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February 2014 Archives

February 2, 2014

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Friday, January 31, 2014.

This weekend the Disneyland Resort is celebrating the Lunar New Year, year of the horse. Festivities take place at Paradise Gardens in Disney California Adventure from 11am to 5pm Fri-Sun. Downtown Disney also has events going on from 5pm-9pm.

Approaching Pardise Gardens.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year

The decorations lined the parade route, the entire length of the gardens area.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year

Mulan's Chinese New Year Procession featured a horse

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year

And of course Mulan and Mushu

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year

After the procession guest performing groups took to the street. First up was one from the Korean Dance Institute.


Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year

The horse was out for photos for a while after each procession.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year

Bayside Brews had a couple special items for the event.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year

There was also an outdoor vending cart decked out for the occasion.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year

The cart's offerings.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year

The Pork Bao

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year

Year of the Horse Shaped Sourdough Bread

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year

Some of the performers from the procession were out interacting with guests.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year

Mulan and Mushu were in a meet and greet location.

Mickey and Minnie rotated with them at the location (also I read Chip and Dale did too, but I did not see them).

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year


Signs to help you find what year you were born in.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year


The Bandstand stage featured guest performing groups throughout the day.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year

A video clip of a drum solo.

There seemed to be a fair amount of custom signage and decorations for the event this year.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year

One small area of the merchandise stand near the Corn Dog Castle featured some items for Lunar New Year.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year

Some boards describing how some of the cultures celebrate the event.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year

An area set up for New Year Wishes.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year

In the back of the area were tables with Chinese Brush Painting & Calligraphy

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year

There was an arts and crafts area too. The line for the meet and greet wrapped around it (it starts on the left, goes up to the area, then off to the right near Goofy's Sky School and doubles back).

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year

A guest performing group doing a traditional Lion Dance.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year

A video clip of the Lion Dance.

A video clip of the Mulan Procession.

Downtown Disney was also celebrating Lunar New Year. There were special menu offerings at some of the restaurants.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year

The main stage was to feature guest performing groups for Lunar New Year this evening.

First up is Dance Impressions Productions.

A video clip of the introduction and Dragon Dance.


Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year

A ribbon dance.


Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year


Video clips of a couple of groups of young kids dancing at the Lunar New Year Celebration in Downtown Disney.


Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year


Another group.


Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year

A lion dance


Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year


Hope you enjoyed this highlight look at the Lunar New Year Celebration at the Disneyland Resort. For additional photos and details from this trip you can check out the full Disneyland Update I posted on my site, http://disneygeek.com Also be sure to follow me on twitter @disneygeekcom for pictures from the parks.



February 4, 2014

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Friday, January 31, 2014.

A quick look at the Starbucks progress in Downtown Disney before heading to the parks.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14

First stop today, DCA.

Noticed the billboard in Condor Flats is back to normal. The Planes characters are gone.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14

The Redwood Creek area is still closed for work. Through the trees you could see some scaffolding and workers, but nothing clearly or interesting.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14

Goofy strolling out to conduct the Instant Concert in Paradise Bay

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14

Only an hour wait for the Racers this afternoon.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14

Lightning cruising Route 66 on his way to the Cozy Cone.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14

The fountain at the Cozy Cone was not working correctly again. The water was coming up short so the wheel was not turning.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14

Route 66, the poles for the Christmas lights have been removed.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14

The photo spot near the backside of GRR has a Nikon sign now.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14


The Olaf chocolate art is gone and Let it Go is featured at Trolley Treats

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14

No visible progress on Main Street, thanks to the scrim.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14

A Nikon picture spot sign.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14

Small World is closed for the removal of the holiday overlay. And this coming week they are going to be using it as a set for the upcoming Brad Bird Tomorrowland film. They are using it as a stand in for the 1964 World Fair. The entrance area is being transformed to match and large blue backdrops placed so they can add the correct background in post production. The filming is slated for the middle of next week. And the attraction is to reopen next weekend.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14


Looks like they are finally going to do some exterior work on the mountain and hopefully clean it too.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14


The sub lagoon looked about the same as it did two weeks ago, no real visible change.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14


Inside Innoventions walls are up where Captain America will be greeting guests. He is replacing the nano exhibit to the right when you enter (between Ironman and Asimo).

