August 2013

RunDisney’s Disneyland Half Meet Up

by Meghann on August 31, 2013

I made it to Disneyland!!!!


I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am to be here! I headed straight to the airport after work on Thursday (after counting down the hours to my flight all day!). The flight itself was great. I managed to sleep the entire time and woke up in LAX around 9:30 p.m. local time (and 12:30 a.m. Florida time). From there, I took the Disneyland Resort Express (which wasn’t as “express” as I was hoping) to my hotel and finally made it to bed just around midnight. I went straight from the bus to my hotel in the pitch black of the night so I didn’t even get a peek at Disney before heading to bed.

I was kind of spoiled because my first views of Disneyland were a little different than most. I had the amazing opportunity of attending the Disneyland Half Meet Up with RunDisney this morning. The meet-up required a super early 5:15am wake-up call and the rare chance of running through Downtown Disney, Disneyland, and California Adventure park with a small group of die hard RunDisney fans before anyone else was allowed to enter the park. I got to see Disneyland for the first time with the sun rising behind it and it was amazing.


(photo credit Jimmy DeFlippo)

If you are not familiar with the RunDisney meet ups, they are a VERY cool concept. A week or two before race weekends Disney Parks Blog will do a shout out to anyone interested in attending the RunDisney meet up for that race. Potential participants will then email RSVPs hoping for a coveted spot. RunDisney does a few teasers via their social media networks, so followers know it’s coming. Usually the spots fill up in 10-15 minutes!

The RunDisney meet ups are FREE to all participants and gives followers a chance to run with special guests like Jeff Galloway and Ali Vincent. There’s also the added perk of running through the parks before they open to the public.

I attended a RunDisney meet up before the Princess Half in 2012 and had a blast. I’d run through Epcot for plenty of races, but getting the chance to run with such a small group (most meet ups are limited in participants) was such a different experience.

Today’s meet up was extra special because not only would I be running with the great folks at RunDisney, but I would be seeing Downtown Disney, Disneyland, and California Adventure park for the first time ever!

So, yeah, I was so excited that I barely slept and was bouncing my way downstairs well before I needed to. Luckily, that worked in my favor since I had the chance to meet Ali Vincent in the lobby before heading over to the meet up.


(photo credit Heather)

(Also great seeing Heather and Carissa!)

I watched Ali’s season of Biggest Loser and was rooting for her in every episode. She’s just as sweet and kind in person as she was on the show and I’m so excited to hear about the wonderful things going on in her life and career (she even has a new show on the Live Well network). She’s running the Dumbo Double Dare this weekend, too, and she just signed up for the Dopey Challenge (4 races!) in January. More power to ya, Ali!


(photo credit Jimmy DeFlippo)

The Disneyland Half Meet Up started in Downtown Disney at the Sorcerer’s Hat. Everyone in attendance had to sign a waiver and received a blue RunDisney tech tee to wear for the run.

Before we started running New Balance gave us a quick lesson in running form. The key take away was to always remember the four elements to great running form:

  • Posture
  • Midfoot
  • Cadence
  • Lean


(photo credit Jimmy DeFlippo)

From there we split in two groups (Jeff Galloway’s run/walk group and the straight running group). I went with the straight running group since it was the smaller group and seemed more my running style.

I made a point to take in every part of the run. We were only going two miles, but I knew it would be a good two miles. I felt like a little kid opening a present for the first time. I was at Disneyland!


(photo credit Jimmy DeFlippo)

We went up Downtown Disney then made a left in to Disneyland Park. Right before we turned down the main street, Carissa told me to brace myself for Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. She told me it’s a little different than Cinderella’s.


She was right, it was smaller, but it still had its own magical quality to it. For some reason I thought we would go around it (running through castles is saved just for races, right?), but nope, we headed straight through. How cool is that?!


(photo credit Larry Rhodes)

We made a right through Fantasyland and were greeted by a special friend – Alice!


(photo credit Jimmy DeFlippo)

Alice invited us to take a break from our runs and ride Teacups.


Don’t mind if we do!!


(p.s. I was so surprised to see Monica! She had told me a month ago she would be out of town, but ended up being able to make it to the meet up! Loved running with her today. We ran the Walt Disney World Marathon together back in 2010.)

We took a quick spin in the cups, then headed on our way to California Adventure Park.


(photo credit Jimmy DeFlippo)

I was the most excited about seeing Cars Land. I followed the development of the area through Disney Parks Blog and was happy to finally see it in person for the first time. The imagineers really did a great job bringing the movie to life.





(photo credit Jimmy DeFlippo)


We ended the run at the Mad Hatter Tea party, where the Mad Hatter was waiting for photos.


Then, breakfast was served.


Can you spot the hidden Mickey? 😉

In honor of the Alice and Wonderland theme of the run, they had scones and breads out to nibble on.


While we ate, we heard from some special RunDisney guests (Jeff Galloway, Ali Vincent, Sean Astin, Joey Fatone, etc. ) and even got a sneak peek at the RunDisney Medals for the rest of the year (and start of 2014!).


(photo credit Jimmy DeFlippo)

I love a good medal.


(photo credit Jimmy DeFlippo)

And the icing on the cake was when I got my photo with Joey Fatone.


When asked about Sunday’s VMA performance he said it was some of the best 30 seconds of his life. 😉

In all honesty, he was a really great guy and so genuine and funny. My inner-14 year old self was doing somersaults all morning around him. It’s funny how some school girl crushes will never die – *Nsync for life!

The meet up was so much fun. Thank you RunDisney for hosting!


(photo credit Jimmy DeFlippo)

It was also a great way to kick-off the RunDisney weekend in Disneyland. I’ve been on cloud 9 since I’ve arrived. I can’t wait to explore, race, and just enjoy being at the “other” Disney. This is a trip I’m going to live up every minute at.

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