I just returned from a mini-vacay at Walt Disney World and I can’t wait to share all the details with you. First of all, I need to thank New Balance for inviting me to run with them this weekend. It was a blast!
New Balance is the official shoe of runDisney. Back in 2013 they thought it might be fun to design a special Disney-themed shoe to be sold exclusively at runDisney events. Not quite aware of just how enthusiastic runDisney fans are, they severely underestimated how many shoes to bring to the first event. The demand for the shoes surpassed anything they could have possibly imagined and they ended up selling out of their entire stock (including shoes reserved for the Princess Half Marathon) in a matter of hours.
Having learned a thing or two from their 2013 experience, New Balance returned in 2014 with a vengeance. This time with character –specific shoes that covered a variety of running types (the 860v4 Sorcerer Mickey and Pink Minnie for stability runners and the 890v4 Goofy and Cinderella for neutral runners), as well as limited edition Sorcerer Mickey and Pink Minnie shoes for kids. Once again the shoes exceeded all expectations and demand remained high.
Last week New Balance officially announced the 2015 runDisney premium limited edition Retro Mickey and Minnie 990v3 shoes inspired by the Disney classic Steamboat Willie. The new kicks would be available, as well as a limited number of 2014 shoes, at the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend expo. They also introduced a new queue system that would cut-back on the massive lines experienced at past expos. Runners had the opportunity to reserve a spot online at NBvirtualqueue.com beginning at 6:00am every morning of expo.
Compared to the colorful, flashy shoes of 2013 and 2014, the 2015 runDisney shoes are a little more subtle with a classic retro vibe that is very popular right now. Personally, I like the black and gray. I think they’re a little more versatile for walking around the parks and easier to coordinate with. I was really excited to receive a pair on Wednesday evening and wore them proudly the rest of the weekend.
As hinted on the New Balance Facebook page, I have a feeling they’re not done with 2015 just yet.
This should be good news for runDisney fanatics who weren’t as impressed with the retro gray and black as I was. There are a lot of rumors spreading on what the next release of shoes will be. I’m kind of hoping for race-themed shoes that will coordinate with the upcoming races still left on the 2015 runDisney calendar. I’ve read others are looking for a Donald or Pluto shoe. What do you think?
I headed straight to Walt Disney World after work on Wednesday and met the New Balance team (+ media) at the newly renovated California Grill for dinner. Fun Fact: my parents had prom at California Grill (back then is was called Top of the World, which is now the name of a similar bar located at neighboring Bay Lake Tower) in 1982.
We watched Wishes from the balcony. It was my first time catching the show (the late 8:00pm show time means I’m rarely still in the park to see it) and I was impressed. They pumped the music through the restaurant during the show, which really added to the magic of seeing the show.
I enjoyed the flounder for dinner, which was served atop a delicious nicoise salad.
The meal was amazing. I think I may have a new favorite special occasion WDW restaurant.
Thursday morning I joined Mary of New Balance and Toni from Black Girls Run for a shakeout run at the New Balance Running Trail at the Boardwalk.
One of New Balance’s big initiatives with runDisney is the addition of several New Balance Running Trails around the Walt Disney Resort. Since I receive so many emails regarding where to run on Walt Disney Property, I’m going to wait and share more of what I learned in another post.
After a shower and quick bowl of oatmeal for breakfast at the hotel, we headed to ESPN Wide World of Sports to check out the runDisney Kids Races and Expo.
Seeing the runDisney Kids Races was another first for me. I knew they existed, but had never seen them in person.
Due to the growing popularity of the events, the Kids Races now occur on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday during the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend. Ages range from crawlers to thirteen, with the shortest distance being the diaper dash and the longest the Mickey one miler. Every participant receives a race bib, shirt, and special finisher’s medal. All events take place at the New Balance Track and Field at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex and, yes, parents are allowed to run with their children.
It was pure mayhem. Adorable, crazy mayhem. I can’t wait until Owen is old enough to run/crawl to the finish!
The Walt Disney World Marathon expo remains large and impressive. It has officially expanded from its original Jostens Center roots and now takes over the HP Pavilion as well as the baseball stadium.
I had free time in the afternoon after getting my bib and took the opportunity to snooze. It was glorious.
For dinner, we wined and fined at the newly opened Spice Road Table (another first!) in the Morrocco section of Epcot.
The tapas-heavy restaurant is a welcomed addition to the World Showcase. Our party enjoyed the loud, lively atmosphere that comes from sharing delicious, small plates.
We enjoyed plate-after-plate of hummus, garlic chicken, lamb, and chicken skewers, as well as pitchers of sangria.
The night ended with a picture-perfect view of Illuminations from our table.
I could get used to watching fireworks every night!
I’ll be back with the rest of the weekend highlights (including a full recap of Walt Disney World Half Marathon) later.