Star Wars Weekend Review – One Day

3 Jul

So, I’ve covered all the ADRs (Advanced Dining Reservations) during our “things we never do at Disney anniversary trip” so I thought it might be fun to recap/review some of the rest of the trip.  I admittedly am going out of order here as this was day 3/4 of our trip, but you guys don’t mind, right?  Good.

This is our first time being at Disney during Star Wars Weekend.  Both Doug and I are HUGE Star Wars Fans because we’re nerds (and nerds are awesome).  Part of our trip was to actually get to enjoy pool time and not feel rushed, so we admittedly were not there at MGM Hollywood Studios when it opened (I believe there were Storm Troopers there as part of the ceremony).  We also missed the parade, but honestly, Doug and I aren’t big parade people anyway…

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I’m pretty sure this isn’t the kind of hydrating they’re talking about when they say to keep hydrated!

After our pool time, we changed and we off to Star Wars Weekend in the afternoon.  We decided to walk to the park from the Beach Club Villas (where we were staying), with a detour to the Boardwalk to grab some margaritas for our “long” journey.

When we arrived at the park, we did something I haven’t done in over a decade, we grabbed a map!  We wanted to make sure we were able to capture all the fun Star Wars additions added for the weekend and didn’t miss anything.

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Come on down for the Jedi is Right!

As we walked in (first time since the complete removal of the Sorcerer’s Hat), we saw a stage show going on.  But it wasn’t a stage show, it was actually a trivia game.  On one side you had evil contestants from the Empire and on the other side was a family (assisted by C3PO and R2-D2).  It was cute and funny and entertaining, and of course being total nerds we were answering whatever questions we could along with the players.  Of course in the end, good conquers evil and the family was victorious over the evil Empire.

After the game show, we continued to walk towards Toy Story Mania as that was our first Fast Pass of the Day.  As we walked along Pixar Place, we saw a bunch of lines for character photos.  Various Jedis and people/things, but no one that we wanted to wait on line for.  Further down the road we saw a line for Darth Vader.  That line was REALLY long, and we didn’t have the patience.  I just figured I would grab a picture with him during a RunDisney race.

Also in Pixar Place, we also saw a sign that said “Annual Passholder Free Gift” with an arrow pointing where to go.  Hey!  We’re annual passholders!  Let’s check it out!

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Something “free” from Disney

Apparently depending on what week you were there, the character on the poster was different.  Our weekend (the final weekend) was Chewbacca.  (Yes our poster is still rolled up from our trip and we haven’t done anything with it…yet)

We took a break from Star Wars things to go on Toy Story Mania…OK, this has nothing to do with Star Wars Weekend, but I just wanted to brag that not only did I kick Doug’s butt, I was also the highest score in the car!  Yay me!

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Victory is mine!

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Victory is even more mine!

Besides the characters that there were lines for, they had a bunch of characters just walking around the park which was pretty cool.  As, like everything in Disney, they stayed in perfect character!

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Doug was happy and excited to get a photo with him! The feeling was not mutual…

Some of the gift shops had added Star Wars touches (and merchandise…)

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Good thing there’s no bounty on my head! …even if he is made out of legos)

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Is the real Chewbacca actually that tall? Or is Doug just that short? Probably a little of both)

We walked over to the Darth Mall (get it, a play on Darth Maul?  Oh those Disney folks) which was basically an area of merchandise and collectibles for the Star Wars Weekend and the movies themselves, as well as a spot to meet some of the guests they had.  Although I liked some of the stuff, I was not excited enough to actually buy anything (fortunately), although admittedly if the Star Wars Weekend tank had a design on it rather than just saying “Star Wars Weekend” on it, I might have had more difficulty resisting.

I did spot something I was almost tempted to buy for my sister for her birthday! …but it was just a tad more pricey than I could do.

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Star Wars picture with an “It’s a Small World” theme, it’s like the artist read my sister’s mind!

