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  1. #1

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    1/16: Marathon Mouse

    Kevin runs the Walt Disney World Half Marathon; He asks "Is it Declining by Degrees?" Discuss his observations here...
    "Politics is the profession whereby the inevitable is made to seem a great human achievement" - Quentin Crisp

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    Re: 1/16: Marathon Mouse

    Sorry to see an event so big, be letdown by not enough portable restrooms.

    It can sometimes be hard to gauge the turnout for an event but this one should be an example for the others to follow.

    I have helped numerous promoters put on major "Class A" bike races and found that one year to the next can be hit-and-miss with attendance of the riders.
    Being that this is a Disney event they should have been more attentive to these matters.
    1st Amendment-Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

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    Re: 1/16: Marathon Mouse

    Last year this write-up was a stinker... this year is even worse.

    1. Port-a-potties - Yes in 2005 there were more. Why? Because there were twice as many people. Up until 2006 the Marathon and Half-Marathon races were combined. In 2006 they split them with one on Saturday and one on Sunday (thus creating the opportunity for the Goofy Challenge).

    2. $80 - Al how many marathons have you run? This is the going rate for a Marathon... let alone one without 'the Magic'. (The cost is set-up around the Marathon - this price point is to encourage you to run the real race).

    3. Corral Systems - Once again, how much experience do you have with these race procedures. This is how they do it everywhere, even Boston. The real runners understand that they are seeded in spots according to their abilities. Of course they understand, if you want to start at the front you have to learn to run a little bit faster. And actually, there is no math involved with the Race Clock. Clock time is what is used to determine finishers (not chip time).

    4. Finishing at Epcot - Personally I'd rather fininsh at a theme part (like this year) opposed to a parking lot (2005 and back). Anyone who walks a race shouldn't be surprised when there are people picking up trash around them and trying to cross areas of the course. Once again, the moral of the story - run it and you won't have those problems.

    5. The course is just as magical as ever... however as you pointed out. It's not all that magical when you don't train and you walk the whole thing.

    6. Sharpie - Welcome to the big show. These races are all about revenue - when I saw Sharpie as a sponsor I thought, wow that was a clever tie-in. By the way, would you prefer non-themed mile markers or no mile markers. Once again, you lack experience in criticising a race.

    7. Rock N Roll or Country... the music didn't bleed into a cacophony? I personally ran (yes ran) right through the center of them during my race so I could experience what both sides was playing.

    8. Must endure the 'long stretch twice' - Oh my, is that not the funniest phrase I've ever heard by a person reporting on a half marathon. Can I get an Amen? It's not that long... actually the full marathon has a longer 'stretch' than that.

    9. Characters on course - they are there for the 'runners' to enjoy. During the full I saw them all even Mickey twice! Also, did you not forget to take into account the heat?

    10. Picture of the Generator and music - I've probably seen that every time I've run the race (9 times). Could it possibly have been something for the Marthon the next day? I'm sure it has nothing to do with subcontracting. Do you have any evidence to support your theory?

    11. There is always an escort at the front to make sure the path is clear.

    12. Photos at the finish... Action Sports International takes them, they have every year along with hundreds of other larger marathons. You want a nice picture, you buy it. What's wrong with that?

    About the only thing you truly could complain about was the weather. It was significantly hotter than average for this time of year. Everything else... well really makes me think how legit your reporting is if your gonna go to the parks with a chip on your shoulder to begin with.

    Tommy #133
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    Re: 1/16: Marathon Mouse

    Just an FYI :Kevin Yee ran this race, not Al.
    1st Amendment-Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

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    Re: 1/16: Marathon Mouse

    Ok. I am going to get a lot of people mad. But every year on a Sunday in January near my house they close off the streets for the Orange County Marathon. Basically, it keeps me stranded. I am able to get to church but a normally 10 minute drive takes 30-45 minutes because of this. I have lived here for 30 years but they have been doing this marathon for the last 3 years.

    If people want to run around so much they should just run around a park a few 100 times.

    There I said it. Sorry I was so grumpy but I haven't had my coffee yet.

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    Re: 1/16: Marathon Mouse

    Wow. Kevin I'm sad that you started your own catch phrase articles "Declining by Degrees" because that is all you'll ever say now. Even the marathon wasn't good enough for you. It is a marathon, if you want Disney magic go to the parks. It now just comes across as nitpicking for topics for an article.

