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10 Steps to Your First Dopey Challenge

Ken (Mousehacking.com) and his wife Emily (LattesAndRunways.com) blog about Disney and world travel. They’re here to share their tips for running the Walt Disney World Dopey Challenge.

 

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Follow our steps to earn your finisher photo with Dopey himself!

 

In April, Holly wrote about her first 5K, the Disney Princess 5K. As with all Disney things, once you get a taste, you’re sure to want more. The ultimate RunDisney goal? The Dopey Challenge. 48.6 miles run over four days—a 5K (3.1 miles) on day one, a 10K (6.2 miles) on day two, a half marathon (13.1 miles) on day three, and a marathon (26.2 miles) on day four. Having each run six marathons and two Dopey Challenges, Emily and I are here to give you 10 Steps to Your First Dopey Challenge.

1. Get Excited

Even before signing up, get excited. You’ll need that excitement to get the courage to sign up. A Dopey Challenge is an amazing (but grueling) experience. You’ll have four straight days of running through the parks, cheering fans, snapping pictures with sometimes-unique characters, and accomplishing something you probably didn’t think you were capable of. It’s going to be a Magical time, and you should be excited.

2. Sign Up As Soon As Possible

We always sign up for major races as soon as possible, usually at the moment they open. The Walt Disney World Marathon is one of the most popular races in the United States (and the world, for that matter). The past few years, Dopey Challenge availability has been a little better, and RunDisney has opened up more slots as time went by, but if you are certain you want to run the Dopey Challenge, plan to be at your computer when registration opens.

3. Try to Compartmentalize This Trip

For most of us, a Dopey Challenge comes with an additional Magical challenge: planning a great Walt Disney World trip. If you’re running the Dopey Challenge, the first priority of your trip should be the Dopey Challenge. You could run the Dopey Challenge and have an amazing four days filled with parking hopping and new restaurants, but it would exhaust you across the board.

 

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Instead of running every which way, just take a stroll around the park to show off your gear!

 

If you can make an extended stay of it, splitting your stay between park-focused and Dopey-focused days is a good plan. Combining Dopey with New Year’s Eve is ideal. If you can’t make an extended stay of it, that’s okay! Consider a resort day, a guided tour of one of the parks, or anything you don’t usually do (Fantasia Gardens, anyone?).

The caveat to this is that 5K day and 10K day you’ll be done with the races in time for a full day of adventure. So you will have time to enjoy the parks. But remember, you’re waking up near 3AM and you have two big races ahead of you—don’t go overboard.

4. Run a Half Marathon Race

Yes, there is running involved in preparing for the Dopey Challenge (sorry!). You can’t run a marathon if you can’t run a half marathon, and running a half marathon race, not just a training run, is a great way to understand some of the basic challenges of long-distance running. You’ll learn about how your running gear handles over longer distances (good 5-mile gear might not be good 10-mile gear). During a half marathon, you’ll get some early tastes of how your body holds up over longer distances. You might start to learn about fueling on the run.

By the way, when Emily and I finished our first half marathon, she immediately said she didn’t want to run a marathon. This is a classic reaction—you’ll get past it. A few weeks later, we had signed up for two marathons, including the Dopey Challenge.

5. Run a Marathon Race

People do the Dopey Challenge without marathon experience, so it can be done, but I don’t recommend it, especially if you want to fully take in everything Dopey has to offer. Training runs, even up to 20+ miles, don’t give you a true sense of how tough the marathon can be on race day.

 

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The end of a non-Disney marathon, plenty of lessons learned.

 

Training runs (if done properly) are also useless for understanding your limits. Almost all first-time marathon training is broken into two concepts—running long and slow to know what running for hours and hours is like, and running short and fast to know what running at your goal speed feels like. You combine these only on race day. This means until race day, you don’t really know what you’re capable of, and that’s going to matter when it comes to enjoying the Dopey Challenge, as we’ll see.