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Official movie props just outside Darth Mall

We had some time to kill before our FP for Star Tours (Star Wars weekend is perhaps the only time you need a FP for Star Tours) so we tried to get into the Rebel Hanger.  As soon as they announced the transforming of the Rebel Hagar (Star Wars themed drinks, snacks and desserts) I tried to get an ADR but with no luck.  So, we waited to see if we could just walk it, check out the place and get a drink to go.  Basically they transformed the area by the Backlot Express into Star Wars themed.  They added brand new Star Wars elements (with Disney touches) and then they also added Star Wars touches to what already existed.

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Spot the not so hidden Mickey?

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If you could attach a figurehead to the Death Star, it would probably look something like this!

After that it was a quick ride on Star Tours.  Can someone explain to me how with allegedly over 50 possibilities, I get the same 2 planets 95% of the time?

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Getting us ready to board our flight

All throughout the weekends, they have a number of guest appearances and speakers.  The weekend we were there we really lucked out.  We had Frank Oz there!  The man, the myth, the muppet, the legend!  (I really hope I don’t have to explain who Frank Oz is, but just in case, besides being Yoda, he was also Fozzie Bear, Miss Piggy, Bert of Bert and Ernie, etc…just google him).  In the theater that typically houses the Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage show, there were holding a conversation with Frank Oz that Doug and I really wanted to be able to check out.  You were guaranteed seats if you had purchased the VIP package (which gave you special things for other aspects of the Star Wars weekend), but you could also walk in.  We did not get there nearly as early as I would have liked to try and guarantee us seats.  When we arrived on line, we were informed by a cast member that we might get in, but probably would not.  Oh well, but we figured what the hell, we’ll try and if we don’t get in, we don’t get in.  Well we got in with PLENTY of seats to spare.

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I must say, Franz Oz is truly amazing.  Listening to him talk, and his humbleness about everything!  I mean, you try and give him a compliment and his immediate response was “thank you, but it was really because of all the other people I worked with”.  Incredible.

Anyway, we quickly rushed (which in hindsight we shouldn’t have) to our ADRs at Hollywood & Vine.  You can read all about that experience here.

After dinner there was more walking around and exploring and seeing random characters and props from the movies!

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Doug was excited to show off his brand new Storm Trooper Magic Band! The Storm Trooper was not impressed

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Yes it was mostly children getting on this prop for pictures, but that’s never stopped us before!

We quickly used our Tower of Terror FP (personal recommendation, not that you’re really outside on the line, but this ride is cooler at night/in the dark)

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We had some cool people on the elevator with us…

And then we were off to the part we were so excited about!  The special fireworks show for Star Wars Weekend, Symphony in the Stars!  Star Wars music set to fireworks sounds perfect!  We had seen the Frozen fireworks last year and they were amazing so we had high hopes for this show.  Spoiler alert: these did NOT disappoint!  AMAZING!

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Waiting for the show to begin…with beers in hand of course

Here’s a few videos from the show, but they do not do the fireworks justice…


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I have to say, the fireworks alone are worth making the trip to MGM Hollywood Studios during a Star Wars weekend.  All in all, I would love to come back for this, as a huge Star Wars fan and Disney fan, it’s a really great time!

Be Our Guest – FINALLY!

2 Jul

I’ve had the unfortunate habit of missing the 180 day mark for ADRs and so have had difficulty getting a reservation at Be Our Guest.  However, stalking My Disney Experience every day and I was FINALLY able to score a lunch time reservation for this trip.  All I’ve heard is how amazing it is and you have to eat there!  And you do, but at the same time, you also kind of don’t.

Be Our Guest has tons of cool features.  You can start to order your meal 30 days in advance of your reservation.  Doug and I took advantage of this option because, well, I’m obsessed with planning my Disney trips and this was one more thing to plan.  Should you chose this option, you can edit it right up until the day of the reservation, if you change your mind (like Doug did going back on his work that I could order 4 desserts)

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We’re finally about to go in!

After we check in at the front gate they send you inside where they split you off into pre-ordered (and paying with magic band or credit card) and order then (with the option to pay cash also if you like).

