Well, my friends the infamous(e) Tower of Terror Ten Miler weekend and the Happy Haunted 5K has come and gone, and I survived! Yes, that’s right, this girl is an official runDisney 5K finisher!!!
As promised, here’s a rundown of race day including the Happy Haunted 5K, the kids’ races and the Villains Hollywood Bash that took place during and after the Tower of Terror Ten Miler.
Disney’s Happy Haunted 5K
I woke up around 5:45a in order to be ready to leave Shades of Green by 6:15ish. The run started at 7:30, but all runners had to be in their corrals by 7:15. I wanted a few minutes to check out the area and take pictures, and I wasn’t sure how the traffic situation would be. Of course, my gpa was already awake an hour before I was and ready to roll when I woke up. My mom dropped the two of us off at ESPN Wide World of Sports around 6:35.
We made our way down to the fields. My gpa grabbed a spot on the bleachers near the finish line since it was just under three short hours ’til I would make it that way. I started wandering around and trying to grasp the fact that this was actually about to happen.
Mickey was making an appearance prior to the run, but there was no way I was waiting out this line.
So I just continued wandering and looking at costumes and calming my nerves.
Around 7:00, I made my way to Corral E, which I decided stands for exceptionally awesome. Since I was going solo, I felt like I was kind of missing out on the pre-run camaraderie, but I was quickly adopted by a group of ladies, one of whom was also running her first 5K. They were sweet, encouraging and just as pumped as I was.
They allowed us to start in waves with Corral A leaving the closest to the 7:30 start time. By the time the exceptionally awesome corral got to go, there were a few Corral A runners already on their way toward the finish. Someday…
The trail started out fine, as we were running in civilization.
True to the experiences I read, though, the trail got gross the minute we turned to corner and made our way into the wilderness.
The paths got really narrow at certain points which made runners jam up a little bit, and I could see how that would be irritating to those intent on running the entire 5K. I was content doing intervals, jogging here and there, taking pictures and trying not to step on the people in front of me. It happened twice. I’m telling you, I’m all for personal space, but the trails were small and people were packed in the tight areas.
In true Disney fashion, there were photo ops punctuating the trail. Different scenes and characters were ready for their close-ups, and this did some good in spreading out the runners.
There were mile markers with timers. I promise I don’t do a 38-minute mile!! After being the next to last group to start and stopping to take pictures and getting stuck in the trail jams, it took a while to get through this run.
There were water stops just after the 1-mile and 1.5-mile marks. I don’t know why there weren’t any further into the trail. I’m sure there’s some fancy runner reason.
And then it was back to the woods…
Another thing was pretty accurately mentioned in the 2012 blogs was how NASTY your shoes got on the trail. The dirt made its way onto my shoes, through them, through my socks and onto my skin. It was gross. I was, like, three shades darker from the shins down.
But, there were fun characters and giant bugs, so I guess it all evens out.
Once I hit mile two, I knew I was going to make it! I could hear the emcees again, and I knew civilization was near.
We finally made it back to concrete, but here’s where I lost most of my time. Since I was a party of one, I opted not to wait in the character and photo op lines scattered throughout the woods (next time I’m bringing a posse, and we’re hitting every single one!), but I knew I wanted to have my picture taken with the grave diggers. So, I hopped in line and lost about ten minutes, but it was so worth it. These guys were great!
After surviving the cemetery, it was back on track (yeah, I said that) to the finish line! We finished up on the actual track, then it was back to the wet grass before making it back to the fields where we started.
And then I crossed the finish line! I kind of can’t believe I don’t have a picture of that. But here I am looking oh-so-beautiful after I got me finisher medal!
After I grabbed my post-race goodies and downed a banana and a bottle of Powerade, we made our way over to the track for Stitchy’s race.
Tower of Terror Ten Miler Weekend Kids’ Races
Looking back, Stitchy could’ve done the 5K with me (next year), but I signed him up for his age group race, the 400m dash.
While my gpa, the track star, waited with Stitchy for his race to start, the rest of us made our way over to the finish line to wait for him to cross. Pluto was on hand to congratulate the kids as they crossed the finish line, but he had some fun playing and even came over to check out my medal!
Stitchy’s race finally started, and they made their way around the track within a couple of minutes.
After we all found each other (and my mom found her phone thanks to a man who called my gpa with it), we trekked over to the Health Expo since we had missed it the day before for dinner at 1900 Park Fare.
Health and Fitness Expo
There was a fun spot to get a picture made to commemorate the weekend, too!
After the Expo, we were thoroughly exhausted and made our way back to Shades for a rest and a swim. After our afternoon dip, the grown-up gals did a little outlet shopping, then it was time to grab dinner and get ready for the Villains Hollywood Bash at Hollywood Studios!
Villains Hollywood Bash
This was a FANTASTIC event!! We arrived a little after the 10:00 opening due to lots of cast members and even transportation not being quite sure about the FriendShips running to Hollywood Studios (they weren’t, they were only bringing people from the Studios, not to). We ended up stopping in to say hi at Jellyrolls then walking from the Boardwalk to the party. Once we arrived, we headed straight to the weekend’s namesake, the Tower of Terror!
But then we got sidetracked by Cruella DeVil who was very excited that we dressed up for the occasion. Gotta love the connection between girls who love a LBD.
There were drink stations sprinkled throughout the park, and I was kind of surprised at the amount of runners throwing ’em back post-race.
We finally checked in to the Hollywood Tower Hotel. Poor Adriana, Disney first-timer, didn’t know what she was getting herself into.
After plummeting thirteen stories, we thought we’d throw ourselves for a loop (or two) and started making our way to Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster but not before stopping for a picture with Mr. tall, dark and…creepy.
So, I was pretty excited because in all my years of coming to Disney World, I’d never actually gone through the standby queue at RnRC. I’d always either FastPassed or single ridered it. Well, this was all I missed.
Yep, some props behind glass. Cool. Not nearly as amazing as when I wandered through the Expedition Everest queue for the first time.
On our way to Toy Story, we couldn’t pass up the chance to visit with this hunk-o-man (who was a good few inches taller than my 5’10 self). He was super chatty, though, and about eight minutes in we wondered if we should abandon ship. We’d waited this long, though, so we stuck it out ’cause he was just so darn cute.
We stopped to cheer on some of the ten milers before heading into the empty, and I mean empty, Toy Story queue.
We were losing steam and the runners were starting to finish and fill the park, so we decided on one more Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster ride before we called it a night.
And that, ladies and gents, was my very first 5K day!! It was AMAZING, and even though I wasn’t sure that day, I can definitely say it won’t be my last! The atmosphere at runDisney events is incredible. Strangers become friends and your personal cheerleaders, and you do the same. Once I was in it, the run was more fun than daunting, and I can’t wait to get a group together to run it next time!