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dumbo double triple dare challenge:
2013 disneyland half marathon

by @according2kelly on September 22, 2013


who crosses the the runDisney double double dare challenge & disneyland half marathon finish line & immediately bursts into tears? ME! that’s who.

even now, weeks later, recalling that morning and the days & experiences that followed, results in tears streaming down my face.


i’ve come to realize that every race has a story.

& for me, this especially is true when it comes to the disneyland half marathon – i like to think of it as my runner-versary…

runDisney disneyland half marathon

4 years ago, the disneyland half marathon was my first race – EVER. four months post baby & after two weeks of training, i laced up my sneakers, loaded up the playlist & hit the pavement running. i crossed the finish line that day with an new addiction  (some might even call an obsession) to running.


3 years ago, the disneyland half marathon was my “coming out party.” after four months of being unable to run (due to an injury that left me hardly able to walk), three different doctors, one active release technician,  one physical therapist, &  one reiki master/healer/guide/intuitive/past life guide (yes you read that correctly), i decided it was time to throw caution to the wind. two weeks prior to the race, i laced up my sneakers & went for seven training runs, before running this magical race once again. i crossed the finish line that day, re-confirming to myself that running wasn’t just a hobby – it was a necessity.


2 years ago, the disneyland half marathon was was the race i had looked forward to all year. & when i smashed my previous PR by 15+ minutes (while running in wings), i couldn’t help but smile  from ear to ear as i crossed flew across the finish line.


last year, the disneyland half was more of a “fun” run than a race. mid-marathon-training, coming off hood to coast relay, with little-to-no taper (running 50+ miles the previous week), working the expo for two days from sun up to sun down, & spending nearly every other free moment riding rides at the disneyland resort – i didn’t have high expectations. & yet, i missed a PR by a mere 20 seconds. not too shabby.

this year however, as the disneyland half marathon approached, i found myself excited, nervous & extremely apprehensive…

due to a long, hard & incredibly stressful summer, my training was pretty much non-existant. in fact, the week before, i ran 13 miles just to make sure i still had it in me.

and yet, returning to the disneyland half, celebrating my 4th runner-versary, once again reminded me how powerful, how clarifying, how life changing running can be.

& as cliche as it might sound – at the disneyland half marathon, there really is magic in every mile.


despite waking up race day morning grumpy, in a lot of physical pain, not really wanting to run (& in retrospect i really probably shouldn’t have run, to be completely honest). every worry & care seemed to melt completely away, once i reached the starting line for the disneyland half marathon…

surrounded by literally thousands of runners, you could practically feel the excitement in the air.

for some people this was their first half marathon ever.

others were hoping to PR after months & months of training.


for a number of runners this race was the final step to completing the inaugural dumbo double dare challenge (running both the disneyland 10K & the disneyland half marathon in a single weekend, at total of 19.3 miles).

& for an even fewer number of people (myself included), it was the final step to completing the unofficial dumbo triple dare challenge (running the disneyland family 5K, disneyland 10K & the disneyalnd half marathon in a single weekend, a total of 22.4 miles).

many people were looking forward to earning their coast to coast medal, having already run a half marathon at walt disney world during the calendar year, entitling them to extra “bling” at the finish line.

but i think it’s safe to say that every single person was looking forward to, thrilled, eager & very much excited to soon be running & walking through the disneyland resort, exploring anaheim & experiencing the “magic” of the disneyland half marathon.

don't stop

training to run a race, is hard work. months & months of training all boil down to one single run. & for the participants of the disneyland half marathon – that day was “today.”

& luckily for me, everyone’s enthusiasm was incredibly contagious.

although i may have still been wiping the tears from my eyes following a moving rendition of the national anthem, from the moment the starting line fireworks burst into the air, i was ready to rock the race…. or chase the white rabbit down the rabbit hole at the very least.


