Better late than never. We've been so busy with multi-sport training all summer that this recap has been sitting around in draft form since May. oops!
The Expedition Everest Challenge was one of the runDisney events we had been planning to do for years and just hadn't gotten around to actually doing. For 2015 it was announced, would be the last year of this event, and we just had to make sure that we made that final trek. The event is different from all other runDisney races. You run your 5k race, and that is immediately followed by a scavenger hunt. Yeah! Cool, right?
On to race weekend.
We loaded up the car that morning and headed down to the "Expo". We arrived in the Animal Kingdom parking lot at about 11:30am and took the photo of the #tinyexpo. I understand that runDisney never advertised an expo, only a packet pick-up. However, this is runDisney and this is a destination race. We feel they could have done better. Most of the weekend had the feel that the race was only being done because they needed to check a box. I hope this wasn't anyone's first runDisney race, if it was, please don't use this as a yardstick for other race weekends.
#tinyexpo Seriously, this was the WHOLE THING!
Since we were already at the Animal Kingdom, we decide to take the afternoon and enjoy the park. We always seem to enjoy cheesy games and experiences, and in keeping with the weekend's Expedition theme, we played the "Wilderness Explorer" Game.
Rocking the Wilderness Explorer book
We also made sure to run around Asia and check out some Everest merchandise, since the only merchandise at the #TinyExpo was the pin and a t-shirt.
Neat Cap, probably should have picked one up
DisneyBride will always find a Dole Whip, even when they try to be sneaky and just call it a 'Pineapple Whip' (Tamu Tamu Refreshments)
Following our trip to the park and a quick bite for dinner, we headed back to the hotel to put together our "flat runners". I will say that a night race does have the benefit of being able to sleep in. So putting the flat runner together the night before was more of following a habit than needing to do so to get a few more minutes of sleep.
Ahhh sleeping in is sweet. Since we had never been to the EPCOT Flower and Garden Festival, we decided to spend some time at EPCOT. It's a lot like the Food and Wine Festival, just with more flowers and less food. I really enjoyed the gardening displays, I don't think DisneyBride was as impressed.
Beautiful arrangements were everywhere
Can't go to EPCOT without a picture with SpaceShip Earth.
I'm having a lot more fun that I appear to be. Really I promise.
Lunch in Morocco (vegan)
EPCOT had the coolest topiaries.
'Frushi" dessert in Japan
While in the art store near the front of the park, I happened to ask the artist if they still had the Marathon Weekend art cells. They did! So I was able to get my Dopey drawing that I missed out on during Marathon Weekend. I think it turned out great.
I really enjoy the night races. I'm not quite sure why, but normally at home, I would be in bed by the time the runDisney night races start. There is just something about running in a large group of people at a time where the rest of the world won't judge you for a post-run beer.
DJ @Disney_Bride rocking the house for Carissa Bealart
I was not disappointed in the costumes this year. I think my favorite may have gone to the woman dressed as Khaleesi, Mother of Dragons. I told her I was the one destined to sit on the Iron Throne. She was not amused, but she didn't sic her dragons on me at least.
And we're off!
The 5k portion of the race was pretty similar to any other runDisney race. I believe it is the same course as the Jingle Jungle 5K during Wine and Dine Half weekend. However, it felt different, since we got to run through Animal Kingdom at night. Unfortunately, there was construction that seemed to block many of the good views within the park. However, the darkness added a cool something extra to the race.
Unlike other runDisney races, this one has a few obstacles. Pretty timid by Spartan and Tough Mudder standards, but an interesting touch. Perhaps runDisney will require Dopey participants to actually mine some precious stones in January before awarding finishers medals.
Enjoy the view!
I'm convinced that they used trailer tires, my size 13 feet couldn't fit in most of them.
The scavenger hunt was more challenging than I had expected. We can debate the meaning of digital vs. analog all day, but just know that the scavenger hunt was not for the ill-prepared.
Keeping with runDisney customs, we spent Sunday running around the parks wearing our medals. The Fairy Godmother spent some time enjoying our running/scavenger hunt success. It was odd only seeing a few people wearing medals, it's nothing like the larger race weekends where 1/2 the park guests are wearing their medals.
Pretty neat medal! We heard there were many that broke. Both of ours managed to stay in one piece.
Following our day in the park, and getting ready to make the drive back to Tallahassee we decide to try and get a meal from the world famous Chef TJ at the Trails End restaurant. Chef TJ prepared us a very tasty 5 course vegan meal.
Post meal! My "food baby" is huge!
We stole one of Mickey's shoes for Magnus! Just kidding, there is a new line of pet accessories and we picked up several items to bring home to our spoiled puppy.
While I am very glad we made the trip down to run this 5K, I now understand why runDisney is no longer hosting this race. It appeared that this race was an afterthought, from the "tiny expo" to the lack of interaction in social media. The premise of the weekend is a good one: both a physical and mental challenge. Would like to see this pairing return in some way for a future event.
What did you think of this race?
Did you run it this year or a previous year?
See you at Wine and Dine in November!