Swept off our feet! 2013 Tinkerbell Half Meetup

Meri and Vic here with our Tinkerbell Half Meetup recap!

Our trip to CA had been months in the making so when we heard about the opportunity to be a part of runDisney’s TinkHalfMeetup, an exclusive running party to kick off the Tinkerbell Half Marathon weekend at Disneyland, we jumped at the chance! For those who haven’t heard of or experienced a runDisney Meet Up firsthand, a little overview: selected runners are able to join the runDisney crew for a short early morning run/walk around the park and then are treated to meeting special folks and doing special things.

Amazing, right?  We were thrilled to be able to participate and talked about it non-stop the week prior!

We arrived at the Sorcerer’s Hat by the Disneyland Hotel bright and early, shortly before 6 a.m. We had rented a car and allowed an hour to make the trek from our bestie’s West Hollywood bungalow to Anaheim. We flew there mainly because no one in their right mind is on LA’s highways so early… that’s about the ONLY time those highways aren’t jam-packed!

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We were not the first to arrive as many other excited runners were already gabbing – and shivering.  We quickly donned out new runDisney shirts (thanks runDisney!) and joined the crowd.  It’s always a little awkward starting up conversation with people that you’ve just met but once we got started, it was easy to fall into easy conversation.  After all, they aren’t just RUNNERS (which already gives you something to talk about), they love Disney just as much as we do!

(Photo credit: runDisney- we are on the left, next to the woman in the pink jacket, that’s Ali!)

Actor and Runner Sean Astin, Season 5 Biggest Loser winner Ali Vincent and Marathon training expert (and former Olympian) Jeff Galloway were also on hand.  Soon enough, we set off to run-walk through Downtown Disney and the parks!

(Photo credit: runDisney)Moments later, we were running along the still-dark Main Street USA in Disneyland, chasing a golf cart with an official photographer as he snapped some pics for the parks.We ran in and around Frontierland, New Orleans Square, through Sleeping Beauty’s Castle to Fantasyland where we ran into Tinkerbell at Pixie Hollow.

Vic snapped this pic of sleeping Beauty’s castle.  Seeing the park before opening was such a surreal experience; we waved to the workers who were getting ready to open the park and start the day. Yes, NYC might hold the title of the city that never sleeps but we’re fairly certain that Disney gives it a run for the money.

(Photo credit: runDisney) There’s Vic, on the right, in all black.

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(Photo credit: runDisney) Meeting the fairy of the hour with some new friends!

Along the route, Meri chatted with Tara Gidus, runDisney’s nutrition expert, about pre-race fueling, treats, and running as therapy.  She spoke during our breakfast about the importance of making good decisions when it comes to food, both before and after workouts.

Everyone taking a twitter break…

After the Tink meeting (and tweeting) we followed Jeff Galloway back down Main Street toward the California Adventure park.

We took over Main Street USA. Did we mention that it was REALLY COOL to have the park to our little group?  IT WAS REALLY COOL!

We ran all over – past Tower of Terror, the Paradise Pier and Mickey’s Wheel and Cars Land.

Look at all of the colorful shoes, including many of the new Disney-inspired New Balance sneakers!  There was a New Balance rep. at the meetup and he told us all about the launch of the much-coveted shoes.  Hot ticket item (which sadly neither of us have)!

With the running portion of the morning over, we paused in Carthay Circle for a water break, and saw some familiar faces.

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I only hope that we never lose sight of one thing — that it was all started by a mouse. – Walt Disney (We swear, we’re not sisters/twins/cousins separated at birth…)

We also got the opportunity to mingle a bit and chat with Ali, Sean, and Tara. Now, normally Mer is a little nervous/awkward/unsure when it comes to chatting with people she’s only just met but she followed Vic’s lead. Everyone was very down-to-earth and approachable.

Soon enough, we walked over to Cars Land where we had the chance to ride the new Radiator Springs Racers. (It opened last year.)  We were thrilled as we knew this was a hot new attraction and would likely have a long line once we made our way into the parks.

Here were are, LOVING the ride. (An added bonus was that our new friends Anya and Heather were in the rear seat of our car!)

Breakfast was at the very beautiful Napa Rose in the Grand Californian and on the walk there, we had the very special opportunity to chat with Jeff Galloway!  He showed off his bling (perfect 20 ring) that he received at the 20th Anniversary WDW weekend the previous week.  There are 95 runners who have ran every single marathon since they first started in WDW in 1994 so they honored those runners.

Jeff offered run-walk words of wisdom. Vic told him how she’d used his run-walk-run method the previous weekend (during the Goofy challenge) and was thrilled with the results.

It went something like this:

Jeff:  So I bet you passed people left and right in the last few miles of your marathon. Am I right?

Vic: YES! I had so much energy I didn’t know what to do with myself. I high-fived everyone I saw!

Jeff: That’s what I like to hear. Well done.


At Napa Rose, Sean spoke if his #Run3rd campaign in which you run first for yourself, second for your family and third for the cause of your choice. Ali told the story of her weight loss journey spoke about the importance of relying on each other for support.

Jeff Galloway spoke about his run-walk-run training technique and runDisney nutritionist, Tara Gidus, shared tips on pre-race meals, hydration and snacks.

As a final treat, Napa Rose executive chef Christine Weissman treated us to a delicious (and healthy) black bean cake with poached egg to round out the morning.

We are so fortunate and very grateful! Thanks for an incredible experience, runDisney! See ya REAL soon!  Why?  Because we like you!

(Photo credit: runDisney)

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