Oct 14

Why You Should Book a runDisney Marathon Weekends Race Package at Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek at Walt Disney World

runDisney Marathon Weekends at Hilton Bonnet Creek at Walt Disney World - Amanda TinneyI recently learned that two of my favorite pastimes have joined forces. runDisney + Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek. I mean seriously…how did I not know about this?

Marathon Weekends at Hilton Bonnet Creek at Walt Disney World runDisney

This past Saturday I checked in to the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort at Walt Disney World as a place to lay my head after the runDisney Tower of Terror 10 Miler, but checking in to the resort would yield more than just a place to bunk down for the night. My daughter and I were in for a runDisney race experience that started at the hotel and ran seamlessly into the race itself.

runDisney Marathon Weekends at Hilton Bonnet Creek at Walt Disney World - Runners Amenity

Upon check-in, my daughter Alexus and I headed up to our room to stow our luggage. Check it out! A special nutrition runner amenity! Two LUNA bars, two granola bars and two bags of trail mix. These would come in handy as we waited in our corral before the race start.

runDisney Marathon Weekends at Hilton Bonnet Creek at Walt Disney World - Tower of Terror 10 Miler

We sat for a few minutes and enjoyed a sunset from our 12th floor “Disney View” room. Yep, that’s the Tower of Terror attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios…the finish line of our 10-miler we were about to embark on.

runDisney Marathon Weekends at Hilton Bonnet Creek at Walt Disney World - Send Off Party

Next, we made our way down to the “Big Send Off” party which was set up especially for runners. It’s also where I got that first photo above withe the clever “Don’t be afraid! It’s only 10 miles!” sign.

The set-up for runners was a legitimate pre-game affair. Music pumping, employees cheering and everything a runner would want to nosh on before the big race event. Coffee, tea, bottled water, protein bars, granola bars and bananas. The team that sets this event up is comprised of folks that have actually participated in runDisney race weekends. They are runners themselves and so they know what runners want and need before a big race.

This is also the area where runners sign up for complementary event transportation. Hilton Bonnet Creek charters special buses to take runners and their families to the race venue. For the Tower of Terror 10 Miler, runners signed up for a scheduled bus time, slipped on a special rubber bracelet that was their ticket to board and then boarded the bus at their scheduled time for the ride over to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Once at the ESPN, runners would then take the Disney transfer to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and the race start line. Buses ran every 30 minutes from 6:30 – 8:00 pm to take runners to the start and then Midnight – 4:30 am for return back to the resort.

Here’s another killer photo opp right outside the resort where bus transportation was located.

runDisney Marathon Weekends at Hilton Bonnet Creek at Walt Disney World - Photo Opportunity

There were some special carb-loading opportunities pre-race, but I was only at the resort for one night. I will be staying several nights in 2015 when I participate in the runDisney Dopey Challenge and will be bringing you a review of those options in a few months.

The Marathon Weekends program is currently available for the following races:

Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend, November 7-8, 2014—Complimentary transportation is provided to and from the race on November 8.
Walt Disney World® Marathon Weekend, January 7-11, 2015—Complimentary transportation is provided to and from the races on January 10 & 11.
Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend, February 19-22, 2014—Complimentary transportation is provided to and from the race on February 22.

Marathon Weekends pricing and activities are open to all guests participating in select runDisney races and staying at the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek or Waldorf Astoria Orlando. Rates start at $129 a night. To make a reservation, please visit www.hiltonbonnetcreek.com/marathon or http://www.waldorfastoriaorlando.com/special-offers/marathon-weekends.

Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek
Inside the gates of the Walt Disney World Resort
14100 Bonnet Creek Resort Ln.
Orlando, FL 32821

I was a guest of the Hilton Bonnet Creek and was provided with complementary accommodations for one night. I was not required to write this post and no monetary compensation has been received. I have thousands of Hilton Honors Points that I have earned by paying my own money to stay at this particular resort because I love it so much.

Sep 14

First Look at the runDisney Disney Cruise Line Castaway Cay 5K Challenge Race Medal

runDisney Castaway Cay 5k Challenge Medal

The inaugural runDisney Castaway Cay Challenge takes place in January 2015. Runners who are participating in a 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend event will add on a four-night cruise aboard the Disney Dream and run the Castaway Cay 5K to earn this inaugural Castaway Cay Challenge finisher medal.

Runners participating in the 2015 Princess Half Marathon Weekend will also have an opportunity to earn this race medal. For more information and to register for the Disney Princess Weekend Castaway Cay Challenge, visit runDisney.com.

