The Runner's Guide to WDW & Beyond http://www.runnersguidetowdw.com Mon, 21 Aug 2017 13:05:26 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.1 http://www.runnersguidetowdw.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/cropped-favicon-144x144.png The Runner's Guide to WDW & Beyond http://www.runnersguidetowdw.com 32 32 41215589 Disney’s Beach Club Resort – runDisney Race Weekend http://www.runnersguidetowdw.com/disneys-beach-club-resort-rundisney-race-weekend/ http://www.runnersguidetowdw.com/disneys-beach-club-resort-rundisney-race-weekend/#respond Mon, 21 Aug 2017 09:00:20 +0000 http://www.runnersguidetowdw.com/?p=5885 Disney’s Beach Club Resort showcases a New England beach style. Connected to the Yacht Club, these two resorts are very similar and share the same pool area, restaurants, spa and counter service meal location. (The Beach Club has a light blue coloring, whereas the Yacht Club has a gray coloring.) Across the lagoon and beach area […]

The post Disney’s Beach Club Resort – runDisney Race Weekend appeared first on The Runner's Guide to WDW & Beyond.

]]>
Disney’s Beach Club Resort showcases a New England beach style. Connected to the Yacht Club, these two resorts are very similar and share the same pool area, restaurants, spa and counter service meal location. (The Beach Club has a light blue coloring, whereas the Yacht Club has a gray coloring.) Across the lagoon and beach area is the Boardwalk area and resort.

Disney's Beach Club Resort

Located in between Epcot and Hollywood Studios, this resort is just a walk (or boat ride) away from either park. Epcot is around a 5 minute walk, whereas Hollywood Studios will likely take 15-20 minutes by foot.

As for the rooms, this deluxe resort offers standard, garden view (including views of the parking lot or landscaped areas), or water view, which includes views of the pool area or lagoon. If possible, ask for a room closer to the lobby as hallways can be quite long. For those wanting the added benefits of the concierge lounge and service, those rooms include the above views as well as 1-bedroom and 2-bedroom suite options. Concierge level includes access to the Stone Harbor Club lounge for food and beverages throughout the day, as well as personalized services throughout your stay. All rooms come with 2 queen beds or 1 king bed.

Disney's Beach Club Resort during a runDisney Race Weekend

The Beach Club does have a fantastic pool area! Stormalong Bay is shared by the Beach Club and Yacht Club. It includes multiple pool areas, a water slide, lazy river and even an area with sand! There is also a kiddie pool for those wanting to just wade in the water. Other recreational options include boat rentals, fishing, tennis, volleyball, a playground, and a great running trail around the Epcot resort area. For unique experiences, watch a movie under the stars or set sail on a Pirate Adventure Cruise for the little ones.

Disney's Beach Club Resort during a runDisney Race Weekend

There are four restaurants if you want to dine at your resort. Cape May Cafe offers a character breakfast buffet and clam bake buffet for dinner. Beaches and Cream is a great little soda shop open for lunch and dinner. (Note: This restaurant is VERY small and does not take reservations.) Captain’s Grille is a nautical themed restaurant open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. For those wanting a fine dining experience, the Yachtsman Steakhouse is available for dinner.

During a runDisney race weekend, the Beach Club is a great resort during the Walt Disney World Marathon, Star Wars Half Marathon – The Dark Side, and Wine & Dine Half Marathon, as well as most (if not all) of the 10K races. All of these courses pass right by the Beach Club, which is great for spectators! (Note: This location is too close to also see your runner finish.) Bus transportation is available to and from all races, and runners may be able to walk back to the resort after certain races.

Buy The Runner's Guide to Walt Disney World

The post Disney’s Beach Club Resort – runDisney Race Weekend appeared first on The Runner's Guide to WDW & Beyond.

]]>
http://www.runnersguidetowdw.com/disneys-beach-club-resort-rundisney-race-weekend/feed/ 0 5885
Tips for Attending Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party http://www.runnersguidetowdw.com/tips-attending-mickeys-not-scary-halloween-party/ http://www.runnersguidetowdw.com/tips-attending-mickeys-not-scary-halloween-party/#respond Mon, 14 Aug 2017 09:00:59 +0000 http://www.runnersguidetowdw.com/?p=5985 When plans are made for a fall trip to Walt Disney World, there are two events to consider – Epcot International Food & Wine Festival and Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party! If you plan on attending Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, you may be wondering how to fit everything in. Below are a few tips to help […]

The post Tips for Attending Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party appeared first on The Runner's Guide to WDW & Beyond.

]]>
When plans are made for a fall trip to Walt Disney World, there are two events to consider – Epcot International Food & Wine Festival and Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party!

Tips for Attending Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

If you plan on attending Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, you may be wondering how to fit everything in. Below are a few tips to help create your general plan for this fun event!

Take it Easy before the Party

While it may be hard to stay away from a park the rest of the day, take the opportunity to enjoy your hotel prior to the party! Sleep in, jump in the pool, ride a bike around the hotel, shop at Disney Springs, check out another hotel – there is plenty to explore. Not only are you saving on a day of park tickets, but you can actually enter Magic Kingdom for the party beginning at 4:00 pm!

