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17
Jan 14

Inaugural 2014 Dopey Challenge Part 3 – 2014 Walt Disney World Half Marathon Race Recap

amanda tinney rundisney disney dopey challenge 2014

Day three of my four-part Dopey Challenge started out much better than day two.  I woke up around 3:30 AM and felt completely rested and ready to tackle the Walt Disney World Half Marathon.

My girlfriend Leslie was also running the half but she does a straight run and I do a run walk combo so although we would be together in our start corral we were each going to be running our own individual races that day.

We gathered our gear, headed out to her car and made our way over to the Epcot parking lot. We scuttled through security, walked past bag check and the porta potties and headed towards our corral.

Check out this guy with his tuba which he carried for the entire half marathon. He played Disney tunes for us as the large group of runners made their way to the starting line.

2014 rundisney dopey challenge walt disney world half marathon tuba runnerThe weather that morning was not as humid as it was the day before for the Inaugural Walt Disney World 10K which was a blessing. Each corral started with fireworks and Disney fanfare with Donald Duck counting down to “Go”.

I knew this course like the back of my hand. Felt like I had run it over 1,000 times. Actually, this would be my sixth time running from Epcot to the Magic Kingdom and back.

I didn’t have a time goal really. It was just going to be me, my music and the open road.

The fireworks for our corral sounded and I was on my way to the Magic Kingdom. I was really looking forward to seeing my friends on Main Street, so I pushed through and jammed out with my YurBuds in the entire way. I felt good. The training was paying off.

2014 rundisney dopey challenge walt disney world half marathon magic kingdom toll plaza Caution runners…speed bumps ahead!

This is my very own heartbreak hill. Right in front of the Contemporary Resort.

2014 rundisney dopey challenge walt disney world half marathon contemporary resortThe stream of runners hooked a left by Space Mountain and headed into the backstage area of Magic Kingdom.  I weaseled my way over to the left-hand side of the pack because I knew that the WDW Radio cheer team, and a lot of my friends, would be there at the corner of Main Street near the Confectionary.

2014 rundisney dopey challenge walt disney world half marathon space mountain

2014 rundisney dopey challenge walt disney world half marathon magic kingdom backstage

I tell ya… seeing a group of familiar faces like this when you’re in the middle of a race is like a drug.

2014 rundisney dopey challenge walt disney world half marathon magic kingdom wdw radioI stopped for a picture…

2014 rundisney dopey challenge walt disney world half marathon magic kingdom amanda tinney

and hugs…and kept on trucking.

2014 rundisney dopey challenge walt disney world half marathon magic kingdom amanda tinney

Love this lady’s camo get up.

2014 rundisney dopey challenge walt disney world half marathon magic kingdom camo runnerAnd then for the best part. Running through Cinderella Castle.

2014 rundisney dopey challenge walt disney world half marathon magic kingdom cinderella castleThe back side is so much prettier than the front.

2014 rundisney dopey challenge walt disney world half marathon magic kingdom cinderella castleI knew that my run through Magic Kingdom would be ending soon so I tried to take it all in. Down the middle of Liberty Square and then straight through Frontierland…. which put me at around the 6 mile mark.

2014 rundisney dopey challenge walt disney world half marathon magic kingdom frontierland

2014 rundisney dopey challenge walt disney world half marathon magic kingdom frontierland

Time to go backstage one more time before making our way past the Magic Kingdom Resorts.  Mile seven was just outside the Grand Floridian.

2014 rundisney dopey challenge walt disney world half marathon mile 7

Here’s a look at what one of the water stops looks like. The only place on Walt Disney World property where you’ll see trash.

2014 rundisney dopey challenge walt disney world half marathon water stop

I blew past the Polynesian Resort and then past the Magic Kingdom parking lot.

2014 rundisney dopey challenge walt disney world half marathon mile 8

I was still feeling really good at this point. But it was time to run the long stretch on World Drive back to Epcot.

2014 rundisney dopey challenge walt disney world half marathon world drive

I started my half marathon doing 30/30’s. 30 seconds of running followed by 30 seconds of walking. By the time I got to the Magic Kingdom, about halfway through, I realized that I had built up enough of a buffer so that I could take my time and do what I wanted for the second half of the race.

Yep. Lots of folks still back there behind me.

2014 rundisney dopey challenge walt disney world half marathon world drive amanda tinney

Almost time to make the gnarly loop up onto that overpass.