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We’re almost inside inside!

At this time they hand you a rose (sorry, I meant to get a picture of it, but I forgot).  Now, here’s where it gets a little disappointing.  You figure with reservations they take you to your seats, right?  Wrong.  It’s a free for all.  You basically sit down wherever you find seats.  I mean this isn’t a huge deal, but depending on the size of your party, this can be a tad stressful.  Doug and I found seats in the ballroom…which, admittedly, looks like it came right out of the movie!  …you know, except for all the tables and tourists.

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Found us some seats!

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The cast members are then able to locate us and our table and bring us our food on a cart just by using the rose!  There is no ordering with waiters or waitresses.  You sit and the food comes to you rather quickly.  In fact our food came while I was taking pictures of the other rooms.

Not to critique Disney, but I’m not sure what they were thinking with one of the rooms.  I mean, it’s very pretty and goes with the theme of the restaurant, but I don’t remember seeing a room like this in the movie, perhaps replicating the library might have been better?  I don’t know.  Obviously, Disney’s attention to detail is amazing and it’s still a glorious room.

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One side of the mystery room

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Other side of the mystery room

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Middle of the mystery room!

They of course also had the West Wing in the restaurant and this room was phenomenal!  Which also meant it was the most crowded.  Also appeared to be the smallest, so just be warned you may not get a seat in here.

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Portrait of the beast pre-beast

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Of course the rose!

As I mentioned, their attention to detail is incredible.  They’re Disney.  It’s what they do.

However, all that being said, I’m going to be honest, I was a little disappointed in our meal at Be Our Guest.  The down side to this awesome no real waiters/waitresses is that everything is self serve.  After our food was delivered, we needed utensils and there was no one to ask, so up we got and on a quest for silverware we went!  We also had to go on that same quest for napkins.  Also, Doug had ordered a soda with his meal.  That also is apparently a self serve option, where honestly, it seems like we could have gotten the soda without paying for it (all the cups were right next to the fountains and no one was confirming a purchase…way to go Disney on the honor system).  Now, I’m not trying to sound like a snob, I have no problem with quick service scenarios, I guess just with the hoopla (and cost) of everything I was expecting it to be a little more like a restaurant and little less cafeteria.  I mean, our meal cost us $50 (which is  WAY MORE than we would spend for lunch) and that didn’t even include alcoholic beverages!  The wine and beer is only available at dinner.

Then there’s the food.  We ordered the French Onion soup which was admittedly pretty delicious.  Smothered in cheese, no overly salty (as many French Onion soups are), it was definitely top 3 onion soups I’ve ever had.  Doug and I both ordered a Croque Monsieur which is a grilled sandwich with ham, gruyere cheese and bechamel sauce.  Sounds delicious right?  Not so much.  The sandwich was ok.  Nothing spectacular.  And I honestly couldn’t taste (or see) the cheese or sauce.  So that was disappointing.

For dessert we ordered the Master’s Cupcake which of course is topped with grey stuff!  And yes, it was delicious!  BUT, it was also just a plain chocolate cupcake.  Disney kind of missed an opportunity to play with flavors.  The grey stuff, while tasty, was basic and kinda unidentifiable as any flavor.  I mean, you have the famous grey stuff here!  Let’s play around with some yummy DIFFERENT flavors to go with the chocolate cupcake!

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Try the Grey Stuff! It’s…grey stuff.

All in all, considering how long and how much effort it took to get a reservation here, I must say, it’s disappointing.  Don’t get me wrong, the details are incredible and it’s still cool to eat here, but I wouldn’t go crazy trying to get in.  I’m hoping that this experience was just because we went for lunch and not for dinner (although, that doesn’t mean it’s ok to charge that much for an “ok” lunch), so I would definitely try and come back to give dinner a go.

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And there you have it, at least my take on lunch at Be Our Guest.  If you can get in, give it a try, it’s cool, just don’t go in with super high expectations and don’t go crazy.

