What makes Walt Disney World Resort #WonderFALLDisney?

A few weeks ago, I turned into the Disney Parks Live Stream from the Walt Disney World Resort to catch a glimpse of the Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular Show that is part of Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.  During the broadcast, Disney Parks commentators shared some of the reasons that Fall is one of the best seasons to visit.  I've had the pleasure of taking part of some of these events before, and others I'm excited to experience for the first time when our next trip begins in just about a month!

Epcot's International Food & Wine Festival - This classic festival that has been a part of Epcot for over 2 decades showcases food and drinks from around the world as well as some of the best celebrity chefs one can imagine.  Last year, we had a wonderful time eating our way around Epcot.  One of my best tips for beginners to the festival - don't bother making lunch and dinner reservations.  You'll be so full from snacking at the delicious kiosks, you won't need to stop and sit down for a full meal!  And don't forget to check out the Chase Lounge if you have a Chase Visa credit card.

Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party - I have to confess that I am a little bummed were going to be missing this.  In case you missed my previous post, we opted out of attending this annual event due to the late night with young kids and ridiculous Halloween weekend pricing.  However, when I was watching the Live Stream from the party in September, I have to admit that the whole event looks fantastic.  I'm sure we'll end up going at some point when the kids are older.  Here's wishing all of you attending a spooktacular time!

runDisney - The first weekend in November means that runDisney has once again returned to the Walt Disney World Resort.  As the only fall race in Florida, this is a very popular ticket.  I ran Mickey's Jingle Jungle 5K and the Wine and Dine Half-Marathon in 2015 and can't wait to see the changes for 2016.  With a new Wine and Dine 10K and Lumiere's 2-Course Challenge added to the menu, as well as the time change for the half-marathon to a morning start, there is sure to be lots of excitement and opinions surrounding this event.

Good Weather, Lower Crowds, and Great Deals - Long gone are the high temperatures and paralyzing humidity of the summer.  Instead, you'll find pleasant temperatures and smaller crowds with school back in session.  Fall can also feature several great travel deals.  This year, free dining once again made a return to the Walt Disney World Resort as did percentage off offers for room only reservations.  While the booking window has passed for most of these great offers, deals are still available for the popular holiday season and Disney Visa cardholders have their preview this week of special offers for the beginning of 2017.

We're counting down the days to our #WonderFALLDisney vacation.  What are your favorite events of this season?

New Moana Trailer Released

Have you checked out the new trailer for Moana?  I can't wait to see the latest animated adventure from Walt Disney Animation Studios.  Moana tells the tale of a spirited teenager who, with the help of the demigod Maui, sets out to save her people and find her true identity.  In the film, viewers will find the familiar voice of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson while also being introduced to Auli'i Carvalho, the voice of Moana.  Moana is set for release this Thanksgiving!

Why Yearly Trips to WDW Aren't Crazy

I dedicate today's blog post to my husband - the man who tags along to Disney Parks vacations each year, but doesn't quite sing Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah on the way there.  He, along with some of my other friends, struggle to understand my desire to travel to the Walt Disney World Resort each year.  But the fact remains that each trip offers some unique experiences and lots of fun.  So for all of you that question why yearly Disney Parks vacations are at the top of my to-do list, read on to see the magic that awaits!

Each year, Walt Disney World Resort offers new restaurants, rides, and attractions while closing the doors on some old favorites.  On our last vacation, we enjoyed the lights of Disney's Main Street Electrical Parade, but little did we know it would be our last time seeing it as the plug is being pulled on this nighttime favorite on October 9th.  In addition to saying goodbye to some attractions, we can't wait to try new restaurants like Tiffin's in Disney's Animal Kingdom.  I'm also staying hopeful that Rivers of Light might be opening before our Halloween arrival.

Each season at the Walt Disney World Resort also offers new experiences so traveling at different times each year allows you to enjoy it all.  If you're traveling in the spring, you can take in the beautiful sights at Epcot's International Flower and Garden Festival.  In the Fall, Epcot's International Food and Wine Festival and Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party are at the top of many itineraries for families.  During November and December, you can find beautiful holiday decorations lighting the parks and Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party.

