Going to Orlando in November!

I’m going to Orlando in November! I’m really looking forward to it, but this trip has already been fraught with difficulties. Two weeks ago early registration for the Wine & Dine Half Marathon at Disney World on November 7th opened for annual pass holders. I was already planning wanted to travel to Orlando for this race in 2015 so I went home from work for an hour that morning so I could sign up. I was logged on everywhere and hitting refresh on all of the websites right at 9 AM, but I couldn’t find the registration link in the usual places. And based on all of the Facebook posts I was reading (in between page refreshes), I wasn’t the only one. Finally I figured out where the link was hiding, typed in all of my information as fast as possible, hit Enter, and crossed my fingers. Unfortunately I was greeted with a message that said something like “capacity limit reached.” Pre-registration was sold out in less than 15 minutes. I had taken time off work for this? Phooey. My only saving grace was that I’d have another chance to sign up during open registration a couple of weeks later. Fast forward to this morning. After working all weekend I had enough hours to take the morning off so I could be sitting on my couch with my laptop, ready to secure my spot in the Wine & Dine Half Marathon, right at 9 AM. Fortunately for me, this time it worked out, but not without another registration debacle. The Run Disney website went down right before 9 AM so no one could get to the registration links (again, based on Facebook posts I read while mildly panicking). Eventually I found a roundabout way to the half marathon link, but then I was put into a virtual queue to wait my turn. The queue initially said 12 minutes, but I think it was more like 15 before I got to actually register. I was so nervous that I’d miss out again! In the end I was one of the lucky ones who got through before the race sold out (less than 45 minutes later). I am extremely grateful, but there has got to be a way to make the registration process easier! After I got my confirmation email for the race, I called and booked a hotel room at the Disney Polynesian Resort, and bought a plane ticket as well. In less than an hour I was almost fully prepared for this trip already! I can’t wait to go back to Orlando!

Secondhand Disney pins

I had to work today (yes, on a Saturday), but the whole time I was there I was daydreaming about being at Disneyland instead. I should have gone yesterday when I had a day off, but it was really hot in Anaheim and I’m not ready to break out the shorts quite yet this year. Winter cannot be over already! But anyway, back to my story. In addition to all of the pins I buy at Disney parks and events, I have quite a few that I’ve gotten off of eBay as well. What usually happens is I see a pin that I like at Disneyland, but I don’t buy it before it sells out or gets retired. Other times I see a single pin in a larger set that I want to get without buying the whole thing. In both of these situations eBay is very helpful. Usually I can find what I’m looking for at a decent price. On the other hand, sometimes the pin I want is either very popular or very rare and I have to decide whether acquiring it is worth the inflated price. Specifically, the new series of pins commemorating the Disneyland 60th anniversary this year. One new pin is being released each month, but usually on days that I can’t make it to the park to buy one. And they sell out quickly. I was tempted to get one off eBay, but people are selling them for way too much there. I still haven’t given up hope of making it to the park on one of the upcoming release days, but that depends on whether I’ll be able to take the right day off work. Once I learned about the 60th anniversary pins I thought back to the Disneyland 50th anniversary back in 2005. I didn’t have an annual pass back then, but I did go to the parks with Dan and his family that summer. (It was the Fourth of July and the crowds were insane!) At the time I hadn’t started a Disney pin collection yet, but I wish I’d picked up a 50th anniversary pin or two. The good news is that people who did buy them then are now selling them on eBay! I got one for a great price and I love it. After that I thought about the Disney World 25th anniversary. That was back in 1996, and as it turns out, I was there that summer too. It was during the Mu Alpha Theta national convention in Orlando and we spent one day that week at Disney World. Buying pins wasn’t even on my radar at the time, but a couple of weeks ago I searched eBay for Disney World 25th anniversary pins out of curiosity. There isn’t much of a variety available (I don’t think pin trading was that popular back in 1996), but I did find one for a very low price. It’s adorable and it looks great with the rest of my pin collection. I like having souvenirs of those Disney trips on my corkboard, even if I had to buy them years later. Great memories!

