Top 5 Things to Do at Animal Kingdom

Last top 5!!! ¬†For now at least ūüôā ¬†Last but certainty not least is Animal Kingdom. ¬†This was actually the first park I visited at Walt Disney World ever!!! ¬†I was so excited to see the animals but especially the tree of life. ¬†It was awesome and I loved every second of it. ¬†I don’t go as much because the park hasn’t changed much over the years. ¬†With the new construction of Rivers of Light and the land of Pandora that is going to drastically change soon. ¬†I’m so excited to see both of these new editions but today we are going to focus on what’s available now.

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  1. Kilimanjaro Safari: ¬†Its like a sarafi but for Disney. ¬†You are in a giant van and drive through the African safari where you can see Lions, Giraffe, zebras, rhinos and so much more. ¬†The best time to do this is in the early morning or late at night (coming soon) when the animals are the most active. ¬†I try and do this each time we visit if time allows because i LOVE animals ūüôā

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2. ¬†Expedition Everest: ¬†Another thrill ride and this one goes backwards! ¬†Again I’ve only ridden this twice because thrill rides just aren’t my thing but I will say its a fun ride and I do recommend it. ¬†For this ride Disney Imagineers did a ton of research around Everest to get the back-story and theme on point. ¬†They did a fantastic job and is worth at least 1 visit. ¬†BEWARE THE YETI!

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3.  Finding Nemo-The Musical-  This show is really long but the puppetry here is amazing.  What they do with these characters is truly amazing and a must see.  The puppets in this show are made by the same team that made the puppets in Lion King on broadway so that should tell you the quality here.  Check the daily times guide for showtimes, there arent very many in a given day.

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4. ¬†Festival of the Lion King- ¬†I love the Lion King so of course this show makes my top 5. ¬†Doesnt hurt that the show is put together very well and showcases some very talented acrobats. ¬†The monkies are below but there is a “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” number that I absolutely love. ¬†Before you go into the show stop by the Dawa Bar for a fantastic bloody mary ūüôā ¬†Again with this show, check the times guides for showtimes, there are more than Finding Nemo and there are fast passes available.

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5.  Count the animals on the Tree РI cant remember the exact number of animals on this tree but Im pretty sure its more than 100.  Each time we go I find a new animal.  You can spend hours looking at this tree and I love that its the centerpiece of the park.  Soon there will be a nighttime show centered around the tree that I cannot wait to see but until then, its still a must visit in the park.  There are also photopass photographers with some cool magic shots so make sure and capture the moment!

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These are my top 5 but don’t worry there is plenty to do at the park beyond these 5. ¬†Since this park closes early (for now) make sure you visit here first thing and spend your night at a different park. ¬†FYI this park is actually the largest and hottest of the 4. ¬†Why the hottest you ask? ¬†Well apparently the vegetation holds heat so it gets pretty darn warm in the Animal Kingdom, also why I recommend going in the morning.

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Don’t forget, I can help you plan your vacation to Disney, Universal or cruises!!! ¬†Here is the link to my facebook page¬†or email me at rachael {at} DreamComeTrueVacations {dot}com

CHIME IN!!! ¬†What’s your favorite thing to do at Animal Kingdom? ¬†Ever had a bloody mary from the Dawa Bar? ¬†Lion King or Finding Nemo?

What I Loved About the Disneyland Paris Inaugural Half Marathon (Race Recap)

2016 has been a great year. ¬†I thought it would be terrible since I turned 30 a few weeks ago but you know what, its been wonderful. ¬†While there have been a lot of great moments so far in 2016 one stands head and shoulders about the rest and that’s the Disneyland Paris half marathon (ok all of Paris but the race was wonderful).

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Being that this was an Inaugural race I had very low expectations of organization, course, characters, merchandise and overall communication.  Based on everything leading up to the race this was an appropriate assumption.  While there where quite a few kinks and frustrated participants I wasnt worried.  I knew I was going to run in Paris, around Disneyland and thats all I needed to know.  Everything else to me was just a big bonus.

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To register for the race you had the opportunity to book packages (bib, hotel, park tickets) last October.  Bib only purchases werent until the following January (which was actually delayed until February).  I didnt want to take my chances at not getting a bib so I booked a package.  There was a lot of confusion on tour providers, pricing and all of that but I ended up booking with Run to the Magic (subsidiary of Great Day Travels).  The booking experience was fine with them but be warned, at least with this travel company, all they do is book your travel.  No frills, no extras, nothing special like I do.  I actually asked if they could assist with making dining reservations since they are UK based and calling Paris for them is a lot easier (internal thinking here).  They said nope and gave me the phone number to call.  Yeah thanks, I got that off the Disneyland website already.  I dont know if this was the same with the other tour providers but that was my experience.

