It’s been around 3 weeks since I booked my plane ticket to Orlando and finalized my Walt Disney World Resort reservations. Since then, I’ve been slowly trying to wrap my head around all the other things needed to plan this race-cation. Having never planned a race-cation before, I’ve been a little overwhelmed. Planning this trip has happened in stages. First, you come up with a reasonable budget to see if you can afford to go in the first place. Then, you see if you can afford the race entry. You sign up for the race. Then, comes the planning of the rest.
I’ve got my training plan in order and am all over training for this race. It is the goal race I’m working towards currently. With two races to be up bright and early for, planning for this trip is completely different from planning my honeymoon. When I planned that trip, I was all over the planning and well prepared. When we reached the 180 days out from the start of our trip, I knew all the restaurants we wanted to make reservations for and all of the other experiences we wanted to do. Not so much this time around.
My vacation for the Walt Disney World Marathon is now 102 days away! Finally, this week, I’ve been able to make some decisions about this trip final. I’ve got 3 dining reservations booked and have narrowed down the list of places to dine for other days down to about 3 or 4 options that I’m hopeful my wife and I can finalize this weekend. We have a framework for our trip set up. I discovered the “My Disney Experience” part of the Walt Disney World website and have downloaded the app to my phone.
So, here are some of the highlights so far…
Brooke and I will be dining at the Cape May Cafe Character Breakfast after the WDW 10K race. I read this review by Tom Bricker at the Disney Tourist Blog which is what sold me. Truth be told, I read all of the Disney Dining reviews on the Disney Tourist Blog in gaining an idea of where my wife and I might want to try. I also checked out touringplans.com as well.
After the WDW Marathon, I’ll be taking the monorail over to the Contemporary Resort to eat at the Contempo Cafe. Again, thanks to Tom, this place sounds like a good option. Since I don’t know when I’ll be actually finishing the marathon, making a reservation at another place might make for a more than needed stressful marathon race. Also, since I have no idea how road closures will affect transportation, it seemed like going to a place that I can ride the monorail to would be best.
Although, I haven’t booked the time yet, I’m hoping to get into Senses, the spa at the Grand Floridian sometime in the afternoon after the marathon for some much-needed relaxation after finishing 26.2 miles. Brooke and I went there on our honeymoon and loved the experience! I’m still trying to figure out timing to, again, make sure I’m not stressed out about finish time at the marathon.
For now, we are booked at the Whispering Canyon Cafe for dinner on the day of the marathon. Again, I’m relying on Tom Bricker’s review as well as a pretty high score from touringplans.com as a guide. I say “for now” because the guy who runs the Team#RunDisney web site and Facebook group is working on something special for that evening. If that works out, I’ll find myself cancelling out on the Whispering Canyon Cafe because his event would be way cooler. However, in case those plans didn’t work out, I needed to know I’d have somewhere to go to celebrate. So, I have a reservation at the Whispering Canyon Cafe as my back up.
On the day in between the 10K and the Marathon, the only things planned are to hang out at the Art of Animation Resort. Brooke and I really wanted to stay there. However, they don’t offer the Disney Cast Member discount for anything except for the suites. Brooke is a huge fan of Ariel. So, the appeal of staying there, for her, was to stay in a Little Mermaid room. Since I didn’t get a discount for that room, we looked elsewhere. While it’s a bummer not to stay there, no one says we can’t visit the resort. Right? So, we will. I’m pretty sure that we’ll be taking lots of pictures.
That evening, we have reservations at Splitsville in Downtown Disney. I think that we may even bowl a game or two while we’re there. Even though I want to keep the Saturday pretty low-key, bowling doesn’t seem like it will tire me out enough to worry about.
We’ll be heading to DHS and EPCOT on Thursday of Marathon Weekend and the Magic Kingdom on the day after the marathon. While at the Magic Kingdom, I have a few things I must do…I must get a picture of me and my Mickey medal with Mickey Mouse. Brooke and I must get a picture in front of Cinderella’s Castle with our medals. I must see Wishes inside the Magic Kingdom. The last must is something Brooke and I didn’t get to do on our honeymoon. We saw the Wishes fireworks from the little beach area outside of the Luau at the Polynesian Resort. Now, watching the fireworks while lying on a hammock with your new bride is awesome. However, we didn’t get to hear the music. We’re also planning on having lunch at the Be Our Guest Restaurant on that day.
As for DHS, I must go on Toy Story Mania. I am prepared to be up early on that day to be at DHS for opening. I love this attraction at DCA and would love to see the queue for it at DHS. When Brooke and I went on our honeymoon, the line was just too long and we didn’t get to ride Toy Story Mania at DHS. Also, I really liked the Indy stunt show the first time I went to DHS and would love for Brooke to see that show.
At EPCOT, I don’t have any must do’s. When we went on our honeymoon, we pretty much did all the attractions we wanted to do. So, we’ll get to what ever we have time for. I’m undecided on whether or not we’ll get to see Illuminations this time around. On our honeymoon, it was the last thing we did at a theme park. While it’s a great show, I’ve now seen it twice and Brooke has also seen it once. So, if we need to leave without seeing this show, it’s going to be fine.
On Friday of Marathon Weekend, after finishing the 10K and our character breakfast, we’re going to find our way over to Universal Studios Orlando. Neither of us have ever been there and we’re really excited about going to see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Our time will be limited for the two Universal Orlando parks. However, we’ll take in as much as we can. I’m hoping that Universal’s Cinematic Spectacular show is playing the night we go.
Brooke and I are planning on going to Universal Studios Hollywood and the Disneyland Resort in December. So, how cool would it be to see 5 of the 6 North America Disney Theme Parks and all 3 of the North America Universal Studios Theme Parks in four weeks time?! That’s 8 theme parks in a four-week period of time. With running the marathon, I’ll get to see all 9 theme parks!
Anyways, that’s where I’m at with planning my very first race-cation. I’ve also narrowed down the list of where we might dine at DHS, EPCOT, and the dinner choices for the Magic Kingdom. Additionally, I have some options for where we might hang out and eat after the Expo. So, there is still some planning to do. Hopefully, by weekend’s end, we can have those things figured out and also book our spa time. Once all the parameters are set, we can start developing a hierarchy of attractions at the theme parks. One thing that is important to both Brooke and myself is that we do as many different things as we can from what we did on the honeymoon. I love seeing the plans come together!
If anyone has any tips for planning a race-cation or you see potential problems with the plans I’ve mentioned, feel free to share them. Planning a race-cation is a brand new experience for me. So, I’m bound to make mistakes. Also, I’ve only been to Walt Disney World twice in my life. So, I’ve got to rely on the experience of others to help guide me in choosing what to do. Another question I have for you, my readers, have any of you done the Tomorrowland Terrace Fireworks Desert Party? If you have, or know of someone who has, is it worth the money? It looks like a cool way to watch Wishes.