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14

Sleeping Beauty Castle, the snow has all "melted" away.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14

The scaffolding from the masts of the Columbia has been removed as the project enters the final stretch.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14
The Rivers of America are back to normal, the Fantasmic fountain work has concluded.
Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14

A closer look at the Columbia.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14

Splash Mountain is closed for some work too.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14

New Orleans Square is still mostly walls and scaffolding.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14

From the train another perspective at the film preparations.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14


Acorn gifts in the Grand California now features Club 33 merchandise, available to members only. I found it odd to put this in the large display window.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14

A look at the World of Disney Windows. First up Cars Land.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14

Tower of Terror/Disney California Adventure World of Disney Window animation

World of Disney - Tomorrowland window

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14

World of Disney - Fantasyland window

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14

Main Street USA from the train station (Soundsational was just about to start that is why there is a crowd).

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14

Hard Days Night a Tribute to the Beatles were performing on the Tomorrowland Terrace Stage this evening. Here are some pictures from their first two sets.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14


A couple video clips from the performances.


Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14


I closed out my evening with the Remember fireworks before heading home.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14


Hope you enjoyed this highlight tour of the Disneyland Resort. For additional photos and details from this trip you can check out the full Disneyland Update I posted on my site, http://disneygeek.com Also be sure to follow me on twitter @disneygeekcom for pictures from the parks.



February 6, 2014

Earl of Sandwich: New Menu Items--Limited Time!

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"I mean it's crazy..."
"What?"
"We finish each other's..."
"SANDWICHES!"
--"Love is an Open Door," Frozen

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Recently, Downtown Disney's Earl of Sandwich updated its menu for the winter with two new sandwiches, a side dish, and a dessert.

BBQ Chicken...

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Philly Cheesesteak...

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Bacon Mac 'N' Cheese...

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And Brownie Bark.

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These items join an already diverse and varied line up of healthy options such as salads and wraps...

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...as well as a wide alternative selection for people entirely uninterested in healthy options.

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But let's be real here: There's a reason this isn't called "Earl of Salad." The sandwiches are the star here, made to order and baked through a special oven, with all meats and cheeses prepared fresh daily.

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As part of their regular clientele, I've had the opportunity to try a number of different sandwiches there, and they've all been great in both taste and value. Disney food being what it is, it's nice to be able to find a reliable meal that won't hurt your credit rating at the end.

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Of course the main difficulty is prying yourself away from your regular favorites to try the new ones--but don't wait too long...

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...Because Love may be an Open Door, but this one is shutting in a couple of months. Also, a Princess may rank an Earl, but at least an Earl gets to finish his own delicious sandwich.

Earl of Sandwich is located in Downtown Disney, 1565 S. Disneyland Drive, #102, Anaheim, CA 92802. More information can be located at http://www.earlofsandwichusa.com/

February 16, 2014

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Friday, February 14, 2014.

A check of the Downtown Disney Starbucks. The facade is moving along. Glass and wood have been added to parts of it.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14


First stop today, Disneyland.

Four planters around Town Square had valentine decorations.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

The scaffolding is gone from this corner and the facades look great.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

My idea of ideal snow.. just look at it and not have to live in it. Today was a picture perfect Southern California day with temps in the mid 80s when I arrived and not a hint of a cloud in the sky.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

The Dole Whip stand has reopened and its lines were long as usual. They have increased capacity of the small stand and even with 5 cast members, two machines and two registers the lines on both sides were substantial still stretching all the way to the Tiki Room exit steps.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

Walked through New Orleans Square.

No visible progress thanks to all the scrims on the scaffolding.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14


The walkway to the restrooms has reopened.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

Splash Mountain shows no visible signs of progress or change.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

Wow, a 15 min wait for Winnie the Pooh.. I was expecting it to be a ghost town out in Critter Country with Splash closed.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

No real visible progress over at Big Thunder.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

They are still in a testing phase and trains have been running intermittently for several weeks - one was stopped on the lift hill. No official word on when it will re-open.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

Another train waiting to come on the track.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

New Orleans Square was busy with the Pirates queue stretching out toward Cafe Orleans and then back over the bridge and wrapping around to the entrance finally.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

The Columbia looks ready to return to action tonight in Fantasmic!