2014 rundisney dopey challenge walt disney world half marathon world drive overpass

Hey look it’s Disney Cruise Line. This is the first time they’ve been out to support the race.

2014 rundisney dopey challenge walt disney world half marathon world drive DCL

Made it around the loop and to the top of the overpass.

2014 rundisney dopey challenge walt disney world half marathon world drive

I paced these two ladies pretty much the entire race. Thanks Pumbaa and Timon!

2014 rundisney dopey challenge walt disney world half marathon pumbaa timon costume race

You can see the course is still pretty congested. This was another race I ended up running a lot on the grass.

2014 rundisney dopey challenge walt disney world half marathon

Mile 11 y’all.

2014 rundisney dopey challenge walt disney world half marathon

Poor Lumiere… I know he must’ve been sweating in that costume.

2014 rundisney dopey challenge walt disney world half marathon lumiere costume race

Here’s my friend Deb from All Ears. She’s got a great Disney fan site. One of the original Disney websites. She’s also amazing when it comes to philanthropy and has raised big bucks for cancer research.

2014 rundisney dopey challenge walt disney world half marathon amanda tinney deb wills

A few more overpasses and I was making my way back into Epcot.  But not before fist bumping my friend Zannaland!

rundisney 2014 dopey challenge walt disney world half marathon amanda tinney

2014 rundisney dopey challenge walt disney world half marathon epcot

Best half marathon race sign.

2014 rundisney dopey challenge walt disney world half marathon funny spectator sign

Gospel choir for the win!

2014 rundisney dopey challenge walt disney world half marathon gospel choir

Finishline selfie with Mr. runDisney Faron Kelley.

2014 rundisney dopey challenge walt disney world half marathon faron kelley amanda tinney

And the Donald Duck bling for my victory.  Dopey Challenge Day Three and the 2014 Walt Disney World Half Marathon in the bag!

rundisney 2014 dopey challenge walt disney world half marathon amanda tinney

2014 rundisney dopey challenge walt disney world half marathon donald duck medal

I also got another piece of runDisney arm candy added to my collection.

2014 rundisney dopey challenge walt disney world half marathon wristbands

Breakfast for the third day in a row was at Kouzzina. Carb it up baby!

kouzzina waffles breakfast walt disney world boardwalk

We headed over to the expo after breakfast to pick up my pal Marc’s marathon bib.

rundisney dopey challenge 2014 walt disney world marathon expo amanda tinney

And then for the third day in a row hit up Splitsville for an early 3pm supper. I devoured half of this baby. It was delicious!

downtown disney splitsville margherita pizza

I was in bed by 8:30pm. One more early wake up call awaited! It was time for me to tackle the longest leg of my Dopey Challenge…26.2 miles in the Walt Disney World Marathon!

Here are my race recaps from Part 1 & 2 of my four-part Dopey Challenge:
Inaugural 2014 Dopey Challenge Part 1 – Disney Family Fun Run 5K Race Recap
Inaugural 2014 Dopey Challenge Part 2 – 2014 Walt Disney World 10K Race Recap


20
Dec 13

Have You Seen the New Disney Dollar Designs?

Disney Mountain DollarsNew Disney Dollars have been released just in time for holiday stocking stuffing. A new ”Disney mountains” series of Disney Dollars is now available with three new designs featuring Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Space Mountain on the $1, $5 and $10 bills, respectively. A limited supply will be sold at select locations throughout Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts, including all Guest Relations locations, Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort hotels and the World of Disney store at Downtown Disney in both California and Florida.


06
Dec 13

Disney Photobomb Friday: The Dangers of Riding Space Mountain

Guy in Red: “Aw yeah! So excited those Fastpasses for Space Mountain got us on the ride ahead of all those other people!”

Cast Member: “His lap bar is not working! What do I do?”

Disney Photobomb Space Mountain Cast MemberHUGE thanks to Stacey Johnson who discovered this gem after picking up her Disney vacation photos from the developer. #winning

If you’ve ever been photobombed at Disney, I’d love to feature your funny photo here! Send your best photobombed pics to amanda@disneyeveryday.com to be featured in a future “Photobomb Friday” post.


19
Nov 13

Pictures from Our Trip to the 2013 Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party in the Magic Kingdom

2013 mickeys very merry christmas party main street usaMy family and I attended the Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party on Friday, November 8th.

