Tag Archives: yacht club

Getting Pumped for Revisiting 1991….

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How am I going to do that? Well, a Disney trip of course!!!

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Next week, my mom and I head down to WDW for 7 nights. We will be staying at none other than Disney’s Polynesian Resort. We have not stayed at this resort since our first family trip in 1991! Since our stay at Polynesian, we tried “Moderate Resorts”, like Port Orleans French Quarter, “Value Resorts”, like Pop Century, and other “Deluxe Resorts”, such as Yacht & Beach Club.

Our decision to try Polynesian again now some 23 years later was definitely rooted in nostalgia. This was the resort that started our family addiction to Walt Disney World! The location on the monorail is ideal for visiting Magic Kingdom at a come-and-go pace, and with all the new attractions in New Fantasyland, we will be focusing on the original gate a lot!

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The Polynesian Resort has gone over lots of refurbishments the past 2 decades, so the views of the quiet pool and the general resort footprint won’t be exactly the same. The photo above is an aerial shot of the Polynesian in 1991. I hope they sell new ones in the gift shop, as I would like to see the change! Another big change from our first trip is that the original main pool that my dad and I spent tons of time in has also been overhauled.

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Our dining choices in 2014 will be somewhat different than the choices in 1991…In 1991, the big dinner we did was the Mickey Mouse Luau at the Polynesian Resort. We ate family style, watched dancers and learned the hula. Have to admit, my mom will not be partaking in this again, but we do have our own special dinner booked at Victoria & Alberts and Narcooses, both found at the adjacent Grand Floridan Resort & Spa.

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We both cannot wait to experience this resort for the second time. It really puts a gold seal on our “Disney Passport” as we have now gone full-circle, so to speak…back where it all began!

Throwback Thursday….Disney Style

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In anticipation for my RunDisney experience of my life, the Dopey Challenge, I decided to ask my mom to dig through the old albums and find a handful of “ugly” Disney photos from my trips back In the day. Now, her response immediately was “I don’t want to do this tonight….” Followed by “You weren’t ugly!” Then I restated it as “awkward” and she decided to do the searching.

She sent me 7 photos, in no particular order. However, I will sort them by years in order for your viewing enjoyment. The first photo is from my first Disney trip in October 1991. I was 7.

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This is fun and funny because 1.) I have a coordinating lavender and white tank with corduroy shorts. 2.). I have on a giant fanny pack with I am sure just a mini pack of Kleenex and room for my autograph book. 3.). My Mickey Ears don’t fit over my Afro. But I still love the cuteness and innocence of it all

Next up is also from October 1991. Enjoy me posing like a loser on the bridge in the Japan Pavillion at EPCOT:

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After 1991, we went again in 1993. That trip provided these gems:

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From what I can gather by looking at these two photos….I enjoyed wearing MC Hammer Pants, windbreaker, hats that fit over my Afro, fanny packs were still cool, and I still enjoyed coordinating colors and plaid shorts. :::sigh::::

1995. Family trip #3. Short “Jerome” haircut that fits nicely under a hat, big bad glasses, and a cheesy grin. I think the Evil Queen says it all:

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1997 brought the times of shortalls and plaid tank tops. Did I think I was country? Or southern? Or cool? Sweet big pewter LOVE earrings too. This photo makes me smile, though, as it catches my dad and I sitting on the now defunk Mike Fink Keelboats. My Afro is grown out and I’m sporting a middle part. And dad is sporting an embroidered Disney Muscle shirt like it’s his job!

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After 1997, my looks and attire got less awkward. Who knows…probably in 5 years I’ll be laughing at crap I wore this year. But at least I grew out of my short Afro hairdo and bad glasses and fanny pack stage. Please note….my mom DID NOT send any photos including shots of her back in the day with us. I think I got my fanny pack skills from her ­čÖé

In closing…2000. Now in high school and too cool for posing for photos, so instead I’ll sink into the tube at Stormalong Bay at Yacht & Beach Club!

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Disney Wine & Dine Race Recap—-The Race and the Party!

