321 GO!

Behind the Scenes of runDisney Part 2: Mark Ferrara on Dream Events, Athlete Triumphs, and The Magic of Race Day

October 27, 2023 Carissa Galloway and John Pelkey Season 1 Episode 19
321 GO!
Behind the Scenes of runDisney Part 2: Mark Ferrara on Dream Events, Athlete Triumphs, and The Magic of Race Day
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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

This is part 2 of our discussion with our treasured friend and runDisney Entertainment Show Director, Mark Ferrara. Join us as we ignite a fast-paced conversation, revealing the gripping details behind the creation and execution of RunDisney events. Mark walks us through everything - from the maddening intricacies of setting up the race course to the dazzling pyrotechnics. He even lets us in on his dream RunDisney event. Plus, we've got a heartwarming tale from one of our listeners that will serve as a reminder of the indomitable spirit of the runDisney community.

Wine and Dine is almost here and Carissa will join Jeff at his booth in the expo on Thursday 11/2/23 from 2:30 - 5:00 to chat and sign her new book Run Walk Eat! 

We're also bringing you empowering stories of some extraordinary athletes who have braved immense odds but found solace in running. Hear about the awe-inspiring journey of Rebecca Somerville, a runDisney enthusiast who completed the dopey challenge amidst her husband's battle with end stage renal failure. 

Finally, we take a closer look at the making of a successful RunDisney race. Mark guides us through the entire process, from brainstorming with the creative team and costume partners to handling the budget and making crucial race day decisions. We wrap things up with a fun round of rapid-fire where we get to know Mark's favorite race character, sports team, and announcer. Whether you're a seasoned RunDisney participant or you're planning to join your first race, this episode promises to leave you inspired and thoroughly entertained.

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...

Speaker 1:

Welcome to 321 Go the Podcast. I'm John Pelkey.

Speaker 2:

And I'm Karissa Galloway and we're bringing you stories from start to finish to keep the everyday athlete motivated to keep moving towards the next finish. We have a special bonus episode for you today. We had such a great time talking with our friend and Rundis knee Entertainment show director, mark Ferrera, that we had to split it up. It was too long and so we wanted to make sure that you guys had ample time to listen to Mark and those little behind the scenes tweaks. We're going to play a little rapid fire with him and we're going to listen to what he would do if he could do any run Disney race theme. And we've got a great listener story for you as well. Let's do this. 321 Go. What's up? We're going to do a little chat, but Johnny is. He's off visiting family. I said he's on a technological reprieve, a break. He's becoming present. To come back to Wynantine. So Wynantine, that's not even a thing. So please correct me. Today's co-host, weston Galloway, I'm not doing well by myself.

Speaker 3:

She's not dining anymore. She's going to be dining this next weekend.

Speaker 2:

Sounds like a Christmas thing.

Speaker 3:

Wynantine, you could tie up some little things on the Christmas tree.

Speaker 2:

Yes, Christmas decorations.

Speaker 3:

It's maybe too early for that.

Speaker 2:

Never, not according to Hallmark.

Speaker 3:

They did get started quite early this year, january I think, just filled into October, and they'll just continue until.

Speaker 2:

I mean Christmas literally. It started last week Hallmark's counts on to Christmas, and then the decorations will still be up when we race Marathon weekend. So we're in the hearts, and Johnny's not here to tell me no. So we're in the heart of it. All right, g-way, a couple questions for you. I told you what I was going to ask you, and I'm already going to start with a question I didn't tell you I was going to ask you how is being the editor of this podcast?

Speaker 3:

Brainbusters coming quick. Being an editor of this podcast is great. It is a lot of fun getting to hear the stories and I don't listen to them when you guys are taping them a lot, so I get to re-listen to them over and over again and luckily I don't have to do too much editing, so it's more of my also my issue as a technical director of this podcast and a sound engineer yeah, that's my issue as well, so I have to deal with that stuff too. But no, I think you guys are doing a great job and it's fun.

Speaker 2:

Should I have not assumed that everyone knew who you were when I started? I should have introduced you.

Speaker 3:

Probably so.

Speaker 2:

Let's go back to Ladies and gentlemen, our co-host for this bonus chat is none other than our 321 Go producer. Son of Olympian Jeff Galloway. Father to Elliot Croy Galloway. Sub three hour marathoner. Wake Forest Demon Deacon. Track and Field alumni. Georgia State 800-400-802 times champion.

Speaker 3:

Three times. Thank you very much.

Speaker 2:

This is going to play Three times Georgia State 800-meter champion Weston Galloway. Did I say you were my husband?

Speaker 3:

Possibly.

Speaker 2:

Possibly that is accurate. Okay, so now that we've gotten that out of the way and we've answered the question, I told you that I wasn't going to ask you your father's Jeff Galloway, how is Pops?

Speaker 3:

Pops is doing well. He is getting back into running as much as he wants to and he is coming down tomorrow to enjoy the festivities of wine and dine.