We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect night as far as the weather was concerned. Upper 60’s. Not cold enough for a jacket but just cool enough to enjoy a cup of hot cocoa.

The party coincided with Veteran’s Day Weekend so it was sold out.

2013 mickeys very merry christmas party sold out sign

2013 mickeys very merry christmas party main street usa cinderella castleWe were hungry so we headed over to Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe to grab a bite to eat. The weather was perfect for dining out on the terrace. So I grabbed a platter of fries and plastic cheese and took in the music from the Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade.

cosmic rays french fries plastic cheese disney magic kingdomNot a bad view eh?

Cinderella Castle Pin disney magic KingdomAnd then magically…Castle Dream Lights!

Cinderella Castle Pin disney magic Kingdom dream lights christmasSo nice of the Imagineers to put my initial in the castle lights! Can you spot the Hidden Mickey as well?

Cinderella Castle Pin disney magic Kingdom dream lights christmasWe finished up our dinner as we sat and waited for the start of Celebrate the Magic at 9:15pm.

Free cocoa and snickerdoodle cookies? Don’t mind if I do.

2013 mickey's very merry christmas party map cocoa cookiesAfter we had satisfied our sweet tooth, it was time to take our places center stage at Cinderella Castle.

disney magic kingdom cinderella castle dream lights christmasHey look ma…I’m glowing with the show!

amanda tinney glow with the show ears disneyThe “Frozen” overlay hadn’t been added into the show yet, but the Christmas tag had been added to the end.

Gratuitous Cheshire Cat shot.

disney magic kingdom cinderella castle celebrate the magic cheshire catAnd you know we just had to stay put for Holiday Wishes – Celebrate the Spirit of the Season. Only the second time of the year you’re graced with the awesomeness of perimeter fireworks.

holiday wishes disney 2013 mickey very merry christmas partyAfter the fireworks my mini me wanted to head over to ride the Jingle Cruise.

magic kingdom disney 2013 mickey very merry christmas party jingle jungle cruiseThe line was too long so we headed deeper into Adventureland to try and locate some pirates friends of ours.

magic kingdom disney 2013 mickey very merry christmas party pirates of the caribbeanLove all the special lighting and projections they have set up for Mickley’s Very Merry Christmas Party!  This one was on the ground outside of Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Cafe near Splash Mountain.

magic kingdom disney 2013 mickey very merry christmas party amanda tinneyAfter a quick trip on the Wildest Ride in the Wilderness we made a trek over to Tomorrowland.

disney magic kingdom tomorrowland nightMore fantastic Christmas Party lighting.

disney magic kingdom tomorrowland night christmas mickeys very merry party snow flakes disney magic kingdom tomorrowland night christmas mickeys very merry party lightingSpace Mountain covered in snow.

disney magic kingdom tomorrowland night christmas mickeys very merry party lighting space mountainQuick jam session with Buzz Lightyear at A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas Show before we took a ride on the Tomorrowland Transit Authority to rest the puppies. We were starting to wind down by this point in the evening.

disney magic kingdom tomorrowland night christmas mickeys very merry party showI had to make one more stop for cookies and hot cocoa before we left. This time we stopped at the Tomorrowland Terrace, which was one of seven “Holiday Treat” stations located throughout the Magic Kingdom that evening.

disney magic kingdom christmas mickeys very merry party cookiesdisney magic kingdom christmas mickeys very merry party cookiesThe treat stations are clearly marked with these gigantic candy cane blow ups.

disney magic kingdom mickey's very merry christmas party candy caneYou may be tempted to steal one for your yard. Don’t. Disney Security will make you put them back where you found them. Not that I would know that from a personal standpoint. And they are really hard to plug back in. Not that I would have any experience with that either. =)

Want a healthier option? Apple juice and apple slices are also available. And did I mention that all of these snacks were free? Unlike the candy cane blow up.

disney magic kingdom christmas mickeys very merry party cocoadisney magic kingdom christmas mickeys very merry partyOK honey. I get the hint. You’re tired. I’ll take me and my sad panda self back down to Main Street USA. But first…a peek inside Starbucks to see what holiday noms are available.

