New Hope for Kids returns to the Amway Center to host the 24th Annual Mascot Games, presented by convenience retail chain Wawa, on Friday June 23 at 12:30 p.m., and Saturday, June 24 at 2 p.m. Since its beginning, the Mascot Games has raised more than $520,000 for New Hope for Kids. [Read more…]
The 10th annual U.S. Quidditch Cup is being held at Austin-Tindall Regional Park in Kissimmee, Fla. this year, from April 8-9. The Quidditch Cup is United States Quidditch’s most important event in their competitive season. Hosting 60 teams, this is the largest Quidditch event of the year. [Read more…]
This week, Mike and Frauke surprised the kids with a trip to the new Orlando City Soccer Stadium for a match.
Members of baseball’s world champion Chicago Cubs team followed in the footsteps of many sports heroes by “going to Disney World” on Saturday to celebrate their recent World Series victory. [Read more…]
Theme park lovers and football fans will collide next January when the 2017 NFL Pro Bowl is held in Orlando at Camping World Stadium (formerly the Citrus Bowl). [Read more…]
Wounded warriors from around the world will gather at Walt Disney World’s ESPN Wide World of Sports to compete in the 2016 Invictus Games Orlando, whose opening ceremony is set for May 8. [Read more…]
This week, the Daycation Kingdom family head out to the Citrus Bowl to check out the Orlando City Lions MLS team. [Read more…]
After a huge update last year, adding eight different venues to CityWalk, Universal Orlando is continuing to make more additions in 2015 with the first-ever NBC Sports Grill & Brew opening this fall. [Read more…]
A new $309 million action sports and entertainment resort is in the planning stages for Kissimmee, just down the street from Walt Disney World. [Read more…]
Sports mascots from across the country are coming together for the 21st Annual Mascot Games at the Amway Center this weekend.
Think you can throw the fastest fastball? Then you could win a $1 million prize in the Million Dollar Arm Pitching Contest. [Read more…]
By Don Gworek
Brand new opportunities have been introduced in the runDisney event schedule. This year started with a multi-race series where you could earn the above 10 medals in 11 days.
Adult runDisney shoes were introduced by a vendor at an expo last year, and the shoes quickly sold out. What runDisney fan wouldn’t want to run in super cool shoes like these? This is one of the 2014 editions of the running shoes, the Sorcerer Mickey shoe.
Most of the expos have an “I Did It!” shirt. New to the schedule was a four-race series called the Dopey Challenge. The Dopey Challenge is where you run a 5K, 10K, half marathon, and full marathon, one per morning of the event weekend. It totaled 48.6 miles.
For many years the Dopey Challenge was unofficial. Guests would register for the half-full marathon combo, the Goofy Challenge. If you also did the 5K fun run, you did the unofficial Dopey Challenge. Now the Dopey Challenge is official, and includes a 10K too!
The first event of the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon weekend was the 5K fun run at Epcot, held the Thursday morning of the event weekend. The 5K has grown to a well-organized but incredible size, where all of Amaze section of Epcot parking is used to hold the starting corrals. Thousands gather in the corrals for each separate starting wave. Seen here is just Corral A, the first wave. Seven thousand of the 10,000 5K participants were entered in the four-race Dopey Challenge.
Three point one miles done. Sixty seven point nine miles to go!
Seen here in the median of Epcot Boulevard was a video wall. The screen is too bright here, but it had Disney characters dancing to current pop music. This location is also the start of the half and full marathons the following two mornings, with the video wall turned the other direction.
The 10K course then circled World Showcase to the International Gateway hotel resort entrance. The course then circled Crescent Lake. Seen here is the course near Disney’s Yacht Club Resort. The yellow arrow points to the glow of the finish line, in Epcot’s parking lot.
The organizers have introduced smaller corrals for the leaders. The first wave had only a few hundred of the fastest runners entered. Later waves grew in size. This allows more people of similar pace to run with each other. There is less jostling for proper position in the pack. The starts are safer and more comfortable. This also means there were 16 separate starts! Each started with a blast of fireworks, like seen here.
With 16 different starts, there were far more people on the other side of the road at this point than before. On the left are thousands still early in the half marathon, heading north to the Magic Kingdom. On the right are many of the first to return to Epcot.
The first eight or so miles of the full marathon are identical to the half marathon. The course changes when the full marathon enters for a lap on the tri-oval loop of the Walt Disney World Speedway (the race track normally used for the Richard Petty Driving Experience and the Exotic Car Experience). Many years ago the Speedway was built and used for Indy car and Nascar events.
Much of the tri-oval track is lined with classic muscle cars and show cars. Car clubs are invited to come cheer on the participants in the full marathon. Look closely and you’ll see Herbie the Love Bug is among the cars along the track.
The full marathon continues down a service road, and enters Animal Kingdom park through its north service entrance. At left are cast members of the Lion King show, cheering the guests entering the park.
Participants continued through the Epcot resort area, to the International Gateway, and a lap around World Showcase. Seen here is the hill near the United Kingdom pavilion. From here it’s aproximately 1.3 miles to the finish line!
