Feb 13

2013 Disney Princess Half Marathon Meet Up Recap – A Peek Into This Exclusive runDisney Event

princess marathon meet up epcot group runDisney

You would think it would take some experienced hackers to take down the entire Disney Parks Blog right? The runDisney twitter account hinted that a “sign up” post for the 2013 Princess Half Marathon Meet Up would hit the blog on Friday, February 15th and on that Friday, the Disney Parks Blog went DOWN. Too much runDisney traffic apparently crashed the server. Curious…I’d say there were a lot of runners F5ing the blog that day waiting to nab one of the coveted spots. The Meet Ups after all are pretty amazing! Celebrities, an intimate run thru the parks before opening, food, giveaways, Disney character meets and more! Who WOULDN’T clamour for one of those spots?

princess marathon meet up epcot runDisneyThis Meet Up surely became a very fond memory for the runDisney enthusiasts who made it in. The event took place at Epcot on Friday morning, the first day of Princess Marathon Weekend.  Attendees met up with fellow runners, Jeff Galloway (official runDisney consultant), Tara Gidus (runDisney Nutritionist), Sean Astin (Goonies, Rudy and Lord of the Rings), Ali Vincent (The Biggest Loser) , April Holmes (three-time paralympian) and members of the runDisney Team for the first part of the Meet Up which is the 3ish mile fun run.  The group has the option of either a non-stop run or a run-walk-run. One day I will be able to go with the non-stop group but this wasn’t that day. =) We run-walk-runners waited patiently as the straight run group headed out under Spaceship Earth.

Then it was time for our run-walk-run to begin. We headed straight thru Future World and then hooked a left at Mexico making our way to the International Gateway. Once there, we exited the park and runners made the loop around the Boardwalk Resort Area and then back into Epcot via the International Gateway. Once inside the park again, we hooked another left in the UK and followed the World Showcase path back around finally ending at Germany. Here are some shots of the run

princess marathon meet up epcot runDisney mexico

princess marathon meet up epcot runDisney DPB

princess marathon meet up epcot runDisney Japan

Once the running portion of the Meet Up was complete, guests entered Germany’s Biergarten restaurant for a light breakfast and special presentation.

disney princess half meey up epcot faron kelley

Possibly one of my favorite pieces of information came from Faron Kelley (Director of Marketing and Communications for Disney Sports) who told us that WOMEN are driving the runDisney movement! #GirlPower Makes sense actually, considering Walt Disney World just hosted its first marathon where the ladies outnumbered the men.

Another treat. This little firecracker is four time runDisney Half Marathon winner Rachel Booth. She got up and talked a little bit about her training and fielded questions from the crowd.

rachel booth disney princess half meey up epcot

Season Five The Biggest Loser winner, Ali Vincent rundisney princess half meet up epcot

Season Five The Biggest Loser winner, Ali Vincent had the crowd raising their hands high in the air as she asked audience members who had lost the most weight.  This was a real eye opener for me as someone who has lost 35 pounds. There were so many ladies in the room who had lost as much or MORE weight than I. I still have another 60 something pounds to lose and this was just the motivation that I needed. If these ladies could do it, by god so can I!
disney princess half meet up 2013
Two lucky gals were plucked from the audience to be a part of the next presentation. One of the gals was my girlfriend Susan Pazera. Professional therapists from the new Senses, a Disney Spa at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort demonstrated massage recovery techniques. If you’d like to book a massage or other spa service you can give Senses a call at (407) WDW-SPAS.
senses spa disney princess half meet up
The pinnacle of the Meet Up came when April Holmes, three-time paralympian, took the stage. I was so moved by her talk that I didn’t take one picture and just hung on to every word she said. Here’s a shot of her with just one of her Olympic medals. She relived the story of the moment in her life where she slipped getting onto a train and was subsequently pinned under that train costing her her leg. She then told us how her doctor brought her a magazine in the hospital right after she lost her leg highlighting the paralympics and how that started the fire in her to set some world records. What an inspiration!
April Holmes three-time paralympian disney princess half meet up
and what Meet Up would be complete without a few random draw runDisney giveaways with Sean Astin as the name picker?
sean astin disney princess half meet up
Attendees were gifted a swag bag and park hopper ticket to return and enjoy the parks on their own before being escorted outside for photo opps with the celebrities and Disney characters.
2013 disney princess half meet up
sean astin princess minnie mouse half meey up disney
 Of course I have to share this pic of me making a crazy face because one should always be able to make fun of ones self. That’s MacKidSuze and RunningatDisney looking cool as ever next to me.
Amanda Tinney Susan Pazera Sarah McGovern Luka runDisney
Amanda Tinney Snow White runDisney

If you’d like to participate in a runDisney Meet Up please keep your eyes on the Disney Parks Blog which is where the events are announced. You can also follow runDisney on facebook and twitter where teasers are often announced before the event sign up post goes live!  You can follow DisneyEveryDay on facebook as well as instagram for more runDisney and Disney fun.

