Blog

Bay Area modern day super woman, blogger & influencer, Jindy, writes about parenting, travel, running, Disneyland, runDisney, entertainment, sports, food, fitness, beauty, fashion, recipes and other fabulous things.

runDisney Star Wars Rebel Challenge Finisher's Medal and Shirt

I know a lot of Star Wars fans who did not participate in the runDisney races last weekend have been very curious about the Rebel Challenge finisher's medal and shirt. Below are photos of the shirt with the medal. The spinner has been flipped in each photo so you can see Darth Vader in the top photo and Yoda in the bottom photo.

Rebel Challenge Medal Vader

Rebel Challenge Medal Vader

Rebel Challenge Medal Yoda

Rebel Challenge Medal Yoda

The shirt is a long-sleeved Champion tech shirt, fitted appropriately by gender. I LOVE the shirts we received as part of our race registrations. I will actually wear these quite often - especially this one.

runDisney Star Wars 5K Race Recap

The morning after the Wookiee Welcome Party, my friend Christine and I woke up bright and early for the inaugural runDisney Star Wars 5K. We stayed at our usual hotel, the Alpine Inn, which allows us to sleep in quite a bit since it's just around the corner from the start line.

My X-Wing pilot costume for the 5K was cheap and easy to make. Below is quick how-to:

  1. I took my pre-existing Champion orange performance tee and paired it with my Sparkle Athletic orange skirt.
  2. I went into the garage, and from my need-to-drop-off-at-Goodwill pile, grabbed an old white tank top.
  3. I cut the tank top in half to make the flak vest, and very roughly sewed a seam around the edge so it wouldn't fray.
  4. I used the silver fabric I bought to make my own sparkle skirt as the background for the chest box. The nobs were made with more silver and blue sparkle fabric against a black background - also made from a t-shirt that was going to Goodwill. With a glue gun, scissors and a bit of patience - the chest box was completed. I only stitched the edges of it directly onto the tank.
  5. I used olive ribbon to make the ties. I sewed the ribbon under the chest box - but NOT onto the tank top.
  6. The vest and chest box slipped over my orange shirt for the race, and slipped right off after the race.
Star Wars X-Wing Pilot Costume

Star Wars X-Wing Pilot Costume

I met my friend Emelia, from HalfCrazyMama, at the start line and fell in love with her costume! She took the plastic Vader helmet available at the Disneyland Resort, and added a Minnie Mouse bow to it that was simply brilliant!

Emelia's costumes are always fab 

Emelia's costumes are always fab 

The pre-race events included a special message from my favorite Droids!

My heart belongs to R2

My heart belongs to R2

Soon we were off and running through backstage Disneyland and into Fantasyland via it's a small world. I loved seeing the Christmas lights still up!

You can't see all the lights...but you can see enough

You can't see all the lights...but you can see enough

Although not technically a photo stop, Emelia and I stopped for photos with Storm Troopers just in front of it's a small world.

Pew Pew!

Pew Pew!

We continued to run together - which was awesome for me! I was really happy to be spending time with Emelia on course. That's never really been something I've done with anyone during a runDisney race because I am so self-conscious about my slow pace. I was really happy she stuck with me, and it was great to have someone to take photos with along the way!

Castle shot!

Castle shot!

We passed the castle and headed towards Tomorrowland, where of course the Dark Side was on duty.

Darth and his boys

Darth and his boys

We then ran into Disney California Adventure where the Star Wars Rebels characters made their race debut.

Sabine and Ezra

Sabine and Ezra

After leaving California Adventure, I ran through Downtown Disney and straight to the finish line where the Dark Side awaited.

Those pants just aren't stretchy enough

Those pants just aren't stretchy enough

The inaugural runDisney Star Wars 5K was a blast and I am really glad I registered for this race in addition to the Rebel Challenge. However, I must point out that I encountered a large number of what appeared to be children under the age of 3 as well as parents with strollers on the course. For that reason, this may be the last time I run a runDisney 5K. I don't think tiny toddlers and strollers belong on dark, crowded courses. I'd hate to be the grown-up remembered for tripping over a baby, so unless something changes within runDisney and their policy with regard to strollers and toddlers - I might be finished with the 5K distance. I'm thankful I was able to be a finisher of this inaugural race, and I DO recommend the race in the future baed on the course and characters.

Inaugural Star Wars 5K Finisher!