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Just last week, I was down in Disney World for my first RunDisney event, the Wine & Dine Half Marathon. I already wrote about the day leading up to the race, so now onto the main event!
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My friends and I went out to the shuttle by the Yacht Club at 7 pm, and were on one of the first buses. The shuttle system was smooth and we arrived at ESPN Wide World of Sports in no time. Now, I was expecting large crowds, as I knew there was anywhere from 12,000-14,000 runners, but I guess it was still a shock to see the large masses congregating in the field that evening. We headed over to bag check and then proceeded to a line up for a photo with Chip & Dale.
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After that, we enjoyed the pre-race DJ and even rocked some dance moves during warmup. While the evening air felt cool for Florida standards, even just dancing around for a few minutes caused me to realize the humidity was lurking. Had to stop! At about 9 pm, I parted ways from Teresa and Kristen, got in the porta potty line up, and then headed to my corral.
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This was a night race, with the first corral starting at 10 pm. There were Corrals from the letters A-L. Runners were placed in corrals based on prior race time submissions. I was fortunate enough to start in Corral A, and was also lucky enough to be positioned right next to the main stage before the race! While I was standing over here for approximately 40 minutes, time flew by as I had tons to watch and listen to. I was just soaking it all in!
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Pretty soon after the National Anthem, the countdown started. Less than 2 minutes….1minute….30 seconds…..Runners, Setttttttttttttt……..GO!
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I barreled out of the corral and my net time ended up only being 4 seconds off of gun time. I had the motivation and mindset to aim for my PR, beating 1:41:07, and even going sub 1:40. Going to say right now, I really thought I could. But within 2 miles I could feel sweat pouring off my body like I was in a sauna with a fan on me. I was still going to give it my all though!

I knew from looking at RunDisney pictures, videos and other blogs online that the entertainment on course would be awesome. Yes, it is a little different on the highway portions since it is pitch black night outside, but as you neared each mile marker, bright lights and music welcomed you. Whenever there was a character meet and greet on the roadways, there would be giant lights by them, and you could see these blocks away. I just kept my head forward and eyes on the next “icon” coming up at all times.

This race goes through three of the four Disney parks—-Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Epcot. Going through Animal Kingdom at night was awesome as a Disney parks fan, since it is usually only opened each day until 5 or 7 pm! The big loop around the parking lot on our way out was visually tough and deceiving though—-felt like I would never be back on the road! When we got back on out, we headed to Hollywood Studios.

All the volunteers at water stops on the course were so friendly and excited. Since I was dressed up in costume, it was fun to hear the delayed reaction to that I was Mary Poppins! I think some people only got it when they saw my back!
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For as small as Hollywood Studios is, RunDisney really gets you to wind a lot through the park! I was very excited to see the Osbourne Christmas lights, as I have never been to Disney during the season. After exiting this park, in my eyes you were in the home stretch. The reason why—-you hit the path that takes you to Boardwalk, Swan & Dolphin and Yacht & Beach. This pathway is of extreme symbolic importance to me, as they built it when I was in high school, and my parents and I would often walk it to the Studios instead of taking the boat. I even wrote a blog reminiscing how my dad and I tried to “Beat the Boat.” You can find that here:
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With those memories in my mind, I mustered the energy to keep on trucking, even though that by now I knew I wouldn’t be making 1:40. My eyes swelled up with tears as I ran on the wooden walkway in front of Yacht Club, Stormalong Bay, Beach Club, and in around the backside of EPCOT’s World Showcase. As we entered into EPCOT next to Journey into Imagination, I knew I could push myself this last bit. It was very cool to run through Future World, because while running through the other parks and on property was awesome, you didn’t have the spectators there yelling for you. After running past Spaceship Earth I knew the end was near, since we were exiting and heading near parking lots. I couldn’t wait to finish!

Coming down the dark straightaway to the music blaring and the crowds screaming was incredible! The photo below was taken as I crossed the line, and I have ordered a collage from Marathon Foto capturing four on-route moments, two of which I included in this post. I finished with a 1:44:33, which is my second-best half marathon time.

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I was hot, sweaty, tired, shaking and a ball of emotions. My first RunDisney event was complete and I couldn’t have been more impressed. From the Expo, to the transportation between venues, to the entertainment and pre-race fun, the route itself, the medals, the swag…..it was definitely magical!
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The Wine & Dine Half caps off with a runner celebration in World Showcase, deemed as part of the “Ultimate Runner’s Night Out.” I changed in the provided change rooms, picked up my complimentary beverage, and wandered back to World Showcase. Since I was done rather early, I didn’t have much trouble making it to the back of the park, but anyone who ran this race will know that the “crosswalk” created to manage flow of traffic through the race was quite stressful. When I got in the back of the park, I texted Teresa and Kristen that there was no way I would be able to make it back to the front to find them when finished, as I made it to the point of no return. I told them to tell me what country to meet them at when finished.
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I could talk tons about the after party, but instead I will post the video created by RunDisney. As I waited for Teresa and Kristen, I wandered from Canada to France and back, where I got photos with the penguins from Mary Poppins, enjoyed some food and drink at the booths, and was interviewed by RunDisney! They had shot me greeting the penguins, but it wasn’t until after I had gotten a Leffe Brune beer from the Belgium booth and was texting Teresa when they approached me for an interview.

