore my new 2019 Run Down Under singlet. It was a fair bit warmer than other mornings which was good as it meant we didn’t need to worry about being too cold at the start line, but it was also bad as it meant that once we started running, it would warm up fairly quickly.

We arrived at the start area just before 3.30am. The earlier arrival meant we had time for even more character photos. Our first stop was Mickey, followed by Goofy, Minnie then lastly Dopey.

The corrals were opened by 4.15am and they were encouraging people to start making the km trek over towards the start line. Kath and I both used the portaloos before making our way there. They were both clean which was nice.

We made our way to corral F and tried our best to get towards the front of the corral to give us more than enough time to finish the marathon.

The same videos were played and same speeches made (bit tiring after hearing them 4 days in a row). As per the other day there was a moment of silence for the service men and women and then someone sung the national anthem. It was amazing to hear every single day the thousands of runners go absolutely silent during the national anthem, literally no one spoke or made any noises, everyone turned towards the flag, removed hats and had hands over hearts… not something you ever see in Australia.

The wheelchair competitors were first off just before 5.30, then Corral A was released. A lot of corrals were going and we were stuck in our spot until suddenly we were allowed to move up and by the time we got to the start line we didn’t have to wait long before we were off. It took about 25mins to get to the start line today. Our fireworks for our mini wave seemed to stack up to the rest of the other waves today, so we were happy.

It took a good few kms to get the legs moving in a nice rhythm but once they got there we settled into a nice pace. The kms were melting away and before we knew it we were entering the Magic Kingdom area. Once inside the actual themepark there were hundreds of spectators cheering runners on which was really nice and motivating. We stopped for a professional photo at the castle then kept on going. We moved out into highways there and there wasn’t all that much to see. Kath started to get some knee pains so we stopped a few times to stretch and took some ibuprofen we also stopped to get pictures with some characters where there were no lines.

Our pace was slowing down which was always the plan once we got past half way which was in Animal Kingdom. This was the only park that we didn’t visit on our free days so it was nice to be able to look around. Unfortunately we were too early so no rides were open, but as timing had it the GoPro died so Kath got to use some nice toilets and not portaloos or in the bush like the men were doing. After a change of battery we were back on our way.

We left Animal Kingdom and had a very long stretch of road into ESPN Wide World of Sports the first stop was for sponges which were very welcome given it was really heating up by this point. We had some character photos and a few more water stops. When we were running around the baseball field, the announcer in the stadium called out my name which was nice! A short 5km later we were back on the roads heading for Hollywood Studios. By this stage we were really starting to slow back a bit more, Kath stopped at a medical tent and used some biofreeze, at this point the temperature was really heating up. My knee had a bit of a spasm and was quite painful.

We made our way into Hollywood Studios which was open to the public at this point, so it was great to have some crowd support. There were volunteers giving out lots of candy. Kath got caramel m&ms and I got some skittles. She unfortunately ate too many of them and then had slight regrets when she started burping them up later. It was quite hilly going through this park but just as quick as we entered we were exiting. We then made our way down Disney Boardwalk which was also lined with spectators.

After about 1km of the boardwalk were finally entered Epcot. People were stopping for margaritas here but I have never been so thrilled to see that giant ball! We realised at this stage that we were going to end up further than the 42.2 km as our watches were out of sync from the course makers. Like Hollywood Studios, the park was open to the public so there was loads of crowd support.

We finally came to the Epcot ball and knew we were near. Rounding the last few corners we were thrilled to see the finish line. We crossed holding our hands and heads high as we had run nearly 80km in the past 4 days! The ‘marathon’ ended up being 43.28km according to my watch (we are ultramarathoners – go us!).

We collected our marathon medals, had a selfie with the finish line then went to get the cooling towels, water and mickey ears. We had to go to a special challenge medal section to collect our Goofy and Dopey medals. These were massive and really heavy.

We had our official after race photo then made our way to the bus.

We had to sit on the bus for a while but we were happy to be off our feet. We took up an entire row to stretch out our legs.

We eventually arrived at the resort, hobbled to our room and then showered, ate some food from Kath’s birthday hamper then I had a small nap.

We headed to Disney Springs for the marathon after party. It was not very exciting, we had some food which included mac and cheese, baby back ribs, pulled pork and Kath ate some wierd apple, nut salad. She liked it, I don’t believe apple or nuts should be in a salad.

Once we’d eaten and shared a giant beer, we headed back to our resort as we were very tired.

Posted in USA 2018 & 2019 | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

12 January – Day Three of the Dopey Challenge – Half Marathon

Well it was a little harder to get out of bed on this morning, we made the 3am bus and made it to the start area with loads of time. We were dressed as Captain America (me) and Iron Man (Cindy).

That morning we had our photos with Mickey, Dopey AND Donald. The start line was about 1km away from the stage area, we were in Corral F (and for the marathon), the amount of people in the corrals was insane. I’m glad I wasn’t in the last corral H. Thankfully, it was much warmer this morning, but still cool with the breeze.