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About 2 weeks before the race RunDisney sent out race info and paperwork to print.  Oh the uproar!  Apparently the instructions said you had to print the page out on a very specific size of paper that is not available in the US.  Many facebook posts later it was determined that its ok to print on standard US paper.  The drama that ensued over a piece of paper was comical.  Me, I just printed out the email and knew it would all work itself out.  Ok, paperwork is set, you know basically where to go to pick up your race packet now its time to travel.

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Once we got to Sequoia Lodge and threw our things in the room (Im not going to write about the room it was beyond basic and not worth mentioning) then headed to the Expo.  When I got there I think there were maybe 20 other people at this tiny little expo.  I picked up my packet, got my picture taken then went to seek out some merch.  Oh, the sad offerings they called merchandise.  There were a few shirts, hats, and ugly headbands.  There should have been pins but when I got there on day 2 all but 1 were sold out.  Granted this was the first race so Im sure subsiquent races will have more merchandise available.  Vendors at the expo were few and very limited merch.  We spent 2 minutes looking around then headed to the parks to finish out day.

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Race day comes and its a 7am start. ¬†Yup you read that right, 7am. ¬†Most RunDisney US races start at 5 or 5:30am so this was a welcomed change. ¬†I headed to my corral and waited for the start of the race. ¬†Fellow RunDisney participants will know there is usually a “dance party” before races in the holding area, a place for family to hang out with you and a well organized family reunion area, not here. ¬†I cant complain too much because it was a small race and it was pretty easy to find Joe after, it just wasnt as easy as the US races. ¬†Race start came and went and was delayed for about 15 minutes due to the course not being 100% cleared by police. ¬†When thats the reason for the delay I never have an issue, I would rather have a safe course. ¬†Granted everyone was freezing because it was about 40 degrees outside but I was happy that meant I, for once, was not going to start a race already hot.

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I have to say one of the best parts of the race was actually the weather.  I never had to pour water on my head/face because I was hot.  At the end I thought about it but with only 1 mile to go I knew it would be fine.  I was worried because the race was starting so late but it ended up being fine.

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In terms of the course, running through the parks was great. ¬†I think we ran through as much of the parks as we could which ended up being around 2 miles in the beginning. ¬†The course then went into residential areas, through a high school track (yeah that was weird), off road around a lake, down cobble stone streets and back down some boring roads until you make your way back into “Disney Village” and run past the resorts to the finish line. ¬†All in all I still say this course is better than US Disney because 90% was flat and the inclines that did happen were straight and not over road curves (which reek havoc on the knees). ¬†While I wish there was more entertainment on the course there were more people out cheering us on then I expected so that was a welcomed surprise.

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As far as the actual running went…well that’s a whole ‘nother story. ¬†All the way up until mile 6 I was doing ok, keeping a pretty steady pace and feeling solid. ¬†Mile 6 goes by and the wall hits me like a ton of bricks. ¬†After that my pace dropped from a 9 minute mile to a 10 minute mile and just got slower as the race went on. ¬†What really killed my legs was the off-road/cobblestone street section. ¬†While it was beautiful, my legs were not prepared for the impact and got fatigued even quicker (this was around mile 8). ¬†Mile 9 I started doing the run/walk method which helped but my mental game was so off there was no coming back. ¬†It makes me really sad because I think my legs would have been fine but my mind was finding everything wrong and magnifying it. ¬†Luckily I never stopped but kept moving even if that was walking.

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My hip was getting so tight I could hardly move it at mile 10 and this slowed me down even further. ¬†I had gotten acupuncture a few day prior but it didn’t seem to help any. ¬†By this time the course was taking us back to Disney territory and I sucked it up and tried to pick up the pace to finish under 2:30 (which would still be a PR for a Disney race). ¬†We got more spectators at this point which always help boost morale. ¬†Then I ran past Joe and that gave me my little last push to the finish. ¬†Which leads me to my favorite moment of the race, which I actually posted on Instagram, was crossing the finish line and confetti went off and Daisy gave me a high five. ¬†Yes the confetti went off every few seconds but I’ve never run through confetti before and it was awesome. ¬† I walked over to get my medal, took a photo and waited for Joe to come find me (like I said the reunion area wasn’t great).

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Overall I really did enjoy the race, it was well put together. Everything ran smoothly, if there were any major glitches I didn’t notice them and we spent more time running through the parks then I expected which is always a positive in my book. ¬†My only complaints about it are that there weren’t as many characters as I was hoping for (but the lines were super short) and the off-road piece was really bad for me personally, oh and ok so this is lame but I hated that the distance markers were in kilometers. ¬†Yes we are in a different country that uses the metric system but when you run past 13km and still have 8km to go, yeah that sucks. ¬†That’s not a Disney thing though so I cant fault them for it.

