Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Walt Disney World Goofy Challenge Part 2

Thursday and Friday were busy days leading up to the weekend races and I finally had the chance to meet up with a number of people with whom I have only known through the computer until now. For several years I have been a member of the DIS WISH boards online (Disney Information Station and We're Inspired to Stay Healthy) which ends up combining joint interests into a Disney fan and health/exercise support site. Also on this site, I am organized in a group called Team Ohana (reference to the Disney Lilo and Stitch movie). In addition, I interact with a group of Disney running bloggers who are part of Team Voice, another Disney fan group/running group. Some of my blog readers are familiar with these groups, but most of you are probably trying to figure out just what it means. let's just say I was meeting up with some old friends that I have never met in person.

Thursday I was able to meet up with the DIS boards WISH Team Ohana Captain Debra and her husband Mark at Disney's Hollywood Studios before heading to the Expo to get our packets. We ended up on opposite sides of the park center right before a parade broke out there. We eventually got together, which was a bit exciting for me as it was my first time to meet Debra in person (as with all these people in this post) even though we have known each other online for over 2 years. At the Expo we met up with Jackie (another member of Team Ohana) to get our packets picked up. While getting the packets I found out that some items were missing from my packet and had to chase those down. Fortunately, Disney's problem solving people fixed this very quickly and I caught up to my group after a short while. We had lunch at the All Star Cafe and headed into the Expo floor area, which was nice but not as big as I expected being about 1/3 the size of the Houston Marathon Expo or smaller. I did manage to pick up a few nice items including a sweatshirt that apparently sold out quickly based on questions I would get asked later.

Below is a photo from the Expo of myself, Jackie and her husband on top, and Debra and her husband Mark on the bottom.

I spent Thursday night and Friday morning at the Disney parks with my family, but started trying to take things a bit easier Friday (mostly failing, but having fun). Also later Thursday night I am trading text messages with Jeff W (a Team Voice blogger I'll be seeing at a Friday dinner) and find out he is about 100 yards away from where I currently am at the Downtown Disney shopping area. So we are able to meet up for a bit.

After a light day at the Magic Kingdom on Friday, I head over to Disney's Hollywood Studios for the dinner with Team Voice bloggers at Mama Melrose's Italian Restaurant. With the races looming the next few days, most ordered a pasta dish. I decided to order the balsamic chicken flatbread, which was very good. In addition to Jeff I was able to meet up with several other bloggers, including Amanda and Rae. Amanda writes the Alone in Walt Disney World? blog which I have followed for a while now. Amanda always seems to get a good mix of life events and running in her blog like I want to try to do more of, in addition to writing about Disney. Rae writes the Rae's Place...follow me to Disney blog, which I have also followed for about a year now. Rae was nice enough to bring gift bags with small runner items for everyone--thanks again Rae!!
I was able to get a photo of Amanda and I before dinner.

I ended up riding the resort bus back to Port Orleans with Amanda as I was going to the Riverside lounge area and Amanda's room was on the French Quarter side, each a different area of that resort. I enjoyed getting the chance to just chat for a bit with her on the bus.

I met up with Debra again at the resort's River Roost lounge to chat about the races and life in general. After some good conversation and a few drinks (non-alcoholic of course, given what was in store for us this weekend) we called it an early night and left for an early bedtime, only 8 - 9 hours remained until the half marathon start of the Goofy Challenge.....


Amanda said...

It was awesome getting to meet you and spend some time with you as well. It's so nice to know the person as well as the blog!

Jeff W. said...

IT was nice to meet you Richard. I look forward to the rest of your recap.