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14


Stopped by the Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree and the lines for the characters were very short as has been the case each time I have stopped by.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

Since there was no one in line the characters and cast members were dancing along to the music and just enjoying themselves.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

Small World is closed for renovations still, nothing appears to be going on with the exterior.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

Looks like some railing painting going on here.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

A new sign in front of the subs, saying they will return this Fall.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

The water has been drained from the lagoon.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

A couple of quick pics of the drained lagoon as the Monorail passed overhead.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

A couple more Space Mountain pics.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14


The Disney Gallery will be recieving a new exhibit featuring steampunk artwork opening 2/22.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

In honor of President Lincoln's Birthday caught a showing of Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

Nikon signage is up at most of the Picture Spots now.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

Arrived on Main Street as the Band was making its way to the Flag Retreat, so I followed along.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

Headed across the Esplanade to DCA and Buena Vista Street. Trolley Treats had an assortment of Valentine's day items as you walked in.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

A new edition of the Buena Vista Bugle is on news stands now.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

The Pacific Wharf Cafe had bread shaped as bears and hearts for Valentines day.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

Arrived on Route 66 as the neon was coming on for the evening.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14


Red pulled into the Cozy Cone for pictures. I do not recall ever seeing him here.. usually he is down near Cross Street or out by the Flying Tires.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14
Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

Thursday, 2/13, marked 10 years since they first lit up the sign on the Tower of Terror.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14


The Mad T Party Band was performing as I walked by.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

There was a full moon Friday, here it is over the Cozy Cone, someday I will learn how to get better pictures that do not make it look like a bright light. It looked much more impressive in person.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

Spent some time walking around Big Thunder (they were cycling trains this evening).

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

Big Thunder with the moon lingering behind it.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

That blur is a train going by..

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

Watched Remember from along the Rivers of America. The show was at 8:40, before Fantasmic.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

They still do some minor lighting effects.. some strobes, fog, and lights for the Haunted Mansion segment.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

A great view of one of the pinwheels from where I was.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 2/14/14

Fantasmic! re-opened tonight (2/14) after its winter refurbishment. Some new fountains in the World of Color style were added. The plan was to take some video of the opening then stills later on. The show was stopped because the water screens did not come on. It was then cancelled. Here is some video of the opening featuring the new fountains and you can see the projectors come on but no screens at the end.


Hope you enjoyed this highlight tour of the Disneyland Resort. For additional photos and details from this trip you can check out the full Disneyland Update I posted on my site, http://disneygeek.com Also be sure to follow me on twitter @disneygeekcom for pictures from the parks.



February 24, 2014

Jiro Dreams of Planes: Hayao Miyazaki's "The Wind Rises"

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"Le vent se lève, il faut tenter de vivre"
--Paul Valéry

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Miyazaki's new (and reportedly last) film "The Wind Rises," loosely based on the lives of engineer Jiro Horikoshi and author Tatsuo Hori, is a gorgeous and bittersweet look at prewar Japan and the consequences of pursuing a dream.

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Jiro (voiced by Joseph Gordon-Levitt,) a smart, kind, brave boy whose only flaw seems to be myopia, dreams of building planes from childhood. He is encouraged by famed Italian aeronautical designer Caproni (voiced by Stanley Tucci) who he meets regularly throughout his life in dreams.

The film spans thirty years of Jiro's life, from the 1910's to the 1940's. Throughout that time, Jiro grows up, studies, and eventually makes a career for himself as a genius aeronautic engineer. Along the way he finds love and romance in the form of Nahoko (voiced by Emily Blunt,) but is never swayed from his life's passion to design a plane of surpassing beauty and elegance.

