Sunday, March 27, 2016

My Magical Place: Weekly Wrap

I can't wait to fill you in on my amazing week in Orlando!  It was everything I was hoping it would be and more.  I flew down on Saturday at 6 AM (yikes, 3:45 AM wake-up call!) and checked into the Orlando World Center Marriott.  The work conference I was attending was held at this hotel, and when I discovered it was less than a mile from Disney World, I was ecstatic!  The hotel itself did not disappoint.  A wonderful hotel employee scored me a free upgrade to a pool-view room, and when I got upstairs, I was amazed by my view.

Check out that water slide!



I settled in, and then made my way over to Disney World to get in my long run.  I was scheduled for 14 miles this weekend, and ready to explore my favorite place on earth!

Few things make me as happy as this sign

I decided to start at Downtown Disney, and then make my way along the pathway to the resort areas nearby.  Running over the pedestrian bridge, I made my way to Saratoga Springs, and along the Lake Buena Vista Golf Course to the Treehouse Villas, where I stayed when I ran the Disney Marathon last year.  

Hidden Mickey anyone?!

I love the area around the Treehouse Villas - it is landscaped to feel like a jungle paradise, and the wooden bridges over the lake just add to the magic.  It brought back good memories of our marathon adventures last year!


I continued along pedestrian walkway to the Old Key West resort, where I managed to get totally lost exploring the area!  I loved seeing the water taxis, and keeping track of where I was in relation to the lake was probably the only thing that gave me any sense of direction.


After 14 miles of exploring Disney resorts in weather much warmer than I am used to in Boston, I was wiped!  I decided to take a water taxi back to Downtown Disney for dinner, where I proceeded to eat my weight in pasta.  

Tough life in Old Key West

Then time for some hot-tubbing at my enormous hotel pool.  The pool had enormous big-screen TVs in the background, where you could watch the March Madness games, and have drinks served to you pool-side.  I wish every long run could work out like this!  



Later that night, I watched our hotel's laser light show over the pool from my balcony.  The lasers were synchronized to music, and I was mesmerized watching the show.  What an amazing way to end my first day in paradise!


 The rest of our trip was pretty darn amazing as well!  On Sunday night, one of my favorite coworkers joined my for an adventure in Downtown Disney.  Disney had added several new restaurants and bars since I visited last year, so of course we had to check them out!  We ordered a drink and appetizer in each restaurant, making our way around the West Side... from sliders and shrimp flatbread at Jock Lindsay's Hangar Bar (themed like Indiana Jones)... to sushi and martinis at Morimoto Asia... to tropical drinks at the House of Blues.  It was a pretty epic night!

All drinks taste good in a monkey cup!

The definite highlight of our Downtown Disney tour however was a ride in the Amphicars.  These water-cars are original from the 1961 World's Fair, and Disney has the largest collection of anywhere in the world.  The captain drives them right down a ramp off the boardwalk and into the water... so cool!  We rode around Downtown Disney at sunset, and had the time of our lives.  




Just driving past a dock... no big deal!
Once our conference ended, we took an extra day in Disney to soak up the sun and unwind before heading back to work.  We headed to the Animal Kingdom Lodge, and enjoyed a huge breakfast buffet at Boma, an African-themed restaurant.  It was a beautiful day - mid 80's and not a cloud in the sky... so I fried my Boston-white skin at the pool while sipping pina coladas... hard life, right?!  As if it couldn't get any better, my friend surprised me with a massage at the Animal Kingdom Lodge spa.  Soooo relaxing!



We ended the day by checking out the savannah overlook, just as they were feeding the giraffes!  We met an awesome Disney employee from Botswana who taught us all about the African animals and even some of his language - it was the coolest thing!  



I have to say, this was a pretty incredible week!  Disney is one of my favorite places on earth, and to be able to spend our nights there while learning a TON during the day at our work conference, it was the best of both worlds.  I felt super lucky to have a little get-away from the daily grind, and came back feeling super recharged and ready to go again!


Thank you to HoHo Runs and MissSippiPiddlin for hosting the weekly wrap.

23 comments:

  1. How fun! I love going to Disney! We have never rode in one of those amphicars. Will have to add that to things to do next trip! -L

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    1. Thanks, I think they are new - but definitely worth it!

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  2. Sounds like a really great week! LOL on being able to recover from your run in a pool with a bartender -- that would be nice every week!

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    1. Seriously, I couldn't agree more!! My kinda long run!

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  3. What an amazing trip you had in Disney! I was just there in January an you have me wanting to go back! That route you ran sounds cool. We stay at Old Key West an the trails around it are great!! Thank you for linking up with us!!

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    1. I can't get enough of Disney... Old Key West is so beautiful!

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  4. I ran the WDW half marathon about 5 years ago but I never just ran there. How fun!

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    1. I discovered lots of great trails around each of the resort areas - relatively well-marked and some great scenery.

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  5. I love Disney. We took our 2 year old last August and we can't wait to go again! I love how you toured Disney running. Next time, I'd love to go for one of the Disney Runs!It is a Happy Place!

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    1. I just love the Disney races - I've done the full and half marathons 8 times and I hope to be back next year too!

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  6. what an adventure! I've been to Disney numerous times (family trips with the kids) but I have never run there. It's truly a magical place,but I'd get totally lost on those trails without a pack of other runners to follow ;-)

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    1. I have to admit I got pretty lost toward the end... Lucky for me, Disney has maps everywhere!

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  7. I think any work conference in Florida is great ! I was i Ft Lauderdale 2 weeks ago with a hotel right on the beach. Long breaks = feet in the sand immediately. Running in the Florida heat killed me. I had a 20 miler on my training plan and thought I was going.to.die.

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    1. Wow your conference sounds awesome! Don't you wish every day at work could be like that?! I do agree though - I run so poorly in the heat... just not used to it I guess!

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  8. Wow, a conference at Disney would be alot of fun. The employees at Animal Kingdom are so knowledgeable, I always love talking with them about the animals and their country. I've never done a long run at Disney except a race, but your long run sounded pretty great.

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    1. Me too, I always make a point to talk to the Animal Kingdom staff - I love hearing about their lives in Africa... it is SO cool! The employee we met had just moved to the US four months ago, and hearing his impressions was fascinating.

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  9. We love Disney and have been many times. But, I have never heard of the Amphicars! I've got to check that out on our next trip. They have wonderful places to run and such beautiful grounds. I've run on their New Balance trail. You've proven you don't have to go inside the theme parks to enjoy the Disney experience! Thanks for linking with us Michelle.

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    1. It is so true - whenever I am at Disney for running vacations, we always manage to have a blast just exploring the various resorts, hanging out by the pool and wandering around Downtown Disney - helps to keep costs down and keep me off my feet!

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  10. What a fun time! I love the "car" boat, thats so funny. I love that recharged feeling right after a getaway, it's the best!

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    1. Couldn't agree more - I needed it!

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  11. This looks like such a fun trip! I have not been to Disney World since I was 12 or so, and I would love to go again. Your run looks like it was a fun one, and I would love to run through that Treehouse Villa area.

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