October 1st, 2011 was not only the night of the Wine and Dine Half Marathon, it was also the 40th anniversary of Walt Disney World. My friend Jenn and I knew we had to get there early to get a good spot in front of the castle, and we did just that. After going through bag check Jenn grabbed a spot in line while I renewed my pass. The renewal went quickly and on the way to find Jenn I happened upon a cast member handing out some special buttons.
|Button with the special Guidemap we also received|
I got one for Jenn and myself, then found her in line. We weren’t the first ones through the turnstiles by a long shot, but many people actually gathered in the middle of the entrance area so they could get a good view of the rope drop show. I stopped for a quick pic.
Jenn and I knew that the real show would take place in front of the castle, so we opted to get as close to the tunnel as possible so that when the rope dropped, we’d be ready. There was in fact a special opening ceremony that day, and we were to the far right of it.
The rope finally dropped and we hustled through Main Street, without running! A lot of people were stopping to take pictures, but we were determined. I stopped and snapped one quick one, realized it wasn’t very good, and pressed on. Hey, Jenn walks fast.
|Good morning, good morning!|
Sure enough we got a great spot in pretty much the front of the pack for the 10am show in front of the castle. We stood there for a while and waited for the time to tick by, and chatted with fellow Disney nuts. Finally we heard the 9:45 parade coming our way, and it included a cavalcade of characters who were making their way to the castle for the very show Jenn and I were waiting for. Prior to the ceremony itself, we were treated to music by the Main Street Philharmonic.
|Main Street Philharmonic, not to be confused with Philharmagic|
The ceremony was nice, with speeches by Walt Disney World Ambassadors Norman Vossschulte and Jennifer Mason, Walt Disney World President Meg Crofton, and Magic Kingdom Vice President Phil Holmes. There was some great a cappella from the Dapper Dans, some funny moments between the characters on the stage, and it culminated with shooting streamers and daytime fireworks. If you’re interested in seeing the actual ceremony, I took video.
I also managed to snap a few character photos.
|Chip N Dale were funny during the show|
|No Mickey, you da man|
As soon as it ended Jenn and I headed to the Crystal Palace for our 10:45 reservation. The plan was to have a huge breakfast (Crystal Palace is a buffet), and a light lunch to prepare for the Wine and Dine Half Marathon that night. Here was my first plate of food:
|Yes, that is a chocolate Mickey Mouse waffle!|
Tummies full of food, Jenn and I attempted to liberate a few bananas from the restaurant for a little pre-race fuel. They were mushy, however, so our plan was thwarted. On the way out though I did manage to snap a cute picture of Tigger and his new friend.
|This interaction was so cute!|
And now, as Han Solo so eloquently put it in Episode IV…
“Here’s where the fun begins.”
Jenn and I planned on hitting a few rides before leaving to relax for the race that night. We figured three rides was a pretty good number. My favorite: the Carousel of Progress, one of her favorites: Pirates of the Caribbean, and maybe one of the mountains. Sounds simple enough, right? Not on this day.
That’s right. We went on three rides that day, and all three of them broke down. Of course we started to tweet.
Jenn and I started to get Tweets back from people telling us to hurry up and get out of the Magic Kingdom before we broke everything. We took their advice and cleared out. That was the first time in my life I had to be evacuated off of Pirates, as well as the first time I ever broke 100% of the rides I attempted to enjoy on any given day. So the first half of the day, Walt Disney World’s 40th Anniversary at the Magic Kingdom, was interesting to say the least. The second half of the day was the Wine and Dine Half Marathon, and I have to admit after what we had just experienced, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect!
Race recap coming soon