I signed up for this race once Nicki convinced me to run the full for our last Space Coast in the series. I figured if I was trained up for Thanksgiving, I could keep it for a little over a month. Turns out, I didn’t run much between the races with the holidays and everything. I was hoping my corral placement would give me a cushion in case I needed it. Well, when corrals came out, I was actually one corral back with my 2:44 half proof of time than the people with no proof of time who picked the lowest time where proof wasn’t needed. It was a little disappointing, but I still had a one corral cushion. This was meant to be a quick trip with no vacation days needed. So, after watching Jamie during her first couple runs of the weekend (she was doing the Dopey Challenge), I got to the airport early Saturday morning for my 7 am flight. Nicki, Robert, and Robert’s mom, Kathleen, were all on the flight with me.
As we were waiting to board, we were watching our friends on the tracking map who were running the half marathon. Eventually, it was boarding time. Robert and I had waited until check in to get our seat assignments thanks to the cheaper main cabin ticket. I got a seat more towards the front whereas he was in the back. The beauty of it is since I had the credit card, I still got my earlier boarding and overhead space (which I didn’t use). The flight was uneventful. Soon we were arriving in Orlando and getting our bags. I had checked a bag. Ours were some of the first bags out. Then we made our way to the Magical Express. The desks did have a line. Once we made it to the front, we had short work getting in the line for Pop. I should mention, this was my first time staying at a value resort. After waiting a short time, we were boarding the bus.
The bus ride takes about 30 minutes. I believe we dropped off at the All Star resorts first. The we made it to Pop.
Our room wasn’t ready yet, so we dropped our bags at the Bell Desk and then got a Lyft over to the Boardwalk. We had a late breakfast reservation for the Bon Voyage character breakfast at the Trattoria.
We made our way through the Boardwalk hotel and down to the restaurant.
We only had to wait about 15 minutes until we were seated. I had been to this breakfast before with my kids and really loved it. I will say, I think our experience this time was clouded by sub-par service. Eventually, we were able to put in our drink order. The pastries arrived for the table.
This is the menu from our trip.
Robert ordered some alcohol since he wasn’t running the next day. I believe this was the Peach Bellini.
It was a little chilly, so I ordered hot chocolate. I also got the fruit. I remember this being in a parfait last time. I guess they got rid of the yogurt and granola.
At this point, Flynn Rider had made his way to our table.
Followed shortly by Rapunzel.
Eventually, everyone got their main courses. I got the Shipwreck (calzone).
Robert got the Tangled Eggs with Sausage
Kathleen and Nicki both got the pancakes.
At this point, Eric joined us.
Close on his heels was Ariel.
Both Nicki and Kathleen were unhappy with the pancakes. They seemed more like biscuits than pancakes. So, they each got a different entree. I think Nicki got the Tangled Eggs with bacon.
And Kathleen got the frittata.
Both were much happier with the new dish. After waiting for a long time for refills and checks, we finally got out of there. The character interactions are great. I just wish the service would have been better so their first experience wasn’t jaded. After breakfast, Nicki and I had to get our bibs before the Expo ended. So, we went to the Expo bus at the Boardwalk.
There was a bus waiting as we walked up. The ride was not too long. Soon, we were arriving at ESPN Wide World of Sports. Since the new arena is complete, the buses pulled up in front of it for a much shorter walk this time.
The official and pre-order merchandise were in the Field House.
A nice welcome banner in the entrance.
The entrance to the area was lit up.
I tried to get my picture with the sign.
There were no lines for pre-sale merchandise since it was the last few hours of the Expo.
Once I got my things, we headed over to the bib pickup and Expo area.
There was a wall that you could sign.
This is the view from the top of the steps.
I went to this nice lady to get my bib.
Then I got my shirt.
Jeff Galloway was here meeting people.
In the room on the way out, we found all the medals for the year that had been released.
The had a nice sign on the reverse of the welcome banner.
From the Expo, we got a bus to the Poly for a meetup. We met a few people from an online running group at the deck.
I got the notice that our room was ready. I think we got a Lyft back to Pop. Robert and Kathleen stopped in the gift shop. We got a renovated room on the second floor in the 70’s building.
This is the room with one bed up in the table position.
I like the see through door in the fridge.
Since we were running in the morning, we hung out at the resort. My friend, Greg met me after his shift training to be a Disney bus driver. We caught up over dinner at the food court. I can’t even remember what I got to eat. I also met my mom and sister to return something that was left at my house during their last visit over Christmas. Eventually, I went back up to the room to get ready for an early night.