Star Wars Dark Side 2017 – Saturday

After the 10k, we headed back to our room at Port Orleans French Quarter. We showered and changed. Then we decided to head over to Disney Springs for a little bit. The boat is a nice, relaxing mode of transport and one of the unique things at the Port Orleans resorts. We made our way to the boat dock.

The boat was already being loaded when we got there. The captain let us join the passengers.

The ride to Disney Springs is very laid back. Soon we spotted the Boathouse.

I think this was my first time seeing Paddlefish without any construction.

As we were getting off the boat, we spotted some of the local wildlife.

We walked away from the boat and entered Disney Springs.

Kassady wanted to stop at one of the newest stores, The Dress Shop.

They have a lot of great stuff for Disney Bounding and Dapper Days.

We then wandered through the Disney shops which are full of Star Wars

… and Guardians of the Galaxy.

I finally went in to Amorette’s.

Everything looked amazing!

I loved being able to watch them making things.

I did not get anything even though I was tempted. Next I saw the Poutine shop. I got a picture of the menu since it wasn’t open yet.

Kassady wanted to stop in Uniqlo.

It does have some Disney themed things for a good price. It also has non-Disney items.

By this time, Kassady and I were both really hungry. We decided to visit Earl of Sandwich and use a Quick Service credit.

Kassady and I both opted for desserts instead of sides.

I ordered the Chicken, Bacon, Avacado wrap.

It was very good but I ended up not being able to eat all of it. The Chocolate Brownie Crème sandwich was pretty good as well.

I had to get a picture of my shirt for Shelly who made it.

Part of the reason we came to Disney Springs was to go to the Origins Event. I had been invited to attend as part of the Influenster program. I had received samples of some of their new products to try ahead of time. The products I did try I loved. Here are a few pictures of the event and the things going on.

Since Kassady had been a trooper waiting for me to attend the event, we went back to Starbucks and got the limited time drink to try.

It was okay, but not something I’d get again. Once we had our drink, we made our way to the buses. We decided to take the Contemporary bus and walk over to Magic Kingdom. We had to wait quite a while for the bus. However, it was the closest we could get to the Magic Kingdom. Once there, we found the walkway.

We encountered our first new security point on this walk. I will admit it was nice to have so few people going through the security. This was a look back after we had been screened.

The other security point was moved to right after the boat and bus exits. It made the lines to get in to the park much nicer. The railroad was running as we entered into the park.

Since the lines were so long, we decided to ride the Carousel of Progress.

We also had Fast Passes for Space Mountain

… and the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. We ended up in the very last seats in the Mine Train.

We also stopped to get our castle medal pictures.

They thought Kassady was my daughter and not my sister. So, they wanted this shot which turned out pretty good.

These two were my favorites.

We caught a band coming down the parade route when we were trying to cut over to Frontierland.

Another band was coming behind them so we cut through Adventureland.

Eventually we made it to Thunder Mountain. Luckily, we had FastPasses so we got to skip this long line.

Since we knew there would be no PhotoPass pictures from this one, we got a selfie on the ride before it started.

In case you were wondering, here was the stand by wait when we exited.

We had some time (and snack credits) so we made our way to Aloha Isle and got Dole Whips.

I prefer the regular soft serve to the float with pineapple juice. We then took our treats into the Tiki Room to enjoy.

I love having that option and I’ve never found a wait for the Tiki Room. Then it was time for our early dinner reservation at Skipper Canteen. I was excited since I hadn’t tried this place yet.

We waited inside in a nice little alcove area. I didn’t get a picture of it, though. Before long, we were being led to our table.

We were seated in one of the side rooms. I think it was the SEA room. The table setting was in a unique position.

We were handed a menu.

This was the view from our table.

They brought bread with honey to the table.

I got the Tastes Like Chicken

Kassady got the Noddle Bowl.

We were both happy with our choice. When we were done with our meal, they brought the dessert menu.

I got the Kungaloosh

Kassady got the Quick Sand

I love the nod to the old Adventurer’s Club from Pleasure Island. Our server did a great job with the corny jokes.

As we were leaving, I made a point to see the bookcase and the trigger to opening the secret door to our room.

At this point, we were ready to head back. However, when we got to the hub, the Move It, Shake It dance party was in progress.

So we stopped to enjoy that.

We grabbed a quick medal selfie beside the castle.

Then decided to head out.

I did get a nearly empty picture of the ground in front of the entrance on the way out.

We caught the bus back to French Quarter. Then I set out all my stuff for the half in the morning. My intent was not to wake Kassady when getting ready. I also made sure my bib was already fastened. Once that was complete, I got in bed and tried to sleep.


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Star Wars Dark Side 2017 – 10k

The first bus was leaving at 3:30 am. So, our alarms went off at 2:45 am. We got up and got everything ready. I had Kassady take my pre-race picture in the room so there was good lighting.

When we got out in front of the lobby, there was a whole mass of people waiting for the first bus. There didn’t seem to be a line, just a big grouping. So, this was the scene as people were generally good about merging on the bus.

Kassady and I had to get our pre-race bus selfie.

For the first time, the race started in the Magic Kingdom parking lot. The buses dropped us off in one section and we walked over to the staging area.

There were many pre-race picture areas including BB8.

They were on either side of the stage.

I let Kassady choose our character photo. She chose Captain Phasma.

We then hung out by the stage.

After watching some trivia games, we decided to head over towards the corrals. Here is a look at the large staging area.

I got a picture of the start line.

Then we funneled through the checkpoint to the corrals.

They had long water tables set up by the port-o-potties.

I was in Corral D and Kassady was in Corral C. She decided to drop back to D with me and run together. So after using the port-o-potties we made our way to the entrance of Corral D.

