I got back home Monday night. Here’s the highlights from my trip this time around:
* I successfully completed my third half-marathon! Whoo-hoo! The weather was about infinitely better than it was for last year’s race. I stripped off my $10 plastic pants and jacket while in the corral, and ran in my shorts and Team in Training singlet. I was significantly closer to getting swept this time, but I still made it.
* I only stopped for one photo along the course – in front of the castle. Last year, I was annoyed at how long the line was to get that picture, and couldn’t afford the stop. But this year, there was only one person in line as I came out of the castle and in front of the stage, so I sacrificed a minute or so to get that picture taken.
* I flew down with and stayed with the Team in Training folks. Final donation stats: I raised $3,031.40, my chapter raised $130,000, and the nationwide TNT raised over $4,000,000 for this event for the Leukemia and Lymphoma society. So very awesome. Hearing the stories of everyone who’d been touched by cancer, and the gratitude of the survivors and honored patients… it was really very emotional.
* I didn’t eat a single meal at a counter-service location during my entire trip. YEESH. That took a big bite out of my bank account. In addition to the two TNT dinners, I ate at Pasta in the Park, Pepper Market, Maya Grill, Sci Fi Dine In, Grand Floridan Cafe, Cape May Cafe, Via Napoli, and Portobello.
* Disney needs to contract the Via Napoli owners to do all the pizza in WDW from now on. Oh my god that was good. Also pleased with my first visits to the GF Cafe (lobster-topped burger) and the “meatball bar” at Portobello. For $7.95, I got one of each of these meatball sliders – beef, pork, chicken, and salmon. They were each delicious. That’s going to be a regular stop from now on.
* On Monday morning, I was at AK for ropedrop for morning EMH. I did Everest, Safari, Dinosaur, and Tough to Be a Bug, all within the first 90 minutes the park was opened. No lines for any of them. The Safari especially was awesome – all the animals were out and about and eating. Even the lions and hippos were walking around. I’ve never seen the animals so active before – I highly recommend the Safari during morning EMH if you can manage it.
* Pasta in the Park was a little disappointing. For $45, I expected a large buffet. There were two pasta dishes, a salad, (cold) roasted potatoes, and broiled chicken. I won’t do that one again.
* IllumiNations’ globe had several problems on Thursday night: first it didn’t turn on until it was already in position in the center of the lagoon, and kept winking out once it was on. Plus it wasn’t spinning at all, but remained stationary. Finally, it didn’t open up at the end of the show to reveal the final torch and set off the fireworks. I don’t know if it was a one-time thing or if they’d been having problems with it regularly, as I only saw the show once this trip.
* I went to Lou Mongello’s meet of the month on Saturday, and an impromptu TouringPlans.com meetup on Sunday. Always fun seeing fellow Disney-obsessed freaks in person. 🙂
* I really REALLY appreciate all the congratulations and well wishes that guests and CMs alike give when wearing my half-marathon medal. I was, however, getting mildly annoyed at how many of them followed it up with “so are you running tomorrow too?” as though 13.1 miles wasn’t enough. 😛
* On Sunday at Epcot, I was tracking my TNT roommate who was running the full marathon, and made sure I was along the course when he was expected to be there. While waiting for him to arrive, I was cheering on everyone passing by, and did my best to call out their names as well. It looked like many of them really appreciated the recognition, and that it gave them a little burst of energy or at least of motivation. Very cool.
Overall, it was a great trip, and I couldn’t be happier with it. I’m very proud of myself for having completed another race, and for using it to do some good for charity as well. And now I’m back home in snowy Upstate NY, wondering why I live up here…. 😛