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There’s a lot to catch up on—for instance, the new Pixar Pals Countdown to Fun parade has debuted at Disney’s Hollywood Studios—but I’ll have that in another update soon (you may take my lack of commentary any way you wish, but I’m betting you can read between the lines). In today’s article I wanted to focus on the recent WDW Marathon weekend. I’ve run these events before and had quibbles ranging from minor to medium.

While the price is still way too high, this is one corner of the WDW universe that largely functions. There seemed to be more port-a-potties than ever, nothing major seemed broken, there was plentiful water stations (not enough food, though), and even the blatant advertising on the mile marker signs (“sponsored by Sharpie”) were not in evidence this year. Even the weather cooperated. It was chilly indeed for the start, but it never overheated during the daytime hours. I thought readers might appreciate a photo essay. You can see all the sights without having to run (or walk, as in my case) the 26 miles!

On the walk to the start line from the Epcot parking lot,
we passed by the Lights of Winter, tightly wrapped up.

There were fireworks for the start of each “wave”.

At the start line, the Fab Five wave you off.

A couple small floats from the electrical parade greeted us at Epcot.

Running *under* Test Track never gets old..

Interesting visuals on the run come from seeing part of the 17,000 runners in one spot.

The Pooh float in the foreground, and the SSE balloon (don't worry,
the wand is not coming back) on the run to the TTC.

The backstage area behind TL/Main Street.

The back side of Splash Mountain.

The only crowded part of the run, as we left the Magic Kingdom.

Since the DAK Conservation Station trains all face one way, the unseen side is unthemed.

The back side of DAK’s Africa.

The Rock ‘n Roller coaster building.

The (real) animation building, as seen backstage rather than from the
theme park side. They aren’t animating there anymore!

Inside the tram tunnel, you usually can’t get good photos because the
tram moves too fast, so this was a rare chance for me.

The backside of the World Showplace (millennium tent).

The end is in sight!

My reward. Even walking about half of it, I was sore!

Kevin Yee may be e-mailed at [email protected] - Please keep in mind he may not be able to respond to each note personally. FTC-Mandated Disclosure: As of December 2009, bloggers are required by the Federal Trade Commission to disclose payments and freebies. Kevin Yee pays for his own admission to theme parks and their associated events, unless otherwise explicitly noted.

2011 Kevin Yee

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Kevin's Disney Books

Kevin is the author of many books on Disney theme parks, including his latest:

Walt Disney World Hidden History: Remnants of Former Attractions and Other Tributes:

As the title implies, this is all about those little things in the parks that have significance to insiders and long-timers, but are never explained or highlighted. When a ride closes, sometimes pieces or props from that ride are folded into the replacement attraction (think of the World of Motion car seen in the queue of Test Track). Other times, designers intentionally craft a tribute to the previous ride—an example of that might be the carving of a submarine in the cement tree created for Pooh’s Playful Spot where the 20,000 Leagues subs used to be.

The other kind of homage in the parks concerns not rides, but individuals. The designers, artists, engineers, executives, and people important to Disney’s history often provide the inspiration for names and titles used at the attractions. Sadly, these are almost always unheralded. All of these remnants and tributes are normally left for the truly obsessed to spot piecemeal. They are usually not even discussed in the official Disney books and tours. This book sets out to change that, and catalog all such remnants and tributes in one spot.

The final result is 225 pages of hyper-detailed historical factoids. Broadly speaking this is a “trivia” book, but remember that it’s a particular kind of trivia. You’ve known before that the Walt Disney World theme parks wove a thick tapestry of details and backstory into a seamless (and peerless) experience. But armed with the specifics of homages and tributes, you’ll become aware that the parks are even more alive, and layered with meaning, that you could have ever imagined.

Might this be an ideal Christmas present or stocking stuffer for the Disney fan on your shopping list? If so, please have a look.

Also written by Kevin...

  • Your Day at the Magic Kingdom is a full-color, hardcover interactive children's book, where readers decide which attraction to ride next (and thus which page to turn to) - but watch out for some unexpected surprises!
  • Mouse Trap: Memoir of a Disneyland Cast Member provides the first authentic glimpse of what it's like to work at Disneyland.
  • The Walt Disney World Menu Book lists restaurants, their menus, and prices for entrees, all in one handy pocket-sized guide.
  • Tokyo Disney Made Easy is a travel guide to Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySeas, written to make the entire trip stress-free for non-speakers of Japanese.
  • Magic Quizdom offers an exhaustive trivia quiz on Disneyland park, with expansive paragraph-length answers that flesh out the fuller story on this place rich with details.
  • 101 Things You Never Knew About Disneyland is a list-oriented book that covers ground left intentionally unexposed in the trivia book, namely the tributes and homages around Disneyland, especially to past rides and attractions.
  • 101 Things You Never Knew About Walt Disney World follows the example of the Disneyland book, detailing tributes and homages in the four Disney World parks.

More information on the above titles, along with ordering options are at this link.