My first official day in Disneyland began with a bang! I was lucky enough to be one of fifty people selected to participate in the runDisney Official Meetup. Before the big race weekends, runDisney organizes a meetup where participants get to run through the parks before opening, complete with celebrities, some cool swag, and incredible surprises along the way. This experience did not disappoint at all.
Luckily, I was still on east coast time so my 5am wake up call didn’t bother me too much. I rolled out of bed and quickly got ready. A lovely social media friend, Tracy, from #TeamRunDisney offered to give me a ride so I wasn’t walking over by myself. We checked in by the Disneyland Hotel and was given a runDisney black tech tee to change into. I quickly found Amy who I have been communicating with on facebook and twitter. I have followed her blog for some time and we realized we live about a half hour apart – small world.
Photo courtsey @runDisney
Bob Hitchcock, gave us some instructions and gave a brief introductions to Sean Astin (Goonies, Rudy, Lord of the Rings fame), Ali Vincent (first female winner Biggest Loser), Tara Gidus (offical runDisney nutritionist), and Jeff Galloway (official training consultant runDisney). With that, we were off, following the Galloway 30/30 plan – which consists of running for thirty seconds then walking for thirty seconds. We made our way through Downtown Disney, heading into Disneyland. The sun was just starting to rise and the park looked beautiful.
We wound our away around Fantasyland and were greeted with a great surprise – Tinkerbell.
Photo courtesy @runDisney
After splitting into groups for pictures, we crossed over into California Adventure. I was excited because I had yet to visit this park and was so excited by what I saw. After completing our 2.75 mile run we stopped on Buena Vista Street for a group picture and were greeted by Minnie, Mickey, and Goofy.
Photo courtesy @runDisney
Our next big surprise came when they announced we would get the ULTIMATE FASTPASS – a ride on Radiator Spring Racers in Cars Land. I had heard so much about this ride and was so excited I would get to ride it (later in the weekend it was not uncommon for this ride to have a three hour plus wait). This ride did not disappoint and I think it was one of my favorite rides of the entire trip.
After everyone rode, we headed over to the Grand Californian hotel for our next surprise – breakfast at Napa Rose. We started off with a lovely continental breakfast and heard from a variety of speakers. Ali Vincent spoke about her journey on the Biggest Loser and her Live Big with Ali Vincent show. She really spoke to me as she talked about living the best possible version of yourself because you never know what tomorrow will bring. Tara Gidus, runDisney nutritionist, talked about the importance of healthy fueling both pre and post workout – something I have been lacking on. Sean Astin talked about his #run3rd campaign. This campaign is a really neat idea – you run first for yourself, second for your family, and third for whatever cause you choose (like Team in Training, etc.). We were also treated to a cooking demonstration from the Napa Rose chefs – huevos rancheros and a black bean cake. I am an incredibly picky eater but I loved this dish and the protein it packed.
Our morning was quickly dwindling down, but runDisney had one more surprise for us – a one day, park hopper ticket valid so we could all enjoy the parks. This experience was such a fantastic opportunity and I feel privileged that I was selected to participate. Thanks runDisney for a fantastic start to an incredible weekend. If you want to learn more about this event, check out #TinkHalfMeetup on twitter.