& while i may  have been bound & determined to run this race despite my health problems (having taken the mad hatter’s words of wisdom to alice to heart after she proclaimed “this is impossible.” & he responded “only if you believe it is”),  i wasn’t planning on setting any records or shattering my personal best.

that particular morning, running the race, embracing the magic of the disneyland half marathon & running across the finish line strong, was all i needed, all i could ask for. i was just grateful to be able to run.


dumbo double triple dare challenge:

disneyland half marathon

& so we ran. down disneyland drive, with a short little jaunt on harbor blvd., before entering the disneyland resort via disney california adventure.

inside the parks, chEAR squad spectators, employees, disney characters & entertainment  clapped, cheered & high-fived us as we ran – past world of color, around paradise pier, through cars land, past tower of terror, through hollywood studios & right on into the disneyland park through the main gates.

we ran around frontierland, through the castle, around tomorrowland and the matterhorn & into the rarely-seen-disneyland-backlots before exiting the parks, only to be greeted by crowds of spectators lining disneyland drive.


as we ventured off into the city of anaheim, the streets were lined with  aid stations & entertainment. motivational signs, high school bands, cheerleaders, dance teams, mariachi & hula dancers, classic cars, spectators & strangers handing out orange slices, handfuls of pretzels & licrorice whips, literally lined the streets.

we ran past the honda center, home of the anaheim ducks, along the santa ana trail “overlooking” the santa ana river, & through angel stadium, home of the mlb’s los angeles angels of anaheim – which is always a highlight.

& just like every other year,  i found myself wiping away the tears from my eyes as i exited angel stadium. with hundreds (if not thousands) of boy & girl scouts, cheering & high-fiving runners as we round home plate, it’s practically impossible not to get emotional. & trust me when i say, i high-fived nearly every single one.


with angel stadium behind us, the next 3.1 miles are an absolute blur. & before we knew it the finish line was already in sight.

and yes, almost immediately upon crossing the disneyland half marathon finish line i burst into tears.

as people celebrated & congratulated one another, tears streamed down my face.


partly because at several points during the race, i doubted whether i would actually be able to physically finish due to the pain i was experiencing as i ran.

partly because the entire summer & especially this race in particular, had been an emotional roller coaster – up, down, around & back again.

partly because no matter how many times i’ve crossed the finish line before, it always feels like i’m crossing it for the first time.

but, at the end of the day, despite how i felt, despite how i ran, despite the emotions, the disneyland half marathon was still, & always will be one of the happiest races on earth.

nothing can, or ever will, change that.


and completing the dumbo double triple dare, only made the entire adventure more amazing.

from the energy of the racers, the generosity of the volunteers, the on-course entertainment, the amazing spectators, the costumes, the photo opps, the bling, the chance to high-five literally hundreds of people as you run, & of course – running through castles & down main streets, running disney always makes for a magical experience.


each & every time i race runDisney, i am reminded that they are my absolute, most favorite running events. especially when you get to share it with friends.


& just like most runDisney finishers i celebrated they day’s victories by wearing my medals the remainder of the day.

i have to admit, hearing the cling clanging of my multiple medals was music to my ears as I spent that afternoon at the urgent care, & when i checked into the hospital later that week for “monitoring” & eventual surgery.

remember at the beginning of the post when i admitted i probably shouldn’t have even run the race?! well, let’s just say that that’s a fairytale for another day…

dumbo double triple dare challenge:

disneyland half marathon by the numbers

* total chip time 2:04:32
* 111th place out of  1,600 women in my age group
* 177th place out of  10,019 women
* 1,744 place out of 15,874 runners
* 5K split time 31:04
* 10K split 1:00:59
* 15K split 1:31
* number of medals collected in a single weekend: 4

i don’t know what it is – the energy, the spectators, the entertainment, the pixie dust? somehow runDisney races always prove to be the most fun & often time my fastest races i run all year. i’d definitely say that runDisney races bring out the “best” in everyone.

so if you haven’t run disney yet – do it. whether it’s your first race, or your tenth, you’re sure to have a magical time.

want to read more about my runDisney dumbo double triple dare challenge weekend adventures? be sure to check out my disneyland 10K & disneyland 5k race recaps.

disclosure: i was invited by runDisney to attend the event weekend as media – meaning they were kind enough to provide me with race entries. of course – all thoughts & opinions are 100% my own, because as you already know… i absolutely, totally & completely LOVE runDisney events, especially the inaugural disneyland 10K.


