A Dopey Walt Disney World Marathon TR (Updated 1/14/2017)

Discussion in 'Disney Trip Reports' started by Nole95, Jan 11, 2018.

  1. Nole95

    Nole95 DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2007
    Messages:
    860
    Here for my first trip report ever. We’ve been to Disney a lot over the years, but I’ve never ventured over to the Trip Report board. I live outside Atlanta with my wife, daughter (14), and son (11). As you can see from my name, I am an avid Seminole fan. Go Noles!!

    This trip was our fourth trip to the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, and our first time running the Dopey Challenge. I had previously run the Goofy Challenge, and my wife had run the marathon and half marathon in different years. Last year the whole family did the 5K, and my wife and I were supposed to do the half before it was cancelled. Due to the demands of Dopey, we left the kids home with grandma. They were not pleased, but it ended up being the right decision for us.

    Dates: 1/3/2018 – 1/8/2018

    Resort – Beach Club Villas

    Day 1 - Let's Go to the Expo
    Day 2 -
    5K Freezing Run
    Day 2 (Cont) -
    Park Hopping
    Day 3 - 10K Freezing Run (with Beer!)
    Day 4 - A Leisurely Half Marathon
    Day 5 - The Main Event: 26.2
    Day 5 - Post Race Fun at Epcot - Final Thoughts


    [​IMG]

     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2018
    rteetz and ZellyB like this.
  2. Nole95

    Nole95 DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2007
    Messages:
    860
    Day 1 - Let's Go to the Expo

    We had a 9:30am flight out of the Atlanta airport so we headed out on the hour drive bright and early at 6:30am.

    Check-in at the Southwest desk was quick and easy, but the security lines this particular morning were out of control. It took almost an hour to get through the line, but we made it to the gate with plenty of time to spare. Our flight left on time, and we were in Orlando in no time. Much to our surprise we received a text as soon as we landed that our room was already ready.

    For this trip we decided to skip Magical Express. With having to go to the Expo, we knew we had a full day ahead of us, and we just wanted to get to the resort. We requested a Lyft, and the driver was there in no time. From landing to arriving at the resort was about an hour. Well ahead of what we would have been had we done Magical Express.

    For this trip we rented points at Beach Club Villas, and the whole process was as smooth as could be. We went to our room, where we were met with this wonderful view of Epcot. Paris is one of my wife’s favorite cities, so seeing this out the window of the room started the weekend off right.


    [​IMG]


    We grabbed a quick bite to eat before heading out to the Expo.

    What to say about the Expo on Wednesday. It was one big and disorganized mess. RunDisney knows they have thousands of 5K and Dopey Challenge runners who have no choice but to be there, and this is what they came up with.

    We arrived to a very long line to enter the building for bib pickup, and this is also where the RunDisney merchandise was located. There were no queue lines set up at all, but it was a wonder that everyone somehow managed to form a somewhere orderly line to enter the building. Once in, we were good, or at least that’s what I thought.

    Bib pickup was quick and painless. Now time to buy some stuff. Not so fast. We were told we had to now exit the building and get in another very long line that would then re-enter the very same building. Yep This line stretched all the way out and around the fields at Wide World. It took another hour just to get back inside the building. Now we could shop and get out of there. But wait, there was now a 30-45 minute line just to check out. I finally got in line while my wife shopped. We then traded placed so I could shop. Finally, we were done. From the time we got in the outside line to the time we left the building was two hours. Thankfully the worst experience we had all weekend.

    After the painful Expo experience, we headed back to the resort for a quick cleanup before heading over to The Grand Floridian for dinner. Neither of us had been to this resort before, and with no kids with us, we decided to try some different places to eat. So Citricos for dinner it was. The food was great, and we really enjoyed the atmosphere.

    We decided to take the monorail around to Magic Kingdom and ride the bus back to the resort. First early wakeup call was upon us, and it was time to get ready for the 5K.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2018
    sourire, roxymama, baxter24 and 3 others like this.
  3. Avatar

    Advertisement


  4. Nole95

    Nole95 DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2007
    Messages:
    860
    Day 2 – 5K Freezing Run

    The phone alarm struck 3:00am pretty quickly Thursday morning, but we were both up and ready to go.