Training runs also don’t give you any sense of how enjoyable a marathon can be. The energy of the other runners, the cheering of the crowds, the hilarious signs, and the joy of finishing—a training run has none of these. At several marathons I’ve wondered during training why I do it, only to be reminded during the race of how truly great it is. You’ll want those memories when training for Dopey.

6. Plan Your Costumes

Costumes are a much bigger part of RunDisney 5Ks and 10Ks than half marathons and marathons, but plenty of Dopey Challenge runners wear costumes all four days (Emily does, I usually do 2-3 days). This takes major planning. You’ll need to include the costumes in your packing plans. You’ll need to make sure the gear is acceptable to run in (a bigger issue for the longer races). You’ll need to account for weather (we’re Chicagoans with 6 total marathons behind us, and the 2017 Walt Disney World Marathon starting feeling under 30 degrees was our coldest). And you’ll likely need to make at least two costumes from running hear (Halloween attire simply won’t be good for running a half or full marathon).

7. Expect to Take it Easy…

If you read Jeff Galloway’s marathon training program and Dopey Challenge training program, you might notice a big difference between the two — Dopey Challenge has only a single training plan for the goal of surviving. There is no “run your fastest marathon” or even “run your fastest Dopey Challenge”, your goal for your first dopey, at least, should be to survive. Race-by-race, this means:
• The 5K and 10K are going to be especially boring. From the front corrals, you can easily walk the 5K, including character stops (more below), and finish with time to spare.
• For the half marathon, run your first 10 miles a little slower than your Dopey marathon pace, or at marathon pace, treating it otherwise exactly as you will the first 10 miles of the marathon, including when you’ll walk, how many character stops you’ll do, when you need an aid station or bathroom, and when you need to fuel.
• For the marathon, plan to run slower than your typical marathon pace.

8…But Not Too Easy

Character stops. They’re a huge part of a RunDisney race. They’re the most important part for some runners. They also can take a long time. The longest we waited in line for a character stop was 15 minutes for patriotic Mickey, Goofy, and Donald at the 2017 10K. That’s over 30 seconds per mile added to our pace if the race were a marathon. Most lines are only three minutes, though. RunDisney doesn’t announce stops ahead of time, so you won’t know when they occur or who will be there, making planning for them impossible.

 

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Oswald the Lucky Rabbit?? YES PLEASE!

 

The easiest way to deal with the uncertainty of character stops is (1) to understand your capabilities and marathon plan ahead of time (see steps 5 and 7) and (2) to adjust your plan as you go through character stops. The second part of this is critical. If you wait in line for 15 minutes at miles 9.5, don’t then take a walk break at mile 10!

Character stops are partly why we think running a marathon prior to Dopey is so essential. You do not know what to expect for a marathon until you’ve done one, and if you don’t know what to expect, you won’t be able to adjust it for the added complexity of character stops.

9. Stay Loose at the Parks Between Races

There is a lot of Dopey debate about this one, but we’re fans of staying loose at the parks between races. You’re at Walt Disney World, enjoy the scenery! Walking a few miles will not ruin you for marathon day (don’t exhaust yourself, though), tight legs will. This shouldn’t be a big problem if you follow the above tip for taking it easy the first three days.

10. Have Fun!

Your goal for Dopey is to survive, not to survive miserably. During a Dopey Challenge, you can take photos with characters, enjoy treats handed out my generous fans, spend time with live animals, give high-fives to kids with mickey gloves cheering you on, maybe ride rides, and stop for Disney treats along the way. One of my favorite Dopey moments was Snow White having to ask me to put my beer down at mile 25 of the marathon before taking a picture with her. That happened, and it wouldn’t happen anywhere besides the Walt Disney World Marathon.

 

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Thanks for your patience with these beer-drinking runners, Snow White!

 

Few marathons are setup to offer you a better time than the Walt Disney World marathon. Even if you’re pressed for time, take a minute to snap a picture while you’re in Animal Kingdom. Grab a Mickey Ice Cream bar from a vendor during a walk break in Hollywood Studios. Do something you can’t do at any other race! Because it’s not a true Disney experience without just a touch of Magic!