They had better fireworks at the start line this morning, but when it was our turn to go, they didn’t really work… so the group who went after us got double the fireworks. Sigh! Thankfully though we didn’t have to wait ages to start, only half an hour after the first runner started. The one thing that is hard for me is not the early mornings, but the early mornings and then having to wait like 3.5 hours until you can actually start running.

Anyways, we were off. It was annoying having many walkers all over the road, but thankfully the road was wide but we did alot of weeving. We were going quite fast to begin with but Cindy was happy to keep going until 3km to start pacing. We ran well, stopping for water at the breaks. We made it to Magic Kingdom at Mile 5 (around the 8km mark) and slowed down to get a number of photos throughout the park. At this point we very much had warmed up and weren’t looking forward to the sun coming up. This race had many supporters that jumped on buses/monorail to get around that were cheering everyone on, they were great, some of theirsigns were funny. There were many character stops up to this point but queues were big, so we kept going.

From Magic Kingdom to Epcot, not much exciting happened but the sun came up and it was quite warm. At this point the road had thinned out alot and was very pleasant to run. My ankles and knees were a little stiff but okay.

There were two character stops right at the end, but I didn’t even know who they were…. but there lines were very short. At this point, I wanted to finish… so we kept going.

We finished strongly, I beat my PB by 20+ minutes which I was very happy with. Instead of foil blankets at the end, they had cool, wet towels – these were nice for about 2 minutes but it was only 14 degrees (Celsius) and with a slight breeze, you did cool down quickly. Our medal is nice and larger than the 5km and 10km medal. We stretched for a bit before getting on the bus back to the resort.

We sat on the bus for a while, by the time we got to our stop – we were stiff, cold old ladies. We had nice hot baths, which I then stretched again, rollered and then put my long compression pants on. We had some cereal before being interrupted by housekeeping… Cindy asked her to come back later as we were going to have a sleep. We napped for about an hour and half until just after midday. We were getting ready to go out and get food, when another knock… the nice housekeeping lady was back and Cindy was like, give us 2 minutes and we’ll be out. When we left, she had disappeared…

We went to one of the restaurants for lunch, they said 20 minutes for a table and we said okay and went to concierge to book a table for another restaurant for dinner that night. It took awhile to get served by concierge, so the restaurant texted to say our table was ready. So I went back to get the table while Cindy continued talking to the guy at concierge. Didn’t get the reservation as Cindy needed a credit card but I had walked off with the wallet, apparently our magic band wasn’t enough. Which is odd because we can charge things to our account no problem with the magic band. Cindy found that she could reserve a table on the Disney app, so that was good.

Anyways, lunch was great. I treated myself to a beer. Hydration purposes of course. Service was extremely slow but the food made the wait worthwhile. Cindy had calamari and I had a burger and waffle fries, we shared the meals and polished both off.

We went back to our room and the housekeeper hadn’t been in the 2 hours we were out. So we hung out in the room until she came and then we went and sat outside in the fresh air for half an hour. Cindy then went to see if she had left and she had. So that is where we spent the remaining afternoon… snacking on cake and chips and dip while watching Harry Potter 7a.

Dinner was at 6pm and we slowly walked back to the restaurant area. We saw 5 squirrels and 5 Turtles tnat evening. We shared a nice pasta dish and 3 small tacos. After dinner we then went to bed early.

Posted in USA 2018 & 2019 | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

11 January – Day 2 of Dopey Challenge – 10km

After sleeping through the night, the alarm went off again at 2:30am.

We got ready, today we were the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. We were in singlets, short tights – upside, it was going to be warmer than the day before but it was still really cold outside. Thankfully, we had our foil blankets to try and keep us warm.

We got on our bus, walked to the main stage and lined up to get our photo with Mickey! After that we decided to try get a photo with Pluto as well. We had enough time for the 2 pictures and for me to go to the toilet in a portaloo. Thankfully it was clean still, probably helps that these toilets have a small urinal in there too so men don’t have to go all over the seat.

We were in Corral D, they had Corrals A-F today. However, we think less people in each Corral. When we got close to the start line, we took our foil blankets off and threw them to the side. We got off about 25 minutes after the first runner started.

We went out on to the road to begin the run, it took me to about the 4-5km mark to actually warm up. They had a number of Characters along the way but same as yesterday – massive queues. I liked running on the main roads better than in the park because the roads are so wide. After a while we went back into Epcot and ran around the world showcase area, the course started to thin out quite a bit towards the end so was quite pleasant.

We went quite fast today again, yesterday we ended up doing 7 minute kms. We ended up doing 6:30 minute kms today. We did a time around 1hr 6 mins. Cindy will be pacing us tomorrow so we don’t go too hard and be too exhausted for the marathon.

After the race, we picked up our Minnie Mouse medal, food pack, foil blankets and had our photo. We got straight on the bus today which was nice. I was hungry so ate some of my food from the free pack.

