Disney Days 28 – 31: The Dopey Challenge

I started training for this race series in November and it was finally time to get it done. As with Princess, this would have happened live in Walt Disney World but due to Covid, it was virtual. Different from Princess, I was not signed up to do this live in the first place. Disney requires a minimum pace that is a struggle for me to accomplish for a full marathon. So when this race series went virtual, meaning I could do it on my own and at my own pace, I decided it was a perfect opportunity. Other people may have a different opinion, but to me, the miles are still the miles so accomplishing this challenge virtually makes it no less of an accomplishment to me.

Disney Day 28 – First up was the 5K. The theme is always Pluto and the medal is super cute.

For meals during Dopey, I decided to go with Walt Disney World inspired meals. This night, I went with dinner inspired by Ohana at the Polynesian resort. The internet is full of “copycat” recipes to help recreate Disney meals. I marinated the beef starting the day before and then made noodles with a glaze similar to the ones at Ohana.

I also made a Lapu Lapu which is the cocktail from the lounge at Ohana. It is served there in a hollowed out pineapple. I skipped that part. It was good but it was STRONG!

In the afternoon, I made a batch of Mickey shaped cookies to have each day. The miles were only going to get longer so it was nice to have a dessert all set for each evening. I usually made a little ice cream sundae with my cookie each night.

Disney Day 29 – This was the day of the 10K. This race was usually Minnie themed but a few years ago it switched to Oswald. Now I love Oswald… but I think it was an odd change and think it should have stayed Minnie. But the medal is still really cute.

For dinner this night, I made Tonga Toast from the Kona Cafe also at the Polynesian Resort. Tonga Toast is banana stuffed French toast coated with cinnamon sugar. It wasn’t as difficult to make as I would have thought and was the favorite of the meals I made for this week.

Disney Day 30 – Getting to the big ones now.. This was half marathon day. All went well and I was still feeling good went I finished. Donald is the theme for the half and on this one, Daisy joins in as well.

For dinner, I replicated Tot-chos which is a favorite of mine from Woody’s Lunchbox in Hollywood Studios. I made chili in the Instant Pot which was really easy. Then to assemble, it was a layer of Fritos, then tater tots (already cooked), then chili, then cheese and a dollop of sour cream on top. Were they really good? Yes, they were. Did they end up being a good pre night meal before a marathon? Not really. They were heavy and my stomach wasn’t thrilled as soon as I was finished. I actually didn’t finish them all – and I don’t like to ever leave tater tots behind! My stomach was still a little unhappy in the morning but thankfully not too bad.

Disney Day 31 – This was it! The big one! A full marathon!

About six weeks before this I started thinking about how to handle this distance mentally. I always train alone and I am used to doing many miles in various loops around my house. But in a live event, I count on getting some energy from people cheering and just being on a different course than my training route. I wasn’t going to have that for this one. So I decided to enlist some helpers. I typically do 6 mile loops around my house. I was able to get some friends to join me. I started out and did 6 miles by myself. Then my friend Maryann joined me for 4 miles. I did the next 2 miles alone and then was back at my house to pick up my husband who joined me for the next 6 miles. We finished up back at my house and then my friend Karen joined me for 6 miles. I was going to finish the last 2.2 miles alone but Karen was feeling good so she joined me for those as well. Mentally it was just what I needed. It worked out perfectly and while of course I was tired physically, having all the company made the mental aspect so much easier.

The marathon theme is Mickey. This marathon medal is actually a spinner. The middle section spins and Minnie is on the other side.

Dopey is like a bobble head. He is on a little spring.

So there was no way I was cooking anything for dinner. We ordered Blaze pizza which as a Disney connection as there is one located at Disney Springs. (Sorry no picture.. I forgot.) We also had an amazing charcuterie board with a Disney theme. I love a local woman who makes charcuterie boards so explained what I was doing and asked if she would make a custom one for me. She did a great job! Maryann came back over and we enjoyed this… with some wine of course.

So the Dopey Challenge was done! 4 days. 48.6 miles. I really have to say that I felt good all the way through. I was pretty sore the day after but I am writing this on the second day after and I am almost back to normal.