Wear that Costume

It is a Halloween Party, after all, so dress up in character! There is a wide range of costumes, from elaborate outfits to a t-shirt with your favorite character. Let the kids bring their Halloween costumes along, and adults – join the fun! (Note: there are a few guidelines when it comes to costumes, so be sure to head over to the Walt Disney World website for more information.)

Tips for Attending Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

Choose One Character Photo Opportunity

During the party, there are various characters for you to interact with – specifically very unique characters! Past characters have included: Jack Skellington and Sally, Winnie the Pooh & friends (in their Halloween costumes), the Seven Dwarfs, Cruella DeVil, Buzz Lightyear, Aladdin & friends, and many more. However, the reality is that these lines get quite long, especially for the ones that are not in the parks often. Choose the one you are most interested and try to get in line early! And, if you are walking around the park and see a character with a short line – get that photo!

Watch the Parade in Frontierland

The Boo-to-You Halloween Parade occurs twice during the party. It is quite common for the first parade to be the most crowded, especially since the younger ones may likely fall asleep before the second parade. If you can wait until the second parade, it definitely helps. Even better, find a location in Frontierland, where the parade begins! Bring along a towel or small blanket to sit on, as you wait for the Headless Horseman and his friends.

Tips for Attending Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

Take Advantage of the Unique Offerings

While it may be easy to go on your favorite rides during the party, save that for another park day. Instead, take in all of the great offerings that are only available during the party! Below are a few favorites:

  • Boo-to-You Halloween Parade
  • Happy HalloWishes Fireworks Show
  • The Cadaver Dans Barbershop Quartet
  • Trick-or-Treating throughout the park
    • If food allergies are a concern, see a cast member for the location of allergy-friendly centers for allergy-friendly offerings.
  • Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular
  • Specialty Food and Themed Merchandise

With plenty to do during the hours of the party, it’s always a good idea to go in with a general plan. Enjoy the fall decorations, spooky sounds, costumed guests, and enjoy every minute of Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party with your friends and family!

 

A special thanks to the fabulous travel advisors at Glass Slipper Concierge for sharing their tips as well!

Buy The Runner's Guide to Walt Disney World

The post Tips for Attending Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party appeared first on The Runner's Guide to WDW & Beyond.

]]>
http://www.runnersguidetowdw.com/tips-attending-mickeys-not-scary-halloween-party/feed/ 0 5985
Behind the Scenes: Touring with Former Imagineer, Brian Collins http://www.runnersguidetowdw.com/behind-scenes-former-imagineer-brian-collins/ http://www.runnersguidetowdw.com/behind-scenes-former-imagineer-brian-collins/#respond Mon, 07 Aug 2017 09:00:45 +0000 http://www.runnersguidetowdw.com/?p=5969 If there is any job at Disney that many dream of becoming, it’s an Imagineer. These are the people who dream up the Disney theme parks, attractions, hotels, cruise ships, and everything in between. From illustrators to architects, engineers to show writers, graphic designers to lighting designers, there are over 140 different options underneath the […]

The post Behind the Scenes: Touring with Former Imagineer, Brian Collins appeared first on The Runner's Guide to WDW & Beyond.

]]>
If there is any job at Disney that many dream of becoming, it’s an Imagineer. These are the people who dream up the Disney theme parks, attractions, hotels, cruise ships, and everything in between. From illustrators to architects, engineers to show writers, graphic designers to lighting designers, there are over 140 different options underneath the title of “Imagineer”.

Behind the Scenes with Former Imagineer, Brian Collins

Brian Collins is a former Walt Disney Imagineer, who helped create the magic in every theme park at Walt Disney World. He was a script writer for favorite attractions such as The Great Movie Ride, the Jungle Cruise, and many locations throughout Epcot’s World Showcase. He even worked closely with Show Set Designers and Producers, to help bring the magic together.

During one of our many visits, Brian graciously offered to take my husband and myself through the Magic Kingdom, pointing out items only an Imagineer’s eye would notice. As someone who has visited the parks frequently, I was in absolute awe of the (new to me) information he provided! In fact, he offers these tours on a regular basis! (More information is at the bottom of the post.) Here’s a quick look into some of the “behind the scenes” of my tour with a former Imagineer!

What are your favorite parts about your tours?

Brian: I love taking people through the parks and being able to show it to the from a completely different perspective than they are used to.  There is so much cool stuff that goes into creating the magic at Disney most people don’t realize–the storylines, colors, music, architecture & design, special effects, etc.  My biggest compliment is when I take someone through the parks who have been to Disney many times before, thought they’ve “seen it all”, and then have them tell me they learned so many new things.  I love that feeling of being able to share new insights.  It also gives me a chance to reminisce a little and tell some personal stories of how I helped contribute…and also pass on some tidbits told me by some of the legends I got to meet such as John Hench and Rolly Crump.

