My friend A.J. and I participated in the Expedition Everest Challenge at Disney’s Animal Kingdom on May 7. It’s a 5k with obstacles along the way, followed by a scavenger hunt in the park. When you finally finish the scavenger hunt you get to cross the finish line, collect your medal, and take advantage of the “after party” which included music and a few rides being open.
We arrived at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports around 1:30 pm to pick up our packets and shirts for the race. Packet pick-up doesn’t include an expo or anything like the Princess 1/2 marathon, so there wasn’t much going on. I had two complaints about packet pick up – first, packet pickup ended at 3 pm but the race didn’t begin until 8:30 pm. I understand that it’s a Disney race and they want you to stick around as much as possible, but being from Orlando I wasn’t overly interested in being stuck on property all afternoon in the heat. BUT, I got to spend the afternoon with A.J. so it all worked out okay. The second complaint is that when we registered for the race they asked us for our shirt sizes, but when we got to packet pickup they were out of the shirt size A.J. specified. It’s kinda frustrating when you get a super spiffy shirt for participating in a race but then they don’t have one in your size so you don’t actually get to wear it. When she mentioned them not having her size the woman said “Well you need to come on the first day.” Sigh. I kinda wanted to go off on her, but I didn’t. On the plus side, we got a super cool picture of us not looking hot and sweaty!
Okay… back to happy stuff! A.J. and I picked up some AWESOME race socks from Little Miss Matched in Disney Marketplace, so of course we had to wear them for the race. Our fun socks definitely made things more fun!
They did the race in waves since there were over 2,000 participants and 3 obstacles along the way. We were in the last wave so we didn’t start until after 9 pm. The race started in the Butterfly parking lot of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, went around the parking lot, then partway through the park before “ending” right where we started. There were 3 obstacles along the way – hay bales you had to jump over, tires to run through (like football players do), and then a rope wall thingy to crawl over (or you could do a belly crawl thing instead). We decided before the race that we would do all of the obstacles regardless of how slow we had to go. You were allowed to avoid any obstacles you felt you couldn’t do and/or help your teammate (if you had one). The rope wall thingy was definitely the worst, but we both made it without hurting ourselves. Tee hee.
Once you get to the end of the 5k they had you the first scavenger hunt clue along with a flashlight and sharpie. You had to figure out the clue to get a password which you gave at the location on your card to get your next clue. A few were easy and a few were hard. The worst thing about the scavenger hunt was that it was another 1.5 miles of walking/running after the 5k we just ran. And it was dark in the park since it’s usually not open much after dark. We were definitely a bit pooped by the time we got to the finish line. But we got our super spiffy medals (they even had a compass inside) and grabbed some drinks and snacks before heading right into the line to ride Expedition Everest. I’d never been on it and the ride was GREAT, but I really shouldn’t have done it right after downing a bottle of powerade and a banana.
We stuck around the after party until around midnight when we both finally threw in the towel and we decided to head home. We had a lot of fun and definitely want to try and get our friends to participate next year!