Here are all the medals. There are six total. The 5K, the 10K, the half marathon, the full marathon, the Goofy medal (for doing the half and the full marathon) and the Dopey medal for doing all 4 races.

What would anyone do after completing the virtual Dopey challenge? I am going to Disney World!! Yes, in 4 days, I am heading to Walt Disney World to celebrate!

Disney Days 25, 26 & 27

I am a big fan of the runDisney races and was registered to do all 3 races in February for the Princess weekend. Of course, due to to Covid, those events went virtual. The January race events also went virtual. I was not signed up for them but you were able to register for them as virtual events.

So a plan was hatched… I could do the Princess races virtually AND sign up for the Dopey challenge virtually as well. The Dopey challenge is a 5K, 10K, Half Marathon and Full Marathon done 4 days in a row. While I have endurance, speed is not my strength which makes the virtual option appealing for me, especially for the marathon. I could also take advantage of the virtual aspect and do Princess first which would serve as a practice run for the Dopey challenge.

So Disney Day 25 was the Princess 5K day for me. Each Princess race has the theme of a specific Princess. My plan was do the miles, have dinner based on the theme, and watch the movie also based on the theme.

Ariel was the 5K theme so I got those miles done in the morning. For my Little Mermaid themed dinner, I had “crab” crescent rolls, stuffed shells and cookie clams. And, of course, ended the day by watching The Little Mermaid.

Disney Day 26 was the 10K themed for Rapunzel. The weather was not kind to me and ended up getting rained on pretty steadily for most of it, but still got it done.

My themed dinner included a Taco Braid – which was all the fixings for tacos inside braided pizza dough – and then Dark Chocolate Hazelnut blondies made in a cast iron skillet. Tangled was the evening movie.

And Disney Day 27 finished up the Princess Challenge with a half marathon. Thankfully, the weather had improved so no umbrella was needed. The Half Marathon medal was Belle from Beauty and the Beast. Then there is a special medal for completing both the 10K and the Half Marathon. That medal was Tiana from Princess and the Frog.

Two movies gave me two themes for meals. I wanted something easy knowing I would have just done a half marathon. In brainstorming with a friend, she suggested jambalaya for dinner and then offered to make it for me. Yay! She also made corn bread which was amazing. For dessert, I made “the grey stuff” from Beauty and the Beast.

And with that the virtual Princess challenge is in the books! Three weeks of shorter mileage training runs and then it will be time for more Disney Days and the Dopey challenge!

Disney Day #24

While I do have some Disney travel happening in the near future, including plans for my 50th Disney day in September, I still have some days to fill in with non vacation Disney experiences.

While we were all home last year, I discovered some virtual tours by Tim Dolan the owner of Broadway Up Close. Pre-Covid his tours were in person in NYC. While he was still doing some tours with Covid friendly guidelines, he was also providing a virtual option. I did his Hamilton virtual tour and loved it. I also did one about Radio City and the Christmas Show and a “virtual” bar tour around the theatre district.

So I wondered if he would be willing to put together a custom tour about Disney on Broadway. I reached out to him and explained the whole “50 Disney Days” project and asked about doing a custom tour and he said Yes!

Today was tour day!

My friend Kristin joined me and we met Tim in NYC this morning. I could never do justice trying to share all the information that he shared with us! He really went above and beyond to give us a lot of theater history and where Disney fit into New York’s theater journey. He had great stories and used an Ipad to show us historic photos of various theaters.

I only took one picture… because Hamilton.

Almost two hours went by so fast. It was a great experience. I appreciate Tim making a special “local” Disney day for me!

Here is Tim, myself and Kristin when we were finishing up for the day.

Disney Day #23

Animal Kingdom had extended hours this day so it was open from 8 am to 6 pm. I was out at the bus stop at 7 am. It was still dark which made it feel like a RunDisney morning!

The bus arrived shortly and there was only myself and another couple. Getting a scooter was a no brainer. I had my scooter and was enjoying Starbucks inside the park by 7:45 am.