Behind the Scenes with Former Imagineer, Brian Collins

What are some of the biggest changes you have seen at Walt Disney World over the years?

Brian: I think Walt Disney Imagineering has always stayed true to making sure the story is the base for all experiences.  In many ways, attractions and enhancements are still designed with the same approach Walt and his original Imagineers used.  What’s different now, however, are the tools and technology that today’s Imagineers have.  You also see Disney tapping into their much broader portfolio of products, companies and franchises. In Shanghai, Pirates is going have a distinctly new and different feel than any of the others, as the attraction is going to be heavily based on the film versions of that story–not so much the traditional Marc Davis one. Star Wars, Toy Story, Avatar and Marvel are other examples. Hopefully, though, Disney will never wander too far from their roots too.  Those classic animated features are a huge part of what the Disney “magic” is!

What are some “hidden gems” runners can look for as they participate in a runDisney race?

Brian: I would say to take some time to try and focus in on some of the design elements I mentioned before–the colors, music, architecture, etc.  Notice how they change and adapt based on where you are in the parks or on property.  These same design principles hold true in the resorts as well.  The landscaping and textures at the Polynesian are very different than you’ll see at the Grand Floridian or the Wilderness Lodge. See if you can figure out how Imagineers have adapted the environments to tell the story of where you are–kind of like a mental scavenger hunt. It might be a fun way to help focus your mind on something different than the running itself…and before you realize it, you’ll be crossing that finish line!  And when you’re done, sign up for one of my tours so I can walk you through the parks and show you some other cool details! (Megan’s Tip: He will even slow it down a bit if your tour is the day after a race, just as he did when I toured with him the day after the WDW Marathon!)

Behind the Scenes with Former Imagineer Brian Collins

Stroll with a Former Imagineer

If you are interested in a tour with Brian during an upcoming trip to Walt Disney World, he offers a strolling tour, as well as a dining experience. The strolling tour is approximately 3.5 hours in length, exploring Magic Kingdom with up to 6 people. Beginning at the Train Station, Brian will tell some fantastic stories (and answer your questions) as you make your way through the park. He will even let you know what FastPasses to get ahead of time, so you can discuss certain rides (like the Haunted Mansion) in more detail. The cost is $299 (flat rate) for up to 6 people.

Megan’s Tip: Ask about “No Seen Green”, as well as what the different colored pavement in Frontierland represents. Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions! Brian gave me great insight on how the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train was constructed, including the unique material used.

For those who want to extend their time with Brian, you can also add on a lunch or dinner. This is your opportunity to continue the conversation – listening to his stories and trivia, while asking your questions as well! This is an additional $125 (flat rate), or you can book this separately from the strolling tour.

If you are interested in adding this option to your runDisney celebration, you can click here to easily book your tour online. Feel free to contact Brian with any questions you may have by emailing brian@wdwithme.com. Also, be sure to let him know The Runner’s Guide to WDW & Beyond sent you!

The post Behind the Scenes: Touring with Former Imagineer, Brian Collins appeared first on The Runner's Guide to WDW & Beyond.

]]>
http://www.runnersguidetowdw.com/behind-scenes-former-imagineer-brian-collins/feed/ 0 5969
Ways to Handle the runDisney Race Excitement http://www.runnersguidetowdw.com/ways-handle-rundisney-race-excitement/ http://www.runnersguidetowdw.com/ways-handle-rundisney-race-excitement/#respond Mon, 31 Jul 2017 10:00:34 +0000 http://www.runnersguidetowdw.com/?p=5911 You’ve signed up for the race or challenge. You’ve put in the training. You are counting down the weeks. But how do you contain all of your runDisney race excitement? While we don’t want to wish any time away, it can be difficult to handle all of the excitement leading up to a runDisney race. […]

The post Ways to Handle the runDisney Race Excitement appeared first on The Runner's Guide to WDW & Beyond.

]]>
You’ve signed up for the race or challenge. You’ve put in the training. You are counting down the weeks. But how do you contain all of your runDisney race excitement?

Ways to Handle the runDisney Race Excitement

While we don’t want to wish any time away, it can be difficult to handle all of the excitement leading up to a runDisney race. Here are a few ideas on how to pass the time a little more quickly!

Do some more research. Especially if it is your first runDisney race (or first trip to the parks), extra research is a really good idea. A Disney vacation can often seem overwhelming, so having a better handle on your plans, the layout, what to expect, etc. will help you feel more at ease. Even all of the information out there can be tough to sift through, so take it all one step at a time. For more tips and information regarding the race portion, check out the Archives for lots of great posts! (If the trip planning is where you need help, contact an Authorized Disney Travel Planner such as Glass Slipper Concierge. The advisors will walk you through every step and even handle the details for you!)

Watch your favorite Disney movies. Nothing will get you in a Disney mood faster than watching Disney movies! Put in your favorite to watch for the millionth time, or pull out a classic that you haven’t watched in years. It may even inspire your race outfit (see below) or start your planning for subsequent trips.

