Mouse House Mom is on vacation to see the Mouse. Sorry for no post this week.
We are having an amazing time making memories.
Mouse House Mom is on vacation to see the Mouse. Sorry for no post this week.
We are having an amazing time making memories.
Recently I’ve had a lot of friends head south to Disneyland for a family vacation. Since Disney Parks are my jam I thought I’d post the top 5 tips for planning your Disneyland vacation. I remember going on a spontaneous Disneyland vacation as a kid and it was memorable, but the more planning you put into your Disneyland vacation the more you can get out of it. There can be fun in spontaneity, but these 5 tips will help ensure you get the most out of your Disneyland vacation.
Below are my 5 tips for planning your Disneyland vacation and I’m well aware that these 5 words may seem odd in relation to a vacation. Trust me, I’ll explain each below and hopefully you’ll realize I’m not as crazy as my list sounds.
In order to maximize your time in Disneyland, you should have a strategy. Depending on your personality you may not want to take a vacation that requires a strategy. However, a basic strategy will help you manage the Parks. Each Park has multiple “lands” that you’ll want to explore with interesting attractions in each part. A simple strategy would be to pick a land that you want to start in and then decide which ride you want to do first (ahem, Peter Pan in Fantasyland) and then you could finish exploring nearby attractions in that land before moving to the next land. I find having a plan fun and I like to memorize it, which I’ll admit was difficult when I planned our trip in 8 minute intervals starting at rope drop.
I mentioned Rope Drop above and it is worth mentioning again. If you want to:
If those appeal to you then you’ll want to find out what time Disneyland opens and aim to be there 45 mins to 1 hour earlier (and earlier if its a holiday or a Monday). This will give you time to get through security, the ticket gates and into the rope drop crowd on Main Street.
Even on vacation you can’t escape technology. First thing you must do is download the Disneyland App. You can create an account, link your tickets, buy additional items (i.e., MaxPass), make dining reservations, obtain and view your park photos, and even order food from certain places when you’re in Disneyland.
I’m Canadian and the wifi in Disneyland isn’t fully reliable. I actually had to rely on my mother’s iPhone back in October because she had a US data plan and I hadn’t bought one for our trip. I would suggest purchasing a US data plan so that you can use the Disneyland App.
With all this technology and the inevitable use of your phone as a camera, you’re going to need a plan for how to keep your phone battery from dying. As an iPhone user I suggest using the “low power mode” for the battery in addition to keeping a portable charger with you. Or use the tag team method and use one person’s phone until it dies then move on to the next phone.
I love food and if you can’t indulge on a vacation then when can you?! Your vacation will not be complete without devouring some Mickey shaped foods, such as waffles or ice cream bars.
When we go on any Disney vacation (world or land) we always try to ensure that we have a sit down meal at least once a day. We have always been travelling with a child under 3 so we find a sit down meal important to slow the pace and give us all a much needed break. You can book your Disneyland advance dining reservations (or ADR as the cool kids say) at select restaurants up to 60 days in advance. Go crunch the dates and find out your earliest booking date and get right on it – there’s no time to lose! You can even change your mind later so book it early and change it if necessary.
Character Dining is expensive, but waiting in line ups to meet characters can be viewed as a waste of time by some. You’ll have to balance your budget so consider what option is best for you. My daughter hates characters and has continued this trend the last few trips. She finally warmed up to princesses last October. We ate at Chef Goofy’s and Goofy sort of snuck up on my toddler while she was eating a cake pop and she almost knifed him. So maybe don’t waste your money, unless you’re me and are hopeful that one day she’ll get over her fear.
I have found that Disneyland was more expensive for food than Disney World and if you want to keep costs down be aware that you are allowed to bring food into Disneyland. I normally bring snacks, but you could pack sandwiches and treat yourself to churros for a dessert.
As a parent I’m constantly trying to manage expectations and that’s important on your Disneyland vacation. Before you tell your kids how amazing Splash Mountain is you’ll want to check if any rides are closed for refurbishments. This information can be found on the Daily Event Schedule on the Disneyland website. I was heart broken my baby missed out on It’s A Small World when we visited in October.