The weather was perfect and it was so quiet. I had looked up where I could take the scooter and was happy to see that I could take it through most queues and the animal trails.

A little after 8 am, I went to Kilimanjaro Safari. The only wait was to go through the queue and a slight wait for a vehicle to come to the loading area for guests using scooters or wheelchairs. It was breakfast time and it was cool which made for some great animal sightings. I did notice that the giraffes and zebras were not out yet. When I was done with the ride, I did the animal trail that is right near the safari and saw the zebras having their breakfast in an area that you cannot see on the ride.

I did the second animal trail and had a great experience with a tiger. So often, they are sleeping and you can just about see them in the exhibit. The tiger today was walking back and forth in front of the windows. The cast member said he likes to see people and would often run to the windows if he saw a keeper come by when the park was closed because he missed seeing people at the windows. I watched him for a while. So cool to see a tiger so close.

I did the bird show next. This show had just recently been revamped to include characters from Up but right now those characters are not included. Honestly, I hope they don’t add them back in. The show is exactly what it needs to be… just about the birds.

After the birds, I took the train to Rafiki’s Conservation Station. There is a little area with goats and sheep that you can usually pet but right now you cannot enter inside with them due to Covid. There are also some display areas with reptiles and a viewing area for a vet treatment room. They were performing a wellness exam on a bird when I was there so I watched for a little bit.

Then it was time for the next Animation Experience presentation. This “show” is interactive as you have a clipboard and paper and a Disney animator teaches you how to draw a character. They now put guidelines on the paper which is helpful and speeds up the process. For my session, we drew Crush and Squirt.

My next stop after taking the train back to the main area of the park was It’s Tough to be a Bug. Again, no wait. Just the time it took to go through the queue.

I had started to notice the battery level on the scooter was going down. There is a battery indicator on the scooter that has red, yellow and green lights. The previous day at the Magic Kingdom, it never went below green. At this point, it was half way through yellow. I decided that I should go to the front and let the cast member know it needs to be charged. It was a good thing that I decided when I did. By the time I made it to the rental area, the battery was flashing red. I just said the battery was dying and they switched me to a different scooter that was fully charged.

I went into Pandora just to have lunch. I would have had to walk the queues for both of those rides. The wait was posted at about 30 minutes for each. It was probably less but I wasn’t up for walking.

I did a mobile order and it was ready in about five minutes. I had been wanting to try the hamburger pods for a while. In the end they were just ok but I am glad I tried them.

I went back to do the safari a second time. This time I saw the giraffe and zebras out and active. The lions were sleeping and hard to see. Tip: Do the safari at different times because it will be a different experience.

There was about an hour left for the park hours. I started to head out and saw that the Dawa bar was quiet. I decided to sit and have a “I don’t want to go home” beer before I left.

The weather was perfect and it was a great ending to my trip.

Here is a video summary of the day:

Disney Day #22

I arrived at the Magic Kingdom at the park opening. Easy and smooth entry and then I headed right to the scooter rental area. I have never rented an electric scooter before and the cast member was great about explaining everything to me. It was actually pretty easy.

It was such a life saver. I still had to modify my touring a bit as some of the attractions do not accommodate an electric scooter in the queue. For rides like Winnie the Pooh or Peter Pan, you have to park the scooter outside and then walk through the line which today was very short and manageable for me. For other attractions, like the Haunted Mansion, you need to transfer to a wheelchair (provided by a cast member) and then use the wheelchair to go through the queue or walk through the queue. As I did not have anyone with me to push a wheelchair and I didn’t think that I could manage it on my own, I did skip those attractions.

But it was all good. You can take the scooter right into shows, such as Country Bears, Carousel of Progress and Tiki Birds, so I was able to do all of those. The queue for Seven Dwarves Mine Train also accommodates the scooter so I was able to ride twice with a 30 minute wait because I could stay in the scooter for the line.

I really ended up doing many rides, some twice, and all of the shows. The scooter was also a built in sitting area so I was able to get a drink and move into quiet areas in the shade.

