2014 Tinker Bell Expo and a Little Birthday Fun

We were still on a high from achieving Dopey status at Walt Disney World.  We arrived back in Toronto late on Monday night (actually, early Tuesday morning by the time we got home).  I went straight to bed as I had to go to work Tuesday.  By Wednesday night, we were packed and ready to travel to California for the Tinker Bell running weekend at Disneyland.  I tried to get some sleep over the two days being back, but in all honesty, it was tough.  Between work, unpacking and packing, and getting things organized around the house, I maybe was managing about 5 hours of sleep per night.  I actually was looking forward to the long flight to California; to attempt to sleep.

Our flight on Thursday morning was delayed for a good hour and a half. We knew we’d have little time to waste upon arrival.  Coincidently, it was also my birthday, so I was a little excited to get the party started down in Disneyland. We had plans to spend a little time there after the expo.  We picked up our car at LAX and drove to the hotel.  We made good time and checked into our hotel (thank you HOV lane) before walking towards Downtown Disney, onwards to the Disney Hotel.

Due to the crowds at the expo, we decided to pick up our race kits only, and check out the Run Disney merchandise section before making a very brief look at the other vendors. We had plans to come back and really explore the expo the following day after the 5K and this worked out really well as we got there prior to opening, and was able to check in for a New Balance appointment for the limited edition Run Disney shoes.  As it turned out, we actually came back a third time on Saturday to see Margaret Kerry speak at the expo. The original Tinker Bell.

For interest of sharing my expo experience in it’s entirety, I’ll be grouping our expo sights in this one post.

Race kit pickup was pretty flawless.  We entered the lower exhibit hall of the Disneyland hotel.  The line for the 5k was pretty big, but the 10K and half marathon pickup windows had little wait. The biggest wait was for the Park Hopper pass we purchased with GET Travel. All things considered, it wasn’t too lengthy.  We were out of the pick up area in about 20 minutes.  We then, went into the hall and picked up our race shirts and quickly browsed the vendors.  It really was a mad house in terms of people, so with a brief look at Sparkle Skirts (the line was huge to pay), and a few other places, we left it for the day as we knew coming back first thing on Friday was a better option.

Tinker Bell Race Shirts.  Packet pick up and exhibit hall.

Tinker Bell Race Shirts. Packet pick up and exhibit hall.

Once we got to the upper exhibit hall, we made our way to the long line that awaited us for the Run Disney merchandise.  Disney organized a line outside the hall that moved pretty briskly, but upon entering the line, I was at first taken aback as I thought it would take forever to get inside.  I heard from others that this was due in part to last year’s Disneyland half marathon weekend, which apparently had crazy crowds and long line ups to cash out.  Once inside the merchandise area, it was easy to get around the aisles.  Disneyland employees did a great job at not over packing the area with people and the cash out process was swift and easy.

Line up for the Run Disney Tinker Bell Merchandise area outside of the hall

Line up for the Run Disney Tinker Bell Merchandise area outside of the hall

I will say, on the Thursday when we arrived, there was a lot of merchandise to be bought to commemorate the Tinker Bell weekend. Unfortunately, those that didn’t arrive until Friday or Saturday missed out on a lot to be had as the expo sold out on many of the items. When we went back on Saturday and took a brief look at the shelves, many of the items were gone, only to have the shelves replaced with non commemorative Tinker Bell mugs and Mickey stuffed toys. The demand for “I Did It” shirts, mugs, wine glasses, shirts and jackets was great. I took a few pictures of some of the items on Thursday, only to see them gone the following days. I didn’t purchase much here, however, I do have a habit of buying a hat during these expos, however, I wasn’t too happy with the design for this years Tinker Bell as it was just a plain white hat with grey lettering which I thought was a bit dull. I opted to buy a Run Disney hat instead and a 5K and 10K pin.

I Did It shirts, tees, wine glasses, mugs all were in great demand at the expo

I Did It shirts, tees, wine glasses, mugs all were in great demand at the expo

After we left the expo on Thursday, we made a quick stop at our hotel, and dropped off our expo gear.  Then we crossed the street so I could enjoy a few hours on my birthday at Disneyland.  We ended up at Carnation Cafe for dinner.  Enjoyed the deep fried pickles (definitely recommend) and one of Walt’s favourites.  At dessert time, a few of the cast members came by and sang a birthday song, and I was given a Mickey cupcake.

43rd birthday at Disneyland

43rd birthday at Disneyland

On Friday, we arrived just prior to the 10am open of the expo, but the doors were already open. I went directly to Sparkle Skirts and picked up a few skirts I had previously had my eye on via the website. We had about a half hour before the crowds starting coming in, so it was great being able to get what we wanted without waiting too long and to be able to browse effortlessly. While I was doing that, my spouse was drooling at the 620 Garmin that was at another vendor. I came by shortly after and started my drool on the 220. After that, I spent some time at Bondi Bands and bought a couple I had seen at Disney World the week before.