All the minimum height requirements are also listed in the Disneyland App (seriously, what are you waiting for – get this App!). We kept a growth chart for my daughter and specifically marked 40″ as “Splash Mountain” and now all the neighbour kids know they are tall enough to ride it when they do a Disney vacation.
Not only do you need a strategy and technology for this fun family vacation, but you also need to learn the lingo of Disney. Are you sure you haven’t just signed yourself up for a business conference? All of this work is actually fun and your family will have no idea all the time and effort you put in behind the scenes to make sure this Disneyland vacation feels effortless.
You’ll need to decide if you’re going to be a paper-based (free) FastPass user or upgrade (for a cost) to MaxPass. This debate deserves it’s own blog post, which the Magic Kingdom Mamas have already done here so check it out.
Depending on your family dynamic you may be utilizing Rider Switch or Single Rider lines. I do not advocate for families using Single Rider lines to avoid waiting in the main line. Riding as a family is fun and waiting in line as a family can be fun too (there’s even an App for that).
Single Rider lines are for singles – like when I went back to the park when my baby and hubby were sleeping and I didn’t want to wait in line. Rider Switch is for when hubby and I can’t leave the baby unattended.
Other lingo you may encounter is listed below:
Those are my 5 tips for planning your Disneyland vacation and it will certainly be a memorable trip. Remember that even with all the pre-planning, there will be meltdowns, there will be chaos, there will be surprises, but there will also be magical moments that make it all worth while. Have fun and please let me know how your vacation goes– I’d love to hear about it!
This is a guest post by Mouse House Mom’s own mother, Marg. While Marg isn’t the Disney enthusiast that her daughter is, she is a huge Avatar fan. Since Marg recently returned home from Walt Disney World, she’s guest posting to share her Pandora – The World of Avatar experience with you. I hope you enjoy it.
My husband and I recently returned from a 5 day, Walt Disney World vacation with our son, his wife and their 3 kids (17, 11, and 9). This was our second trip with my grandkids in Walt Disney World and what made this vacation extremely special, was being able to experience the newly opened Pandora – The World of Avatar at Animal Kingdom. While I booked this vacation unaware of Pandora, I certainly felt blessed that it was able to be a part of our vacation.
I’m a huge Avatar fan and in the lead up to our trip I made a special granddaughter date night to watch Avatar with my two granddaughters who were toddlers when the movie was released.
Animal Kingdom is the perfect spot for Pandora. You would think the Tree of Life at the entrance was put there years ago knowing Pandora would one day come along to compliment it.
Prepare to be truly amazed with the floating mountains, entertainment, and attractions. My personal all-time, favourite attraction was the Flight of Passage. I have never experienced such a true to life ride experience. The seat is like getting on a motorcycle, but it is soft and your legs feel the movement of the bird breathing. I have been on many 3D rides that felt realistic, but none compare to the reality of this ride. It didn’t hurt that my favourite part in the Avatar movie was where Jake Scully takes his flight of passage. In addition to Flight of Passage there is another major attraction: Na’vi River Journey. This is a slow ride and has no height restrictions, unlike 44 inch height requirement for Flight of Passage
While walking through Pandora, we came upon a live show, the Swotu Waya Na’vi Drum Ceremony. The performers in the show got my grandkids involved in playing drums and we all learned a new song. Thanks to the advice of my daughter, we had purchased a Memory Maker and were able to take advantage of the PhotoPass photographer to capture some great shots during this experience.
Having been fortunate to experience Pandora – The World of Avatar at Animal Kingdom in its first month open, I recommend the following to maximize your experience:
More on each tip is provided below.
Book your 1 Pandora FastPass the moment you get access and book it for early in the day. Learn from my confusion (I had to call Walt Disney World), when you book your FastPasses for Animal Kingdom, keep in mind you only get 1 Pandora FastPass (per day) for the 2 attractions available (i.e., Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey). You can use your other 2 FastPasses on some of the other amazing Animal Kingdom attractions. Don’t book another FastPass too soon because you’ll probably find it hard to leave Pandora! Although Cast Members do a good job shading the lineups it gets very hot spending up to 3 hours in line is tough for kids and adults.
