Welcome to the 2014 Princess Half Marathon virtual run disney blog meetup! Welcome if you are new here! Click on the picture above for links to other posts!
A bit of history about my run Disney experience! I first ran the DL half in 2010 and loved it but got very injured. I trained much better in the future and have run the tink 2012-2014,DL half 2012,dumbo 2013, and Princess 2013 for my first coast to coast.
My future races are glass slipper challenge 2014, dumbo 2014, and hopefully wine and dine 2014 and dopey 2015! My first marathon is coming up in one month:LA marathon!
Living in LA is a blessing and a curse. A blessing because the weather is amazing and I can do Disneyland races all the time for very cheap! (Go down the day before, a bit of park time (not much because the line are usually crazy!), stay in a 60 buck hotel, run and shower and eat, back in my bed by 2!).
The curse is it really spoils you for having to fly across country for WDW races but I do what I have to do for my precious coast to coast medal. and yes it's worth it! I cried when they put it around my next last year and vowed to get one every year (the whole having kids thing may challenge that but that's much farther down the road).
I have been so so blessed to go to WDW 5 times from Sept 2012-Dec 2013 with 3 trips lined up for 2014 already! People often ask how I can afford to go and most of it is pure luck! However race trips are very different and require some extensive planning. Let's look at the top 10 things to do to be able to afford to go on this trip and then look at the top 10 tips for making the most around racing.
This was not a fly by the seat of your pants plan. It was over a year in the making!
Something's gotta give and for me that's a tight budget. I rarely eat out, I cook almost every meal and really go out for a night of drinking. However to me it's all worth it to go to WDW. Growing up when I would want something like an Icee and my mom would ask if I would want an Icee or a kaki gori. I would always choose the kaki gori! I do the same thing now and often choose to eat at WDW then eat out randomly at home. It's important to decide what you are going to find important.
2. Taking Off from Work
A trip like this requires you take at least a few days off of work. Can you d that at this time of year? Will it limit your other vacations? I get a lot of sick and vacation time every year so it works out for me but there may be a time when I can't go because of work.
3. Who will watch the kids? The pets?
I don't have anything that needs to be watched besides plants but this is crucial and can add a cost to your budget. If the kids are coming, how much school can they miss if any? If they stay, who will watch them during races? It's important to figure these things out up front so you can know who all is coming along.
4. Who will go
Our next point-is it a girls only trip? Adults only? Family vacation? Just keep in mind depending on how many races you are doing, it calls for very early mornings and little park time and lots of naps. Make sure everyone is on board with this before agreeing to go on a trip.
This will probably be one of the biggest expenses. Usually flights are 350-400. The best way to monitor this is set up a flight alert for the dates you want to go on Kayak and they will email you every week. You can also set one up on Airfare Watchdog that will email you when there's a sale.
Southwest is usually cheaper and has free bags but will require you to stop somewhere. Delta and American both have non-stops all day but you will pay for luggage.
I personal always fly red eyes as it allows you to get there quickly and then you have all day to adjust when you land.
Also check credit card and reward points to see if you can fly at least part of the way for free.
This will be another big expense. Mouse avers is a great website that helps out with savings and it's all in one place. Discounts I use most often are AAA and annual passholder.
It's important to decide how much you want to spend. Personally I spend a lot of times in the parks and want the cheapest hotel possible so I stay value but I know many people that splurge and do deluxe because of the amenities. Check our Debs site, the DIS boards and Disney Tourist Blog for differences between the hotels.
Living in LA, this is a no brainer. I always upgrade to Premier. Best deal and costs about 400 bucks with at. Over my premium DL pass. However definitely price check the difference between upgrading and getting WDW tickets. And remember once you have the tickets, you may be more able to make more trips! Undercover tourist has great WDW prices.
Considering the Dining Plan? Personally I have not done yet but I just read a great post on it on the Disney Tourist Blog. Definitely do your research and decide if it right for you.
Tables in Wonderland saves 20% on most sit-down meals (including alcohol!) and is a great deal. You get a 25 dollar discount with your AP. and it is good for 1 year from purchase.
How often for sit down restaurants is up to you. Personally, I like to do one a day. It gives you time to relax and also breaks up the day without taking up too much time.
Including run Disney. This is important because of suitcase space. You may need to pack an extra empty bag to bring all back like we used to do when I was young but remember extra baggage fees.
I personally only buy things that exclusive say WDW since I only get 10% off instead of 20% at Disneyland with my AP.
9. Transportation around
Make sure you have an idea of how to get around. If you are planning to stay on WDW property the whole time, no need for a car. Just use disney transportation however if you are staying off site you may need a car. Explore all your options before making this decision.
10. Plan plan plan
As you can see, it takes time to decide all of this. The early you plan the better!
1. Take Care of Yourself
It's very important the week leading up to the trip you eat right and sleep enough. The time change will be a doozy and you want to be in the best shape possible.
It is crucial the day before you fly that you drink a lot of water. On average, you lose about 6-8 oz/hour that you fly. You want to make sure you are hydrated. Once you land, you need continue to drink water to make sure you are hydrated for your race.
Sleep! Make sure you are sleeping 7-9 hours a night the week before your flight. Your body will thank you once jet lag sinks in.
2. Compression Socks
Compression socks will do wonders for you legs while traveling. On the red eye just know you will only sleep a few hours on the plane. However it will help with taking naps. The socks will do wonders for your legs sitting on a plane for a long time
3. Nap and sleep
The time adjustment can be tough so go easy on the coffee and make sure to nap to make up the time difference.
4. Eating is off
For the first few days I don't eat breakfast. I do a banana and coffee and then just eat an early lunch between 11-12. After a few days, it comes back but just know for a day it's at least a bit off.
5. Pack early and pack often
Make a packing list and stick to it. Personally I use the pack my bag app where I store packing lists. It helps me from forgetting something.
DON'T FORGET AN Umbrella!!
Decide on a costume but remember you have to pack it. Now may not be the time for a big tutu and lots of accessories so make sure it's pack able.
7. Baggage fees
Remember these pesky things! They range from 20-40 dollars per bag each way.
8. Get ready for differences
There can be a whole post done on DL vs WDW races but the big things you'll notice:
- Early start time and transportation
- Cheer squads all around
- Characters everywhere
- After the event
9. Remember time zones
Remember when signing people up for race tracking. I almost signed up my boyfriend then remembered it will be the middle of the night when I start in La!
10. Have fun and celebrate!
It's so fun to travel and race and WDW is the best! So much to do and see. Make sure to pick a few things to do when celebrating and have a good time.
What are some ways you save for a Disney trip?
What are some of your tips fr traveling across country?
Want more information on just Disney? Check out my Disney Blog at Our Disney Side