Do you have RunDisney Dopey Challenge or marathon tips or questions? Sounds off in the comments!

 

Mahalo, Ken (Mousehacking.com) and Emily (LattesAndRunways.com) for sharing your experience and tips on how to prepare for the Dopey Challenge!  It has been an honor to have you both as guest writers on my blog!  Hope to see you on the course at the next Run Disney event.

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The Spookiest Ears to Wear this Halloween.

This is Halloween This is Halloween! Halloween, Halloween, Halloween, Halloween!!!


So of course you need to dress up in the spookiest Minnie Ears that ever did bewitch the Kingdom!

Well, BOO to YOU! Here is this season’s most spine tingling (yet super cute) Minnie Ears from some of my favorite small shops on ETSY.

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1.  3-D Spooky Web Minnie Ears from  Space Travelears ($35.00):  Get tangled up in the most magical spider webs ever spun.  Designed with a flexible headband these ears are perfect for adults and children.  Made with a filament on a 3-D printer the ears are light weight and incredibly sturdy.  They will not bend! Toss them in your park bag or bump them when getting in or out of the car (like me…I do this all the time!) and the ear maintains its shape.  Other designs available on Etsy.  Stay tuned for a future post featuring The VHS and The Movies Minnie ears from Space Travelears.

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2.  Candy Pumpkin Ears from Shiny Sky Rainbows:  Decadent and oh so sweet, these ears are the perfect treat!  Made with purple and green satin ribbon swirled like a lollipop and topped off with two little pumpkins.  Next shop opening:  10/21/2017

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3.  Halloween Mouse Ears from Pop Creative Designs ($18):  These ears add a touch of pizazz to any Candy Witch Costume.  Made with black and silver metallic spiderweb fabric and adorned with a sparkly orange bow.  The ears are filled with polyfil for that soft yet firm Minnie ear shape.DSCN2836

 

4.  Haunted Mansion Inspired Ears from Girl Power Creations:  You may be a foolish mortal, but you will feel like lucky number one thousand.  Because there is always room for one more!  These ears are crafted with black and grey damask fabric; trimmed with black beads and finished with a ghostly green satin laced bow.

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From our home to yours…Have a Ghastful Halloween!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spread some cheer with Cheery Human Studios

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I am so excited to share today’s feature with ya’ll.   Simply because the world we live in can use a bit of boisterous jubilee.  Allow me to introduce you to Cheery Human Studios; a lighthearted tee shop on ETSY that will make you grin from ear to ear.   Kristina ((graphic designer and shop owner)) was raised in California by her mother and aunt in a quaint, yet very happy home.   As a young girl she aspired to pursue a career in music; little did she know that one day she would warm the souls of the world through her art.  Kristina’s designs are created with the intent to encourage others and spread  happiness – because how can you not feel an abundance of joy when you see a magical fandom or cute kitty cat dubbed with a fantastical quote?

Kristina uses a variety of mediums when creating her hand drawn designs; such as markers, paint, and pen.  She then digitizes the art making it easier to print.   Her designs can be printed on just about anything- a keychain, makeup bag, pin, sticker or tee.  Interested in a custom?  Feel free to contact Kristina and she will happily design something unique just for you!

I just love the bright, bold illustrations and the sometimes sassy sayings.  You just can’t help but squeal with glee when you read them.  She also has a great Disney line available that is just perfect for any Disney Fan like myself.  Check out the Daily Ghost Tours and Main Street Resident Tee’s.

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PhotoPass_Visiting_MK_8039058109I can’t help but feel joyous and bright when I wear her tee shirt designs.  I adore the fact that I am spreading  good cheer to others.

Cheery Human Studios is changing the world one smile at a time with style.