Click here to see my 15 minutes of fame—-my drinking, running and Disney “career” is now basically complete!

So what if the first thing I say is “I love beer!”? I do have to note that this whole “Beer, Disney, Running” mantra was written to me via email from my husband on Friday of the trip. He had said, quote “Booze, running and Disney. This crap really is tailor made for you.”

Cheers to a fantastic Wine & Dine Half Marathon 2013!

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Disney Wine & Dine Recap—-Before the Race!

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It is 12:23 am on Thursday morning. The school bell rings at 8 am. I got home to Lethbridge Tuesday morning at 12:15 am. I was in Disney World for my shortest trip ever (approximately 72 hours) this weekend. And I am still wired on how wonderful life is. So I have decided to start recapping my past weekend. And I am doing you all a favour by breaking it into two parts—–before race…..and then the race itself. So here is the lead up….

I participated in my first ever RunDisney event on Saturday night, the Wine & Dine Half Marathon. This event was an after-thought registration after signing up for Dopey Challenge, as I had a friend who I used to work with at Badgerette Pom Pon express interest in doing a half. And she is a total Disney freak. So we convinced each other and were signed up.

I arrived in Disney on Friday afternoon, after flying in on a red-eye from Calgary, Alberta. Teresa and I met in the airport and were able to take Magical Express to our hotel, Yacht Club. Holy shit….this will be for an additional blog….but I haven’t stayed at anything except Pop Century while visiting Disney since I was 18. And I’m never going back.
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Anyways, after getting checked in and getting our MagicBands (which I was pleased we could individualized credit credit cards to!) we head to the Expo, it was very easy to access with the provided transportation, and once we arrived, it’s as very easy to maneuver. Now….I don’t know what it was like in the morning, but at 3:30 pm on Friday it was great…..and if we missed must-see merchandise that morning we didn’t even know, since we didn’t know what we missed and the crowds were very manageable!

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I participated in a breakfast on Saturday morning put on by Megan and Krista from “The Runner’s Guide to Walt Disney World”. I had found out about this event via social media (Twitter!) and got to experience Toy Story Mania first thing in the morning (first riders!) and a private breakfast in the “Prop Shop” at Hollywood Studios. As a true Disney parks fan, this was awesome!

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There was only about 40 of us there, so it was a very semi-private function. I enjoyed the buffet breakfast, and got to know some great people at our table! Heather and her mom were fantastic! And the men from Georgia and Tennessee were a hoot (they were there waiting for their wives and one other guy friend to get back from the Jingle Jungle 5 km held that morning.). They were hysterical because while one of the guys already there had done the Dumbo Double Dare, he had no clue how his friend found out about this meet up. As a side note, I ran in to them at the after party that night at Epcot, and the following day (also while at EPCOT) and both times they yelled to me saying “CANADA!!!”

I got to meet Christine and Pam (daughter and mother) of We Run Disney while at the┬ábreakfast on Saturday, and that was great! I have been following them on Twitter the last months since I got set up on Twitter. It was great to meet up with them at such an awesome event! I loved that such fans of Disney (like Megan and Krista) had the capacity and energy to┬áput on such an event….as a true Disney parks fan, and a fan of running, this event was the perfect way for me to start my day as I lead into the Wine & Dine Half Marathon!

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More to come…Always knew I loved Disney, so it is natural I would love to RunDisney!!…..

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One Little Spark…..

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As my upcoming Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon nears closer, I thought I would share a flashback photo from 20 years ago. I have always been an EPCOT fan, and there are many Disney Parks’ fanboys who love classic, retro EPCOT. For my trip next week, I am especially looking forward to being back at Yacht Club, an EPCOT resort, and being there for not just the half marathon but also for the final week of Food & Wine Festival! I love being near EPCOT and at EPCOT as much as possible every time I visit Walt Disney World!