This was our view of the start line before everyone stood and moved forward.

Before long, the wheelchairs and then Corral A made their way to the start line. The National Anthem was sung after a short talk from some Storm Troopers. The official race start came with fireworks.

Every corral had at least one wave inside it. I really like the wave process. Soon, we made our way to the start line.

We were in the first wave of Corral D. I caught a brief glimpse of our starting fireworks.

Really these pictures don’t do them justice. There were high fireworks in the sky as well as the ones coming from the start line. The race started with us running by the staging area and then the bus drop off area. There was a separation between the course and those areas, though.

We turned right and headed towards the Magic Kingdom parking entrance. There was a band in this stretch.

The first character stop was also in this stretch. The line was long and I didn’t want to make the same mistake I had made with Kassady’s first 10k at Princess and be running from the balloon ladies the whole race. So, we did a drive by photo of R2D2. I was lucky enough to catch him between people in the long line.

We ran through the parking entrance (and over the speed bumps).

At the first paved section, we cut across to the other side of the road.

We found Darth Maul on Mile 1.

A little ways down the road, there was a large screen playing Star Wars clips.

We found the first water stop just before the EPCOT exit.

Our first character picture stop was for the Star Wars Rebels.

Official photo

Further down the road we found Mile 2.

The next distraction was another large screen playing Star Wars clips.

Next came this DJ whose music helped.

We finally got to the long, winding exit ramp. This must be a major sweep point since they had so many parade buses waiting.

Along the exit ramp we found the Emperor’s chair. Once again we weren’t willing to wait in the long line and I was able to get a picture between people.

Mile 3 was along the winding ramp.

About this time I was really feeling the heat and humidity. We did reach the 5k point.

There was a medical tent towards the end of the ramp. I found out after we passed that they were handing out electrolytes. I should have taken some. I thought there would be Powerade at the next water stop. I forgot that they only have water on the 10k runs.

The sun was coming up as we made our way over the bridge.

It was a slight downhill on the other side of the bridge.

We turned right at the light.

Dark Maul was taking pictures right before the backstage entrance to the Studios. Kassady didn’t want to stop for this one.

There was a water stop in the backstage area.

This is where I realized I should have taken the electrolytes from medical earlier. There was an uphill section right after the water stop.

We entered into the Fantasmic area and found the Cosplayers.

Kassady loved this cosplayer.

This was a great area since it was a wide open space and still allowed for runners to pass with people stopping for pictures.

We had to get one selfie here.

We didn’t want to wait in the longer lines, but I did get pictures along the way.

We ran slightly downhill through the exit to Fastasmic and into the park.

We came out by Tower of Terror and a cast member was giving high fives.

We turned left and ran down Sunset Blvd.

There were a couple groups of Stormtroopers along the street for photos.

There were several cast members at the left turn on Hollywood Blvd. Most had light sabers.

I just realized my friend Julie and her husband were having their picture taken by a cast member in my picture. Mile 4 was along the short stretch of Hollywood Blvd.

There was a photographer that got a good shot of us on this stretch.

We turned left before the Crossroads. I think I used the real bathrooms right here. Then we continued to the backstage area.

We turned right to go around the buildings and back out to the entrance.

These security ladies were awesome cheerleaders.

I had to get a picture of this sign.

The sun rise was pretty as we ran towards the parking lot.

We turned to the left and continued on the walkway to Boardwalk.

The walkway was quite crowded and I did run on the grass during parts.

We did stop for this picture along the walkway.

Official photo

There were nice Star Wars themed lights and music in this tunnel-like area.

We got to another water stop on the other side.

We did see people splitting to the top walkway in this section so they could run.

There was a medical tent towards the end of the split walkway.

We then veered to the left (then right) towards the Yacht and Beach Club resorts.

Mile 5 was along this boardwalk section.

I found Cindy and Meredith spectating and being awesome cheerleaders in this area.

The view is beautiful across the beach towards the Boardwalk resort.

The path continued up hill on the bridge towards the International Gateway.

We turned left after descending the bridge. Chewbacca was greeting runners before we went backstage.

This path led into the backstage area.

We left the backstage area in the United Kingdom.

In the United Kingdom, we turned left and headed towards Future World.

There was a photographer by Canada that got a good shot with both of us.

The course turned left at the entrance to World Showcase. We ran towards Spaceship Earth.

We followed the normal route to the right at the base of Spaceship Earth.

Mile 6 was in the backstage area.

Then there were a few more cosplayers.

This employee was very encouraging as we turned left towards the parking lot.

Unlike Princess, there were no spectators as we emerged in the parking lot.

We did pass multiple photographers on our way to the finish line.

One of them got a great picture of Spaceship Earth.

Another one caught me right after I had taken a picture.

This was a view of the finish line from the other side and all the photographers getting those finish line shots.

With all those photographers, this is the only finish line shot we got.

I actually got a selfie with Kassady and the finish line in the background.

The next stop was getting a medal placed around our neck.

There was a medical area behind that. Then we turned left and picked up water and Powerade. Next came the decision of getting a finisher photo or not. For me, the answer is always get one.

This year, they had paddles you could hold with the logos instead of trying to put them on after the fact.

After the photo, we picked up a snack box and banana. Here’s a picture of the snack box content taken after I was back in the room.

Kassady decided she didn’t want to hang around the finisher area any longer. So, we hopped on the bus back to the resort. We got a rather blurry medal seflie on the bus.

Overall, I really liked the change in course. The cosplayers were at good locations and didn’t really hurt the flow. With the heat, I would have liked to see one stop on the course with Powerade. I’ll just remember for next time to get electrolytes from medical. I will be back again next year.

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