Darla- Finding Nemo DIY

Here is a fun DIY costume that is super easy to throw together (((last minute even))) and perfect for Halloween!

darlaIt’s Darla that scary girl who unintentionally kills FISH!  She is the first female Pixar villain and so underrated that we thought we would shine the spotlight on her this ghoulish season.

Everything you need for this costume can be found around the house.

Materials needed:

*purple shirt *blue, pink, and gold glitter *fabric glue *Elmer’s glue

*plaid skirt or denim shorts (we improvised and used denim shorts)

*print out of “Rock n Roll Girl” graphic on cardstock

*brown metallic eyeliner *gray or white pipe cleaner

*two pigtail holders * two bobby pins *knee high socks *plastic fish

*Ziploc bags *clear hair gel and water *scissors

First things first:

Rock-n-Roll-Girl-Darla-ShermanThe shirt:  Cut out the Rock n Roll Girl print following the black bold lines to keep the shape of the graphic.  Glue glitter with the Elmer’s glue onto the letters for that added sparkle.  Blue glitter on Rock and Roll, pink glitter on the letter n and Girl, and gold glitter on the star.  When this dries glue the graphic onto the shirt using the fabric glue.  Make sure to place a piece of cardboard inside the shirt to keep from gluing the fabric together.  Place a heavy book over the graphic to keep it flat while drying.

The fish in the bag:  Drop your plastic fishy into the Ziploc bag.  Fill a quarter of the bag with hair gel and top off with tap water.  Just a little over a quarter, not too much water because you will need to tie the bag shut.  The hair gel makes the water look under the sea bubbly.

The hair and makeup:  Darla hair is easy.  Make two pigtails and secure.  Darla is a young girl and she doesn’t wear makeup; use the metallic brown eyeliner to add freckles on your nose and just under the eyes.  She has lots of freckles!  Shape the pipe cleaner and position around the mouth like headgear.  Tuck the ends of the pipe cleaner behind ears and secure with bobby pins.

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Slip on your bottoms, socks, and shoes and your ready to go!

Happy Fall, my friends!

 

Screamin’ Green HAUNTOWEEN @ Crayola Experience Orlando

 

From 10/07/2017 to 10/31/2017

Werewolves, witches and monsters – oh my! Spooky and colorful family fun awaits!

At Crayola Experience from October 7-31, you can create monster-rific crafts, snap spooktacular character photos, go on a themed scavenger hunt and trick or treat throughout the attraction!*

There is so much to BOO – you may never leave! All included with the price of admission.

*trick-or-treating on WEEKENDS only

Fill Your World With Color and Magic at Crayola Experience Orlando

DSCN2363Enter a world of color and magic at Crayola Experience Orlando located inside the Florida Mall; where indoor shopping and fun under the sun collide.  Just past the Crayola store front ((where you can purchase the cutest Crayola Stuffies and other Crayola merchandise)) is the entrance to the Crayola Experience where you and your child can explore 26 different hands on attractions featuring your favorite Crayola colors!

Crayola Experience Orlando is one of Central Florida’s newest indoor attractions where you will find hours of fun for the entire family.   Attractions include but not limited to:

  • Be A Star: Kids can appear in their very own coloring page along with some of Crayola’s characters. Just like a real photobooth, making your own coloring page is as easy as pushing a button and posing. Say Macaroni & Cheese!