Bring water and snacks for the lineups. It’s important in the Florida heat to stay hydrated. We found munching on snacks kept us from getting grumpy and hungry between meals.
Watch Avatar before going so you can fully appreciate how true to the movie Pandora is. A word to the wise, Avatar was playing every night on the TV in our Walt Disney World hotel.
I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.
Marg, the Mouse House Mom’s Mom
Wake up extra early? Check. First in line at the bus? Check. Through the ticket gate and in time for Rope Drop? Check. Take digital SLR camera out in preparation of Welcome Show? Check. Take 1 test picture? Check. Drop camera and have pieces fly everywhere? Check. That was how we started our 2016 Walt Disney World vacation and the reason I became familiar with Disney PhotoPass.
The purpose of this blog post is to save you having to go to the trouble of smashing your camera to find out about Disney PhotoPass. We recently traveled to Disneyland and now I’m sharing my knowledge of the Disney PhotoPass at Disneyland with you!
Disney has photographers located at most key photo spots (more on this below) where they will take your photo with their professional, high quality, digital cameras. The photographer will initially give you a bar code (via app, web, or a card) that links to your photos. You can continue to give this bar code to each photographer and the pictures get added to your account. A full list of photos included in the Disney PhotoPass is listed in the paragraphs that follow. After your vacation you can download your photos within 45 days. Trust me, it’s easy to use!
You can purchase a one day Disney PhotoPass for $39 or a one week Disney PhotoPass for $78. The photos covered by both options include:
The price for the Disney PhotoPass at Disneyland doesn’t change based on when you purchase it. Unlike the Walt Disney World Memory Maker, the price for a Disney PhotoPass doesn’t increase if you buy it last minute. Also, when you buy it isn’t the same as when you activate it. I bought mine on a Monday, but didn’t activate it until the Thursday when we encountered Mickey Mouse out for an unexpected stroll.
One thing that surprised me was the cost of Dining Photos at the character dining restaurants. If I recall correctly, the photo package at Goofy’s Kitchen was almost $40 and if I didn’t already have the PhotoPass I’d be horrible at saying no. A person actually comes to your table with your photos printed out in a beautiful portfolio, which also includes recipes from the restaurant you’re at and they sell it as a package. Thankfully, if you have the Disney PhotoPass and can show that it is active for that time (take out the App and voila) then you get the digital pictures without having to buy the printed out package.
If you’ve spent the money on the Disney PhotoPass, make sure you stop and get your photos taken. Using the Disneyland App you can view where the photographers are located. That said, it is pretty intuitive – almost all of the must have photo spots have a Disney photographer present.
I mentioned above that you can get some photos taken that don’t look like you’re at Disneyland. This adds to the versatility of the Disney PhotoPass because now you have some great professional looking family photos that you don’t necessarily associate with a Disney vacation.
Also if you’re on an attraction that has photos, you’ll want to stop at the end and record the code associated with your photo so you can link it to your Disney PhotoPass account later. I found it easiest to snap a picture with my phone of the code rather than try to enter it on the App in the moment.
Tip: if you want a less crowded Castle picture then get it taken earlier in the day. However, we’ve never had a problem with the number of people floating through the background of our photos.
We weren’t having any magic shots offered to us so towards the end of our trip I asked a photographer if they could take a Magic Shot. The photographer was happy to do so, but didn’t tell me what “magic” they’d be adding. The photographer only advised how to pose. I’m really happy with how the magic shot turned out and its extra special since we were in Disneyland for the Tinker Bell Half Marathon.
One alternative to the Disney PhotoPass is to ask the Disney PhotoPass photographer to take a photo with your camera. They are going to get a pretty good photo and while they’ll snap some with their official camera, you can simply choose not to buy them. Even during the Tinker Bell Half Marathon, cast members (not official photographers) were ready to take a photo with your phone/camera for you.
I don’t get paid for supporting or speaking positively for any products on this blog. Anything I choose to endorse is because I truly believe in it.
Everyone has a favourite Disneyland attraction and for me, it is Splash Mountain. When I was a kid on Disneyland vacations, we’d always enjoy the queue and the ride as a family. It was our “final attraction” tradition. I’m not alone on this since I can see that this very minute (July 3, 1:20 PM) there’s a 75 minute line for Splash Mountain.
