I was so happy that I was able to come with Runner to this year’s Walt Disney World Marathon. Back in 2012 we got engaged after Runner completed his first marathon but I haven’t been back to the race since. Our racecation began with a Thursday night flight out of DCA. Runner and I scored a great deal on a non-stop to Tampa. Runner’s best friend Joey, picked us up and let us stay at his house both before and after the race. Since we were in town early, Friday was our designated theme park day. So many choices – Busch Gardens, Sea World, and Disney. Universal Studios was the winner because I had never been there and we went with our friend Sonia – a true Harry Potter fan.
I was most excited about visiting Simpsons world! Growing up, my siblings and I would watch at least 2 episodes everyday. Mom would make us turn off the Itchy & Scratchy parts too, lol. There was a large area of the park with statues of all the characters, great for photo ops. There was a Moe’s Tavern where you could order a Duff beer and a Krusty Burger where we tried the signature treat. I was most disappointed that there was a Quik-e-mart but no squishees! There was also a Simpson’s ride which ended up being more fun than I expected. Harry Potter world was a blast. Done to the nines with so many products to buy – good thing we weren’t obsessed fans. Although, I was almost tempted to buy a wand which has special powers in certain locations in the park. To visit both Harry Potter areas and to take the Hogwarts Express we had to buy the park hopper pass which was extra $$ but we figured we better see it now or never. Butter beer was good!!!
It was a chilly weekday, so we had no problems with lines. We left the park at a reasonable hour, so Runner wasn’t too worn out. That night we made it back to Tampa in time for Italian beef sandwiches with our friend Kie. The next morning, Saturday, we rented a car and headed back to Orlando. This time our destination was Walt Disney World. The expo was held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex. Kudos to the plentiful and free parking. While the expo wasn’t too exciting, I did get to make a poster to cheer with. We also tried a ton of Powerbar/Goo/ShotBlok samples. Shortly after that we found a hotel on Hotwire just outside of Disney’s main gate. Gotta love off-season hotel prices. We scored a great deal because we really didn’t care where we stayed, just the location. We have successfully used Hotwire this way for years. Highly recommended for those who travel on a budget. That evening we met up with our friend Kathleen for Runner’s ritual Chik-fil-a pre-race meal. We called it an early night and headed straight to bed – Runner was snoring by 8:30p. Now that is dedication!
My morning wake-up call was at 3:30am to drive Runner to the starting line. I returned promptly back to bed. The race actually stepped off at 5:30am. Was I there to cheer the runners on? No. While I feel bad that I wasn’t, the logistics of it just made it impossible. However, I did make it through traffic to the finish line (parking at Epcot was $17 ouch!). After the race we had a satisfying lunch at Buffalo Wild Wings and returned to Downtown Disney for more shopping fun.
That evening we drove back to Tampa for a dinner of steak and cheetos. No joke. Thanks Joey! That night we were also introduced to the local gem, Seffner Tiki Hut. Finally, on Monday, before getting dropped off at the airport, we had a delicious lunch at Hungry Harry’s BBQ. All you can eat for $11 best. decision. ever.