Below is how things should work out for the Disney World Marathon weekend / Goofy Challenge this year. The goal is to be as rested as can be for the races while still enjoying as much of the parks and amenities at Disney World as we can in the time we have.
We (my wife and I) travel on January 10th – we will drop off the kids at Gram’s place on the 9th as we fly out on WestJet very early on the 10th. We probably need to be at the airport around 4 am. We then have a relatively short flight to Toronto with a very short layover as we go through US Customs and then another relatively short flight from there to Orlando. We should be in Orlando around 1:30pm and on the Magical Express heading to the BoardWalk Inn shortly after that.
After check in at the BoardWalk Inn we will head down to the package pickup and see what the technical shirts look like this year. We will then do some shopping at the expo as there is always some cool stuff to see. I saw on the Disney online store that they had black Goofy hoodies this year so I will be looking for one of those for sure plus probably other items.
Once we have done our rounds at the expo we will hop the Disney buses back to the hotel and depending on the timing we might see if my brother (who is also coming down for the Goofy) has checked in or not. The timing on his flight might make it tough for him to hit the expo and packet pickup that night as it closes at 7 but I think he will try.
From there my wife and I have planned a quiet dinner for the 2 of us at the Coral Reef in Epcot – we will wander into the park through the International Gateway between England and France and work our way toward the restaurant.
We plan to watch the fireworks at Epcot that night before wandering back toward the hotel – not sure if we will partake in the nightlife along the Boardwalk or not as we will be pretty exhausted by then so we will have to play it by ear at that point.
If my brother manages to make it to the expo in time on Thursday it will be a free day for the 3 of us to have some fun and hit a park or 2 (hopefully without walking too much). I got a nice new DSLR back in the fall and I will want to be playing with it so maybe we will head for Animal Kingdom to do the safari? If my brother needs to head to the expo on Friday then we might go with him or head out on our own and meet up with him a little later.
We will try to hit the sack relatively early Friday night but I suspect it won’t end up being too early – but a 2:30-3:00 am wake up call will be pretty rough if I don’t get to bed at a decent time.
For Saturday morning I believe my wife is going to cheer us on from bed – so I suspect my brother and I will head to the busses around 3am (when we did it last year it was almost 4 before we hit the busses but traffic was so bad by that point that by the time we got to the corrals I had to run just to start with my correct corral – we want to relax before the run so I would like to avoid that issue again). My brother signed up for the Runners World Challenge and as part of that package he has access to the Race Retreat which I didn’t cough up for so we will probably part ways for a little while but I will have to get him to do a bit of a review of the Retreat for me – that and maybe grab me a bagel.
My brother had a much better time than I did last year so he is in a lower letter corral than I am so I might try to get a couple pictures of him as he heads out – that will have to depend on the crowds to see if that is practical.
We should be done the half and back at the hotel sometime before 10 depending on how well we do and how long a wait there is for transportation back to the hotel. We stayed at the French Quarter last year and it had the longest line and we waited for over an hour to get on a bus to get back to the hotel. That should be less of an issue for BoardWalk this year but you have to take these things as they come.
Once back at the hotel, showered and iced (and the wife woken up) we will decide what to do with the rest of the day. It will be tempting to nap but I want to avoid that to make sure I get to sleep at an early time on that night so I have the best rest I can before the full on Sunday. This might be a good day to Hollywood Studios and a bunch of their sit down shows.
Saturday is an early to bed day – well at least for me – I suspect my wife will be out shopping at Downtown Disney or on the Boardwalk all hours of the night.
Sunday morning – repeat of Saturday morning – I want to be on the busses as early as possible – I would rather be in the warm up area getting twitchy than on the busses freaking out about being late. I know that your time is when you cross the start line to when you cross the finish but one of the few things that I actually love about running is getting caught up in the energy at the start line in the corral – you feel so alive and I don’t like missing the opportunity to get that energy boost.
One of the reasons for picking one of the hotels near the Boardwalk as our Disney World Marathon weekend base was so that my wife could quickly walk out and cheer me on along this area of the course. There is a bridge that you cross when walking from the BoardWalk Inn to the International Gateway of Epcot that is a perfect place to see the runners between miles 24 and 25. The runners then split off to go a back way to a water stop and then come into Epcot between Canada and England – my wife will be able to quickly walk from the bridge, through International Gateway and most likely see me as I cross the bridge between England and France at mile 25. The runners then circle along the remaining World Showcase pavilions and my wife could potentially walk toward Canada and Future World and see me again as I enter Future World. My wife will then walk toward the front gates of Epcot to the family meet up area that I will wander to after I eat the race end snack.
My brother has been fighting an injury so it won’t be clear until the race if I am likely to catch up to him or not – if I don’t catch him my wife will be able to cheer him on from the same bridge I described above but if I catch or pass him my wife and I will wander back to the front gates of Epcot and walk back along the course so that if we see him we can cheer him. To be able to do this I need to have my park ticket with me. If I don’t have my park ticket I will need to take the busses back to the hotel.
After getting back to the hotel it will be a quick shower and icing and then probably a nap. If I am feeling really good and the weather is nice and warm I may pass up the nap but either way I want to limit the nap to only a couple hours so that I can get out and enjoy the warmer Florida weather as much as possible before heading home the next day (even if this means just sitting on a bench somewhere soaking in the vitamin D). We have early dinner reservations for the 3 of us at the Yachtsman Steakhouse at the Yacht Club resort that we will take our time and truly enjoy (mmmm beer and steak….)!!
After supper my hope is to hit Epcot and Magic Kingdom – the past several years Disney had had late night Magic Hours at Magic Kingdom on the Sunday after the race – current posted hours don’t have it too late but I am still hopeful they will change it. The plan will be to head into Epcot from the Yacht Club through International Gateway and maybe watch the fireworks before heading out to the monorails to head over to the Magic Kingdom. We will stay at the Magic Kingdom as late as they let us and my body can handle before taking a bus back to the hotel.
Monday we will be checking out but our flight won’t be until later in the day so the Magical Express won’t be picking us up until later in the afternoon. Once we check out we will store our back with bag services and head out to have some kind of fun – not sure what but potentially Downtown Disney or wherever the shopping needs to happen…
The flight back home should be relatively painless – it is a direct so no layovers to handle and it is a late enough flight that most passengers should be pretty quiet. We land around 12:30 am on the Tuesday and should be home and in bed by 1:30 at the latest depending on Canadian Customs. Then up first thing in the morning to head over and pick up the kids – although our son may already be at school by the time we get there so we may not see him until lunch that day.
And then I have to figure out what’s next…..