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Archive for the ‘Disney’ Category

I can’t believe I won this!

I entered a contest with Disney for my birthday and won!  Click on the picture to see the announcement…

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I uploaded some video from our 2006 Disney World trip to Vimeo.  It’s a little long, and I don’t know who would want to watch it, but I enjoyed seeing it again.

A Day at the Magic Kingdom 2006 from Josh Jones on Vimeo.

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One of my favorite new Disney web sites, Mouse Misers had this to say about free dining this year…

Travel Dates: August 24 – September 20, 2008

Walt Disney World has announced the “Free Dining” promotion for the fourth consecutive year. Currently, the discount is only available to Disney VISA cardholders, though it will be released to the general public starting on April 10. With the “Free Dining” promotion, Disney resort guests who book a Magic Your Way package that includes both your Disney resort room and your Magic Your Way park passes, will receive the Disney Dining plan add-on for free for all guest three and older in their party.

For the first time, Disney World guests will be able to book the “Free Dining”, and upgrade to the Disney Deluxe Dining for the normal price difference, which is $31 for adults and $10 for children three to nine. The Wine and Dine option is also available at full price to add onto either the Basic or Deluxe dining plans.

Availability is extremely limited, and must be booked by June 22, 2008. To receive the Disney VISA cardholder discount, you must pay your deposit at time of booking with your Disney VISA, and you must pay the balance with your Disney VISA card as well, when due. As a reminder, this exact discount will be released on April 10 to the general public without the Disney VISA requirements.

We have taken advantage of this offer the last two years, and we are doing it again this year. Fortunately, we booked it through a special promotion last year while we were still there, so we are already locked in. If you are interested, you should jump on it right away. You won’t find a better deal for Disney World anywhere. It’s awesome to be able to go and not worry about having to pay for your food. That’s one of the biggest expenses while you are there.

There is a difference this year than in previous years. Your table service meals no longer include an appetizer, and you have to pay your own gratuity (18%). In previous years, all of this was included in the plan. It’s still a great deal, though. If you want to book a trip, I highly recommend Joe at Dream Come True Vacations. He only books Disney vacations, and he is extremely knowledgeable about the complicated aspects of a Disney World vacations.

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Here’s a short review of our trip…
We left Athens at 4AM on Friday morning, the day before the race. We got to Disney World a little before 12PM. We went straight to Disney’s Wide World of Sports for the Expo. You have to go there before 8PM on Friday night to pick up your bib, shoe sensor and race packet. There were literally thousands of people there. It was unbelievable. They actually did a really good job managing that size of crowd. After wondering around a while, we finally found where we were supposed to go first. When we got up there, the lines were about 50 people long. Fortunately, they were divided up by number, and our number had three people in line. It was awesome. We walked right up and got our packet within 5 minutes.
From there, we went over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios to eat at one of our favorite restaurants on property, Mama Melrose’s. We had a little bit of time before our 5PM reservation, so we rode the Tower of Terror, Rockin’ Roller Coaster and saw the Beauty and the Beast stage show. We showed up at 4:30PM for our reservation, and they sat us right away. As always, the food was great. We filled up on carbs with breads and pastas and and our way back to the condo we were renting off property. Since we got up at 4AM, we were tired and were actually in bed and asleep by 8PM (with a little help from some NyQuil).
The three alarms I set all went off at 3AM. Since we got to bed so early, we got a full night’s sleep and felt pretty good. We got up, and made it to the Epcot parking lot a little after 4AM. Again, we could not believe the amount of people running this thing. I’ve heard that 16,000 people where participating. Then the waiting began. They herded us from location to location until the 6AM start time. All in all it was about 2 miles worth of walking just to get to the start line. At 6 AM, the first set of fireworks went off and wave 1 started the race. We were in wave 3, so our fireworks went off at 6:30AM, and we crossed the start line a little after that.
Like I wrote in the previous post, it was very crowded. We definitely had to run slower than we wanted to because of the amount of people and all the walkers. I found out later that when you register for the race, the time you say you think you will finish in in the wave they put you in. When I registered, I wasn’t running at all, so I just put 3 hrs. This put us with all the walkers. I won’t do that again.
I felt really good after the race. We ran at a slow pace, and it was fun running around Disney World. Jackie felt OK, but her knees were really bothering her. We went back to the condo, and she rested the rest of the day. I went back to the parks and just took it all in that afternoon. For the rest of the trip, we just slept in and enjoyed walking around the parks, seeing attractions and eating together. It was a really nice trip without the boys. We concluded that Disney World is funner with kids, but it is much more relaxing without them.
There were 2 highlights of our time together after the marathon. On Sunday night, we ate dinner at the Kona Cafe at The Polynesian Resort. The dinner was very good, and aftewards, we walked out on their beach and watched the Wishes fireworks show over the castle at the Magic Kingdom. They even pipe in the audio there in the beach it was very cool. The second highlight of our trip was Tuesday night. We went to Epcot and ate dinner at Le Cellier Steakhouse. It is by far our favorite restaurant on property. They have an awesome cheddar cheese soup, the steaks are great, and they have a smores dessert that we both love. After the meal, we walked right out the door and watched Illuminations together over World Showcase. It was a great end to our trip.
On Wednesday, we headed home. I’m not sure if I’m going to run another race at Disney World, but I definitely want to run a full marathon soon. I’m going to do some research and see if there’s a good one close that I can run.

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We did it! It was a lot of fun, and it felt good to accomplish our goal. There were A LOT of people there, so it made it hard to keep a steady pace. We even had to wait in line to use the bathroom during the race. Overall, though, it was a good first race for us. I’ll write more details later, but for now, here are some pictures of us.
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It’s here

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Well, back in April of 2007 Jackie and I decided that we would run the Disney World Half Marathon in 2008. It’s hard to believe it is finally here. We will be leaving early Friday morning to run the race- it begins at 6AM on Saturday morning. We have worked very hard to train for it, and I think we are ready. It’s going to be a lot of fun to do this together.

The race begins in the Epcot parking lot, goes up World Drive, through the Magic Kingdom and back to Epcot. You can view the race map here.

They recently sent out the marathon guide which I didn’t get for some reason, so I have just been looking at the online version. It looks like a very well organized event.

I’m sure I will have some posts about our experiences when we get back.

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Cheap Airfare

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I’m always on the look out for good deals, and I came across one the other day that I was not aware of.  Allegiant Air was not an airline that I had heard of.  It’s apparently pretty small, but they fly out of Greenville, SC.  Living in Athens, GA, flying out of Greenville is actually quicker than flying out of Atlanta.  It takes about the same time to drive there, and Greenville is a much easier airport to use.  Greenville to Orlando, FL is a route that I am interested in for obvious reasons, and they have flights for $39 each way.  Flights are pretty limited, but if you timed a trip to Orlando right, you could save a lot of money in airfare.  They also offer travel packages, but that must be where they are making their money because they aren’t nearly as good a deal.  Make sure to choose “flight only” when you do a search.  There are other cities they fly to as well.

One word of caution, they fly into a smaller airport in Orlando, so you can’t use Disney’s Magical Express service (free transportation to and from the airport).  If you have a large family, though, it would still be cheaper to fly using Allegiant and getting a shuttle to your hotel.  If you plan to rent a car anyway, then there is no problem.

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