We lingered around and visited many vendors to see what they were selling.  I bought a pair of CEP calf compression sleeves.  As well, I splurged and got the 220 Garmin on Saturday.  It was time for a new Garmin and it was also a fantastic deal in comparison to  Canadian prices.  I love the fact that I can also use it as a watch.

220 Garmin and Tink 5K and 10K pins

220 Garmin and Tink 5K and 10K pins

I also got these….Oh yeah!

2014 New Balance Goofy Shoes!

2014 New Balance Goofy Shoes!

When we went back on Saturday to see Margaret Kerry, I was so glad I did. She spoke at the speaker series in the exhibit hall, and she was fantastic. She told us about her experience working at Disney and how fond she was of Marc Davis (creator of Bambi, Tinker Bell, and Cruella De Vil) who directed Margaret during her movement sessions.  She shared her audition process for Tinker Bell.  As someone who has dabbled in improv and sketch, I really got a kick out of it as she mimed her movements as she proceeded to tell her story.  In true Tink fashion, it was obvious that Tinker Bell was Margaret Kerry.  At a time when the majority of crew were male, she said she felt safe and protected on set with Marc Davis, or Mr. Davis, as I’m sure he was called back then. In fact, she said that one day on set, a member of the crew said something about Margaret, and that crew member was swiftly told to leave the set and to not return. She also met Walt Disney himself. She seemed very fond of her experience on Peter Pan. She went on to do other acting projects, and found her niche in voice work. After the speaker series, I was standing off to the side of the stage, and she walked by. By luck, I was able to say “Thank you” and told her how much I enjoyed her talk. She graciously stopped to talk for a moment. I wish I said more but I tend to forget to seize the moment sometimes and just be polite and brief (it’s the Canadian in me) and left it at that….then she was whisked away by her handler for some photo ops. It’s not great, but I took a quick picture of her as she walked toward us.

Margaret Kerry - Tinker Bell

Margaret Kerry – Tinker Bell

Next up – The Never Land 5K

Happy Running!

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WDW Run Disney Health and Fitness Expo 2014

Anyone who has run a Run Disney event will tell you, the excitement begins with the Disney Health & Fitness Expo.  This is where all runners go to pick up their race kits & shirts and shop for all running related merchandise.  This is also where most of my spending money goes! *sigh*

The Expo times are as follows :

Wednesday, January 8, 10am – 8pm
Thursday, January 9, 9am – 7am
Friday, January 10, 9am – 7pm
Saturday January 11, 10am – 4pm

All of this Run Disney goodness takes place at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex

Of course, I will be strolling by every single booth at the Expo.  However, I do have a few places that will definitely be on my ‘check-out’ list :

First up will be the Run Disney Official Merchandise area.  I always seem to pick up at least one item here to commemorate the weekend.  In previous years, we’ve bought shirts, glasses, hats, pins and mugs.  Now, I know it’s difficult to do, but don’t blow all your shopping budget here.  Somewhere, deep in the belly of ‘BoothWorld’, there is so much more shopping to do!

Bondi Band – Booth 427 – I love my Bondi Bands when running.  They wick away sweat and definitely keep the hair out of my face.  I wear these when I don’t need a run cap.  I can always use a few more to add to my running wear closet.

Fond Memories Graphics – Booth 435 – I already posted a blog about this super company. I have been in touch with them via email in regards to any special Dopey products coming to the Expo.  Rob at Fond Memories replied and said “Absolutely” They will have a product online a few days before the event and will also have the actual product on display at the Expo.  I can’t wait to check it out!

Garmin – Booth 408 – I’m not yet ready to purchase a new Garmin.  My 305 is still going strong at the moment, but I’m excited to check out the newer products I’ve only seen online.  Time to get up close and personal with my next purchase and find out a little more about these models. The 220 is catching my eye.

INKnBurn – Booth 525 – If you are looking for something a little different with your running gear, INKnBurn is definitely a wise choice.  This gear will definitely make you stand out in a race due to their fabulous designed artwork on each and every piece.  Looking for work out denim capris?  INKnBurn has you covered.  I can’t wait to check them out!  I’m currently eyeing this little number

KT Tape – Booth 523 – Oh, I have a lot of this at home already, but they make such Fabulous colours! I’ll be stylin’ in my KT Tape as I can match it with every run outfit I wear!

New Balance – Booth 101 – I’m sure this booth will be swamped with runners eager to get a glimpse of the 2014 Run Disney running shoes.  This year’s designs incorporate Goofy and Cinderella in the neutral, light weight 890 V4’s.  The stability shoe 860 V4’s will be Minnie, and Sorcerer Mickey.  I like them all, but I have a feeling that Goofy shoe is going to be a real hit!