Hollywood & Vine: Star Wars Character Buffet

1 Jul

Our next stop on our ADR road trip (I’ve previously covered Le Celier, Cape May Cafe Buffet and Citricos) is over at MGM Hollywood Studios.  In all the years I’ve been coming to Disney, this is the first time I’ve been here for Star Wars Weekend and so therefore wanted to take advantage of as much of the Star Wars stuff as possible.

Hollywood and Vine is a buffet all year long and one I’ve never been to, and I must say, probably one I will never go to again (sorry to say that so soon in the post but no point in sugar coating it).  For Star Wars Weekend, they have a character buffet, and not just any characters, Disney characters dressed as Star Wars Characters!  Sounded perfect for my inner nerd.

Similar to the character breakfast buffet at the Aulani (I never wrote a post on that did I?), you get your photo with Mickey before you’re seated.  Mickey being the superstar he is, this is the best way to handle the crowds and make sure everyone gets a photo with him.

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Help me Obi Mickey, you’re my only hope…

We were seated and told we could get up and start grabbing our food right away.  The food choices, were disappointing.  There was nothing really that appealed to me.  The menu they list online contains: Peel n’ Eat Shrimp, Mussels, “Seasonal” Pork, Maple and Grain Mustard Salmon, “Seasonal” Pasta, Carved Turkey Breast, Carved Strip Loin, Lobster and Shrimp Macaroni and Cheese and a Create-Your-Own-Pasta Bar.  Now, I don’t like seafood, but it seemed like between the other options, I would be able to eat plenty.  However, there was no pork, there was no turkey (although I’m not crazy about turkey) and there was no create-your own pasta bar.  There was the carved Strip Loin, which was OK, nothing spectacular and definitely not enough to cover the $60 per person price tag.  If fact I spent most of my dinner eating from the Children’s Buffet which consisted of Chicken Tenders, Mini Corn Dogs and Mac & Cheese.  That was the best tasting food they had.  And that’s kind of sad.

BUT, we did it for the characters and we did get plenty of them…so while we ate our mediocre overpriced food, we got tons of character interactions and pictures!

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Donald appreciated my shirt…

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Selfies!

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“I’d rather kiss a Mickey! …I mean wookie!”

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Chip did make for a good ewok, until…

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…he did this thing with his finger on his tongue. Chip’s got a little bit of a dirty mind.

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More selfies!

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Doug trying to prove he has bigger biceps than Darth Goofy (that son of a bitch)

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When Darth Goofy (that son of a bitch) offers you his arm, you take it!

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Ewok Dale then came to join the party!

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After all the characters made their rounds (we were there long enough to get 2 rounds) we decided to get some dessert.  The dessert was the best part of the meal.  It was the best tasting of all the food they offered, plus they were the most creative with desserts fitting the Star Wars theme.  They were also creative in their flavors.  The cupcake flavors were more than your basic chocolate or vanilla, there was a salted caramel, a chocolate peanut butter (that was Darth Vader’s cupcake) and I forgot what Jabba’s was, but it was unique and yummy!

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Dinner is not complete without a Jaba the Hut cupcake!)

And here’s the brutal honesty…I would not recommend this to anyone…unless you are rich and money is no object.  Yes the desserts were tasty and the Disney/Star War characters were cool (unfortunately this was the only place to see them other than the parade), but the rest of the food was awful and not worth the price tag.  There are much better character buffets that are cheaper and/or better value food wise (see my post about the Cape May Cafe Buffet here).  I’m sorry Disney, I love you, but I did not love this meal :(

It’s Official!

30 Jun

For the 3rd year in a row, this is gonna happen!  I will be perfect at one of these damn races if it kills, bankrupts me or both dammit!

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Doug is all set for the 10K too in case you were concerned…

Let the countdown begin!  (Of course we have the countdown to Dumbo first, then Wine & Dine, THEN this).

