It wasn't that long ago I decided to embark on this somewhat crazy endeavor and before I knew it, I was preparing to board a red-eye down to Orlando. My brother has never been to a Disney park (amazing, right? Especially considering he is related to me - a certifiable Disney nut!) so he ended up coming down with me. We ended up sitting at the gate for probably about an hour or so as the plane had an electrical issue. Fortunately for me, I was dozing most of this time and didn't notice too much. We landed, grabbed breakfast at Chick-fil-a (yum!!), and got on the Magical Express. I was ready to drop our stuff off at the hotel and hit the parks but John needed a nap so a nap it was. And then we were off to Animal Kingdom! We fastpassed Kilimanjaro Safaris and headed to Restaurantasaurus for lunch. Honestly, I think one of the reasons I like Restaurantasaurus is the name!! After lunch we did Dinosaur, Expedition Everest, and the Kilimanjaro Safaris. With it being so hot, I wasn't sure how many animals we would see but there were still a number of them out and about. We headed for the exit and got on a bus for Hollywood Studios.
We arrived at Hollywood Studios just in time for the High School Musical 2 Pep Rally!! I was probably one of the few adults singing in the audience who wasn't a parent, but who cares - I love High School Musical! After the pep rally we wandered over to Star Tours, Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular and finished up the day at Rockin' Rollercoaster. You will notice I did not mention the Tower of Terror. And that would be because I am still way too chicken to try that ride. I should have put that on my 31 Things to do Before I Turn 32 list! Then I would have gone on the ride! Ha! I don't like rides that drop you straight down, but I have promised Michelle I will try it at least once in my lifetime. But apparently not this trip.
Next stop was the Magic Kingdom for the Pirate & Princess party! There were so many people (young and old alike) dressed up. I looked for a tiara so I could at least be somewhat princess-y but didn't find one, or at least didn't find one I liked. We did Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin, Space Mountain, met Minnie & Daisy, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Pirates of the Caribbean, and the Indy Speedway. We finished up the night watching the Magic, Music & Mayhem fireworks. We were able to walk back to our hotel. The hotel was nice, but the location was fantastic!!
Staying at the Contemporary, we were able to walk upstairs and catch the monorail over to Epcot. Our first stop was to get a fastpass for Soarin'. I have never been on Soarin' as the first time the line was horrendous (and no fastpasses) and the second time we had just gotten in line when we were told the ride had broken down. So I was really hoping third time was the charm. We grabbed breakfast and then took a ride in a clamobile to find Nemo. We watched the Circle of Life (an environmental fable) and then it was time to use our fastpass for Soarin'. I'm very happy to say we were able to go on the ride! It is a very cool ride! Next stop was Test Track before touring the "world". We headed back to the hotel, John to take a nap and me to check in for my race. Ever since I saw you could run through Cinderella's castle, I have wanted to do the Danskin at Disneyworld. And with me being in Germany in August, I won't be able to do the Seattle Danskin which is how I ended up in Orlando this weekend. I listened to the course talk and it was here I got my first bit of worry. And you know me, I need something to worry about! Because they have to open the park, if you haven't gotten on the run course by a certain time they will put you on a shorter course, but you would still run through the castle. Okay this wasn't too bad, I would still get to run through the castle. It would be a little sad if I wasn't able to do the whole race, but at least they let you finish! I checked in and headed over to the transition area to pick up my rental bike and rack it. I was hoping they would have the buoys out in the water but they didn't. But if I had seen them, it would have been something else for me to worry about so maybe it was good they hadn't placed them yet.
After checking in and racking my bike, I picked up John at the hotel and we headed over to Magic Kingdom. As we were passing the bus stop, a bus for Hollywood Studios pulled up. John had wanted to see the Lights, Motors, Action stunt show but we had missed it yesterday. The bus pulling up at the moment we were walking by was very fortuitous and we hopped on and headed to Hollywood. Walking over to Lights, Motor, Action show we ran across Kim Possible & Ron Stoppable so of course I had to stop and get my picture taken with them. After the stunt show we headed back to the Magic Kingdom. We fastpassed one of my favorite rides, the Jungle Cruise, and then rode Big Thunder, Haunted Mansion and Mickey's Philharmagic before heading back to use our fastpass. No Teacups as John told me since I didn't ride Tower of Terror he wasn't going to ride the Teacups. I suppose that is fair. We called it a night then as I needed to get some sleep. After all, I had a race to run in the morning!
My alarm was set for 4 a.m. but I didn't really sleep all that well. I kept thinking I was going to oversleep. Finally I just got out of bed and got ready. Heading down the hallway, I heard noises coming from different rooms - more triathletes getting ready. I ran into another woman walking over to the race. We walked over together, commiserating in our nervousness. Although I do have to say my level of nervousness has decreased with each race I've done. Not to mention this race was shorter (1/4 mile swim, 9 mile bike, 2 mile run). I found my bike and set up my transition area. After standing around and doing a few stretches I left the transition area and headed to the beach. Minnie Mouse came down to send us on our way. The race was supposed to start at 6 a.m. but as it was still dark, it didn't start until closer to 6:30 but finally the first wave was off! This year I was once again a pink swim cap. Finally it was my wave's turn to enter into the water. Sally Edwards came and cheered us on and gave us our mantra - this year we were "magic". I didn't realize how much I looked forward to this part until I got my word and I felt a little more relaxed and ready to go. 3, 2, 1 and we were off! I usually hang back because I am a slower swimmer but this time I had all these people around me and I was trying to pass them. I guess my swimming is improving! Out of the water, I ripped off my goggles, swim cap and nose plug and got my helmet and I was off on my bike. The bike I rented was really nice! The bike ride itself was not too bad - it was very, very flat. There was one very vocal, cheery woman behind me, shouting encouragement to other racers and thanks to the volunteers. That's what I really like about this race - everyone is generally very friendly and always encouraging. I finished up the bike course and started out on the run course - through the Magic Kingdom! We entered in near Adventureland continue on through Frontierland, Fantasyland, Toon Town, Tomorrowland, back up to Fantasyland and through Cinderella's castle (my favorite part!!!), down Main Street and out of the park over to the finish line. Hooray!! I had wondered if it would get too hot during the race, but it ended up being overcast until right around when the last runner crossed the finish line and then the sun came out as if on cue! So it wasn't super hot, which was really nice.
My times: My goal was to finish the race in under 1 hour and 40 minutes. I finished the race in 1 hour 25 minutes and 49 seconds! I improved my swim pace and my triathlon run pace (it was slightly down from my 10K run pace in March). I lost some time on my bike pace. And my transition times improved a lot! Of course, it wasn't pouring down rain and the transition area was a lot smaller. :-)
I turned my bike in and headed back to the hotel to take a shower and start the day over. After checking out of the hotel we still had time before our flight so we headed to, where else, but the Magic Kingdom. After lunch we headed over to Splash Mountain to get a fastpass but we saw the line was only 20 minutes long so we decided just to wait. And approximately 20 minutes later we were climbing into our log raft. It wasn't that far into the ride before I was completely drenched! And we hadn't even gotten to the drop yet. Needless to say I was soaked by the time I got off that ride. I was contemplating buying new clothes but ended up waiting to see if I dried off in the sun. Oh yeah, have I mentioned yet how extremely hot it had gotten? Since we hadn't used our fastpass for Splash Mountain we got one for Peter Pan's Flight. Waiting for the fastpass time to roll around we did Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin, Stitch's Great Escape, and Monster's Inc. Laugh Floor. Last, but not least, we rode Peter Pan, did a bit of shopping and then headed back to the hotel to catch the shuttle. And just like that our visit was over!