I was invited to this event as media for DisneyEveryDay.com. I was not required to write this post and all opinions are my own.

Feb 13

The Land of OZ Garden and Playground Opens at Epcot {Photo Tour}

As if I wasn’t excited enough about the mini food and wine festival (including Spiced Rum Dole Whip!) to debut at the 2013 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival! Are big kids allowed in here too? Check out some of the images from the newly installed Land of OZ Garden at Epcot. Too bad its only here for a limited time during the festival which runs March 6-May 19 at Walt Disney World Resort.

A yellow “brick road” composed of yellow violas and kid-friendly turf lead the way to the new Land of Oz Garden debuting in Future World.  Based on the March 8th film release of Disney’s “Oz The Great and Powerful,” the garden features circus games, children’s climbing activities and the ‘crashed’ hot air balloon from the film.

Land of Oz Garden balloon

Kids…fly…over the rainbow…why then oh why can’t I?

over the rainbow epcot disney The Land of Oz Garden

oz garden playground epcot flower garden festival disney

Whimsical hand-made glass poppies enhance The Land of Oz Garden…

oz garden playground epcot flowers garden festival disney

Lovely tented areas line the garden so parents can kick back in chairs and watch their children play!

tents epcot disney The Land of Oz Garden

For more info on the festival check out my post: What’s New for the 2013 Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival and I’m also over on Facebook as well.  Come say Hi!

Nov 12

Recap of the runDisney Wine and Dine Half Marathon MeetUp in Epcot

chef mickey amanda tinney rundisney wine dine half meetupIt’s been a whirlwind of a weekend out at Walt Disney World for the 2012 Wine and Dine Half Marathon. I have lots of fun stuff to share with you and I’m gonna start with a recap of the Wine and Dine Half MeetUp that took place in Epcot this past Friday.

Darrell Fry put the call out on the Disney Parks Blog earlier this month and 40ish applicants were selected for an exclusive 2 mile run thru Epcot before park opening.  I was there to cover the event and was able to make the run around the park with my favorite runner girl, Sarah of RunningatDisney.com Go check out her site! Wait! Read this post first.

and it goes like this…

This past Friday, Sarah and I had a ‘butt-crack-of-dawn’ alarm set in our room at the Disney Boardwalk Inn.  We hopped out of bed, threw on our running gear and made our way over to the Epcot parking lot just as the sun was starting to come up.

Epcot sunrise disney

We made our way from the parking lot to the bag check staging area where everyone started checking in.  The group was outfitted with matching runDisney tech shirts so we could all get our swag on in the group photos and many of us took turns recognizing each other from Facebook and Twitter.

epcot wine dine half meetup rundisney

Apparently I “Will Call” so call me maybe…

sarah mcgovern amanda tinney disney rundisney

RunningatDisney and I

Here’s some of the team that keeps runDisney going strong! If it weren’t for these guys, opportunities like these would be non-existent! Show em some Disney love by giving them a follow over on Facebook and Twitter.

disney rundisney team at epcot

Our challenge that morning was to make it from the front of the park, thru Future World and then loop around World Showcase 1.5 times ending in Germany without stopping for schoolbread…or Tipsy Ducks in Love… or a shot from La Cava.

Runners had to pick their poison. A Run-Walk-Run with the “Official runDisney training Consultant” Jeff Galloway or a Run-Run-Run with the ‘now’ three-time-winner of the Wine and Dine Half Marathon, Anton Van Zyl. I chose the Run-Walk-Run method cause it was with an official and I officially wanted to make this run official. If you’re not familiar with it, check out the Jeff Galloway Run-Walk-Run Training Tips at runDisney.

Look at us all on the move! Running like it’s “rope drop”.

epcot rundisney wine and dine meetup tweetup

We ran into the big cheese near the Fountain of Nations. He must have been out for his morning run as well and was gracious enough to stop for a picture with us!

mickey mouse sports disney rundisney epcot

Daniel Wanderman gives Mickey a high four!