Inaugural Star Wars 5K Finisher!

rundisney star wars 5K medal and shirt.jpg

Next up: My Star Wars 10K and Star Wars Half Marathon recaps. Stay tuned!

runDisney Star Wars Half Marathon Wookiee Welcome Party

Finally! After six long nerdy months of waiting, the runDisney event I was most excited about had arrived: The Star Wars Wookiee Welcome Party! As a kick-off celebration to the inaugural Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend, the party took place Thursday, January 15th in Disneyland's Tomorrowland right after park closing.

After waiting about 45 in line, we were escorted into a closed Disneyland park, where we walked up Main Street U.S.A. and into Tomorrowland. We were a decent sized crowd of Star Wars fans in all sorts of outfits - from running clothes to winter clothes to costumes. As we entered Tomorrowland, the first characters we saw were R2-D2 and C-3PO! Immediately people rushed toward the Droid character queue, but a Cast Member urged us to continue forward where there other characters.

These are the Droids I was looking for!

These are the Droids I was looking for!

We passed the long line for the Droids, and headed straight towards Chewbacca. On the way we took note of the yummy food and desserts available to us for the next two hours. 

To drink, there was an assortment of coffees, teas and juices:

Coffee and juices

Coffee and juices

Teas and flavored syrups

Teas and flavored syrups

The desserts were really fabulous! They were themed to the party and tasted as great as they looked.

Wookiee Rumballs

Wookiee Rumballs

The big hit of the party was the Wookiee Wookiee Sugar Cookie. SO cute! Almost too cute to eat...ALMOST!

runDisney Wookiee Welcome Party Disneyland Drinks

The Darth Vader cupcakes were divine, and I may have had more than one. Because carb-loading.

Mini Darth Vader Cupcakes

Mini Darth Vader Cupcakes

The food stations were spread out across Tomorrowland, and as I walked around taking photos and trying to decide which characters I wanted to meet next - I ran into something really foreign: A bar. In Tomorrowland. Seriously. Being the great friend that I am, I ran back to my gals and told them we'd be hydrating for the 5K and Rebel Challenge with wine.

It wasn't quite the Mos Eisley Cantina, but close enough!

Jedi approved libations

Jedi approved libations

Say Wookiee Rumballs 3 times as fast as you can

Say Wookiee Rumballs 3 times as fast as you can

These mini-cheesecakes appeared when the Wookiee Cookies disappeared. We wondered if they perhaps came from Arendelle by way of Frozen Fun, but decided it didn't matter because they were delicious, and The Rebellion is totally OK with edible glitter.

So pretty, so yummy!

So pretty, so yummy!

As anyone who knows me knows - I happen to be in love with my very own Wookiee, but that didn't stop me from meeting the one and only Chewbacca. Even on the tips of my toes I couldn't get within range of his shoulder. He's the real deal. This was my most favorite moment from the event.

Priceless

Priceless

Next we waited in line to meet Mickey Luke Skywalker and Minnie Princess Leia. Unfortunately, they had to leave the Galaxy for a moment, but thankfully they were replaced by Darth Goofy and Storm Trooper Donald.

These guys are too funny

These guys are too funny

Throughout the night Jawas chased after us looking for trades. Be warned: they have a thing for Alex & Ani bangles! They wanted all of mine.

The Jawas wanted my iPhone and bangles

The Jawas wanted my iPhone and bangles

What's a party without a DJ and dancing? The Tomorrowland Terrace Stage was home to a DJ and dancing Ewoks that happened to look just like Chip and Dale. 

Hey DJ play that song...

Hey DJ play that song...

Those Ewoks look familiar...

Those Ewoks look familiar...

I know I always say this, but it's true: the people I have met since I started running are so special to me. They make me smile and I look forward to seeing them on all of my adventures. Christine and I ran into Didi while waiting in line at the entrance of the party, and we hung out all night - which was tons of fun! Towards the end of the night we ran into Marc, another runDisney fan and runner friend, someone whose smile is so infectious you just can't resist him!

Me, Marc, Didi - all smiles!

Me, Marc, Didi - all smiles!

The final character queue of the night for us was the Droid queue we had bypassed at the very beginning. Every so often, R2-D2 and C-3PO would be whisked away and Luke and Leia would take their place. We were the final people in line and didn't know who we would get to meet, but we were happy either way.

Ultimately, we got very lucky and at the very end were able to take photos with both sets of characters.

Luke and Leia

Luke and Leia

Me, Christine, R2-D2 and C-3PO

Me, Christine, R2-D2 and C-3PO

With all of the character photos done and still time on our hands before the end of the party, we headed to Space Mountain.

5 minute wait time for Space Mountain

5 minute wait time for Space Mountain

Although the wait time was posted as 5 minutes, it was really "as fast as you can walk" since we were pretty much shutting it down.

