It feels like forever since I posted on a regular basis (yes, I know I posted a mini update yesterday) and, well, that my big race, The Dumbo Double Dare happened. Since coming home, I have seen all of the DDD recaps and though some of what I will write will sound familiar, but I’m sure that few tidbits will be new to the readers of Prairie Princess Runners….so without further ado–here it goes…starting with the expo.
I briefly wrote about the expo while I was in California with my not entirely reliable internet service–hence why it was so brief–this is a more detailed review.
As i had mentioned, I had scheduled a meet up for the rejects of the Official Disneyland Half Meet Up. The goal was to meet at LaBrea Bakery for 9am for iced coffees and make our way over to the expo to get our goodies. As I waited for my twitter friends, I spotted all the folks coming back from the official DHM Meet Up. I saw Ali Vincent from Biggest Loser (more about my interaction with her to come in the 10K recap), Monica from Run, Eat, Repeat (I actually geeked out and ran up to her and said Hi and that I was a fan from her blog—hopefully she wasn’t too frightened). I also saw Joey Fatone and Sean Astin walk by….all of this was before I spotted any of the Twitter friends.
Unfortunately, the lines were already nuts so Lisa of Lisa Runs for Cupcakes, Pam and Christine of We Run Disney, and Jen of Hello Fitness We Meet Again had spots staked out in lineups. I only found this out, thanks to the beautiful Karen from Just Me and My Running Shoes and her husband, Jason, who came to pick me up at La Brea.
(Side note: see…being a Canadian, any sort of international data/roaming is super costly. So…I didn’t have any and I sorta relied on the fact that Disneyland would be like Disney World–where the parks and Downtown Disney had free wi-fi–which was a total mistake–there was NO free wifi…anywhere…at all. Therefore, I was not privy to the tweets about the expo lines or that the ladies were all heading out that way. I’m so grateful to Karen and her husband for taking the time to come and get me and even let me hang out with them (and offer fashion advice) at the expo).
As we started walking to the Expo, I had mentioned that Sean Astin and Joey Fatone had just walked by, if Karen was interested–and her priceless reaction was all I needed, and we ran ahead. She got her picture with Joey Fatone–(satisfying a teenaged NSync Fangirl dream) and I got my picture with Sean Astin–mostly because I think he is awesome and I briefly ran with him at the start of the Princess Half Marathon in February, so it seemed fitting. I’m also rather happy that I took this picture–it shows that I briefly looked presentable (how good does my hair look!?!?!) before the hot and sweaty lines at the expo.
So yeah…now…finally the expo…it was hot, sweaty and lined up for what felt like miles. Thank goodness I had Karen and Jason to chat with. Fortunately, everyone was well behaved and respected the line ups and eventually we got in. Karen, Jason and I made a beeline to the Disney Merch. We had a bit of a team approach–Karen and I just grabbed things for each other in preferred sizes and we would suss it out later in terms of what to keep and to toss. Jason ended up being our requisite holder of items so that we could compare, contrast and try on. Amazingly, we both got what we wanted, despite the chaos. Here’s what I picked up:
I also picked up two extra DHM T-shirts–one for my Grandma as per her request for her birthday and one as a treat for my co-blogger, Princess Lindsey:
It took awhile to finally get to pay for the items…and then the three of us walked the expo. I hit up Raw Threads to pick up things that I had pre-ordered–and it was amazingly quick and seamlesss–arguably it is something that RunDisney should consider doing for the official merch for the Race Expo. I also checked out the Sparkle Skirts and the Sweaty Bands booths for Princess Lindsey as she gave me a shopping list–I was able to get her two of her sweaty bands, none of the sparkle skirts though–they didn’t have the ones she requested and with no texting capabilities, I couldn’t ask her what else she wanted.
I parted ways with Karen and Jason after that as I realized I had been gone for nearly four hours and still had long line ups ahead of me to pick up my race bib, race shirts and Disneyland tickets and I still had not touched base with my dad. I found him and he ended up joining me for the jaunt to pick up my bib, shirts and even braved part of the craziness of the expo–he thanked me for braving the earlier craziness on my own.
I was amazed that, four hours later, there will still crazy lineups to pick up the bibs…though once you got into the basementy style area for the pick up, it was pretty quick. Sadly, by the time I made it back up to pick up my shirts, the line up to pick up shirts was long and somewhat disorganized as it was organized by size…but people didn’t realize or would jump the queue ahead of the one giant line that snaked down one side of the expo. The shirts were the only interesting thing in the race kit–aside from a Clif Bar. There was no shoe bag or button, like I had received at the Princess Half–which was mildly disappointing. I like having a variety of shoe bags–they are very useful for folks like me who travel a ton for work.
Later that day, I had to make my way back to the expo–they had given Little Mermaid magnets with the shirts and I accidentally touched my bib to it–so I had to go back to get it tested to make sure it would read my times for the races. Going back around 5:30pm…it was still busy, but in a more mellow way. It blew my mind what little stock they had left of the official RunDisney merch–made me think that future race expos are going to be even crazier…with people getting in line earlier…longer lines…more aggressive behaviour in the expo…which is unfortunate as that would be a major turnoff for participating in future events for a lot of people…even me–a lover of Disney and running through and through.
This all being said, it was far more organized that when I had attended the 2010 Disneyland Half Marathon. When my friend and I went to that expo, nobody knew what was going on and we were sent on a wild goose chase around the hotel just to find our bibs, never mind anything at the expo. By the time we got to the expo, we were so frustrated and exhausted, that we didn’t even check it out–we just went back to our hotel to save our legs for the race.
So…overall, it was a decent expo, given that it was crazy. I’m not sure what Disney could do to make the situation less intense–aside from allowing pre-orders of official merch and perhaps limiting the expo to race participants only (given that runDisney Facebook groups had mentioned some random, non runner, filling up two duffel bags full of merch totaling $1200 and then seeing it all on e-Bay afterwards).
Stay tuned…more Dumbo Double Dare Challenge recaps coming up this week!