Tuesday, September 03, 2013
Disneyland Trip Report: Napa Rose
Last weekend marked the 7th time I have run in the annual Disneyland Half Marathon. I missed the first year due to a bone spur; after seeing all of the fun three of my friends had running it, I decided it was time to get off the sidelines and start running again. Even though the course has been the same, each year has provided a different challenge, depending on the amount of training I have done and also the temperatures. Southern California is known for its perfect weather, but even perfection has a few flaws. This weekend looked like it could be a scorcher.
The price of the race was a scorcher, too. The cost rose to $175, which is an amazing amount when you consider that it doesn't go to charity nor does the race provide the same "bang" it did in its initial years. What's even more amazing is that despite the price hike, the event sold out in record time. A classic case of supply and demand.
The Expo Event for the race is always held in the Disneyland Hotel. The goody bags used to be filled with snacks, running beans, and other assorted helpful vendor goodies (thus the name of the bag). This year, the bag came with one Clif Bar and an assortment of Disney printed propaganda that found its way into the circular file. A "Little Mermaid" magnet was included too, which had a real potential for disaster as the racing bibs are not supposed to get anywhere near a magnet or they would be rendered useless for the timing of the race. I will give kudos to the race shirt, though. Every year they keep getting better as far as the visual design appeal.
Sean Astin was speaking in the ballroom as I was picking up my goodie bag. There were a fair amount of people listening to him as he imparted some inspirational words.
The prop set for the Half Marathon Runners' photo opp:
After a nap back at the hotel, it was time to head over to the Grand Californian Hotel for the "last supper" before the race. So much has been said about how Disney California Adventure was so poorly done in its original incarnation, yet one cannot say the same about The Grand Californian. It is the crown jewel of the Disneyland Resort.
The GC also boasts the best restaurant at the Resort, The Napa Rose (and yes, I am including Club 33 in the competition).
Once you enter, you can feel the warmth of the Arts & Craft inspired design, which was given a tastefully modern spin.
While waiting for your table to be readied, guests can enjoy a cocktail and appetizer in the spacious lounge.
I was able to enjoy dinner at the Chef's Table, which affords a view of the meal being prepared. In addition, we chose to let the Executive Chef, Andrew Sutton, create a special menu for us. He asked about food allergies and specific dislikes, and then went to town whipping up something that would help our run the next morning.
The five-course dinner was incredible. Sutton's choices were innovative, delicious, and visually appealing in how they were plated.
A light dessert was served with wishes for a good run written in dark chocolate:
Well-fed, walking home to the hotel, I passed the starting line marquee. I couldn't wait for the race to start the next morning!
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