I caught all of the mini parade cavalcades which were fun to see! I had a late lunch so just grabbed some cookies to take back to the room for later.

I stayed until the park was closed. I was sad to leave my scooter and limp to the bus but it was a great day.

Here is a video of the day:

Disney Day #21

The moral of the story for this day is that I shouldn’t have been stubborn and rented a scooter as soon as I arrived at Hollywood Studios, as my knee was not doing well at all. I thought about it and even started to walk that way when I entered the park but then I thought I could make it through as Studios is a smaller park. I ended up not being able to last the full day and missing out on Rise of the Resistance… but lesson learned.

So I did start the day by getting on the Skyliner around 8:30 to head to Studios. It has just recently changed, but at the time you needed to be inside the park at 10 am to have a chance to get a boarding group for Rise of the Resistance.

I was in the gates by 9:10 am and went to Starbucks for some breakfast. It was not crowded and with the social distancing procedures it was less chaotic then usual.

I found a cool place in the shade to have my breakfast and wait for 10 am. You have to be quick and jump on the “join” button right at 10 am. I did and secured boarding group 56. So it would be awhile before it was my turn to ride.

I went to Toy Story land. The posted wait time for Toy Story Mania was 30 minutes but it was just walking the queue and you were on. I saw a photo pass photographer and took some Toy Story pictures, including a magic shot.

Then I went over to Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge. The wait time for Smuggler’s Run was 45 minutes. Again, the line moved along and I have never seen the queue because I have used a Fastpass in the past. Because of social distancing, I was the pilot all by myself.

I did some photos in Batuu as well. I knew the spot where they take the magic shot with “the child” from the Mandalorian. There was no photographer there when I walked through the first time, but he was out when I finished Smuggler’s Run.

I had been checking the boarding group status and it was stuck at group 18 for awhile which meant the ride was down.

My knee was really unhappy by this point. I placed a mobile order from PizzeRizzo and made my way over there. It was hot so I had the outdoor seating area almost to myself. Disney pizza isn’t the best but I went there for the pumpkin cannoli and it did not disappoint. They also had a frozen apple cider which was perfect for a hot day.

I took my time sitting at lunch. I had brought an instant ice pack with me so I was icing my knee while I sat. I did not want to leave without riding Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railroad as it was new since my last visit. The wait time had been posted at about an hour all day. I decided that I would do that and then decide if I would stay for my boarding group or call it a day.

The wait time ended up to be about the 60 minute posted wait. The line did constantly move except for one point when a cast member came around and announced that the ride was paused for a 10 minute cleaning cycle.

The ride was so awesome! It was so much more than I expected and I can’t wait to ride it again.

Standing for a 60 minute line did not help my knee though. I checked the boarding group status and I still had at least an hour to go. I decided that I would call it a day. If I had never done Rise of the Resistance before, I would have toughed it out.

Again, the Skyliner could not have been more convenient. Even hobbling along, it only took 35 minutes from leaving Studios to get to my room. I iced my knee for the rest of the evening and just ordered standard chicken fingers and fries from the food court for dinner.

Here is the video from my day:

Disney Day #20

I am happy to start reporting on actual at Disney “Disney Days!”

(As video editing has become a new hobby since being home for the pandemic, with the exception of hotel pictures, all of my other pictures are park of the video at the bottom.)

This day started out leaving Universal Orlando and moving over to Caribbean Beach for 4 nights.

I arrived at Caribbean Beach around 10 am. I had completed online check in and had received a text around 9:30 am that my room was not ready yet.    No worries.  I dropped my bags at bell services and made my way outside to go to the Skyliner to get to Epcot.

The line looked huge but there was nothing to do but get on it!   At one point, there was a cast member directing guests to different lines based on if you were going to Hollywood Studios or Epcot.   It took only 17 minutes to get on and the line moved constantly so really not bad at all.

This wasn’t my first time on the Skyliner but I fell in love with even more on this trip.   So easy and convenient.  And because of COVID, each party gets their own gondola.

Epcot’s hours were 11 – 7 and I arrived about 10:45 at the International Gateway Entrance.  They were already allowing entry, so a quick temperature check and I was in.

