Settle in, this might be a long one. I try to be concise, but it doesn’t always work. In fact, I think the more I try to be concise, the more words pour out on to the page. And, considering my pictures didn’t really turn out, words are pretty much all I have to explain the awesomeness that was Tinker Bell 2013.
I don’t recommend flying in for a race the day before. Flights tend to take a lot out of me. That being said, I would totally do it again, if it was necessary. Because I am a glutton for punishment. And it may be the only way to keep my legacy status for Tink! This was a whirlwind weekend, consisting of two 3 a.m. wake up calls, a night at the Disneyland Hotel (yay!), and a super fun race.
Saturday morning I was up at 3 a.m. to catch my 6 a.m. flight down to the happiest place on earth. There was some pixie dust in the air as I was upgraded to first class. Woohoo!! I was treated to a glimpse of a glorious sunrise (on the other side plane) before I was “asleep”. Not so much asleep as my eyes would not open as I dozed in and out of actual sleep. We landed and I was soon on a shuttle, which was filled with other racers.
I checked into the Disneyland Hotel. Oh yes, since I was only there for one night I decided to splurge and got a night at the Disneyland Hotel as a Christmas present for myself. I absolutely loved the Disneyland Hotel, although I swear it is farther away from the park entrance than the hotel where I normally stay. But do you know what it is close to? The new Earl of Sandwich!! Yay!!
Once I dropped off my suitcase, I made my way to the expo. I was somewhat worried there wouldn’t be a lot of official merchandise left, and I needed to get my “I Did It” shirt as that has now become sort of a habit/ritual with me. Plus I was worried they would be out of pins! I picked up my shirt, pin and cup and then made my way down to actual packet pick-up to get my number.
After making my way through the expo and buying all sorts of stuff that apparently I thought I needed, I walked back up to my room and dropped it all off (another benefit of staying at the Disneyland Hotel!!).
Park time!! I headed to California Adventures where I came to realize the park was crowded and it was hot. Okay, so I think hot might be exaggerating a slight bit. And crowded might have something to do with the fact I was tired, cranky and hot and really had no patience for people (it really wasn’t super crowded – I’ve seen worse). I did a few rides, watched Aladdin, got a fastpass for Soarin’ as well as World of Color (in case I was that ambitious) and left to head across the way to Disneyland, where it was more of the same.
I think it was in line for Pirates where I decided I was going to pass on World of Color. I got to the front of the line for Pirates and they decided to cycle the ride (I’m still not exactly sure what it means, except to push all the boats through empty). As I was waiting for the cycle to finish, I decided Pirates was going to be the last thing I did and I was going to skip my fastpass for Soarin’ and head to the hotel. I grabbed pizza at Napolini (the fast option of Naples) and was in my hotel room by 6 p.m. A benefit of such an early wake up that morning? I had no problem falling asleep around 7 or so, after lying out my clothes for the race.
Next thing I knew, my wake up call was waking me up. Followed in short order by my phone alarm. I was NOT going to sleep through this race! I got ready and soon was in Corral B (Yay! Corral B again!) with my fellow Tinkers. (I kept an eye out for any familiar faces, but did not see any.) My costume? I used Taffyta Muttonfudge (how awesome is that name?) as inspiration (from Wreck-it Ralph).
So you know that whole don’t do anything new on race day? Yeah, so I don’t always follow it. This time? I tried new very red lipstick. It was definitely bright and I was little self-conscious while looking at myself in the mirror, but I soon forgot and survived wearing new lipstick on race day.