But before the Yacht Club and the Wine & Dine Half Marathon and the Food & Wine Festival….there was Figment. Figment is a character created by Disney Parks as a “mascot” of sorts for EPCOT, a park which was initially character free. I fell for Figment on our first trip in 1991. When we went back in 1993, I really wanted to meet Figment, and his partner Dreamfinder. It wasn’t until one of our last days that my mom figured out what time and where we would have to go in order to capture what is now considered by Disney fans’ a rare photo!
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Dreamfinder and Figment no longer are around for photos at EPCOT, and haven’t been for sometime. The Imagination Pavillion which was their original “home” has gone over changes the past years, and now Dreamfinder is no longer there. Long standing EPCOT fans can always hope for the day for Dreamfinder to make his return!

My Disney “Beat the Bus” Challenge & Spartan Prep

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Today ends my 16 day extravaganza in Walt Disney World. Maureen and I are still friends, even after spending August 1-16 in a small Disney “value resort” room, so that’s what matters. We honestly never got sick of Disney World! Really! We just started to get really, really tired….and really, really wacko. Hence, our decision to have me do a “beat the bus” challenge on August 14th. A little background in this decision first….

The last year my mom, dad and I stayed at Yacht Club while in Disney World (2003) we had the luxury of being able to walk to both EPCOT and Disney Hollywood Studios from the resort. This was a great option instead of having to take the bus everywhere. We would usually walk back from the Studios, but if my mom had her way, we would take the alternate option of the boat. One morning, the boat was not there yet so my dad and I convinced my mom to walk with us, because we could “beat the boat.” She obliged, and since the boat wasn’t even at the Yacht Club dock yet, we felt solid. Well, we got past the hotel docks the boat stops at and the boat was behind us, in our sight. Dad and I couldn’t lose, so we started speed walking, and then to a jog, and then too pretty fast clip.

Mom was not pleased.

But, we did beat the boat. And my dad and I thought it was hysterical. My mom, however, did not.

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So now fast forward to August 2013. It’s hot as hell in Disney World. The humidity is through the roof. It’s your 14th day of vacation. So naturally, you decide to run 2+miles in the early afternoon heat, without a sidewalk, and without running shoes.

I don’t know how it came up, but one of the times we had to wait for a bus at the Studios it was taking longer than the advertised “every 20 minutes.” I must have told Maureen I could run back to Pop Century faster. On that bus ride “home”, we decided that on August 14th, during our “Four Parks, One Day” mess, I would run back to the resort while Maureen casually walked to the bus stop. We routed the distance the Studios main gate to our hotel room using Google Maps, and the distance was only 2.3 miles. I would run the same route as the bus, all in the attempt to beat Maureen and have the glory and recognition that goes with the title…Thus, the challenge was born.

So August 14th rolled around. Alarm went off at 5:30 am, as we had an early magic hour morning planned at Animal Kingdom. After Animal Kingdom, we headed to the Studios for a short while. We had already done a lot that morning when 10:30 am rolled around and we slowly started heading out of the park. 10:30 am is early…but in Florida, the heat is already kicked in. Note in the two photos below how “gung-ho” I am to begin this challenge

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As we left the main gate, I bid Maureen ‘Adieu!’ and started bolting out of the lot. Please note—I had not ran since the 10 miles I did on July 31st. Sure, we had been logging 10+ miles of walking each day while in Disney, but I was taking this vacation as the break I probably needed from my running. And because of that, I did not pack my tennis shoes. So, I ran in my Keen’s hiking sandals. Oh, this was going to be good….

I was going at a fast clip out of the lot, mainly because I felt like an idiot running from the park. At my first turn onto the main roadway (Buena Vista Drive) I came in contact with my first “obstacle”—no sidewalk. I was aware this would occur, as I knew what this route entailed, so I dug my Keen-wearing feet onto the soggy Orlando sod and trucked along. This was some resistance training! I came to find out later that Maureen lucked out and caught a bus immediately after going to the bus station, so she passed me at this point, but luckily got a photo of my efforts.

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I kept trucking down Buena Vista Drive and at my first mile, I clocked 7:58! I was racing! It was at this point the sweat poured into my eyes and my shoulders started to burn from the heat. I had no idea myself where Maureen was, so I kept booking it. I turned right at the ESPN Wide World of Sports sign, and then straight ahead I could see my final turn into the resort.
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I cut through the resort exit driveway, through a parking lot, ran to our building and up to our room on the 2nd floor. After digging my room key out of my shorts zipper, I entered the air conditioned room hoping to claim victory!….but Maureen was lying on the bed. Yes….she won this time. But her bus arrival was perfect timing! So I will defend myself and say I COULD have beaten her if the bus even was 8 minutes late, or if someone needing assistance with a wheelchair had needed to get on. The final distance from gate to room—2.3 miles. My time—19 minutes and 30 seconds. Not to shabby, if I do say so myself.

