It’s no secret that I have experienced many runDisney events and races. Each one is unique in its theme, however many have similar offerings when it comes to weekend events. Yet all have one thing in common – they are PACKED with things to do outside of the race itself! And to be honest, I have much more to experience!
Many of my runDisney race weekends have included getting to Florida the day before the race, then staying a few days to enjoy the parks afterward. However, in January we are doing things a little differently. So along with completing the Dopey Challenge, I want to fully experience all that a runDisney event has to offer, including areas I have not yet experienced. And let me tell you – there is a LOT to do!
Runner/Friend Meet Ups. One of my absolute favorite parts of a runDisney race weekend is meeting up with friends! Social media and running has allowed me to create many amazing friendships. Throughout the weekend, there are many opportunities to meet up with your friends and fellow runners! I am planning on attending as many as I can including the #WDWRaceTweetUp on January 9 and the Digital Running Post-Race Celebration on January 12. I would LOVE to meet everyone I can – so say hi!!!
Official runDisney Meet Up. This is highly coveted and requires fast fingers to get in. Around a week before the event weekend, runDisney announces the meet up and the first people to RSVP get in. The meet up includes a short run, speakers and special guests like Jeff Galloway! I have had the opportunity to experience two and have thoroughly enjoyed them! I hope to get in this year, however since it’s hard for me to stalk the Disney Parks Blog during the work day, it may not be a reality. If not, I won’t be disappointed – just more time to sleep in before the Expo!
Speaker Series. During the Expo there are various speakers that give fantastic advice and insider info. Past speakers have included runDisney Nutritionist Tara Gidus, runDisney Training Consultant Jeff Galloway, Race Director Jon Hughes, Biggest Loser Ali Vincent and more. I am planning on sitting down and listening to a few this time! I know the information is invaluable and with Dopey, I’m sure it will be even more important!
Talking with Vendors. There are many amazing vendors at the Expo, especially Marathon Weekend as it is the largest! Usually I am just headed to the back to get my race shirt, possibly stopping by the runDisney merchandise booth (if it isn’t too out of control), then on my way out. This time I would like to really go from booth to booth and not only see what each is offering, but talk to the vendors! Most are runners themselves, so hearing about their product from a runner’s perspective is even more valuable!
Inspiration Station. There is an area devoted to creating posters for the runners! Even though I will be running all four days, I want to make a little something special for all my runner friends. And if you’re spectating, this is a great way to make a sign without having to travel with it!
Race Retreat. Last year I was able to enjoy Race Retreat as a part of Runner’s World Challenge. This year with Dopey, I’m going to enjoy Race Retreat again! Having an area to hang around in prior to the race, separate port-o-potties, food and more is worth the price. If the weather is cool, warm or rainy, the tent is an oasis! This time I hope to spend a little more time in there afterward and actually enjoy more of the food!
Character Photos. I’ll admit it – my driven personality comes out during runDisney races. Yes, I have gotten PRs at these races even though there is a lot of entertainment to experience! With Dopey, I want to take more of the races in. I’m planning on stopping for character photos (depending on the length of the lines) and slowing down to take more photos along the course.
Spectators and Volunteers. Since I’ll be running all the races in January, I won’t be able to participate in either of these fun options. But believe me, I have plans to in the future! Brent will be spectating 3 of the races as a part of the ChEAR Squad, making his way around the course to take a photo or 300. (Seriously, he takes a bunch!) And even though I won’t be volunteering this time, I will be thanking every single volunteer I see! They truly make the race magical!
Relaxing and Celebrating
Spa Treatment. I’ll admit it, after the marathon this year – I splurged and got a massage at Disney. It was fabulous! Due to time constraints I won’t be able to in January, however I just may have to get one when I get back home. Yes it hurts, but it feels great afterward! Muscles not up for a massage? Try a facial, manicure or pedicure instead!
Pool Time. A nice thing about the Dopey Challenge? It will force me to spend time relaxing! I’m planning on taking some time reading by the pool of our resort. With the parks so close, we often ignore the pool, so it’s time to change it up a bit!
Special Event. A nice part of being at Disney? There are SO many ways to celebrate your accomplishment! Fireworks cruise, a nice meal, a behind-the-scenes tour – the possibilities are endless. I better start planning!
Quite honestly, there are still many more things to experience during a runDisney race weekend – in fact, I didn’t even cover park touring or restaurants! I hope to take in all that I can in January – without tiring out my legs too much. And I hope to see many of YOU there as well!
*Most of these events can be experienced at any runDisney event throughout the year – so take them in during the runDisney weekend you are enjoying!
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