Laura and Lee's Princess Weekend - Part 3

Parks, resorts, dining, attractions, vacations

Who: Laura and Lee
When: February 21-25, 2013
Where: Coronado Springs, Kidani Village
Why: Princess Half Marathon

Day 4 - Sunday

Riiiiiiiing..."Good morning, no sleeping!"  Gotta love Stitch...even at

a.m. doesn't seem quite so bad.  But when I look at my iPhone, which is

I don't think the cattle were out on our savanna, but it was pretty dark
and hard to tell.

We got dressed and had our bagels and yogurt and left the room about

thought we might be sticking around Epcot after the race, and that gave
us more flexibility, plus a place to keep a change of clothes - and more
importantly, a place to leave our sweaty running clothes so we didn't
have to carry them around.

You never know what traffic is going to be like, but we were early
enough that it was no problem, and we even got a parking space that was
fairly close to the pre-race area.  Pam didn't get up as early, and she
was getting in the bus line at ASS (which was quite long) about the time
we arrived at Epcot.  She made it in time, though.

Lee couldn't drive in his wings and tutu, so he pulled the tutu on
and I helped him attach the wings after we arrived - lots of people
who were walking by commented (favorably) on his attire.  He already
knew from his previous experiences at the Tinker Bell races that
the ladies love the guys who get into the spirit of the thing and
dress up.  It's a great way to get lots of attention!

I was dressed as Cinderella - I bought a Cinderella costume and cut most
of the skirt off, and wore it over a tank top and shorts.  You'd think
that would be fairly cool, but unfortunately, just like marathon
weekend in January, it was unseasonably warm in Florida.  66 at

about 10 degrees warmer than you'd like.  And it was quite humid - 
approaching 100%.  I'd brought a throwaway shirt to wear for warmth but
I left it in the car - didn't need it at all.

Most of the Team AllEars members who were running the race met for a

Eddie was wearing a hot pink skirt, pink wings, and hot pink sleeves and
calf sleeves.  His neon green running shoes kind of clashed, though.  :-)
Alex was dressed as Merida, with a long curly red wig and a green tunic - 
he also carried a small bow.  Mike made his costume - Vanellope von
Schweetz from Wreck-It Ralph.  He had the hoodie, striped leggings, skirt,
and brown wig.  Remember how I said it was unseasonably warm?  He ran the
entire race in his costume!  I don't know how he did it.

From the pre-race area we have about a 1/2 mile walk to the start
corrals.  Sometimes this is a slow shuffle and we feel like cattle, but 
this time it wasn't bad.

Disney groups runners into corrals based on estimated finish time, with
faster runners in the earlier corrals.  They stagger the start, and send
the corrals off about 6 minutes apart.  For the Tinker Bell and
Princess races they won't let a man start before Corral C, because
they want to make sure that a woman wins the race.  Pam and I were
in Corral B, and the four guys, who were planning to run the race
together, were in Corral C.

later Corral A started.  The Fairy Godmother was on-stage at the start
with the race announcers - she said the magic words and counted down for
each corral, and we all got a burst of fireworks, too.

Pam and I were near the back of Corral B.  We crossed the start line
about 9-1/2 minutes after the race started.  The first few miles
of the WDW half marathon course can be quite frustrating because there
are so many people and it gets crowded, especially because the course
narrows down to one lane in places.  Even with the staggered start it 
takes a long time for people to get spread out, and the bottlenecks
at the one-lane sections don't help - they get us clumped together
again.  The half marathon in January was pretty bad, but I thought
this one was better.  I couldn't always run the pace I wanted, but
at least I wasn't having to drop to almost a walk like I had to
sometimes in January.

One of the best parts about Disney races is all the character photo-ops
along the race course.  One of the worst parts about Disney races is all
the character photo-ops along the race course.  :-)  In the days
before camera phones the lines were pretty short, but now they can get
really long.  The first three we saw were for Jack Sparrow and the
pirates (just imagine how popular that was for a bunch of women!),
a group of heroes, and a group of villains, and those lines were
30-50 people long - easily 10 minutes or longer.  Nope, not worth it.

By the way...the half marathon course starts on World Drive near Epcot,
goes towards Magic Kingdom past the parking lot and through the TTC,
past the Contemporary and then backstage at Magic Kingdom where it
enters Main Street next to The Chapeau.  Up Main Street and around the
hub to the Tomorrowland bridge, then a left past Stitch's Great Escape,
and towards Fantasyland.  Take a left at the Mad Tea Party, and another
left just before the Carrousel.  Then it's time to run through the
castle back down towards the hub, and go right into Liberty Square, then
left at the Diamond Horseshoe, running by the Country Bear Playhouse and
Splash Mountain.  Cross the train tracks and it's backstage again past
the float barn and then across the waterway and out onto Grand Floridian
Way.  That's just about the halfway mark.  Run past the Grand Floridian,
the Speedway, and the car care center, and then it's a long straightaway
to mile 10, where there's an offramp up and over towards Epcot.  Another
two miles to mile 12, and just past that it's backstage at Epcot, near 
the Seas pavilion.  The course enters Epcot next to the restrooms near 
Spaceship Earth, then runs through Future World up to World Showcase 
Plaza where it makes a u-turn and heads back into Future World.  
Backstage again near the restrooms on the the *other* side of Spaceship
Earth, then it's .2 miles to the finish line in the parking lot.

