Thursday, October 17, 2013

Disney Gals Hit The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10 Miler

Photo courtesy of mydisneymarathon.com
I would like to start out this post by sending out a BIG thank you to all of you guys that followed along all year in preparation for this race and to also say CONGRATULATIONS to those of you that just completed your first major race!! TEN MILES is quite an accomplishment, especially in the conditions that we saw during this year's Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10 Miler!

I know how everybody LOVES pictures, so let's start with that, shall we?




Now for those of you that couldn't join us, here's a little recap of how the weekend unfolded:

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10 Miler weekend consists of five “events”: Disney’s Health and Fitness Expo, the Disney Happy Haunted 5K Trail Run, runDisney Kids Races, the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler, and the Disney Villains Hollywood Bash. This year I participated in all of the adult events (no runDisney Kids Races for me this time around) and I wanted to report back with what you can expect at each of the events.





First up is Disney’s Health and Fitness Expo. This expo certainly can be an event all in itself and, if explored in full, can take several hours to complete. The main purpose of the expo is to pick up all of your goodies (t-shirt, race bib, bag check info, etc.) before race time but what they put between the entrance and the bib collection is the fun stuff! Right in the front of the expo is the largest booth in the arena which houses the official runDisney merchandise and is a very popular and often crowded place to be. Inside the expo, you can also find other fun race supplies like Disney-inspired clothing, New Balance (where you can buy the official runDisney running shoes), Sparkle Skirts, massages, nutritional products, training gear, etc. Aside from all of the clothing booths, which put more than a little dent in my wallet, my favorite booth was, of course, runDisney. Here you could get up close and personal with all of the beautiful runDisney finisher medals (to include the upcoming Dopey Challenge medals, which will soon be mine...ALL MINE) and also have FREE Tower of Terror photos taken! The expo also offers training and nutrition seminars given by some of the most elite people in the business, like Jeff Galloway and Tara Gidus, which run throughout the day and are definitely worth a listen.

Now onto the first running event, the Disney Happy Haunted 5K Trail Run. This race started on Saturday morning at 7:30 a.m. at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex and we hopped on our bus at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort at 6:30 a.m. The runners were broken up into five corrals as we were entertained by two very funny hosts throughout the morning. “Scarecrow” Mickey also showed up to see us off on our way but not before we were given a strong warning by a visit from the "real" Headless Horseman who warned us from veering off the path. Even though I'm pretty confident that you won't loose your head, new runners should be aware that this really is a trail run…it’s not just a cute name. You will be running on many different surfaces, such as dirt, grass, sand, track, gravel, woods, etc. and should be prepared for that. For a rather
"short" run, I thought Disney still managed to pack in quite a decent amount of entertainment and character meet and greets along the way. We had a great time at this race, which was a last minute decision, and I'm so happy that we decided to join in on the fun!

One quick note that I wanted to touch on real briefly is the volunteers. runDisney organizes an amazing group of volunteers for these races. They are everywhere and I really hope that they know just how much they are appreciated by all of the runners. So here's a BIG thank you to all of the runDisney volunteers!! WE LOVE YOU!

If staying at a Disney host resort, transportation to/from the Happy Haunted 5K Trail Run is simple. I notice a little improvement with the runDisney races every time I go and this time was no exception. The entire process was seamless so bravo to the event coordinators! The runDisney Kids Races follow the 5K event and begin at 9:30 a.m. so it’s perfect for the family that just want to start the day off with a 5K for the Moms or Dads and continue right into the kids events. The runDisney Kids Races consist of a Diaper Dash, 100m, 200m, 400m, and One-Mile run so there definitely is something for everyone!


