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Princess Expo and Pasta Party

by Meghann on February 24, 2012

Expo time!

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This afternoon the RunDisney blogger crew hit the Princess Half Marathon Expo at the ESPN complex.

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If you go at the right time, collecting your bib and running packet at any RunDisney event is relatively painless. We went at 1:00pm on a Friday and didn’t have any problems with crowds while collecting our stuff. However, I’ve been to one of their expos at 1:00 on a Saturday and it can get pretty crazy. My advice is to get there early and come prepared with your waiver.

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The bulk of the line usually comes from runners wanting to take photos with the carriage that sits outside the expo entrance. If you have time to wait for a cool photo – go for it – otherwise it’s just as easy to skip the photo opt and go around the line. ;)

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Once inside, everything is a little more spread out and relatively easy to get to.

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I’ll be running the Tangled 5k (my first Disney 5k!) on Saturday morning and the Princess Half Marathon on Sunday. Two race = two bibs.

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It’s hard to tell, but there’s a little pink sticker on my Princess Half bib that references an earlier corral. Disney races are usually pretty strict with their corral placements. When you register online, you’re asked what your predicted finish time will be and to provide proof for that time. However, if you ever feel you are placed in the wrong corral (I was in the last!), then it’s super easy to fix at the runner’s relations booth. They still ask that you provide proof that the predicted finish time is possible, but all you do is flash them your latest finish time and they’ll usually give you a new sticker without a problem.

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Once we collected our bibs – it was shopping time!

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Disney expos are some of my favorite – they’re so big and full of enthusiastic runners!

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Surprisingly, I left pretty empty handed – just a couple things of Sports Beans and a handful of free Larabar samples. Not bad, not bad. If I hadn’t made my costume already, I could have been talked into a tutu, which – now that I’ve attempted to make my own tutu – I realize are just as expensive to make as they are to buy pre-made. Live and learn.

Before the group headed to expo, we all had lunch at the quick service restaurant (The Mara) in Animal Kingdom Lodge.

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Someone in my comments yesterday recommended the falafel sandwich, so that’s what I went with.

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The falafel pita came with a side of cous cous and was really good. The sauce gave it a nice spice that was hot, but nothing crazy.

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Our meal voucher included a dessert, so I grabbed a fruit cup that I didn’t end up eating and am saving for later in the weekend in my in-room fridge.

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Half of my tablemates had grabbed the Zebra Domes that just looked amazing.

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Luckily, they were happy to share! I had two and they were a little different than I was expecting. I thought the outside would be hard (like a cake ball shell), but it was actually soft, like a mousse. It was pretty good.

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After the expo, Fitz, Callie, Brittany, Christie, and I headed out to explore the parks.

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We only had a small window of time and decided Epcot would be our best bet.

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I nibbled on my stash of apple slices from the Chiquita booth at the expo.

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We hit up all of the best that Epcot has to offer – Soarin, Mission to Space, Test Tracks, so on and so on. :)

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We ended our night with the traditional Pasta in the Park Party that RunDisney offers to all of their half marathon and/or marathon weekend guests the Friday before all of their races.

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I’ve run three RunDisney races, but this was the first time I’ve attended one of their pasta parties. It’s very pricey ($50 per ticket) and – to be honest – I’m not a huge pasta fan. I’ve been very disappointed with pasta parties I’ve attended in the past at other races and wasn’t sure what to expect for this one.

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A Pasta Party ticket grants you all the pasta you can eat and access to the Epcot park for the remainder of the evening.

The spread of food was surprisingly incredible.

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Or maybe not so surprising considering this is Disney World?

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I piled my plate with a taste of everything the buffet had to offer.

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My favorite was the gorgeous salad that came with a cucumber-yogurt dressing and was piled high with olives, onions, cucumbers, and tomatoes.

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I also really enjoyed the herb potato salad. So, so good.

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Psstt… my friend Brittany is gluten-free and Disney has been doing an AWESOME job this weekend making sure she’s been wall taken care of at all the restaurants/events with delicious gf options. The thing about Disney is they’re very allergy and vegetarian/vegan friendly – all you have to do is ask. Check out Brittany’s blog for more details on what she’s been eating!

The spread wasn’t terribly pasta heavy, which I really preferred. It was a good mix of protein and carbs – perfect pre-race fuel And the food was really good. Much better than I was expecting and enough to keep me toying with the idea of seconds, even though I was full. I didn’t want to stop eating it!

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The food was good, there were no lines, no crowds, pretty good music, and princesses to pose with.

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However, the atmosphere was lacking and I thought $50 was still very overpriced for what this event was. Would I pay for it on my own? Probably not, but it was nice to have the total experience for the weekend.

One bonus of the evening was speaking with Michelle Maready (who is head person for the Princess Half marathon) and being able to pick her brain on all things RunDisney.

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Did You Know…

  • This is the 4th Princess Half and – before the Princess Half – they offered a ‘Minnie Marathon Weekend’ that offered a 15k as the main event.
  • 19,500 runners will be running Sunday
  • 6,000 runners will be running the 5k on Saturday
  • They order medals at 100% of their cap to ensure they never run out of medals – everyone gets one no matter what.
  • The eldest runner on Sunday is 78 and the youngest is 14
  • Men start in the 3rd corral at the earliest, to ensure a female winner (a man has won it in the past)
  • There will be 600 port-a-potties on site this weekend
  • They’re always working on the next surprise – can’t wait to see what it will be!