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    Re: 1/16: Marathon Mouse

    Quote Originally Posted by Tommy2 View Post
    The cost is set-up around the Marathon - this price point is to encourage you to run the real race).
    That doesn't negate the too-high cost of the "fake" race, as you call it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tommy2 View Post
    Once again, how much experience do you have with these race procedures. This is how they do it everywhere, even Boston.
    I think you missed the point of the complaint. Corrals and waves are fine, but they need to call runners to the front differently than the way they do it now. They need to "stage" the area differently. Having corrals is indeed the norm.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tommy2 View Post
    Anyone who walks a race shouldn't be surprised when there are people picking up trash around them and trying to cross areas of the course. Once again, the moral of the story - run it and you won't have those problems.
    That's a bit elitist, don't you think? I would definitely agree with you if Disney advertised its race for people who run 8-minute miles sustained. But when they are trying to appeal to 16-minute mile walkers, it behooves them to offer a good experience, n'est-ce pas?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tommy2 View Post
    The course is just as magical as ever... however as you pointed out. It's not all that magical when you don't train and you walk the whole thing.
    Walking or running would not impact the "magic" I was addressing in the article.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tommy2 View Post
    Sharpie - Welcome to the big show. These races are all about revenue - when I saw Sharpie as a sponsor I thought, wow that was a clever tie-in. By the way, would you prefer non-themed mile markers or no mile markers. Once again, you lack experience in criticising a race.
    And therein lies our central disconnect. I'm not criticizing the race. I'm criticizing the Disney brand name on an entertainment venture. What I would prefer are Disney-themed markers. They charge a lot of money, they own the rights to the Disney characters, and yet still there is commercialism. The entire Disney park enterprise is predicated on Disney being its own brand. You don't ride a Vekoma coaster, you ride Space Mountain. Advertising is kept out of the parks. I clearly see that you don't mind the advertising, but you are also an elite runner (as you remind us at the end of your post). Disney doesn't really need to cater to you. You will run the marathon no matter what. It's the thousands of other folks I'm thinking about. Are they experiencing Disney magic? Does everyone have to run 26 miles in three hours to have a great time?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tommy2 View Post
    Must endure the 'long stretch twice' - Oh my, is that not the funniest phrase I've ever heard by a person reporting on a half marathon. Can I get an Amen? It's not that long... actually the full marathon has a longer 'stretch' than that.
    My point in the article was that the older half marathon course featured only one long stretch. The new course features two long stretches. The full marathon is not a part of that discussion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tommy2 View Post
    Characters on course - they are there for the 'runners' to enjoy. During the full I saw them all even Mickey twice! Also, did you not forget to take into account the heat?
    Ah. So if you run fast enough, you get to see more? If true (and I have no idea if the characters are more abundant early on), this is not doing much to argue against my main point of the article, that Disney could be doing more to meet and exceed the expectations for ALL the participants.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tommy2 View Post
    Picture of the Generator and music - I've probably seen that every time I've run the race (9 times). Could it possibly have been something for the Marthon the next day?
    Sure, maybe. If so, I need to amend my statement. That's just "bad show" then. They should do that kind of setting up in the hours before the full marathon.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tommy2 View Post
    There is always an escort at the front to make sure the path is clear.
    This I did not know, and stand corrected on.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tommy2 View Post
    Photos at the finish... Action Sports International takes them, they have every year along with hundreds of other larger marathons. You want a nice picture, you buy it. What's wrong with that?
    Nothing is wrong with it. It's standard in the industry, just as you say. Too bad for Disney that it's now being lumped in with the industry standard. They used to lead when it came to experiences.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tommy2 View Post
    About the only thing you truly could complain about was the weather. It was significantly hotter than average for this time of year. Everything else... well really makes me think how legit your reporting is if your gonna go to the parks with a chip on your shoulder to begin with.
    Did you WATCH the video I made? I had a great time. I plan to run the event again. I go to the parks to have a great time and I have a great time. If I notice things that aren't as good as they could be, though, I will note it rather than shrug and move on. Is that a "chip"?

    Quote Originally Posted by tloolgb View Post
    Wow. Kevin I'm sad that you started your own catch phrase articles "Declining by Degrees" because that is all you'll ever say now. Even the marathon wasn't good enough for you. It is a marathon, if you want Disney magic go to the parks. It now just comes across as nitpicking for topics for an article.
    Actually, the half marathon WAS "good enough for me" in 2005. From my perspective, the event this year wasn't as good as it had been previously, and so I reported on it.