Run Where I Live – NYC (Kinda)

29 Jun

Greetings all!  This post will start off slightly different than most of my other posts.  The fabulous Danielle over at Live, Run, Grow has organized this “Run Where I Live” Blog Link-Up (which is why this is the title instead of “It’s a Wonderful Day in the Neighborhood” because Mr. Rogers is awesome) so some of you reading this may be first timers to my blog, so I figured I would/should do a quick introduction (and by “I figured”, I mean Danielle suggested it and that makes sense).

Hi!  My name is Kellie!  I live in NYC, Queens to be exact (yes, technically Queens is part of NYC).  I started running around 4 years ago in preparation of my first race, Disney’s Princess Half Marathon in 2012.  Since then I have become addicted to RunDisney (already addicted to Disney since birth), as well as racing in general.  I’m not a fast runner, but I’ve somehow completed 16 half marathons and 1 marathon (as part of the Goofy Challenge this past January), with my 2nd marathon in October (this is where everyone gets to say I told you so because I swore I wouldn’t do another marathon…at least until Dopey 2018).  Ummmmm, I’m also obsessed with CrossFit (yes, I’m one of those people) and apparently use parentheses a lot when I type – sorry about that!  OK, I think that about covers “me” now on to the topic!

The Odds are if you’re visiting New York, you are not visiting Queens…I mean, we have the Mets here, but that’s a reason to avoid the borough (just kidding Mets fans! …maybe lol).  If you should find yourself in the neighborhood (Flushing to be exact, Queens is rather large), there are a couple of places to which are great for shorter runs.

The most popular is Flushing Meadow Park.

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If there is a race in Queens (NYRR Queens 10K, Micheloeb Ultra NYC 13.1, NYCRuns Queens Half Marathon), this is where the race is.  The course along here is approximately 6-7 miles around the whole park, covering the World’s Fair Unisphere, the Flushing Meadow Zoo (more of a petting zoo), the Queens Museum, you even get to check out the US Open Tennis Stadium (currently under construction – I believe they are adding a dome).  This park is the “Central Park” of Queens and much like Central Park, can and will be very  popular/crowded on weekends.  Soccer games are played here, barbecues/picnics, just a great outdoor place for families to go.

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The fountains at the Unisphere in full effect

I admit, in the NYRR Queens 10K last weekend, I actually stopped with .3 miles left to take pictures of the sphere.  Living in Queens I sometimes don’t get to appreciate some of the landmarks it has to offer.  Flushing Meadow Park is actually a great place to run.  It is pretty much flat with the occasional overpass.  The only downside to running here is the beauty of the scenery changes vastly during the time of year you go.  I’ve run here in June and September where the flowers are in bloom and the trees are green and it looks very pretty…I’ve also run this in March when nothing is in bloom and it’s kind of dismal.

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As I’ve mentioned, there are races held here, all of which are less than $50.  If you have any interest, you can read my recaps of the NYCRuns Queens Half Marathon here and the Michelob Ultra New York 13.1 here (I’m still working on my Queens 10K recap).  Warning, they are two vastly different recaps as one was a horrible race and one was a temporary PR.  Don’t let the bad race impact your decision to run here…

However, IF I have forever turned you off to Flushing Meadow Park and you’re looking for something different there are two running paths that can be connected/combined with each other as they are only separated by a street (and a partial parking lot).  One you run under the Throgs Neck Bridge and the other you run alongside the Cross Island Parkway.  That path under the bridge is approximately 1 mile and the path next to the highway is 2.4 miles (it’s great except when you’re marathon training and have to run the same path back and forth 4 times to get your 20 miler done).  If you want to add a couple more miles in, in between the two paths (at the end of the aforementioned street) is the entrance to Fort Totten which is a former United States Army installation – U.S. Army reserves are still present there, but it is now owned by the City of New York.  It was also featured in an episode of White Collar, but that is neither here nor there (well, I mean, it’s HERE but that’s obviously not the point).  The two paths are practically flat, but there are not shortage of hills in Fort Totten.  Unlike Flushing Meadow Park, all these courses are almost always scenic, no matter what time of year, as you run past Little Neck Bay, which also houses the Bayside Marina.  Although this is obviously more scenic when the weather and seasons cooperate.