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  • Color Magic: Color a dragon or fairy and watch it come to life!  Virtually control the character you just colored  as it responds to your direction.  See it play in a background of your choosing and don’t forget to take a selfie!
  • Rainbow Rain: It’s raining, it’s pouring, this rainbow is never boring! In this interactive experience you’ll magically catch melting digital wax with your body and hands!  Watch as your shadow shapes the brightly-colored droplets in this digital marvel that you control!
  • Melt and Mold: Wouldn’t it be cool to create a ring, shark, car or seahorse souvenir out of crayon wax?  Making one is simple at Melt & Mold!  Just load your favorite crayon color into the machine and watch your crayon melt into a Crayola Experience keepsake!
  • Drip Art: This is a new spin on a timeless classic!  Load a fresh crayon into the Drip Art machine and watch it melt and drip crayon wax onto your paper as it spins (you control the speed) to create a swirly-whirly masterpiece.
  • Meltdown: Welcome to an experience where you can take in the aroma of one of the world’s most recognizable scents. Use melted wax to paint in a whole new way! Choose from a variety of melted crayon colors to create wax art on paper.
  • Rockin Paper:  Bring your craft center stage in this multi-sensory experience that puts your art in the spotlight – literally! Watch as your personalized paper creation turns, bops and rocks to the music. It’s a new show every time!DSCN2425
  • Wrap it Up:  Cornflower, Atomic Tangerine, Purple Mountain’s Majesty, Shocking Pink…what’s your favorite Crayola color name?  At Wrap It Up!, you can personalize and print an authentic Crayola crayon label, wrap it around your crayon, and create your own unique Crayola crayon!  (cost: 1 token)

The Crayola Experience is fun for kids of all ages, just perfect for children ages 2-5.  The highlight of our visit was WRAP IT UP.  It was fun to come up with new names for classic colors we have grown to love.  I would like to see this exhibit offer guests the opportunity to design a unique color with an option to swirl colors and add glitter for an extra sparkle.  All in all I give Crayola Experience two cherries on top for being a great place to discover the magic, let your creativity run free, to color outside the lines, and to play, explore, and learn.DSCN2491

 

 

 

 

 

Summer Favorites!

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Like Olaf. we are really big fans of Summer.  But the Florida heat can be too much to handle.  If you are looking to stay cool…fashionably cool check out my Summer Favorites!

  1.  Dole Whip Minnie Ears from Bibbidi Bobbidi Loot ($28):  Just as delicious as they are sweet!  Show off your favorite Disney treat with these adorable ears.  Made of yellow and white yarn, a light weight headband for children of all ages (including the young at heart!) and adorned with a yellow bow topped with a pineapple (of course!) Sarah is an artisan with a great big Disney heart.  She originally designed  her ears  to celebrate the best part of being a Disney Princess – Princess Hair! They are styled to look like swirled braided hair formed into Mouse Ears showing off your favorite Princess, Character, or Treat!
  2. Rapunzel Choker from Clarke’s Geek Bowtique ($8.01):  Your princess will find happiness where the sun shines in this beautiful choker by Clarke’s Geek Bowtique.  Inspired by our favorite Tangled princess it is designed with soft purple velvet and embellished with a delicate sun burst charm.   Vikki, shop owner and designer is an aerial circus performer by day and by night you will find her delicately handcrafting jewelry and hair accessories for you! Another favorite from her shop is the Dole Whip Choker.IMG_20170707_213727_312
  3. Mickey Mouse Ice Cream Tee from Planet Orlando ($17.99)  I scream, You Scream, We all scream for Mickey Ice Cream!  Oh my Disney!  With three scoops of ice cream and topped with the most magical mouse ears ever; this tee is naturally sweet!  Also available in Donald Duck and Tangled flavors!  Perfect for the whole family.  We also love the Star Wars Mickey tee for boys!
  4. Animal Charm Bath Bomb from Georgia Charms ($5.25) Looking for a little R & R in between Disney Play Days?  Just drop a Georgia Charms Bath Bomb into your warm bath water and enjoy!  These bath bombs are full of luxurious fizz that give off lots of beautiful color, calming aromas, and a pinch of biodegradable sparkle.   Each bath bomb comes with a surprise charm.
  5. Pink Lollipop Minnie Mouse Ears from Shiny Sky Rainbows ($34.99) Oh the good ship Lollipop; It’s a sweet trip to the Candy Shop. These ears are sugary sweet and are perfect for strolling along Main Street USA.  Made with a hot pink and white satin ribbon swirled together they replicate the iconic swirl pops found in Magic Kingdom’s Confectionery.  lollipop2