Category Archives: vacation

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.

When we woke up in the morning, we knew we had a long day ahead of us so it was tempting to sleep in a little bit more… buuuuut this is Disney and who has time for that?!

Halloween at the Magic Kingdom

Halloween at the Magic Kingdom

We ferry boated over to Magic Kingdom with a plan: get as many rides in as possible before leaving around 1:30-2 to go back to the hotel, rest, and change into our costumes for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.

Our FastPasses took us in a counterclockwise direction in Magic Kingdom and we were able to hit most of our favorites before it was time for lunch.


Once back at the hotel, we rested, attempted to nap (read: watched TV), and began changing into our costumes: Dole Whip and a Dole Whip chef!

When we bought the tickets for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, I knew we’d want to dress up. I figured a lot of couples do the prince/princess combo and I wanted to do something different. An added bonus to whatever costume I chose would be if it could double as a running costume. After some sparkle skirt stalking and Pinterest browsing, my Dole Whip costume was born!

Everyone loves a Dole Whip!

My Dole Whip costume consisted of:

The Dole logo really made the costume because people walking by me picked up on what I was immediately. I was so excited that my costume seemed to be such a hit!


After some photos, we walked over to the new restaurant, Jungle Skipper Canteen. I was super hungry at this point so any food would have been good but I genuinely enjoyed the food here. Also, the theming inside is fantastic.

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

After dinner, it was time to get ready to execute our Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party plan:

Get photos with characters. Mickey and Minnie were my top priorities. We originally got on the line for the seven dwarfs but it was barely moving. Since they weren’t my highest priority, we opted to get off the line and get in line for Minnie, Donald, and Daisy. Jack Skellington and Sally also have huge lines but I have a few photos with them from runDisney races so I didn’t want to spend precious Halloween party time waiting for them. In the end, we got photos with Minnie, Mickey, Donald, Daisy, and Goofy.


Buy Halloween party merchandise. There is Halloween merchandise that you can only purchase during the party. Justin researched online about the party merchandise so we knew exactly what we wanted and where to buy it once the party began. If you want to buy merchandise, I suggest looking at the locations on the Halloween party map ahead of time and figuring out where and when it makes the most sense to get on a merchandise line.


Ride the Haunted Mansion. We rode during the day but wanted to get a nighttime ride in as well. The cast members are dressed up for the party and it’s awesome.

Cinderella's Castle - MNSSHP

Cinderella’s Castle – MNSSHP

View Celebrate the Magic. I can’t get through a Celebrate the Magic show without choking up so seeing this was a must. Plus, it’s right before Hallowishes. We got ourselves a perfect spot in front of the castle and waited on line for photos while waiting for the show to begin.

View Hallowishes Fireworks. YOU GUYS I WAS NOT PREPARED FOR THIS. The finale was unlike anything I have ever experienced. The fireworks circle you completely and the Magic Kingdom lights up like it’s 3 o’clock in the afternoon. You have to experience this.

Photo op during Celebrate the Magic

Photo op during Celebrate the Magic

Get halloween-specific desserts. Justin wanted a certain cupcake, I wanted the candy corn soft serve. In addition to these two desserts, we lucked out and received a free sundae in a giant creepy pumpkin mug thing when the gentleman in front of us accidentally ordered two and turned around and gave us his extra one. #winning

Take magic shots. True story: about a week before we left, I had a dream that Justin and I forgot to change into our costumes and didn’t take any magic shots during the party. Justin corrected me that I had a nightmare, not just a dream (I picked a smart one). We stalked Instagram prior to our party to figure out which magic shots we wanted and decided the cauldron and hitchiking ghosts were top priorities.


Watch Boo-to-you Halloween Parade. So many villains! And ghosts! I loved this parade so damn much. If you can, attend the second parade because it’s much less crowded. We walked by the first parade to get to Mickey’s photo spot and it was absolute chaos. Also, after the second parade, you can move to the front of the castle to wait for the last Villain’s Spectacular of the night.


Attend Villains Spectacular. The Sanderson sisters and other Disney villains? I was in heaven. This was a major highlight of the night for me and I wish we had squeezed ourselves up just slightly closer.