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My dad, me and my husband Doug have run this path on more than one occasion.

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Bayside Marina

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There are other locations to run in Queens (there’s a path that runs along the Grand Central Parkway that starts near Flushing Meadow Park and ends at LaGuardia Airport and Kissena Park) but I haven’t actually run those so I don’t feel right talking about them.

NYC contains 5 boroughs and I have run in Manhattan and Brooklyn as well (my first run in the Bronx will be in September).  If you find yourself in Manhattan, the most obvious location is Central Park, but be aware of the HILLS OF DOOM.  There’s two of them.  And they never end.  But otherwise, it’s Central Park and I truly recommend everyone run here at least once in their life…DESPITE THE HILLS OF DOOM.  The majority of the races put on by NYRR are here, so it can get tiring having all your races in the same location, but still, it’s Central Park.  You gotta do it.

The races I’ve done in Brooklyn have allowed for me to check out 2 other running locations, should you find yourself in Brooklyn.  One is the path that runs along under the Verrazano Bridge.  This path can be very windy, but it is flat and and scenic along the water .  The other location you can check out is Prospect Park.  Prospect Park is also very scenic and beautiful but I’m a little against it as I don’t know how, but when they include it in the NYRR Brooklyn Half Marathon, it somehow is entirely uphill.  The downhill never comes.  I supposed when you run it on your own, you could always alter the course so that that won’t be the case, but with my luck, it will always be uphill.  Always.

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Not a bad view to run in Brooklyn…

Well, if you actually read this whole post and didn’t give up on me after the first line, you hopefully found this post as informative or helpful or at least let you know that there is more to NYC than just Manhattan and didn’t just get bored for however long it took to read this.

And now off to Chadd to tell you all about running in Philly!  Check him out here!

Also, if you missed the beginning bloggers or would check out all of us participating in this, check out all the links conveniently located at our Visitors Center on Danielle’s post here.  Happy travels everyone! :)

One More Week…

23 Jun

When typing the title of this post, I am totally singing it to Les Miserables’ “One More Day” but that’s besides the point.

In one week, early registration begins for Princess Half Marathon weekend.  So, if you are a DVC member or Annual Passholder (both of which I have become), you will be sitting in front of your computer screen, stalking it at noon when registration opens (it goes on sale to the general public on July 14 – mark you calendars!).

I have to be honest, Princess is not my favorite race.  The course is my least favorite and OMG YOU ARE SURROUNDED BY SO MUCH ESTROGEN!  So why then?  Why am I so focused on doing this race?  Why do I HAVE to sign up for this race?  Because, this race is home.  This race was the race that started it all.  This was the race that made me run and got me hooked to the runDisney world.

Way back in February 2012, I ran the Princess Half Marathon with a sprained ankle (funny how some things don’t change).

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First time running through the castle…

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First time getting bling…

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I’m pretty sure I started planning to do Wine & Dine while taking this picture!

I had to skip 2013 because that was the year we got married.  I was saving up all my money and vacation time for the honeymoon and convinced I wasn’t going to do any Disney races that year (I ended up tackling Dumbo at the end of the honeymoon and had to go for Coast to Coast at W&D in November).  But reading all the recaps from those who participated in the Princess Half that year was torture.  It made me home sick.  I wanted to be there!  The fact that I really liked the shirt color that year didn’t help lol  I think I may have vowed to not miss another Princess Half Marathon Weekend again after that!

Then, in 2014, they announced the Glass Slipper Challenge.  You run the Enchanted 10K on Saturday and then run the Princess Half Marathon the next day on Sunday.  I LOVE me some challenge bling and of course had to sign up for that!  Since Princess always falls during February break, it’s the one race that Doug can go to and we actually make a longer trip out of.  After doing the Disneyland 10k with me, I convinced him, yes convinced, him to do the 10k at Princess with me.  And so, I was doing the inaugural Glass Slipper Challenge!