    Prior to this trip, we knew it was going to be cold for all four races. We’re use to running in the cold, so that was going to be no big deal. However, the waiting around for 2 hours before starting to run was going to be no fun. Our suitcase was loaded up with cheap Walmart sweats, gloves, hats, fleece blankets as well as hand warmers and mylar blankets. Enough to keep us warm all four mornings.

    We hopped on the first bus and were quickly at Epcot. The cold did not disappoint, but the extra layers definitely helped. As soon as the corrals opened, we headed out. I wanted to be in front of corral C so that I could start running sooner. In what would become the theme over the next four mornings, I sat down, formed a mylar tent over myself and did not move or stand back up until I had to.

    The 5K was basically another training run for us, and it was a quick and easy 3.1 miles through Epcot. It’s so fun running through the World Showcase with all the music playing and energy of everyone around you. The only bad thing was about the time I warmed up, it was over. I was very glad to see they were handing out mylar blankets to everyone at the finish. Also, in a change from last year and probably because of the cold, they had all the buses lined up and ready for loading before all the other runners had started. We were able to get on a bus pretty quickly and thaw out.

    All bundled up for the cold!
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Next Up - Park Hopping After the 5K
     
    sourire, roxymama, baxter24 and 3 others like this.
  5. Nole95

    Nole95 DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2007
    Messages:
    860
    Day 2 (Cont) - Park Hopping

    Next up in our very busy day was park hopping; starting at MK. MK opened at 8 on Thursday, and I wanted to make sure we would make it there as close to rope drop as possible. We decided to try the Minnie Van service. I was worried that we might have trouble getting one right around the time the parks were starting to open, but I was able to request one right as we were walking out of the room. Five minutes later, our car showed up. This was a great service and dropped us off at stop 11 in front of MK. I think we walked into the park right at 8:00.


    At this point in the morning, MK was pretty easy to navigate. In this order, we did the following with little to no waits. Space Mountain, Buzz, Haunted Mansion, Pirates, Big Thunder, Small World, Philharmagic, and the Carousel.

    By this point, MK was getting pretty crowded, and it was almost time for lunch at Be Our Guest. I would highly recommend ordering your food ahead of time for Be Our Guest. We walked right up, paid for our meal and were at a table in less than 10 minutes. This saved us a bunch of time. We had a nice relaxing lunch before moving onto our afternoon at AK.

    Sporting those 5K Medals at MK
    [​IMG]


    Bus service from MK to AK was quick and efficient, but AK was an absolute madhouse when we arrived.

    Our first FP was on the Safari. The standby line was over two hours long, but it only took us about 15 minutes to get into a vehicle. Since it was so cool out, there were a lot of animals out and about. Probably the most we have ever seen. Here are some good pictures.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    We then made our way to Pandora where the wait for FOP was 4.5 hours. Yes. 4.5 hours. The line snaked everywhere throughout the land. People were everywhere. Lucky for us, we had a FP and were on the ride within 20 minutes. I have to say that the ride completely lived up to the hype. My wife had never seen Avatar, but she was blown away by the ride. The only bad part of the whole ride is the awful preshow. Words cannot express how bad the preshow really is. Other than that, the whole Pandora area is beautifully done.

    Floating Mountains
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    By this point, AK was close to unmanageable, and we were badly in need of a power nap before dinner. So back to the resort we went.

    Probably the best decision we made the whole Dopey weekend was getting a 30 minute power nap in each afternoon. It was just enough to recharge before dinner, but not so much that we had trouble falling asleep each night.

    Next up was DHS for dinner at The Hollywood Brown Derby. Yet another restaurant we had never eaten at. We fully intended to have a couple drinks before dinner, but because it was so cold, the outside bar area at the Brown Derby was closed. We decided to venture over to the Tuned In Lounge that is connected to 50's Prime Time Cafe. We must have hit it at the same time as all the early diners because the place was crazy. It ended up taking 30 minutes to get a beer. One of the bartenders was doing her best to go as fast as possible, while the other seemed to care less that a large group of people was waiting to buy a drink. Oh well. We drank our beer and headed over for dinner.

    We had yet another good meal. Nothing bad to say at all about the Brown Derby. Both the service and food were great.