After the show, we exited the park quickly and got on a boat back to the Grand Floridian. After the quickest shower ever, I was in bed and passed out in a matter of seconds.

The party goes by extremely quickly. When we were planning, I kept saying things like, “it’s 5 hours long, we’ll have plenty of time to get everything done.” I was an idiot. You need to have a plan. You need to prioritize everything you want to do/see to get the most out of your time. And if you can, you should stay late.



We had an AMAZING time and I’m still giddy thinking about that fireworks finale. We went in mid-September on a Tuesday so the price was “low” (tickets are tiered and increase as you get closer to Halloween) and the crowds were light. I can confidently say that we’ll be back.

The only downside was that we were absolutely beat the next day. Next time, we’ll schedule a full day of hotel pool lounging the next day to recover from our magical time 🙂

See you in February, Disney World!


Filed under disney, vacation

Glass Slipper Challenge: Princess Half-Marathon

Alright I am FINALLY finishing up my Princess Half-Marathon weekend posts! If you’re interested: here are the 5k and 10k recaps from that weekend.

Princess Half-Marathon

My alarm went off, again, at punch-yourself-in-the-face o’clock and it was a strugglefest. With the approximate 3-4 hours of sleep I got after staying (voluntarily) at Magic Kingdom until after close, it’s no surprise that I was in a huge daze as I got ready to tackle the last 13.1 miles of the challenge. I was in such a daze that I actually left my hotel room without my bib number (whoops) and had to knock to get Justin to let me back in.

After that little mishap, I walked down to meet my cousin Mike in the lobby. Once at the start village, we relaxed a bit, stopped in the port-a-potties, and met up with Jess to walk up to the corrals. We were all placed in corral C so we were all able to start together even though Mike was running for time and Jess and I were looking to PR in ridiculousness.

Princess half 1

Again, we kept the pace extremely comfortable and stopped for photos with characters when we wanted.

Running through Main Street was magical, as always, although I did miss the Christmas lights on the castle, which give this part of the course an extra magical touch during WDW Marathon weekend. My family was in Magic Kingdom so I was able to see them as opposed to sending them shaky videos and photos like I did during January’s half and full marathons.

Princess half 2

I kept the family updated with where I was throughout the race so they’d know when to expect me coming down towards the finish line. With another 13.1 more magical miles in the book, my 3rd Disney challenge/5th Disney half/13th Disney race was complete 🙂

princess half finish

With all the magical business of the morning, we decided to make it a later day at the park and not leave for Epcot until noon. We did some hot tubbing (some people napped, I didn’t because apparently I don’t sleep in Disney) before heading out for another day in the happiest place on earth.


Epcot is pretty much the best park for adults and there was a huge reason we chose Epcot for after all the races: booze.

epcot group

Before making our way to the World Showcase, we enjoyed the following rides/attractions:

  • Disney and Pixar Short Film Festival (So good! I could have watched a dozen more.)
  • Living with the Land
  • Spaceship Earth
  • Test Track (The. Best.)

I can’t wait for Soarin’ to reopen. When Justin and I go back (yep, my next trip is planned – gotta make use of that annual pass!), it’ll be up and ready for us to enjoy 🙂

Once at the World Showcase, I demanded pizza and sangria in Italy for lunch. No one put up much of a fight.

The pizza at Via Napoli is incredible. The “kids” table ordered 3 of the largest pies and we all laughed at ourselves because of how ridiculous we were to think we would finish this much pizza. Seven minutes later (yes, seven, Nicki has it timestamped on Snapchat), there were about 2 little pieces left. The “kids” table also ordered bottomless sangria. #noregrets

epcot drinking around the world

The rest of the day was spent being entertained by the outdoor country attractions (I love Sergio in Italy and the chair guy in France) and enjoying a few more adult beverages (cantaloupe juice and vodka from Japan, limoncello in Italy, four different kinds of champagne in France, and my favorite grapefruit beer in Germany).

epcot evening

We had dinner in Germany before watching the Illuminations fireworks at the end of the night. I was happy that we had one more half-day to spend relaxing by the pool but bummed that another Disney vacation was coming to an end.

