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I Spy a Giraffe

by Meghann on February 24, 2012

Hello from Walt Disney World!

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With the lovely Heather of Running With Sass. πŸ˜‰

As I mentioned earlier in the week, last week a handful of bloggers were presented with this amazing opportunity to join FitFluential and RunDisney for the Princess Half Marathon this weekend. An amazing opportunity that includes a FULL weekend of events that started today and will run all the way until Sunday. I’m really excited because these events will give us an inside look into what makes RunDisney tick by the people who make these events possible. Exciting stuff!

My original plan was to be in Walt Disney World by 2:00, but when 2:00 rolled around – and I was still in Tampa – I knew that wasn’t going to happen. On the plus side, I got some exciting news about HLS today. πŸ˜‰

An hour and a half behind schedule, I still made great time heading to Disney World and enjoyed a homemade trail mix of nuts and dried fruit along the way.

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The RunDisney people are graciously putting us up in The Animal Kingdom Lodge for the weekend. The hotel is located right outside of The Animal Kingdom and is well known for the animals that roam outside the rooms.

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Unfortunately, I only have a lovely view of the parking lot, but I as able to catch some glimpses of animals in other parts of the hotel.

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Look! A giraffe! And zebra!

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I stashed my stuff in the room and did what any normal human being would do, I headed straight to the pool to meet with fellow FitFluential ambassadors Heather and Kelly by the pool.

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Only I forgot my swimsuit at home, so it was purely comfy-legging lounging for me.

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When we checked in, we were all presented with a packet that included a few goodies for the weekend, including 4-day park hopper passes for the parks and a media FastPass that allowed for instant fast passes to all the ride (aka Disney Gold).

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We had two hours to kill before dinner, so I talked Heather into taking a quick trip to Animal Kingdom to put our Disney Gold to the test.

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It’s like magic. I put the media pass in the FastPass machine and a ticket popped out for the current time of day instead of the usual 30-45 minute callback time. That way I could instantly walk on the ride without waiting and I could use the pass again immediately if need be (usually you have a time limit to wait before you’re able to grab another FastPass). I have BIG PLANS with this pass and the Toy Story ride this weekend. πŸ˜‰

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Heather and I knew we still had a while for dinner, so we split a pretzel to hold us over.

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Hi Heather!

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We rode a ride, had a pretzel, and walked and talked before we returning to the hotel to clean up before dinner.

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Fellow FitFluential-ist Callie, Kelly, Heather, Brittany, and Christie before dinner.

Tonight the bloggers had a quiet dinner with the RunDisney marketing reps at Sanaa in the Animal Kingdom Lodge.

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Sanaa has a large Indian menu with African influences to their dishes. I was warned the food is ‘interesting’ and ‘spicy, spicy.’ I said to bring it on. ‘Interesting’ sounds like it’s right up my ally. πŸ˜‰

We started with traditional naan and a plethora of spices ( my favorite was the curried coconut)

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Then we moved onto heavy appetizers of lamb, samosas, and roasted cauliflower. I actually didn’t realize this was just the appetizer and ended up filling up on this round of food. Oops. Oh, and they weren’t kidding about the spice! My mouth was on fire.

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I was Callie’s copycat and ordered a Malbec to go with the rest of dinner.

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Nest was my favorite course – the salads. The watermelon salad was so refreshing after the spicy round of appetizers.

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Finally, the main course arrived.

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But, of course, no meal would be complete without dessert.

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My favorite? The mango ice cream on the very end. AMAZING.

Now I’m stuffed and ready for bed. We have EARLY wake-up calls through the rest of the weekend, I better get some sleep.

Good Night!

