After last year’s not-so-great RunDisney Princess Half experience, we were ready to try again!
Where we stayed: The Dolphin
As usual, we waited a little too long to book. I (Danielle) read so many blog posts about the best place to stay for runDisney races, but staying at a Disney Resort Hotel was too expensive for what you get… I had heard that the Swan & Dolphin was great because of the walking distance from the parks, but the hotel also has four hot tubs! From the fountain in the lobby to the beautiful pools, to the beach… I don’t know if I’ll stay anywhere else in Orlando.
RunDisney Race Transportation:
Last year we stayed in a hotel near Disney Springs and had to get a cab at 3:30 in the morning… and it was a little stressful. I was prepared for the stress this year, but we walked in and the hotel had a big “Race Transportation Schedule” sign.
The posts I had read before the race said this hotel did not have any race transportation, so I want to say that they did! For the expo, the bus was on the same route as the Disney Yacht Club/ Beach Club/ Boardwalk resorts. On race morning, the bus was for the Dolphin only: it was waiting for us when we came down from our room and made no other stops on the way to Epcot. Aaaand the staff had coffee waiting at the bus stop for free!
Everything about this place is great! Here’s a video 🙂
We came prepared for this year’s expo. Last year, we made our own costumes and brought them with us. This year, we knew just to wait until we got to the expo and buy what we needed.
I bought the Rapunzel Shirt from RawThreads, and Stef bought Leg Day. These Sparkle Athletic Skirts are the best thing out there! So lightweight, you’ll forget about it while running! Stef picked up more Sparkle Soul headbands (she claims these really do not slip out of her hair, and she wears them for all sport activities).
We always have fun in the rundisney merch section… new sweatshirts, magnets, tshirts, and wine glasses 🙂
Here’s a little video of the fun!
This year, we bought parkhopper tickets and definitely hopped around the parks! On top of the six-mile morning run (Enchanted 10K), we walked around the parks all day totaling over 18 miles on Saturday… that was crazy considering we had a half marathon the next day.
Each Disney park has it’s own mug, so my goal was to collect them all!! photos in the gallery below.
Animal Kingdom: Animal Kingdom was our first stop after the 10k. We didn’t get to go there last year and couldn’t wait to ride Mount Everest (last minute fastpass!) and see the Safari. And the monkeys! We could watch them swing around all day! On the safari, we did get to see giraffes 🙂 but the lions were sleeping.
Epcot: This is the only Starbucks mug I bought last year… Because the Flower & Garden Festival starts right after the race (March 1), all the character-shaped topiaries are out around the park. Check them out in the gallery below! We ate some macaron ice cream sandwiches and just enjoyed the beautiful weather!
Hollywood Studios: We hadn’t visited this park last year, and I forgot how much I love it! The great rides, the storm troopers, and the adorable architecture. We watched the 10-minute extended preview of Beauty and the Beast (ahhhh we were crying: it’s SO GOOD), rode the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, and saw the Storm Troopers march by every hour. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get a FastPass for Tower of Terror. We also saw Fantasmic!
Magic Kingdom: This place was CROWDED! So crowded that we just didn’t really feel like hanging out here at all. We ate, watched a “magical” parade, and got some Starbucks 🙂
Where we ate
Disney has SO MANY RESTAURANTS. I always feel like I’m missing out, because I’m only one person and can’t eat 9 meals/day…. Here’s where we ate throughout this trip.
Yak & Yeti Restaurant: This Animal Kingdom restaurant (located in “Asia”) has lots of Wok meals, and a great place for gluten-free dining. We got here at 11:30, sat at the bar, and were served very quickly! We were starving after our race, so eating quickly was important!!
L’es Artisan de Glaces: These macaron ice cream sandwiches are one of our favorites!!
1900 Park Fare: Our character breakfast buffet!! Because it was Stef’s birthday (and she has a gluten allergy), she got beautiful birthday donuts! We ate so much at this breakfast… waffles, fruit, pastries, omelets, potatoes… yummmm. This is where we met Pooh, Tigger, the Mad Hatter, and Mary Poppins!
Casey’s Corner: We just needed some French Fries to hold us over until we could find a restaurant that wasn’t packed for lunch.
Liberty Tree Tavern: So after the French Fries, we got a reservation at this place. The food was pretty yummy and filling, but the service wasn’t great. Weird for Disney World.
Morimoto Asia: We got to meet up with one of our high school friends during the race! So we were super excited to go to dinner, and she picked out this fantastic restaurant. This place is so cool, and the “vibe” is really fun. Sushi was delicious! And can I say that after only 1 year, Disney Springs has exploded! So many new stores! We did not get enough time to hang out here.
When you get to your hotel, ask for a birthday button! We saw people with buttons even if it was a week before, so there’s a little wiggle room for wearing it 🙂 Stef’s birthday was actually on Monday when we went to 1900 Park Fare for the character breakfast, so the chef gave her a beautiful stack of gluten free donuts! When you wear the button, all the cast members will say happy birthday from wherever they see you – from a parade, across the street, walking past… it’s really fun.