Being a Canadian, child of the 80’s meant that my first trip in 1989 was after the opening of Splash Mountain. As a 5 year old, I have no memory of Splash Mountain from my first Disneyland vacation. However, I know all of the words to Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah, which was recorded almost 40 years before I was born. This leads me to hypothesize that the memory of riding Splash Mountain didn’t stick, but the experience stayed with me in my love of Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah.
Growing up, we had a family tradition of making Splash Mountain our last attraction of the day. Now that my husband and I have a couple Disney vacations under our belts as parents, we’ve started our own final attraction tradition with It’s A Small World.
In my last family Disneyland vacation as a kiddo (not a parent), I recall complaining that the ride was too much build up until the exciting drop. To this day I think Brer Rabbit heard me utter those words and made sure I’d regret them. As we rode one of the little drops that I found “too slow”, we plunged down it and I got absolutely soaked. This caused roars of laughter and I’ve never again thought or said anything bad about Splash Mountain!
One family trip we were in Disneyland on New Year’s Eve (20 years ago) and we decided we wanted to be the last people to ride Splash Mountain for the year. We planned to get the photographic evidence to prove we rode it at the insane time of 2AM. Everything was working fine and we got on the final log with a young couple in front of us in the log. When the ride was over my parents went to purchase our photo, but it turns out one of the people in front of us flashed their ta-tas at the camera and we weren’t allowed to get a copy. In the end we got a funny story that has lived longer than any picture souvenir would have lasted.
Earlier this year, after my munchkin was put to bed, I ran back to Disneyland for just over 1 hour. In that hour, I had to use my Space Mountain FastPass and see everything else I wanted. After Space Mountain I crossed Disneyland to “single ride” Splash Mountain. There was zero wait for “single riders” and I joined a group on their ride. Exiting the ride I noticed that there was no line. I got my picture code, came back and went to walk up and around in the “single riders” line, but a Cast Member told me to just hop on since the loading area was vacant. You may be wondering how the ride, which can boast 2 hour line ups was empty. Lucky for me, the Electrical Parade had just begun and that’s where the masses were. I rode Splash Mountain twice, completely alone, in my own log.
Riding Splash Mountain in my own log, by myself was amazing. They asked me to sit in spot “3” and I asked a Cast Member if that meant I would be getting soaked. The response back was, “You should be ok” and I truly was. All the thrills and fun, without getting soaked! In the moment of riding Splash Mountain all by myself I realized that I should have had that on my Bucket List and then did a celebratory dance in achieving this newly added, and newly achieved Bucket List item. I was able to ride and sing along to the music without my brother or my husband complaining about my singing voice. This also had the benefit of nobody ruining my coveted Splash Mountain picture!
If you have a January or February vacation to Disneyland or Walt Disney World, be warned that Splash Mountain is typically closed for a short while in these months for routine maintenance. When we went mid-January to Walt Disney World it was closed.
There is a 40 inch height restriction on Splash Mountain. We are hoping by the time my Munchkin is 4 1/2 years old she’ll be tall enough to experience this attraction with us!
In honour of Father’s Day this weekend, I’m dedicating this post to a fun activity dad will love: LA Angels of Anaheim baseball game!
Last month we had an amazing Disneyland vacation where I was able to research first-hand how to have a successful time at a LA Angels of Anaheim baseball game.
We opted for an afternoon game to give us some mid-day enjoyment. In reviewing the LA Angels of Anaheim schedule it appears that their home games on Saturdays are 6:07 PM and Sundays are 12:37 PM. As for weeknight home games, those appear to be scheduled for 7:07 PM.
If you choose an afternoon game then try to get a seat in the shade. This can be done by picking seats on the third base side, especially the 200 level. We sat third base side, section 104, row 3 (by the foul post), and were in sun the entire time. If we moved probably 15 rows up in this 100 level we could have been shaded. That said, we had amazing views!
My husband has a very specific fitted hat size and whenever we travel we always support the home team. To be sure he’d have an Angels hat we purchased them online a month before our Disneyland vacation. This way we had the hats for the entire trip and it was fun to walk through the Vancouver airport at the start of our trip being all matchy-matchy. The stadium had no shortage of shirts, hats, and other merchandise to purchase.