    I disagree that Disney magic should only be found in the parks. I did not expect Disney magic at the Rock and Roll marathon in Virginia Beach. But when I sign up for a "Disney" half marathon, should there not be "Disney" elements to it? The brand is the most important thing they have. And a good chunk of declining by degrees is the mismanagement of the brand.
    Kevin Yee
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    I am the author of several Disney books:
    Jason's Disneyland Almanac - a daily history of Disneyland
    Walt Disney World Hidden History - tributes, homages, and ride remnants at WDW
    Your Day at the Magic Kingdom
    Mouse Trap
    Tokyo Disney Made Easy
    101 Things You Never Knew About Disneyland
    Magic Quizdom (The Disneyland Trivia Book)

    “The press [should be] a watchdog. Not an attack dog. Not a lapdog. A watchdog. Now, a watchdog can't be right all the time. He doesn't bark only when he sees or smells something that's dangerous. A good watchdog barks at things that are suspicious.” – Dan Rather

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    Re: 1/16: Marathon Mouse

    Kevin-
    Are you running or walking the half marathon for the marathon itself or for the chance to see Disney characters and backstage areas?

    If it's to see Disney characters, just go to the parks during normal operating hours. If you want to see backstage areas there are two options, take a backstage tour or get a job at Disney World. You will pay for the backstage tour, but if you choose the job, you will get paid tyo be backstage.

    As for a Disney race, the race is on Disney property, running through Disney property. I thought the idea of the race was to run, go the distance, so to speak - not to be entertained by Disney characters and Disney music along the way. Just because there wasn't a Disney character or "rubberhead" along every stretch of the way didn't make it any less of a race.

    If you were running the Chicago marathon, is Al Capone entertaining you along the way or are players from sports teams waving on the sideline. Better yet, why not have a costumed cow kicking over a lantern to start the fireworks at the beginning of the race.

    You use the term "Declining by Degrees" in a lot of your reports. You've only been in the area what a few years, but yet you have the audacity to claim that every little thing you see is a "declining by degrees". Between you and TDLFAN, there is nothing right that the folks at WDW can do.

    In regards to the porta potties, yes in the past there were more, however both the full and half were run trhe same day. This year they were on different days, therefore, thousands less people on race day, surely you would have noticed that "Declining by Participants". With thousands less people on 2 race days, as opposed to 1 race day, it makes perfect sense that Disney would have less porta potties, less of a need for as many.

    Given the fact that when you took a Disney Cruise and did no research on cruising and the traditions that go with that, such as formal nights and went onboard the ship with no dress up apparel at all thinking it would be like one big day in the theme parks, now running a half marathon with no preparation or training and again blasting Disney for your bad experience. I sometimes wonder if you are setting yourself up for bad experiences.

    It isn't Disney declining by degrees Kevin, it is you.

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    Re: 1/16: Marathon Mouse

    Thank you ti2gr! You did what I tried to do with much more eloquence. The part about the Disney Cruise was perfect. It's important to know the context of the event you are attending. You should never assume that just because it's 'Disney' it's characters and fireworks!

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    Re: 1/16: Marathon Mouse

    Quote Originally Posted by ti2gr View Post
    It isn't Disney declining by degrees Kevin, it is you.
    Not to quote your other posts, but:

    "The Back Lot Tour in it's present form is awful. You see a short presentation where people get all wet in a "special effects" type sequence, which I have to admit is the ONLY entertaining part of..."

    " I used to love to shop on Main Street USA, now I save all my shopping for World of Disney. It's no different. I miss the Hallmark Shop, New Century Clock Shop, The Bakery, The China Shop, The Camera..."

    "
    Personally I loved the pre-1994 Communicore. As far as I am concerned they could have still done what they did inside the buildings and not destroyed the exteriors the way they have."

    I agree with your take on FastPass, too, and have said so since the system was first tested in 1999. We seem to agree that a lot has declined over the years.
    Kevin Yee
    MiceAge Columnist

    I am the author of several Disney books:
    Jason's Disneyland Almanac - a daily history of Disneyland
    Walt Disney World Hidden History - tributes, homages, and ride remnants at WDW
    Your Day at the Magic Kingdom
    Mouse Trap
    Tokyo Disney Made Easy
    101 Things You Never Knew About Disneyland
    Magic Quizdom (The Disneyland Trivia Book)

    “The press [should be] a watchdog. Not an attack dog. Not a lapdog. A watchdog. Now, a watchdog can't be right all the time. He doesn't bark only when he sees or smells something that's dangerous. A good watchdog barks at things that are suspicious.” – Dan Rather

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    Re: 1/16: Marathon Mouse

    Quote Originally Posted by Tommy2 View Post
    Thank you ti2gr! You did what I tried to do with much more eloquence. The part about the Disney Cruise was perfect. It's important to know the context of the event you are attending. You should never assume that just because it's 'Disney' it's characters and fireworks!
    So, the Disney Cruise, then shouldn't have characters, since characters aren't on other cruises, for example?

