To begin with, we had amazing accommodations! Thanks to a great partnership with Global Resort Homes, Jackie, Kristen, and I hosted a giveaway at the end of last year and in return, Global sponsored our stay at one of their luxury vacation homes (more on that in another post).
While I'm going to be blogging more about the house in another post, let me just say this - it was so much fun rooming with my friends! Kristen, Jackie and I have "coffee talk" every morning via Twitter and it was great to finally be able to have coffee together in person! Tori (Kristen's daughter) and Bekah rounded out our five-person "Princess Party Crew" and for that one weekend we really WERE the "Fab Five."
After a very lengthy flight delay last Thursday (thank you so much Delta), I finally made it to Orlando two hours late and practically RAN through the airport to meet the ladies. We made it back to our house and I managed to get a few hours of sleep. Yes, only a few hours. I was wide awake at 5:30 a.m. ... typical for when I'm near Disney property.
A 'business breakfast' on Friday was followed by a trip to the "Fit for a Princess Expo" at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex - we needed to pick up our race packets and bib numbers.
After a lovely day and evening at Epcot and the Magic Kingdom last Friday, we were up at 4:30 a.m. Saturday morning! Yes. 4:30 a.m. It's an ungodly hour...even more so when you know you're going to be walking 3.1 miles very soon. Once we made it to the "waiting area" near the start line, it was unlike anything I've ever been part of. There were 5,500 runners and walkers in one place - dancing, laughing, warming up, and getting photos taken. There was a DJ playing music, people were doing the Electric Slide, and the adrenaline was definitely flowing!
The first mile was probably the hardest just because there was NOTHING to see. We were on a service road behind Epcot and the most exciting scenery was abandoned trams from the Backlot Tour and a discard Jungle Cruise boat (wth?). Yeah, real inspiring, right? Mile two had us entering World Showcase at Epcot and then it felt a bit more magical! As we neared mile 2.5 it was like "Oh. My. God. Are we there yet?"
But then we saw it: the 3 mile marker:
read this post).
The rest of the weekend was spent touring the parks, eating amazingly delicious meals (Whispering Canyon Cafe, Ohana, Boma), and having more fun than should be legal. We saw "old" friends and made new friends. We cried during "Wishes" (OK, I cried during "Wishes"). This weekend was all about friendships both new and old and it really was the BEST. WEEKEND. EVER.
At this point, I want to talk about my amazing friends - the women I spent the weekend with. I've known Jackie and Kristen for a couple of years, having met them both via Twitter in the "Disney community" that resides there. I adore them both ... we all love the same thing (Disney) but have connected beyond that too. I just met Tori and Bekah last Thursday, but couldn't imagine the weekend without them. (And, I think perhaps Bekah and I were friends in another lifetime - it really felt as though I had known her for years.)
And as for the ladies of the Princess Party Crew, for four days from Thursday night when I arrived, until Sunday night when I left them in front of Cinderella's castle, the five of us laughed so hard we cried and we cried so hard we ended up laughing. The connections formed over the course of just a few days go beyond the words "awesome," "amazing," or "incredible."
I saw so many friends last weekend that I can't begin to name everyone, but know this: I consider myself a very lucky lady to know such amazing people.... the Princess Party Crew, Maria, Aurora, Megan, Kristin, Tiffany, the rest of the "Sparkly Moms", Amanda, Zanna...I adore you all and am so happy to have you in my life.
And now....I'm looking to 2013 and the Princess 1/2 Marathon. We all said we'd do the BIG race next year. We said we'd start training now. We know it can be done. We are strong enough and fast enough and we can do anything!