{almost} wordless wednesday: the merriest place on earth

by @according2kelly on December 7, 2011



really & truly, there is nothing more magical than disneyland during the holidays. decorations galore, tasty holiday-inspired treats (rumor has it the holiday gingerbread beignets at the cafe orleans are AMAZING), literally thousands of sparkling lights, santa & his reindeer – live & in person, fireworks &  the always-anticipated snowfall… it definitely is the most wonderful time of the year.


coming out of retirement

by @according2kelly on September 27, 2010

nearly four months. that’s how long my running shoes have been gathering dust in my closet. following eat. blog. run. i could hardly walk (literally), let alone run. three different doctors, one active release technician,  one physical therapist, & one reiki master/healer/guide/intuitive later, i realized i had to accept the cold hard truth – sometimes, time is the best (& only) medicine.

Team Sparkle at Disneyland Half Marathon

so, for nearly four excruciatingly long months, my shoes sat there – temping & taunting me. as the days turned into weeks, which then turned into months, i began to wonder if there would ever be an end to my self-imposed jail sentence. with just two weeks to go before the disneyland 1/2 marathon (a race i had signed up for in march), i threw caution to the wind, laced up my sneakers & started to train.

seven training runs later (the furthest being a total of six miles), race day found me at the starting line sporting my special edition, chartreuse-colored team sparkle skirt, tinkerbell wings & little bit of pixie dust. as i ran “through sleeping beauty’s castle, high-fived my favorite disney characters, & rounded home base at angel stadium,” my team sparkle skirt was definitely the talk of the race – resulting in lots of compliments, cheers & definitely a little bit of skirt envy. but, i have to admit, my skirt’s not the only thing my fellow racers were jealous of. i don’t know how many times i heard “no fair. she’s got wings. she’s going to ‘fly’ by all of us.”

disneyland 1/2 marathon by the numbers…

* 5K split 29:31
* 10K split 58:37
* 15K split 1:27:26
* total chip time 2:01:40. (although, a new personal record, in my mind there will forever be an asterisk associated with this race. while my “chip” time was 2:01:40, the total course mileage was 13.35 miles. so while the records books will forever clock me at 1 minute 40 seconds over 2 hours, deep down i know i ran 13.1 miles in just under 2 hours).

* overall place: 1,991 of 12,361
* gender place: 700 of 7,854
* division place 143 of 1,310

not bad with just two weeks of training under by belt. i guess the tinkerbell wings & pixie dust helped more than i anticipated.

team sparkle at disneyland half marathonoh yeah, i guess i wasn’t the only one who decided that a team sparkle running skirt was the perfect accessory for a disney running race… luckily the girls of team sparkle were there, cheering us on & preserving all the fabulous-ness on video.


disney california adventure: world of color

by @according2kelly on June 18, 2010

disney california adventure’s latest (& definitely greatest) nighttime spectacular “the world of color” if finally open & ready for YOU to view & enjoy.  “the world of color nighttime spectacular weaves water, color, fire and light into a kaleidoscope of fantasy and imaginations.”