 

Photos courtesy of mydisneymarathon.com
After a little rest and relaxation, it was off to race number two…The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler. This race was much larger in scale (about 10,000 runners) at was scheduled to start at 10:00 p.m. We hopped our resort bus at 8:30 p.m. and joined the big dance party that was in full swing by the time we arrived at the parking lot of Hollywood Studios. We spent our time taking lots of photos, checking our bags, getting in a last minute potty break and even doing a little dancing before lining up in our assigned corral. From there we walked (quite a while) to the start of the race within our corral and waited for the race to start. The race itself was fabulous and I enjoyed it better than any of the daytime races that I’ve participated in thus far! I loved the whole nighttime, Twilight Zone, Villain, Halloween atmosphere. The race begins at Hollywood Studios and heads out toward Animal Kingdom before turning right around and heading back toward the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex where you run right through the baseball stadium! This section of the course also includes some of the same trail run from the 5K so runners need to be aware of the many surface changes during this part of the race. From the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, runners then head back toward Hollywood Studios and actually get to run through that park and finish with the backdrop of the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.

Then the fun really begins, that is if you’re still standing…

The Disney Villains Hollywood Bash is the fifth and final event that is held from 10:00 p.m. until 4:00 a.m. and is included in the 10-Miler race registration. For an additional fee, friends, family, and supporters can also come to experience this event. Last year I only ran the 5K in the morning and attended the Villains Bash that evening which was a great way to really enjoy the bash by arriving nice and early and riding a ton of rides before the runners started coming in. This year was quite a different story. We didn’t arrive back at Hollywood Studios until after midnight and sat down for some rest and recovery before even heading into the park. From there, we had some photos taken, picked up our bags, and changed into new (dry) clothes to continue on. The line for Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster was 20 minutes so we headed straight there for our one ride of the evening. Once we escaped from there, the wait time for the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror was 45 minutes and after running 10 miles, this was out of the question. Instead we ate and relaxed and before we knew it, it was nearing 3:00 a.m. and we all decided to head home…and take a much needed shower!!

Thanks to Kim Kahl for the beautiful accommodations!!
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror event was a fun-filled jam-packed weekend with a great group of friends! In the few short days of our vacation, my girls and I also enjoyed Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party, the WDW Radio E-Ticket Event inside The Great Movie Ride, an afternoon at Disney's Animal Kingdom, Epcot's Food and Wine Festival, delicious meals at Kona Cafe, Biergarten Restaurant, and Be Our Guest, and lots of relaxation in our beautiful Treehouse Villa at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort. If you are considering a place to spend a fun weekend, with or without the family, I highly recommend looking into one of the runDisney weekends as there really is something for everyone to enjoy!


Next stop, is the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend where I will be completing my first marathon with just a little 1/2 marathon, 10K, and 5K on the side, no biggy!! Just gotta...



16 comments:

  1. Such a great race! You gals sure are CUTE!

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  2. I am just eating up all the TOT reviews, great recap!

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    1. Thanks Shannon! It's a great race weekend to recap...sooooo much fun!

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  3. Your recap makes me tired just reading ;) Nice job & great pictures. Next year for sure!

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    1. Haha Kelly. My post from the Dopey Challenge might actually kill you then!!

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  4. It was a great event! I can't believe I didn't see you gals at all! Thank you for getting the running group together and keeping us on track for the training. I had to stop myself from looking for our next week's training plan last Saturday!

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    1. I know :( There were sooo many people that I was hoping to see over the weekend and never did. I'm so glad that you had a great time and that you enjoyed the Saturday training posts throughout the year. That was so much fun for me and I'm gonna miss it myself! Hope to see you in WDW soon :D

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  5. Both Kelly and I will be there next year!! Great job Tricia!

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    1. You better!! I'll be looking forward to your fabulous post this time next year :)

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  6. Love the review and inspires me to try this next year. Congrats Tricia!!

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    1. Thanks Stacey!! If I inspire one person to try a runDisney race, then my work is done. You won't be disappointed. It's such a blast!

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  7. This is a great review of the ToT races. After reading this, I'd like to try it!

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    1. Thanks Ken!! I'm glad you enjoyed reading the post and now may want to try it. That's the ultimate compliment! Any questions, feel free to ask.

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