Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Things To Look Forward To In Early 2010

There is so much going on at Walt Disney World during the fall and winter months that it's easy to forget about some of the great things that happen at The Mouse after the 1st of the new year. Here are some of the things we look forward to most as we roll through the winter and into the spring of 2010!

Can't wait to see what the Health & Fitness Expo
is all about during Marathon weekend

Disney's 2010 Health & Fitness Expo (January 7th - 9th, 2010), Disney's Wide World Of Sports
Of course we're excited about the Marathon itself, as Hope goes for the Mickey Medal for the first time. We'll be there to cheer her on the whole way. But before the Marathon comes the Expo. We've never been to the Expo before, and being a family who is as passionate about health and fitness as we are about Disney World, this is something that will be a big part of our weekend. Even if we buy nothing, just surrounding ourselves with everything that's going on will be a huge amount of fun and very inspirational as well.

The 2010 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend (January 7th - 9th, 2010)
This is going to be a wonderful weekend to share with fellow runners and guests. We've been to The Mouse before during the weekend to cheer on other runners, and the atmosphere there is amazing. So many people, cast members and guests alike, get behind the runners and add to the festive atmosphere. We can't wait to be part of it again, and tracking Hope's progress will be an incredible experience. But before that, as we mentioned, the Expo takes place Thursday - Saturday, and on Friday, my brother Kevin and his wife Melanie will be running in the Family Fun 5K through Epcot. And of course we can't wait to see all the obscure Disney characters that only come out for this weekend of fun and fitness!

Low(er) Crowds
OK, I know what you're saying - lower crowds? Where? Well, come the 2nd week of January, the crowds DO go down - at least somewhat. According to the Unofficial Guide's crowd calendar, you're looking at mostly 4's and 5's - meaning more breathing room, more walking room, more openings at restaurants and shorter lines at the attractions. You're also talking about cool, comfortable temperatures which makes for in my opinion a much more enjoyable time at the parks. In my opinion, the best time to visit Walt Disney World is between Thanksgiving and Spring Break - and cooler temps is a big part of it all.

Brian with brother Kevin & sister-in-law Melanie
with NBA Hall of Famer Bill Walton at ESPN The Weekend

ESPN The Weekend (February 26th - 28th, 2010)
One of the great things about Hollywood Studios are the special events, most notably Star Wars Weekends and ESPN The Weekend. During ESPN The Weekend, the park transforms into Pro Sports Central...pro athletes and celebrities are everywhere you look. Live interviews with Hall of Famers under the giant Sorcerer's Hat. Live SportsCenter broadcasts. Trivia games with the athletes. And, of course, the ESPN Sports Zone that opens up being Rock N Roller Coaster where you and your family can participate in all kinds of sports-related activities including hitting in the batting cages, throwing pitches off a mound to test your pitch speed, 3-point shooting contests, football receiving drills and much more. It changes around a little every year and there is almost always pro athletes wandering around giving pointers to kids and even participating in some of the activities. Autographs are also very plentiful this weekend. It also helps that this happens right in the middle of MLB spring training, so baseball players are all over Florida during this event - and plenty love to visit Walt Disney World. If you're a sports fan, this event is a can't miss.

We aren't Braves fans, but the fact that
they have Spring Training in The Mouse is pretty cool

MLB Spring Training (Mid-February through March, 2010)
Speaking of pro sports and MLB spring training, The Mouse has a MLB team in The House for those two months - The Atlanta Braves. The Braves practice and host their spring training games from the soon-to-be-named ESPN Wide World Of Sports complex right there on property. It's a great place to watch a game or take in a practice. If you're interested in attending, don't wait too long to get tickets, because games at Champions Field sell out quickly.

Brian and Hope in front of the Peter Pan
Flower & Garden topiary from 2007

Epcot International Flower And Garden Festival (March 3rd - May 16th, 2010)
What a great event at Epcot. Flower and Garden gets slightly overlooked because it plays second fiddle to the International Food & Wine Festival, but it really shouldn't. Epcot is a great park to stroll around to begin with, but when it's dressed up during Flower and Garden, it just looks phenomenal. Bring the camera and get ready!

Katie and Chance in the Butterfly Garden
at Flower & Garden

Give A Day, Get A Disney Day
Disney's promotion for 2010 is unique and is a great idea, in my opinion. It officially opens on January 1st and that's when the list of participating charities are made known to the public. Put in a days work with one of the charities and you can get a voucher for a free day at a Disney World theme park. If you're a passholder and don't need a ticket, you can give the voucher to someone who could use it. I'm really looking forward to this and our whole family is going to be participating.

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