The next day was beautiful and we spent the morning and early afternoon lounging by the pool, sipping pina coladas, and getting a nice tan to bring back to cold NYC.

Until next time, Orlando.


Filed under disney, half-marathon, running, vacation

2016 Dopey Challenge: the first 9.3 miles.

It’s been just a few days now since I completed my second Dopey Challenge and damn, the post-Dopey blues are in full swing yet again. I thought it’d make things easier knowing that I’ll be back in Disney in February for Princess Weekend but nope, no such luck.

If you’re just tuning in, this is the Dopey Challenge:

dopey challenge

If it looks crazy, it’s because it is. I’m crazy enough to have done it twice. I’m also crazy enough that I’m considering doing it again.

But anywho, I figure there’s no better way to fight the post-Dopey blues than to start recapping these amazingly magical miles…

Disney World Day 1:

Nicole and I arrived in Orlando early on Wednesday and headed straight to the expo after a quick pit stop at the hotel to drop off our bags. We stayed in the Port Orleans Riverside Resort and it was wonderful, just like last year.

After picking up our bibs and another 6 Disney shirts to add to my growing Disney wardrobe, we went straight for Hollywood Studios for some pre-Dopey fun.

expo and hollywood studios

Dopey Challenge Day 1: The 5k

Thursday morning began with a 3:55 am alarm (woohoo for a later 5k start time!) and our 48.6 mile adventure was officially underway.

While the weather was significantly warmer than last year’s 5k, I’m glad that I had throwaway gear for all 4 of the races. TIP: Never throw away old long sleeve t-shirts (I keep all long sleeve race t-shirts even if I know I’ll never wear them) or post-race foils. I put these to the side and use them as throwaway gear for races with a long wait before the start. For the 5k, I used my finisher’s foil from the Philadelphia Marathon.

We waited on line to take a picture with Dopey and then walked to corral A, anxious to get this show on the road (quite literally).

Ariel and Sebastian kept the pace super easy and stopped for a few pictures along the Epcot route. Just like last year, I got chills when running around the World Showcase. Between the lights, the inspirational music, and the Disney magic, it truly is incredible.

dopey challenge 5k

With 3.1 miles behind us, we were 6% done with miles and 25% done with mornings!


After showering, enjoying some breakfast, and a little down time, we spent the rest of the day in the beautiful Epcot sunshine.

Rough life.

Dopey Challenge Day 2: The 10k

After the 5k, all the races begin at 5:30 am so waking up at 3:55 is no longer an option. For the remainder of the Dopey Challenge, our alarms went off at 3:15 every morning and we were out the door before 3:40 to get on a bus to the start village.

Before leaving the hotel room, we checked the weather one last time (because Florida weather apparently changes drastically every 15 minutes or so) and saw that rain was in the forecast. We grabbed our ponchos in addition to our throwaway gear and got out the door.

Luckily, we were able to wait inside a tent up until it was time to head to the corrals so we were kept warm and dry for as long as possible. While there was a light rain throughout the majority of the 10k, it was rather warm so the rain didn’t really bother us. In fact, by mile 1 we had both dropped our throwaway gear and ponchos. Tinkerbell and Olaf don’t melt. Wait. Errr. Hmm.

dopey challenge 10k

Just as in the 5k, we kept the pace super easy and stopped for a few photos ops along the course.

We celebrated being 19% done with miles and 50% done with mornings in the Magic Kingdom. It worked out perfectly and the rain stopped and the sun came out just as we got off the bus at Magic Kingdom. Oh hey there, sunny skies!

magic kingdom

Just like last year, there was no “staying off my feet” the days leading up to the marathon. #wheninDisney #zeroregrets

By keeping our pace extremely easy during the first 9.3 miles, we ensured that we were able to both enjoy the parks and complete the next 39.3 miles with a smile, which was really the only goal in the first place 🙂


Next up: getting to the 22.4 mile mark with the WDW Half-Marathon!