disney magic kingdom mickey's very merry christmas party cupcakedisney magic kingdom mickey's very merry christmas party cupcakeLet is snow…tiny bubbles…let it snow…

disney magic kingdom mickey's very merry christmas party main street snowSo pretty (and terrifying) at the same time. #ihaveaballoonphobia #dontjudge

disney magic kingdom mickey's very merry christmas party balloonsMain Street Confectionary window.

disney magic kingdom mickey's very merry christmas party confectionary window daisy duckThis year’s event logo T-Shirt design.

disney magic kingdom mickey's very merry christmas party shirtAnd don’t forget to pick up your Limited Edition Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom Card made especially for the 2013 Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.

mickey's very merry christmas party 2013 sorcerers of the magic kingdom cardBut I really don’t wanna go!…

disney magic kingdom mickey's very merry christmas party snow flake lightingdisney magic kingdom mickey's very merry christmas party main street train stationMickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party runs through December 20th, 2013. Future Dates for 2013 are:

Nov. 21, 22
Dec. 1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 13, 15, 17, 19, 20

Beginning at 7 p.m. (after regular park hours), guests with special event tickets to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party can enjoy all the holiday splendor we experienced. Hint: You can get in as early as 5:00pm with your ticket…

NOTE: this is a hard ticket special event after regular park hours; purchasing tickets in advance is highly recommended.

Disclosure: My family and I were provided with complementary admission to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. I was not required to write this post and all opinions are my own.


12
Sep 13

First Look at Disney’s Newly Re-Imagined California Grill Restaurant Refurb and Menu Items

Disney Contemporary Resort with RainbowLast week I had the pleasure of attending a media preview for the newly re-imagined California Grill restaurant on the rooftop of Disney’s Contemporary Resort.  Chef Brian Piasecki dubbed this signature dining establishment, which opened in 1995,  “the restaurant that started it all”.

I was relieved that the restaurant would finally be opening back up after the refurb. Considering that Cali Grill has the best sushi on Walt Disney World property and is our “go to” spot for spur-of-the-moment lounge dining.

After taking your own private elevator to the 15th floor, you are immediately greeted with one of the more impressive new installations…the wine wall.
Disney New California Grill 2013 Re-Opening Restaurant Signature Dining wall of wineThe sweeping views of the Magic Kingdom and Epcot area make your dining experience that much more luxurious.  Here’s sunset over Space Mountain and one of the new signature cocktails, the Sake Martini.

