Wes and I arrived at the Walt Disney World Resort early Friday afternoon. Friday was spent visiting with friends while enroute to Disney and after we had checked in. We went to bed early-ish in the morning so that we could wake up early for the expo on Saturday.
We arrived at the ESPN Wide World of Sports early, anticipating a huge crowd. We didn’t need to worry about that – I guess the vast majority of people had beat us to the expo on Thursday and Friday prior to the 5K and 10K events. That did not quite concern me – I was quite alright with there being no crowds! We walked up and of course there were already picture opportunities.
I was very lucky to have my hubby with me to act as my own personal photographer. And trust me, I used and abused him being there to take as many photos as possible! We first came upon a backdrop to take a picture in front of the Princess Half logo.
The expo was split up into two parts. When you came upon where it split off, you went left to pick up your packet and drop off your waiver. Wes was also able to pick up his “ChEAR Squad” gear. They had a little bit of runDisney merchandise there with a few booths set up in the area.
Once inside, I picked up my pre-ordered sweatshirt (I actually ended up having to come back to get this – I didn’t quite pay attention and thought you could pick it up at the actual expo area) and my bib. There were quite a few backdrops to take pictures at, as well! We walked around, I stopped to talk to the MarathonFoto reps about some questions and concerns and then we continued to the actual expo.
A couple of points about MarathonFoto for anyone considering a runDisney event in the future. Each download of their pictures costs about $29 or so. Before the race, they’ll let you buy a $100 one-time-use gift certificate for $65 (saving $35) which I thought was a pretty good deal. Just be sure you look for their photographers on the course (mainly in Epcot and in Magic Kingdom) so you get your money’s worth. Also realize that they are bent on taking pictures of as many people as possible – so making you look your best is not their top agenda. That falls on you!
The large expo area is where you get to pick up your official race shirt and where you get to shop around. There are lots of booths – to include a booth for the New Balance runDisney shoe line. I would have loved to have bought a pair of shoes this year but decided to go for a few shirts instead (pictured later). Children’s Miracle Network (the presenting sponsor) also has a nice big set up in the middle. Family members/friends there to support you can also make signs to cheer you on during your race. The runDisney merchandise area is expansive and they have tables set up so you can try on shirts (awesome!).
Perhaps my absolute favorite part of the expo was meeting my running idol, Jeff Galloway. I always use the Galloway Method when I run and feel like I recover faster for it. Even today, only a few days after the half, my legs and feet feel great! I practically squealed when I saw him and snapped a few pictures with him. He was so sweet to me – and its awesome to know someone who is so inspiring to me is also an alumnus of Florida State University with me!
This post simply would not be complete without giving a shout out to an organization and to a person. First – the organization. Major props to the Children’s Miracle Network for putting on such an incredible event with runDisney. They do so many good things for sick children and I think their mission is so commendable. The best shout out is reserved for my darling husband. He always supports me through all of my running endeavors and I really feel like he helped me remain strong throughout my run, as well. I knew he was there cheering me on even though I could not see him! I love him dearly and I appreciate all that he does for me.