Sep 14

What I Ate and Drank at the Disney Media Preview for the 2014 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival

2014 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival - Peach Moscato

Last Saturday I joined a small group of media invited out to the Wonders of Life Pavilion Lounge for a small sampling of select 2014 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival Bits and Sips. You can see the entire list of festival booths and menu items here: 2014 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival at Walt Disney World – Complete Listing of Marketplace Booth Menu Items

The above photo was the welcome drink. Caposaldo Sweet Sparkling Peach Moscato ($4.25) Intermissions Cafe in the Wonders of Life Pavilion. I’m not normally one for anything sweet or sparkling but the carbonation was very mild and this offering wasn’t too sweet at all. It was very refreshing and paired nicely with the eggs they had set out for brunch.

2014 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival - Peach Moscato

My favorite dish that afternoon was this. Nueske’s Pepper Bacon Hash with Sweet Corn, Potatoes, Hollandaise and Pickled Jalapeño ($4.00) Farm Fresh Booth. I had sampled this the previous day on my own out on the World Showcase Promenade for opening day and oh my was I blown away. The bacon has a deep smokey flavor that really defines this dish. This is a must try and in my top five for the entire festival.

2014 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival - Crabless Crab Cake from Terra

The real shocker for me was that I really enjoyed the CraB’less CraB Cake with Pepper Slaw and Cajun Remoulade ($4.25) Terra Marketplace. The texture of this vegan crab cake was “spot on”! It literally tasted exactly like a crab cake. I think it was the remoulade sauce that really sent this one over the edge. I will be back to purchase and enjoy another one of these soon.

2014 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival - Tzatziki MartiniTzatziki Martini featuring Crop Organic Cucumber Vodka and BOLS Natural Yoghurt Liqueur ($7.75) Greece Booth. I wanted so much to like this cocktail. I really did. I am a big fan of martinis and also a huge fan of Greek food. I did not like this drink at all. Nothing about it was appealing to me. The bits of dill floating in it. The yoghurt liqueur…nope. Not a fan. If you like savory cocktails give this one a go. They apparently aren’t my thing.

2014 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival - Slow-braised beef with Puerto Rican-grown rice

Slow-braised Beef with Puerto Rican-grown Rice ($4.50) Puerto Rico Booth. This dish was tasty, although the beef was a little more well done than I would have liked it. I have seen this dish served out on the promenade and the portion size is hearty. A good bang for your buck.

2014 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival - Seared sea scallop with spinach-cheddar gratin and crispy bacon

Seared Sea Scallop with Spinach-Cheddar Gratin and Crispy Bacon ($4.50) Scotland Booth.  Delicious! A perfectly cooked scallop on a bed of creamed spinach topped with crisp bits of bacon. What’s not to love?

2014 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival - Red and White WinePaperboy Red ($3.50) Terra Booth. This red blended wine is unique in the fact that it is offered in a corrugated cardboard bottle with a plastic bladder. Responsible and tasty. The white was a Chardonnay that was divine and I am kicking myself for not taking a picture of the bottle. Not sure which booth this wine is being offered at.

2014 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival - Waffle with Berry Compote and Whipped Cream

Belgian Waffle with Berry Compote and Whipped Cream ($3.50) Belgium Booth. One of my favorite things has returned again this year. This is a great value and absolutely delicious. The waffle was soft and fresh and the berries are cooked down into a luscious sauce. This paired well with the red wine.

2014 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival - Dessert Trio

Dessert Trio: Passion Fruit Coconut Creamsicle, Blueberry Lime Cheesecake Roll, and Chocolate Espresso Opera Cake ($4.00) Desserts and Champagne Booth. My favorite of these three was the cheesecake roll, another surprise for me since I don’t care for cheesecake. I think the fact that it was half sponge cake and half cheesecake was what made it so spectacular. The creamsicle had and overpowering taste of passion fruit. And the opera cake was rich and decadent.

2014 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival - Eat to the Beat Concert - Jo Dee Messina

We topped off our experience with a concert in the American Gardens Theatre where we rocked out to some country tunes from Jo Dee Messina. You can see a listing of the entire Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Eat to the Beat Concert Series here: 2014 Epcot Eat to the Beat Concert Schedule Dates and Times

The 19th Epcot International Food & Wine Festival presented by Chase runs September 19th – November 10th, 2014. I hope to see you out noshing your way around the promenade! For more photos of the dishes being offered at the festival follow me over on Instagram where I am posting live as I eat and drink my way around World Showcase.