I walked through the World Showcase area and went directly to The Land.   I walked on to Soaring and Living with the Land.  

When I came out, I came across one of the modified character experiences.  Winnie the Pooh was out with his butterfly net but decided to use it as a cane and do a little soft shoe.  How cute is that??

My next stop was The Seas with Nemo attraction which leads into the Seas pavilion.   Again, it was a walk on.  To me, the ride is ok, but I see it as a gateway to get to the aquarium.  I walked around the aquarium a bit and headed out. 

I saw a photo pass photographer with no one waiting so I had a quick photo shoot.  My goal was a picture in front of the main icon of each park and as many Magic shots as I could get.   This accomplished both.

I moved on and walked onto Spaceship Earth. 

After that attraction, my plan was to finally enjoy the Food and Wine festival.  While I love the concept of eating and drinking around the World Showcase, any time I have been there it is too crowded to enjoy it.   So with the low crowds, I was hoping to finally enjoy it – which I did!

  In total, I enjoyed Corned Beef Nachos, Tortellini with Vodka sauce, a street corn funnel cake, gourmet mac and cheese, a Twix cake pop and a Frozen Smores cocktail with whipped cream flavored vodka.   Of everything I tried, the mac and cheese was my favorite.

  I did mix in some attractions between food tastings.   I got on line for Frozen which had a 40 minute posted wait time.   I was on the ride in 28 minutes.   I also got to see the full queue for the first time since I have only done the ride with a Fastpass previously.   I loved the little visit from Oaken.  I also did the Beauty and the Beast sing a long.   It was ok.. the Frozen one at Hollywood Studios is better.

  I also caught a Mickey and Friends cavalcade.  It was so cute.  Always makes my heart so happy to see Mickey!

  It was 5 pm when I had finished one trip around the whole park.   The wait times were basically walk ons and there was 2 hours left at the park.   But unfortunately, all the walking had amounted to 7 miles and my poor knee was done.

  I called it a day and took the Skyliner back to Caribbean Beach.   I had received a text message at around 3:30 that my room was ready.   So when I got off the Skyliner, I was able to go directly to my room.  

  I had a standard room with a King size bed.   It was pretty typical for a moderate resort.  These rooms have not been updated and they could use it.   I chose Caribbean Beach for this trip for the convenience of the Skyliner not really for the resort itself so I wasn’t disappointed.   

  I did mobile order from the food court for dinner so I walked up to get my food and then ate in the room.   I got a smoked turkey sandwich and fries.  The sandwich was very good.  I actually ended up saving half and it also stayed well in the fridge.

   Here is a video summary of the whole day:

Disney Day #19

The day finally arrived that was the start of this whole project – my 50th birthday. Due to a scheduling issue and some unexpected surprises, this Disney Day is actually two days in one.

My original plan was to get a tattoo on my birthday. I went to the tattoo place early in the summer to meet with the artist. I really liked her and wanted to move forward but unfortunately she doesn’t work on Mondays, which is where my birthday fell this year. I didn’t want to switch to someone else so I decided to go ahead and get the tattoo the day before my actual birthday.

So this Disney Day starts on September 27 with me heading to my tattoo appointment at noon. This is the photo that I went with as a model for the design.

I wanted the Mickey balloon only and I wanted the word “dream” instead of a name. I also wanted the word to be in a different font. Nasa, my tattoo artist, was awesome. She had me air drop the photo to her Ipad and then she searched for a Mickey balloon graphic. We quickly found one that was perfect and then we started looking for fonts. There were so many to choose from but we found one and she was then off to use everything to put it together. This was the final result:

It is perfect and exactly what I wanted. I really wasn’t concerned about pain and it wasn’t an issue at all. It stung a little for the lettering. The filling in for the balloon wasn’t anything at all.

I thought the rest of the day would just be relaxing at home. I definitely did not expect to arrive home to a surprise party with my family. It was all Mickey themed, of course. I didn’t take many pictures but I did get a picture of these awesome cookies.

