Princess Friday – Expo and meetup

I woke up after the planned 6am run with another group member. So, I showered and dressed. Jamie was up, too. We decorated the door with a princesses door banner I found. We went to food court for breakfast. This was the one things that was very nice about the French Quarter side. I noticed 3 beignets was a snack credit. So, we got 2 orders of 3. You have to pay first and then go to get them. This was the lady making our order.

I also filled my refillable mug with hot chocolate to drink since it was chilly.

It actually got down to 31 degrees overnight. We had a very satisfying breakfast for a snack credit.

Then we went back to room.

I had emailed my sister and asked her to print out a sheet with names for me. We were using the computer to put the states on the buttons with the names. When she left for her Princess breakfast, Naomi dropped off giveaways and extra bags for me to pack with the one I had. She also gave me a present. I was completely surprised by this. It was a great Cinderella (glass slipper) picture frame. Soon, my sisters came with the print out. I glanced at it and realized it was not alphabetized. That would be a nightmare. While Jamie and I worked on the buttons, my sisters giveaway bags together. Jamie had trouble with state stickers. So, once my sisters finished giveaways, they helped with states while Jamie showered. Kassady, my baby sister, drew Aurora on the window.

We loaded car with everything. I hurried everyone out the door for the Expo at about 11:30 am.

We were planning to grab a quick bite at the ESPN Grill where the 2 meetups were scheduled. We parked in a grassy area and walked in.

We wanted to get our bibs first. So, we went to the Field House.

We got our bibs.

I had pre-ordered a pin and necklace so I got an envelope with those as well. Also in the envelope was a bracelet for Race Retreat. Finally, I got a grey Coast to Coast bracelet which they put on me. From there we had a long walk to the picture area for the Challenge.

They did have one part where racers were separated from non-racers, but I think it would be fairly easy to hand off a bib during this walk. I guess this prevents 2 different people from running the races, but does not prevent bib selling.

They were going to make sure you didn’t miss the picture stop.

After the picture, we went downstairs in same building and got a bag with all 3 shirts, safety pins, and event guide. Also downstairs were the booths to pick up 10k, half, 5k, Cheer Squad, pretty much everything else that required pre-registration.

I noticed pictures with Princess Minnie and Cinderella, but didn’t want to wait.

Jamie picked up a Castaway Cay Challenge shirt since she had registered for the race.

She ended up not going on cruise, but she did already pay for the challenge so she might as well get the shirt. We strolled through the official merchandise in this area and took picture with GSC sign.


Also beside the official merchandise was MarathonFoto. I checked and realized I had not yet signed up for the package. So I signed up for MarathonFoto deal here. Then we headed over to Expo in the other building. We got our picture with the footmen at the entrance again.

I remembered on the way over that I had placed an order for pickup at Raw Threads. Luckily, they were one of the first booths we passed.

Pick up was super quick and easy once I found a person to help. I browsed SparkleSkirts which was just across the aisle and saw Leah and her husband. We wandered around all the booths admiring sayings on shirts and things. I even found Cam Newton, my hometown quarterback.

When we were almost to the official merchandise, I got a call from Lisa. She needed help to get the goodies out of the car. As I was leaving the Expo, I noticed that ESPN Grill was packed.

I figured it would be really hard to get 200 people together there. We rushed to help Lisa and Naomi with the stuff. Once I told them about the grill, we decided to move the meetup to grass beside globe at the front. It would be closer for the stuff, anyway. I posted that to the Facebook event page as I went with my sisters back to the car to get the rest of the things. We noticed a bunch of empty space closer to the path, so we moved the car. When we had all the stuff, there was a golf cart waiting to take us back to the drop off area.

At his point, it was time for my other meetup. So I left things with the others and went to the Sparkle FanZone meetup. They had moved to the picnic tables beside the red carpet to the Expo. I picked up the 2 Peggy Sue tribute bibs I had ordered. I chatted briefly with a few people and confirmed with Julie the time for BOG dinner on Sunday. Kassady & I walked fast through Expo to the sign area and made one for GCS FB Group. We went back down to the GSC meetup area.