Got all that?  'Cause there's a quiz later.

It was totally dark when we started but the sky had brightened when we 
arrived on Main Street.  They let guests in to cheer on Main Street, so 
that's always fun, plus the cheers give me an energy boost.  The castle 
was nicely lit up - it matched Pam's magenta wings.

There were lots of character photo ops in the Magic Kingdom, and some of
them did not have very long lines so we stopped for several - Buzz
Lightyear, Gaston, Belle, Tiana/Naveen/Louis.  Gaston was SO into it -
he was such a ham, and was making Gaston-esque comments to the ladies
going by.  

Just after we ran backstage they had Cinderella and Prince Charming
posing next to the Castle float from the parade.  The line was 25-30
deep, but I had to stop anyway.  And Cinderella told me she liked my
dress.  :-)

The course goes down to one lane on Grand Floridian Way and was
unpleasantly narrow and congested until we came almost to the car
care center (mile 8'ish).  From then on it was ok.  We stopped for
photos with Mary Poppins, Bert, and the chimney sweeps, Lilo and
Stitch, Genie, and Pocahontas.

At mile 9'ish were the heroes again - with a shorter line than there had
been earlier.  While we were in line I was looking back down the race
course and I saw a familiar blue tutu and wings - the guys had finally
caught up to us.  They were having a blast, though they had been taking
walk breaks because of the heat, and that's why it had taken so long to 
catch us.  And they'd also stopped for photos, been interviewed by 
runDisney, and had a number of ladies ask to have their photo taken with 
them.  No question - they were quite a hit.  We made them have their 
photo taken with us and the heroes - Aladdin, Li Shang, Flynn Rider, 
Prince Eric, and John Smith.

They ran the rest of the race with us (they could easily have finished
ahead of us), and we had a great time.  Sarge the Green Army Man was on
the ramp near Epcot, and Eddie and Lee (in their wings) dropped down and
did push-ups.  So funny.  Eddie was shooting video and would run ahead
of us to do that sometimes.  He edited it all together and you can see

at all, but we stopped for quite a few photos, and we really had a
wonderful time.  We were all sweaty messes when we finished thanks to
the warm and humid conditions - thank goodness it was overcast the whole
time - that helped a lot.  My left knee was bothering me but apart from
that I felt pretty good!  Not good enough that I wanted to do 13.1 more, 
though.  :-) 

We got our lovely anniversary medals and wore them proudly.  Oh, that
reminds me...there were several hundred runners who are "Perfect
Princesses" - they have run all five races.  At registration they received
a pink "Perfect Princess" sash and a nice sparkly tiara.  And a few of
these are men - we saw several of them proudly wearing their sashes
during the weekend!  :-)

There's usually food available for runners after a race.  For the past
six months runDisney has been giving out a pre-packed food box instead
of providing bagels, oranges/bananas, and other things.  The box had a
small (shelf-stable) tube of hummus, small bag of crackers, small bags
of nut and fruit mix, a small energy bar and a small piece of chocolate.
I don't really like this trend, though it's easier to carry the box than 
to juggle all of those things.  They also had bananas and small packages 
of gummy candies available.  

Pam and I both needed ice for our knees.  They provide bags of ice and
then wrap it with this clear plastic - like Saran wrap.  We hung out
with some of our Team AllEars people for a while before walking back to
the car.  We'd decided to go back to Kidney Place to shower and change
before coming back to Epcot where we were meeting at La Cava in Mexico.

We dropped Pam off at ASS and went back to our room.  And guess what?
No animals...

We drove back to Epcot again - it still seemed very odd not to be

Team AllEars people were already in line at La Cava - I didn't realize
that it didn't open until noon.  It's a good thing we got there early,
though, because we wouldn't have gotten tables!  We squeezed about a
dozen of us around two tables - fortunately we'd had all had a chance to
shower.  :-) 

Lee and I ordered "Wild Passion" margaritas.  I didn't realize we could
have ordered the frozen ones like some of our table mates did, or I
would have done that.  But what I had was good - maybe not exactly what
I should have been drinking after running a half marathon, though.  :-)
We also ordered chips and guacamole.  Again, not necessarily the recommended
post-race food.  But it tasted good!

After margaritas and chips several of us headed off to the America
Gardens Theater - we wanted to see the the Voices of Liberty in their
Limited Time Magic President's Week performance.  Along the way we
stopped in Germany so that Lee and Dave could get beer (more carbs!),
and Ellie and I could visit the Karamel Kuche.   This is the second time
recently that I've gone in there to get caramel corn for Lee and they've
been out of it.  The first time I understand because it was almost

they had the the caramel and shortbread bars that both Ellie and I like,
and I bought Lee a pretzel stick dipped in caramel and dark chocolate

Because the line was long in the Kuche (and they only had one person
working the counter!) we missed the first song of the Voices of
Liberty.  I was very surprised that there weren't more people - we
arrived a few minutes late and still had great seats in the center, 
about 1/3 back.  The music was incredible.  They sang patriotic songs 
like America the Beautiful, This Land is Your Land, Golden Dream, God 
Bless the USA, Battle Hymn of the Republic, and the Star-Spangled 
Banner.  The latter was really amazing - very talented soloist, and 
they sang several verses - we usually only hear the first.  It gave 
me chills.

