Saturday, January 13, 2024

We're headed to California for runDisney and the Expo!

What time is it? It's time for another Disney race! 

It's finally time for the return of the Happiest Race on Earth! 
Back in 2017 Disneyland held their last race and me and the kids were a part of it! They had an awesome time at the Kids Race and I ran the half marathon! The race went on hiatus while there was supposed to hotel construction around the starting line. Then it stayed gone during Covid and continued to be gone until finally in 2022 they announced The Return! 

Registration opened on February 14th and it was a little crazy. 
Luckily as a Legacy runner for the half marathon, I got a link the week before to sign up and a guaranteed spot. The kids however weren't so lucky. 
At 10am the site was supposed to go live, but 10am came and went. Many people on the runDisney Facebook page were commenting on it. After hitting the refresh button time and time again, it opened, about 20 minutes late. 

And once you're in, you just go in a queue waiting for your time to register. Not taking any chances with this one. I had my computer, Theresa's computer, and both our phones open and ready to register. Wait times seemed to vary randomly. Finally one of the windows went through and I was able to get both kids signed up! 

Now flash forward nearly 11 months later. That is a really long wait. Time to get on a plane and head to California! We've got a few stops along the way first though. 

T and the kids sat in one row, then I sat on the opposite side with 2 empty seats beside me. An older couple original sat down there, and either because of the poor window placement or the little kid in the row in front of us, they decided to move. It turned out to be a fun twist of fate! Next to sit down was a mom and her daughter, and the mom was wearing a Disneyland Marathon shirt, having just run the race here at Disney World this past weekend! We started talking and kept talking the whole flight! 

Our plane from Orlando to Dallas left a little bit late and we were late getting into Dallas. There was already a tight connection, and by the time we deplaned, we were among the last to board. Everyone got middle seats. Ian made friends with his two seatmates. 

Our next leg took us to Albuquerque, but this time we don't have to get off the plane. Us and our new friends all moved to the front of the plane, and we all sat together again. The plane loaded, we pulled away from the gate and taxied to the runway. And then we sat. And sat longer. Then the pilot came on the speaker and said they'd need to return to the gate. We sat there again until finally they said we'd need to deplane for a maintenance issue. Better safe than sorry. 

It was a completely full flight and everyone went back to the terminal gates where we took up all the chairs and tried to find food. 

Most everything was closing for the night, but we found enough for the kids to eat. 

Three hours later and with the hydraulic leak fixed (remember this was the same plane we flew in on...) it was time to go to California! 

The lights of Los Angeles sure are beautiful. 

That's a lot of people. 

It's here we said our goodbyes to Angela and Ashley, but we'll be seeing them again. Time to get to Anaheim!

Can you guess which car rental chain we picked? The one currently being towed? You got it. 
Another bus came a little while later. 

We've been traveling for a long time today. 

Someone is starting to get tired. 
Good thing we have FastBreak with Budget. Our car should be ready and we can get right on the road. Except the board where our name should be was blank... 

Sigh... There was quite a line to see someone at the counter. 

It was an hour later before Theresa was at the front of the line and getting our car. 
Luckily the roads to get to Anaheim were clear. 

Finally at the hotel. It's 12:15 local time, or 3:15am where we came from in Florida. 

Our hotel room. A big bed for us. 

And bunk beds for the kids! 

The next morning after sleeping in as best we could, it was time for breakfast. 

Alli in particular loves those all you can eat buffets. 

We drove to one of our favorite bakeries here to pick up some treats. 

Evidence of shrinkflation. These chocolate chip bowls are so tiny compared to what they used to be. 

Let's head to the runDisney expo! Luckily they gave us $10 parking at the Pixar Pals lot instead of the usual $35! 

Kids, do you know how many times we took this walk with you from the parking garage to Disneyland. 

Over to the Disneyland Hotel where they're holding the expo. 

Let's go! 

Bib pickup is just above Goofy's Kitchen! 

I like all the signage and graphics they have. 

Oh yeah! Here we go racers!

Going on Friday before people get off work was great! It's so empty here! 

Picking up their race bibs and shirts! 

We're going to have an awesome race!

I guess they've grown a little more than we expected. Thankfully they were able to help us out at the shirt exchange. 

Let's go to the expo! 

When Ian spins the prize wheel, you're going to want to make sure it's secured. He spun so hard it wanted to fly off the table! 

Jelly Belly! I can use these for the race on Sunday! 

Need any official merchandise? 

Not with those lines! 

We will take some runDisney stickers and tattoos though. 

Now let's explore Downtown Disney. At security Ian found a penny, which the security guard let him keep. 

Mmm. We do love our pretzel bites. 

Ian tossing that penny he found into the fountain to make a wish. 

We always like to see our stove paver at Disneyland. 

Alli - Why weren't we on it? 
Theresa - You weren't even born yet when we got that! 

Pushups on the paver. 

Next, we hit another of our favorite spots. The lobby of the Grand Californian. 

With their plush couches. 

And live piano music. 

And as we were leaving, in a completely random surprise, I ran into another one of my Disney running friends Judy! She's been doing the Dumbo Double Dare Races and is continuing it again this year! 

There's just a few more things we have to do. Ian has fond memories of playing at the gazebo near the Disneyland hotel. When they were little, we'd have the kids do races around the trees to wear them out before heading home. The gazebo is still here, but the trees and grass are all gone, replaced by fake grass and no trees. 

(from 2018)

(from 2019)

We had to do a few races. 

It's still a wide open area though, and they loved playing. 

Ian - Do they still have the geyser? 

Ol' Unfaithful is still here, but we didn't stick around to see it go off. 

Back at the Disneyland Hotel, we met up again with Angela and Ashley. They had a fun night as well. The hotel couldn't find their reservations, they moved to a different hotel. Finally got a room at 1:50am, in bed by 2:20am, then awake at 3:10am to run the 5k this morning! Whew! 

I'm surprised they're not in their room asleep! 

Back to the room to eat dinner and chill for the rest of the night. The kids have their big race tomorrow morning! 

I turned on Air Bud while we had pizza and snacks. 

All cozy and ready for bed. We made it an early night so we'd be all good to go tomorrow! 
I'm excited! 

1 comment:

  1. What a looooooooooooooooong travel day to get from Florida to Anaheim!!!...but met 2 new running friends, Angela & Ashley through it all :-) It is a beautiful night light sight from a plane over LA. After such a long night, a hearty breakfast was definitely a needed "re-fueler." Think the chocolate chip "bowl" should be renamed a "cup" :-) Great photo of Alli, Ian, and you in front of the DL Half Marathon Sign at the Expo (Look at Ian's pose...yes!!) So many familiar sights at the Disneyland Resort and memories...those races at the gazebo are one of those fond gymnastic moves by the kids in the open playground area. Yikes!...Angela & Ashley had less than 1 hr of sleep and then went on the 5k run...that's determination! Good luck to all the runners!! Have fun! EOM