Friday, January 24, 2014

2014 WDW Marathon Week - Race Expo

Photo borrowed from Internet
If you have read our guide to spectating distance races (which you can purchase at you know that Dave hates race expos. Disney's especially..... Every year we spend hours at the expo picking up race packets and shirts, handling every single piece of merchandise (twice), waiting in line to pay for the merchandise, and shuffling through hoards of people looking at the exhibitor booths, Usually we have to park in some dirt lot and can never find the car when we are ready to leave.

Photo borrowed from Internet

We took a different approach this year. Instead of showing up at noon we arrived at the expo an hour before it opened. We didn't have to park in dirt. Upon approaching the Wide World of Sports Complex we saw a pretty long line. Thank goodness that was for the exclusive New Balance runDisney running shoes. The line we needed to be on was much farther up and shorter (at Packet Pickup on the picture). It ended up being real short for us since our friend Joe (whom had received our race info via email and had all our paperwork with him) was 4th in line and people were cool and let us hang with him. When Dave came back from the bathroom the line was gone. They opened 45 minutes early.

Here is the building layout. In Packet Pickup you get your race numbers and handle any registration issues. There's a small runDisney merchandise section here. After you get your packet you are sent to the back of the expo hall to pick up you pre-paid race shirt. In the expo hall you have vendors, exhibitors, the big runDisney merchandise area, and a small lecture area. The stadium's apron had the Dooney and Bourke race-themed purse, Kid's races registration area, and the pre-registration area for the shoes (you waited on line to give some info to the shoe people, then they text you when you can actually come back and buy the shoes).

Dave knew the strategy, but was shocked by the early entry. He went to Packet pickups runDisney merchandise section and saw Joe running around flailing his arms while Holly stood in front of a pile of clothes on the ground. After both Joe and Holly started yelling "We are not divided" Dave received his instructions of what to look for in the other building (that wasn't already in their massive pile) and took off to the expo's runDisney merchandise section. upon getting there he grabbed a Dopey "I did it!" shirt that was not in the other building and one of everything else Dopey in Holly's size. The area was not crowded at this time and several friends came through so he wasn't bored. Holly and Joe finally arrived, Holly made her decisions, and we finally got out of there. We walked the expo booths, then went back to packet pickup for our race bibs. after that, back to the expo for our race shirts and got out of there. We were in the expo for a little over two hours. By the time we left the shoe line was about a quarter-mile long.

Overall this was a decent strategy for navigating the expo. Definitely not as painful as other years.

We took some obligatory shots by the race banners and then headed off to check-in to our new hotel, hit the Magic Kingdom, have dinner at the refurbished California Grill, then meet friends back at our hotel for drinks. Eventually we had to go to bed since we had our first race, the 5K, in the morning.

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