The 2018 marathon weekend expo officially opened Wednesday, January 3, at noon. It ran Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Race participants had to go to the expo to pick up their packets before their race day(s), which meant that anyone running the 5K – whether the 5K alone or part of the Dopey Challenge – had to go on Wednesday. For everyone else, there was some flex on when they could go.
The thing is, runDisney official merchandise sells out. Fast. Not everything! And often what is on display will sell out but they will restock soon… but still, things sell out and so there is a mad rush to get official merchandise, with people lining up hours before the expo even opens.
I, not being that dedicated to nabbing official merchandise, opted to sleep in a bit and go to Magic Kingdom in the morning instead of standing around in line. In the rain. Because of course, Wednesday morning was very rainy. Instead, I sauntered up to packet pickup around 2:15pm, hoping the crowds had died down some. From what I was told, yes, they had died down… but you couldn’t prove it to me!
I wanted to get my bibs first thing, because… races! MUST have bibs to run! I vaguely knew where to go, and there were signs on doors, but the lines themselves where a jumbled mess. There were just so many people milling around that it could have been the Dopey line or the 10K line for all I knew. But luckily I got in the right line, which was still all the way outside… but in the end the line moved really fast. I was worried at first though… wouldn’t you be? In these pictures I was standing in the middle of a line, turning to my right (toward the door inside) and to my left.
Once I made it inside I remembered that I had left my waiver at home, so I stopped and printed one off, then headed to the actual pick up area. Each race or challenge had its own row of pick up booths, each with a bib number range printed on it, like 24001-24450, so to get your bib you needed to find the correct race or challenge area, then the booth with your bib number (and your bib number will always be printed oh so helpfully on your waiver), and get in line there. Luckily for me, there was no line so I was able to go right up and get my stuff. Challenge runners also have to have their picture taken at the expo with their bibs… because some people just can’t play nice, and have to cheat and have someone else run all or part of their challenge.
Katie Tip of the Day: Don’t be a cheater. Just don’t. That’s not magical. That’s anti-magical.
After your bib(s), you get to go get your shirt(s). I just had to walk around a corner and there I was! Hand over your bib so they can take the shirt tag off (so you can only get your one shirt or set of shirts – back to that whole anti-magical thing here), and there! A ginormous clear gear check bag that handily enough can hold your loot from packet pickup. I followed the signs to leave, and went toward the official merchandise section. I totally missed it, somehow, please don’t ask how, and went back up the outside stairs. When someone directed me back to where I needed to go, I stopped short. Took this picture and said nope. Not a chance. This is just the outside line to get inside to the inside line, before going into the shop floor.
Instead, I went to the other building to hunt down the beer cart. Y’all know I have a major love for the beer
mugs cups! This year, it was front and center, which made my life easy. I ordered some random nastiness (yeah, the beer options sucked – one wasn’t even a beer, it was a cucumber flavored alcoholic water, or something like that), but it wound up being the coolest nastiness ever. Check out this magical beer bling!
Around this time, my friend Natalie texted me that her family was almost there, so I went to meet up with them. We got all of their bibs and promised to meet up later at Epcot, before I went to find Michael and they went to get settled.
The next time I headed to the expo was Thursday, when my friend Alyssa flew in and we needed to go get her bib. Alyssa, Natalie, and I were planning to run the 10K together in matching Minnie costumes. I was so excited! We had been planning this for months/years! Unfortunately, she was on a later flight and then still had to get settled at the hotel and eat, so we got to the expo pretty dang close to closing. Luckily, there were no lines! So she got her bib easy-peasy!
Next we headed over to the beer cart to get Heather a beer
mug cup. Michael took one for the team and drank the nasty beer (okay, so you can totally buy the cups without any beer, but why?) while Alyssa and I tried to wine slushies. Delicious!
After that, I found a booth selling compression socks, because of course I couldn’t find half my socks when I was packing. The Sock Monster is real y’all, and living fat off our missing socks. So, I needed a white pair for my marathon costume. After that, it was way past time for dinner, so off we went!
So the last time I made it to the expo was Friday, after the 10K. Spoiler alert: I messed up my knee pretty badly… so after meeting up with a lovely doctor couple who were also running Dopey and were willing to check my knee out, we decided to get it taped and see how it felt after that. Now, I had KT Tape in my bag, because I use it on hot spots to avoid chafing, but I’ve never used it for muscles or whatnot. Honestly, it seemed kind of hocus-pocus to me, but I was willing to do anything for Dopey. Luckily, there is a KT Tape booth and they’ll tape you up!
So, Michael and I boarded the bus again, and then I limped my way to the booth. You have to buy tape to get taped, so I grabbed a pink roll and got in line. Michael wandered off for a little bit, and returned with an iPhone charger cord, since my phone was dead and I left my battery pack and cord in the room. I didn’t even know there was a place to buy cords at the expo, but woohoo!
The lady in charge said that it would be at least 30 minutes until we got to the front of the line, but I don’t think it took that long at all. I explained what was going on when I ran, and what the doctors I talked to had said, so they taped my knee for “full support”. There were instructions about stretching the tape 20% or whatever, but I didn’t really understand that. I just knew when I stood up and walked, it was amazing! I wasn’t limping anymore! I wasn’t hurting!
Until… until we left, and walked down the ramp to the parking lot. Yeah. That hurt. A lot!
So. That was that. Unfortunately for y’all, I didn’t really wander around the expo and check it out, nor did I take nearly enough pictures. The best laid plans and all that. I promise next time will be better!