Hello Everyone! I hope you all had a magical weekend, I certainly did. Today’s post is going to be a long one because it’s all about Disney!
This weekend just gone I travelled to Disneyland Paris to race around the castle for he 5k & Bibbidi-bobbidi-boo challenge (10k & Half) you may recall that I did the half marathon last year, so I was extremely excited to come back and do it again. I was going to post each day individually the morning after however it’s been a busy weekend with lots going on so I’ve decided to do one large recap of the whole weekend – the races, the parks, the hotel… everything.
So let’s start at the very beginning….
On Friday I met Emma at St Pancras at around 9:30. Our Eurostar wasn’t until 11:30 so we had a coffee whilst we waited. I brought myself a new Disneyxcathkidston back pack from their new Peter on range. I honestly love the collaboration of these two brands.
Me and Emma boarded the train to Paris, watched “Maid in Manhattan” to pass the time and ate lots of snacks. We got off the Eurostar at Paris and changed onto the RER to get to Disneyland Paris, this takes about 45mins to and hour depending on how well your trains are timed. Luckily for us we got their quickly and headed straight into the expo with our suitcases.
The expo – it was more organised than last year and flowed nicer, however it was extremely hot in there. We had to make too many stops to pick things up and I was sweating through all my layers trying to get round it all. At the expo we met up with Leah and Nicky.
Once we had all our race packs, passes etc we headed to our hotel. We were staying at the Kyriad hotel, it’s a cheaper partner hotel on the outskirts of Disney property. A free bus service runs from the parks/village/station area to the hotel. It often stops at multiple hotels but is still only a 10 mins journey. Check in was a breeze and we made our way up to our room on the second floor and unpacked all our bits.
After a quick cold shower to rid ourself of the expo stench we got dressed for the 5k. I made a brave and bold step and wore shorts. As I’ve probably said here before I am not a shorts wearer, they make me feel uncomfortable (however looking at pictures now I look ok and am inclined to buy some more). After a pit stop at the expo for pictures we got in line for the 5k. We met up with Leah, Nicky, Shellie and her friend Emma who were also running the 5k.
We huddled together in the line and regretted hanging around so long before jumping in the queue because it was SOOOO long. The race started at 8pm however we crossed the start line at 9pm… the same time the pre race party in the studios was due to start. First epic fail of the weekend. I ran ahead to get out the crowd, the first character stop was just after 1km in the Walt Disney studio park entrance, it was Belle and Beast. I got in line and the girls joined me as the queue was massive. Whilst waiting in the line we saw the last runner, the following bikes and the cart picking up the cones. We were well and truly at the end.
Character stop over with we sprinted ahead to the next character stop, I ran down parts of the course that were not lit at all and extremely unsafe, Leah got out her phone torch for some light. We kept running only to find no more character or photopass stops. It wasn’t until the end stretch we actually saw characters. Goofy, Pluto, Chip & Dale were all out cheering us on in their activewear and available for photos… but not photopass, these lines were unorganised and chaotic and the character soon went away. We then sprinted away to the finish line and collected our medals. We were given a banana, water and a food pack (that wasn’t very nice) and directed to a few backdrop photo pass stops outside the studio.
By this time everyone was going in for the party, Leah and Nicky had tickets so raced back to their hotel to make a little of the event. Me and Emma picked up some five guys and made our way back to the hotel, we luckily just got on a bus and didn’t have to wait too long to get back. Due to the delayed start and long character line we didn’t end up getting back and into bed till gone 11. With a 10k in the morning we ate and went straight to sleep.
On Saturday we woke up super early. Alarms were set for 5am however I barely slept and was awake before that. Despite the lack of sleep we got ourselves sorted and headed to the corral. We met Leah and Nicky in Starbucks, wear we had teas and coffees whilst wrapped in foil blankets like burritos. Buying foil blankets was possibly the best thing I could have done for the trip, they really kept us warm at the start line and easy to chuck away… no need for checking bags or throwing away clothes.
When we met Leah this morning she wasn’t feeling well at all, she’d got sick after going on some rides last night, had barely eaten and had been throwing up a lot. She still wanted to run, because let’s face it: it’s a long way to come for a race and a lot of money to spend. If she didn’t do this race she wouldn’t have earned the challenge medal either. Though she insisted we ran without her, we walked together for this race. We kept her warm, and kept an eye on her and made sure she pulled through. Though we started in Corral B we were still back of the pack, due to the walking. This race showed me the it wasn’t inclusive. Last year I had a great time because I ran between stops, was far enough forward and I was fast, I had no problems meeting characters or anything, this year was the opposite so far. We barely saw any characters on the course for the 10k either and the ones we did see the lines for them were shut off and we were rushed to finish the course due to the park opening. I was not happy with this, we had to walk due to the circumstances but I still think the Disney races should be inclusive for all participants running or waking within the time limit. If you are slower or a run walker you should get equal opportunity to meet characters along the course. Having spoke to other runners and reading on the “rundisney run” Facebook group, the US races are much better at this and more organised, however they start much earlier than the Paris races.