We rented a car for our vacation and from Harbor and Katella we had about an 8 minute drive to the Stadium. Directions were simple and we didn’t even need to plug it into the GPS. Parking at the stadium was $10 and the walk to the closest gate was no more than a minute or two.
I spoke with our hotel staff who advised that Uber would cost $10 and a taxi would be a bit more. We opted for a rental car because of car seat requirements.
The “Will Call” line was where we had to obtain our tickets and we only had one person in front of us in line. As for the line-up for security and getting in the park, that moved quickly as well. No bottle necks, at least not 15 minutes before the first pitch in what we experienced.
While the stadium had various food options ranging from hot dogs to poke, we stuck with regular ballgame food. Hot dogs, popcorn, and water were all priced similar to Disneyland. As a Canadian, I felt that the prices were more reasonable than what we pay at sporting events back home.
My 3 tips for a successful trip to an LA Angels of Anaheim game are as follows:
Have fun and happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there!
Last month we enjoyed our Disneyland Vacation over Mother’s Day weekend.
To be honest, the trip was planned around the Tinker Bell Half Marathon and the dates collided in a magical way! While we didn’t seek out a Mother’s Day vacation it was really special spending it on vacation. A full week of not having to wash dishes sounds good to me!
In planning how to spend Mother’s Day in Disneyland, I considered our itinerary carefully. I knew we would be going hard at Disneyland on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday and another day might be too exhausting. Mother’s Day became our day for brunching, baseball, and pool time. I also wanted to keep the Disney magic alive so I added a Character Meal and time to explore Downtown Disney. I was also running a half marathon on Mother’s Day and didn’t want to over-extend myself.
Disneyland accepts reservations 60 days in advance, but in March when it was getting close to booking there was no Mother’s Day specific dining information available. Mother’s Day specific information is usually released closer to Mother’s Day on the Disney Blog. However, a quick Google search told me of past Mother’s Day events. These dining related events were typically a tea or special dessert being featured on a menu. I felt that obtaining a reservation 60 days in advance was more important than waiting for the information to be released.
I had reminders in my calendar to make my dining reservations exactly 60 days in advance. I’m up at 5:30AM for work, which was the perfect time to log in and get my reservation. Reserving this early allowed me to obtain the exact time I wanted (9:30AM) at Disney’s PCH Grill. I picked Disney’s PCH Grill because I knew I wouldn’t be in Disneyland or California Adventure that day and I wanted to keep the Disney magic alive. Disney’s PCH Grill is located at the Paradise Pier Hotel and upon arrival in the restaurant you are greeted by Mickey Mouse!
My Mouse House Mom tips for a successful Mother’s Day at Disneyland are as follows:
We added a baseball game to our Mother’s Day and I’ll talk about that later this week when I highlight Father’s Day fun.
Related Posts: Tinker Bell Half Marathon Race Report (Race was on Mother’s Day).
If you are looking for a magical experience and an opportunity to get your family excited about your half marathon training then stop reading this and go sign up for a RunDisney race. I ran my first RunDisney race at the 2017 Tinker Bell Half Marathon on Mother’s Day and it was amazing.
This post is going to focus on the Tinker Bell Half Marathon Race itself – future posts will include planning a RunDisney vacation (i.e., how to enjoy the parks without wearing yourself out), the registration process, having your kiddo in a Kids Race, and the race expo. For now, I’ll focus my attention to the actual race day.
If you only take away three things from this post about the Tinker Bell Half Marathon, make sure they are:
On Sunday, May 14, 2017, at 4:10 AM, my alarm clock woke me from the sofa bed in my hotel suite. My toddler was fast asleep in her crib in the bedroom, as was my husband. To not wake them, I slept on the sofa bed in the living room. By the light of my cell phone, I got dressed, opened my mother’s day gift (a Mickey Mouse backpack!), and exited the room. As I walked the dark streets, other runners were exiting hotels and joining in on the pilgrimage to the start line.
