While I leisurely took my victory shower, my beloved chEARleaders took a nap. After 13.1 miles and about 35 minutes to let the muscle aches soak in, my quick shower was entirely in “Chariots of Fire” slow motion. Naturally, the quieter I tried to be, the more I dropped stuff and banged into everything. After an hour, I roused the troops and we went back the park. Yes, with the medal on.
The worst thing for me after a race is sitting around the hotel, or worse immediately heading home in the car or to the airport. I take particular enjoyment in soaking up the local color. Although the House of Mouse is part of my central Florida backyard, I never tire of it. Being an annual pass holder, I do my best to maximize my experience which includes taking my time to enjoy the parks. Unlike the out-of-towners, I don’t have a task list when I visit because I’ve done almost everything at least once. For me, I enjoy the character greetings. Sure, I’ll queue up for the rides, but in a post-race ache, I prefer to avoid the long lines so as to avoid standing in a single place for extended periods of time.
Let The Duckie Win! ❤ The Don
Our campaign party converged at Pinocchio Village House because I craved pizza. When I ran the Princess Halves, making a beeline for PVH became part of my post-race ritual. I was crushed to discover they changed their menu, substituting their miniature pan pizzas for a healthier, fancier, artisan flat bread pizza. Don’t get me wrong, the new pizza menu is nice, but after running a half, it was no where near as substantial as I anticipated. Unfortunately, my friends who weren’t familiar with my post-race ‘hanger’ (hunger + anger) were a little surprised I wasn’t my usual jovial self.
These Glorious Ladies came down just for the Chill Party! Thanks Kate & Allyson!
With a little food in my system, we ventured out among the masses. Nice slow rides with continually moving lines: Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion are a god send because of the additional blessing of air conditioning. The heat wasn’t particularly strong, but the humidity was rather stifling.
I played a little Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom, too, but I still haven’t got the hang of it. I need to find a handy way to organize my cards, and actually familiarize myself with the stats of the cards because after level one, Sorcerers need to use their noggins and not just select cards all higgledy-piggledy.
We grazed, stopped for character photos, hopped a couple of rides, caught a parade, and did a little window shopping. A great way to take a break throughout the day and a scenic shortcut around the park, is hopping onto the WDW railroad with stops at Main Street, U.S.A., Frontierland and Fantasyland’s Storybook Circus. As the afternoon wore on, half of the group needed to head back to Gainesville, so we parted ways after our little rain ride. After a rest break in the courtyard in front of Cinderella’s Castle Stage, Kim, Jason & I decided to hop the Monorail to Epcot for some victory beers.
Like Magic Kingdom, it wasn’t my first visit to Epcot today, and better yet, this time around, I can still feel my legs. Again, no real agenda aside from weaving our way back to World Showcase for some liquid gold. Evening time at Epcot is one of my favorites, not just because of IllumiNations, but the crowds taper off significantly compared to MK. After running with 20,000 of my closest Disney friends, I was in dire need of some elbow room.
In my twenties, I dreamed of tackling the infamous beers around the world, but now, I just want to find a quiet nook to enjoy my brew in peace. We lucked out, snagging an empty bench overlooking water where we enjoyed our beer and pretzels with some duckies as the sun set.
After a savory treat, we headed over to the Les Halles Boulangerie & Pâtisserie in France. After all these years, it was best that I had never discovered this hidden gem. I have Ladurée for my macaron addictions, something I look forward to when I fly transoceanic to Europe. I truly didn’t need to realize that Belle’s been hoarding the baked goods. So much for her poor, provincial life! Curse you, Belle, now I have to go and try to pick up a Paris trip!
As the sun disappeared and night rose, we shambled our way toward the exit. A stroke of luck got us into the line to see Duffy Bear right before he hung up his sailing whites for the night. I got lots of hugs, the bear polished my medal, and I grinned like a goofy kid. I’m not ashamed at all.
The night cooled off quickly, so I got to sport my new WDW Half tech shirt which is super duper comfortable. Unlike the W&D Half long-sleeved, this one doesn’t have the awkward seams and uni-sex fit. A brighter color would have been nice, but I’m not complaining. If you question why I go to the parks after a race, it is simply to blow off the remaining adrenaline coursing through my system, and to soak up all the warm fuzzies. Though I gave my run away to those who came out to cheer, my post-race rituals are intentionally centered around me. My friends’ understanding of this backwards thinking and their willingness to tag along anyway means the World Showcase to me.
Another post-race dining ritual is brunch. Usually, we hit up the Perkins on 192 immediately after the race, but this time around, we classed it up the following morning with a patio table at the Celebration Town Tavern. Having driven past Celebration a handful of times without stopping to bask in its glory, I was quite excited to go there. I managed to also stick my foot in my mouth when trying to coordinate an earlier assembly time for those dining with me. Let’s just say I put the red of Mickey’s famous buttoned shorts to utter shame. I credit this to my best friend, Kim’s razor wit, and my spectacularly poor word choice. Ah, the curses of caffeine dependency!
Celebration Town Tavern reminds me of the bar in Cheers! (for those too young to understand this TV reference, I command you to chase it up immediately and blame you parents for not properly educating you on ’80’s sitcom TV). No surprises there as it is a Boston-themed pub. Thankfully, this little Yankee Girl wasn’t dragged inside (this time). The servers were exceptionally welcoming, and not solely because we were dining with one of their regulars. The food serving was outstanding. Oh, I could wax poetic over their hefty diner mugs full of glorious coffee, but it is unnecessary!
I’m glad that I live over an hour away from the Parks area, if only to avoid packing on 60 pounds worth of beer and brunch at CTT. I ordered the Apple Cinnamon French Toast, and my jaw nearly landed in my coffee cup when it arrived. On a scale of one to ten, this dish earned a Joey Lawrence-worthy “WHOA!” Tackling it was a challenge, but it beat me out in the end. Blissful food coma! I hope to check out CTT on a game night sometime soon!