If you ran the Dopey Challenge, you earned six medals in the past four days. Left to right, 5K Pluto, 10K Minnie, half marathon Donald, full marathon Mickey. You also earned a Goofy medal for the half-full combo. And the brand new official Dopey Challenge medal!
Seen here also are an additional lanyard on the Mickey medal for completing all 21 of the full Walt Disney World Marathons since 1994, and an additional lanyard for completing all nine of the Goofy Challenges – next year is the 10th Anniversary of the Goofy Challenge!
This three race series is themed to Tinkerbell. It’s intended as an event for ladies, but hundreds of men run too. Just like the race weekend before, the Tinkerbell weekend begins with a race expo in the Disneyland Convention Center.
For this event, the first-to-arrive are in the first corrals. Corral A lined up on the east side of the castle hub. When it filled, Corral B filled on the west side. When B filled, two more corrals filled the blocks of Main Street USA. Four starts in all.
The next race was a brand new Tinkerbell 10K. The starting line was at the top of the Disneyland Drive viaduct under Downtown Disney. Note a race sponsor on this Anaheim sign – Celebration Health, Florida Hospital.
For the 10K only, these Haunted Mansion characters were available for photos as the course went around the Rivers of America. It’s the bride and the ballerina/tightrope walker as seen in one of the stretching room portraits.
The final race of the unofficial Hercules Challenge was the Tinkerbell Half Marathon!
Only ladies are permitted in Corral A. This is the front of Corral B, and the bottom of the viaduct under Downtown Disney, looking south. Corrals extended past the Paradise Pier hotel tower at right.
The half marathon circles Disneyland’s north perimeter on city roads. It then darts backstage on the east side into the viaduct that connects backstage of Disneyland and backstage of Disney California Adventure.
The half marathon now circles backstage at Disneyland park. Seen here is the roundhouse where the steam trains and monorail trains are serviced. This steam engine tooted happily. It was as if the steam engine was a living character, stepping out from its house to its front yard, to toot and cheer participants as they passed by.
Here are the 10 medals you would have earned if you did the Dopey Challenge in Orlando and the three races of Tinkerbell weekend in Anaheim over the 11 days, spanning the two events.
At bottom are the 5K, 10k and half marathon medals of Tinkerbell weekend.
At bottom right is a Coast to Coast medal. The Coast to Coast medal is earned by running a half or full Disney marathon in Orlando and a Disney half marathon in Anaheim in a single calendar year.
Some of the unofficial Hercules Challenge participants earned 10 medals in 11 days. Others earned only nine (including this reporter).
The Coast to Coast medal seen here is actually the 2013 medal, and for display purposes only. This is because there is now the opportunity to earn two Coast to Coast medals in a single year. We were given a choice of earning a blue-ribbon Coast to Coast at Tinkerbell weekend, or earning a new pink ribbon Coast to Coast by completing the Princess half marathon next month – Pink ribbon for completing the two Disney half marathons for ladies.
If you also ran the 2014 Walt Disney World marathon you could also earn a blue Coast to Coast by completing the September Disneyland half marathon. So if you opted to earn a pink Coast to Coast medal, you finished the unofficial Hercules Challenge with nine medals. If you opted for a blue Coast to Coast to be earned at Tinkerbell, you finished with 10 medals.
Many hundreds look forward to earning both Coast to Coast medals this year!
There is no such thing as an “I Did It!” shirt for the unofficial Hercules Challenge, like the representation above. But maybe, someday! It took nine years before the Dopey Challenge became official. And all Hercules needs is a bunch of medals around his neck, plus a set of sparkling wings instead of a cape!
It was a fun, but very tiring, 11 days. The most tiring part: waking up so early on seven of the 11 days!
This year’s Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend gave runners the opportunity to collect up to five finisher medals. [Read more…]
Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco, quarterback of the Baltimore Ravens, said he was going to Disney World last night in a commercial shot right after the big game, and he made good on that statement today. [Read more…]
Join us for a 3.1 mile road race through Disneyland and Disney California Adventure parks. [Read more…]
The Winter Haven Hospital Foundation Citrus Classic 5k was this morning at Legoland Florida. It was the very first running race held at the new theme park. [Read more…]
New artwork has been released showing off an updated exterior for Splitsville, currently under construction in Downtown Disney Westside. Splitsville will feature bowling, billiards, dining and more when it opens this fall. [Read more…]
Universal Orlando Resort has officially opened Central Florida’s newest miniature golf courses. Hollywood Drive-In Golf features two 18-hole courses based on classic drive-in era horror and sci-fi movies. [Read more…]
More than 19,000 women raced in this morning’s Princess Half Marathon at Walt Disney World, making it the world’s largest women’s sporting event. This was the fourth year of the race, and it has grown tremendously. The inaugural run had 8,000 participants. [Read more…]
After leading his team to a come-from-behind 21-17 victory over the New England Patriots at Super Bowl XLVI, what did New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning do next? He went to Disney World of course. [Read more…]