Monday, November 7, 2016

Wine and Dine Weekend Volunteering Report

This weekend, we again volunteered at the annual Disney's Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend.

On Friday, we drove down (with donuts and snackage, of course!) early so that we'd have plenty of time to park, check in and make it to the Expo on time.

We had to park far, far away!
We checked in, changed our shirts, and made our way to the Volunteer Lounge to eat lunch - we picked up Subway before we left town - and wait for our Team Leader. We (well, the kiddo and I) each got a cup of hot chocolate from the Keurig bar.

Thank you, Disney, for having more than just coffee
At the Keurig bar, someone posted  this sign about Wetzel's Pretzels, which was nice! WP is no Hot Sam's, but it's not bad if you're starving!

I usually get a pretzel and a 32oz Fountain Drink

Very crowded during shift change
We had plenty of time before our TL would arrive, so Hubby and I went and got in line to meet with Lumiere!

I think his belly is bigger than mine!

Amy was our Team Leader this time, and rather than walk through the crowds, she decided it would be easier to take us over the river and through the woods to the Jostens Center!  Whew!

Can I get this lawn at my house? But without the manual labor?
Still walking, almost halfway there
Once there, Tom, an actual RunDisney employee, told us how to do gEAR bags (we've done it many times). Tom is a real stickler for rules, almost anal, so I'm never ecstatic when we have to work with him, but he does get shit done.

Tom (in black) giving us instructions
gEAR bags is a pretty easy task - you bring me your bib, I give you your shirt.  Easy peasy!  Behind the tables, we have large Rubbermaid tubs full of shirts; all we have to do is just grab one. Tom even says that we shouldn't fold them, but just hand them to you in a wad... nope, sorry. I'm gonna fold it. I understand trying to be expeditious, but I'm not gonna be rude!

Yes, I know you chose the wrong size shirt; just go to Shirt Exchange already
gEAR bags, with pins and Clif Bar
Our view for the next six hours
It was a very boring shift!  No fun co-volunteers. No fun stories to tell. We worked until 7ish, then headed to WaWa for dinner, then checked in at our hotel.

King bed with sofabed... very nice
Why do they never put trashcans IN the bathroom?
The next morning, we were doing something different - we were volunteering at the 10k race as a "Screaming Fan." We did this for the WDWMW half-marathon last year and it was really fun, so I was looking forward to it again.

We checked in at the Volunteer Tent near the race start area and waited around for our team leader.

Of course I'm wearing my Freedom SparkleSkirt!
I, of course, took advantage of the waiting and took photos!

Waiting for our Team Leader
We were allowed to wait inside, if we wanted to
Vintage Mickey Bar costume
Chef runner and Carlos' Woman runner
Our team leader showed up and began to lead us to our Screaming Fan area - inside EPCOT! Oh, I'm super-psyched now!  We had no idea where we were going to be when we signed up, and we ended up right underneath Spaceship Earth!  As an EPCOT fan, I was nerding out.

Okay, it's the best I could do with a handheld
Our TL suggested that we all stretch out along the race route so that we weren't clumped together too much; the kiddo took that to heart and went across the route, about 100 feet away from us!

"Ugh, I'm stuck at Disney World with my parents, eww"
PhotoPass photographers (who recently took over for MarathonFoto) were in a great spot, right where the course bends to go backstage.  I loved their little tents!

These are so neat! I bet they get hot, though...
Hubby and I stood together, and just chatted for a while. At one point, we saw workers coming in and out of a DOORWAY in the base of Spaceship Earth.

Hello Beautiful
I felt like a Disney Loser for never noticing the door before.

Seriously, have YOU ever noticed the door before?
After watching them come in and out for a bit, I worked up the balls to go over there and ask them what was in there.  Turns out, there's an elevator in there!  And no, they wouldn't let me in the elevator... whomp whomp.

Soon, I had to stop nerding out though... here came our first Wheelchair Racer!  Look at him go!

He's so fast, he blurred the camera
Pretty soon the fast runners were coming by, so I wasn't able to take a lot of photos. I got some, though.