    After dinner, we decided to take a leisurely walk back towards the resort and have a been at AbracadaBar on the Boardwalk. We really enjoyed hanging out in this bar, and it became our nightly tradition before each race to have a couple drinks. Then it was time for another early night in anticipation of another cold morning.

    Next Up - 10K Freezing Run (with Beer)
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2018
    sourire, roxymama, baxter24 and 3 others like this.
  6. emilyindisney

    emilyindisney DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2012
    Messages:
    1,700
    Following! Just got home from running Dopey and have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of TRs and recaps!

    I love BCV! The rooms are beautiful and you guys got a great view? How was your race bus experience? That’s been my only complaint when we’ve stayed in the Epcot resort area for race weekends past.

    Hahaha- myler tent was the theme of the weekend!
     
  7. Nole95

    Nole95 DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2007
    Messages:
    860
    We did not have any issues with race buses at all. Each morning we made sure to be waiting by the designated times, and it seemed they came at a regular pace. Meaning we never had to wait too long in the cold for a bus to show up. Even after the races, I don't think we waited more than a few minutes for a bus to pick us up. One thing I do wish they would do post race is split up the Swan/Dolphin onto separate buses. All anyone wants to do after a race is get cleaned up. After a long race, I also don't want to be on a bus any longer than I need to be because my legs will stiffen up.
     
    ZellyB likes this.
  8. kski907

    kski907 Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2017
    Messages:
    211
    You were probably smart leaving the kids at home with grandma. I did the opposite and brought the kids(14 & 12) and grandma with me. Had at least one kid run with me for the first 3 legs of Dopey. It was a lot of fun, but also a lot of extra work making sure everyone was ready in the am and then a lot less resting in the evening. Still good time had. Excited to hear how your Dopey went.
     
  9. ZellyB

    ZellyB DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2010
    Messages:
    5,510
    Joining in!

    I love your shots during the 5k and especially love the pic of you two in front of the castle.

    We also were able to ride FoP with a fastpass and completely agree that it lived up to the hype. Amazing ride. I also agree about the pre-show. Ugh.

    We ate at Brown Derby as well on our trip and we really enjoyed it. Excited to read more.
     
  10. tamerbelles

    tamerbelles Bippidi Bobbidi Buckeye

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2015
    Messages:
    63
    Following! Plan to do Dopey 2020 with my husband and also leaving the kiddos at home. Interested to see how you planned your days around the races.
     
  11. Nole95

    Nole95 DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2007
    Messages:
    860
    Day 3 – 10K Freezing Run (with Beer)

    We decided we could squeeze in an extra 15 minutes of sleep, so the alarm did not go off until 3:15am. This also meant 15 less minutes of being in the 31 degree temperature. Yes, another cold morning was upon us. As with the day before, we were quite prepared. All bundled up, we headed out to the bus. Once again, an empty bus pulled up as we walked up, and we were back in the warmth in no time.

    I will say that RunDisney was prepared for the cold as much as they could be. On these cold mornings, they did have heat lamps set up throughout the staging area. The problem was that once they ran out of gas, they were not refilled. Also, unless you were out there first thing, there was no room to stand around them to keep warm. There were only so many heat lamps for the thousands of runners out there.

    I made the decision to head right into the corral so that I could be first out the gate. While my wife was in B, I was in C. As with the day before, we decided we would just meet up after the race. My little camp consisted of forming a small tent over myself with the mylar blanket. It's amazing how well those things work, and I was able to stay pretty warm for the whole hour until I had to stand up for the National Anthem.

    From a fun aspect, the 10K was my favorite race of the weekend. Once you got through the first couple miles of the boring out and back on Epcot Center Drive, the rest of the race was one fun time. Once again, we ran through the World Showcase, and then got to do a loop around the Boardwalk area. The Boardwalk area was a blast, and one of our posters on the RunDisney board (@Dis_Yoda) was handing out beers. Of course I had to have one at 6:30am. Why not?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Unlike the day before, I actually got a little warm in my running jacket, and I was not as cold at the finish. Either way, it was time to get warm, and the bus was beckoning with its warm air.