After the race we made our way back to the Hotel, the buses were busy and it was a pain waiting for a bus that actually went to our hotel. The normally bus route that stopped at 6 hotels was split into one bus per 2 hotels. Meaning we waited over half an hour for a bus. Wanting to make the most of the day we got dressed and headed back in for lunchtime. The queue to get through security and then to collect park tickets were insane, but we made it through. We walked down mainstreet and took lots of pictures by the castle before sitting down to watch the Castle Stage Anniversary show. It was very cute and lots of characters came out. We met with Leah & Nicky and headed over to the studios park. We watched the stunt show, where Leah like the big kid she is got extremely excited over lightning mcqueen from cars and I sat shaking my head at the dangerous stunts that resembled stuff you see on the streets of south london. After this we headed over to meet Moana. The line for Moana was long, but so worth it. She takes the time to speak to all guest individually. We saw some of the cutest interactions with the children and loved it. Whilst we waited in line Leah popped out to meet woody and when she came back so did we. Cheeky, I know but everyone in the queue were playing swapsies, we didn’t take any longer to meet Moana either.
After that we headed over for the next showing of Mickey and the Magician. I really love this show and we had great seats, despite being pushed around by a rude family in the queue to get in front of us. My favourite parts are definitely be our guest and friend like me. Love the high energy dance performances.
We then said goodbye to Leah and Nicky who headed for some food and back to their hotel, we queued for crushers coaster (90 mins) but was a great ride as usual and headed over to Vapiano for some pre half carbs. The queue was long but worth it. I think this has been a great addition to Disneyland Paris because it super nice fresh food and I feel everything else is a bit too much fast food. The only problem I the location that it’s just outside of security next to five guys and is a pain to get back into. After that we made our way back to our hotel for a better night sleep before the half.
We woke up on Sunday eager to get to the front of Corral B, we managed to make it up, get Starbucks, wrap our selfs in foil blankets and be quite close to the front, we actually got to see all the warm up and speakers on the stage this morning which was great. Leah and Nicky was supposed to be in Corral C and I had their foil blankets. I waited for them to arrive so I could go out and give to them. When leah phoned she said she was on our way to us, without Nicky. Leah (still very stressed and very ill) informed us Nicky had decided not to take part. I was a little disappointed she’d come all this way and not taken part but she had medical reasons not to. Me and Leah had a nice little cry in the start Corral, purely through frustration. We’d both waited so long for this and the weekend so far was plagued with illness, bad organisation and disappointment. Due to Leah still being ill we decided to do the relay thing again. I sprinted ahead for a few characters until I found a big queue where Emma & Leah could catch me up. It was the characters from Emporers new groove which Leah hasn’t stopped going on about so I had to get in line. I made it to the front before they got there had my picture and got back in line for them. Unfortunately they left and the three Caballeros replaced them, so we had pictures with them instead. We carried on and saw Mickey and Minnie on mainstreet for photos, which was the longest queue. We stopped for castle pictures and then carried on, Emma ran ahead and we found Lion King characters with a short queue and then headed off through the castle to meet Emma at Donald Duck. After Donald we meet Rapunzel and Snow White. I had been following the ED92 twitter who were live tweeting character stops so knew what was coming. I raced ahead to find Judy Hops from Zootropolis and Joy from inside out. These queues were both moving fast so I had time to get in and out before Leah and Emma joined.
After that it was out of the parks and onto the roads which were quite a nice change from the manic park runs. At this point I love seeing all the character costumes. This part of the race went much quicker than last year, we got lots of drinks and snacks too which was great. Me and Emma tried to run but at this point we were both tired, a bit grumpy and sore. We were so far at the back it seemed silly to try and race it. I couldn’t walk to much as it made my stomach think I’d stopped and left me urgently needing the loo, so towards the end I ran ahead. Me, Emma and Leah all finished within minutes of each other. My chipped time was 3hours and 18 minutes. So much slower than last year but circumstances given not a bad time.