The magic of the parks also grows and changes as does your family over the years.  I remember the fast-paced, thrill-involved Disney Parks vacations that my husband and I took before having kids.  Now with two little ones, we love to watch their eyes glow with excitement at seeing a world they have only dreamed of come to life in front of them.  In the years to come, I know we'll have even more magical memories to make as our children get to explore more and more inside the parks.

What keeps you coming back to Walt Disney World Resort year after year?  Share in the comments below!

Running Etiquette for runDisney and Beyond!

There are several things that you will find at every runDisney race - costumes, characters, fun, and lots of people.  I mean tens of thousands of runners all looking to make memories running the most magical races on Earth.  With so many runners participating in each race of a runDisney weekend, race day etiquette becomes even more crucial.

runDisney races draw runners from all skill levels - the elite to the just beginning.  And with Jeff Galloway being the training face for runDisney, there are plenty of participants using run/walk intervals - myself included.  There is nothing wrong with taking ample walk breaks during your runDisney race, but keep these things in mind:

  • Don't walk (or run for that matter) more than 2 across.  Friends and family make great running friends, but when you run or walk 3, 4, or 5 wide, it's hard for anyone to get around you - especially in the narrow areas of the course like the walkway between Disney's Hollywood Studios and Epcot.
  • If you're using run/walk intervals, remember to signal your walk breaks by raising your hand.  This will prevent those who are running behind you from running into you from behind.  When you're walking, you should also move to the right so that those who are running can pass on the left.
  • Be honest with your proof of time - and don't try to sneak into a different corral.  This is a biggie.  Respect the race rules and let the faster runners get out in their corrals.  Jumping ahead or lying about your time only creates more backlog on the course for everyone. 
And remember, race etiquette isn't just for runDisney, but for all of your races - to infinity and beyond!

Tips for Packing for runDisney

Getting ready to race can be a daunting task as you train, prepare, and figure out logistics.  Add to that, getting organized for a Disney Parks vacation at the same time and it may seem overwhelming.  Here are some of my favorite tips to get ready to runDisney so that you can enjoy your race weekend and your vacation!
Who is ready to runDisney??
  • Put essential race gear in your carry on. This becomes even more important if your flight is close to race day. I've read horror stories of runners who fly to their race location and have their shoes or racing outfit in luggage that was lost. This is a highly unlikely situation, but it doesn't hurt to plan accordingly.
  • Speaking of running clothes - pack what you know is comfortable and will work for you. One of the most enjoyable parts of any runDisney weekend is checking out some of the amazing costumes of runners. Personally, I have a lot of fun planning my own outfits, but I always make sure that the costume will be comfortable for the 13.1 miles ahead of me. 
  • Don't forget snacks and energy gel that you like to use. While you can find food in whichever Disney Parks location you're running in and there will be plenty of gel options for sale at the expo, you don't want to mess with success on race day if you know a certain protein bar or flavor of energy gel carries you through a race.  
  • Leave the bulky bags behind. runDisney provides each runner with a clear plastic bag and bib stickers to use for gEAR check - a process which runs amazingly smooth. This means you don't need to worry about packing bags to bring your change of clothes or end of race essentials. 
  • Bring a "throwaway" layer of clothes. I'm just going to point out that Florida weather is CRAZY. There have been some race weekends with freezing temperatures and others with heat and humidity warnings. Like the Girl Scouts taught me like I was young, you always want to be prepared. If it is a little chilly out while you're waiting in corrals or beginning the race, you can keep this extra layer on and then simply pitch it on the side of the road as you begin to run. runDisney will collect these extra clothes and donate to charity.
runDisney vacations are a lot of fun and a great way to celebrate your months of training.  Be sure to pack for success - and maybe leave a little room to spare in your luggage for those goodies you might want to pick up at the expo!

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