After registering months ago and planning our travel and lodging and everything else, our weekend of races at Disneyland (culminating in the Tinker Bell Half Marathon on Sunday) finally began this morning with the Never Land Family Fun Run 5k. Jason and I decided to run it together when I registered and strollers aren’t allowed on course for safety reasons, so while Evan snoozed at Grandma and Grandpa’s, we rose before the sun and headed toward the start line.
Jason was dressed as Mickey, which meant I of course had to be his Minnie – the easiest Disney racing costumes ever.
The 10k and Half Marathon will start on a street outside the parks, but the 5k delightfully started inside Disneyland just off Main Street. We didn’t arrive particularly early, I thought, but we were early enough to get directed to Corral A so we could start first (since it was a “fun run” there was no time-keeping and no proof of time required for placement). The MCs for the morning kept us entertained, and we even had a flyover from Tinker Bell at the castle before a little fireworks show (Jason wondered aloud why they were shooting at Tink).
A trumpeter played the National Anthem, and promptly at 5:45 we were off! We headed past the Matterhorn and into Fantasyland, where we ran past It’s a Small World.
Pretty quickly we headed into the Disneyland “backlot.” We ran past the place where the Disneyland Railroad train cars are stored, we passed cast dining rooms and trailers, and we posed with several parade floats and decorations that were out for the race.
We then zigged back into the park and passed through New Orleans Square, where the Lost Boys were being held captive on a boat, and through Critter Country to more of the Disney backlot.
The course then spit us out into the walkway between Disneyland and California Adventure, and we were cheered on by strangers before the entering the backlot again, crossing the 2-mile mark, and heading into a giant tunnel that connects the two parks so cast members and vehicles can travel between them without being seen.
Once we popped up on the California Adventure side, we headed toward Buena Vista Circle, past the replica of the Carthay Circle Theater (where we had dinner much later), and through Bug’s Land. I was concerned about Jason having to slow down to run with me, but he said he was fine and into Cars Land we went! It was still dark out, and all the neon was on to guide us through.
After leaving Cars Land, we crossed the bridge into Paradise Pier and headed toward the midway and the finish line. The World of Color lights and fountains were out, which meant the bridge was a popular photo stop on course.
We headed down the midway and saw the finish line ahead, but we also saw… Peter and Wendy! There hadn’t been a lot of characters on course (although I think we totally missed Mater and Lightning in Cars Land because we were turning the opposite direction), so we decided to stop with the finish in sight for a photo.
And with that, we headed to the finish! We made sure to cross the finish line holding hands so we’d be in each other’s photos (and only have to purchase one set later), and the great volunteers were out to give us our medals, water, Powerade, bananas and snack boxes (which were stuffed with food like fruit snacks, hummus, soy nuts, and chips). Everyone was mingling around celebrating, so we stopped to get a photo taken and enjoy the moment.
We didn’t linger too long, though; we wanted to shower and get back to the parks! California Adventure had the early magic hour for the day, and we wanted to make sure to get Andrew on Radiator Springs Racers and hit some of the popular rides before the park opened.
We also managed to get in an extremely short line for California Screamin’, the big roller coaster on the midway that’s built to resemble a classic wood coaster. I had a bit of a headache and Andrew had given me some Tylenol Migraine before we left the hotel. My head banged into the padding on the safety bar so much during the ride that I took some more after we got off. But still a good ride.
We spent most of the morning wandering around jumping on random rides. We also tried to get character photos since there always seemed to be cast members wandering around (and we sprung for a PhotoPass+ to keep track of them all). One of my personal faves, I’m more than a little embarrassed to admit, was Sofia the First.
Since it was getting toasty out, we headed back to the hotel and spent some time in the pool before showering for our late afternoon dinner reservation. We’d decided that since the dinner place was “fancy,” we’d wait until after dinner to bring Evan back to the resort. And then after dinner Grandma let us know he was napping, so we had more grown-up time to kill. The boys split off to do… something, I don’t remember what, while Beth and I headed over to Disneyland to add our Space Mountain photo to our PhotoPass+ card. Along the way, we got even more character photos (they really were everywhere).
We stumbled back to California Adventure just in time to find a great spot to watch the Pixar Play Parade. Jason and Andrew met up with us there, and we enjoyed the quick and colorful parade before splitting up so we could retrieve Evan from his grandparents and Beth and Andrew could see more of the parks.
And I had to get back to finish this bad boy….
Tomorrow: the Tinker Bell 10k!