We landed in Walt Disney World, aka the most magical place on the planet, mid-morning on Thursday, January 8th. Our plan was to check into our hotel, Art of Animation, and then head over to the expo. However, when we checked in we found out that all of the system- including our magic bands, park tickets, meal plan, etc.- was down. So we couldn't check into our room and would have to leave our luggage with the front desk. Bummer. But like all things at Disney, this situation became incredibly magical as they gave us COMPLIMENTARY park hoppers! A $140 ticket for free! Because of the "inconvenience" of the system being down, we totally lucked out. And the best part- right after we checked our luggage at the front desk, the system was back up! Yay!
We grabbed a quick lunch at Art of Animation and headed to the expo. Our luck streak continued as we got to meet both Bart Yasso and Jeff Galloway(!!). We took lots of pictures, visited all the booths, and easily picked up our packets and t-shirts. One benefit to arriving a day later is that the expo wasn't nearly as crowded as opening day (Wednesday). All the Dopeys and 5kers already picked up their stuff so it was fairly easy to get in and get out.
After the expo, we stopped back at the hotel to get into our room and get ready to head to the parks. Because there would be four adults in the room, we decided to get a family suite at Art of Animation instead of a traditional room. The suites have a small kitchenette, a bedroom, two bathrooms, a murphy bed/table, and a living room complete with pull-out sofa. It could easily sleep six adults. There was plenty of room for all of us and we loved having a separate bedroom for my dad and Margie. That way, when we got up at 2:30 am on the morning of the half, we wouldn't disturb them.
|Our cool murphy bed/table with our fun motivational poster that Matthew made :-)
After settling into the room a bit, we decided to use our complimentary park tickets and head to Animal Kingdom. Since it was late in the day, we made it to two shows: Finding Nemo, the Musical and Festival of the Lion King. Both were simply amazing as usual.
Then we headed to Epcot for a walk around World Showcase. We stopped in Future World for a sampling of sodas at Club Cool and then headed to France for a flight of wine :-) It was still Christmas at Disney so all the decorations were still up in the parks and resorts- complete with Christmas music playing everywhere we went. While it was beautiful, it was a little weird to be celebrating almost two weeks after the holiday.
We headed back to the resort early because we had a 2:30 am wake-up call the next day for the 10k. I feel like I also need to mention the weather- it was cold. I mean, super cold. If it reached 45 degrees that first day, that would have been a lot. The cold front that was sweeping the nation was also making central Florida pretty damn chilly. We were slightly worried for the next morning because none of us had brought cold weather clothes. In fact, in a tips post I wrote a few weeks ago I specifically told people to NOT pack winter clothes. My bad, folks. In my 10+ trips to WDW, I've never witnessed this type of cold.
Anyway, we made it back to the resort, laid out our running gear, and were in bed by 9 pm. Our first set of magical miles started early the next morning!