Nov 12

Christmas Surprises at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort

swan dolphin christmas santaThe Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotels have some Christmas Magic planned for guests staying at the resort this holiday season!

Throughout the month of December at this Epcot resort hotel families can enjoy a unique holiday experience away from home!

This year’s holiday happenings at the hotel include:

Santa and Mrs. Claus Meet ‘n Greets

Select nights throughout December, Santa and Mrs. Claus, decked out in their vacation attire, will meet with guests in Santa’s customized Tiki hut. The hut features reindeer, palm trees and flamingos, making it a photo opportunity like no other. Plus, with Santa in such a relaxed state of mind, he might even be willing to grant more gift requests for those brave enough to ask!

Life-Size Chocolate Santa

Constructed entirely of chocolate, this life-sized sculpture of Santa weighs in at approximately 1,200 pounds! The sculpture, created by the hotel’s executive pastry chef Laurent Branlard (the only two-time world pastry champion), will be on display in the lobby of the Swan during the month of December. It will also include a chocolate fireplace, chocolate Christmas tree and chocolate toy train.

Bedtime Elf Tuck-ins

Even after Santa’s elves have finished making Christmas presents, their work isn’t finished! On Christmas Eve, the elves will visit children staying at the hotel and tuck them into bed before Santa arrives. For those who order this memorable experience, a full-costumed elf will deliver milk, cookies and a plush toy to the room, read a bedtime story and tuck the children into bed. Reservations are required and space is limited for this exclusive Christmas Eve service.

Holiday Entertainment

On select nights, the hotel will offer special holiday entertainment for visitors. Guests can enjoy beautiful musical performances by carolers, choirs and musicians in the hotel lobbies or on the causeway and other public areas throughout the resort.

Magic Keys for Santa

For children worried that Santa might not know where to deliver their gifts, these magic keys are the perfect solution. Children can hang a magic key outside their guest room on Christmas Eve to ensure that Santa finds his way.


Guests can enjoy a special tree-lighting ceremony in the Dolphin lobby on certain nights in December, hosted by Mrs. Claus herself! Beverages and snacks will be available next to Santa’s Tiki Hut.

Dessert Decorating and Holiday Movies

Throughout December, families will be able to enjoy holiday-themed movies on their guest room televisions. Children will also have the chance to decorate delicious holiday sweets in the lobby.

For more details about all the holiday excitement, including a full schedule of activities and prices, at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel or to make room reservations, please visit www.santasfavoriteresort.com or call 1-800-227-1500. Overnight rates start at $159 per night.


Nov 12

Photo Tour of Our Room at the Walt Disney World Boardwalk Inn Resort

Until now, the extent of my knowledge of the inside of the rooms at Disney’s Boardwalk Inn was a quick pop in and out to pick up a bottle of wine from my girlfriend that she couldn’t take on the plane home with her.

I had never actually stayed at the Boardwalk Inn until this past weekend for the 2012 Wine and Dine Half Marathon. The Boardwalk Inn was the place that Running at Disney and I hung our sneakers for four nights while we ran, wined and dined. Check out our digs.

walt disney world boardwalk inn room

I have my qualms with the comfort of the beds at the value resorts but this bed was so comfy!

walt disney world boardwalk inn room

walt disney world boardwalk inn room

Well hello Hidden Mickey towel art. You make my Disney vacation complete!

walt disney world boardwalk inn room

Can you believe we didn’t turn this flat screen TV on ONCE during our stay…not even to see Stacey! Too much to do…too little time.

walt disney world boardwalk inn room

walt disney world boardwalk inn room

Pretty sure this couch turns into a bed, but there were only us two girls and it was efficient in holding our gear.

walt disney world boardwalk inn room

walt disney world boardwalk inn room

We did, however utilize this oversized balcony!

walt disney world boardwalk inn room

…and this mini fridge held two gallons of water so we could stay hydrated for our runDisney race!

walt disney world boardwalk inn room

walt disney world boardwalk inn room

walt disney world boardwalk inn room

Super cute Minnie lamp on the desk!

walt disney world boardwalk inn room

Can you spot the Hidden Mickeys in the shower curtain?

walt disney world boardwalk inn room

Hidden Mickey details on the frosted lamps and mirrors in the bathroom area as well.

walt disney world boardwalk inn room

walt disney world boardwalk inn room

All the art in the room was themed as an Atlantic City-style seaside resort would be.

walt disney world boardwalk inn room

Probably the best part about the Boardwalk Inn rooms was the proximity to so many great things! Like Boardwalk Pizza, ESPN Club, Kouzzina and of course walking distance to Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

amanda tinney sarah mcgovern disney boardwalk

Sarah and I having too much fun.

Have you stayed at the Boardwalk Inn or DVC section of the resort? What did you think?

Special thanks to Disney for hosting this stay at the Boardwalk Inn. I was not required to write this post and all opinions are my own.


Nov 12

Marathon Tattoos Spotted at the 2012 Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon Expo

Running your first full marathon is a BIG accomplishment! I’m running mine in less than two months as I attempt the 2013 Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge which includes the Walt Disney World Half Marathon followed the next day by the Walt Disney World Full Marathon.  To make things even more special, 2013 is the 20th Anniversary of the full marathon.  I can’t wait to add that hardware to my collection!

This past weekend I ran in the 2012 Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon.  Friday afternoon I attended packet pickup at the ESPN Wide World of Sports and as I was leaving the HP Field House and ascending the stairs to go to the Josten’s Center this caught my eye!

Savannah Rock and Roll Marathon Tattoo

Of course I asked to take a picture and my fellow runner obliged. The gal that was with him also had a commemorative tattoo from the same event.  By the looks of it they ran the 2011 Rock’n’Roll Savannah Marathon together.

Savannah Rock and Roll Marathon Tattoo

How about you? Do you have any running ink? Ever considered a commemorative tattoo from one of your runs?

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?

Nov 12

Coach Don Shula to Celebrate 40th Anniversary of Perfect Season at Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel

shulas steakhouse disneyThe NFL’s winningest coach, Don Shula, will celebrate the 40th anniversary of his 1972 Perfect Season Miami Dolphins at Shula’s Steak House located at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel on Thursday, November 29th. The ’72 Dolphins is the only team in NFL history to finish a season without a loss.

Shula – along with former 1972 Miami Dolphins players Mercury Morris, Earl Morrall and Hall-of-Famer Larry Little – will meet and greet with attending guests from 6 p.m. – 7 p.m. that evening. In addition, all guests 21 and older who participate in the meet-and-greet will receive a specialty “Absolut Perfection” cocktail to mark the occasion in a take-home commemorative glass. Dinner reservations are required to participate in the meet-and-greet.

Shula’s Steak House is themed after the 1972 Perfect Season Miami Dolphins. The restaurant is recognized for its Premium Black Angus Beef and award-winning beverage program.

Reservations are required. Call (407) 934-4155 for reservations or more information.