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The star of the film however, is the surrounding world of Japan which transitions in the course of the story from the Taisho Era (1912-1926) to the early Showa period (1926-1989.) Dreamy rural countrysides eventually make way for urbanization in the form of larger cities, and the jumble of infrastructure that accompanies new development. As with all Miyazaki's work, each frame shows careful attention to and affection for every detail--even the trains Jiro takes to different parts of the country and throughout Europe modernize with the times.

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While set in other times, other places, this might be a heartwarming Horatio Alger story about a boy realizing his lifelong dreams, there is an inescapable undercurrent of tension and sadness throughout. Destruction and devastation is rampant after the Great Kanto Earthquake, and the Great Depression results in general poverty and pervasive illness. Jiro and his fellow engineer pal Honjo (John Krasinski) work constantly to improve their airplane designs but are hampered by what they see as Japan's backwards state of technology, and are overjoyed when they are finally able to travel to Germany to learn more modern techniques.

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Through it all, each momentous incident in Jiro's or Japan's history is marked by a sudden gust of the titular wind foretelling profound change. We know how this story will end from the start, and what will happen to Jiro's Mitsubishi A6M1s (later to become the Zero Fighters) and the men who fly them. The characters understand too, but like most of us, are helpless to concentrate on anything but their own personal struggles and dreams. Larger issues of politics and war are acknowledged, but like earthquakes, only as functions of larger forces beyond any individual control.

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But the wind keeps rising, and the world keeps changing. We are frequently told that "if we can dream it, then we can do it"...but what then? Ultimately we may discover, along with Jiro, that some thought needs to be given to the consequences, once the dreaming and the doing are done.

"The Wind Rises" is currently in limited release in North American theaters, with general theatrical release scheduled for February 28 under the Touchstone Pictures banner.

February 25, 2014

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge Part 1 - Expo and 10K

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2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

This past weekend featured the sixth Disney Princess Half Marathon weekend at Walt Disney World. This year there was a new race, The Enchanted 10K. And along with the new race came a new race challenge: The Glass Slipper Challenge. Those running both the 10K and the half marathon received the Glass Slipper Challenge medal in addition to their 10k and half marathon medals.

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

I made a quick trip to Florida to check it out. Oh, who am I kidding - I just couldn't resist the opportunity to come home with two new pieces of bling bearing my favorite word: Inaugural. :-)

If you read my blog on last year's Princess weekend, then you know what a fiasco the Expo was. This year was a whole lot better since the Expo took place at Wide World of Sports, where there was plenty of room and parking. I didn't arrive at the Expo until Friday evening, and there were still a lot of people there, though it wasn't overcrowded like last year when we could barely move through the aisles. They were running low on some official merchandise already, and I again missed out on my "challenge" magnet (like I did for the Dumbo Double Dare). Disney does pre-orders of other small items like pins and necklaces - I wish they would offer it for the magnets, too.

The merchandise area in the Field House, where packet pickup was held, didn't have much of a selection of merchandise left at all - lots of bare walls!

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

There was still a decent selection available at the main Expo in the Josten's Center, though I didn't think there was much of a variety...on the other hand, I don't know what might have sold out already since it was the end of the second day by then.

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

I thought it was interesting that those doing the Challenge could pick up their packet and their goodie bag (with the shirts) all in the Field House, and didn't have to visit the Josten's Center at all (but where's the fun in that?).

At the entrance to the Josten's Center there was a fun photo opportunity - two of Cinderella's very handsome footmen.

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

Most of the usual Expo vendors were there. Those selling running apparel were doing great business helping runners put together last-minute princess costumes for the races. There were some really clever ideas.

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

Except for the Glass Slipper Challenge participants, shirt and goodie bag pickup was in the Josten's Center. This year's shirts are made of a nice lightweight tech fabric - it's very soft and silky and I really love it! They are also short-sleeve. The grey is just ok but I really like the other two. They were also true to size, which I appreciated. There were men's sizes available as well. I'm so glad that Disney has finally seemed to start offering men's and women's shirts for all of their races. It's also very nice that women who would rather have the unisex cut have that option. There is a shirt exchange area at the Expo, and it's also good to see that process has been made easy.

