Star Wars Dark Side Weekend 2017: Expo Day

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The time has come to once again feel the power of the Dark Side here in Orlando, Florida. That’s right, it’s the 2nd Annual Star Wars Dark Side Half Marathon Weekend!

For me this race weekend marks the end of my full-on crazy running season. The summer months are too hot for races in Florida so I keep my running to either indoors on the treadmill or EARLY morning. I will be joining Erica in Vermont for the Mad Marathon but that’s another story.

Anyway.

This weekend marks my final runDisney weekend for this season (their season ends with Tink but I won’t be there) and it’s a big one for us since Andy, Carmela and myself will be running all three races. For them it’s a precursor to their Dopey Weekend in 2018. For me, it’s my regular insanity.

Moving on.

Today was expo day which, as experienced runDisney nuts know, can either be really fun or a nightmare. Today managed to be something in between?

I’ll get to that.

Our game plan for the expo was similar to last year. Andy and Carmela actually beat me to ESPN this year, arriving at 8am while I was still dead to the world asleep. They claimed a spot in line about 60 people back from the front and waited. I arrived a little after nine, struggling to stay awake.

For the record, I was at work until after midnight and didn’t get to sleep until 3… not for lack of trying.

This year was a tad different because, for the first time ever, we had no idea what the merchandise looked like for this race weekend. Nothing had been posted ahead of time which was unusual. The posts with merch have been coming later and later but they have never not come. It was odd.

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Truth be told, I feel like runDisney is not at the top of its game lately. I thought I was the only one thinking this until a few people made the same comments to me in conversation. It really started with Avengers back in November and has carried through today. Really even Wine & Dine with the whole mess up with all the 10k merchandise.

The first weird thing came about when I picked up my voucher this morning. I noticed on the Challenge voucher that my shirt size was wrong. It freaked me out because I knew what the process was for trying to get the right size and I wasn’t too keen on having to go through it.

FOR THE RECORD: If you do every order the wrong size and want to exchange, this option is available. For us in WDW you have to go to the main expo floor and look for the “shirt exchange” sign. Here is where you can fix the problem. However, the system works as an “in and out.” There aren’t just a bunch of extra shirts sitting there, you have to wait until someone with the size you are looking for comes wants to exchange as well. In the case of the challenge, it has to be a challenger exchanging as well, you can’t just pick and choose. We learned this in January when Erica ordered the wrong size. I don’t remember if she ever ended up with the right one but I don’t think she did.

Carmela had the same problem with her 5K shirt. To make sure I wasn’t crazy I looked up my registration email and I had entered in a “Large” and somehow all of my paperwork, bib, etc, pointed towards “X-Large.”

I got lucky at shirt exchange and was able to fix the issue right away, as was Carmela. In reality I could have gone to runner relations and talked to them about getting it fixed and skipped the shirt exchange but I was feeling super anxious and that thought came way too late in the game.

The other thing that struck me as odd was when I was signing for my challenge bib. Naturally I would be receiving my Kessel Run Challenge bracelet since I ran in California in January but there was also a spot to sign for a Coast 2 Coast medal.

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Now, when it comes to the Coast 2 Coast medals you are supposed to be restricted to two a year. To earn them you have to do a true Coast 2 Coast meaning you can’t go Florida to California and back to Florida and earn the two medals. You would have to, for example, run World Weekend then Star Wars Light Side to earn one and then run Dark Side and Disneyland Half to earn another. This was my plan.

Who knows now?

Anyway.

I wasn’t the only person this happened to as it turns out so I don’t feel all that guilty about it.

We did manage to snag what we wanted though I feel like merch options and quality have declined as of late. This year’s half marathon jacket was just a rehash of last year’s.

I got my usual jackets and magnets along with a coffee mug.

I miss the Mickey Vinylmations. The runner ones! I have one for every year I’ve run except now and I’m really sad about it.

I’ve also learned and important lesson over years and that is ALWAYS PREORDER YOUR JACKET BECAUSE THEY ARE AMAZING.

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This was a life-saver for Avengers last fall because the expo jackets were terrible in every way. Same for the Light Side ones. Sure it saved me money but come on runDisney. I expect better.

I’m sorry, this is getting really whiny and I don’t mean it to be. I’ve just had a lot of pent up rage towards runDisney that I needed to let out. I hope that this is constructive rather than me being a brat.

I’m annoyed. That’s all.

With everything picked up and settled we made our way out of ESPN. I do want to point out the absolutely adorable Cantina set up they had where the speaker stage normally is. There were several Star Wars themed drinks. We didn’t partake but it was a cool idea and I applaud it. I was sad that the beer cups were just your standard ESPN ones and nothing special for the weekend like there normally is.

Budget cuts?

We opted for lunch at Disney Springs and I made my first ever visit to D-Luxe Burger. I ordered the Bacon and Bleu Burger and it was delicious. I will say that you really just need the burger, don’t order yourself some fries. Way too much food.

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Way too much.

That all said, I need to go to bed. Erica is yelling at me to rest up for the 5K.

See ya’ll out there!

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