Wordless Wednesday – Disney Weenies!

My favorite Disney Weenie!

My favorite Disney Weenie!

Welcome to my Wordless Wednesday post!  As always, special thanks goes out to my friend Deb from Focused on the Magic for hosting this weekly series!  This week, I have a little better idea of what a Disney Weenie is, so let’s get right to it!  The picture at the top is my favorite picture of Spaceship Earth, the Weenie that I think of for Epcot.  I love the different colors displayed on the dome in that shot, it is so cool how Disney makes everything so vibrant, and it focuses on one of the best times to visit Disney — in the evening!

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62 Days til Disneyland – Innoventions!

Image ©Disney Parks

Image ©Disney Parks

Innoventions is our selection for Day 62 in our countdown til Disneyland!  Can you believe we are now within 9 weeks of our trip?  The days seem to be accelerating the quicker we move on in our countdown, which is what I hoped would happen!

One of the things that I find really interesting is that some of the things at Walt Disney World can be found at Disneyland — but in slightly different locations.  Innoventions is one of those places.  Of course, Innoventions exists in Future World at Epcot as Innoventions East and Innoventions West.  But what is interesting to me is that one of the things that the Disneyland version of Innoventions has is Project Tomorrow — which any Spaceship Earth fan will tell you is part of the fun of the attraction after you get off the ride!

While Innoventions may seem like the kind of attraction/pavilion where you just kind of browse through it and move on, I’m wondering if this year might be a little different.  I say that because this year my daughter Sophie has really excelled at Science in school, and I’m thinking this might be right up her alley.  Either that, or she will be so sick of having been in school all year that she won’t want anything to do with it!  I’ll keep you posted about what happens when we get back!

In the meantime, what do you think of Innoventions?  Does your family enjoy it, or do you skip on by?  Let me know in the comments, and thanks for stopping by!

Frank describes running the Walt Disney World Half Marathon!

half marathon start-frank

{Editor’s Note:  Today we have the distinct pleasure to welcome my co-worker Frank, a Disney Fanatic, DVC owner, and running enthusiast!  Read along as he talks about his and his wife’s experience running the Walt Disney World Half Marathon on January 11, 2013!}

As folks across the country slowly become convinced that spring is actually here,  (how many warm days have been followed by snow the next) I thought I would write something to inspire folks to get outside, get exercise, and possibly think about experiencing Disney magic in a new way.

Run Disney.

That’s right, run through the parks.  You can walk, visit the attractions, and grab a bite to eat later.  But I suggest at some point, do something totally out-of-the-box and sign up for one of the Run Disney events.

My story:

My wife and I began running a few years ago with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training Program.  We decided to get in shape and raise money for cancer research.  We completed the Nashville Half-Marathon with them and then finished a couple other half-marathons on our own.  Oh yes, we practice what is called the run/walk system. That means running for about one minute, walk for 30 seconds, and then run again. We don’t break any world records, but we finish the race and are not last.

Looking for a new goal, we decided to sign up for the 20th Anniversary edition of the Disney World Marathon/Half-Marathon.  We did not attempt the Goofy Challenge, which means running both races the same weekend.  We did, however, sign our two children up for the Family 5K.

Needless to say, in typical Disney style, the event is organized beyond belief and is a lot of fun.

Race day found us getting on a bus outside the Contemporary Resort at 4am.  There were dozens of other runners in line, some in costume, some like us in standard running gear.  We all were thankful it was not raining and was a comfortable temperature.

The real surprise came when we arrived at the parking lots near Epcot.  There, we joined with 20,000 runners to line up in our corrals along a roadway leading into the park.  (Corrals are roped off areas from which you will start the race.  Your corral assignment is based on how fast you think you will finish. The fastest runners start first.  We were Corral “H”.  The letters continued up to “K”)

Runner were laughing, cheering, singing and talking.  Music was blaring, DJ’s were cheering and highlighting people in costume.  It was a party, despite it still being dark and everyone was standing along a road, trying to burn off nervous energy until the 5:30am start time.   Finally, Mickey, Donald and Goofy took the stage to say, “GO!” The fireworks lit up the sky, and the race began.  Corral 1 ran off, corral 2 started five minutes later, and so on.

half marathon boat-frank

The Half-Marathon course runs from the Epcot parking lot, around the Disney World Speedway, to the Magic Kingdom, through the Magic Kingdom (you run through the castle) past the Grand Floridian resort, around Spaceship Earth at Epcot, and back to the parking lot.

What makes the race so special, and so fun, is the great spirit of the runners, the attractions that are set up along the course (characters, marching bands, choirs, floats) the kindness of the Disney cast members, and the fact you are RUNNING through Disney World.  I’ve attached a few pictures of some of the sites along the course.

half marathon parking-frank

It is not an easy adventure.  My wife and I were doing fine until about mile 11 and then we started hurting.  But we finished the race and we weren’t last.  And having a cast member slip the gold Donald Duck Half-Marathon medal around our necks was truly magical!

{Editor’s Note: Enjoy the rest of these pictures that showcase some of the best moments of Frank and Gail’s race, and the reward they felt in finishing!  Congratulations, you two, and everyone else that also stepped up for the challenge!}

half marathon main street-frank

half marathon stitch-frank

half marathon epcot-frank

half marathon finish-frank

My favorite Disney Photographs, Part 2

Yesterday we looked at my favorite pictures taken at Disney World from 2010 and 2009.  Today, we’ll jump right in and look at my favorite pictures from 2008 and 2007.

June, 2008
Spaceship Earth at Epcot

 

Epcot Illumination Fireworks

 

Sophie and Chip

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tyler and Bryanne, Newlyweds

 

 

 

 

 

August, 2007 Disney Trip 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope you have enjoyed all of the photographs from throughout the years.  If you would like more information on any of these photos, please comment!  Thanks!

EPCOT, Summer 1983

The EPCOT Center opened it’s doors on October 1, 1982.  The following summer, my grandparents took me to see it.  We went with some of their friends who also had a grandson, so the two of us got to enjoy it together for the first time.

EPCOT is the park that Walt Disney envisioned all of Walt Disney World to be like.  EPCOT is an acronym for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow.  In Walt’s original vision, he saw Walt Disney World as a planned community that would help people to achieve a utopian society.

Unfortunately, Walt passed away before Magic Kingdom was built, and the planning for EPCOT changed.

For my money, though, I love Epcot Center (as it became known in the mid-90’s) just the way it is.  I love all of the futuristic exhibits, and Spaceship Earth is one of my all time favorite rides, not just in Epcot but in all of the parks.  I can ride that ride eight times in a day, and sometimes do!

My first visit to Epcot was in 1983.  I was 15 years old, and my summer friend and I had a great time seeing the park together.  He was from Chicago, so after that summer I haven’t seen him since, but boy did we have fun!

We rode all of the rides together (which was just fine with our Grandparents!), we were both old enough that we could go off and see things on our own, and without adult supervision!  It’s funny the things that I remember, I don’t remember all of the details for that first trip to Epcot, but what I do remember was seeing the fireworks show that played that night.

The real beauty of Disney is the amalgamation of all of the memories from all of the times we have been able to go to Walt Disney World.  From each visit, a special memory is ingrained in me, whether that memory is of a ride we enjoy, or a special food item we ate, or even something as simple as taking it all in.

The real joy of this blog for me is that, with every post, I bring those memories, even if they are really small memories, back to the forefront and I am able to enjoy the moment once again.  Thanks for reading!