Question: What’s your favorite Disney hotel? I always loved the pool at the Yacht Club as kid. πŸ™‚

1 Krystina (Krystina Zena) February 24, 2012 at 12:23 am

I’ve only stayed at the Caribbean Beach Resort but I LOVED it! I think it’d be fun to stay at a Disney resort again. Even though I live here, it’d still be a little bit of a vacation. πŸ™‚

2 Caroline February 24, 2012 at 12:40 am

It sounds like you have a really fantastic opportunity for a fun weekend of entertainment and racing. I’d love that opportunity:) Have a great time!
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3 erica February 24, 2012 at 2:56 am

woah! great vip treatment! instant fast pass?!?! i want one of those! LOL. i’ve always stayed off-property whenever i’ve had the opportunity to go to WDW…although i would love an opportunity to stay at the grand floridian. it looks so amazing!
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4 Anne February 24, 2012 at 4:00 am

Why aren’t the names of the main courses listed?

5 Trish February 24, 2012 at 4:44 am

Love your Disney recap! Looking forward to hearing all about your weekend!

And BTW – any chance of you posting the recipe for those delicious-looking trail mix cookies??? pretty please! πŸ™‚

6 Meghann February 24, 2012 at 11:17 pm

The little cookies are Chocolate Sommersaults!

7 Angela @ Happy Fit Mama February 24, 2012 at 6:01 am

Sounds like a great opportunity to find out what makes a Disney race tick!

I’ve NEVER been to Disney! I know, I was severely deprived as a child. We are planning on taking our kids sometime in the next few years when they are a little older. I’m taking in all the tips that I can!
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8 Erica @ For the Sake of Cake February 24, 2012 at 7:04 am

So jealous of your trip already! My husband & I actually went to Disney on our honeymoon back in August; I love it there! I had no idea animals roamed around the Animal Kingdom resort; that’s awesome!
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9 Jess-ThatJessGal February 24, 2012 at 7:17 am

I adore Sanaa. A group of us are going on Sunday for lunch! Honestly, the best part is the bread service, so I’m glad to see that you guys got the whole spread. It’s worth every penny and calorie! Have fun this weekend!
Jess-ThatJessGal recently posted..No Meat Shall Touch These Lips for the Next 40 Days

10 chelsey @ clean eating chelsey February 24, 2012 at 7:20 am

Looks amazing! And I love the outfit you are sporting! Where did you get that sweater?
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11 Meghann February 24, 2012 at 11:18 pm

Thanks! It’s a recent purchase from the Loft (thanks to a birthday coupon!) and is really comfy πŸ™‚

12 Stephanie February 24, 2012 at 7:37 am

I just got home from Animal Kingdom Lodge!! I loooved it there! Every restaurant we went to was amazing! The desserts were always my favorite too! Hope you can enjoy the breakfast buffet at Boma! It was fantastic!!! Enjoy your time at the most magical place on earth!! πŸ™‚
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13 meghan February 24, 2012 at 7:43 am

Oh my goodness this looks amazing!! I’m so excited for you that you get to go and have such an awesome weekend! I applied for fitfluential last weekend, and it looks like they really hooked you all up for this one! I love RunDisney races, so between the races and the parks and the media passes, you just must be in absolute heaven!
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14 Jamie @ Don't Forget the Cinnamon February 24, 2012 at 7:47 am

I don’t remember where we stayed but I remember the pool so perhaps it’s the yacht club like you mentioned?
The pool was huge and had a donut shaped part to it that you could float around through in inner tubes. There was also a part that simulated the beach and gradually got deeper and deeper!
Jamie @ Don’t Forget the Cinnamon recently posted..Why YOU should host an earth dinner!

15 Meghann February 24, 2012 at 11:20 pm

Yes! Yacht Club has the beach!

16 Bridget February 24, 2012 at 7:58 am

I absolutely love giraffes and zebras, so the Animal Kingdom Lodge is my absolute favorite. I stayed there a few years ago (when I still lived in Orlando!) with a veterinarian friend who had a conference in Celebration. Got the same deal as you with the no waiting….awesome, isn’t it!