I didn’t like how this was set out. It was great finishing in the parks but I think they should have finished behind the expo, where the start line was and had queues inside the expo for photopasses with characters or backdrop walls. This way we wouldn’t have been so rushed to finish!
I’d seen on twitter and on Facebook groups that they ran out of medals for the 5k and kids races. For the kids races they started giving out half marathon medals to the children (who’s stupid idea was that) so I was worried I wouldn’t get a medal but thankfully we did!
Once Leah had finished at 3hours and 25 mins, we headed back to our hotels and got ready for the day. The buses were once again chaotic getting back to the hotel and three buses terminated and didn’t carry on so we were left waiting for 45 mins for a bus. When we got back to the hotel I wasn’t feeling good, I had the worst post run stomach due to my Period being due… why must everything happen at once. This also left me feeling in a crappy mood.
We got dressed up and headed back to the park to take pictures with our medals. We went straight to meet Mickey and showed him our medals.
Once we had done that we met up with the girls for a little photo shoot at the castle.
After that we parked up and spot and got our popcorn ready for the parade. I was excited for the parades and fireworks this trip as hey we’re different to last year so I was super excited to see something new.
After that we looked around the shops and went back to Vapiano for a pre fireworks meal. We exchanged photos and talked about the morning before heading back into the park for fireworks.
I really loved the new Illumination fireworks, mainly because there were so many of my favourite movies included in them, whereas before there was a lot of characters and movies I didn’t like included. We did have a great spot for the fireworks, however everyone stood up and that was quite annoying.
We hung around after the fireworks to take more castle pictures, and Main Street pictures. I was stressed, tired and hormonal this day which brought out some bad stuff for me. Before this trip I hadn’t been feeling great and had really been feeling rubbish about the way I looked. I put it aside for this weekend, but with so many photos being taken I literally just felt like crap looking at my own face over and over again. I just didn’t feel like myself. It probably didn’t help wearing a new dress and my hair not being done how I usually have it, but I was struggling to like any photos of myself this day. I’m very particular about photos, I may not love the way I look in them but am more inclined to like them if they are astetically pleasing to me- yes I’m weird, sorry. But people kept snapping photos of me that were blurry, from a side view where I wasn’t looking or where what I was standing in front of (like the castle etc) wasn’t framed correctly. I was annoyed because I tried my hardest to make sure everyone had good pictures and they liked them but I feel the same effort wasn’t made for me. It’s stupidly frustrating but didn’t make me feel any better about myself and I just felt awful.
After speaking to the girls about it they were determined to get me some better pics so we did actually get some better ones after the fireworks.
After that we made our way back to the hotel where we did a bit of packing and went to bed.
Monday was our last day. After checking out and dropping our bags at the station, we headed straight over to the studios park for fast passes for Ratatouille’s ride. While we waited for our fast pass time, we met up with Leah & Nicky and went on towers of terror, whilst Emma so kindly held our bags. Then we met Buzz and Mickey again. Leah & Nicky headed to Disneyland park whilst we went on Ratatouille: The adventure, which I really loved. After that we bumped into Sully before heading over to the Disneyland park where we met Minnie and Donald in their 25th anniversary outfits.
Donald has to be one of my favourite character meets, he’s just so funny. I wore my Donald jumper and he was pleased I was his fan. After that we grabbed some food at Casey’s Corner before going on Hyperspace mountain, the teacups and it’s a small world with Leah & Nicky. After that they had to leave, as they were getting the train straight out of Disneyland Paris. Me & Emma watched the Princess Waltz and did a bit of shopping before heading over to watch the parade again near the park exit.
Once the parade ended we swiftly made our way to the station to pick up our suitcases and head back into Paris for our Eurostar home.
Disney races are great fun, I just wish these races had been a little more inclusive and not cut off character lines etc. I don’t think Disney is a place to get a PB or even a place to just race and not appreciate the surroundings and everything going on at these events. For the future I think Disney should make you give proof of time for anything under 2hours 30 minutes so the corral placements are fairer for runners, I think they should start earlier like the US races, so you aren’t rushed to finish before the parks open. They should make the expo a little smoother and make sure that t-shirts don’t run really small like they did this year or run out of medals!
Despite its problems overall it has been a great weekend. I’ve really enjoyed spending time with the girls and they have been great company.
Would I do these races again? Hell yeah, if they work on the 5k/10k set up a bit more then I will definitely be back. Rumour has it they are adding more challenges next year so i best get myself ready for another year of running!!
My Disney bling… so far!
***also isn’t Disney bling just the best Bling?!
See you next year Disneyland Paris !