The Runner's Guide to Disneyland

Decide on your race day outfit. runDisney races are full of participants who dress in costume or in the likeness of a Disney character! If this is your plan, start working on your outfit! Many costumes have been quite elaborate, so if you have the creativity – go for it! For others, it may be finding a specific color top and bottom, along with accessories to match. No matter what you choose, be sure to have all of the pieces ready to go (and do a trial run) before the big day.

Go over your Disney plans (again). It’s okay to admit that you have looked over your plans multiple times already, however we all can agree that it helps with the excitement! Take a look at your plans, making sure that everything is in order. Have you made all of your dining reservations? Are your FastPasses for attractions that you must-do? Do you have enough time to get from place to place? For more information on planning, check out the Planning a runDisney Vacation post!

Watch race videos on YouTube. There are many runners who have created videos of their runDisney race experiences. A quick search on YouTube will allow you to find the race you are planning on running. While the videos may not cover every aspect, they will give you a great overview of what to expect! One of my favorites is RezRuns, as he uses a gimball to keep his video steady.

 

Buy The Runner's Guide to Walt Disney World

The post Ways to Handle the runDisney Race Excitement appeared first on The Runner's Guide to WDW & Beyond.

]]>
http://www.runnersguidetowdw.com/ways-handle-rundisney-race-excitement/feed/ 0 5911
Tips for Park Touring during a runDisney Race Weekend http://www.runnersguidetowdw.com/tips-park-touring-rundisney-race-weekend/ Mon, 24 Jul 2017 10:00:09 +0000 http://www.runnersguidetowdw.com/?p=5909 During a runDisney race weekend, you are often trying to fit everything you can into a few days. Explore the parks, run the race(s), eat the food. There are really two ways to tour the parks during a runDisney race weekend – before the race or after. Here are a few tips to help with […]

The post Tips for Park Touring during a runDisney Race Weekend appeared first on The Runner's Guide to WDW & Beyond.

]]>
During a runDisney race weekend, you are often trying to fit everything you can into a few days. Explore the parks, run the race(s), eat the food.

Tips for Park Touring during a runDisney Race Weekend

There are really two ways to tour the parks during a runDisney race weekend – before the race or after. Here are a few tips to help with your park touring depending on what your schedule will allow!

Tips for Park Touring during a runDisney Race Weekend

Pre-Race Weekend

Head to the parks early. With an early wake-up call for the race, you will want to make sure that you are back in your room earlier to rest your legs and get a good night of sleep. Therefore, try to have your park touring occur in the morning and early afternoon hours. As tough as it is, the fireworks and nighttime shows may need to wait!

Save thrill rides for later. Unless you know that your body can handle it, it may be best to save the thrill rides (and the spin rides) until after your race. The last thing you want is to feel woozy during all of those magical miles!

Carry a water bottle. If your plan is to take in the parks before your race, make sure that you stay hydrated. It is easy to get focused on the fun and forget about taking in water. Bring along a water bottle and fill it regularly. (Tip: Most quick service locations will give you a glass of water at no charge.)

Hold off on the sweets and alcohol. While passing on a Mickey bar or one of the many beverage options throughout the World Showcase may seem tough, your body will thank you for it on race day. Instead, take this time to plan out what your celebration treat will be!

One park per day. Even though it will be tempting to “see it all”, do your best to focus on one park per day prior to the race. This way you have a less likely chance of over-doing it, and wearing out your legs before your big race. Also, be aware that some parks are larger than others, so plan accordingly.

Tips for Park Touring during a runDisney Race Weekend

Post-Race Weekend

Take on the thrill rides. Now that your race is over – live it up! Take a spin on the teacups. Party with Aerosmith on Rock N Roller Coaster. Or, for those whose idea of thrill is a little different, head to that attraction that you skipped before the race.

Watch the fireworks. While making your plans, be sure to decide which fireworks or nighttime show is on the top of your list. If you will be staying at Disney for another few days, you can see more than one, now that the early wake up call is over!

Splurge on your favorite meal. Celebrating is yet another magical part of a runDisney race weekend. There is always a food item or beverage that you have been dreaming about, so now is the time to splurge! If it is a restaurant, be sure to make the reservations well in advance.

Don’t over-do it. Even though your race may be over, it is still easy to over-do it in the parks. (Especially on the same day of your race.) Taking a short break for a nap is absolutely fine! If you are planning on staying in the park, it may be wise to include attractions that allow you to sit down and rest your legs.

 

Buy The Runner's Guide to Walt Disney World

The post Tips for Park Touring during a runDisney Race Weekend appeared first on The Runner's Guide to WDW & Beyond.

]]>
5909
Disney’s Art of Animation Resort – runDisney Race Weekend http://www.runnersguidetowdw.com/disneys-art-animation-resort-rundisney-race-weekend/ Mon, 17 Jul 2017 10:00:22 +0000 http://www.runnersguidetowdw.com/?p=5883 For those looking for a little more space during their runDisney race weekend (or if you want to see your favorite Disney movies larger than life), Disney’s Art of Animation Resort is a great option! Located near the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, access to the Health & Fitness Expo is quick. Bus transportation […]

The post Disney’s Art of Animation Resort – runDisney Race Weekend appeared first on The Runner's Guide to WDW & Beyond.