17 Emily February 24, 2012 at 7:59 am

that fast pass thing seems AWESOME. nice work!
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18 Hope @ With A Side Of Hope February 24, 2012 at 8:02 am

I am jealous! I am a Disney fanatic!! I love visiting the Animal Kingdom Lodge! The hotel is amazing! Boma is such a good restaurant too! I went there for breakfast and I was highly impressed! I really want to try Sanaa! It looks awesome! πŸ™‚
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19 Katie February 24, 2012 at 8:15 am

I’ve always stayed at the Swan and Dolphin, which I love because you can walk to Epcot, ride the boat to Hollywood Studios (RIP MGM), or do the bus to WDW. Plus, while they tend to have a lot of conventions, it seems to be a little quieter which is nice if you want to take a break from the Disney madness (or sneak off to Universal Studios).
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20 Caroline February 24, 2012 at 8:18 am

Haha don’t you love it when you get the parking lot view?! Hotel looks cool though! Have fun at the race!!
Caroline recently posted..Sweet and Sour Squash

21 Andrea @ Run, Eat, Date, Sleep February 24, 2012 at 8:23 am

I’m so very jealous right now! Even though I live here, a Media Fastpass ticket and complimentary accommodations sound amazing! Have fun! And I hope to see you Saturday at the Grand πŸ™‚
Andrea @ Run, Eat, Date, Sleep recently posted..Dog Days

22 Anne P February 24, 2012 at 8:25 am

Sigh. SO bummed I couldn’t make it down this weekend for the Fitfluential thing! Have fun for me!!
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23 Lindsay @ Running the Windy City February 24, 2012 at 8:31 am

That media fast pass is so cool! Looks like a really fun day!
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24 Beth @ 990 Square February 24, 2012 at 8:33 am

Man, I’m jealous! I love RunDisney, I love the Animal Kingdom Lodge (are you in Jambo House?) and I love Sannaa! One day I’ll make it to Princess.
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25 allpointswhole February 24, 2012 at 8:48 am

love, love love your shirt. My tot was in my lap and when he saw the tree of life, he shouted Disney World!! Its his fave…

26 Katie @ Peace Love & Oats February 24, 2012 at 8:59 am

Ahhhhhh I am so jealous! I LOVE Disney World but I’ve only been there once that I can actually remember going (went when i was 5 and went when I was 21!) It’s a magical place…
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27 Joss February 24, 2012 at 9:12 am

I’ve never stayed at a disney hotel because it’s too darn expensive πŸ˜› But I would imagine if I had the opportunity I would want to stay at the animal kingdom one πŸ˜€ It looks so bright, cheerful, and exciting!
Your dinner and dessert looks amazing! Have a fun weekend!
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28 Jana @ Newly Wife Healthy Life February 24, 2012 at 9:23 am

Oh that is awesome! Looks like such a great time! πŸ™‚
The only Disneyresort I’ve ever stayed at it the Disney Contemporary, which had an awesome Mickey shaped pool that I had loved! One dating would love yo stay at the Grand Floridian though, it looks so nice!
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29 Emily @ The Swallow Flies February 24, 2012 at 10:03 am

What an awesome experience!
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30 Jessica @ Sushi and Sit-Ups February 24, 2012 at 10:27 am

What a fun time! I love Sanaa. The quick service place at Animal Kingdom Lodge has an amazing falafel sandwich and for way less money than the sit-down restaurants. It comes with an awesome couscous salad. I recommend trying it! Good luck with you race!
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31 Meghann February 24, 2012 at 11:21 pm

I got it today for lunch! You’re right – it was good!

32 Caitlin February 24, 2012 at 10:38 am

SO jealous of the amazing time you and the other FitFluentials are having. That meal looks to die for! Malbec is a good choice πŸ™‚

You look so pretty in the pic by the pool – your hair has gotten so much longer it seems! Are you planning to keep it on the long side to increase your hairstyle options for the wedding? πŸ˜‰

Love your Toms – gotta rock them all day long.