No wait

No wait

No line

No line

There's a first time for everything, and that was most certainly the first time I'd ever been on Space Mountain after a couple of glasses of bubbly. The three of us agreed it was even more fun. 

runDisney Wookiee Welcome Party Space Mountain photo

The Wookiee Welcome Party was a huge success and I am really happy I registered. The private, after-hours party experience at Disneyland was something I had never experienced, and being able to meet the characters prior to the races was awesome. It just means I can keep running and stay on-pace, rather than lose time in ALL the lines. Definitely worth every penny and I highly recommend it should runDisney offer it again.

My suggestions for improvement:

  • Have Disney photographers on hand and provide everyone with a PhotoPass included in the ticket price. This way the photos you waited in line for look perfect every time. It was a bit too dark to get great photos from iPhones.
  • Keep the crowd limited to exactly this size. It was just enough. Any more people and meeting characters / walking around a dark Tomorrowland will be difficult.
  • Add another 15 - 30 minutes to the event for character lines.

As we walked out of the park I looked up and down an empty Main Street U.S.A. and stopped to look back at the castle. All of this, every bit of it, is what it is today because of one man's dream. And a mouse. Thank you, Walt!

wookiee welcome party it all started with a mouse
I only hope that we never lose sight of one thing - that it was all started by a mouse.
— Walt Disney

Everything You Need to Know About Frozen Fun at the Disneyland Resort

During our Christmas trip to the Disneyland Resort at the end of December, we were able to experience the soft-opening of the Frozen Fun Celebration at Disney California Adventure, scheduled to officially open January 7th, 2015.

I have had so many friends call, email, message and text me asking how they can see Anna, Elsa & Olaf - plus still enjoy all the other fun the parks have to offer. So, after answering 10+ emails I decided to write a post with all of my #FrozenFun tips.

Waking up early is the key. We arrived at Disney California Adventure when the park opened at 8:00am, and went straight into Hollywood land. While the kids shopped for crazy hats to keep their heads warm, I walked towards the outside of the Animation Academy where I was able to get 4 virtual standby return time tickets for "Anna and Elsa's Royal Welcome".

This FASTPASS does NOT interfere with attraction FASTPASSES - so go grab your Radiator Springs Racers FASTPASSES right after you get these!

This FASTPASS does NOT interfere with attraction FASTPASSES - so go grab your Radiator Springs Racers FASTPASSES right after you get these!

In the hour leading up to our 9:10am return time, we visited Olaf at Olaf's Snow Fest (more on that below), rode Tower of Terror, stopped for photos with The Incredibles and got 4 FASTPASSES for Radiator Springs Racers (a must-do if you want to enjoy this awesome attraction).

At 9:00am my daughter and I entered the Animation Academy and enjoyed watching movie clips until it was our turn to line-up. While you're at the park, I recommend you visit the Royal Academy inside the Animation Academy. There is an artist on hand at various times throughout the day to teach you how to sketch characters like Olaf and Marshmallow. Check the schedule posted in the Animation Academy for times and characters.

At 9:10am we were led into Anna and Elsa's royal room where we had fun talking about shoes and posing for photos. (Notice how the boys abandoned us.)

Anna wants her own runDisney New Balance shoes

Anna wants her own runDisney New Balance shoes

The entire process took a total of 15 minutes. I really recommend this as the way to go when it comes to meeting Anna and Elsa, especially for those with little ones. Disney did a great job with this queue. I would have never waited in the line to see them when they were in Fantasyland at Disneyland - so this really worked for us.

Royal Welcome

Royal Welcome

Before we met Anna and Elsa, we stopped at Olaf's Snow Fest to meet Olaf and play in the snow. Yes, REAL snow! Located at Stage 17 in Hollywood Land (beside Monsters Inc., Mike & Sulley to the Rescue), you will walk into a super cool winter wonderland that has everything from a giant snow slide, to performances by The Frolicking Fjords and The Tubadorsto, and food and souvenirs.

Although there are 2 separate queues - one for the snow play and one to meet Olaf - there really wasn't much of a wait. The boys went straight to the snow! They raced down the snow slide and built a snowman while my daughter and I waited about 10 minutes to meet Olaf. Keep in mind, wait times grow as the day continues, with lines sometimes outside the door, and there are no FASTPASS options. It never hurts to also ask Cast Members for their take on when the best times are to visit.

Do you want to build a snowman?

Do you want to build a snowman?

I loved the snow fest area. Cold weather is my favorite, and I really hope this will be here for me in the summer. Every so often, if you look up, you'll see snow falling from the sky.

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow...

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow...

