Monday, May 23, 2011

The Magic, Memories, and You, Monday: The Princess Diaries

The Princess Diaries: I went to the Ball!

Friday, February 25th.

I've made it! Months of anticipation and training have finally reached their pinnacle! Disney's Princess Half Marathon weekend has finally arrived. I couldn't be more excited to be participating in this grandest of  Balls! Although, my glass slippers have been traded for a pair of running shoes, and my tiara is affixed to a ball cap, I have never felt more like a princess!

Cinderella Castle, as seen from our room at Bay Lake Tower.

Our adventure begins by checking into our "castle" for the weekend, Bay Lake Tower. Our room comes complete with a view of the castle that started it all, Cinderella Castle. Next stop, Disney's Fit for a Princess Expo, where we receive our running princess packets. I have been placed in Corral C, along with my Sister, Princess Shasta. In addition to running the 1/2 marathon, we will also be participating in the Beauty & the Beast Family 5K, making for a lot of packets to retrieve. Once this is complete, it's time to dine. Our carriage (family car) transports us to Sanna, at Animal Kingdom Lodge's, Kidani Village. We dine on an amazing selection of Indian style breads, Tandori short braised ribs, and chicken with red curry sauce. We conclude the day with some down time at our castles pool area and a Signature Dining experience at the California Grill, at Disney's Contemporary Resort. Um, have you ever had a steak that could melt in your mouth? I did! To cap off a great day, Wishes, from the California Grill!





Saturday, February 26th

Today brings a 4:30am wake up call! We must have the carriage rolling toward Epcot by 5:15am, leaving us one hour to get parked and to the 5k staging area by 6:15am, for a 7am start. Belle & Beast encourage us as we begin our 3.2 mile journey around and through Epcot. I was so proud of my family! They did amazing and had so much fun in the process! With such any early morning, I was skeptical we could pull it off. In fact, I remember saying, "For the record, I think this is a bad idea, it's just too early, especially for Brooks". I was proven wrong. Upon completion we headed back to the resort to park our carriage and change our shirts. Then, it was off to Magic Kingdom for a day filled with, well, MAGIC! My neurotic self was a bit worried. According to my @TouringPlans crowd calender, MK crowds were anticipated to be at a level 8.9 out of 10, in other words, busy! But, I had a plan we stuck to and we got it all in! We ended the evening at MK with a perennial favorite, Disney's Main Street Electrical Parade. Last, but most definitely not least, Wishes, this time from our room! I must say, Tinkerbell must have sprinkled the children with Pixie Dust, because they could not have been better troopers!                             








Sunday, February 27th

The morning of the Ball has arrived and I hardly slept a wink! My 2:45am alarm, turned into getting up at 2:38am anyway! Not staying at a "host resort", we were responsible for our own transportation to the ball. Hence, the crazy wake-up time. I didn't know what to expect as far as traffic and road closures. Luckily, I know my way around the "World", so we had no problems. Once parked, I am taken aback! Spotlights galore, pink and blue flags, music blaring, and a red carpet entrance, my anticipation was mounting! I quickly ate a banana, took a Nuun hydration tablet, and we headed for the party. As we waited in line for a picture in the staging area, the DJ kept reminding us to start heading to our corral. Now, I know why! The start line was about a 30 minute walk from the staging area, especially with a herd of 17,000 princesses trying to get there. We finally made it to Corral C, worming our way toward the front. And now, the moment we all have been waiting for, 6:01am....and we're off, 13.1 miles of magic here I come! There were DJ's, characters, acrobats on trampolines, and music- "I've got the power", by snap, was playing at about mile 11ish, I so needed that! Mickey, Minnie, the Princesses, and even eye candy in the form of a few firemen, also graced the course! And all along the way, spectators and VoluntEARS, there to encourage, hydrate, and even call you by name! Ya, I know they read it off my bib, but still! I even received a bit of a surprise, running into a co-worker from Charleston! I knew she was there, never thought we would actually "run" into each other, but magic always abounds at Disney!! More importantly, women encouraging other women to not give up. Mothers, daughters, sisters, and friends alike, all running together. Maybe it was to beat the odds, maybe it was in memoriam, or maybe just to try something new. Whatever the reason, for 13.1 miles we were all Princesses united! After a sprint to the finish line (I was told you're not supposed to do that, anyone know why?), I was no longer a "Princess in training", I was an official Princess! And it felt fantastic!




After rehydrating and changing out of a sweaty tutu, we headed into Epcot to "walk off" our run. I love Epcot, World Showcase, specifically! I could spend hours just exploring each pavilion, sampling each country's fare, and taking in the entertainment. What a marvelous way to bring closure to a most magical weekend!

Official 1st 1/2 marathon Princess time: 2:24:08, with photo ops.

Lastly, overheard at Disney's Princess 1/2 Marathon, "Oh, look at all the lovely tutus! I want a tutu, but with my shape it would need to be a four-four!" - Fairy Godmother. 

For more information on Disney's Princess Half Marathon Weekend, or other runDisney events, please visit http://www.disneyprincesshalfmarathon.com/
OR
For information about Disney's Worldwide Outreach Program, VoluntEARS, please visit
http://www.disney.go.com/disneyhand/voluntears/details.html 

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