by James Hansen
I’ve had the awesome opportunity to attend a couple of runDisney meetups at Walt Disney World, but this was my first at Disneyland. It was a bit unique because, rather than being associated with a race weekend, it corresponded with the beginning of the D23 Expo!
We met at 5:30am in front of the Anaheim Convention Center. I was fortunate to be staying at the Hilton, so I simply had to walk out the front doors of the hotel and I was there. We were given a special edition of the black runDisney shirt, made especially for this event.
This meetup was a bit more low-key than the standard ones done for races – fewer characters, fewer celebrities – but we did have the addition of the local media who were covering the expo. They cruised alongside the course in golf carts and were able to get several action shots.
After snapping a few pics with Articulated Mickey (he can move his mouth and blink), we were off on our D2.3 mile run. We headed straight north, passing the convention center, crossing Katella Ave, and in through the backstage area behind Cars Land. We basically covered most of California Adventure – running through Paradise Pier, Grizzly Peak, Condor Flats, crossing Buena Vista Street, to Hollywood Land, a bug’s land, and then through Cars Land before exiting backstage the way we came in and back to the Convention Center.
Once all of the runners had finished, Bob Hitchcock (PR Manager/Content Producer for runDisney on the official Disney Parks blog) took a few minutes to talk about runDisney. He asked, and to our surprise, more than half of the participants had never participated in a runDisney event! (I think it made him happy that he was reaching a new audience.) Also, Ali Vincent (winner of “The Biggest Loser,” Season 5) promoted “Live Big”. They handed us a swag bag containing the runDisney vinylmation that was introduced during marathon weekend this year, as well as a special limited edition (of 100) D23 medal for the vinyl.
All in all, the meetup was enjoyable even though there were fewer perks and personalities than the ones done for races. After talking with fellow friends and runners, I was back in my room by 7am to shower and get ready for the D23 expo!
Pictures courtesy of James Hansen and runDisney.
James Hansen joined the WDW Radio Running Team right before his first Disney race in January 2011. To date, he’s completed 11 Disney races, and is registered for 7 more, including the inaugural Dumbo Double Dare at Disneyland next week as well as the Dopey Challenge at WDW in January. In addition to the 11 race medals, he sports a Goofy medal and a Coast-to-Coast. James lives in Utah, but travels as much as he possibly can, primarily to the Disney Parks but also loves New York City and Europe. He enjoys the theater and spending time with his kids.