I left last Monday to head down to Orlando. I couldn't wait to get out of the cold that we have been having. The first two days Nate and I visited some parks. On Wednesday we were up early to head over to the Expo! The expo is where you pick up your bibs, shirts, swag, merchandise, and almost anything else you could see. The expo for Marathon Weekend is at ESPN Wide World of Sports complex. I already had in mind what I wanted to accomplish while there which helped. (You should always have a game plan!)
Once you arrive at the complex you want to go do your packet pickup in the HP Field House. I usually do the 5k and then another event making me need to go all the way around, downstairs, and back upstairs to do it again. This was the first year I only had to stop at one area because I was doing the Dopey Challenge! runDisney has just started making it so that you have to pickup your own bib. (People will sell their bibs or have someone run a portion of a challenge for them, but still receive the medals.) After getting my bibs I had to get a picture for the race weekend. The pictures were the way to make sure that I was running every race. I was given two bibs (one for the 5k/10k and one for the Half/Full), a gEar bag sticker, and a card to pick up my commemorative items. (I've never received a card for commemorative items before. I've always received them when I got my bibs.)
The next stop for me was the lower level of the HP Field House to receive my gEAR bag. I loved only going to one table to receive all of my things. (The bag that you receive is what you will use to check any items at the race.) Inside this bag was all six shirts! Yes six shirts! You get a shirt for doing the 5k, 10k, half marathon, and marathon as well as receiving a Goofy Challenge shirt and a Dopey Challenge shirt! After picking up my bag I headed over to receive my commemorative items. I got all six pins for the races and challenges.
In the field house they also have a smaller area for official runDisney merchandise. In the official event guide they had a picture of how the runDisney merchandise would be organized. I knew what I was looking for when I walked in so it was easy to grab things quickly and pay. I got the 2015 Mickey Vinylmation, the 6 race and challenge pins (they are mini medals), and a pint glass. I was happy the line was quick.
After we left the field house, we headed over to the Jostens Center to look at more vendors. If you are not running a challenge this is also where you would head to pick up your gEAR bag and shirts. There is a bigger runDisney merchandise area which was busier and a little chaotic so we just kind of looked through quickly and moved on. We had walked throughout the aisles of exhibitors, but I didn't need anything so we headed towards the exit. On the way to the exit you can also find the Speaker Series. We listened to a little bit of Jeff Galloway talk before we headed outside.
Something new this year was that they had exhibitors around Champion Stadium. We looked at some exhibitors and won a free gift. Nate made me a cheering sign outside too. While he did that I put his name on a sticker that said something like "Thanks for being there" on it.
We took off back to the hotel after that to drop off our stuff. We had lunch reservations at the Magic Kingdom that we needed to get to.
I did end up back at the expo on Friday to get more capris (it was colder than expected). I also got an I Did It! Dopey Challenge shirt and a Coast to Coast Challenge pin. I'm not doing Coast to Coast this year, but I have in the past. I also got a gift certificate for Marathonfoto so that I could get some race day photos to keep. Nate also signed up for Runner Tracking while we were there.
Overall my experience at the expo both day was quick and easy. It felt strange that there were some exhibitors outside, but it was okay. The Jostens Center was a little crowded, but nothing out of the ordinary from previous years.
Coming up…the Walt Disney World Family Fun Run 5k!