try to imagine, a rainbow of lights (okay a rainbow of more than a thousand lights), add to that an amazing, precisely choreographed show filed with an incredible array of water-based special effects (think the bellagio fountains, but on a much grander scale – there’s nearly 1,200 fountains involved folks!), finally add to all that a musical soundtrack & video montage featuring all of your favorite disney animated classics which are projected on a screen of water. yes, you read that last sentence corectly, everything & everyone from dory, marlin, crush and squirt from “finding nemo,” ariel and sebastian from “the little mermaid,” woody and buzz lightyear from “toy story,” aladdin and jasmine from “aladdin,” belle and the beast from “beauty and the beast,” wall-e and eve from “wall-e,” simba, mufasa and scar from “the lion king” and an array of heroes, heroines and colorful villains from the vast treasury of disney and disney•pixar films, are brought to life & projected onto a HUGE (sometimes 380-foot-wide) water screen. trust me when i say, by then end of the show, your jaw will be gaping & all you’ll be able to say is “WOW!”  (& if you’re anything like me, you’ll probably even get a little emotional… for who know what reason, i may or may not have had to wipe away a tear or too.) the world of color definitely lives up to all the hype, at least in my opinion.

for tips, tricks & the complete low-down on how to see “the world of color” (& trust me, you most definitely should see “the world of color” on your next disney adventure)check out just spotted.

ready for a sneak peak & my on-camera debut? check out this quick video…

In case you were wondering: No compensation, of any kind, was received for this post. Although, I was invited as a guest of Disney California Adventure, & was provided entrance passes to the VIP Premiere of the World of Color. However, I would have posted about the World of Color had I been invited to this grand party or not. In the end, the opinions represented here are 100% mine, and just for the record – The World of Color is going to rock your world.

image via angry julie


this is halloween, this is halloween…

by @according2kelly on October 1, 2009

so, i LOVE halloween time at disneyland. & not just because they treated my family & i to a super fantastical day filled with all things halloween time-ish, but because it is absolutely & completely freak’in AWESOME! this year the “villains” took over the parks & let’s just say they really outdid themselves. there’s “boo-tiful” decorations complete with candy corn hanging from trees. jack skellington has once again returned & made the haunted mansion his home & a ghost has taken over space mountain. but best of all is the disneyland halloween screams firework show. it is amazing! absolutely A-MAZING! once again, the “villains” know how to take care of business…  as the fireworks explode in the night sky, the castle is bathed in ghostly lights, all the while each of the “villains” takes his or her turn commanding “center stage,” so to speak. but, words alone can’t even begin to describe the firework show (or extravaganza as i like to think of it), you absolutely have to see it! here’s your personal 11-minute sneak peak of the disneyland halloween screams firework show. (and if you want to catch the real thing, all you have to do is head on out to disneyland before november 1st & trust me, you don’t want to miss it!)

11-minutes a bit too long? not a problem.  here’s disneyland’s much better produced & less shake-y hand-ish  30-second version…


to infinity & beyond

by @according2kelly on September 15, 2009

if you ask my boys what their favorites rides at disneyland are, they will answer: pirates, the ghost house (otherwise known as the haunted mansion) & buzz. although, i’m the first to admit, i don’t know who likes buzz more – the kids, or us adults. my hubby & i constantly competing to see who can walk away with the highest score. unfortunately, he wins most of the time. (i think it has something to do with all the video games he played as a kid.) but I’m proud to announce to the world that my losing streak is over (or so I hope, at least).

being the competitive person that i am, i didn’t like the fact that i did more losing, than winning during our buzz competitions. so, lately i’ve been doing some reconnaissance, & i thought i’d pass along a few of the tips & tricks i’ve picked up…

ever wondered how the scoring works in general?
circle shaped targets are worth 100 per shot
square shaped targets are worth 1,000 per shot
diamond shaped targets are worth 5,000 per shot
triangle shaped targets are worth 10,000 per shot
(so, my super obvious tip is to aim for the triangle & diamond shaped targets… don’t waste your time on the circles & squares!)