And we were off! I started off way too fast. And I knew it. I also knew I was going to pay for it later but I couldn’t seem to stop myself. The first mile took us the long way around to the other side of the park. The course was different this year (and much improved if I do say so myself). As we entered into the backstage area, a band was playing Everybody’s Everything. I absolutely love that song!! It reminds me of my high school band days as well as listening to the Husky band (a G-O-H-A-Z-E-N did go through my head). We entered into California Adventures, somewhere near the Tower of Terror (some of this is a blur). And then by the Animation Academy, where they had some awesome music playing and cast members lining the street to cheer us on, and then turned down Route 66, through Cars Land (so cool as it was still dark and the neon signs were a-glowing!!!) before heading through the backstage and ending up somewhere on Paradise Pier. We ran by the Mickey Wheel and it was lit up with the World of Color fountains on (probably my favorite part of the entire race). I passed by the picture stops (even though later I regretted not stopping for Phineas & Ferb), except for the cast member kindly taking photos with the Mickey Wheel in the background.
And then it was over to Disneyland and down Main Street!! I think I choke up every time I run down Main Street towards the castle. I passed by several more photo stops as the lines were on the long-ish side, including Tink with Captain Hook but she was on top of their structure so it wasn’t an actual picture with Tink (that is the ONE complaint I continue to have – picture stop with Tink, please. It is her race after all!!). Through Tomorrowland and towards it’s a small world, where I saw Princesses!! With short lines!! Hello picture time. I stopped for Snow White, Rapunzel & Flynn Ryder, and Merida.
it’s a small world was all lit up (my second favorite part of the race).
Back and out through Toon Town where Clarabelle and Clarice were out!! Of course I was stopping!! Back up and around and through the castle, Frontierland and then we were back out and heading through Downtown Disney. The Red Hat society was out in force!!! (My third favorite part.) The sea of red & purple and cheers was fantastic to see and hear.
And then we were out on the streets of Anaheim. Whew! Are you still with me? There isn’t much more. The fast start had definitely caught up with me and I walked for a bit to settle myself before finding my interval rhythm again. I came across the Mile 7 sign and had to stop for a photo. I just missed asking the girls in front of me (they were too fast) but waited for a few seconds before someone else came up behind me and nicely took my picture.
The night sky was fading and soon the sun was out with a vengeance. It wasn’t hot, but it was BRIGHT! I was thankful for my sunglasses which I had stuck on the top of my head.
The miles outside of the parks sort of blur together. The bands, cheerleaders, dancers and volunteers were great though! I really love when your name is on your bib and several times heard “Go Emily” which always helps. The lack of sleep and training as well as the fast start had caught up with me, but I kept up with the intervals. My run intervals were more like shuffling, but it was slightly faster than my walking intervals. Finally the Matterhorn came into sight. Hallelujah!! I knew we were close!
But of course, the Matterhorn looked closer than it was! Another turn and we were in the backstage area of California Adventures, running behind Radiator Springs, and you could hear the screams of the racers! Past the band again, around a corner and there was the finish line in sight! But first was the loop. I walked a little on the loop and then counted to five slowly before running again. As the finish line got closer, I got happier. I high-fived Goofy before crossing the finish line!! Hooray!!
I really wasn’t expecting too much time-wise, but I’m happy to say it was actually my best Disney time so far! I finished in 3:01:36! Over three hours, but I’ll take it!
I walked back to my hotel, showered, and checked out. It was lunchtime so my first stop was Earl of Sandwich. Close by and not a long line as it was still “early”. Most of the seating is outside, on picnic style benches. The outside seating looked crowded, so I grabbed an inside bar seat by the window.
After lunch I headed to the parks to get some pictures with my medal! I stood in line for Tinker Bell only to get to the front of the line and find out she was not there. Boo. Instead I settled for Periwinkle and Terrence (couldn’t Vidia have been there?). I stopped by later to see if Tinker Bell was there but when I didn’t get an affirmative answer I decided it wasn’t meant to be. Since I’m going again in a few weeks, my new plan is to bring my medal along in hopes I can make Jana wait in line with me and try again!
My day ended with a delicious ice cream sundae before catching the shuttle back to the airport and back to reality.
See ya real soon (at Princess!).
P.S. I am all signed up for the Dumbo Double Dare Challenge!! Can’t wait for September!