And running in those Keen’s……while i wouldn’t make this a normal occurrence, I had bought them before the Disney trip, and let me say….I recommend them for anyone wanting comfortable sandals who do a lot of walking. I didn’t buy the heavy-duty ones for all-terrain hiking, but these were perfect for trekking through Disney for miles upon miles a day. I even took the liberty of taking a creepy photo of a family wearing coordinating Keen’s while walking around EPCOT….no big deal!
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So now as my flight from Denver approaches Calgary, I reminisce abut the memories from the past 16 days…this “beat the bus challenge” was just one crazy idea we had, and if I were to list all of them here, you would never read my site again. I did joke that this challenge was good “Spartan Race” Preparation, as this Sunday, my husband and I will be participating in our SECOND Spartan Sprint! This one is just a 5 km race and is in Calgary at a bike park. So, the terrain isn’t mountainous like the one we did in Montana…and while I haven’t been running or doing Spartan Specific Workouts of the Day, I have been sweating my ass off daily in Disney world, running in ridiculous conditions, and dragging a backpack around the airport while in layover. I think my backpack did weigh about 30 pounds today, no lie, and I wandered for a good hour in Denver.

So how will I do in the Spartan Race Calgary? Who knows. My mom thinks it will be laughable given I was vacationing and living the good life for the past 16 days. We will see…and I will show her. Remember, I showed her when dad and I beat the boat back 10 years ago!

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I May Be a Runner, but Maybe I Always Have Been a Fish Out of Water?…

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I am the first to admit—I am not a swimmer. Not even close. I can swim to save my life, but if I swim a length of a pool now, I feel like an athletic pile of crap. So triathlons are sadly not in my near future. But growing up, I was often oddly enough around water. The very first trip my family ever went on was to Perdido Key, Florida, in the Gulf Coast. I was a beach baby at a young age! (my mom also thinks my ridiculous accent comes from the fact that I learned to speak when we would be down in Alabama during this time at Grandpa and Grandma Lammers’ house. I have the weirdest Milwaukee accent ever—must have a bit of ‘Bama twang in it!)

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If there was a hotel pool on our family getaways, my dad and I loved to dork around in it. We never swam, per say (he would do some laps), but he would throw me in the air, let me ride on his back like he was a dolphin, and we would play games where I would dive for various random found objects at the bottom of the pool. My enjoyment of “pool-foolery” also may have stemmed from the fact that Wisconsin happens to have this gem we call Wisconsin Dells. This ridiculous tourist stop two hours from Milwaukee has every tourist junket you could possibly imagine, but has boasted having America’s Largest Waterpark, Noah’s Ark. Any real Wisconsin family has spent numerous weekend getaways up in the Dells, playing mini golf, going go-karting, buying crappy souvenirs, and going to the water parks.

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When our family started going to Disney World in 1991, having a hotel with a proper pool was a necessity. My mom often says in the early years of our Disney vacations she would often get ticked off at my dad and I because we would want to leave the parks rather early in the morning and go back to the pool. My mom is even less than a swimmer than me…she just sits on a chair poolside or floats in a tube! At our first WDW resort, Disney’s Polynesian Resort, we had what I thought to be (at the time) one of the coolest water areas ever!

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The next two trips to WDW brought us to Disney’s Port Orleans Resort. This resort is now formally referred to as the French Quarter section of Port Orleans. It was brand new in 1993 when we first stayed here, and I loved the Mardi Gras theme of the pool!

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In our early WDW trips, we also would frequent the Disney Waterparks. These were not like Noah’s Ark in Wisconsin Dells at all! The theming was impeccable and the slides were a bit more tame—-my dad could enjoy most of them with me! (He was a thrill seeker wuss). We use to go to only Typhoon Lagoon, but once Blizzard Brach was built, we would visit both.

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Our last family WDW trips brought us to Disney’s Yacht & Beach Resort. We first fell in love with this resort because of the pool area, Stormalong Bay. In 1995, we had gone to Beach Club for a character breakfast—-when my dad saw the “pool” he immediately knew we had to stay here. Use this term pool loosely, as Stormalong Bay is over an acre of winding waterways, complete with a sand bottom!

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This resort had the perfect pool combination for our family, because as I got older, the playing in the water started to slow. I became the poolside lounger like my mom, and we opted to stay in the parks longer than come back for pool time. We came back for pool time more so because my dad still longed for it. I now rarely play in the water like I use to, and when I am at a pool, I am usually in a lounge chair with a margarita. But, whenever I see a waterfall at a resort pool, I think of my dad, and I remember all the years I spent being a non-swimmer with him on vacation.

