Monday, April 7, 2014

Journey into RunDisney

by DreamFinder Travel Agent, Lori Lane
Have you ever wondered what all the hype about RunDisney is about?  I know before I ran a race with them, I certainly did.  I finally made the leap last year and competed in my first RunDisney event, the Happy Haunted 5K.  This race takes place during the Tower of Terror 10 Miler weekend.  It amazed me how many people traveled to WDW to just take part in a race!  (Which is exactly what I had just done!)  I was also tying in the race with a weekend getaway from my children, to enjoy some time with my husband with our best friends, all the while taking in   Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival.  We thought throwing in our first RunDisney event would be fun…  Never did I think I would get hooked! 

Now, I’m not a runner at all.  I actually had to walk the race when I did it due to some recent surgery.  My first introduction into RunDisney was at the Expo, which is held at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports.  This is also where our race was going to begin the next morning.  I couldn’t believe all the people here!!!  There were so many, and all the booths selling REALLY cool running gear!  The Expo is where you go to pick up your running packet, which contains your running number, t-shirt you get for participating and other freebies they throw in from the sponsors (these were things like a granola bar, fruit snacks, etc.).  The 10 Miler’s weekend Expo didn’t seem to me to be as large and extensive as the half marathon and marathon weekend ones I’ve seen pictures of, but it was impressive to this newbie!

The next morning we woke up early for our first RunDisney race!  We made our way over to Wide World of Sports.  The place was all-abuzz and it was only 5:45AM, and the race wasn’t even scheduled to start until 7 a.m.!  I remember being completely surprised at how many people were there, and ready to run.  Disney does a great job with organizing these races.  I have participated in a couple of 5K events locally for charity, and the organization at WDW was AMAZING.  With everyone around you so excited, there is no way to not get yourself pumped up for the race you’re about to start. 

Participating and finishing my first RunDisney Raced was SO MUCH FUN!  So much so, that I am now hooked.  I’ve already signed myself and my family up for the Jingle Jungle 5K in November of this year and hopefully it will become an annual tradition for our family, traveling to Walt Disney World during the Wine and Dine Weekend. 

Have you ever wondered how you can make your own journey into running with RunDisney?  My suggestion is to find one of the 5K events to start with.  They aren’t timed runs, but more of a Family “Fun” run, where many of the participants do walk.  If you are thinking to yourself, I can’t do a 5K, consider this—did you know that just walking around the Disney World theme parks in a regular park day visit can add up to much more than a 5K?  I have worn a pedometer to see, and it was WAY more than 5K so you can do it too!  The camaraderie of the participants is really great.  I was speaking to many people as I was going along and there were characters around giving High Fives--it truly was fun.   Everyone wants to make it to the finish!  Disney even makes it easy to get to/from the events by having “preferred” race hotels where they provide transportation to/from the event.  It’s a great way to spend a weekend at WDW!

If you would like more information on RunDisney Events, or would just like to secure a room for one of these or any other event, you can contact DreamFinder Travel (or Click Here) and we will be happy to help you with your Walt Disney World or Disneyland Hotel stay.  DreamFinder Travel has several RunDisney fantatics ready to help you, including Lori Lane.  You can ask to work with her when submitting your vacation request.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

FastPass+ and MagicBand updates

Good news!  Disney has been listening to guest feedback on the FastPass+ system and they are implementing some changes.  

The first big change is that now off-site guests can pre-book their FastPass+ selections up to 30 days in advance of their trip.  Those guests staying on-site will still be able to book their FastPass+ selections up to 60 days in advance (with valid park admission attached to their MyDisneyExperience account.)  That still gives on-site resort guests a 30 day advance booking advantage over non-resort guests.  Off-site visitors will also have the option of purchasing a MagicBand if they desire to do so (purchase of a MagicBand is not necessary to use the FastPass service.)

The next change is that they are working on allowing guests to get additional FastPasses after they use their first 3.  As of right now you still cannot get more than 3 attraction FastPasses for a single day.  However once this is implemented, once you have used your 3 FastPasses for the day, you will be able to select another FastPass at one of the in-park Kiosks, and once you have used the 4th, you can then select another, and so on.    Disney is also working on a way to allow for using the FastPass with park hopping as well.  These changes are coming soon, so keep an eye out for updates on this.

FastPass+ has been met with mixed reactions from park guests.  That being said, I'm glad to see that they are listening to feedback and working on new options in response to that feedback.

With all of the changes at Walt Disney World, remember that your DreamFinder agent is available to assist you with all of your vacation planning, including tips and assistance with using the FastPass+ system and MagicBands.  Make sure to partner with your agent for all of your trip planning needs to make the most of your Walt Disney World vacation.  We do all of the work so that you can have all of the fun!