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Doug’s first bling from Walt Disney WORLD

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I think this may have been my first race doing the Nardi Challenge!

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So much bling! Yay first Walt Disney WORLD challenge complete!

I know I had vowed to not miss another Princess, but in 2015 I was doing the Goofy Challenge.  It was my first full marathon.  No way I could justify going to Disney again for another race one month after completing 39.3, right?  I mean, that would be crazy!  Right?  Right.  Well, despite it being crazy, all the forces that be told me that I needed to do it.  Typically these races sell out almost instantly (except when I registered in 2012 and the last few races seem to have slowed down somewhat).  Anyway, given the sell out rate, I made sure that I had Crossfit when early registration opened.  Worked like a charm, I managed to avoid that.  I had the same plan for when general registration open.  I went to CrossFit, came back to my computer and found out that it WASN’T sold out!  WHAT?!?!  It was like a sign.  My fellow Team CanAm ladies Lisa and Nicole were doing it!  My friend Cat, whom convinced me to do my very first one and ran with me in 2012 was registering to do it!  So, any and all will power I had caved.  Poof!  It was gone!  It was the universe telling me I had to do it…plus there was a Frozen themed 5K…FROZEN!  So, in addition to registering for the GSC, I registered for my very first ever Disney 5K.  And then Shenanigans ensued…

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Still has to be my favorite race photo!

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It literally was the Frozen 5K!

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2nd favorite race photo! Nicole and I had to get down on our knees in order to get Minnie in the picture!

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10K done! Super fun!

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First time stopping for the Princes!

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Some Fairy Godmother magic to help us through!

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3 days, 3 races, 4 medals, 22.4 miles, TONS of happy fun memories! (and a beer! Thanks Lisa!)

While 2015 definitely seemed to be the peak year for race fun, I’m looking forward to 2016 and completing GSC again (I gotta go for “perfect” here!).  Doug will be back for Princess 2016 and he’s promised to start running the 10K for fun!  Which means we can stop and take pictures!  YAY!  Also my friend Cat plans on returning and I think/hope so is Nicole!  (sadly, we need some lotto winning to make the rest of Team CanAm join us, but we’re working on it!)

For more information, all my recaps are located in the convenient “race” tab above :)

Long story short, too late, I know, if you’re debating registering for this race, don’t.  Yes, there are down sides…the humidity, the crowds, the estrogen, but I promise the memories made will be well worth it!

Caution: Participating in RunDisney events has a side effect of addiction.  You will be back for more.  It also has the side affect of maxed out credit cards and/or drainage on your savings accounts.

Citricos – How the Other Half Lives

22 Jun

So, we last left off with our ADR at the Cape May Cafe Breakfast Buffet.  Our next ADR was the following day at Citricos in the Grand Floridian.

We typically don’t do a really nice dinner while staying in Disney and Doug had never been to the Grand Floridian.  I know the restaurant of choice there is Narcoisse’s, but neither of us being HUGE seafood people, the menu there didn’t appeal to us.  Of course if we ever win lotto we’ll give Victoria & Albert’s a try.  But, for this trip, we chose Citricos and we could not be happier with our choice.

As I mentioned, we tend to not to “nice” dinners on the trip and it’s partially (ok mostly) due to the cost.  BUT, while Citricos is not inexpensive, it is hardly as pricey as some of the other dinners you could have on property, and I’d say less than some steak dinners in NYC we’ve had.

Originally our plan was to walk through Epcot, get a pre-dinner cocktail, and take the Monorail from there to the TTC and then transfer to the Grand Floridian.  Given the temperature (and our wardrobe), we instead opted to just bus it to the MK and monorail it from there.

Let me say, you don’t realize how poor you truly are until you walk into the Grand Floridian.  It is the epitome of Victorian elegance.

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oooooooooooooooo

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You eat at the Grand Floridian, you get dolled up!