Once we were ready to meet Olaf, we called the boys over and took a few group photos. Olaf is super cute and totally loved all the warm hugs. ;)

Warm hugs!

Warm hugs!

So fun!

So fun!

If that's not enough "Frozen" for you, just outside of Olaf's Snow Fest is Wandering Oaken's Trading Post. This is where you go when you to buy all the "Frozen".

Wandering Oaken's Trading Post

Wandering Oaken's Trading Post

There are "Frozen" dresses for kids...

I paid them for this pose

I paid them for this pose

and clothes and accessories for adults.

frozen shirts for women at oakens trading post.jpg

You can also find dolls...

anna and elsa dolls at oakens trading post.jpg

and plush toys.

oakens trading post.jpg

This is pretty much the in-park epicenter of all "Frozen" merchandise. Everything from engravable leather goods and mugs to pins, snacks, a glowing Olaf and ornaments.

frozen merchandise at oakens trading post.jpg

In-between Olaf's Snow Fest and Wandering Oaken's Trading Post you'll find the Muppet*Vision 3D theater, which is now the Crown Jewel Theatre. It's the home of "For the First Time in Forever - A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration". If you want to see Anna, Elsa and Kristoff - but don't want to stand in line for a character close-up - this is the event for you. They, along with Arendelle Historians, perform a really cute show complete with some super fun moments from the movie "Frozen." You can catch this show by either waiting in line and walking in or by getting a FASTPASS. There was never a long wait while I was there, therefore we did not use FASTPASS.

Photo: Disney

Photo: Disney

Also taking place in this area of the park every evening is “Freeze the Night! A Family Dance Party”. This family-fun dance party features really spectacular light effects and sweet treats for everyone. The gist of the party being that the temperature continues to drop all night until it eventually reaches the "freezing" point...that's when the letting it go happens.

Not enough Frozen for you? Well, you have a problem. But that's ok! Check out what's going at Disneyland and Downtown Disney:

Disneyland: The Royal Theatre’s storytellers retell the tale of “Frozen” in their crazy, silly fast-paced way. Also, Anna and Elsa will be appearing pre-parade on their own float again during “Mickey’s Soundsational Parade”. Finally, the village of Arendelle has been added to one of my faovirte attractions, Storybook Land Canal Boats. It looks really nice!

Downtown Disney: Olaf’s Frozen Ice Rink is continuing through February 22, 2015) and of course, Anna & Elsa’s Boutique isn't going anywhere.

There you have it! We were completely finished with that area of the park fairly quickly and were able to head into Cars Land and enjoy the fun there. Waking up early, having one person run to collect FASTPASSES and a little pre-planning is all it takes. 

Please, as usual, feel free to hit me up if you have any questions or could use some help navigating the parks.

The Loss of a Brother & The Warmth of Friendship: How Writing Thank You Notes Helped Me Heal

On December 3rd my younger, healthier brother suddenly and unexpectedly passed away. It was a shock to my entire family, and each of us has spent the last few weeks grieving in our own ways. I choose to go dark here at Flowers Croon, and cancelled all scheduled posts for the entire month. I missed races, I didn't return phone calls, texts or emails and I stopped exercising, cooking and eating right. However, I never missed a day of work. Work provided sanity and an escape from the sadness.

The outpouring of love and support I have received since this great loss has been tremendous. As with all of life's most difficult situations, we learn who our true friends are during the lowest of times. Sometimes that support comes from the most surprising places, and sometimes the people you thought you could lean on completely disappear. These are lessons we must learn.

Flowers from my teammates

Flowers from my teammates

I have been surrounded by death and loss my entire life, but I have never personally been the recipient of sympathy cards, flowers, condolences, etc. in relation to the death of a loved one. In life we experience many firsts - some good, some bad, some sad. It is inevitable that someday you may have to sit down to write thank you notes for those who have sent love and support your way in the midst of tragedy. It was when I sat down to begin this process that I began to heal as well as realize who it was time to let go of in my circle of friends.

I want to express my heartfelt thanks to all of my extended family, friends, teammates, fellow bloggers and virtual co-workers during this time. Your kindness and support after my brother’s sudden passing has been a tremendous help for me and my family. I’m so very thankful for your sincere condolences via cards, emails, phone calls, voice/text messages and in person. I am forever grateful for your thoughtfulness.

He was a wonderful father & husband. His family was his life. He taught us all something very valuable with his open heart, his purity & his love. He left his impression on the people he touched & I hope I make him as proud as he made me.

I am thankful for you brother. Thank you for shining your light in the world. This is just good bye for now. I know I will see you again someday. 

My brother and I

My brother and I