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Wine & Dine in Walt Disney World…Yes Please!

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I am registered for a second RunDisney event! On November 9, 2013, I will be running in the Wine & Dine Half Marathon in Walt Disney World! My friend Teresa and I are going to be running it together! Her and I worked at Badgerette, went to the same university, and coached a JV Pom Pon Squad together. This will be her first ever half marathon. The timing worked well since we have a Friday-Monday off of work that weekend for Remembrance Day. All it took was a couple late-night discussions, a check of AirMiles flights available for myself, and we registered and never looked back!

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In the spirit of this race, my entry today is talking about my family’s history of Disney ‘wining and dining.’ Now, I have never been to the official Food & Wine Festival at EPCOT yet, so this will be a Disney first for myself. But since our first trip in 1991, we have wined and dined our way through WDW, and I think it is safe to say that our level of dining has possibly increased over the years….

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Take this first photo. Here I am at age 7 during our first trip indulging on some tasty nachos at MGM Studios. Not exactly first class, but it was a start.

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Now, this is more like it! October 1993. Here my dad and I are at Rose and Crown Pub in the United Kingdom pavillion at EPCOT. Me running in the Wine and Dine Half Marathon is perfect since EPCOT has always been our favorite of the parks. While my dad is clutching his beer, I am clutching my EPCOT passport, which I still have! I already loved this park, but it was a way to encourage a kid to go into each country (for their parents’ sake). At each country, one of the workers would sign and stamp the corresponding page in the passport, usually writing something in the country’s language. They now have tons of other activities like this at EPCOT but this was one of the first ways Disney attempted to get children more interest in World Showcase. Love it!

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Also in 1993, we trekked over to Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground for the Hoop De Do Musical Revue! Sangria and beer was the beverage provided to adults, and washboards were used for audience participation. And the second photo was at Diamond Horseshoe at Magic Kingdom. Back in the 90s, you had to book a reservation for this show at guest services in the morning. Lunch was also served during the show. The show does not operate anymore and the building space is occasionally used during high-traffic seasons for a quick service dining location. We were fortunate enough to experience this attraction while still in full operation!

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1995 brought us to Sci-Fi Dine In!. We had been to this dining location the trip previous, and while it is slightly corny, we still enjoy it. My friend Maureen and I have been here once together, and my mom and I went here again during our most recent trip (see below)

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Needless to say, you can see in the later years we really enjoy the “wining” part a bit more than the “dining!”

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It was in the year 2000 that we started to kick it up a notch.
. Here are my parents at California Grill on the top floor of the Contemporary. We were celebrating their 19th wedding anniversary. This was our first Disney meal of this caliber. And we got hooked. It was a great dining experience, and being able to view the fireworks from the rooftop deck was the best way to watch. We plan on going back to California Grill this January after the marathon weekend. They are closed right now for refurbishments so I can’t wait to see what it is like!

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During our last family trip to WDW in 2003, we revisited a tried and true favorite-Teppan Edo.. In the Japan Pavillion in World Showcase, this dining experience features the teppan chefs preparing your meal on the grill in front of you. It is always a fun time and the meal is also awesome. We went to a lot of great restaurants this final family trip, including Brown Derby. But one of the most memorable experiences food and wine related from this last family trip was the complimentary upgrade to concierge level at Yacht Club. It was a fantastic surprise and I know my dad definitely enjoyed the complimentary food and beverages all day the most!

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In 2006, my mom and I drank around the world-World Showcase of course! Here is one of the final stops, back at a familiar place, in front of Rose & Crown Pub.

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On our most recent trip together, my mom and I indulged in the best of World Showcase, by partaking in the little advertised Wine Walk.. We sampled two wines in three countries, starting with Germany. We had a great time in Germany talking with the cast member Isabel. France and Italy were the other two stops on the Wine Walk. It was a small fee and totally worth doing if you go to World Showcase at a time that is not Food & Wine Festival time.

The most amazing dining experience of my life has been at Victoria & Alberts.. It is a five star restaurant at Grand Floridian, and I am lucky (and spoiled enough) to have been here twice—once with Maureen and once with my mom. The seven course meal was paired with wine and is an absolute must for any “foodie.” It is safe to say that my mom and I have come a long way with our Disney “Wining & Dining!” Cheers!

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