Daniel Wanderman mickey rundisney epcot

The walk portion of the Run-Walk-Run or as the Disney Nerd in me likes to call it… Truck-on-Stage. See… this is another reason you fellow Disney nerds need to come down to WDW for a runDisney race… never-before-seen and backstage access!

epcot disney china wine dine rundisney meetup

I also have to throw in this “official” Disney photo taken by an official Yellow Shoes Disney photographer to make it official.

wine dine marathon meetup epcot china disney amanda tinney

Here’s a shot of the Run-Run-Run’ners in Mexico…

rundisney meetup epcot

Right to Left (RunningwithSass, Anton Van Zyl, Eat Sleep Run Disney and “nice Twitter friend” that I can’t remember the name of because I’m such a doofus)

Jeff Galloway Group epcot wine dine half meetup

After both pace groups had arrived safely in Germany Bob Hitchcock told us “we didn’t have to go home but we couldn’t stay here.”

bob hitchcock rundisney disney germany

I jest. He invited us in to the Biergarten restaurant for more surprises!

But first….a #TeamRunDisney Facebook Group photo. #Represent

Team Run Disney Group epcot wine dine half meetup

Once the group had grabbed a muffin and beverage and seated themselves we were treated to a few expert talks. My fave was the talk given by reigning Wine and Dine Half Marathon Winner Anton Van Zyl who told us that he likes to eat soda and potato chips in the latter part of a marathon.

Anton Van Zyl disney wine dine meetup champion epcot

His talk was followed up by official runDisney nutritionist Tara Gidus, who dropped some runner foodie knowledge on us.  You can see “Tara’s Top 20 Nutrition Tips” over on my other blog iGetSkinny.com

official runDisney nutritionist Tara Gidus chef mickey

That’s Tara above with Chef Mickey and Chef Steff the “Sports Chef”. He made us some kicked up spaghetti pie!

spaghetti pie from the sports chef

More treats were given out at the end of the MeetUp which included a runDisney sports bottle and a 1-Day ticket to return to Epcot to experience the International Food and Wine Festival, along with a $10 Disney Gift Card!  What? Such VIP service…I didn’t want this MeetUp to end!!!  But like all good things…it did. Here’s our group shot before leaving the park and heading over to Kouzzina’s for breakfast…

2012 disney wine dine meetup epcot rundisney

Were you at the runDisney Wine and Dine Half MeetUp? If you were leave me a link to your recap or photos in the comments section. I’d love your take on it! If you weren’t at the MeetUp, does this sound like something you’d like to do? Where would you like to see the next MeetUp held?

Sep 12

First Look at the 2012 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival Set Up Changes

The World Showcase promenade is being set up for the arrival of the 2012 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival and there are two tweaks that we’d like to share with you.

First, covered seating adjacent to the Belgium Marketpalce has been increased significantly.

2012 Epcot Food and Wine Festival seating belgium

Second, the Hops and Barley Marketplace has been moved from the promenade walkway closest to the American Gardens Theatre farther back into the American Pavilion and closer to the kidcot area. This will make the traffic flow easier during the Eat to the Beat! Concerts in the evening.

2012 Epcot Food and Wine Festival hops and barley marketplace moved

We also get a first look at the Fresh Harvest Watermelon Patch at the entrance to World Showcase from Future World.

Fresh Harvest Watermelon Patch epcot food wine festival 2012

Fresh Harvest Watermelon Patch epcot food wine festival 2012

And here’s a look at the Epcot exit and entrance set up promoting the festival…

exit epcot international food and wine festival 2012

entrance epcot international food and wine festival 2012

We just posted images of the marketplace menu placards with pricing and boy were we surprised by all of the increases. You can see them all here: 2012 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Menu Boards Show Significant Price Increase

The 2012 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival takes place daily from 11am – 9pm from September 28th to November 12th.

Aug 12

New Disney Segway Tour Sure to Delight Epcot Fans

Epcot Segway Tour

The Disney Parks Blog just announced a brand new “behind-the-scenes” tour that will be offered to guests starting September 17th.  The “Keep Moving Forward: See the World, Share the Dream Segway Tour” lasts three hours and 45 minutes, and includes a one-hour Segway training lesson, breakfast at Sunshine Seasons, tours of both Future World and World Showcase, and an exclusive Disney pin.

The tour will cost $99 (plus tax) for guests age 16 and older. A parent or guardian must sign a waiver for participants age 16-17. Annual Passholders and Disney Vacation Club Members will receive a 15% discount.

For more information or to book, call (407) WDW-TOUR (939-8687).