The Rat Race… or MOUSE Race!

Looky, looky! A Disney recap, as promised…

Friday morning started at 3am. And… how was this a vacation?

Long ago, we entertained the idea of doing Disney’s Family 5K with the whole family. Then, we thought about the timing of it all, how exhausted we’d be, and decided it just wasn’t worth it. Not long after that, Wes heard a rumor that the theme for this year’s race was the Family Fiesta 5K, hosted by the Three Caballeros. Ana LOVES the Three Caballeros movie, Mexico Donald, and the ride at the Mexico pavilion, so we signed up for the stroller division just so she’d get one of the medals. Jim and Sandi were going to watch us do it. Then Jim was going to do it, and Sandi was going to watch. Then Sandi was going to do it. Then we were all going to walk it together. Then we got there and changed our minds again. Ha!

We, of course, had no idea how this – mobilizing thousands of people towards one starting line – would work before we got there that morning. All the races we’d done up until this point had capped out at one hundred people, if even that. We’d never even heard of “waves” or “corrals,” so we had our ears open for instructions. We were told that runners running a seven to nine minute mile (or faster) were going in the first wave. For a 5K, this was a speed Wes and I could maintain, so we moved into position to go first… along with most of the people out there. “Wow,” I said to Wes, from our position at the back (because we wanted to stay out of the way of the fastest runners up at the front), “look at all these people who can run seven minute miles!” The lady in front of me heard what I said and exclaimed, “What?! I run a twelve minute mile!” Sure enough, the signs alongside us said 10-13 minute miles. While we were trying to figure this out – were we in the wrong group, or was EVERYONE supposed to be out there at once, lined up according to the signs and ignoring the instructions we had just heard? – the race started, and we just started running. Ha! (This would not be an issue during the marathon, as all of those runners had to submit times or approximate times to be placed in the correct corrals. The elite runners were in the A corral – running VERY fast – and we were in the G corral. Everyone was grouped with people running about the same speed, and we were all checked into the corrals. Much easier.)

We were curious to see what it was like to actually run a Disney race in the hopes that this would prepare us for the longer run to come. This ended up being a great decision as it quickly showed us that we would have no need for headphones during the marathon. There was plenty of entertainment without it, and the people who did have headphones on were posing a danger to everyone else because they couldn’t hear those who were trying to maneuver around them. (That said, we did use our headphones during the very end of the marathon to cover up the sound of my sobbing. But only towards the end!) We also got a feel for what a Disney race was like, which helped to relieve some anxiety about the big race on Sunday. We crossed the finish line doing a comfortable pace, then stood in the cheering section, high-fiving runners as they came through the last quarter mile and being mistaken for part of the general Team Brazil. (We were wearing yellow like all of the Brazilians seemed to be doing, and every time I’d yell, “BRAZIIIIIIILLLLL!,” they’d cheer right back. Love it!) Jim and Sandi came in at a great time, especially considering that they were pushing around strollers full of a sleeping Emma and a grouchy Ana. This was Sandi’s first competitive 5K, and we were so proud of her!

After quick showers back at Pop Century, we were back on the road and back to ESPN’s Wide World of Sports for the Kid Races. A better name for this portion of the day would be INSANITY. We only thought the Expo was crazy before – we had no idea, y’all. The track was COVERED in children of all ages, queued up at different points to do multiple waves for different, age-graded races. While we were standing with Ana and Emma at the 200m mark, Wes got another call from our realtor, asking for a spare key. She had given hers to our plumber, who was going to winterize our pipes (too bad we didn’t call him before that leak, huh?) and needed another key to show the house that afternoon. At this point, the lack of sleep had made Wes a zombie, so I got on the phone with JoAnn, WHBC’s secretary, and arranged for a key pickup at the church. I’m sure she wondered what in the world was going on since Thriller and about ten thousand children were screaming in the background, but before I could adequately explain it to her and then to our realtor, the girls were off and running! Ana runs like her Papi – full body motion, arms flailing, and everything in it. Emma runs like her Mommy – perfectly still from the waist up, efficiently saving her energy. The outcome was different from Papi and Mommy, though, because once she was in the home stretch, Emma turned on the jets and blew past Ana while laughing like a little maniac. (I should totally do that to Wes at our next race.) The girls were awarded their very own awesome medals, and we quickly made our way out of the Wide World of Sports. Whew!

