November 2022 Trip Report – November 3rd (Part 1)

I have to admit that by this day of the trip, November 3, 2022, I was feeling FOMO because I hadn’t really done anything besides the partial visit to Disney Springs. So the fact that this was the day that my son and I had to go get our runDisney race packet for the Wine and Dine 5k the following morning was making me happy. The whole not-going-to-the-parks-except-for-the-one-day-we-planned-on-Saturday thing was just feeling so weird. In all my years of visiting the parks basically every day of my trips, I would be so tired at the end of the trip that I would swear that one time I was going to have a relaxed trip not doing as much. Well, here I was, doing exactly that, and I was already wondering if this was the right decision.

The race expo at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex began at 10am that morning. I knew I didn’t want to be there that early because it would be a madhouse with people not only picking up their race packets, but also shopping for merchandise. There ended up being a virtual queue on this day for those who wanted to shop at the expo and I had no plans of buying anything, so I wasn’t signing up for a virtual queue just to look around. My cousin Sasha and her wife were at Disney World at the same time and we had plans to meet up later in the day because they had a down day away from the parks. Originally, I was going to go to the expo after we visited with them for a while, but they had a late lunch reservation at Rix sports bar and grill in Coronado Springs resort, so I decided it would be easier to go get our race packets before they met up with us at our room. So me and my son, Zethan, headed to the expo around noon.

I’ve done a handful of runDisney races before so I knew the drill for the expo, but I had never gone this early in the day to get my packet. I don’t know why, but I was shocked at how many people were there at that time. It was so busy! I immediately told Zethan that maybe we should have waited until later after all. I thought for sure with so many people here, it was going to be a bit of a wait to get in and out of here. I was cursing my decision to come at this time but there was no point in turning around and going back to the room to go back later. Surprisingly, the flow of people was pretty steady and we basically walked right up to the lines to get our race bibs and then the separate building to get our shirts. It helped that we did the digital race waiver online before the expo and that most of the people there were waiting for the runDisney merchandise shop.

I’m sure it always gets this busy, I just have never been when it was this crowded

For anyone who has done a runDisney race before, you know that “walking right up” to get your bib and then your shirt is a grand understatement. It’s quite a long walk to get into the Wide World of Sports complex and over to the building where the bib pickup is. And once you’re in the building, you do a lot of walking over to this section of the building, going down some stairs, across to another section, down more stairs, keep walking past this and that area and oh, look- more stairs to go down. But once we arrived on the floor of the Field House, neither of us had anyone in front of us for our designated lines to get our bibs. We got those and then had to head a similar, yet different direction to get out of that building and over to the one where we picked up our shirts.

When we entered this building, where the expo itself was going on with all the shopping and such, I thought for sure this was where we’d have a longer wait because there were just so many people everywhere. But nope, we got down the stairs to the expo area and back to the shirt pick up location and by some stroke of Disney magic again, there was no one in line for the size shirt I needed. Zethan’s line only had 2 people in it for the size he ordered for the race so we both were able to get our shirts really quickly. There were several other long lines for shirt pick up but I’m not sure if people were just getting in line blindly without realizing you could go to any of the available race volunteers/workers under the sizing signs behind them. Either way, I was happy it didn’t take long and we could go ahead and leave.

My runDisney 5k race shirt for the weekend of Wine & Dine
Blurry screenshot of my video footage of the expo

On the way out, I realized I could walk around and look at the vendor booths of merchandise that was non-runDisney related so I started to take a look. But for some of the vendors, you had to wait in a line to get up closer to look at some stuff and since I wasn’t going to buy anything, I decided it was a waste of time. So only after a few minutes of looking around at the smaller booths, we headed back out to leave. Overall, it was a successful packet pickup since we really didn’t have a wait and we weren’t trying to shop or eat there.

Once we got back to our villa at Old Key West, Sasha and Chastity were on their way our room too. We hung out for a little while with them and then I decided to go with them to Animal Kingdom Lodge to look for some items at the gift shop in the main building (Jambo House). I told them we should take a bus to Disney Springs or somewhere and then transfer to a bus back to Animal Kingdom Lodge because I know Disney has cracked down on people without reservations coming to resort hop, but they wanted to try driving there because a Cast Member at Coronado Springs told them they shouldn’t have a problem driving and parking there. We figured if we were turned away, we’d come back and take a bus instead. I don’t know if the Cast Member at the entrance to the resort was supposed to do this, but he checked my cousin’s MagicBand information, saw that they were staying on property, and let us in to go to the gift shop. There was even a giant sign next to the Cast Member that said people would not be allowed in unless they had a reservation at the resort or dining reservations there. I have seen a lot of people say that they were turned away when trying to resort hop, so I suppose it’s up to whoever is in the entry/security point of the resort.

It was a successful shopping trip for Sasha, but I still found no 50th Anniversary mint tins, and I decided against the earrings I wanted to look at in Zawadi Marketplace in the first place. They were really pretty but since I work from home and hardly go anywhere these days, I found it wasn’t worth it to pay $30 for a pair of earrings I wouldn’t wear very often. There was some cute stuff there, but I’m no longer buying things I think are cute just for the heck of it.

We finished our shopping and of course we had to go look out at the savannah behind the main lobby. But I’ll show you that and what I did once I got back to Old Key West in my next post. Hope to see you there! °O°

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