Labor Day weekend - that means it's once again time for the Disneyland Half Marathon! We will be running it Sunday morning with 16,998 of our closest friends (and a number of Team AllEars teammates, as well).
This will be the 7th Disneyland Half Marathon, and our 5th time running it. We really enjoy it. They have tweaked the parks part of the course again this year because Cars Land and Buena Vista Street our now open! So we'll get to run through Cars Land tomorrow.
We've made a long weekend of it, and arrived on Friday night. We are using our DVC points to stay at the Villas at the Grand Californian (we love this resort). We're on the 5th floor, and this was what we saw when we arrived in our room Friday night! Grizzly Peak and a blue moon over the Tower of Terror. We can also see the Cadillac Range in Cars Land through the trees. It's a great location.
We dropped our bags and headed right to dinner at Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen. It was a very nice dinner - we shared the Double Chocolate Bread Pudding Souffle for dessert. Yummy.
And as we walked out of the restaurant we were just in time to see the Magical fireworks show over Disneyland. I think the plaza between Tortilla Jo's and House of Blues in Downtown Disney is a really good spot - you get a clear view of the higher fireworks.
This was our view this morning at about 6:30.
We wandered down to Disneyland and watched the 5K runners as they came out of Disneyland and headed over to DCA. One of the monorails was parked overhead.
We had breakfast at La Brea Bakery Express - the first time we'd eaten there since it was remodeled. They have a much bigger menu now, and the food is good, but the line moves very sloooowly. They need to figure out how to streamline that.
They still had early entry at Disneyland once they cleared the park of runners, and we got in on the last 30 minutes of that. We took a ride on the "new" Matterhorn - it has new cars, but the track is the same and it's still as rough as ever. We got a kick out of the "Abominable Mickey" Vinylmation in the window. :-)
We did a few other rides and went over to DCA. The line for Radiator Springs Racers was long, and we needed to head over to the Health and Fitness Expo to pick up our race packets, so we left - but on the way out one of the Instant Concerts was starting so we stopped to watch that. Those fountains go REALLY high.
Over at Packet Pickup in the Disneyland Hotel we picked up our bib numbers. It seemed strange NOT to be getting a coast-to-coast wristband, but we already did that in January when we did the Tinker Bell Half (and you can only get one per year).
The 5K had a Cars theme this year (it finished in Cars Land) and they had a nice photo backdrop for that in the pick-up area.
The Expo was upstairs in the Convention Center. They seemed to have a larger selection of race merchandise, or at least a larger variety of t-shirts this year - but even though it was only the morning of the second day they were already sold out of size small in several of the designs - including the one I wanted, of course. They did at least have quite a few of the coast-to-coast shirts (even in small!), which have often sold out on the first day, but we got those back in January.
They had a display that I don't remember seeing before - a large map of the race course with information on what characters will be on the course and where. So tomorrow in DCA we can expect to see the Green Army Men, Lightning McQueen, DJ, Red the Fire Truck, and Phineas and Ferb. And in Disneyland, characters from Princess and the Frog; Captain Hook and Mr. Smee; Aladdin, Jasmine and Genie; Sleeping Beauty and Prince Philip; Darth Vader and Storm Troopers; Cinderella, Snow White, and Ariel; Merida; and Daisy Duck and Clarice Chipmunk.
At the Run Disney booth there were examples of all of the Run Disney medals, including the new Donald and Mickey medals for 2013! The Mickey medal looks a lot better than it does in photographs.
There's a number of members of Team All Ears that are here for the 1/2 Marathon, and a group of us met on the patio outside Trader Sam's in the afternoon. It was good to see some old friends and meet some new!
After that several of us went into Trader Sam's for a late lunch. We were lucky to find a table open with just enough chairs. In between ship wrecks and volcano eruptions (when people order certain drinks Things Happen) Lee and I enjoyed the chicken lettuce wraps and fish tacos.
We're planning an early night, though of course we never sleep very well. The race starts at 5:45. But one thing we LOVE about the Disneyland races is that we can WALK to the start line, so there's no need to catch a bus at an insanely early hour. So we can sleep in until 4:00 or so. :-)
It's going to be a warm race (by southern California standards) so we will be taking it easy and not pushing the pace. And besides, it's Disney, and we love to stop for photos along the way!
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