]]>
For those looking for a little more space during their runDisney race weekend (or if you want to see your favorite Disney movies larger than life), Disney’s Art of Animation Resort is a great option! Located near the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, access to the Health & Fitness Expo is quick.

Disney's Art of Animation Resort during a runDisney Race Weekend

Bus transportation is provided to all Walt Disney World theme parks, as well as Disney Springs. This resort is near Disney’s Pop Century Resort, as they are connected across Hourglass Lake. (Tip: You can take the bus transportation from Art of Animation or Pop Century! The extra walk may be worth it in terms of overall wait time.)

One of the biggest perks of this resort are the family suites. Each suite can accommodate up to 6 people and includes a bedroom, two bathrooms, kitchenette, and a living area with a convertible TableBed and sleeper sofa. You can even choose a theme – Lion King, Cars, or Finding Nemo! While the suites may not be as large as the deluxe villa options, these do offer plenty of space and a better price tag. Standard rooms are also available with a Little Mermaid theme, and include two double beds or a king bed. (Note that the standard rooms are quite a hike to the food court and bus transportation.)

Disney's Art of Animation Resort during a runDisney Race Weekend

Another great feature of Disney’s Art of Animation Resort are the three pool areas! The Big Blue Pool is the largest pool throughout Walt Disney World, and even includes underwater speakers. This pool is also zero-entry, with a splashpad and playground nearby for the littlest of swimmers. Two additional pools are themed after Cars and the Little Mermaid. While smaller in size, they offer plenty of fun (and maybe even a quieter atmosphere).

Disney's Art of Animation Resort during a runDisney Race Weekend

Additional recreational activities include movies under the stars, in the grassy area between the Lion King and Finding Nemo buildings. Bike rentals are also available for those who want to take a cruise around the property. If you need to get in a run, there is a jogging trail just over 1.3 miles in length around the resort, as well as around the nearby Disney’s Pop Century Resort.

When it comes to food, the Landscape of Flavors food court is among the best! Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, each member of your family can choose the food that sounds best to them. From various worldwide flavors to a pizza and pasta shop, soup and sandwiches to burgers, there is truly something for everyone. The Drop Off Pool Bar is also open for quick snacks or drinks as you enjoy the Florida sunshine.

Disney's Art of Animation Resort during a runDisney Race Weekend

 

During a runDisney race weekend, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort is a great option for larger groups who want to stay together, or for families needing a little extra room. The family suites offer extra space at a lower price than the villas or deluxe resort suites. Runners and spectators will need to take race transportation to the expo and races, as no courses pass by this resort.

 

Buy The Runner's Guide to Walt Disney World

The post Disney’s Art of Animation Resort – runDisney Race Weekend appeared first on The Runner's Guide to WDW & Beyond.

]]>
5883
Beyond Disney: Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex http://www.runnersguidetowdw.com/kennedy-space-center-visitor-complex/ Mon, 10 Jul 2017 09:00:38 +0000 http://www.runnersguidetowdw.com/?p=5862 A runDisney race weekend usually includes time at Walt Disney World – enjoying the parks, eating at the restaurants, and experiencing the magic. However, there are other places to explore in the Central Florida area as well! In a recent trip to Orlando, we included a trip to the Kennedy Space Center to see what […]

The post Beyond Disney: Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex appeared first on The Runner's Guide to WDW & Beyond.

]]>
A runDisney race weekend usually includes time at Walt Disney World – enjoying the parks, eating at the restaurants, and experiencing the magic. However, there are other places to explore in the Central Florida area as well!

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

In a recent trip to Orlando, we included a trip to the Kennedy Space Center to see what had changed since our last visit! As a self-proclaimed space geek, I couldn’t wait to spend the day immersed in one of my favorite subjects – space travel! (Seriously – I have been reading about the early space missions since I was in middle school and re-read those books at least once a year. I still have dreams of being an astronaut and walking on the moon.) Here is a glimpse into what a trip to the Kennedy Space Center includes.

*Disclosure: We were given two complimentary tickets to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex as media guests. That being said, I have paid full price in the past and will in the future since I can never spend too much time taking in all things NASA!

Heroes & Legends

Kennedy Space Center

While I have explored the Rocket Garden many times (including as a toddler), the newest aspect of the Heroes and Legends area is the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame! After a short video, you are able to walk around the various displays. From space suits to childhood mementos, there is a lot to explore! Along with various quotes, my favorite part was a display at the end including every U.S. astronaut – from Mercury to the International Space Station.

Launch Sites

Kennedy Space Center

As part of your admission, you are able to take a bus tour which will give you an insider look of the Kennedy Space Center. Our tour drove past the various launch pads for NASA (including many historic missions like Apollo), as well as partners such as SpaceX and Boeing. Part of the tour includes driving by the colossal Vehicle Assembly Building! The bus tour also includes a stop at the Apollo/Saturn V Center.

