Saturday, January 19, 2013

Tinker Bell runDisney Meet Up

[Warning, this post will be FULL of pictures. PS And for more of the runDisney official pictures, you can go to their Picasa Site here]

As I had mentioned in a previous post, I was one of the lucky few (and by few I mean only one of FIFTY people) that was able to get into the infamous runDisney Meet Up.

We were told that we needed to start checking in around 6AM Friday morning - which meant I actually had to call of work. I ended up driving up to Disney that morning (leaving the house around 4:45am [I am the type that NEEDS to be early or it sort of freaks me out - not to mention I was driving up there without my in-vehicle GPS (aka my husband Ryan) so I wanted to make sure I got to the proper parking lot with plenty of time to spare]). I got to Downtown Disney around 5:40am or so, went to the rest room and then checked in.

It has been rather chilly in the mornings here in Southern California (in the 20*s and 30*s for the last week or two), so you would have thought I would have brought a long sleeve short or maybe some gloves, but NOPE (next time...). When we checked in they gave us a bag that had a runDisney tech shirt in it and that we could use to put any of our personal belongings back into (I didn't bring anything other than my phone for pictures and car key, all of which I carried on me, so didn't need to use the bag - but it was a nice thought).

Once 6:30 rolled around we were finally ready to get going. They told us that we would be all running together and doing Jeff Galloway's run-walk method of 30/30 (meaning we would run for 30 seconds and then walk for 30 seconds). I was interested to see how this method worked, so was glad they had us all try it out. It was slightly difficult for us all to get the hang of at first (especially since your legs are ready to run, so having to stop frequently seemed a little strange - but hey, at least this method encourages ANYONE that they can do it) - we did a little "bumper cars" at the beginning when we didn't realize people in front were walking, but we soon got the hang of it.

We were able to run through Downtown Disney, Disneyland, and California Adventure all before the parks opened. It was SUPER awesome! I tried to get a few pictures during the 'walk' portions, since I was bouncing less, but they still came out a little blurry.

The castle with NO ONE around - except for the golf cart that was driving in front of us taking pictures
California Adventure
It was fun to see the parks before they were open to the public. There were so many work trucks around and things going on. One of the employees even referred to it "a little like Frogger" since you have to weave in and out of all of the work, but HEY, there is no rest of Disney!

Along the run we stopped a few times for some surprises. The first one was to see Tinker Bell over in Pixie Hollow. We didn't have time to get individual shots with her, but they divided us into smaller groups and got a few shots of us.

Photo Credit: runDisney
I forgot to stop my watch while we were in with Tink for a bit, so the time seems a little off, but we ended up doing a little over 2.75 miles through the parks.

We had to wait a bit while they got the next surprise 'ready', so we were able to take some photos as a group and also with some of the characters on Buena Vista Street.

Photo Credit: runDisney
Photo Credit: runDisney
Jeff Galloway and I - what a sweet man!
After the photo opts, we made our way over to CarsLand (where we had a little bathroom break before we went over to another surprise).

Had to take the opportunity to get my picture with Sean Astin - another one of the super friendly celebrity that was out with us.

The next surprise - THE ULTIMATE FAST PASS! They let us go on Radiator Springs Racer! (Normally when Ryan and I go to the parks we have seen the wait time upwards of THREE HOURS - so getting to go on the ride with no wait [they actually opened it up early JUST FOR US] was AMAZING).

Ali Vincent also was out with us. She commented on how awesome my Michigan tattoo was (and how she had never seen someone with a state tattoo before). 

I mean HONESTLY, when else can you go to the parks and actually SEE the ground... NO ONE around...
Photo Credit: runDisney
That is me in the back row, middle seat. WE HAD A BLAST!

After the surprises throughout our run, we went over to the Napa Rose to get some yummy food and listen to a few talks.

Talking about the new runDisney and New Balance partnership.
Sean Astin talking about RunThird 
Sean Astin showing off his HOT new shoes 

Jeff Galloway talking about the Run Walk Run system 

Ali Vincent talking about her triumphs as well as her Live Big project
Thought this was a fun (although unflattering) picture
Tara Gidus, the runDisney Nutritionist, talking about some of the common mistakes athletes make in their diets
Photo Credit: runDisney
As you can see, I had a FRONT ROW SEAT for all of the talks!
There were a few raffles (some for New Balance Shoes, some for runDisney travel bags), but I didn't win. I mean I WAS A WINNER because I was able to go to this AWESOME event, just didn't win any of the extra swag :).

After the speeches, two of the chefs showed us how to prepare a YUMMY black-bean cake with a poached egg and pica de gallo. (They will be emailing us the recipe soon, so I will be sure to post it as well).

Photo Credit: runDisney
Another FRONT ROW SEAT to watch the chefs at work. 
It was really an AWESOME morning!! They finished the morning with giving us PARK HOPPER PASSES so that we could go to the parks this weekend! And also parking passes that were good until 1pm (which meant we could go over to the Expo and pick up our bibs). I was chatting with some of the girls and we were saying how cool it is that runDisney does events like this. I mean, they don't charge you, you get all of these cool things (and memories) for free, and what do they get out of it? (The only thing we could come up with was that the attendees spread the word and hopefully get more people interested/ involved.)

What an AWESOME morning!! THANK YOU SO MUCH TO EVERYONE THAT MADE IT HAPPEN!! (And a special thanks to Megan from Running Toward The Prize and The Runners Guide to WDW for the heads up and tips on how to get into this awesome event.)

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