Back at Pop Century, we ate lunch in the food court, and I sweetly told Wes that he should go get some rest… while I went to the parks without him. Could I be so cruel? Yes, I could. Jim opted to stay behind and nap, and Sandi opted to go along, which worked out perfectly. Once we arrived at the Magic Kingdom, we went and got the girls their autograph books and pens and got in line to meet Daisy Duck. Sandi got them some balloons, which we put on their strollers as we made our way to Fantasyland. The wait times were horrific (25 minutes for Small World, if you can believe it!), so we parked the strollers, got Fast Passes for Peter Pan, and went to Adventureland to watch the Tiki Room. Emma has been talking about this attraction ever since it was closed last year because, and I quote, “Jiago setted it on FIH-YUR!” Well, now, it’s true that there was a fire in the Tiki Room, and it is true that Jiago (that’s Iago, for those who don’t speak Emmese) is no longer part of the show. But Emma seemed to have confused these details with the greater Disney Freak conspiracy out there which is that the ghost of Walt Disney was so furious with what they’d done to the Enchanted Tiki Room that he set the fire supernaturally and thoroughly roasted that loud-mouthed bird in the process. (Y’all, I’m not even kidding – Disney Freaks far crazier than you and I actually believe this!)

Whatever the real story behind the Tiki Room, it’s now The Enchanted Tiki Room, just like Walt designed back in the sixties. Ana and Emma’s take on the original? “So scary! All of that THUNDER!” “I did not like that one.” Well, there you go.

Emma and I rode the Magic Carpets next while Ana, I’m sure, regaled Sandi with her conversational skills. From there, we went over to the Jungle Cruise (very short line – woo!), and Wes called to say he was on his way, rested up and ready to play. Coach called to say the same, and shortly afterwards, all six of us headed over to the Pirates of the Caribbean. We made our way into Frontierland afterwards, where Emma, Coach, Nana, and I rode Big Thunder Mountain. Wes and Jim got Fast Passes for later so Wes could ride it, since he spent our turn sitting with Ana, who wanted no part of that ride. We went and rode the Haunted Mansion next, then went to dinner at Pinocchio Haus, which led, of course, to another ride on Small World. (You can see the ride from the restaurant, so it never fails that the girls request it right after we eat there.)

I convinced Jim to trade me his Big Thunder Mountain Fast Pass for my Peter Pan Fast Pass, which he did. What I’m not sure he fully understood was that this was the last night Big Thunder would be open, as they were closing it the next day for refurbishment. I thought he knew, but I would hear for the rest of the vacation how I swindled him out of his last chance to ride it. Sad day for Jim, happy day for Jenn! After we all went and rode our two rides separately, we met up at Philharmagic, where Emma was again thrilled by Donald shooting into the wall behind us. It just never gets old to her, folks. Oh, who am I kidding? It never gets old to me, either!

Our last ride for the day was Dumbo. It was also our shortest ride of the day. They were getting people on and off that ride so quickly, likely because this was DUMBO’S LAST DAY. That’s right – after forty years of Dumbo operating right there in close proximity to the castle, it’s being moved to the circus-themed area of the new Fantasyland. Seeing as how we’re nosy, we went out of our way to peer over the wall (oh, there are ways, my friend) and see the progress, and they already had the centerpiece for the double Dumbo attraction in place. So, it was time to shut down the existing Dumbo. Sigh. The next time we went to the Magic Kingdom, the walls were up around the attraction, and on our last day, we could see a very large crane at work. Because moving elephants surely requires a crane.

We went to bed with smiles on our faces because the next day? We were sleeping in… ahhhh….

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