    The rest of the morning was spent doing some shopping at Disney Springs, and we had a great lunch at Frontera. Everything now was about fueling for the long runs ahead. The bus service to and from Disney Springs was pretty efficient. I think we waited maybe 10 minutes for a bus at the resort. We did have to wait about 20 minutes at Disney Springs for the return bus, but that wasn't too big of a deal.

    We headed back and got our 30 minute power nap in prior to the Hurricane Hannah's meetup with a bunch of fellow DisBoards runners. It ended up being a very pleasant afternoon. The sun was out, and it was a little warmer than it had been the previous day. It was great meeting up with so many people we had chatted with on these boards, and a big thanks to @Keels and @FFigawi for hosting. It was a great time.

    After that, we continued on to our new favorite bar, AbracadaBar, for a couple drinks before dinner. We had another good dinner at Trattoria, which fueled us up for the upcoming half marathon.

    Our heads hit the pillow before 9:00pm, and not even the Epcot fireworks right outside our window woke us up.

    Next Up - A Cold and Leisurely Half Marathon
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2018
  12. rteetz

    rteetz Rumors and News Moderator Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2013
    Messages:
    50,977
    Following along!

    Glad you liked FoP. I don't dislike the preshow that much but it definitely isn't my favorite.
     
  13. run.minnie.miles

    run.minnie.miles DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2016
    Messages:
    1,491
    Sounds like you both had a great first 2 races! Excited to continue following along!
     
  14. ZellyB

    ZellyB DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2010
    Messages:
    5,510
    We took our leisurely time on the 10k and unfortunately just missed the beer stop on the Boardwalk. We also really enjoyed the 10K course.
     
  15. TeeterTots

    TeeterTots DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2014
    Messages:
    1,366
    Following along. Brrrrr glad I wasn't racing or at least waiting in that cold weather! Nice pics!
     
  16. baxter24

    baxter24 DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2008
    Messages:
    551
    Following along! I met a lady on the bus the morning of the 10k who said she waited almost 5 hours for Flight of Passage. Made me feel much better about waiting in the long expo merchandise line.
     
    rteetz likes this.
  17. cadek

    cadek Please stand clear of the doors

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2007
    Messages:
    277
    I can't wait to read more and relive marathon weekend! I have children the same age as yours, but both boys. I loved FOP, but I can't believe how long the lines were. Who waits that long? I agree with you, running in the cold doesn't bother me, but the 2 hour wait before the race is the worst part! I'm glad I only had to deal with the cold and early wake ups for 2 days. That must be the hardest thing about Dopey, 4 days of waking up early.
     
  18. emilyindisney

    emilyindisney DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2012
    Messages:
    1,700
    Sounds like a great 10k! I had to laugh- we were waiting for the start near one of the defunct heat warming lamps and I can't tell you how many people came over thinking they struck gold because they found a free lamp (until they realized it was free because it didn't work!)

    Love Abracadabar! :thumbsup2
     
  19. Nole95

    Nole95 DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2007
    Messages:
    860
    Day 4 – A Leisurely Half Marathon

    For whatever reason, this year RunDisney decided everyone needed to be on the buses 30 minutes earlier than in past years. The event guide said to be on a bus no later than 3:30. Not wanting to mess with fate, the alarm went off bright and early at 2:30am. With the amount of beer we had consumed the day before, I thought this might be harder, but we popped right out of bed and were ready in no time.

    Since this was a longer distance and the temperature was a little closer to what I had been training in, my gear for this race was going to be on the lighter side. Shorts and compression calf sleeves, short sleeve shirt with a long shirt over that, throwaway gloves and a hat. On top of this, I also had throwaway sweat pants and another throwaway hat to keep me warm while waiting for the race to start.

    We arrived at the staging area to a balmy 39 degrees and very little breeze, and proceeded through gear check to get to the waiting area for the long walk out to the corrals. For those that have never run the half or full marathon before, once they release you, it’s a good half mile walk out to the corrals on Epcot Center Drive.

    This year RunDisney decided to have fewer corrals and go with a mini wave system of starting the race. Unlike past years, the later corrals were placed on the other side of the road next to the early corrals. This made it next to impossible to get to the restrooms on that side of the road. After making my way to the front of corral D, I decided I needed to use the restroom. In order to get to the main set of restrooms, I ended up having to walk against the flow of traffic all the way back to where the crowd split to go to various corrals.