Apollo/Saturn V Center

Kennedy Space Center

For those who are completely enthralled with the Apollo missions to the moon, this center cannot be missed! Start with a live re-enactment of the Apollo 8 Firing Room, showcasing Mission Control and what they felt at the launch. From there, you will get to see an actual Saturn V rocket, including all three stages in detail. Head toward the top of the rocket to see replicas of the Service Module, Command Module, and Lunar Module. Throughout the center are various Apollo memorabilia, including the actual hatch from the Apollo 1 fire.

Space Shuttle Atlantis

Kennedy Space Center

Ever want to see a space shuttle in person? Here is your chance! The Space Shuttle Atlantis is displayed at the Kennedy Space Center, with the payload doors open and arm extended. Take a look at the incredible detail, including the 20,000+ insulating tiles. There are also many interactive exhibits throughout the area, allowing a deeper look into the shuttle program. For those who are brave enough, head to the astronaut training simulators! Another area is a permanent memorial for the Challenger and Columbia astronauts who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

Tours and Astronaut Encounters

Kennedy Space Center

If you are looking for a special experience during your visit to the Kennedy Space Center, there are plenty of additional aspects you can add on to your admission. A popular one is lunch with an astronaut, where you can ask questions and learn from a veteran astronaut firsthand! Take it one step farther and experience the Visitor Complex on a private tour with an astronaut or the Launch Director!

Additional tours are also available, usually 2-3 hours in length. These include stops at the Vehicle Assembly Building, Kennedy Space Center Headquarters, views of the launch pads, or even the Launch Control Center.

Kennedy Space Center

The Kennedy Space Center is about an hour drive from Walt Disney World Resort. For anyone interested in space, science, or a lifelong learner, the Visitor Complex is a great experience for all ages!

 

The post Beyond Disney: Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex appeared first on The Runner's Guide to WDW & Beyond.

]]>
5862
5 Simple Ways to Improve your Packing Skills http://www.runnersguidetowdw.com/5-simple-ways-improve-packing-skills/ Mon, 26 Jun 2017 10:00:29 +0000 http://www.runnersguidetowdw.com/?p=5860 There are many different kinds of packers. The ones who throw everything in the bag last minute. The ones who create a list. The ones who wish someone else would pack for them. Add in a race (along with your vacation), and the packing can seem even more stressful. Needless to say, even the most […]

The post 5 Simple Ways to Improve your Packing Skills appeared first on The Runner's Guide to WDW & Beyond.

]]>
There are many different kinds of packers. The ones who throw everything in the bag last minute. The ones who create a list. The ones who wish someone else would pack for them. Add in a race (along with your vacation), and the packing can seem even more stressful.

5 Simple Ways to Improve your Packing Skills

Needless to say, even the most seasoned travelers could use some improvement now and then when it comes to packing. Here are a few tips to help when it comes to packing for a runDisney race weekend!

Make a list.

While this seems easy enough, it often can be overlooked when the packing process begins. (Especially if you pack often!) However, this is even more important during a race weekend. You don’t want to forget something like your running shoes! If making a list isn’t what you normally do, at least make a list of the essentials, marking them off as they are added to your bag. Don’t forget that medications, ID, and important travel documents should also be on the list, along with your running clothes and items.

5 Simple Ways to Improve your Packing Skills

Use your carry on wisely.

More and more are traveling using only carry on luggage, which means you really need to keep an eye on your packing. (Especially if you are an overpacker like me!) Pay close attention to the items you absolutely need and the ones you can do without.

If you will be checking your luggage, you can be much more selective when it comes to your carry on. Only bring the items that you will need on the plane or in the airport, as well as anything you absolutely do not want to lose – like your running shoes! After running through an airport more than once, a backpack or small roller bag are definitely the best carry on options.

Check the weather (but be prepared).

It can be easy to bring clothes for every possible type of weather that may happen at your destination. However, the meteorologists are getting better with their predictions, so check the weather a day or two before leaving and plan accordingly. (That being said, it never hurts to throw in a poncho in case it rains or a throwaway sweatshirt in case it is cold.) If you have the room, feel free to bring additional items, especially if you will be staying beyond the race weekend.

runDisney Packing List

Use packing cubes.

Packing cubes have truly transformed the way I pack! These allow you to not only organize the items you pack, but you can actually fit even more into your suitcase. I often have a cube for my shoes, a cube for my running clothes, a cube for my shirts, etc. They also double as a laundry bag for the trip home. Packing cubes come in a variety of materials, colors, and sizes, so research to determine which will be the best for you. (I use a variety of sizes from eBags.)

Get travel-sized everything.

Unless you are planning on being away for multiple weeks, you probably don’t need the giant bottle of conditioner. Head to your local grocery store (or Target, etc.) and find the travel-size items. There is always a variety – shampoo, conditioner, body wash, shave cream, sunscreen, deodorant, toothpaste, mouthwash, etc. Have a specific brand that isn’t available in travel size? Grab an empty travel size bottle and fill it yourself.