I think this was a Belle
Figment and Dreamfinder (and a Belle)
Monsters University cheerleaders
A Cupcake
Crappy photo of PhotoPass photographers doing whatever it took to get good shots
Before we knew it, the Balloon Ladies walked by, the last walkers came by and the race was over!  I love being a Screaming Fan, so hopefully we can do that again (with a great spot like this one!).

We checked out at the Volunteer tent, headed back to the hotel to change clothes, then we were off to the Magic Kingdom!

I never knew that they moved this pylon during the day... another I feel stupid moment
Welcome to the Transportation and Ticket Center!
New steps at the Magic Kingdom monorail station (they don't save time, really)
The Train Station is all decked out for Christmas
We headed over to the Jungle Jingle Cruise for our first FastPass... I think there's something wrong with the system when the FP line is longer out the door than the Stand By line.

We're in the FastPass Line
After Jungle Jingle Cruise, our next stop was lunch.  We've not been to Columbia Harbour House in a while, so that was where we went!

I did my usual trick of ordering the meals for them (shrimp for the kiddo and nuggets for the hubby), and then an extra entree-only (shrimp) for me. I never eat all of my meal anyway, so it saves me a few bucks.  On a whim, I asked the cashier if I could substitute french fries for the coleslaw, and she said that we could.

We ended up with three meals AND an extra boat of fries, for no extra cost!  Good deal! (Well, except for the fact that these shrimp were not the shrimp they usually serve; these were flatter, like SeaPak shrimp... They weren't nearly as tasty, so I hope they go back to the plump, round ones!)

Chicken up top, two plates of shrimp
This boat of fries is a GREAT trade for a tiny cup of coleslaw!
As always, we digested our food on the Haunted Mansion.

There's always room for one more...
After we finished here, we let the Kiddo roam free, while Hubby and I had a nice kid-free afternoon.  We decided on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. While in line, Hubby was hoping that we could sit in the front, so I said that we should ask when we got up there - the worst that happens is they say no, right?  So we asked, and we were told to move over and wait for the next train, then we were sent to row #1!

We're #1! We're #1!
Can't beat the view, I guess
Excuse me, do you have a moment to talk about Jesus?
The Mine Train ate up all of our alone time, and soon we had to meet the kiddo over at the Teacups.  We didn't see her anywhere, and we were beginning to get worried, until we spotted her over against the wall, watching videos on her phone.

Ah, to be a teenager (this looks so uncomfortable!)
Our final stop? A healthy 'dinner' of Plaza Ice Cream Parlor ice cream, which we ate while heading out of the park.

Mint Chocolate Chip
Sneaking around the back way
The unmeltiness tells you this photo wasn't taken in July!
Almost to the front of the park
On the ferry, almost out of ice cream!
Goodbye, Magic Kingdom!
On Sunday, we volunteered as Runner Direction at the finish line. We'd never done this before either, so I didn't know what to expect.

We were in place by 5:30, and well... we all just kinda stood there.  Officially, we were supposed to keep the crowd moving. This meant that if runners met their family at the side of the chute, we had to be bitches and make them move. But for the most part, it meant we all just kinda stood there. 

Hanging around the Finish Line
I ate my super-healthy breakfast of Cosmic Brownie.

Brownie + WaWa soda = Breakfast of Champions!
And took photos.

Ever since I knew we could wear head boppers, we've been unstoppable!
I caught her mid-stick(ing her tongue out)
Nothing more figure-friendly than wearing a tee-shirt OVER a fleece jacket!
Eventually, runners started coming through, so it wasn't as boring, but yeah, it was still boring.  We only had a handful of runners glom on to the railing with their family, and I kind of just let it slide. If they didn't move after about 30 seconds or a minute, I tried to get them to move, but for the most part, if a family member wanted to kiss their hubby and get a bottle of water from them, I wasn't gonna stop them!

The Evil King?
Ursul-O?
Betty in Action! She's a medical volunteer
Will this job be high on my list for when we sign up again? Nope, probably not. It was 5 hours of standing at a finish line and not even cheering much.  Very boring. I like Screaming Fan a lot more.

BUT, if this is all there is? Oh, yeah, I'm signing up in a heartbeat!

Afterwards, we decided to just grab some Arby's for lunch (breakfast, almost) and head home. We're usually exhausted by Sundays during race weekends, and this weekend was no different!