    Put Disney in the name, and people expect things.
    "Here You Leave the World of California Today and Enter the World of, um, er, California Today."

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    Re: 1/16: Marathon Mouse

    Quote Originally Posted by KevinYee View Post
    Not to quote your other posts, but:

    "The Back Lot Tour in it's present form is awful. You see a short presentation where people get all wet in a "special effects" type sequence, which I have to admit is the ONLY entertaining part of..."

    " I used to love to shop on Main Street USA, now I save all my shopping for World of Disney. It's no different. I miss the Hallmark Shop, New Century Clock Shop, The Bakery, The China Shop, The Camera..."

    " Personally I loved the pre-1994 Communicore. As far as I am concerned they could have still done what they did inside the buildings and not destroyed the exteriors the way they have."

    I agree with your take on FastPass, too, and have said so since the system was first tested in 1999. We seem to agree that a lot has declined over the years.
    Yes I did say those things and I still stand by them. I'm not saying that certain things at Disney haven't declined, because they have. However, each time you do something regarding Disney without preparation or research, such as the cruise and half marathon, the more you blast Disney for your bad experience, and tend to call it a "declining by degrees". The items you referred to in my quotes are true declining by degrees. The shops on Main Street becoming one big store like Wal-Mart, no longer the small intimate themed shops as they used to be, the Backlot tour being scaled back to practically nothing, and the the shameful thing they did to the Communicore and Spaceship Earth exteriors by adding all the neon , canvas and, well that hideous wand and starfetti.

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    Re: 1/16: Marathon Mouse

    I think the only thing I'd disagree about is that those things are declines by leaps and bounds. A decline by degree is not changing lightbulbs as often, or closing down large sections of the park before the park itself is closed (such as Adventureland or most of Mickey Avenue).

    I have run another Disney half, a rock and roll half somewhere else, and the Disney full marathon. What level of "research" did you want? At what point can a participant report what used to be good and now is less good?

    In my book, a single experience, whether you've seen it before or not, is a valuable one. Disney parks (and the cruise line, and the marathon) are experienced by first timers with regularity. They neither know about nor care about the way it used to be. Maybe they don't know how the other competitors in the industry do things, either. My main point is that they are attracted by the Disney brand name. And when they find things not quite in keeping with the Disney reputation, that's a problem.
    Kevin Yee
    MiceAge Columnist

    I am the author of several Disney books:
    Jason's Disneyland Almanac - a daily history of Disneyland
    Walt Disney World Hidden History - tributes, homages, and ride remnants at WDW
    Your Day at the Magic Kingdom
    Mouse Trap
    Tokyo Disney Made Easy
    101 Things You Never Knew About Disneyland
    Magic Quizdom (The Disneyland Trivia Book)

    “The press [should be] a watchdog. Not an attack dog. Not a lapdog. A watchdog. Now, a watchdog can't be right all the time. He doesn't bark only when he sees or smells something that's dangerous. A good watchdog barks at things that are suspicious.” – Dan Rather

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    Re: 1/16: Marathon Mouse

    Quote Originally Posted by KevinYee View Post
    I
    I have run another Disney half, a rock and roll half somewhere else, and the Disney full marathon. What level of "research" did you want? At what point can a participant report what used to be good and now is less good?
    Let me clarify then
    Research - Cruises. The fact that virtually every cruise has a "formal night" which you were not prepared for by bringing only casual attire rather than a simple sportcoat and slacks to wear on the "formal nights".

    Preparation-
    You yourself said in the article that you did not prepare properly for the half marathon with training because you said yourself you were too lazy. This in turn may have made your experience more sour than it otherwise would have been.

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    Re: 1/16: Marathon Mouse

    Quote Originally Posted by sediment View Post
    So, the Disney Cruise, then shouldn't have characters, since characters aren't on other cruises, for example?
    If you read the original review by Kevin on the Disney Cruise Line, you would have read that he did not realize that, as with other cruises, there are formal nights where you are to get dressed up. The author therefore did not have appropriate attire to wear on the formal nights and therefore was unable to attend dinner in the dining rooms because he did not bring the appropriate attire. Sorry, regardless of the cruise line, formal nights does not mean shorts and t-shirts or even jeans and t-shirts.

    As far as characters go, yes on a Disney Cruise, the Disney characters are onboard.

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