The MountainEars is the chronicle of two twenty-something Disney aficionados centrally located in Colorado. This blog will follow their adventures in the 'Land and around the World including what they rode, ate and experienced while visiting their favorite Mouse!
A few months ago I began to tell the tale of the Tinkerbell
Half Marathon, but clearly become distracted...
Danny and I went back to our hotel after the Walk in Walt’s
Footsteps Tour and relaxed in the hotel for most of the evening. We did go out
to dinner with two of Danny’s cousins which was very fun and a nice distraction
from worrying about how the race would go the next day.
We woke up early (for us), got
ready, and went outside to catch the race shuttle. Being on the shuttle was
nice because we were able to scope out some of the other race outfits and start
getting mentally ready. The shuttle dropped us off where the Disney busses
normally drop folks off for a day at the park, but the race start area was all
the way over by Paradise Pier Hotel so despite catching a shuttle we still had
a bit of walking to do. The pre-race area was hopping with music, bag checks,
and people warming up. We didn’t linger in this area long, but did manage to
stop and take a few pictures of people with great costumes!
We then proceeded to the corrals. We hung out in this area
wearing our trash bags to stay warm since it was still pretty early in the
morning. Before we knew it the race was beginning and we made our way onto the
streets on Anaheim. Running up a highway on-ramp was not very fun but I am
happy we did it at the beginning of the race and not near the end. Eventually
we ran into Disney California Adventure where Danny and I both took advantage
of the bathrooms near the Carthay Circle Theater. Next came Disneyland and it
was pretty magical to run up Main Street towards the castle! The sun had just
started to rise at this point and just in time to go back stage. The backstage
area housed the Disneyland Trains, some parade vehicles, and even a few extra
parts to classic attractions. It was both disturbing and fascinating to see a
hallowed out elephant body from the Jungle Cruise just hanging out. Danny tried
to take a few pictures back here but we were in a good running groove – also a
cast member was standing there. Oh well! The grounds crew for Disneyland was
out in full force and had hung a banner encouraging the runners and cheering us
on. This was yet another example of the pixie dust that Disney is known for!
After exiting backstage it was time to refuel with Clif Blocks and get a few
pictures. First we met Clarabelle Cow in Toon Town then we met the Lost Boys in
After leaving Disneyland we
proceeded to run around the city. This was not very enjoyable to me. There was
nothing very noteworthy about this portion of the race. I did appreciate the
local high school cheer/dance teams and bands but there were many long
stretches of houses and businesses that were pretty boring. At Mile 8 I told
Danny that I will finish this race and also do the Wine & Dine Half so that
we could earn our Coast to Coast medals, but after that I didn’t want to do
races greater than a 10k. This was just a little too long for my liking. Maybe
if I trained and was able to run more (aka finish sooner) I wouldn’t have been
so bored, but the reality is that I am not very fast and don’t think I have the
patience to become faster. I like being able to complete my goals and it doesn’t
matter how long it takes.
Getting back to the parks was the
home stretch and we went back into Disney California Adventure where we ran
past the Pixar Play Parade, World of Color Fountains, and then out to Downtown
Disney. There was a little winding through parking lot action right before the
finish line and I was happy to see the end approaching. As Danny and I crossed
the finish line I held back a few tears of joy. I couldn’t believe that we did
it! Having the medal placed around my neck felt great!
We finished the morning with
Disney snack boxes, stretching, and end of the race pictures. The snack boxes
came with cute little Peter Pan tote bags that Danny and I both use for lunch
sacks from time to time. Walking back to our hotel on Katella was by far the
worst part. After the adrenaline wore off I was pretty beat and even had to
stop and sit down for minute to rub my feet. We also had to go through the park
back check area which just seemed cruel to have to wait in line after running
13.1 miles! We both took a quick ice bath and nap after the race and then went
to the parks for the rest of the day. The one thing I will never race without
is Tiger Balm. Just a little over all our sore joints and muscles and we were
mobile again. Our reward for finishing was lunch at the Carthay Circle! It was delicious
as always but they did take my beloved pulled pork off the menu, boo!
My goals for the race were to not
get picked up by the sweepers and to finish the race. I am proud to say that I
was able to do both! Our time was not amazing, being just over three hours, but
I feel it was very respectable for our first half marathon, especially since we
didn’t train for it. One of my big worries was blisters and chaffing and I was
pleased to not have an issue with either. I was really able to listen to my
body and not hurt myself in a major or minor way.
