Let's take a look at the expo first, shall we?
I personally liked the expo a lot more this year. Registration and packet pick up were set up in a tent on one of the fields. This provided everyone (runners, volunteers, and vendors) with a lot more space. Official merchandise was in the packet pick up area, but I just browsed through it in favor of getting something at the vendors tent.
At packet pick up I got my bib, my commemorative bib (yes 2 bibs), my race pin (was extra on registration), and the race necklace (also extra at registration). My running buddy, Carrie, and I checked our bibs to make sure they were working and then headed over to the expo tent where we picked up our packets, I picked up some new headphones, and we looked around. At that time we didn't have enough time to buy anything so we looked and left, but came back a few hours later to get what we wanted. I ended up with a new race belt (I left mine back in Cali), a race shirt (Royalty Rules the Road), a coffee cup, and the second pin. I liked that our actual goody bag only had a handful of things in it (like our race shirt) and the flyers you normally get were left online... it was just so green!
Overall, I did like the expo. The flow was a lot better since they spaced it out and I hope they do the same thing next year. They were also doing a better job at crowd control when it came to packet pick up so that really helped. As you can see above, they still had the footmen and this year they added the carriage. Only, the carriage never made it to the race course, unlike last year.
The only thing I didn't like was more on merchandise's side. I wish they would have a small tiara that you could pin around a pony tail, not the big light up one they were selling. I also think that the necklace and original pin should have been kept for those who ordered them online. The online sales did say they were sold out, but they magically happened to be at the expo...
On to the race...
Originally, Carrie and I were going to walk to the corrals, but decided against it once we saw how laid out Port Orleans really was. We would have been waking up at the same time either way... so we took the bus to Epcot and walked with everyone else to the front (notice the grammar mistake in the sign above?). It was early... like really early, but we eventually made it to the start.
Fairy Godmother set off the runners this year, just as she did last year. There were fireworks for each corral and while I appreciated that I got some for my corral, I realized the fireworks had another benefit. I could hear when the next set of runners had started thanks to the fireworks! Don't know if that was part of the plan, but strategically it was smart.
There didn't seem to be as many characters stops out this year, but they did have my favorites...
|All of the villains... even though Cruella is hiding...|
|Pirates (My favorite)|
|And of course... Fairy Godmother|