September 5, 2013

A Mad Tea Party in Disguise, the Disneyland Half Marathon Expo

Where do I begin?  We are always so excited to visit the runDisney expos and this time was no different.   However, we knew it was going to be crowded as we waited for over an hour in line for the opening.  Our plan was to visit the official race merchandise booth first, and then pick up our race packet and shirts.
First stop!
We and 1000's of other runners had the identical plan firmly in place so to say it was crowded is an understatement.  Fortunately, Christine and I are speedy shoppers and we had our clothing and miscellaneous items chosen within 10 minutes of opening.  We each picked a few shirts, a magnet, medal for our Mickey vinylmation and a few other items.
A glimpse of the crowd

Some of the goodies on display!
After waiting 30 minutes to pay for our merchandise, we had our bags in hand and needed to pick up our race bibs. The line for packet pickup wove through the exterior sidewalks of the convention center and we finally got inside about 45 minutes later.
Weaving through long lines!

The carpet logo was pretty!

Our Dumbo race bibs!
Bibs collected, we headed to the shirt pickup line which was another long line of waiting.  At this point, the expo was wall to wall people and it was nearly 11:30.
More waiting!
We stopped by two of our favorite booths to say hello, Sparkle Skirts and Sparkle Athletic and with both extremely busy, we quickly departed.  We had a fun day planned at the parks, so we dropped our bags and headed to Disneyland!  However, this was not to be the last of our expo visits.  We returned later on Friday afternoon for Pam's visit to runner relations to get her corral changed.
My 10k time got me moved to Corral A with Christine!
On Saturday afternoon, we relaxed by the pool keeping up with all our friends via twitter. Sparkle Athletic kept tweeting hidden surprises for runners, and as we were leaving Trader Sam's from an afternoon drink, we saw this:  

Time for a scavenger hunt. Find THIS bag & head to our booth for a PRIZE.

Lucky Christine found the bag and got an awesome shirt as her prize!  We also planned to try one more time to get Christine's race shirts changed to a smaller size.  Thanks to the awesome guy working the shirts booth close to closing time she was able to make the swap.  We also wanted to hear Tara Gidus, the runDisney nutrition specialist who was the last speaker at the expo.  She is a dynamic and motivating speaker and we have had the opportunity to meet her on several prior occasions.  This talk was on losing weight while training for races and she had loads of good information. As always, we enjoyed chatting with Tara after the presentation.

Weight maintenance for runners
How was your expo experience?
(Pam)

24 comments:

  1. A mad tea party in disguise is the truth! I'm just glad I got to see you guys! :0)

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    1. Me too Karen. One of the best parts of the weekend was meeting lots of running pals!

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  2. Haha, I am such an impatient person so that expo was a real test for me! I actually skipped the runDisney merchandise all together and just had my sister grab me a vinylmation medal when she went.

    Glad I saw you guys to say hello - I think the only think that kept me sane was running into people I knew and chatting for a bit!

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    1. Agree Danielle. The expo was really tough and I am a totally impatient person too. Christine held me in check most of the time!

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  3. WOW that is a huge crowd! Glad you both had fun though and were able to get a bunch of cute stuff :)

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    1. Lauren, fun may be a stretch! We were patient so we could get everything accomplished.

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  4. Disney expos continue to grow and become more crowded leading to more frustrated runners. I am wondering if they will lean towards a "meat market" style where you have to take a number to go into the Disney merchandise booths, haha! Do you think it was busier at certain times of the day or was it like that all weekend?

    Regardless, when one is at Disney you can't help but be happy even if you are waiting in a line! Looks like you both made the best of it!

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    1. It seemed to be busy most of the weekend, from what we heard from other runners and via twitter.

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  5. I titled my expo recap the dumbo debacle, since disney totally dropped the ball that Friday. Since their races weekends are getting really huge, they should probably just have their expos at the anaheim convention center since the hotel hall exhibit area is way to small for hundreds of people. At least race day went well, considering all 17000 people there for the half!

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    1. Nicole, It is strange because the expo in 2011 was so different. I arrived at opening time (12:00pm that year) with about 75 other people. It did get busy, but nothing like this year.

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  6. I was with you guys in the line an hour before expo open; I'm SOOOOO glad we did that because we were in and out of the runDisney merchandise area pretty quickly but I hear others had a rather unpleasant experience...I ended up coming back after lunch at Blue Bayou to get my bib and did not have to wait at all. I wish I had come back to hear Tara though!

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    1. It was much easier to go to the runDisney booth first, but then we waited a really long time for our race packets. You chose the best plan by leaving for lunch and then returning for packet pickup.

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  7. The expo was overwhelming to say the least. I was on line by 9:30 and did the packet pick-up first, which was apparently a mistake. By the time I got to the expo, the line just to BUY the RunDisney merchandise was 2 hours long. The things I do for an "I did it!" shirt lol

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    1. You really earned that "I Did It" shirt! I bet some runners waited longer for their packet pickup and shirts than it took them to run the half marathon!

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  8. Thank you for your "recap" of the expo... I wasn't there at all but had fun watching it all unfold on social media from the safety of my home ;). Sorry it was so crazy busy. I am hoping at Tink weekend in January... when I will be there in physical form... the addition of the Expo hours on Thursday it might help to lighten the crowds a bit... also Tink weekend is just a bit smaller... but who knows with the addition of the 10K? Last year at Tink I remember thinking it was busy but never unbearably crowded. Thanks for all your updates! Enjoyed "running alongside" you guys as you experienced all the DDD fun!

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    1. Thanks so much Kim. Hopefully runDisney will have a new plan for the Tink expo to alleviate all the crowds.

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  9. The expo was exhausting. I found my husband in the picture! We waited at least 3 hours to purchase our Coast to Coast shirts.

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    1. Three hours is a bit much. I love the runDisney merchandise but we literally speed shopped took turns in line and paid as quickly as possible.

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  10. oh my WOW!!that just looked insane!! Looks like you moved through well though. Can't wait to read your race recaps!!

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    1. I am so glad we enjoyed our races because the expo is a distant memory. I do love all our runDisney gear though!

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  11. I know this will never happen, but I really wish they'd let people pre-order race merchandise to avoid some of those lines. People go insane when they get there, like they've never seen clothing before and they always run out...

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    1. Actually, on Saturday evening just before closing, we noticed the runDisney booth still had shirts and some other stuff. I guess they are learning to have more available.

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  12. So true! We didn't even bother shopping around and luckily I had one of my friends that was already in line buy my wine glass for me.

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    1. You were so lucky to have someone pay for you! We did not wait a long time to pay for our merchandise, but we did wait a while for our race bibs and shirts. It was a trade off by hitting the merchandise booth first.

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