I love fun facts like that. I probably could have picked Michelle’s brain all night, but my bed was calling my name.

I have an early alarm set and a 5k fun run to run in the morning.

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Good Night!

{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Danielle February 24, 2012 at 11:16 pm

Wow, what a fun pre-race experience. And despite the hefty price tag, the pasta party dinner still sounds fun. I know I always appreciate a little princess face time ;) have a blast tomorrow!

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2 Sana February 24, 2012 at 11:19 pm

Good luck this weekend!

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3 Caroline February 24, 2012 at 11:25 pm

The race and the whole experience looks like SO much fun! I’d love to do a Disney race someday – they seem even better than Rock ‘N Roll!

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4 Katie @ Talk Less, Say More February 24, 2012 at 11:33 pm

Have fun with the 5k tomorrow! Looks like such a fun weekend! :)

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5 MrsSwan February 24, 2012 at 11:33 pm

I am sooo loving all of these recaps from everyone!!! Yeah I am excited for you all and I don’t even run! lol

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6 Lynne February 25, 2012 at 12:14 am

Thanks for the extra/back scenes info! I had to laugh when I read the part about putting men in the 3rd corral so a woman is the first to cross the finish line. Truthfully, I never thought about guys entering….when I envision the race, it is only ladies running….no doubt because of the name!

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7 delia February 25, 2012 at 12:22 am

If the pasta dinner price included admission to Epcot, it seems like it wouldn’t be too bad a deal. You are so lucky to get to participate in this weekend for free!

Also, I tried going to the link to Brittany’s site and landed on a storefront. Are you sure that’s her site?

Good luck in your races!

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8 Meghann February 25, 2012 at 4:52 am

I just fixed the link! It’s http://www.gothextramile.com

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9 Brittany @ GOtheXtraMile February 25, 2012 at 8:16 am

Close!!! gothextramileblog.com haha ;D It’s easy to get it mixed up!

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10 Lindsay February 25, 2012 at 12:33 am

My friend is Belle! You have to get a picture with her in your costume. She was my sorority sister and would be delighted to meet you (although she can’t be out of character!)!

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11 Lindsay February 25, 2012 at 12:34 am

By the way, good luck this weekend!! Woo woo!

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12 Christine @ BookishlyB February 25, 2012 at 12:48 am

This is obviously a female geared race, but I can’t helping wondering what if men did something like this- a reversal of sorts. One could argue they typically win most races anyway, but if a national company organized a race and made women start far back I’d think there would be some massive complaining. Food for thought.

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13 Anne @strawberryjampackedlife February 25, 2012 at 12:55 am

GAH I AM SO PUMPED NOW!! Off to go find that tutu that I swear I have. At least I got my sparkly bic bands in the mail today! I’m a princess!

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14 carissa February 25, 2012 at 4:17 am

See you soon! Its cool to see the pasta party. and yes…we had a man win….it was sad. the girl was right behind him and I may or may not have booed!!!

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15 Joss February 25, 2012 at 7:54 am

the pasta party buffet looks yummy :D

Good luck at the races!

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16 Jamie @ Don't Forget the Cinnamon February 25, 2012 at 8:13 am

The fact that they don’t start men until the 3rd corral to ensure a female winner is so interesting!! I’m not sure what to make of it to be honest!

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17 Brittany @ GOtheXtraMile February 25, 2012 at 8:17 am

Thank goodness no one can see the picture from the ride where I looked drugggged out! Hahaha.
So much fun yesterday!! I hope you guys had fun at the 5k :D

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18 Ash Bear February 25, 2012 at 8:22 am

I really appreciate the honest feedback regarding some of the events. I have never paid for a pre-race pasta party and doubt I ever would. But, it’s nice that they had other options unlike most places. Have a blast today in the 5k! I’ll be curious whether its a race you can PR or if it’s jam packed.

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19 Lily February 25, 2012 at 8:35 am

This all looks SO MUCH FUN. It seems like you are having a great time! I hope that one day I will be able to run races like this :) GOODLUCK THIS WEEKEND!!

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20 Katie @ Peace Love & Oats February 25, 2012 at 8:36 am

Thank you for mentioning the gluten free thing – everytime I saw where you ate, I thought: I wonder if I would find anything or just get frustrated! Looks like a fun day and good luck on your 5k today!

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21 Hillary February 25, 2012 at 8:37 am

Gah, I so wish I was running this race tomorrow! The Princess Half has been on my bucket list for two years now—I need to do it! Maybe next year?

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22 Amy February 25, 2012 at 9:04 am

Wow…you do know that you are a very lucky girl, right? :)

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23 Lindsay @ Running the Windy City February 25, 2012 at 9:18 am

I love Epcot, I think it’s my favorite park :)

Good luck this morning!

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24 Sarah w February 25, 2012 at 9:33 am

Good luck!!

Also what brand and where is your awesome red purse from?!

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25 Kristin @ FoodFash February 25, 2012 at 10:55 am

Looks like so much fun! I’m awfully jealous of your bare legs – it’s super chilly (for me) in Austin right now!

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26 Cait's Plate February 25, 2012 at 11:23 am

Running expos always look like so much fun. I really need to sign up for a race and experience the goodness of one sometime soon!

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27 Lynda @ Hit The Road Jane February 27, 2012 at 11:55 am

That’s so neat to learn all of those stats!! Did she mention what’s in store for the 5th anniversary run?? I’m so sad it’s over already :( Disney does an incredible job with this race and I can’t sing its praises enough!

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