&, if the targets are light, they’re worth even more:
circle shaped targets are worth 500 per shot
square shaped targets are worth 5,000 per shot
diamond shaped targets are worth 10,000 per shot
triangle shaped targets are worth 100,000 per shot

a few of the other “gems” i’ve picked up are:
* even though i’ve previously stated that you shouldn’t waste your time on circles, often times, if you hit a circle target you can get a higher value target to “appear”. for example: the “jack-in-the-box” target… if you hit the target to open it, there’s a diamond target on the inside of the box, & after the “jack” pops up there is a triangle target.
* once you’ve hit a target, keep shooting baby! i used to think that the targets needed time to “reset”, but that’s not the case. so as long as you have a shoot, keep going for it! (i’m hoping the ride “stops” momentarily next time i’m riding… you can really rack up the points then!)
* & finally, they are a couple of “hidden” targets that can be found on zurg… during the ride you’ll actually come across two different zurgs. both times, right below the “z” medallion holding his cape together, you can see a line running down the center of his chest. Just below his cape you’ll notice a small circle (it’s very dark, very small & very hard to see). aim for that circle – if you hit it you’ll get 50,000 points! the first zurg you come across is the easiest because it’s much closer, but you can find the “secret” target on BOTH zurgs.

hopefully these tips will help me kick the hubby’s butt on our next buzz go round. if you want even more disneyland tips & tricks, feel free to email me ( or, read up HERE.


you definitely need to go to disneyland this summer.

by @according2kelly on July 1, 2009

as you probably already know, this summer disneyland is pulling out all the stops. everything is bigger, bolder, & more fantastic than ever before, especially the firework spectacular! with eden espinosa (best known for her starring role as elphaba in the LA & san francisco run of wicked) singing magical’s theme song as well as classic disney tunes like “baby of mine,” you know it’s going to be incredible… & the show doesn’t let you down. you know it’s good when the very big (as in strong), very manly man standing in front of me, whispers to his friend “wow! that was good. that was really really good.” so, without any further ado, here’s a sneak peak at the incredible finale for disneyland’s newest firework spectacular magical, if you want see the ENTIRE show you’ll just have to go to disneyland this summer. but, if you really want the “full” effect, watch THIS video of steve davison, vice president of parades & spectaculars, reenacting the finale of the show. then, watch the following video of the “real” thing. & i apologize in advance for any shaky camera work, i was busy juggling a one-month old baby & the camera…

p.s. the new fantasmic & electrial parade are also incredible. trust me!


it was magical.

by @according2kelly on June 12, 2009

tonight, i was invited by disneyland to preview their brand new line-up of nighttime entertainment called summer nightastic! which includes a new & improved electrical parade; a bigger & bolder fantasmic! complete with ursula the sea witch & her pet eels; & a fireworks spectacular created especially to celebrate summer nightastic! called magical. and as you can imagine, the evening was, well – magical. the firework display is definitely one you don’t want to miss. if i haven’t already, this little video will definitely pique your interest. although it’s not the actual fireworks spectacular, it’s the next best thing… steve davison, vp of parades & spectaculars (i love his title! so fitting because he is spectacular!), reenacting the finale of the show. he is super animated & very entertaining, think “jazz fingers.”

to see steve davison’s complete reenactment go HERE, you’ll be amazed. but don’t forget to watch all 6 videos to get the whole experience.

p.s. If you want to catch disneyland’s all new firework spectacular magical, & you are a southern california resident (residents who live in zip codes 90000 through 93599 & 21000-22999), you can purchase a 3-day disneyland park hopper ticket for just $99. hello?! that’s just $33/ day! plus, the tickets are valid for 45 days from the first use, so you don’t have to use all 3 days at once! for more information & all the details, go HERE.


today was historic…

by @according2kelly on May 27, 2009

that’s right! today, charlie made her first official visit to the happiest place on earth& received hervery own pair of mickey ears to celebrate the occasion.


a personal best.

by @according2kelly on April 24, 2009

the hubby & i have an on-going buzz lightyear battle. unfortunately he usually kicks my butt. i can safely say that on this trip though, i wiped the floor with him. he had a measly 400 & something thousand. that doesn’t even compare to my 693,800 points. yep! you read that right, 693,800 points, pardon me while i gloat for a bit, but i’m feeling like a proud mama. i may just have to frame this picture & display it prominently. want to learn the secrets to racking up the points on buzz? go HERE.