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

Speaking of shirts, this year there were a couple of race shirts in unisex sizes and non-girlie colors. That has been one of Lee's complaints, so it was nice to see that. Most of the guys who run the race are very supportive and really get into the spirit of it, and have no problems wearing a tutu or skirt! So they deserve some recognition, too.

I re-visited the Expo on Saturday morning, this time using the buses. They were efficient and the wait times were short - they did a great job with the buses this year. (I heard that the buses to the races were pretty trouble-free also.)

I didn't run the 5K, which was held on Friday morning before I arrived. It was the regular Epcot 5K course, and it sounded like those who ran it had a good time. The Kids races were held on Saturday.

The Enchanted 10k started at Epcot at 5:30 a.m. I was staying at All Star Music and decided to drive rather than take the bus. Because I knew the 10k had a lot fewer runners than the half marathon (10,000 vs 24,000) I let myself sleep in a little and set the wake up call for 3:00 instead of 2:00. Still way too early...yawn. But at that time I had no traffic, though there were still a lot of people who had arrived ahead of me!

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

With the princess theme it was almost a requirement that you run in some kind of costume, be it as simple as a tutu, wings, or a tiara - or all of the above. It was very interesting to see the creative things that people did to represent a particular character - just with the right colors you knew someone was dressed as Rapunzel or Ariel, yellow tank top and a rose was obviously Belle. Given the huge success of Frozen, Anna and Elsa were very popular this year, and I saw a fair number of Olafs, too.

I wore a new Cinderella costume that I had put together with various pieces of running attire - in the past I've worn a purchased costume with the skirt cut shorter. It worked out pretty well for me, though it was still a little too warm given the weather. As usual, it was a Disney race weekend, so Florida was having unseasonably warm temperatures. Sigh. It had rained the day before and it was a warm and humid morning - I think it was 70 when the race started and the humidity was close to 100%. Ugh.

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

They had start corrals for this one, and I was in A. I ended up very near the start line, and that was great! When I got to the mile markers the time displayed was almost exactly my time! It also meant the course was much less crowded for me. (And this is not Lee - it's his "twin", fellow Team AllEars member Dave!)

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

We ran the same 10k course that was used for the WDW 10k in January. I still don't like the course very much, though. The first 3 miles is all on roads looping around the perimeter of Epcot, and it's pretty boring. Though there were a couple more characters in that section this time. The coolest thing (literally) was seeing Elsa on an overpass - and it was snowing! She was talking to runners below - asking if we liked snow, and if we wanted to build a snowman - she was great!

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

The first character stop was the White Rabbit about mile 1. Even though I had started at the front a lot of people had passed me and there was a long line so I went on, and not too much further were Pocahontas and Meeko, with a fairly short line.

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

Just after mile 3 where we went backstage into Epcot were the toy soldiers.

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

We ran into Epcot just between Norway and China. In January Daisy was there, but I think that created problems with line backing up onto the race course, and this time there were no characters until we got to Jiminy Cricket in Italy. Short line there, but long line for Tiana, Naveen, and Louis at the American Adventure so I passed them. They were just past the mile 4 sign.

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

Marie was in front of France, also with a short line. Another character stop in World Showcase would have been nice, but they did have three within a fairly short distance.

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

The course exits Epcot at the International Gateway and loops clockwise around the Boardwalk area. Goofy was in front of ESPN Club, same as January, but also had a long line.

Just before we went backstage at Epcot again we saw the Genie and Lumiere puppets, which I had first seen at Disney California Adventure when World of Color opened.

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

We came back into Epcot by the Imagination Pavilion. Donald was in the breezeway - I was very surprised that there was no line! But we were less than 1/2 mile to the finish, so I guess people just wanted to get done?

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

Anna and Elsa were featured on the mile 6 sign. Only .2 left!

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

I finished in a little over 1:04, including multiple photo stops, and I was VERY happy with that, especially given the heat and humidity. I really like the 10K distance. Since I don't have to wear a fuel belt I feel a lot lighter and more free.

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

I got my (Inaugural) 10k medal and my Glass Slipper Challenge wristband.

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

I was very thankful for volunteers handing out bottles of water at the finish line - there had been three water stations on the course, but I'd lost a lot of water along the way. (In other words i was a hot, sweaty mess!)