The Tinker Bell Half Marathon final instructions brochure indicated that I should plan to be in my corral one hour before race start, which meant 4:30 AM, but I felt that was too early. The corrals and starting areas were very clearly marked, but getting to my corral involved a lot more walking than I had anticipated in order to get to the security check points. Even without line-ups at security, it still took 35 to 40 minutes to get from hotel to corral, which would have been a 12-minute walk most days.
I wasn’t cold waiting in my corral, but I’d have been more comfortable had I worn a long sleeve top. I typically wear a top on race day that I throw off at the start and a charity group picks them up, but I didn’t see any of that at this race.
The Tinker Bell Half Marathon pre-show was energetic and achieved its purpose of getting thousands of runners pumped up about the miles ahead. I was actually feeling nervous and dreadful standing in my corral. All of my training was complete, but in the days leading up to the race my knee had started to ache and I hadn’t been eating as healthy as I normally do. I tried to stay positive by repeating the mantra, “no expectation, no limitations.”
For the Tinker Bell Half Marathon, I was in corral B and we started about 1 or 2 minutes after corral A. When Tinker Bell fluttered across the big screen above the start line and we broke into a run, I realized that it was going to be hard to pace myself as I was instantly overwhelmed with excitement and adrenaline.
Entering the back lot of Disneyland at about 1 mile was very emotional. I’d dreamed of running through the park and it was finally going to happen. When we turned left in the back lot, I could see that our entrance into Toontown was only a few strides away. It was finally happening – I was running through Disneyland! I’d been in Disneyland twice in the days before but we hadn’t visited ToonTown so it had been almost 20 years since I’d seen it.
Exiting Toontown I saw my first Disney PhotoPass Photographer of the Tinker Bell Half Marathon Race and I was sure to smile my widest smile to them. Just outside of Toontown was the first character stop. I’m not up to date on all of my fairies even though the Tinker Bell Half Marathon is all about Tinker Bell and her squad. Since I did not actually know who these fairies were I decided to keep going.
In the first miles, I was still wrestling with how I was going to run the race. Only two weeks prior, I had run a half marathon and had been just over two hours so I knew I could break that today. I ultimately decided to embrace the magic of the Tinker Bell Half Marathon race and not worry about my time. I was going so smile, wave, and get lots of pictures. To anyone thinking about running a fast race you ought to reconsider.
The Tinker Bell Half Marathon course hugged right at Storybook Canal entrance and continued into Fantasyland. The attractions were running and I could see Dumbo in flight. Time for a selfie! Then I ran between King Arthur’s Carousel and Pinocchio and followed the path to Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. I was warned that while there were photographers capturing us running through the Castle, you could not actually stop running for them to take your picture. To try to guarantee myself an awesome Tinker Bell Half Marathon race souvenir, I slowed down and ran through the Castle with the biggest smile. I felt like a kid again, and as for the souvenir pic, I have 13 from that moment to choose from (two different angles included below)!
I went to the right of the roundabout and I saw a Cast Member holding a picture frame cut-out. Nobody was stopping so I jumped over and got a picture of myself in this memorable spot.
Next I was on Main Street and I almost ran right past Chip and Dale! My first characters of the race! The line was short, maybe one minute. Each character spot had multiple Cast Members that paired with people at the front of the line so they could take your phone and snap pictures while the Photopass photographers also snapped your pics.
The Disney firetrucks were even on display and as we passed by City Hall, we could see Peter Pan and Wendy waving at us. I had a mental checklist of who I should be on the lookout for during the Tinker Bell Half Marathon since it was themed for Tinker Bell. I was too scatter-brained to notice during the Tinker Bell Half Marathon race that all of the non-Tinker Bell related characters were actually dressed with pirate accessories.
As the Tinker Bell Half Marathon exited Disneyland and dashed across to Disney California Adventure, I was actually able to connect to wifi so I sent my husband a text letting him know that my knee pain had vanished! As a Canadian, without wifi my phone is as good as a paperweight in the USA. Knowing my body wasn’t breaking down was a positive sign for the rest of the Tinker Bell Half Marathon Race.