Special thanks goes out to the Disney PR Team for inviting me to this complementary preview. I was not compensated nor required to write this post and all opinions are my own.

Sep 14

runDisney Caught Filming in Disneyland Paris for the Upcoming Half Marathon

runDisney Mickey Photo Shoot in Paris

Photo property of DLRP Express (Photo Credit: Thomas)

We’ve been getting hints for a while now about the possibility of a runDisney Disneyland Resort Paris Half Marathon happening. I attended a media function at Epcot where execs confirmed that yes, there would be a DLRP Half we just didn’t have a solid date on when that would be.

Then in May of this year, a Disneyland Paris Cast Member posted a picture of a button on Instagram revealing the date for the anticipated half.

Today I bring you further proof that the Disneyland Half Marathon is happening. Our friends over at DLRP Express posted this photo to their Facebook wall yesterday sending runners into a frenzy on the chat boards. Looks like runDisney Mickey posing with runners in Central Plaza at Disneyland Resort Paris. If the rumors are correct, the race will take place in September of 2015 with an announcement of the race coming in November of this year.

Brace your wallets runners!

Sep 14

What Adults Do at Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party When the Kids Ditch Them

2014 Mickeys Not So Scary Halloween Party in the Magic Kingdom

Mickey’s Not-so-Scary Halloween Party at the Magic Kingdom is a family tradition. I don’t think we’ve missed a party in over 10 years. Of course ten years ago I had a kindergartner and now I’ve got a 15-year-old. Gone are the days of me holding her hand as she trick-or-treated through the candy stations. Now she brings a friend along. We enter the park, get banded and then we see the kids again at midnight for a ride home.

2014 Mickeys Not So Scary Halloween Party

What are a couple of parents to do when they get ditched by the kids?

First things first. Head straight back to “Be Our Guest Restaurant” for a two-hour dinner. Don’t have a reservation? See this post – How to Get a Dinner Reservation at Disney’s Be Our Guest Restaurant Without Booking 6 Months in Advance. These are the faces of adults who just had a spectacular dinner inside the Magic Kingdom with beer and wine without the kids.

Be Our Guest Restaurant During Mickeys Not So Scary Halloween Party

At this point in the evening you will be the last guests out of the restaurant and can take fun photos like this one without other guests getting in your shot.

Be Our Guest Restaurant During Mickeys Not So Scary Halloween Party

By this time it will be around 9pm. The first “Boo to You Parade” will have already run it’s course and some guests with very small children may have left the park already. You’ll be feeling pretty good at this point and will be tempted to immediately head over to Space Mountain. This is not a good idea after beer, wine, braised pork and cream puffs. Talk yourself back down. Take a nighttime ride on Seven Dwarfs Mine Train instead. It’s right there.

Mickeys Not So Scary Halloween Party 2014 Cinderella Castle

This will give you just enough time to briefly meet your teenagers at The Lunching Pad in Tomorrowland and buy them a Frozen Coke. You will tell them they need to watch the Hallowishes firework spectacular with you and the guilt from your Frozen Coke purchase will compel them to comply. They will be embarrassed half way through Hallowishes when you begin dancing and singing. “BEWARE! BEWARE! Pink elephants on parade. Here they come. Hippity Hoppity. They’re here. They’re there. Pink elephants everywhere. Pink elephants on parade!”

This will be the last you see of them til midnight.

The rest of your hours will be spent listening to Lady Carlotta heckle guests and sing Elvis songs in front of the Haunted Mansion…

Mickeys Not So Scary Halloween Party Lady Carlotta at the Haunted Mansion

…and blazing through all of your favorite attractions like Pirates of the Caribbean, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Splash Mountain, Space Mountain and Peter Pan. If you don’t want to see the second installment of the “Boo to You Parade”, no pressure.

Oh, and I almost forgot. Hit up every “Trick-or-Treat” Location for all the candy your arms can carry.

Mickeys Not So Scary Halloween Party 2014 Candy Haul

By midnight the kids will be searching for a ride home, or to McDonald’s.

Mickeys Not So Scary Halloween Party 2014

This is how the Tinneys tour Mickey’s Not-so-Scary Halloween Party. Your results may vary.

Mickeys Not So Scary Halloween Party 2014

Special thanks to Disney for hosting me and my family. I was not required to write this post. All opinions are my own.

For more info on Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party see this post: Dates and Prices for the 2014 Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party in the Magic Kingdom