|Early morning at EPCOT with runDisney & Jeff Galloway!|
I think it was after the Princess race last year when I was reading all the race reports that I could find that I first stumbled upon a report from a runDisney social media meetup. It sounded and looked fantastic and I sooo wanted to be included the next runDisney race that I ran. As it turned out I did not runDisney again until Princess 2012. So for almost a year I was watching how the social media meetups were publisized and reading about them during and after the fact. To say that I was anticipating the notice for the Princess 2012 meetup is a gross understatement. I had it all planned out. I was going to be there this year! I am active on the Disney Blog, Facebook, Twitter and of course my own blog so when the notice went out I would see it in time and respond immediately. Of course runDisney mixed it up a bit this time. The notice only went out on the Disney blog and Twitter. I am sure quite a few loyal Facebook fans missed out this time. Anyway, once I saw the notice I replied with fingers shaking as the moment had finally arrived. I waited rather distractedly at work until the appointed time to learn if I had in fact been chosen. And finally the email came..."Congratulations! You are among a select group of qualified applicants who get to enjoy a special opportunity, tied to Princess Half Marathon Weekend at Walt Disney World Resort."
It was really going to happen! I had been chosen! There were no problems with travel dates. I was accepted on the 16th of February and heading to Disney on the 18th. The meetup was on Friday the 24th at 6:30 am. In total they had accepted 80 respondents and invited about 10-15 media reps. We were going to start with the run portion after a round of introductions. Everyone was mingling and taking pictures in our new black runDisney skirts. There had been quite the discussion leading up to the event on Twitter regarding running skirts. Check it out at #PrinceHalfMeetUp. I of course wore a skirt I whipped up the morning before my flight made from my Tinkerbell costume scraps. From the start they encouraged us all to be on our phones Facebooking and tweeting away. They were all very accessible for photos, questions, and formal interviews. Some of the participants were very media savvy and cut to the chase when interacting with the presenters.
|Social media at work!|
They gave us a choice for our run. We could either go with Jeff Galloway and do a run walk or we could go with Rachel Booth and do a straight up run. I quickly chose to go with Rachel. The group split around 1/4 for Rachel and 3/4 for Jeff. It was nice being with the smaller group. I was able to run along with Suzy Favor Hamilton. What an insiration! Of course we did not know what our destination was and really I did not care. I would have happily kept on running to wherever they took us and as long as it took. Our destination turned out to be the Biergarten in Germany.
|Go Heather! (Heather Bridges Montgomery)|
After the whole group came together again they led us in to enjoy a wonderful breakfast spread. When we arrived at our seats we found a race tiara for each of us. Most of them went straight onto our heads! We listened to the presentations as we munched away and asked questions. Suzy got us all up dancing toward the end. She has a ton of energy and is more than willing to share it with whomever she is with...thankfully us! At the end of the presentations they announched that as part of the One More Day event they were going to give us all one more day in the parks. We were each given a one day complemetary park hopper ticket that is good until 12/31/2012. I immediately started to think Wine & Dine!
|Rachel Booth - She talked to us on Friday morning and went out and won the Princess 1/2 in front of her family!|
|Moms Panel Lori - Ask her your runDisney questions.|
|She told personal stories of trials and tribulations and how to succeed and be supportive! Thanks Suzi!|
|Suzi Favor Hamilton leading the pep rally!|
After the event wrapped up inside we all went outside to meet Minnie Mouse in her pink Princess gown, Rapunzel & Snow White. This was the first morning of three that I got to meet the same Rapunzel. She was a wonderful thread running through my race weekend. I had made my running costume for both races and I was going to be Rapunzel for the 5K. I let her know I would see her Sat. morning and she remembered me when I did!
|Moms Panel runDisney Mom Lori|
|Suzi Favor Hamilton - She is fantastic and she finished the 1/2 Third!|
At that point it was close to 9 am and EPCOT would be openning soon. We were left to walk back to the entrance on our own. I met up with Karen Velardi Harris at that point. I was doing my best to talk to people at the meetup never quite sure if I knew them from online or not. In the end it did not matter. I met some great people who all share a love of runDisney. Anyway Karen & I hit it off as we worked our way back to the main gate. We knew we would see each other on Sat. at the kids mile! My father was at the gate to wisk me away to the expo and away we went. More on the expo in another blog.
|Working our way back to the entrance of EPCOT. Thanks Team Possible for taking our picture!|
The morning had started off in fantastic fashion. I am so greatful to runDisney for including me in this amazing experience. I hope I get to participate again in the future. I am already planning my next trip to W&D with my big goal being going Dopey at marathon weekend! They were already talking up the 20th year marathon Mickey medals at the meetup. I will be registering the day it opens! I encorage anyone who is big into runDisney & Disney Sports social media to RSVP for the social media meetups! They are fantastic experiences that kick off race weekend in grand style! Thanks runDisney!