5 Simple Ways to Improve your Packing Skills

No matter the type of packer you are, be sure to lay out the essentials so that you don’t forget them for your runDisney race weekend. And, as always, leave a little extra room in your luggage for souvenirs – including your newest race shirt and medal!

Buy The Runner's Guide to Walt Disney World

The post 5 Simple Ways to Improve your Packing Skills appeared first on The Runner's Guide to WDW & Beyond.

]]>
5860
Behind the Scenes: Training for the Dopey Challenge http://www.runnersguidetowdw.com/behind-scenes-training-dopey-challenge/ http://www.runnersguidetowdw.com/behind-scenes-training-dopey-challenge/#comments Mon, 19 Jun 2017 10:00:29 +0000 http://www.runnersguidetowdw.com/?p=5812 Whether it is the first or fifth time that you have clicked “register” for the Dopey Challenge, the thought of training for the event can seem overwhelming. After all, you are training to run 48.6 miles over the course of less than 4 days! In 2014, I participated in the inaugural Dopey Challenge. Since this […]

The post Behind the Scenes: Training for the Dopey Challenge appeared first on The Runner's Guide to WDW & Beyond.

]]>
Whether it is the first or fifth time that you have clicked “register” for the Dopey Challenge, the thought of training for the event can seem overwhelming. After all, you are training to run 48.6 miles over the course of less than 4 days!

Training for the Dopey Challenge

In 2014, I participated in the inaugural Dopey Challenge. Since this was a new venture for myself, I laid out a training plan to help not only get my legs ready, but to wrap my mind around running a 5K, 10K, half marathon and marathon in one weekend! After a lot of training, I was able to run all 4 races and felt great throughout. (In fact, my marathon resulted in negative splits, which is rare!) Here are a few of the tips I learned along the way:

Get your support team in place.

It’s no secret that the training for Dopey is extensive. Make sure that you have your support system in place! This includes your family (since there will be large portions of the weekend when you will be hitting the pavement) as well as friends. Know who you can call when things get tough or who you can celebrate your milestones with. If you can, find a great sports therapist who can work out your muscles if needed. Make sure that those around you understand why you can’t stay out late on Friday night, or who can help watch the kids. Your support team goes beyond race day – they are a part of your training too!

Training for the Dopey Challenge

Find a reasonable training plan.

Running 48.6 miles (including a marathon at the end) is not something most runners can just wake up and do. Find a training plan that will fit with your schedule, but also prepare you for the 4 races. Due to the nature of the Dopey Challenge, it likely will include at least four days of a running each week. Jeff Galloway creates a plan specifically for the Dopey Challenge, although there are many others that you can make some adjustments to as well. (In those cases, take a marathon plan and add in a longer run the day prior to the marathon long run.) Helpful tip: if you can, training for and completing a fall marathon really helps with the Dopey Challenge training!

Block out time for the back-to-back runs.

Without a doubt, the most important part of your training plan are the back-to-back runs. You need to prepare your legs to run double the distance while being tired from the day before. Focus on the half marathon/marathon back-to-back in particular, running half of the distance of your long run the day prior to that long run. For example, run a 6 mile run the day prior to your 12 mile long run. This should continue throughout your training cycle, so make sure that you are able to block out the time needed (Friday/Saturday or Saturday/Sunday, depending on your schedule).

CLICK HERE to download the FREE runDisney Challenge Tips ebook!

Get at least one “mini-Dopey” scheduled.

Many runners who have completed the Dopey Challenge state that a “mini-Dopey” at the peak of their training was key. Around 3-4 weeks before the big race weekend, schedule 4 days in a row where you mimic the Dopey Challenge. (If you really want the full experience, plan to wake up early in preparation for the early transportation and begin your runs around 5:30-6 am.) A great example is running 3 miles on Thursday, 6 miles on Friday, 10 miles on Saturday, and 20 miles on Sunday. (Note: Jeff Galloway’s plan often includes higher mileage, so plan accordingly.) Not only is this great for your legs during the peak of training, but it also gets you in the mindset that you CAN complete the challenge!

Training for the Dopey Challenge

Work on your fueling too.

It’s not only your legs (and mind) that need to prepare for the challenge, you need to make sure your fueling is set as well! This is not always an easy area, so take the time throughout training to try a few different options. From a few nights before to recovering after the marathon, there are a lot of areas to think about:

Before the Run

  • Carbs are often the food choice the night (or even a few nights) before a long distance. There are many ways to get carbs, so find out if pasta, pizza, potatoes, or another carb is what works best for you. Don’t forget to include some protein as well! And if it looks to be on the warmer side, add some extra salt. Even more importantly, make sure that you are hydrating!