    With having taken care of that, it was time to keep warm and get focused on the race. My wife and I were in the same corral, so we could actually be together prior to the race.

    Keeping Warm Pre Race
    [​IMG]

    I will say that once the race started the mini wave system seemed to work pretty good. Compared to past years, I actually started earlier this year, and my proof of time was a little worse for this year.

    As far as the race itself is concerned, this is my least favorite course. A long and boring stretch to MK, and then the long and boring stretch from MK to Epcot. If not for the run through MK, this would be a pretty bad course. The plan for this race was to go at an easy pace and conserve as much energy as possible for the marathon. My wife was willing to go along and let me set the pace.

    Nothing compares to running through MK. This year they had us running under the train station to enter MK, and I definitely liked that better. You come out of that train station to the hundreds of people cheering you on while Disney music plays in the background. It’s really pretty awesome. You exit out of Main Street and then hit pretty much every area of the rest of the park.

    The Run Through MK
    [​IMG]

    What is not awesome is the infamous Cone Alley after you exit MK. The course goes down to one lane, and you really have no choice but to slow down or weave in and out of people to keep any kind of momentum going. It is very congested. Especially when some people think they are out for a romantic walk and are holding hands. Not a fun part of the course at all, and for some reason, it seemed to be a lot colder on this part of the course than anywhere else. So cold that I wish I had not thrown away my gloves three miles back.

    We finally exited Cone Alley back onto the wide expanse of World Drive. My wife was getting cold, so we started picking up the pace. I still felt good, so I let her pull me along. We climbed the fun overpass, headed towards Epcot and were in there before we knew it.

    Epcot is not as fun if you are in one of the early corrals. It is not open yet, so there are very few people there to cheer you on during that last mile. We powered through, and for the first time ever, finished a race together. According to my Garmin, I ran 13.3 miles at a 10:58 pace. A little faster than planned, but I still felt I had plenty in the tank for the next day.

    Final Mile
    [​IMG]

    Finally Cross the Finish Line Together
    [​IMG]

    Post Race Medal Picture
    [​IMG]

    After these long runs, I am always really hungry. As soon as I got back to the Beach Club, I headed to the Marketplace to treat myself to a big Bounty Platter and a chocolate milk. Boy did that hit the spot.

    This was the one day we had no plans at all. So we decided we would resort hop on the MK monorail loop. I was able to secure a last minute lunch reservation at the Kona Café at Poly, and we had plenty of time to get there.

    Of course, this was the only day we had an issue with the bus service at the Beach Club. We figured we would catch a bus to MK, and then monorail over to Poly. Almost 30 minutes later, no bus was in site, and there were a ton of people waiting. This was at 10:45, so any traffic issues from the half marathon were long gone. By this time, it was 11:15 and we were finally sick of waiting, so a Lyft it was. He arrived in about three minutes, and there was no traffic to be seen anywhere on the way to Poly. Those poor people were still at the bus stop when we pulled out in our Lyft.

    The Poly was another place we had never been before. While we enjoyed our lunch at Kona, the overall resort seemed a little too hectic for us, and I don’t think we would ever stay there.

    Next up was a monorail ride over to the Contemporary to take a look around, shop a little and keep our legs loose. We then walked back to MK, hopped on a bus back to the resort, and had our daily power nap.

    The rest of our day consisted of walking around the Boardwalk having a couple drinks outdoors, once again hanging in our favorite Abracadabar, and then taking out a light pizza and salad dinner from the Boardwalk Pizza window.

    As with the previous night, we were down and out before the fireworks started at Epcot. The main event loomed the next morning.

    Next Up – The Main Event: 26.2 Miles
     
  20. ZellyB

    ZellyB DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2010
    Messages:
    5,510
    Loving your race photos!! We also ate lunch at Kona after the half since we were staying at Poly. We liked Poly, but I do agree that at times the main building could be pretty crazy. We stayed at Beach Club last year and I think we prefer it to Poly as well.
     
  21. Nole95

    Nole95 DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2007
    Messages:
    860
    The Mylar blankets were life savers waiting out in that cold.
     

Share This Page