Filed under 10k, 5k, disney, vacation, walt disney world marathon

A NYC Christmas: 2015 edition.

Is there anything quite like a NYC Christmas? Obviously, I’m biased… but it’d still be hard to deny that NYC does the holiday season right. Last year, I created a holiday bucket list to make sure that I was immersing myself into the full holiday experience. This year, I didn’t even need a bucket list since my holiday calendar filled up really quickly (here’s some of my NYC Christmas fun from last year).

Google Guide Holiday Party

My boyfriend is a local Google Guide so he was invited to a NYC Google holiday event and I got to tag along. I’ve asked many times about what exactly being a “Google guide” means and I still don’t fully understand. Apparently it involves writing reviews that are actually good. IMO, don’t do it and just date someone who does because then you don’t have to write anything and just get to go to fabulous parties. That’s just my opinion though…

christmas photobooth

The event space was pretty neat with 3 floors of fun. The first 2 floors had a band, multiple bars, a s’mores station, a hot (boozey) cocoa station, and hot food. The 3rd floor contained a photobooth, a gingerbread cookie decorating station, and a card decorating station for children spending the holidays in the hospital.


The great band, free food, and crafts were added bonuses to just having somewhere to wear my Elf t-shirt (obviously).

Dyker Heights Lights

For months, my boyfriend had been talking about the “Dyker Heights lights” in Brooklyn. To be honest, I agreed to go because it made him happy even though I had no idea where Dyker Heights was or what was meant by “lights.” Was this a house with fun decorations? A town that hangs lights? Spike Lee shooting down the street? I got curious the day before we were set to venture deep into Brooklyn and googled it. Alright, this I could get behind.

dyker heights lights

We walked around and ogled at the incredible homes for an hour or so. As we were heading out, the streets were really starting to fill up with families. As it was a warm night, most families were walking around but you could tell that there were some who chose to drive down the few blocks to view the lights.

dyker heights lights 1

I definitely didn’t hate it.

Newport, Rhode Island

Okay, so this isn’t in NYC… but it’s not that far away and if you’re looking for a short respite from the city craziness, it’s the perfect holiday escape.

cliff walk newport RI

We spent three unseasonably warm and wonderful days at the Mill Street Inn in Newport, RI. The location was perfect as it was a short walk to the main strip with  adorable stores and restaurants and an extremely short drive to the Cliff Walk and Newport Mansions.

We spent the 3 days walking the Cliff Walk, touring 3 of the mansions (The Elms, Marble House, and The Breakers), shopping through the town, and eating/drinking at various local restaurants and bars. Fun fact: the oldest bar in America is in Newport. Oh and it’s haunted. Yes, we went there.

The holiday season is also the only time you’re allowed to take pictures in the mansions (take note!).

newport mansions christmas

Newport is such a quaint little town and it really was the perfect getaway from the city. I’d love to go again, especially during the warmer months (I spent almost the entire Cliff Walk talking about how I wanted to run the Cliff Walk).

NYBG Holiday Train Show

Every year I say I want to go to the NY Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show and every year the season passes me by without a trip to the Bronx. Once I saw that the event had special “bar car nights” that were adult-only and included drinks, live music, ice-sculpting, and fire performances, I knew I wasn’t waiting another year to attend.

nybg holiday train show

We got there early and decided to grab some hot chocolate while we watched the ice sculptor and fire dancers. When it was our ticket entry time, we walked over to the Haupt Conservatory, where we grabbed some spiked hot apple cider before enjoying the real show.

nybg holiday train show 2

You wind through multiple rooms where various NY-area landmarks (all made completely out of plant material) are displayed. The trains definitely take a back seat to the amazing plant architecture throughout the Conservatory. We both agreed that this was well worth the price and we’ll be back again next year.


I’m excited to head home this week to rest (it’s taper time, ladies and ‘gents!), soak up lots of time with the family, and start the carb-loading process for the Dopey Challenge (I should start early, right?!).

Wishing everyone a wonderfully merry Christmas 🙂

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Filed under christmas, new york city, vacation