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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Day 2 ~ Epcot

Day two in Walt Disney World, started very early for me.  This was my race day.  I participated in Goofy's 5K Challenge.  It was my first ever Disney race and I can definitely say it was one of the best races I have ever run.  What a very fun race atmosphere.  We ran right through Epcot at daybreak. And there were a ton of characters that you could stop and take photos with along the race course. So.much.fun!

Race bib and shirt
 Running through Epcot
 The Epcot ball at sunrise
Finisher's Medal
 Photo with Pluto

After the race, I walked over to the Epcot gate entrance to meet up with my family.  Day two was devoted to Epcot.  We spent all day in the park.  Here are some of the fun rides and adventures we experienced ... Soarin', Test Track, Mission Space Orange, visited with Mickey, Minnie and Goofy, walked around World Showcase, enjoyed Turtle Talk with Crush, The Seas with Nemo & Friends and Journey into Imagination. We ended our day in Epcot with a character dining experience at the Garden Grill.  The kids loved visiting with Mickey, Goofy, Chip and Dale.  Aiden decided that he liked telling them all jokes.  We loved watching the characters pretend to laugh even when the jokes weren't funny or didn't make sense.  Day two was a success!

Family photo @ the park's entrance
Madi and Daisy
Riding Test Track
Mickey Mouse
Goofy
Minnie Mouse
Josh and I in Norway
The Epcot Ball
In Japan
Mary Poppins in England
Elsa
Anna
Shark
Dinner at Garden Grill
One last family photo as we leave the park
Monday, February 27, 2017

Day 1 ~ Disney's Hollywood Studios

We started our Walt Disney World family vacation on Wednesday morning at Disney's Hollywood Studios. As soon as we entered the park, we enjoyed the Great Movie Ride and then headed to our first character dining experience of the trip - breakfast at Hollywood and Vine.  The kids loved all of their character dining experiences.  They loved taking pictures with them and having them sign their autograph book.  We spent the rest of the morning visiting more rides and shows including Muppet Vision 3D, Star Tours, Indian Jones Epic Stunts Spectacular, and Toy Story Mania.

At around two o'clock, we took a little break from the park to head over to the RunDisney Expo.  We needed to pick up our race packets, bibs, and shirts.  If I have one critique of the entire weekend, it would be the Expo. It was a madhouse.  Since Josh was running the half marathon, he had to go to one location to retrieve his bib number, while I, who was running the 5K, had to go to an entirely different building to obtain my packet and bib number.  Our poor kids, already tired from walking the park all morning, were exhausted and we just kept running them around trying to obtain everything that we needed to run our races.  It was a little insane. Eventually, we did obtain everything that we needed.

After the Expo, Josh and the kids returned back to Hollywood Studios to enjoy the park a little more before it closed.  I guess Madi really wanted to go on the Tower of Terror.  She kept calling it the hotel ride.  Let's just say, she wasn't a big fan, but at least, she tried it.  They ended their evening with the Fantasmic show. Josh said both of the kids really loved it.  I really wish that I could have experienced that with them.  But ... I returned back to our hotel after the Expo to get ready for the business portion of my day - the President of Cigna's reception and dinner for those brokers invited to run for the weekend.  It was a very nice affair and I was very blessed to have been placed at the President's table for dinner.  After a couple of drinks back at the hotel bar with some of my Cigna hosts, it was time for bed.  My RunDisney race was the next morning with a very early start time.

Waiting for the bus to take us to Hollywood Studios
Silly Aiden
Walking into Hollywood Studios
Princess Sofia
Handy Manny
Jake and the Neverland Pirates
Doc McStuffins
My little Jedi
Madi enjoying the park
Toy Story Toy Soldier
Family Photos at Hollywood Studios
Josh and the Kids on Tower of Terror
A Video of the Tower of Terror Ride
The Fantasmic Show
Sunday, February 26, 2017

Walt Disney World Run & Vacation

This past January, my family was given an amazing gift.  We were given the opportunity to visit Disney World in Orlando, Florida, for four amazing days.  Thanks to Cigna, I was selected as one of fifty broker partners to participate in the RunDisney race weekend at Walt Disney World.  And I was able to take my entire family with me!  It was, by far, one of the best racing (and vacationing) experiences I have ever had.  We stayed on property at the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. We visited a new Walt Disney World park each day.  I had the opportunity to dine with the president of Cigna, David Cordani, and hear his thoughts on the future of healthcare.  I ran my first Disney race through Epcot at sunrise. We enjoyed watching my kids experience the magic of Disney over and over again. I know it sounds cliche, but it was a truly "magical" family vacation.  One I am sure we will not be able to repeat in our lifetime.

Departing at PHX Sky Harbor
 Waiting for our plane
 On our way to Florida
 Looking out the plane window
The Grand Floridian
A view of the sky the night we arrived
The view from our hotel room
Leaving the hotel on the last day ...