Disney New California Grill 2013 Re-Opening Restaurant Signature Dining Sake MartiniThe new design of the restaurant feels fresh and Contemporary retro at the same time.
Disney New California Grill 2013 Re-Opening Restaurant Signature Dining Disney New California Grill 2013 Re-Opening Restaurant Signature Dining Bar Disney New California Grill 2013 Re-Opening Restaurant Signature Dining Kitchen Disney New California Grill 2013 Re-Opening Restaurant Signature Dining Table Setting Disney New California Grill 2013 Re-Opening Restaurant Signature Dining bar lounge Disney New California Grill 2013 Re-Opening Restaurant Signature Dining Wine Wall Disney New California Grill 2013 Re-Opening Restaurant Signature Dining wood benchDisney New California Grill 2013 Re-Opening Restaurant Signature Dining Sugar SculptureNow that we’ve taken a look around the new digs. Let’s dive into the eats!  Keep in mind that this was a media event and all of these dishes were served buffet style or on tasting plates.  Your entree will look slightly different.
Disney New California Grill 2013 Re-Opening Restaurant Signature Dining Place SettingWorld renowned sushi chef Yoshi has retired but the hand-rolled sushi is still spot-on!
Disney New California Grill 2013 Re-Opening Restaurant Signature Dining Shrimp Tempura Roll SushiCalifornia Combination Roll ($24) jumbo lump crab, avocado, cucumber and shrimp tempura.
Disney New California Grill 2013 Re-Opening Restaurant Signature Dining Crab RollYuzu-marinated Sashimi ($24) yellowfin tuna, salmon, hamachi, snapper and wasabi oil
Disney New California Grill 2013 Re-Opening Restaurant Signature Yuzu Marinated Sashimi SushiSpicy Kazan Roll ($26) crab, shrimp, scallops, tuna and fireball sauce
Disney New California Grill 2013 Re-Opening Restaurant Signature Spicy Kazan Roll SushiPork Belly Nigiri ($22) house-cured pork, bacon and yuzu rice with spicy teriyaki
Disney New California Grill 2013 Re-Opening Restaurant Signature Dining Pork Belly Nigiri SushiTuna Four Ways ($26) poke, tartare, maki and nigiri
Disney New California Grill 2013 Re-Opening Restaurant Signature Dining Tuna Four Ways SushiFrom the Soups, Salads and Appetizers portion of the new menu we got to try the Duck in all its Glory ($17) house-made sausage, rillettes, prosciutto, duck liver pate and cranberry compote. I’m not a fan of offal so I did not indulge.
Disney New California Grill 2013 Re-Opening Restaurant Signature Dining Duck in all its glory
Bread service has been changed over to lavender focaccia (pictured below) and whole wheat sourdough (not pictured) and is accompanied by decadent sea salted butter.
Disney New California Grill 2013 Re-Opening Restaurant Signature Dining Lavender FocacciaMoving on to the Entrees, we were served sample sizes of the 24-hour Short Rib “Filet” ($40) caramelized root vegetables, olive oil-potato puree and red wine butter.  Everything about this dish was perfection.
Disney New California Grill 2013 Re-Opening Restaurant Signature Dining Oak Fired Filet of beefRoasted Squash Ravioli ($32) root spinach, parsnips, petite herb salad, sage brown butter and 12-year balsamic. I found the flavor in this dish delicious. The ravioli itself was tad bit too al dente for me. I think that may have been due to the fact that the dish was served from a tasting station and may have had a chance to dry out a bit. I’m hoping that won’t be the case when the dish is ordered and served out of the main kitchen.  I’ve had ravioli from California Grill in the past and it was smooth as silk.
Disney New California Grill 2013 Re-Opening Restaurant Signature Dining Roasted Squash RavioliPacific Halibut ($42) parsnip silk, roasted heirloom beets, arugula, macadamia vinaigrette and beet syrup. This dish left me looking for some added flavor. While the fish was cooked properly, I felt it lacked seasoning in comparison to the other dishes and sushi I had sampled earlier on in the night.  If you are looking for a mild fish that isn’t too “fishy”, then this might be the dish to order.
Disney New California Grill 2013 Re-Opening Restaurant Signature Dining Pacific HalibutThe stand out dish of the evening was the Pork Two Ways ($37) grilled tenderloin, goat cheese polenta, mushrooms, laquered belly and applesauce.  The pork tenderloin makes a reappearance on the menu in this dish and brings along a tasty, tasty friend with the addition of the pork belly.  If you don’t order this dish…I pity you.
Disney New California Grill 2013 Re-Opening Restaurant Signature Dining Pork Two WaysIf you still have room for dessert after all of this let me show you what kind of treats you’ll be in for.

Warm Homemade Fritters ($12) Banana-stuffed, Cinnamon-dusted Fritters with Toasted Caramel Marshmallows complemented with a Trio of Dipping Sauces. These were amazing and light. Reminded me of the coffee and doughnuts dessert at Jiko. Disney New California Grill 2013 Re-Opening Restaurant Signature Dining Banana frittersLemon Meringue Cheesecake ($12) Meyer Lemon-Mascarpone Cheesecake, Ctirus Cookie, and Charred Meringue Clouds. I’ve never been one to order cheesecake. This one had a surprise. The charred meringue cloud on top was rather hard like a cookie.  The cheesecake was delicate. If you like cheesecake…go for it! Disney New California Grill 2013 Re-Opening Restaurant Signature Dining cheesecakeChocolate Pudding Cake ($13) Luscious Chocolate Cake with Nutella Filling, Meringue Kisses, and Mint Chantilly.  Amazing! Rich! Decadent! A chocoholics dream! Disney New California Grill 2013 Re-Opening Restaurant Signature Dining chocolate dessertThe final offerings were two components of the Sundae Sampler ($12) Unique and playful Sundaes with a nostalgic twist: Caramel Corn, Coke Float, and Strawberry and Basil. The strawberry basil was delicious and had a nice crumble on top. The caramel corn was cloyingly sweet. Your kiddos will probably love this playful dessert but it was a tad too sweet for my adult tastes. Disney New California Grill 2013 Re-Opening Restaurant Signature Dining strawberry sundae dessert Disney New California Grill 2013 Re-Opening Restaurant Signature Dining caramel sundae dessertHave you made your ADR’s for the new California Grill? What do you plan on ordering?