We had our showers and then had our morning sleep and started on Harry Potter movie number 3.

Cindy started investigating options for our lunch…. but nothing took our fancy, so we decided we’d just go and see what took our fancy at Disney Springs once there.

We had a walk around Disney Springs and went into a few shops, we ended up getting a pizza and some garlic knots (small little garlic bread balls) for lunch… it was okay. We went back to the resort, had some Mickey cake and then grabbed some water, snacks and quirkle and headed to the pool area to find some sun to sit and play.

After a few hours where we won a game each, we headed back to the room. We watched some more Harry Potter until dinner where we went to one of the restaurants at the resort. We got a pasta dish and a roast chicken dish to share. The chicken turned out to be half a chicken and the pasta was just some yummy pasta with a simple tomato based sauce. Simple but filled us up. We headed back to the room and we are now watching Harry Potter 5 with an early night planned. The buses start half an hour earlier tomorrow so we will be up slightly earlier and on the bus by 3am!

Until next time.

Posted in USA 2018 & 2019 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

10 January – Day 1 of the Dopey Challenge – 5km

Although I didn’t sleep well, I did wake up feeling much much better. My cold has moved up into my head rather than my chest. So the alarm had us up at 2:30am, Cindy poked her head outside and realized it was freezing outside so we put our long black tights on under our red short tights.

For today’s race, we would both be Mickey Mouse 🙂

We were at the bus stop a little after 3am and we were cold! Thankfully a bus came after about 10 minutes but he got a call and was told he needed to go back to the previous stop and shouldn’t have come to our stop yet. Thankfully we didn’t get kicked off but went for a drive around the resort back to the ‘start’ and jumped off to get on the first bus.

At 3:30am we were off again to pick people up from the bus stops around the resort.

The start line and finish line was at Disney’s Epcot park. The bus drops you about 1km from the main area.. so we walked from the bus and then through security, we didnt have any bags, so we were able to walk through quickly.

They had 4 Disney Characters out for photos, Mickey, Minnie, Dopey and Oswald. We lined up to get a picture with Mickey, we huddled together and tried to hide behind others without being creepy close.

We were bopping to the music to and try keep warm, it wasn’t helping a great deal. We had our picture taken and hung out in front of the main stage. There were lots of people dressed up, I think we were one of the best mickey’s. They opened the corrals at 4:30 with the race starting at 5:30am.

For this race, we were in corral B. They had A-D, but within that, they separated it further and let people go off in mini waves. It took us about 35 minutes after the first ‘gun’ went off to get started.

We had planned to take this race easy, but, it was sooo cold, we started off quick. They didn’t have much order to who was in which corral, so alot of walkers were on the course already, so you had to weave a lot, which made it hard to go at a slowish pace.

The course pretty much went around the Epcot park, it was pretty dark the whole time, so you don’t see much but all the buildings look pretty alongside the water.

They had a number of Characters along the route which you could stop for photos with, but the thing is the line was huge, people were lining up ages back not even knowing who the character was. We kept running as I was barely warm enough to stop and cool down again and then to get warm again.

They had lots of photographers on the course, so we got photos along the route.

I wanted to go to the toilet, but didnt want to wait to the finish line and use a portaloo, so I went to a nice one in the park. It was about 800m from the finish line. I forgot that I was wearing two pairs of tights, so it took me more time to take them down and then try pull them back up.

We finished in 39 minutes on our watches, including toilet break. We got our cool Oswald medal, snack box and a warm Disney foil blanket each. We got an after race photo and then headed to find our bus back to the resort. We had to wait awhile for the bus as they had already filled up too.

But the bus was toasty warm when it came.

When we got back to our room, we had a warm shower/bath each and then had some cereal before jumping into bed for a lie down and ended up napping for awhile.

After a decent nap, we got up and dressed and got the bus to Disney Springs for lunch. We went to a place called Chicken Guy. Cindy and I got some chicken tenders with a side of chips and mac & cheese. Tenders and chips were good and the mac & cheese was average.

We grabbed an uber and headed to the Disney outlet store, turns out this is part of a much bigger outdoor outlet area like harbourtown. We didnt really feel like shopping but did check out the Nike store but nothing caught our eye. We found the disney store and we found some good bargains.

My favourite, was a litle running shoe Christmas ornament they had from $28 down to $3. We had seen one at the expo (full priced and 2019) and was tempted to get it but didnt. The 2018 is quite small, but hey, a $25 saving is awesome.

After the Disney store we got an uber back to the resort, we walked past the resort pool area to have a look. It’s nice and has a cool pool slide, spa. There’s a nice bar area and cafe and a beach volleyball court if you felt so inclined.

We decided to put Harry Potter on and have a HP marathon and chilled out. We got out our huge Mickey cake and had a yummy slice of cake. We have alot of cake to get through.

For dinner, we ubered in some Chinese food.

After a good feed, we got our outfits ready for the 10km.

Posted in USA 2018 & 2019 | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment