Dopey Challenge: Arrival & Expo

Where to start, where to start? As I’ve shared in the past, Disney is one of my favorite places to vacation. The addition of the Dopey Challenge took away a bit from the vacation portion, but I still had an amazing time!

We arrived in Disney on Tuesday afternoon, hopped on the Magical Express and headed to Art of Animation. This was our first time staying here and we picked this resort specifically because we had four adults and the rooms at Art of Animation are set up as family suites. We also picked the Lion King section since it was the closest to the bus transportation. The theming for the resort was great, and I wish I had taken the time to walk around the entirety of the resort.


After checking in, we hopped on a bus to Disney Springs and went to the World of Disney store. For dinner, we hopped another bus over to the Boardwalk Inn to eat at Big River Grille & Brewing Works. Roswell and I had eaten here on one of our past trips and it felt like an easy dinner choice that we didn’t need reservations for (they don’t even take ADRs). However, our waitress was a little overwhelmed with her five tables and we were forgotten A LOT. At least two tables (of our same party size) were sat, served and left before we were even near done. Oh well, it’s the curse of Roswell and I being invisible nearly anytime we go out to dinner (and why you’ll typically find us at the bar – a majority of bartenders are very tentative!). After dinner, we hopped two buses back to Art of Animation, then to bed for the Expo the next morning.

Since we purchased the Race Retreat, we had early access for the expo on Wednesday. This was amazing! When my mom and I came down a few years ago for the Princess Half weekend, the expo was crazy packed and I didn’t buy any of the race merchandise because the section they were in was overwhelming and the check out lines were beyond what I was reasonably willing to wait in. But since we got into the expo at 10am (the expo opened for everyone else at 12 noon), we were able to get our bibs, t-shirts, and check out the special merchandise with minimal crowds. However, I felt like this perk was really only helpful for Dopey Challengers, who HAD to pick up their bibs on Wednesday since the first race was the next day. I know many people coming down for the weekend who weren’t even arriving until Friday, so they wouldn’t have been able to taken advantage of the early access. That being said, there were still a good number of people there at 9:45 when we arrived.



At the RunDisney merchandise booth, I picked up a Dopey Challenge tech tee and Bondi Band, a Marathon tank top (striped blue with lime green Mickey art – so cute!), and a marathon weekend ornament. My mom also purchased Dopey Challenge “I DID IT” tshirts for my brother and I. (Roswell is superstitious and wouldn’t buy one before the race – and probably wouldn’t have worn one regardless) Roswell did pick up a great New Balance castle Home tech tee and some new shorts that were awesome as his souvenir! (Which you’ll see them later in the 10K recap)

After the expo, we dropped our goods back by the hotel and hopped on the bus to Animal Kingdom, where it was snowing (thanks to the magic of Disney PhotoPass), I was suprised by a DINOSAUR and we conquered Everest. We had an early dinner at Sanaa (the BREAD SERVICE) and turned in early since we all had to be up for the 5K in the morning! I’ll pick up here in the next post!

Did you take advantage of the early expo access?
What did you think about the expo this year?

7 thoughts on “Dopey Challenge: Arrival & Expo

    • heathermundwiler says:

      It was definitely different than the moderate and deluxe resorts we’ve stayed at. It was nice for this trip with a large group.
      Race retreat was AMAZING this year and I’ll go into it a bit during my marathon post why I was EXTREMELY happy to have it this year. The retreat has food, drinks, and places to sit before and after the race. There are also private porta potties, private bag check, stretching area and character photo ops.

  1. Stacey Yeggy says:

    Hi how did the early entry work for the expo? I’m doing this for the first time. Do you just show them the paperwork and they let you in? Its 8:30-9:30 for the Princess. And I wanted to shop before the mob scene. Do you have to go get your bib first or can you go into the expo first?

    • heathermundwiler says:

      You had to pick up a wristband for the Race Retreat at the Merch shop right at the entry of WWOS. After you have your wristband, you can go to the expo first – you don’t have to get your bib. We got our bibs first, and then headed to the expo, which was still very light. I was able to get into the RunDisney merch without a problem and it was so much more relaxing than the time I tried to buy merch at the Princess Half and couldn’t handle the number of people!

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