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I think the biggest disappointment I had was with myself. ¬†My mental game was just off which caused me to have a terrible race. ¬†Yes my hips were not 100% race ready and I hadn’t run more than 10 miles during this training period but if my mental game had been strong none of that would have mattered. ¬†I let my mind get the better of me and my time reflected that. ¬†I had the fitness to get a 2:10 time but ended with a 2:27 and the only person I can blame is myself. ¬†Blame is the wrong word but its how I feel. ¬†I will probably do a separate post all about this but long story short, I let myself down and I need to get my head right before the marathon. ¬†Any tips on refocusing are much appreciated!!!!!

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This isnt a traditional race recap because I’ve struggled with my feelings about it for a while. ¬†I can say now though that it has nothing to do with the race and if I had the means to go to Paris every year, I would do this race again and again. ¬†Unfortunately I dont so this race will only be for special occassions (because I plan on doing it again one day). ¬† ¬†I hope you find yourself in Paris one day and are able to participate in this race because it truly was a wonderful experience. ¬†Until next time Disneyland Paris!

CHIME IN!!!  Have you ever run an international race before?  Has your mind gotten the better of you during a race?  Who should I dress up as for my next race?

Workout Recap 10/18-24

I know its been a while since I’ve done a workout recap. ¬†With marathon training upon me I figured it was about time I started this back up to track the progress of said training. ¬†I’m nervous, scared, excited all at the same time for this so it will be fun to look back on these struggles on day and possibly laugh ūüôā

After Paris I had a lot of injuries and was sick so I also ended up taking 2 weeks off from running. ¬†Technically this is my first full week back to training so you didn’t miss too much anyway. ¬†I’m going to try and get a race recap up soon but I’m still working on my thoughts on that race.

Tuesday:¬† 4 mile run at progressive pace. ¬†This run was really confusing for me and I didn’t love it but hey you cant love all training runs. ¬†10 minutes warm up followed by 3x10min progressive (gradually increase pace from easy to threshold). ¬†I did ok with it and ended with a 10:25 average pace for the 4 miles. ¬†After work was 3 Blogiliaties videos. ¬†My coach has said I need to work on strength to try and work on hip issues and I agree. ¬†A lot of the blogilaties videos are tough for me because of my hip flexors so I decided this would be the best way to get that strength training in. ¬†15 minutes stretching / foam rolling after blogilaties.

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Wednesday:¬†35 minute recovery run with an average pace of 11:35. ¬†Nothing special about this run just that its still hot here and I’m dreaming of cooler weather. ¬†I went to dinner with a friend so no strength training today.

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Thursday:  30 minutes pace build run.  Another slightly strange run but a little easier than Monday.  10 minute intervals each 30-45 seconds faster than the last.  I ended up with almost perfect 1 minute splits with 11:51, 10:59 and 9:59 pace for each of the 10 minutes.  It was hot and nasty outside but a cool front is coming out way that I am absolutely looking forward to.  15 minutes stretching and foam rolling that night and a few ab blogilaties videos for good measure.

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Friday: ¬†Recovery day today and good thing to, we are going camping and I was too busy getting ready for that to do any workouts. ¬†No stretching or foam rolling or anything, such a bad athlete today ūüėõ

Saturday:  5 miles were scheduled but I slept so poorly that I woke up feeling hung-over when I had nothing to drink the night before.  Instead I napped to get my energy back and took a walk.  I was really upset to miss my morning run because we FINALLY got a cold snap here and the weather was PERFECT for a longer run.  Oh well, such is life, not a bad view though to make up for the disappointment.

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Sunday:  Recovery run was scheduled for today but since camping has wreaked havoc on my sleep schedule I took a 30 minute walk instead.  I learned my lesson in Paris of pushing my body too far and Im not going to do that again so close to back to back race weekends.

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Monday:  No running today but did a few blogilaties videos.  Continue the slow process of building up my core muscles.  Its a tough job but I know when marathon time comes it will pay off.  Thank goodness my hotel room has some space!!

CHIME IN!!!  Has fall weather made it to you yet?  Do you have strong hip flexors?  Tell me all your secrets?!?

Top 5 Things to Do at Hollywood Studios

I have been neglecting posting a top 5 for Hollywood Studios because its under so much construction right now. ¬†Then it came to me, you know what construction can mean…smaller crowds!!! ¬†While this park is definitely not a full day adventure as it stands right now there are still some great things to do at Hollywood Studios.

