Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Disneyland Half Marathon Expo & Pasta in the Park

What a fun-filled, fast paced weekend.  I spent 48 hours in Anaheim over the weekend and loved every minute of it!  I arrived in Orange County at noon on Saturday.  Annette & Amanda picked me up from the airport and we went straight to the race Expo.  It was held at the Disneyland Hotel.
Annette had already been on Friday, but wanted to go back without her children so she would be free to look around at all the goodies.  I was very excited to get my race bib, wristband for the Coast to Coast Challenge and Pasta in the Park ticket. 
At the expo I bought a Disneyland half marathon women’s tech shirt – love it!  I would have loved to have gotten a Coast to Coast tech shirt, but they ran out within 2 hours of the Expo opening on Friday.  Hopefully they will be at the Wine & Dine expo (only 24 days away!).  
I thought the Expo was fine, very organized for packet pick-up and all the same vendors you see at other expos.  I was not in need of anything, but Amanda did pick up a few things.
On our way back to the car we got a sneak peak at the finish line!
After the Expo, we dropped my things off at the hotel, got to say hi to Jamie & Leah, and I got to meet Jamie’s sweet baby girl, Katie.  So cute!  She looks just like her big brother Robbe it is crazy.  You can’t really tell when you see her in pictures, but I noticed it the second I saw her!
Jamie & Leah were then off to the expo to pick up their Pasta in the Park tickets.  Jamie & her mom had spent Friday night in the ER with her two boys who were sick and dehydrated :(  Leah stayed with Katie Friday night and all this happened before I even got there!  Luckily the boys were feeling a little better on Saturday, and Jamie and Leah got to catch up on some sleep Saturday morning.
Me, Amanda, Annette & her family headed over to Disneyland to get in a few rides before dinner at Pasta in the Park.  We rode Pirates of the Caribbean, Winnie the Pooh, Indiana Jones, Space Mountain and went to see Captain Eo.  Annette’s daughter called Michael Jackson a girl.  Funny.  Loved all the rides we went on as they are all a little bit different from the versions in WDW (Florida doesn’t have Indiana Jones at all).
Then it was on to Pasta in the Park for dinner.  This was a separate ticket you needed to buy as part of the half marathon weekend.  It did include a Twilight Ticket to Disneyland (we could go into the park after 3pm), so we thought it would be worth it to give this event a try.  It ended up working out perfectly for us!
When there is a large group of people traveling together with 7 adults and 5 kids, this was a great stop for dinner.  It took place in the Festival Arena in Frontierland.  Dinner was buffet style with two types of pasta, chicken, vegetables, salad, rolls and some yummy desserts.
Round tables were set up, there was music, dancing and character appearances.  The area was not crowded, yet big enough that the kids could roam free and enjoy themselves… something that would not have been possible in a restaurant.

There were also character appearances.  They all had their running suits on and were ready to go for the half marathon.

Annette’s daughter Addison and Jamie’s son Robbe especially liked seeing the characters!

After dinner we headed over to Big Thunder Mt. with the Fast Passes we got as part of the dinner package.  Fast Passes essentially let you cut the line at select rides, they are awesome!  Surprisingly, Addison (who’s 5) and Robbe (who’s 4) wanted to go on the “Fast Train” too.  
Me, Amanda, Leah & Brian took them on the ride.  Let me tell you that was the scariest ride for the adults, but the kids loved it (well maybe Addison just liked it).  That train goes fast enough that even I was getting thrown around.  I honestly can’t believe that the kids did not go flying out of the cars, I was really worried about them!  Amanda was sitting with Addison and Leah was sitting with Robbe and they were both holding on to the kids for dear life.  Brian and I were sitting in the front seat and when the ride would slow down we would turn around to see how they were doing.  I don’t think I will ever forget seeing Robbe sitting there with the biggest smile on his face.  He looked like he was having blast.  After the ride he said “I flat out loved that”.  Is that one of the funniest things you ever heard?!  Adorable.  
I have been going to Disney Parks with Addison since she was a baby and I can't believe she is now tall enough to pretty much go on any ride.  Plus she is up for anything, which is awesome, because I love the fast rides!
After that Brian & I attempted to go on the Matterhorn Bobsleds (we are the wild ride people).  Unfortunately as we were walking up to the entrance there was an announcement that it would be closed for 25 minutes due to technical difficulties.  Bummer.
Annette and her crew headed home; Jamie, her mom, kids & Leah went on Pirates and me & Amanda went to ride It’s a Small World.  Nope, that ride was not gonna happen.  It was closed for the fireworks that would be happening in an hour… grrr...
We were then going to walk through Toontown (it is sooo much cuter in Cali then it was at WDW).  Nope that was now closed for the night too.  How about the Storybook Land boats?  Not this time, closed.  After being denied several times in Disneyland (and laughing about it), we ended up going on Pinocchio’s Daring Journey.  It was cute, they don’t have it at Disney World, and we had just wanted to go on one more ride! :) 
If you have never been to Disneyland, I really suggest going.  It’s different from Walt Disney World and I love it!  The two parks, Disneyland and California Adventure, are so close together, you can actually walk from one park to the other.  In Florida you need to take a bus or a boat or the monorail.  You can even walk to Downtown Disney and the hotels.  Everything is super convenient!  I also love that almost everything is open to the outdoors. I guess that is one advantage of being in dry SoCal versus the humidity and crazy rain of central FLA.
After leaving the park, we headed back to our hotel for bedtime.  It would not be long before our alarms went off for the Half Marathon Sunday morning!

1 comment:

  1. I'm not shocked to hear how fast that Coast to Coast shirt sold out. I grabbed a medium from the rack 'cause it was the biggest they had. Then a cast member brought out more. I immediately ran and got a large so then I could pick a size. They were pretty much being taken the second they were put on display. So pretty, so glad I got my hands on one!

    Pasta in the Park looks fun! I was at a big group dinner, but had that not been planned this would have been an excellent idea for me!

    Can't wait for your race report!