2014 Princess Weekend: The Expo

I’m baaaack! Royal status renewed. Coast to Coast medal earned. 3 races, 4 medals and 1 hard-earned glass slipper! Whew.

Have you ever noticed that getting ready for a vacation and getting home from a vacation are tiring enough to make you need, well…a vacation? Coming home from Disney tends to mean piles of laundry, an empty fridge in desperate need of groceries, and way too much work waiting on my desk. Combined, it reminds me why I love to run like a princess: in real life, I am much more like the Disney princesses before they became royal!

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Which makes it all the more fun to go back in time to the start of my fairytale, when I arrived on Disney property almost 2 weeks ago. Despite the bender that Mother Nature has been on for months, we enjoyed easy travel to Orlando which was a heap of pixie dust in and of itself! We left the cold and snow of Canada that morning and, by dinner time, were eating by the pool in short sleeves, surrounded by palm trees and blue sky. You know it’s been a long winter when your daughter proclaims that she forgot what grass looked like (true story).

After checking in and enjoying our poolside dinner, we got settled into our suite at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort. It had been a long travel day and it was time for some beauty sleep – I needed to be ready for a trip to the Fit for a Princess Expo the next morning at the Wide World of Sports! After the 2013 Princess Expo at the Coronado Springs Resort, I was hopeful that this year would be more organized and would involve more pixie dust and less standing in lines with cranky princesses-to-be.

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I was at the bus stop, with my fellow Princess Laural by my side, at 8:30 am when buses were scheduled to start running. I think we were both vibrating with excitement in our tiaras as we waited for our coach to appear which it soon did. It was a very quick trip given our proximity to the Expo site at the Wide World of Sports. I was excited about the venue – a new area of Disney to explore!

We may have been wearing tiaras, but we were all business: we had our plan of attack and we were ready to get to it. We started in the Official Merchandise area – the same one that had been an hour+ wait just to get in last year – and were pleasantly surprised to walk right in. No crowds. Everything fully stocked. No mania or hair-pulling or name-calling (unprincess-like behaviour, for sure, but I saw worse last year!). We were in and out fairly quickly with a few purchases and went straight to get our race kits. This was also a bit of a nightmare last year, with multiple lines and long, crowded waits. But this year? Easy as pie. Not that we were eating pie that close to the races, of course.

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With official merchandise purchased and race kits collected, including our kids’ kits for the Mile Race and our Coast to Coast Challenge bracelets, we were ready to have a little fun and enjoy the Expo! We both had families waiting at the resort, so we weren’t able to spend as much time as we did at the Tinker Bell Expo, but of course we made time for a stop at our favourite booth, Another Mother Runner! We had t-shirts on order and had to check in with our corrals for the Enchanted 10K because we were planning to run with one of the Chief Mother Runners, Dimity McDowell. This would be the equivalent of being invited to sing with the New Kids on the Block when I was 12…so um, I was a little EXCITED!

Another perk to running with Dimity? She had secured entry to the 10K Race Retreat for her small tribe of mother runners, so we had to collect our wrist bands for the next morning. Although Dimity was not at the booth, her partner Sarah was running the show and she had the fun job of passing along a few other gifts Dimity had left for us. These women truly are my Fairy Runmothers! It is always a pleasure to visit with Sarah and we had a nice, long chat at the booth. Sadly, their Speaker Series was taking place much later in the day and conflicted with a very important date with Chef Mickey! We were lucky to have enjoyed their session at the Tinker Bell Expo, though, so the tears over this scheduling conflict didn’t last long as you can see (besides, we’d be seeing Dimity in the morning…did I mention that we were running the 10K with her???).

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The Expo flowed so nicely and it was easy – and enjoyable – to shop some of the booths before calling it a day. We had accomplished everything we had hoped to and it wasn’t even lunch time yet! On our way back to the buses, we appreciated the free yogurt being handed out to runners (a nice touch) and the race-specific banners lining the red carpet. With only 6,000 runners participating in the Glass Slipper Challenge (out of 26,000 overall), there was no wait for a quick photo op before we went on our merry way.

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It was time to put those feet up, hydrate and carbo-load with Chef Mickey before the weekend of races to come: The Enchanted 10K and the Kids Mile the next morning, followed by the mother of all races the day after that with the Princess Half-Marathon!

~Princess Jodi

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10 thoughts on “2014 Princess Weekend: The Expo

  1. I loved the expo! I was there an hour after it opened and the line for official merchandise was long, but everyone was happy. I heard nightmares about last year so I was pretty worried!

    • If all of the resort buses started running at the same time, we may have been ahead of the crowds since our resort was literally just around the corner from Wide World of Sports – never thought of that, but it makes sense! Glad to hear the lines were manageable and everyone was on their royal behaviour even as things got busier. Everything was much better organized and I’m sure that helped a great deal.

    • The ‘I am stronger than I thought’ shirts are staples of the Another Mother Runner collection – you can find them online at http://www.anothermotherrunner.com. The shirts we had on order were the ones being modelled in the photo above by Sarah Bowen Shea, ‘Another Princess Runner’ – these were a limited edition tee for the Princess Expo, but they may have some extras online as well!

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