I can hardly organize my thoughts. We left on the first flight out of Phoenix to Orange County on Friday morning, which was at 6:30AM. Luckily, my dad was willing to pick me up at 4:15. What a guy!
We had wanted to get to the expo right when it opened, but there was no reason to really leave that early except that the next flight out was significantly more expensive.
We arrived without a hitch and got a cheap $10 ride on some random shuttle to our hotel, The Anaheim Plaza Inn and Suites. It was cheap and within walking distance to the park, but it's not really the nicest hotel. Too bad we're too poor from doing these races to be able to afford to stay on property!
|Hanging out at the concierge desk. Can we help you?|
Ronda and Shawn were staying at the same hotel, so we decided to join them for breakfast at the Rainforest Café in Downtown Disney before the expo opened. Little did we know what kind of nightmare situation was waiting for us at the expo.
After breakfast, we headed over to the Disneyland Hotel Exposition Center and holy crap. There were people everywhere. We arrived right at 10:00 and people had been waiting for hours in the ridiculous heat (seriously, it was so hot the entire trip, I couldn't believe it). I wish I had taken pictures of the mobs and mobs of people trying to form some semblance of a line in front of the hotel. It was an utter disaster and inside was no better. You would have thought that they were handing out free money inside.
|Utter mayhem. For realz.|
But I joined in with the rest of lemmings, because well, I'm a lemming and I need mah merchandise! Items were being ripped off of the racks as soon as a cast member brought them out. I roamed around trying to find things I liked, but honestly, sometimes it seems like runDisney lets the interns do all of their designing. I'm so over the unisex sized shirts, runDisney! I didn't see a single female that these looked good on. Just sayin'.
|The rumors better be true that we're getting women's sized|
shirts starting in 2014. These fit terribly!
Anyhoo, I did like this one, so I chose it. I was also on the hunt to pick up a shirt for Abby because she wasn't going to be arriving until later and we thought maybe everything would be gone by then.
Oh, and I also ran into Emily! I wish I had taken a picture, but I didn't think of it at the time. Sorry, Emily, but I'm glad we saw each other!
After hemming and hawing and punching children in the throat and stealing their merchandise, I was ready to brave what can only be described as a cluster f*ck of a line situation. First of all, it was nearly impossible to find the end of the line and the poor rD volunteers were having a hell of a time controlling the masses of people storming the registers like they had mad cow disease. Or rabies.
I finally found the end of the line and proceeded to camp out with everyone else. It wound all through the expo and in and out into the lobby, including down into the stage area when Jeff Galloway was speaking.
|Yep, that's a line of people right in front of Jeff Galloway |
while the audience is trying to listen.
|But I did get close to him, which was cool.|
I am not exaggerating when I say that I was in line for nearly two hours to purchase two shirts; one of me and one for Abby. I knew I would be disappointed later if I didn't get a shirt and I wasn't going to let Abby down, either, so I stuck it out. But, um, wow.
By the time I finally made my purchases, I still had to go get my bib and park tickets in the parking structure and then make my way back to the expo for the shirts. I really think the shirt pick up needs to be with the bib pick up, but what do I know?
When I made my way back into the expo, they had to shut down the merchandise booth for an hour just to get the crowds under control, get the line caught up and regroup in the booth. What a mess.
This is the fourth year that I've done the Disneyland Half Weekend and I have never seen such a messed up expo situation. To be fair, I don't think runDisney could have prepared for the mayhem in advance because it has never been like this before. I think I waited in line for 20-25 minutes to purchase merchandise last year and I thought that was bad.
I know a lot of people were upset about how it all went down, myself included, but I really don't know if I could throw all of the blame at runDisney. I think that the overwhelming social media attention the event had drawn is the cause of the problem. One thing I do think that they are responsible for is not producing enough merchandise in the first place. rD is notorious for selling out of merchandise at their races and for a lot of people, this was their first really big challenge, so of course, they were worried about not finding souvenirs. Get with the program rD!
By the time I had gotten my merch, picked up my bib and my tech shirts, I had already been at the expo for over 3 hours. I usually start getting claustrophobic long before then. At least things were less crazy in other areas. I also got to peek at the some of the new medals. It seems like maybe rD is going to change up their medals more often than every 5 years, because all of the WDW Marathon weekend medals were new and so was Wine and Dine. I don't think any of those were anniversary years.
|2014 Marathon Medal|
|2014 Dopey Medal|
We did a little more shopping. I forgot my sports bras, so I had to purchase a new one, which is always risky. Nothing new on race day! But it worked out great because the one I chose was at the Champion booth and it was perfect. In fact, I usually get chafing along the band of sports bras and this one didn't rub at all. I need to run to Target and see if I can get another just like it.
|Couldn't resist this photo opp on the way out the door...|
Whew! After all of that craziness, we went back to the hotel for awhile and didn't head out to the parks until it was almost dark. Our prerace meal was in California Adventure at Flo's V8 Café. It was pretty good. I've never eaten there before.
|The roast beef and mashed potatoes were delicious.|
We had to model some fashion, too.
|Everyone will be wearing these next season.|
Whatever genius came up with the single rider line idea, should get a prize. Seriously. Totally genius. We decided to ride Radiator Springs as single riders. Last year, Cars Land was so packed that I only rode it once and it was day time.
If you get the chance to ride it at night, I highly recommend doing so. This might be my new favorite ride. Sorry, Indiana Jones.
|It's hard to look bad ass when your car |
has giant cartoon eyes.
|Love that guy's face. hee hee|
We stopped by the Mad T Party on our way out. I wish I could buy a sound track for the music they play. It's just current stuff, but remixed. I'm always looking for good running music.
|If we weren't running the next day, we'd |
probably have spent more time here.
|Nope, not creepy at all!|
And with that, we headed back to our hotel to get some sleep for the Disneyland 10K in the morning! Stay tuned!