When the good folks at Walt Disney World Resorts invited me to attend their Sporty Blogger Media Mixer during Disney’s Princess Half Marathon Weekend (March 5-7, 2010) I thought the timing couldn’t be more perfect. I was already searching for the right race to launch the “Run Wifey Run Tour,” my new adventure where I’m running in several road races around the county supporting my mission to be the healthiest I can be and, hopefully, inspire others to do the same. Besides, Disney is the most magical place on earth, maybe I could find a little pixie dust to help me cross the finish line.
While more than 13,000 women ran the half marathon, there were nine of us princesses treated to a whirlwind weekend discovering Disney’s sporty side. Saturday, after checking-in to Disney’s Polynesian Resort, we headed over to the newly renamed ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex to attend the race expo and learn about the 220-acre state-of-the-art facilities. Beyond impressive, it hosts more than 2 million professional and amateur athletes per year, ranging in age from 6 to 86, from more than 70 countries and features more than 55 sports. There is always a game to catch, a competition to cheer for or an opportunity to just relax and grab a bite to eat.
Speaking of eating we did just that at celebrity chef Cat Cora’s restaurant, Kouzzina, located at The Boardwalk. I’m still smiling from the delicious pre-race meal I devoured. If you ever have the opportunity try the Pastitsio, Greek-style lasagna with bucatini pasta, cinnamon-stewed meat sauce and béchamel – um, yum! After dinner we turned in early to prepare for the big race.
Fun does not begin to describe the time I had participating in this event. Sporting my tiara, I started the 13.1 mile run from Epcot to Magic Kingdom and back with a bang – literally. Fireworks flew at the starting line and many of Disney’s most popular characters met and cheered the runners on along the way. The excitement of running through Cinderella’s castle and all of Disney’s magic makes this race tons of fun for a newbie runner or a veteran, too. This event is just one of Disney’s Endurance Series featuring the Expedition Everest Challenge (June 12, 2010), the Inaugural Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend (Oct. 1-2, 2010), the Walt Disney World Marathon and Half Marathon (Jan. 6-9, 2011) and Champion 5k at ESPN the Weekend (February 2011).
After receiving my beautiful, shiny medal, and nice hot shower, I was thrilled to learn that I had an appointment arranged for a 50-minute Swedish massage at The Grand Floridian Spa & Health Club. To say it was AMAZING is an understatement. It was the perfect way to recover from such an active morning. I was truly starting to believe I was a princess, lounging in the lap of luxury. If you’re a spa lover, you’ll love it. If you’re not a spa lover you will be after visiting The Grand Floridian.
The remainder of my weekend was spent exploring some of the other sporty activities Walt Disney World has to offer. Who knew you could water ski, parasail or drive a real race car 140 mph while visiting Mickey and his pals?
Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach Water Park: WDW has two family-friendly water parks open year-round, with fun for all ages. Typhoon Lagoon is home to nine waterslides, a children’s play area, a Shark Reef, and one of the world’s largest Surf Pools. Blizzard Beach boasts raft rides, toboggan slides, a wave pool, a children’s play area, and some mega water slides – it has one of the tallest and fastest in the country.
Sammy Duvall’s Watersports Centre at Disney’s Contemporary Resort: Water skiing champion, Sammy Duvall, brings the thrill of water sports to WDW. Water skiing, wakeboarding, knee boarding, and tubing instruction are available for all ages. Parasailing and guided excursions, as well as personal watercraft rental are also available. Located at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, the center offers an alternative experience from the traditional Disney theme parks.
Richard Petty’s Driving Experience Disney Speedway Orlando: Ever wanted to speed around a track at 140 mph? Well thanks to Richard Petty’s Driving Experience at Disney Speedway Orlando you can. Open 7 days a week, you can ride shotgun in a NASCAR-style stock car driven by a professional instructor or sit behind the wheel yourself and put the pedal to the metal. I can vouch for this awesome experience firsthand as I wrapped up my Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend during a ride-along. It was three laps of pure exhilaration. A must do for any thrill seeker!
Thanks to the wonderful folks at WDW for hosting me during this fun-filled weekend!
RunningGal, Lorraine “Wifey” Robertson, is also a wife, mother, freelance writer, digital media consultant, tennis player and chocolate lover. When she’s not running, you can find her at one of her sites, Ask Wifey or The BlogRollers. Keep an eye here at The Vacation Gals; she’ll be posting more dispatches from her Run Wifey Run Tour this year!