As usual, my updates are spotting at best. On the plus side, I’m really consistent at writing inconsistently. So, we’ll just jump right in and get to the now.
Let’s talk about the Two Course Challenge and Walt Disney World! We’re just going to go in chronological order because well, that makes things easier on my brain. Also, this is going to be long, like several posts long.
Magical Express and MagicBands
We flew out of San Diego on Thursday mid-morning and we’d booked EVERYTHING through Disney for this trip (room, tickets, flights, ground transportation). It was so easy. We literally did it over dinner one night. I mean, I’m a PLANNER so I’d obviously done a ton of research and had post-it notes, comparisons, price points, my bullet journal, and all sorts of information before that dinner, but still.
We chose not to check bags (because $, but also because you want your run gear in a carry on anyway for a racecation), so when our non-stop flight (Alaska was awesome, the flight was smooth, the free in-flight entertainment was great, and it only took 4.5 hours) landed in Orlando, we headed straight to the Magical Express with our MagicBands on. The Magical Express is a shuttle service from the airport to your resort included with all room bookings at Walt Disney World. There’s also the option to have Disney pick up your checked luggage at baggage claim, but as we didn’t check bags, we didn’t need to use it. The MagicBands serve as your access key throughout your stay – Magical Express, room key, park ticket, credit card, & fast passes. Those get mailed to you before your trip.
Now, the race expo closed at 7 PM on Thursday night. Our flight landed at 5:30 and if we’d gotten a rental car, there’s a [small] chance we could have picked up our bibs/gone to the expo as soon as we’d arrived depending on traffic. Since we took the Magical Express (free/included! so easy!), it took longer and it took us straight to our hotel (which meant we’d still need to take another shuttle to ESPN for the expo – also free/included! also easy! but ya know, time.). The Magical Express itself says it’s about 45-75 minutes of travel time; I think between a restroom stop, waiting for the shuttle, and the shuttle ride itself we ended up arriving at our hotel about two hours after we landed.
This isn’t a complaint in any way, it’s just good to know if you’re planning your own trip/runDisney racecation at Disney World and if your time is very limited.
I’d checked us in online (or possibly in the My Disney Experience “MDE” app) before our trip, so we didn’t have check in when we arrived. Remember, our MagicBands are also our room keys, so since I checked in online I received an email with our room number once it was ready, and we were able to head straight to the room when we got off the shuttle. We did end up stopping by the concierge later to adjust the credit card and pin number on my friend’s MagicBand (so she could use her own card and didn’t have to use mine). The cast member was super helpful. She also explained to me how I could use my MagicBand and still use my Disney Rewards from my credit card. We also checked in with the Front Desk and Luggage Services regarding the Prime Now delivery we placed while we were on the Magical Express (we got some easy snacks/groceries for the room).
An Aside About Prime Now
Prime Now and “regular” Amazon (and Amazon Prime) are delivered differently at Disney World, so this is definitely important to note. Prime Now delivers to Luggage Services (they can/will deliver to your room) and there is no delivery fee from the resort (there’s also no delivery fee with Prime Now either if your order reaches a certain threshold… I think $35). You do have to have an Amazon Prime account to order from Prime Now.
If you have questions about your delivery, call “Luggage Services” on your room phone and not “Front Desk.” While we talked to them about where our groceries would be delivered and everything sounded smooth on Thursday evening, we ended up running into some troubles because my friend placed the order and her name wasn’t the main name on the room (mine was).
When we called later that night with concerns (showed it was delivered, but we didn’t have it), the Front Desk didn’t tell us to talk to Luggage Services, they just told us that our delivery was likely at the warehouse and would arrive in a couple days (as opposed to the couple hours it should have been). They didn’t understand the difference between “regular” Amazon and Prime Now and they didn’t recommend we talk to Luggage Services (even when we indicated we’d ordered groceries). Luggage Services did accept our order on Thursday night, but it wasn’t until the next morning after several more calls to various places that we received it… because Luggage Services didn’t even call me (the name on the room) to see if I’d placed an order (an order with our room number on it). And all this, even though we’d talked to both prior desks prior to delivery on Thursday evening to mention we were expecting an order (“and is this where it will be delivered?” “Yes, and we’ll bring it to your room. When are you expecting it?”).
Also, they don’t deliver alcohol. This is not necessarily less important that the above information, haha. Garden Grocer does, but you’ll probably want to book your Garden Grocer delivery farther out in advance of your trip. Our resort did sell alcohol and at a relatively reasonable price (we got a bottle of wine for $15 and they let us use their wine key to open it). Definitely check BOTH apps to see if they have what you’d want to order in advance of your trip.
All Star Music Resort
This is one of Disney’s value resorts. It’s huge and our room was in the furthest building. It was a good 5-7 minute walk from the main building and shuttle areas to our room. Our room was nice, but it’s worth noting that this resort does not have coffee makers in the room (see above for grocery delivery options, haha).
The resort theming was excellent and the pools were really nice. We didn’t end up swimming, and we were bummed there was no jacuzzi, but we soaked our feet after one of the races and walked through the pool areas a couple times. Another aside, there’s laundry on-site at the pool areas if you want/need to do laundry (and a spiffy website to track the time on your machine. We didn’t do laundry). The main building had a gift shop and a food court (there’s coffee and alcohol here too, lol). The food was decent, but pretty much the same each day so we were bored by the weekend. I did have a delicious roasted chicken, baked potato, and vegetable plate for dinner two nights though and breakfast after the race was scrumptious (I’ll likely mention that again when we get there).
After stopping in the gift shop, browsing, and picking up some wine, we headed back to the room to try and will ourselves to bed on east coast time.
Two Points Totally Not Related to the Arrival
Worth noting, #1: if you’ve never been, pretty much everywhere at WDW has free wifi (SO NICE). This makes the MDE app extra helpful because you know you aren’t using all of your data while you’re on it.
Worth noting, #2: All Star Music shares a shuttle with the other All Star resorts (Sports and Movies) for the Magical Express and we ended up sharing from Epcot as well (though that could have been circumstantial based on the queues and the special race after party). Sports gets the first drop off, then Music, then Movies. For the races, the expo, to the parks, from Animal Kingdom (AK), and to/from Disney Springs, we had our own shuttle. It took around 20-25 minutes to get every where and we usually didn’t have to wait more than 10 minutes for a shuttle. The exception to that was leaving Epcot after the after party (more about that later) and leaving Disney Springs (both times were 45-60 minutes wait for the shuttle to arrive).
Alright, that’s all for Pt. #1 of “That-Depends-On-How-Wordy-I-Get” in this Wine & Dine Racecation recap series! 🙂