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

We had the usual silly runDisney refreshment box. I did enjoy the Almond Roca and the chocolate covered blueberries, but it's not REAL food.

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

For the most part I thought the 10k went very well. I wish it were a more interesting course, but at least they improved that first three miles a little bit by adding a couple of additional characters. Elsa and the snow were really fun.

Coming up - the Princess Half Marathon.



February 27, 2014

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge Part 2 - the Princess Half Marathon

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For half marathon morning on Sunday I scheduled the wake up call for 2:15, and I was on my way to Epcot around 3:10. There was more traffic this morning but I was still early enough that I didn't get slowed down until I was in the parking lot. I'd rather get up and get there early and not stress about transportation!

I didn't mention this in the 10k blog, but they again had a big security perimeter set up and all bags had to be checked. I had no bag for the 10k, but had my running belt for the half. There was a queue, but they had lots of security folks and the line moved quickly - I think the people in the "no bags" line had a longer wait!

I was in the pre-race area by 3:40, and I was very surprised at how many people were already there! One new thing this year: they had put out a number of chaise lounges, and those were very popular. They took up a lot of room, though...I'll be interested in seeing whether they return in the future, since they also became obstacles in trying to move around. At various times during the weekend I heard both 24,000 and 25,000 given as the number of runners in the half marathon, which is about as large as the January races, and it was pretty crowded. Though there were fewer people in the half marathon than last year. (This year there were 20,750 finishers, last year there were 22,739.)

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

I thought they started sending people to the corrals a little late (about 4:45 for a 5:30 start!). I was running with my friend Holly, and we were on our way to the corrals even before they made the first announcement - we heard them call for those in A and B to start heading out. The walk to the corrals was not bad at all - I've commented (complained) about it in the past, but I have to say that in my last three WDW races (half and full marathons in January and now Princess) the walk to the corrals has been no problem at all. I'm not quite sure how they did that, because it's still just as many people moving on the same narrow roads, but it hasn't been the slow cattle car shuffle that it has been in the past.

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

In the January races they started a new corral system to help ease the race course congestion: more corrals with fewer people in them. I think this really has helped, though it means that the people in the later corrals start even later and have even longer to wait around before the race. Holly and I were in corral E, but we were closer to the start line than I have ever been in a big WDW race, and we started just 10 minutes after the gun.

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

At the start line were our race announcers, and the Fairy Godmother, who said the magic words and counted down to the start of the race.

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge
2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

I haven't mentioned the weather...it was cooler than the day before, about 65, but the humidity was 100% and it was foggy and misty. There was a little more breeze than the previous day when it was almost dead calm. I found it slightly more comfortable than Saturday, but it was still far from optimal conditions. You can see the fog really obscured the fireworks they shot off when each corral started.

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

The Princess half marathon course is the same as the WDW half marathon course - I won't bore you again with all the reasons I don't care for it. :-) Though as I said before, the new corral system did help with the congestion in the narrow places. I think we only found it really unpleasantly crowded in one spot. But, although we were by no means going fast, we still finished in the top 40%, and there were a lot of people behind us who experienced more crowding than we did.

The on course entertainment was pretty good, though it didn't seem to me as though there were as many high school bands and cheerleaders as we see during marathon weekend. The pirates and the princes (~miles 2-3) had huge lines so we didn't stop - we knew we would pass them again on the way back when the lines would be shorter. :-) The longest line we waited in was for the villains. That took a little over 8 minutes, but we were glad we did it. They had this villains chair, and runners were having fun with that. (Unfortunately the mist and fog in the air reflected in the flash, so the photo didn't turn out well at all.)

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

Near the Contemporary they had some really nice lighting on the water bridge.

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

It's always great running down Main Street towards the castle, with all of the people cheering. Holly's husband Dave was waiting for us at the hub, along with Stan and Mike, who had also come out to cheer on their wives who were running.

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

There were quite a few character stops in the Magic Kingdom but we didn't stop for any of them. The line for Mickey and Minnie was huge, but otherwise the lines weren't too bad. Snow White and Prince Charming also had a good-sized line.