During the Run

  • Again, this will vary from runner to runner, but you will want to ensure that you are getting fuel during your run, especially the longer distances. There are many options out there, from gels to chews, natural foods to liquid mixes. During your training, try these out and find what sets well with you and gives that extra boost when needed. Don’t wait until you are hungry to fuel, it’s too late at that point! Tip: bring more fuel than you would normally need during a half marathon or marathon, as many Dopey Challenge runners find themselves taking in more fuel during the later races. As a reminder, water and Powerade will be on the course, along with gels during the half marathon and marathon. Bananas and chocolate are also provided on the marathon course.

After the Run

  • It is also important to make sure that you take in fuel once your run is over! This will help with your recovery between races, in particular. A protein/carbohydrate mix is recommended and should be taken within 15-30 minutes after you are done. Try out a few options (many fueling brands offer a post-run mix) and be sure to bring it along.

Find a good podcast (or ten).

You will definitely be spending a lot of time on the road (or treadmill), so make sure that you have items to help you through the mileage! One of my favorite ways to help pass the miles are podcasts. There are thousands of options on iTunes and Stitcher Radio, so search for a topic and give them a try! From Disney podcasts to recaps of your favorite TV show episodes, there are surely many that you will enjoy. Another option are audio books, which are readily available on Audible.

Grab a training buddy.

When training as much as you are, sometimes a running buddy is just what you need to push you when things get tough. Find someone nearby who can run with you (or even bike alongside). Whether it’s during the shorter weekday runs, the long runs, or a portion of either, having someone to chat with can be just what you need. After all, they may even choose to join you at Walt Disney World for one (or all) of the races!

Focus on what works for race day(s).

Throughout your months of training, be sure to take note of what is working really well. Is there a piece of clothing that just fits right? Is there a certain flavor of gel that puts an extra pep in your step? Is there a mileage point where you really need a power song? Make note of these so that you can bring that information with you on race day. Focus on what you can control! (Not the weather – that’s up to Mother Nature.) While there will be entertainment along the way throughout the Dopey Challenge, it never hurts to have everything you can in your arsenal to power through the challenge!

Training for the Dopey Challenge

The training is doable if you have a plan and the right mindset. (Never push yourself to injury, though!) Once the training is complete, it’s time to take your victory lap around Walt Disney World – FOUR times!

 

Buy The Runner's Guide to Walt Disney World

The post Behind the Scenes: Training for the Dopey Challenge appeared first on The Runner's Guide to WDW & Beyond.

]]>
http://www.runnersguidetowdw.com/behind-scenes-training-dopey-challenge/feed/ 2 5812
Best runDisney Races for a Girls Weekend http://www.runnersguidetowdw.com/best-rundisney-races-girls-weekend/ Mon, 12 Jun 2017 10:00:07 +0000 http://www.runnersguidetowdw.com/?p=5818 There are many ways to experience a runDisney race weekend – with your family, solo, with friends from across the world, and many more. One favorite way is a girls getaway! While any runDisney race weekend will be a fun experience, here are a few of the best runDisney races when it comes to a […]

The post Best runDisney Races for a Girls Weekend appeared first on The Runner's Guide to WDW & Beyond.

]]>
There are many ways to experience a runDisney race weekend – with your family, solo, with friends from across the world, and many more. One favorite way is a girls getaway!

Best runDisney Races for a Girls Weekend

While any runDisney race weekend will be a fun experience, here are a few of the best runDisney races when it comes to a weekend with the girls!

Princess Half Marathon Weekend

If you are looking for a weekend that is beaming with girl power, the Princess Half Marathon Weekend is at the top of the list! Over 30,000 women (and a few men) participate in the various races throughout the weekend. From the expo to the finish line, the event is full of your favorite princesses, quotes, and much more. In true runDisney fashion, many of the participants even dress the part!

The race weekend is in late February, which offers a great time to get away with the ladies. Add on a few extra days to explore the parks and take in some great dining. With a 5K, 10K, and half marathon, there is something for every member of your party.

Best runDisney Races for a Girls Weekend

Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend

Of course, Disneyland also offers a race weekend that celebrates women! Follow your favorite pixies through a 5K, 10K, or half marathon event. While this race weekend is smaller than its Walt Disney World counterpart, it still includes a lot of girl power with women making up well over 80% of the race fields!

Held during Mother’s Day weekend in early May, this is a great opportunity to not only include your girlfriends, but your mother or daughter as well! Grab your wings and pixie dust, and enjoy a weekend away while experiencing the parks.

Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend

For those looking to enjoy a festival along with their race weekend, look no further than Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend! Along with a 5K, 10K, and half marathon event, you and your crew can enjoy the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival in early November.

In order to fully enjoy the weekend with the ladies, book a resort close to Epcot, allowing for quick access to World Showcase and all the food and drinks the festival includes! (It also is best to enjoy the festival after the races are complete, but it’s understandable if you just can’t wait.) Don’t forget that the half marathon event also includes an After Party in Epcot as well!

Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

No matter which runDisney race weekend you choose, you are sure to have a magical time with the girls. Now – start planning that next racecation!

 

Buy The Runner's Guide to Walt Disney World

The post Best runDisney Races for a Girls Weekend appeared first on The Runner's Guide to WDW & Beyond.

]]>
5818