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  1. Rockin’ Roller Coaster: ¬†So this ride gave me a near anxiety attack and I’ve only ridden it twice but its the only full-scale roller coaster at Walt Disney World (complete with upside down flip and all) and is all indoors. ¬†This ride will probably see a face-lift very soon so go experience the original while you still can.

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2. ¬†Tower of Terror: ¬†Disney fans rejoice! ¬†As of now the Walt Disney World version of Tower of Terror will not be changing anytime soon (unlike its counterpart in Disneyland). ¬†I’ve actually never been on this ride because its all my least favorite part of a ride…the drops. ¬†The story and decor¬†here is on-point and I don’t know a single person who has ridden it that didn’t love it. ¬†That’s some high praise.

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3.  Beauty and the Beast Stage Show:  This show has been running for as long as I can remember and its very well done.  With a limited number or showings a day make sure you time your day right so you can catch one of the showings.  This musical is Disney entertainment done right and its also a fantastic way to rest your feet and enjoy a little shade on those hot Florida days.

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4. ¬†Fantasmic: ¬†Ok I have a confession…I personally hate this show. ¬†Its not easy to view (you have to queue then go into a back-lot area), its a little dated and not enough fireworks. ¬†That being said, this is actually some people’s favorite nighttime show at Walt Disney World. ¬†This is a water/firework hybrid show with characters coming out on floats down the river. ¬†If you sit in the front row you can get wet, you have been warned. ¬†This show also has a good amount of villains in it so if that’s your thing this is the nighttime show to see.

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5. ¬†Indiana Jones Stunt Show: ¬†A little cheesy but who doesn’t love Indiana Jones! ¬†This is a stunt show based on the Temple of Doom and has audience participation! ¬†Another great place to rest your feet and take a break from the heat while being entertained. ¬†Its definitely worth a watch at least once. ¬†This stunt spectacular does have a few more show times than Beauty and the Beast so make sure you check the daily times guide to coordinate. ¬†Or have your travel agent do that for you ūüėÄ

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For those of you who have been to Studios are probably crying foul that I didn’t mention Star Tours or Toy Story Midway Mania. ¬†For good reason, first both of those attractions are at almost every Disney theme park location and two both of those areas are under construction. ¬†While the rides are still operational I’m reserving those for re-review when the new lands are done and have more rides to compare to. ¬†I know its a random reason but there you go ūüôā

Don’t forget, I can help you plan your vacation to Disney, Universal or cruises!!! ¬†Here is the link to my facebook page¬†or email me at rachael {at} DreamComeTrueVacations {dot}com

CHIME IN!!! ¬†What’s your favorite thing to do at Hollywood Studios? ¬†Do you like thrill rides? ¬†When was your last Disney trip?

Guess Who’s Back?!

I know, I know, where have you been Rachael!? ¬†Well, truth be told my life was a little hectic for a while and I just wasn’t interested in blogging. ¬†I didn’t have anything interesting to say and was overwhelmed. ¬†Now that our big trip is over and life is slowing down its back to business as usual.

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I’ve decided to not post as often in a week so I can keep content interesting and to better manage my personal time. ¬†I might talk more about Disney and travel since I’m growing a new business. ¬†If your not interested in reading about that I totally get it, this blog started off mostly running but as with life things change and evolve.

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I am still running and training for a full marathon at the moment. ¬†I’m going to bring back the training log and will continue to post about running as well. ¬†I have missed the interaction with you guys and want that back in my life. ¬†It really does help having a positive community around you when life gets a little messy.

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Don’t worry though, a post about Paris is in the works! ¬†We had a fantastic time and I cannot wait to tell you all about our experience. ¬†There are so many places I still want to visit but France has definitely made the “must go back” list.

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So what have I been doing since I’ve been gone? ¬†Well we’ve done home projects like a big built in for the living room and completely re-hauled the stairs. ¬†We went to Paris and I ran a half marathon and I’ve been coming up with ideas to grow the travel planning business not to mention doing my not-so-magical-job to keep the income flowing. ¬†You could say my plate has been full!

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I’m so looking forward to the holiday season, breaking out the Christmas decorations and getting some much needed cooler weather. ¬†I’m dreaming of our next home project and looking forward to an extended break from running after the marathon. ¬†Yup you heard that right, I’ve already told me body we are going to take some solid time off from running come January. ¬†I realized I’ve never gone more than 2 weeks in the last 5 years not running. ¬†That’s probably why I’m so burnt out and exhausted so my body will be rewarded very very soon.

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In the meantime, thanks for sticking with me and giving me an online family to come back to. ¬†You guys rock! ¬†PS–the baby is my nephew, you didn’t miss THAT much ūüėÄ

CHIME IN!!! ¬†What have you been doing the last month? ¬†How is your running going? ¬†What’s next for you in life?