We arrived early for our reservations.  Significantly early, so we decided to check out the lounge right next door to the restaurant.  They offered many of the same starters as Citricos there, and some additional ones.

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Pre-dinner drink!

After our drink, we took the short walk to where we check in (happened to be right outside Victoria & Albert’s).  We were quickly brought in to be seated.  While walking in, our host was asking us questions.  Upon finding out that this was our first time at the restaurant and we were from NY, he (probably) joked that we needed a better table.  I don’t know if this was our original table or not, but I cannot complain regardless…

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Gotta love dinner with a view

Before we arrived, we looked at the menu and had decided that with so many delicious starters, we would order a bunch of those, then possibly split an entree if there was any room in our stomachs left.

We ordered the Aranicini (a crispy Risotto ball with Sweet Italian Sausage, creamy mozzarella and tomato puree), Slow-Roasted Berkshire Pork Belly (served with Cheese Grits, Smoked Jalapeno, Sweet Onion and Hibiscus BBQ Sauce), Lamb Allbondiga (soft Lamb Meatball slow-braised in Curry Tomato Sauce and Creamy Herb Polenta with Sharp Crumbled Feta Cheese) and the Maplebrook Farm Cow’s Milk Burrata (with Zucchini Antipasto and Black Garlic Toast).

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Pictured, clockwise from the top: the Pork-Belly, Aranicini and Lamb Albondiga…YUM

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Burrata…yummy, delicious, amazing burrata!

OK, I had been looking forward to this meal for months and the food did not disappoint!  Everything was fresh and delicious and amazing and incredible and I would order them all again in a heartbeat.  My only complaint was the portion size.  As you can see from the pictures, there was 1 risotto ball, 1 meatball, 1 small piece of pork belly and 1 small bit of burrata (with 1 piece of toast).  The starters here are very clearly meant to be ordered per person and not meant to be shared with multiple people.  That was disappointing considering their price, but again, every thing tasted so amazing, I’ll take flavor over size.

BUT, since the starters were smaller than we planned, we definitely went ahead to share an entree.  We chose the Crispy Pan-Fried Veal Chop Elephante.  This is essentially a pan-fried veal chop, on the bone (everything is better on the bone – that’s what she said), served with Butter-Mashed Bonaito,  Baby Rainbow Carrots, Roasted Cipollini Oniions, Citrus Butter and Madeira Sauce.

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That’s a veal chop!

Just like the appetizers, this dish did not disappoint.  I know I didn’t have enough room in my stomach but I wish I had ordered my own and didn’t have to share it.  The veal was cooked perfectly, crispy on the outside, while being moist on the inside, not greasy from the frying or tough from being over-cooked.  And the accompanying food and sauces!  It is very rare that I order an entree and clean my entire plate, but this plate was cleaned!  I don’t know what Bonaito was (which I now know is a Caribbean Sweat Potato) but I could have had an entire plate of these.  The onions were delicious, the carrots were amazing (and Doug doesn’t even like carrots).  I wish I had this dish again right now.

The perk of not ordering my own entree was we would have room for dessert!  We were tempted to go for the Tropical Fruit Creme Brulee, but after just having a Creme Brulee the other night, we instead went with the Lemon-scented Cheesecake with a “blanket” of White Chocolate Ganache.

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Almost too pretty to eat…ALMOST

Exactly like every other part of this meal, the dessert was phenomenal.  It was tart from the lemon while at the same time being rich and decadent from the cheesecake and white chocolate.  The raspberries on the plate helped brighten it and whatever that crisp was, it was delicious and added a complimentary texture to the dish.

I think the meal ending was one of the saddest moments on the trip.

On the same floor as the restaurant, there is a band playing classical, Disney and “old-timey” songs.  I would have liked to have stayed around longer to listen to them, but we were very full and it was way past Doug’s bedtime.

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A little pre or post dinner entertainment

I would hands down like to eat here again.  This was far and away the best meal I have ever eaten in Disney.  If you’re looking for a place to splurge a little on your trip, this is the place!

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