Sleeping Beauty’s Castle renovations

I took this picture last Friday when I spent the morning at Disneyland. (It was my day off before working all weekend, but I still had to go in to the office for a few hours that evening.) The 60th anniversary of the park is this year so Sleeping Beauty’s Castle is completely under wraps while being renovated for the occasion. I haven’t ever seen work this extensive at Disneyland. The 60th anniversary celebration this summer promises to be quite the event!

2015 Resolution #1

New Year’s Resolution #1: Decide whether to train for a full marathon

I realize that the worst ideas usually follow this statement, but I have a plan. A friend/co-worker of mine is running the Disney World Marathon next weekend and she’s been sharing the ups and downs of her training with me throughout the fall and winter. Needless to say, it’s been pretty grueling. While I don’t envy her the long weekend runs and tons of weekday miles as well, I am a little jealous that she gets to run through all four Disney World parks during her 26.2 mile trek next Sunday. That is going to be so cool. I told her a while back that if I was ever going to consider running a full marathon it would definitely be at Disney World. When I said that, however, not a single fiber of my being thought I’d ever actually do it. At my current fitness level running a half marathon is really difficult for me so the concept of running twice that far was practically incomprehensible. But as the Disney World Marathon weekend approaches (next weekend – yikes!) I started to wonder if maybe it was possible. So I came up with a plan. (Time will tell whether it’s a good plan or not, but let’s not go there.) During the first four months of 2015 I’ll follow the “time improvement” training plan for the Tinkerbell half marathon (May 10th at Disneyland) and see how it goes. This plan requires quite a few weekend runs that are longer than the 13.1 mile half marathon distance. If I’m honest, this really scares me. More like terrifies me, actually, but it’s something I have to do if I want to decide whether to train for a marathon or not. My ultimate decision point is no later than April 28th when the registration for the 2016 Disney World Marathon opens. At this point I’m about 50% sure I’ll decide to do it, but there are a lot of dependencies. Fortunately I have some time to make up my mind. If nothing else, it should be an interesting journey!

My Disney pin collection (i.e., New Year’s Eve 2014)

With all of the crazy stuff that’s happened in 2014 I figured I’d end the year on a lighter note. With Disney pins! I first wrote about Disney pin trading back in 2011, but back then my collection was barely a fraction of what it is now. Regular trips to Disneyland over the last two years via my beloved annual pass have led to an exponential growth in the number of pins I own. They definitely don’t fit on a lanyard anymore! I don’t buy a new pin every time I go to the parks (I’d have tons more if that were true), but anytime I see one I like I make sure to take it home with me. You never know when certain pins will sell out or get discontinued, and I’ve missed out more than once. I don’t hesitate anymore. (Case in point, I bought almost all of this year’s Christmas pins in mid-November when I was at Disneyland for the Avengers Half Marathon. And it’s a good thing too because when I was there yesterday the pins I liked were all gone!) That’s probably obvious from the above photo, though. Back in 2011 I wrote, “Now that all of my pins are together at last I need to figure out a way to display them. Any idea where I can get a stylish corkboard for our game room?” Well, I no longer live in the house with the game room, but last year I found a simple little corkboard at Pottery Barn to display my pins in my apartment. It’s hanging in my bedroom, and as you can probably tell, it’s almost completely full now! Luckily, I bought a second corkboard when I realized how quickly I was going to run out of space on the first one. I think it might be time to make use of it! I’m the first to admit that my pin collection is kinda out of control, but I really love it. It’s like a scrapbook of all of my years of Disneyland enjoyment. Especially the Run Disney race pins. I only have two so far, but I will be adding more very soon (thanks to FOUR races in January). And as a friend told me recently, the pins are a relatively inexpensive souvenir compared to all of the other available merchandise. I’d break the bank if I bought Disney shirts as often as I buy pins! Unlike my Mickey Mouse sweatshirt which I only wear every once in a while (like today – it was cold is SoCal!), the best part about my collection is that I get to enjoy it every day. So much happiness from something so small. If only everything in life was that simple.