Running between park entrances resembled a finish line area, as there were dozens of people lining the way, screaming and cheering with every step I took. I entered Disney California Adventure through an unofficial entrance, which was beside Soarin’ Around the World. There were pirates lining the way up towards Grizzly River Run shouting their best “Yarrr!” at us. I enjoy running on trails around Vancouver, BC, so it was nice to run through all the trees in Grizzly Peak – it felt like we were really in nature.
Soon I was running past the entrance to The Little Mermaid, which happens to be one of my favourite attractions because I can sing all of the songs. Combining memories and nostalgia makes running the Tinker Bell Half Marathon race seem not as daunting. I was constantly smiling and trying to soak in the whole experience.
With my two year old along on this trip I didn’t have the opportunity to stay for World of Color (bedtime was much earlier than start time), but fear not, as we entered Paradise Pier, the fountains of World of Color were dancing for all to see. There was not an official photographer here so I stopped for a selfie instead.
As I ran down towards California Screamin’ I was starting to realize that in-between selfie stops, I was running at a pace that would be difficult to maintain. It was also difficult to talk myself into slowing down when I was overflowing with excitement [see picture below as evidence].
King Triton’s Carousel was nearby and I wanted to get a picture of it for my daughter. The closer I got I realized that it was the Lost Boys from Neverland riding it round and round. One of the Lost Boys asked me if I’d be his mother and since it was Mother’s Day I told him yes.
This got loud cheers from all of the Lost Boys and as I ran away [bad new mom] they were shouting for me to read them a story. What a hoot! Having the attractions all operating and characters peppered around kept me looking forward to each mile. Pluto was posing for pictures before I exited Paradise Pier and entered a back lot.
The Tinker Bell Half Marathon course ran through another back lot and then it popped us to the start of Cars Land by Radiator Springs. More smiles for photo ops!
I was pleased to stop in for a photo with Mater and McQueen – probably the only characters in the Tinker Bell Half Marathon not offended by my sweaty odour.
After a quick run through “a bug’s land”, we were into Hollywood. Running down the main drag here I almost missed a photo with Captain Hook. My Munchkin ran into Captain Hook a few days earlier and he scared the beejeezes out of her – later I learned any character would have that same effect. If my Munchkin saw me posing cordially with her arch nemesis it could upset her even more, which is why I struck a “mean momma” pose.
I crossed between the parks again and entered Disneyland for the last time – it is a blur to me where we were in Disneyland at this point, but I know I hit the 5km marker in a back lot near Tomorrowland. We ran from the depths of Tomorrowland towards the Castle and then veered away from the Castle and towards the Matterhorn. I assumed this is where Tinker Bell would be since it was right by Pixie Hollow and after all, it was the Tinker Bell Half Marathon! The line to meet Tinker Bell was the longest, but still only about four minutes for me (corral B).
After meeting Tinker Bell the course curved into more of the back lot and it never returns to the accessible areas of Disneyland after that point. In a sense, you are off to never, neverland… on the streets of Anaheim. While you are in the restricted areas, you catch a glimpse of Cast Members moving about as they start their day.
For me, I knew nothing about Anaheim and at this point of the Tinker Bell Half Marathon, I realized I had 14 more kilometres to run and for the first time my body was starting to not match my all-smiles appearance. This was my dilemma part of the Tinker Bell Half Marathon – I wanted to walk because I felt out of steam, but that meant it would take me longer to get to the finish line and get to brunch! I did not find Anaheim to be the most exciting place to run, but there were porta-potties, bands, and spectators along the way to keep me going.
The last kilometres of the Tinker Bell Half Marathon dragged, but it was nice to be in a restricted area of Disneyland – it felt like I was an insider. This was the only part of the course that I had been on before and as I looped around the Disneyland Hotel I finally felt like I’d really accomplished something huge: running a half marathon after three days of walking and eating my way through Disneyland! As the Tinker Bell Half Marathon course entered the home stretch, I could see my husband and my Munchkin. With 100 metres to go, I kissed my loves and finished strong to the finish!
Thank you for reading my Tinker Bell Half Marathon race report. I started strong, smiled a lot, and then reflected on the joy of the first part of the race to get me to the finish line. I would most certainly run the Tinker Bell Half Marathon again. I’ll gladly answer your questions in the comments below.