The photo we did stop for...our friends Eddie and Dave had started several corrals in front of us and were running with a few other women. They'd obviously been enjoying themselves and taking their time because we caught up with them when they were posing for a picture in front of The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. Holly said, "Let's photo bomb them!", so we ran in front of them and got in their photo. :-) They got into the line for Mickey and Minnie (which Eddie later told us took 20 minutes), so we didn't see them again in the race.

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

"Cone Alley", the one lane section from the Magic Kingdom to the Grand Floridian, wasn't too bad - we could still make our way past slower runners and walkers without too much trouble. I still don't like that part of the course, though.

At about the mile 7 mark they always play a selected song to inspire us, and they usually let us choose it by voting on Facebook. This year the winner was "Let it Go" from Frozen - I think it won by an avalanche. :-)

I was happy to see Mary Poppins and Bert outside the Grand Floridian - they weren't out at all in January.

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

In front of the Wedding Pavilion there was a wedding singer! (I recognized him as one of the lead singers from the old Tarzan Rocks show.) On the side of the road, also in tuxes, were several other men gathered around a glass slipper. That was a popular photo op, but we didn't stop for it.

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

About mile 9 we got to the princes again and the line was much shorter than it had been earlier, though we still waited 4-5 minutes. But it was worth it. :-)

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

My legs were starting to get tired, so I was glad that we were almost done. Still, the last couple of miles went pretty fast, and we headed back into Epcot. Princess Sophia was backstage - I'd never seen her before, and there was no line.

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

As we started our short loop around Future World I saw this vision in pink - I'd seen her near the end of the 2013 marathon but had no idea who she was, so this time I asked. :-) She is Ivana Dream, and she's a wannabe Fairy Godmother. She had a microphone, and was talking to runners as they went by. Sort of a stream of consciousness thing - did you know the trees with the yellow flowers in Epcot are yellow tabebuia trees? Fun, and I'm glad to finally know who she is!

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

We finished strong, and I got a high 5 from Jester Goofy as I crossed the finish line. (Sir Donald was on the other side.)

Just after we crossed some of the wonderful volunteers were handing out packets containing moist, COOL towels. Those felt SO good! After we passed the water and PowerAde tables there were volunteers handing out the nice mesh stringbags. We usually get these in our goodie bags, but I thought it was MUCH better to get them after the race, since that's when we can really use them to carry the bottles and food boxes, etc.

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

We got our half marathon medals (new design this year) and went to the Glass Slipper Challenge area where they checked to make sure we had our 10K wristbands and then gave us our medals. Yay! Another race challenge successfully completed!

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

Holly and I celebrated with our adult beverages of choice: beer for her and champagne for me. (In the concession area there were six different registers where you could buy champagne so the lines weren't long at all - in this case Disney definitely understood their target audience!)

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

The finish area was pretty crowded - I heard that there were princesses available for photos but I didn't to see them - and I'm sure the lines were long. I needed to leave since I had to get back to my room, shower, pack, and check out by 11:00. I made it - but not by much!

It was a short trip, but still a very successful weekend. But I'm a little concerned that running races two days in a row is starting to seem normal to me! :-)

I thought that the Glass Slipper Challenge went very smoothly and the Enchanted 10K didn't have any typical "first year" issues. The 10K was an improvement over the one in January, though I think it could still use another couple of characters on the course. I think my main suggestion for improvement is the merchandise - as usual, there wasn't enough of it. Hard to believe that Disney is missing out on a money-making opportunity like that.

I really enjoyed the theming of the races and the weekend - "Enchanted", "Glass Slipper" and "Princess" all go so well together!

The medals, as usual, are just beautiful - Disney knows how to do bling. :-)

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

I had a wonderful time, and am already considering doing this race challenge again next year. With the bevy of princesses Disney has available I am hoping they will change up the challenge every year - perhaps an enchanted rose challenge next year, a magic mirror the next?



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About February 2014

This page contains all entries posted to Salute to All Things Disney but Mostly Disneyland in February 2014. They are listed from oldest to newest.

January 2014 is the previous archive.

March 2014 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.