That hotel is SO COOL. I had no idea there was a hotel like that near Disney! Tweet me if you’re gonna be around Sunday, lady!
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33 Krissy @ Shiawase Life February 24, 2012 at 11:00 am

I heart Sanaa so much! mmmm…..Can’t wait to see everyone!!!!
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34 SpaceySteph February 24, 2012 at 11:12 am

I have never been so jealous of anyone in my entire life as I am of this post. I moved away from Orlando almost 4 years ago, and miss Disney World an insane amount.
And that instant Fastpass… that is the coolest thing I have ever seen. You’re so right about the Toy Story ride, I would ride that thing 100 times in a row if I didn’t have to wait in the line.
Reading about all the people heading to Disney this weekend has made me quite a green monster.
SpaceySteph recently posted..What I Ate Wednesday- Whirlwind Weekend, Part 2

35 Katy T February 24, 2012 at 11:41 am

How fun! Quick question – where’d you get the shirt/tunic you are wearing in the first few pics? Love it.
Enjoy your visit!

36 Peach February 24, 2012 at 1:47 pm

I had the same question! It’s so cute.

37 Meghann February 24, 2012 at 11:23 pm

Thanks! It’s Loft!

38 Chelsea February 24, 2012 at 12:01 pm

Ahh I miss Disney World! I want to go back now lol

39 Elisabeth February 24, 2012 at 12:31 pm

I don’t think I could pick one favorite Disney resort! I’ve always loved going to the Grand Floridian just to look around, but my favorites are probably Caribbean beach, Wilderness Lodge and the Polynesian.

40 Racheal @ Running with Racheal February 24, 2012 at 12:56 pm

I am staying at the All Star Sports resort this weekend, but it is the fist time I have stayed at Disney. I am not expecting too much as it was the cheapest option. πŸ™‚

That restaurant looks great! Might have to check it out this weekend!
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41 Cait's Plate February 24, 2012 at 1:44 pm

GAH!! That food looks so good (and so does that soft pretzel!). What an awesome opportunity πŸ™‚
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42 Jennifer February 24, 2012 at 2:13 pm

My family has traveled (and still does even though I’m a senior in college – never too old!) to disney tons of times and we ALWAYS stay at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. We’ve stayed at several of their resorts (our other favorite is port orleans which is great if you’re on a budget.) We received a discounted room when it opened 10 or so years ago and we haven’t stayed anywhere else since! I just love the ambiance and the African decor! I will admit that the Lion King is one of our favorite disney movies. We’ve been to disney 3 times since our original stay and we always manage to get a safari view – even when we don’t book it! We’re just lucky I guess! πŸ™‚

Have SO much fun! You’re making me nostalgic for Disney, even though I just went this summer!

43 Amy February 24, 2012 at 3:37 pm

What an awesome opportunity for you! Can’t wait to hear about the rest of your weekend!

Also- I love your cowl tunic top! Where is it from? πŸ™‚
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44 Meghann February 24, 2012 at 11:23 pm

It’s Loft! πŸ™‚

45 Alaina February 24, 2012 at 5:08 pm

I’ve stayed at the Polynesian and the Grand Floridian. The GF was definitely my favorite! I loved the lake side beach. πŸ™‚
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46 Meghan February 24, 2012 at 5:11 pm

I’ve been following your blog for quite awhile now and just love it! I was wondering where your shirt is from that you’re wearing with the leggings…so cute!

Also, weird coincidence, but my name is also Meghan (sorry, just one n!) and I also have a twin. I have an identical twin sister named KELLY! Haha just thought it was cute!

47 Meghann February 24, 2012 at 6:26 pm

Hi Meghan! The tunic is from Loft. It was a recent purchase so they should still have it.

48 Katie @ Talk Less, Say More February 24, 2012 at 10:33 pm

What a fun night! And you just made me realize the open bottle of wine in my fridge should be consumed… πŸ˜‰
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49 Lauren February 25, 2012 at 1:03 am

Looks like a blast!! I’m heading there tomorrow and your posts are getting me excited!
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50 StoriesAndSweetPotatoes February 25, 2012 at 8:56 pm

SO fun! Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚ I haven’t been to Disneyland in a long time and I know they have a couple new hotels.
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