Raw Threads – Booth 213 – Definitely a favourite for Run Disney participants.  Fairies, Villains and Princesses unite for Raw Threads running gear.  Hmm…should I be adding this to my Minnie 10K costume?

Run Disney – Booth 439 – Oh yes!  Time to get up close and personal with the medals for all Run Disney Races.  Perhaps give us all the extra oomph we need to achieve our running goals for the weekend.

Running Skirts – Booth 526 – Now, truth be told, I received a gift certificate for Christmas and I’ve already purchased a new running skirt which is already en route.  I really hope it gets here before I leave for WDW.  Nevertheless, I will be browsing this booth to check out their newest designs.  One can never have too many running skirts, can they?

SPIbelt – I’ve seen Spi Belt around for several years now.  This year, it’s on my purchase list.  I really need a belt without a bottle holder.  This could really do the trick.

There you have it.  My list of go-to booths for the Walt Disney Marathon Expo.  But there is so many more that I can’t wait to explore.  Here’s a full list :

JOSTENS CENTER
Active Sol Eyewear 327
AllWhites 533
Armpocket 515
ASICS 406
AT&T 430
Balega International 307
BeeCause Charms 528
Bondi Band 427
Brooks Running 413
CEP Compression 404
Champion 135
Chiquita 117
Cigna 336
Clif Bar 421
Coolcore / Mission Athletecare 511
Curl by Sammy Duvall 218
CW-X 507
Dannon 539
Disney Vacation Club 532
Feetures! 309
Fit2Run 123 & 223
Fitletic 329
Florida Hospital Celebration Health 401
Fond Memories 435
Garmin 408
INKnBURN 525
Race Shirt &
gEAR Bag
5K Marathon
10K Half
Marathon
KT Tape 523
Lasting Commemoratives 113
Lift Your Sole 128
MarathonFoto 130
Mizuno USA 301
New Balance 101
One More Mile 321
Polar Electro 124
Raw Threads 213
Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series 531
runDisney 439
RunGirlRun 429
Running Skirts 526
Snuggbuds Sports Headsets 433
SPIbelt 529
Sport Hooks 530
Sweaty Bands 212
The Stick 503
Thorlo 509
Track Shack 313
Transitions 426
yurbuds 216
Zoot 535

CHAMPION STADIUM
ACE Brand (3M Company) 609
Altra 601
Bondi Band 619
Daytona Beach Half Marathon 618
Düsseldorf Marathon 606
Flip Belt 608
Mexico City Marathon 612
Power Crunch 610
Racer USA 603
RooSport 617
Runner’s World Race Series 613
Sparkle Athletic 611
Sparkly Soul 616
TEAM 413 614
US Road Sports 604

Of course, in between shopping breaks, don’t forget to take a rest and check out the Run Disney Speaker Series at the Expo.  Valuable advice from experienced runners, to help get you through the running weekend.

What Will You Be Shopping For?

Electro Dash 5K

About a week ago, a friend of mine forwarded an email from one of those group buy-in sites that was advertising the Electro Dash 5K at Canada’s Wonderland for half the price.  It was $30!  So we opted in and registered.  We thought it would be fun to run around an amusement park decked out in our Sparkle skirts and Glow necklaces.

The staging area was well organized in front of the parking lot.  They also had packet pickup for those that could not get their kit on Thursday.  I had picked up our kit at the Metro Convention Centre in downtown Toronto.  It also was well organized.

This is what we got : T-Shirt, Light up bracelet, bibs and Glow Glasses

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There were 3 waves advertised for the runners-although, I think they did more.  We had opted to take the first wave.  The organizers were above us at the start line, along with the DJ who played music.  They kept us entertained, even throwing handfuls of glow sticks to the crowd.  The Go-Go dancers standing on a platform just outside the corral were a nice touch to set the ‘dance’ mood.

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Once we were off, we hit the pavement and within minutes we were running through the park. It was fun going through the park at night, however, I felt there were a few dark patches that could have used some lighting or a glowing pylon to indicate ‘danger’.  At this time of year, the park is closed during the week, however, the Electro Dash organizers had a few areas on course that were pretty eye catching by way of lighting and special FX.

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We finished the race by going through large blown up arches, and hearing loud dance music to energize the crowd during the finish.

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We had fun.  It wasn’t a serious race.  I went to support a friend and try something new.  However, hmmm.  I do have one little complaint about the course.  It was only 3.5K long!  To confirm this, as we walked back to the car, we saw a woman who also wore a Garmin.  She was running towards the start line to run the race again in a later wave.  So, I guess, the upside was, if you were up to it, you could run a 7K course!

We didn’t go to the after party, however, I’m sure those that did had a blast.

Happy Running!