Speaker 2:

Wine and dine.

Speaker 3:

Wine and I'm going to go with wine and dine. I'm going to dine while I'm around the wine, and so, yeah, he's doing great. He's amped to help people, as he always is.

Speaker 2:

He does. He literally gets so much energy from the run Disney weekends. He's like on a runner's high for days afterwards. What was it like growing up with your dad as Jeff Galloway? Also not a question, I told Joe I was asking you.

Speaker 3:

It was really nice. I mean, I think a lot of people think that there's a lot of pressure that was put on me in terms of running and actually both my parents were collegiate athletes in track and field. My mom was a myler at Florida State but really there was no pressure at all. He was actually our coach throughout high school but he was really as people might assume, he was on the easy side of things and wanted people to take it easy. We didn't actually implement run, walk, run into our training for track and field or cross country, which I think actually probably would have helped some people. But yeah, overall I was never pushed into doing anything, so that was super great, I guess. Growing up I did five different sports all throughout high school so there was never this inclination to push me into running which kind of maybe I felt on my own that I could get into a better school with running. So that ended up to be the case. But yeah, no, I mean, we got to do some amazing things, go to some amazing places and, just as everyone can probably assume, he was an easy going father.

Speaker 2:

So say you had a workout right, You're supposed to. You know, a lot of us don't do track workouts. So say you're supposed to do 800s and you're supposed to hit this time. Western doesn't hit the time. What does coach Jeff say? Like, I imagine it. Like.

Speaker 3:

Well, you know, like, Well, you did a great job on that one, but you know we're going to try to hit this time next time. But you're doing great, you're doing really well. No, it's actually kind of funny because we play this game with Chris's daughter, claire. That is good judge, bad judge in gymnastics, and the bad judge is supposed to be a bad judge until the gymnast.

Speaker 2:

how terrible they have done it and like a sarcastic joking way.

Speaker 3:

but funny way, and usually my mom is the bad judge, but occasionally Jeff will be deemed the bad judge. And how does that go?

Speaker 2:

He can't do it. He's not great.

Speaker 3:

He a mean thing is very hard to come out of his mouth.

Speaker 2:

It's very hard, yeah, it doesn't happen so well, it's good. I'm glad Jeff's doing well and I hope you a lot of you guys go to the expo. He'll be there the whole expo signing books and doing fun stuff there as he always is.

Speaker 3:

Someone else is going to be at this expo, correct?

Speaker 2:

Chris Twigs.

Speaker 3:

Chris Twigs will be there talking about all the pacing duties and everything. Is that it?

Speaker 2:

Barb Galloway. Oh, barb will be there, my mom, make sure you tell her happy birthday. She just turned 70. Can I say that Barb Sorry, barb Just turned 70 today.

Speaker 3:

Tomorrow, yesterday yes, that's when these things happened, and someone else, me.

Speaker 2:

You know I'll be there occasionally, but I Will be there a little bit as well. Jeff and I are gonna be doing a book signing on Thursday at the Wine and Dine Expo about 235. We've got about 50 books that we're gonna sign. If I'm not there will obviously still sign them for you, so we'll be able to get them. But that's we're gonna do a little bit of an event because that's when it works out for my schedule, because then on Saturday, after after the 10k, claire is a gymnastics meet. So Thursday, jeff and I will be there. If you want to get picks with the book, if you have a copy, bring it. We'd love to see you and hear about what some of your favorite recipes are. And before we wrap this chat which has been fun, babe it's I rarely talked to you on a weekday. We just kind of run around in circles you have been coming to run Disney. I don't know if you were there the first year.

Speaker 3:

I wasn't there first year, so what is your earliest?

Speaker 2:

It wasn't run Disney. What is your earliest like Disney marathon weekend memory?

Speaker 3:

Well, back in the day they were Extremely nice to us and they still are very, extremely nice to our family. But we used to get because my parents were tied up with the Expo and doing a bunch of extracurricular Stuff with the events we used to get a VIP guide Throughout the whole weekend and that VIP guide would take us to breakfast because my brother and I I mean they would for dinners and everything they would.

Speaker 2:

No, no, probably even younger than that. Well, 93.

Speaker 3:

Okay, maybe it seems like I was young I don't know who knows but but my first memories are being with that guide and him taking us to chef Mickey's in the contemporary and, you know, basically doing whatever we wanted throughout the day. It was. It was amazing. I mean, like talk about like blue sky of of what you would want to do at Disney. It was. You can't imagine a better Disney experience that we had the first few years. So we would always look forward to this weekend, marathon weekend because it really only was marathon weekend. So it was a one time a year. We would get to get out of school for that a few week, a few days during the week, and then have an amazing time down at Disney. So really nothing running related, but completely Disney related, and it was amazing to follow up questions.

Speaker 2:

What was your joy's at the same guide?