If you are thinking to yourself –
can I do a half marathon? The answer is yes. If you are worried, Disney is the
perfect, encouraging environment to do it in, too! We will see how the Wine and
Dine goes and if I really will give up half marathons or not. It has been cool
to see Disney adding so many 10k races to the race schedule because I feel that
is the right distance for me but Danny can do halfs if he wants to and we still
get a Disney vacation out of it!
Sorry for the delay in posting! Danny turned the ripe old
age of 28 on the 5th and shortly after we were in Chicago for a
wedding and just didn’t have a chance to get around to the 5on5. For this month
we are ranking our favorite Pixar films. While their cannon is relatively small
compared to Disney and other studios and would therefore have less to choose
from this was quite a challenge. Pixar may only have 13 films out, 14 in a few
weeks with the release of Monsters University, but each and every one of them
have been examples of classic story telling and innovative animation. Without further
1.Up – I love the vibrancy of this movie, the
story of adventure, and the whimsy that Up embodied. The opening sequence of
Carl and Ellie is timeless and almost a film unto itself. The memes on the
internet are right: Pixar did more and told a better story in ten minutes with
no words than Twilight was able to do over an entire series.
2.Toy Story 3 – While I love Toy Story for a lot
of reasons I love Toy Story 3 just a little bit more. I cannot watch TS3
without a few tears and lots of laughs with my old friends from Andy’s room.
There was something so pure in the way that these toys were able to finish
3.Brave – Pixar was able to break the mold with
Merida, the Princess who didn’t need to be rescued and wasn’t looking for love.
I really enjoyed the story but was mostly amazed with the animation and
soundtrack. I felt as if I was transplanted to Scotland – bravo!
4.Cars – Not everyone loves Cars, but I do. I love
the sense of nostalgia that this movies brings to a current generation. The fact
that I can visit Radiator Springs while in Disney California Adventure just makes
it that much sweeter.
5.Wall-E – The message this movie brings is one
that everyone should take in regarding sustainability and global
accountability. I appreciate that even though the title character has almost no
dialogue he is able to communicate his feelings to the audience so clearly.
Plus, who doesn’t love robots?
1.Toy Story – since that is where everything
started for Pixar.
2.Monsters Inc. – this movie is just so adorable,
simple, and cute!
3.Incredible – this was an original take on a not
so original idea, with unique qualities only Pixar would think of.
4.Toy Story 3 - *grabs heart* If this was Toy
Story’s ending this did the film and franchise so much justice and gave closure
to both my childhood and Andy’s.
5.A Bugs Life – This kept things going for Pixar.
If this wasn’t successful I don’t think Pixar could have continued. This isn’t
my favorite movie, but I love what this movie was able to do for the Pixar
dream. I also use this movie as a teaching aide in my Sociology class.
As I am sure you are aware, Disney recently announced that
they are raising the prices on park admission tickets. For most this comes as
no surprise. Each year, around June, an announcement has been made that ticket
prices will be going up. These increases are for regular park tickets and for
the annual passes.
The Premier Annual Pass that Danny and I have loved so much
for the last year – purchased May 2012 for $750, renewed May 2013 for $850 –
will now cost nearly $1000 ($979 +tax)! We feel fortunate that we were able to
renew our passes this year but know that next year will not be a realistic. On
the bright side, this increase may mean an increase in us traveling elsewhere,
maybe even saving up to visit one of the international Disney Parks – Paris,
Something Danny and I have discussed has been hypothetically
purchasing several sets of Disneyworld no-expiration, hopper, water parks &
more tickets while they still exist. That way when we have kids, and they are
old enough to go to the parks we will have locked in some current prices. Since
the water parks count as separate admissions we could in theory get 20 days of
vacation out of one 10-day PHWP&M pass. After observing how friends with
kids tackle their Disney vacations with more leisurely days, days off to spend
at the pool, adding in other places to visit (the beach, non-Disney parks,
etc), and doing non-park things on travel days like dinner at a different
Resort or going to Downtown Disney, I think that this could be a very wise
investment in our future family’s future vacation. One trip could use a few
park days (3) and a few water park days (2) plus non-park stuff for travel days
and you have a full week of vacation but have only used 5 of your 20 days. Using
this rate of ticket use we could have one of the primary expenses of a Disney
vacation tucked away for several trips.
In theory this all sounds like an amazing plan but since we
are not quite in the having kids phase we aren’t sure how many we may need and
this would be a huge upfront cost even if we are thinking of a modest family of
4. For now, we plan to just enjoy this second year of our awesome Premier
Annual Passes with a trip late Aug/early Sept to Disneyland and two trips to
WDW (Nov & Jan) and maybe swing a second trip to DL if we can in the winter
or Spring for one last hurrah before the passes get retired.