There were already lots of people there. Luckily, Jamie helped organize and start handing things out early. She even had an assembly line of sorts going to pick everything up. We had a great turnout. I ended up going back to the grill area a couple of times and even left work with the person guarding the door to direct other to the new area. I tried to help hand out name buttons. During this brief stretch, I found my secret princess and gave her a present, too. We organized a picture at 2:15 PM (the meetup was at 2). Once we set the location, everyone was great getting themselves in the picture. We got a great group shot!

We went back to check in the last few people. Then we did the giveaways. This also turned into a bit of an assembly line. We ended up having my sister, Katie, pick a couple bags together and hand them to me. I was the runner and Jamie picked numbers. Everyone had a great time. At end, some shouted out secret princess names – a few were found. In hindsight, we should have done that sooner. Jamie and I never did get anything for lunch and were very hungry at this point. Katie told me my secret princess had dropped off my gift while I was busy running around. I realized later it was my secret princess from Sparkle Fan Zone. We rounded everything up and Katie drove back to the room to drop off extras. I quickly opened my gift to see the wonderful things I received.

I found out later the picture mat is a clue as to a part of the gift that was late arriving.
Katie also drove us to Grand Floridian for the Tea. We said goodbye to my sisters – their help was invaluable. My phone was dying, so I charged it in lobby. When we were finally seated, we were at 2 large, round tables of 6. The reservation was for 12. This was the table of ladies that I didn’t get to chat with.

I had another awesome Tea experience. They did change the menu recently so the selections were a bit different. We had one lady at our table with a gluten allery, so the chef came out to talk to her about options.

It was once again very long. I opted for the tea that came with champagne. First they brought our champagne.

Then they brought us each out a pot of the tea we chose. I got the Mad Hatter tea again. Once they gave us the coozies to put over the pots, they warned us that the handles would get hot. Then they brought the finger sandwiches.

The one with yellow was some kind of beets. That might have been my favorite. I guess I might have to try more beets in the future. Next came the scone and jam tart.

The lemon curd they had last time that I could have eaten with a spoon had changed. They were still good, just not eat with a spoon good. Finally, I got the bananas foster trifle again.

Jamie and I said goodbye to everyone else and caught the resort monorail to the Contemporary. We had dinner at Wave.


First they brought out bread and butter with some kind of salt.

I was on the phone checking up on my family when they brought it so I didn’t hear what he said. I got the fish special that I think was swordfish.

Next it was time for dessert… the dining plan is a blessing and a curse at the same time.

The waiter was awesome and got our desserts to go. There was no way we could eat anything else.

The food was great, but we were both still pretty full from the tea. While Jamie shopped, I met 2 ladies who had missed the meetup due to flight delays. It’s always nice to meet new people. We started walking to Magic Kingdom to catch a bus to the hotel. The wind was whipping and very cold. So, we hopped on the DTD bus sitting at the Contemporary instead. We waited for our bus there instead of boat (it was a little chilly).

We finally got back to the room about 9 PM. We organized the left over bags with a name tag on the outside and a sash in the bag. We were 3 sashes short. So, we put mine and Jamie’s in bags. We stopped at our concierge before walking to Riverside. He confirmed they should be able to hand them out for us. In retrospect, we should have just left them at our hotel. However, we did have a couple presents to take to Riverside and we had already told people that’s where they could pick up.

We walked over to Riverside and dropped off 2 presents. They finally decided they needed a list with last names to hand out the goody bag. So we left under Naomi so I didn’t have to carry it back. Once back at the room, we set out things for the 10k and set our alarms. We finally got to sleep after 11 PM. For one of the first times, I slept hard before a race.

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About kristincooke

I am a mother of 2 that started running in 2012. I also enjoy baking and some crafts.
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