The Flower and Garden Festival starts soon, but a lot of things were
already in place, including many of the topiaries.  Some of them in
unusual places.  I'd seen a photo of the Peter Pan topiary perched on
top of a building - I'm not sure the others believed me, so we went to
the UK to find it.  :-)  Sure enough, it's up on top of the castle.

After that the other three headed out (they had illegally parked at the
Boardwalk...sigh.  Lee and I started to leave, and then decided we could
see the Voices of Liberty again.  We again missed the first song, but
had even better seats than we'd had before.  They performed the same
songs, but they had switched out several of the singers.  The soloists
for Battle Hymn of the Republic and Star Spangled Banner were both
different - the woman for Star Spangled Banner was even better than the
first one.  

We made the long trek to the front of Epcot and out to the car (walking
after a race is good for you!), but looked longingly at the
International Gateway...

Back at Kidney Place the cattle were back, and a couple of giraffes made
very brief visits.

We had an early dinner at Sanaa, where we met Pam, Mike, Dave, and
Ellie.  It was an excellent meal.  We had two orders of the bread
service, and our server brought us all 9 of the accompaniments.  The
bread is sooooo good!

Most of us ordered the "Slow Cooked in Gravy, Simple and Well Seasoned"
selection.  You get to choose two things from a list of six: Butter
Chicken, Spicy Durban Chicken, Lamb Vindaloo, Beef Short Ribs, Shrimp
with Green Curry Sauce, and Spicy Durban Shrimp.  Between us we ordered
everything except the Durban Shrimp.  Our server assured us that even
the "spicy" things were only "medium", but I would say it's spicier than
that.  Dave wanted more spicy, so she brought him some special hot sauce - 
he said his mouth was on fire but he was happy!

Several of us ordered dessert - I had the chocolate cake, which was
pretty good, and Lee had the warm rice pudding - we've had that before
and enjoy it.  The desserts are pretty small, and I think they are
pricey, given the size - about $6.

all been up since VERY early in the morning we still had energy left.

which didn't give us a lot of time, but we made it onto Main Street,
just up from Town Square, with about a minute to spare.

We hadn't seen Wishes in a long time, and I'm not sure if Pam had ever
seen it.  It was a wonderful show, and that was a pretty good viewing

Lee, Pam, and I hadn't seen the new "Celebrate the Magic" show - the castle
projection show that replaced "The Magic, the Memories and You".  We
swam partway up Main Street and then waited for the crowds to clear a little 
before staking out a spot in the hub.

I thought it was really terrific - MUCH better than seeing photographs
of people that I don't know.  The projections are very crisp and
colorful, and there's still some neat effects - like the Wreck-It Ralph
sequence where the castle is made of bricks that crumble.

We made our way to Haunted Mansion, since Lee, Pam, and I hadn't seen
the new queue, or the new hitchhiking ghost effects.  The queue is
nicely done and we had fun playing the "instruments" at the Decomposing
Compser's Crypt.  On the ride Pam and I had the ghost that made our 
heads disappear!

It had been a very long day and we were all fading so we headed back to
our respective hotels.   Back at Kidney Place the cattle had
disappeared, but Lee could hear "something" out there eating in the

We were very happy that we didn't have to get up early the next day!

Email: lgil at lgil dot net or remove "REMOVETHIS" from "Reply to" address.

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They probably had enough sense to still be asleep somewhere...

Carry them around? You planned to do something other than going back 
to your room and crashing after running for 13.1 miles??

Now *there's* a setup for a great scene between Lee and a cop...
"Sir, there are laws about driving in wings and a tutu..."

Men! They *never* know how to accessorize miniskirts or tutus...

From the pre-race area we have about a 1/2 mile walk to the start

They could invite the cattle next time...

Could they re-route the half marathons to avoid one-lane sections
near the start?

Well, sure, he can fly, after all...

You get brownie points for trying to set a good example. They lose
brownie points for not heeding your example...

Good grief! I admire your energy...

Let's hope it was something that Disney wanted to be there!

I'm sure there are in places like Mississippi and Alabama...  :-)

Probably, but it would require other alterations to the course - as it
is they have don't give us much of a run inside Epcot.  And there's
still those two sections next to the Contemporary and the Grand Floridian
that are single lane, since they have to leave one lane open for
vehicles to travel in/out of those hotels.  I personally think they
should close to all traffic (except emergency vehicles) and let runners
use both lanes during a one hour period when most of the runners are 
going by.  They do that at the Disneyland Hotels during the half
marathons there - there's a two or three hour period when you can't get
in or out of the Grand Californian.

Thanks.  :-)  It's the endorphins, I guess...

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