Maybe it’s the number of times I saw The Sound of Music as a child, but I’m a firm believer in starting at the very beginning. It’s a very good place to start.
This story begins on Thursday at the Expo. After a last minute decision to take Thursday off work, I subbed BodyFlow on Thursday morning (with some epic Kate Voegele inspiration for the races in hamstrings). Then, I headed up to the Expo with a friend (Emily) and her daughter. After an easy drive up the 5, we parked in Downtown Disney and headed to the Disneyland Hotel to the Expo. I was a little nervous heading to the Expo on the first day (I’ve only ever gone on Saturdays). I’d read about people getting there HOURS before it opened and lines and waiting and all sorts of nonsense. First up, packet pick-up for our bibs.
Nerves? Unwarranted. It was SO easy and not crowded at all! Even just a couple hours after the Expo began! We walked right up, easily printed off a waiver to sign, and headed over to the packet lines. By lines, I mean like no wait for me and I think one or two ahead of my friend. EASY!! I got my Coast to Coast challenge bracelets with my bib (bracelets! plural!! thanks for making that switch runDisney!). Since we were doing the Pixie Dust Challenge (10k on Saturday and half marathon on Sunday), we were directed to take pictures with our bibs so they’d be able to verify who finished the races for the medals. We visited Pandora in the packet area as it only had a short line and we didn’t know at that time there’d be another upstairs (Emily’s a big fan of their charms).
Then, we headed upstairs to the Expo. Now, it’s been a couple years since I’ve done a DL race, so I can’t say when they made the switch, but I LOVED the shift they made. We came straight up the ramp from packet pick-up and were funneled directly into the Expo towards t-shirt pickup. I thought this was a fantastic move on runDisney’s part. Shirts were picked up, shirts were exchanged (mine), and then the business at hand was done!
We walked the aisles and I picked up a new Raw Threads tank. My previous Running to the Second Star tank was too big and I barely wore it so I needed one I’d wear. 🙂 The Expo was PACKED, but it didn’t feel overly crazy. We made stops at a couple booths and I even saw my favorite couple from Princess at the Pandora booth! I told them they were my favorite and I got some awesome hugs and great conversation. I looked for them on the course on Sunday (they told me they’d be dressed as Pixie Dust), but sadly didn’t see them until after the race and didn’t have a chance to catch up to them to say hello. What fun to see them at the Expo though!
We peeked at the official runDisney merchandise booth a couple times and saw CRAZY lines, so we didn’t head over. When we finally did (no line!), there were already items sold out (infamous wine glasses, for example). I wasn’t really impressed with the merchandise though, so we called it quits and headed back to the car. Two hours, in and out, and got everything (and then some) during our trip before hitting the road home.
So then on Friday, after teaching my own BodyFlow class and then packing (and not cleaning my apartment), I picked up my other friend (Jen) and we were on our way to Anaheim for the full weekend. Emily had to work and would join us later.
How was Expo Round 2? Just as easy. I’m seriously impressed with how well runDisney puts the Expo together. We were in and out for packet pickup for Jen super fast and then up to the Expo for shirts and shopping.
SIDEBAR: I feel like the Expo sometimes gets a bad rap specifically because of the merchandise that sells out quickly. I do these races to have fun. I love Expos and seeing all of the different vendors, but I learned a long time ago that I don’t care about the merchandise. I mean, I love SEEING the merchandise and I do occasionally purchase, but I don’t define my experience by what I can or can’t get. In fact, I consider it to my benefit if the merchandise I would have wanted sells out before I get there, haha. I saved money! And usually, I save even MORE money because it means I didn’t pay for extra hotel nights to arrive at the resort earlier to get to the Expo before things sold out.
So, on Friday? Were there still a lot of people at the Expo? Yes. But, it wasn’t overly crowded. Some areas (like Pandora and KT Tape) were more crowded on Friday, but it was still easy to navigate and visit everything we wanted to see (I even got to meet another new friend!). I got another Sparkly Soul headband too. I’m in love. Best headbands ever. 🙂
Once we’d had our fill, we were off to Trader Sam’s… which set us off a fun little Tour de Downtown (Disney). We followed up our hydration with hydration and then a good solid meal before heading back to our hotel for an early night (Castle Inn & Suites – would definitely recommend it).
Were you at Tink this weekend? How was the Expo for you? Do you like race expos?