One of the biggest highlights of my Tinkerbell Half Marathon Weekend was the official runDisney meetup that took place on Friday, January 18th. It was my second meetup experience – the first being the one during the 2012 Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend (recap here) but my first out on the West Coast.
Thankfully for me, my brain was still on East Coast time, as the start time for the event was 6:30 AM! Since we were staying at the Villas at the Grand Californian, it was an easy 5-minute walk over through Downtown Disney to the Disneyland Hotel (side note: I ran into Jeff Galloway on the way over – he walked out of this seemingly secret door – and I had a quick chat with him! What a nice fellow!)
On the walk over I also ran into Shannon, so we chatted a bit before checking in and receiving our cool runDisney tech shirts. There was already quite a crowd (this event had 50 attendees) but quickly I started to see some familiar faces!!
A few introductions were made by the runDisney staff and once everyone was present and accounted for, we handed off our items (the meetups feature a pretty cool bag check sort of feature – which is why they ask in the email to bring minimal items) and headed toward the parks through Downtown Disney! We were going to be doing a run-walk with Jeff Galloway, followed up some undisclosed surprises along the way 🙂
Recognize that guy in the blue shorts? Yup! That was Sean Astin, one of the celebrities in attendance at this event. Pretty neat. Well then again, how could you NOT notice him…besides staff and Jeff, this was definitely a female-centric event 😉
Before long, we were running down Main Street USA in Disneyland and through Sleeping Beauty Castle! I am somewhere in the back here, just taking it all in (it was my first time in Disneyland for this trip, as I had arrived the day before). Once we arrived in Fantasyland, the staff told us that our first surprise was right around the corner!
Yes! We were able to meet Tinkerbell! That was definitely cool – we broke into smaller groups like these to snap some shots in Pixie Hollow. Also a fun fact: the gentleman standing next to me in the orange shorts was the New Balance rep, and would later speak to the group about their new partnership with runDisney with their special edition shoes – take a look at Sean’s feet! 😉
That was definitely awesome! Since it’s so new, wait times are often an hour or more…but not for us! What a treat!! Oh, and we also got to hang out with these characters 🙂
The event wrapped up with a nice breakfast in Napa Rose, where there were guest speakers and a few giveaways (one lucky attendee even won an entry to the event(s) of her choice during the 2013 Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend!)
I really enjoyed this experience and it certainly started off my Tinkerbell Half Marathon Weekend with an extra dose of pixie dust! If you ever have a chance to attend one of these amazing events, definitely go for it! Not sure how? Check out my archived posts here: History and Quick Tips, How to Get in & The Metrics / Social media breakdown guide.
Hungry for more #TinkHalfMeetup goodness??