May The Course Be With You
I held to my word last year, retiring from half marathons after the Princess Half, so we did the 10k. I love that distance because it gives you a mile or two to get into a groove, and then, before you know it, you're done. Plus, shorter training runs/schedules are my favorite.
The Health & Fitness Expo at the Disneyland Hotel was great, as always, and we spent Friday in the parks before the race. If you go to Disneyland, you NEED to get a Park Hopper. Unlike Walt Disney World where you drive or take a shuttle/monorail/boat from park to park, it's only a 200 yard walk from the Disneyland gate to California Adventure. We decided to hit up California Adventure first, for one of our favorite rides that doesn't have a Fastpass in CA - Toy Story Mania. We got there about 20 minutes before the parks opened to hang out and wait before the official opening. The super nice lady at the entrance asked where we were from. When I told her that it was Mike's first time to Disneyland, she handed us a pass to enjoy the rest of the Extra Magic Hour. She was so sweet!
Sidenote: another difference between FL and CA is that while I always suggest visitors stay at a Disney hotel in Florida for proximity to the parks, free transportation and car parking at each park, and overall ease, there are tons of "neighbor hotels" in walking distance for fantastic prices in Anaheim. The one downside is no Extra Magic Hours, but the price difference and discounted tickets at those neighbor hotels are worth it!
Another sidenote: Disneyland does not yet have the Fastpass+ system that Walt Disney World has, where you log into the system on your computer with your Magic Band ahead of the trip and choose your ride times. In fact, they don't even have Magic Bands yet! Good old fashioned paper tickets and inserting those tickets into the Fastpass system at each ride, it is!
It was early to bed on Friday night for a 3:30am wake up call for the 10k. There were a few fun photo op scenes like the trash compactor on the Death Star and hanging upside down in the Wampa's cave, but no characters before the race. As for during the race, we were pretty disappointed with only a few stops: R2D2, BB8, Chewbacca, and two empty stops that we later found out were Darth Vader and Kylo Ren. I know there are regulations that characters can only stay out there for so long, but waiting 20 minutes for a character to "get sometime to eat" or "solve a problem at the Death Star" is a bit much when you're trying to stay warm and in the groove with a race. We made up for it with a trip to see Darth Vader at the Star Wars Launch Bay later that morning. Other than that, the race course was great - I love getting to go through both parks - and there were bands playing and Jedi trainings going on at different spots.we also treated ourselves after running six miles and enjoyed some fantastic fireworks at the happiest place on Earth. It was the perfect start to our vacation, and I loved getting to run another 10k with Mike!