The surprises continued as my husband had set up a surprise zoom call with bunch of my friends. It was nice to “see” everyone and I was happy that my friends took some time from their Sunday to come on and wish me a Happy Birthday.

That was definitely a great day of celebrating. The next day was my actual birthday.

I started out by going out to Starbucks to get my free birthday drink. Then I curled up on the sofa and got ready for another viewing of my favorite musical:

In the afternoon, a friend came over for a bit – outside and socially distant, of course. We enjoyed a beer and chatted for a few hours.

In the evening, we ordered dinner and then watched the new Mulan.

I enjoyed it. Not sure it was worth $30, but it was a good movie. I love the little nod to the original by snippets of the original songs from the animated movie showing up in the score and lyrics also added to the dialogue. It would definitely have benefited from being viewed on the big screen.

It was a great two day celebration – from a party to a low key movie night. I will still be celebrating with the rest of my Disney days into 2021. I have a plan on how and where I want to hit Day #50.. but at this point, I am keeping my plans to myself because who knows what will happen!

50 Disney Days Project During a Pandemic

I have been wanting to do a bit of an update on my project and today is the day.

So obviously, the goal of this project was to celebrate my 50th birthday by having “50 Disney Days” throughout 2020. And I was off to a great start. I had Disney on Ice in January and then had an amazing trip in Walt Disney World and on a Disney Cruise in late February / early March. I am so thankful that I got that trip in with no challenges because it wasn’t long after returning home that everything shut down due to COVID.

My husband and I have been very fortunate. Neither of us have been sick. None of our families have been sick. My husband is able to work from home. I am teaching from home. My second career as a travel agent has been challenging and has caused a lack of income but we are fortunate that it is not a primary income source for us.

So the challenge of what do with my 50 Disney Days project is a first world problem to say the least.

I knew that I would not be able to do all 50 days on a Disney vacation so I had already worked in some Disney Days at home. And I have done a few that weren’t planned already while we have been at home due to the virus. But there are only so many ways to have a Disney Day at home.

I currently have three Disney trips still booked for 2020. Will they happen? Don’t know yet. The COVID situation is so fluid that it is a “wait and see” scenario. If they happen, great. If they don’t, I will plan for the future.

The beauty of this project is that is my own. So I make the rules. At the end of it all, there will be 50 Disney Days. They just probably won’t all happen in 2020. I will just have to keep my 50th birthday celebration going into 2021…. and that sounds good to me.

I still have lots of Disney in my days. Let’s face it, half my wardrobe has something Disney on it. And I may have just a few Disney items around the house. I am still working my way through the Disney animated movies on Disney+ (next up is Jungle Book). I have really enjoyed watching social media posts from Shanghai Disney as well as Disney Springs. I will be definitely be watching in July as Walt Disney World starts to open.

So with 18 Disney Days completed, I look forward to resuming my official Disney days as soon as I can.

Disney Day #18

We are still under “stay at home” orders in NY so last week I decided to make today a Disney Day and celebrate Star Wars day. We pulled out the light saber we made in Galaxy’s Edge to take some pictures. It really makes some cool sounds as you move it around. My cats were not a fan!

I did have to actually work today remote teaching so I didn’t get to start Star Wars activities until this afternoon.

First thing was to watch the movie that started it all.

I bought a Star Wars lego kit to do today. I would LOVE to put together the big Millennium Falcon but I really don’t want to pay $800 for it (if I could even find it in stock). So I had to settle for a smaller kit.

After I finished, Chris found a small kit that he had but never put together so I got to do that one too.

A cable channel had a Star Wars marathon on so I left that on while I took care of a few items for work. Then it was time for dinner.

We had Endorian Barbok Alfredo – which was really pasta with alfredo sauce that I put green food coloring in. We also still had a bottle of Skywalker wine that we had received as a gift.

For our evening snacks, I made TIE fighter cheese and crackers and chocolate covered pretzel light sabers. Chris made us a Blue Milk adult beverage.

And we settled in with our snacks to watch Rise of Skywalker.

And that puts Disney Day #18 in the books. May the 4th be with you!