Speaker 3:

We did. We always had a guide named Robert. He was also Kelly Rippa's guide, so we would hear some great stories about all of the. I mean he was he was one of the original tour guides, so he was just a great guy and just Amazing wealth of information about Disney and he has since passed away, so he is very missed among that Disney tour guides guides.

Speaker 2:

Last question Did you ever get to do the rock and roll the coaster, where you just like didn't have to go back in the line, you just walk through that little secret door like over and over again? Or was like that wasn't what year'd, I don't know what that year that came up, but like did you get to do that?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I think it opened in 98 or something and Little known fact. Rock and roll coaster is Jeff Gallo is favorite was. Maybe it, maybe we'll go with was Jeff Gallo is favorite ride at Disney and we would do that 3, 4, 5 times in a row, so we would not even walk through the you just stay on it, we're gonna stay on it.

Speaker 2:

Go to that.

Speaker 3:

Stay on. Yeah, robert would take care of the behind the scenes stuff and we would just stay on Again, go again.

Speaker 2:

What did Jeff like better? Rock and roller coaster or the one in Disneyland that did the loops, which I don't know what it's called now, the Pixar one?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, he liked that one that was California screaming yeah that was his favorite out there, but definitely still still the rock and roller coaster, but Potentially and he hasn't had a guide in a very long time, so he hasn't actually been in the parks too much because he's always busy during these weekends, but I think Guardians might be his favorite.

Speaker 2:

He's not. We took him last year after wine and dine and we got him on Guardians. We were a little worried because that was like his first roller coaster after all the heart attacks the whole time. I'm like looking at you guys, because you sat with him, like is he okay and he was okay and he, I think he likes the music. Yeah, he's a little bit of an adrenaline junkie. Yeah, mild mannered but a little bit of an adrenaline like the roller coasters. Well, thank you, weston, for doing this. I'm sure you will be joining us again here on 3, 2, 1 go. I hope John enjoys his little R&R and before we dive in to Mark Ferrera, we've got an amazing run. Disney athlete story.

Speaker 1:

We do have a listener story. So here we go, carissa. This is. This is really cool. Frankly, my name is Rebecca Somerville and I'm a run Disney lover and she put lover at all in caps with an exclamation point. I've been able to participate in so many different run Disney events within the last two years. I most recently completed the dopey challenge in person this past January. Congratulations for that. There are a couple of cool things that I would love to share with you. Carissa, do you want to share the rest of this?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, she, rebecca goes on to tell us how she started running. She said in February 2020 she had her second child and then a month later, the world shut down from COVID. So in March 2020, they also found out that her husband was an end stage renal failure at age 30. So this meant that not only he had to start dialysis and the process of trying to find a kidney donor, but it was during COVID and he was immunocompromised. So she had a two-year-old son and an infant trying to figure it out without being able to be around anyone else, and it was then that she started running. It was her only way, as many of us have felt, to cope with the stress of it all, and that's a beautiful thing about running. So she continued to run for a while until he had his transplant in late 2020 and he ended up with an extended hospitalization Because, unfortunately, the transplant failed. So then she came back to running in late, in late spring of 2021, and she wanted to sign up for her first race. That also happened to be the red Disney half marathon for 2022, so she was able to do that race and then, as most of us are, she was hooked. She was running for fun and she was running to handle the stress of life. Well, fast forward to the week prior to registration for marathon 2023, her husband said that she should sign up for dopey because he knows how happy running has made her. So she entered what she calls the chaos. That was registration day for marathon weekend 2023. She was able to register for dopey and her husband registered for the half marathon Because he said he was so motivated by her going running as often as she was and it was the joy that it brought me that he wanted to try, says he still is in renal failure, but he wanted to try and accomplish something to make him feel just like a normal 32 year old should. He had a lot of health difficulties leading up to this past January, which made training nearly impossible, but he never gave up. Gave up, she said she tried to get him to stop and talk to Riley but he was too nervous and he just wanted to get in the car. I'll wait Still waiting on other transplant but he was able to do the half marathon. So thank you, rebecca, for sharing your story. So many of us like we say, the stories we know and the stories we don't someone in renal failure getting out there running a half marathon. Um so thank you for sharing and please let us know how we can help support your husband, and John is crying a little bit.

Speaker 1:

Just just a little bit.

Speaker 2:

It's just beautiful what people do and that you know Running is for so many people. It gives them so many different things. But I saw something that said when people have experienced trauma in their life, running him gives them a feeling of overcoming, and I think that balance, in whatever level that trauma is that makes perfect sense to me.

Speaker 1:

So yeah, no doubt, and we all put up so many roadblocks in our way to, you know, trying to better ourselves, and then when somebody's presented with a you know a roadblock, they had nothing to do with and then they overcome it. It's, it's, it's all very, very inspiring. It really, really is. So best of luck to you, rebecca, and your husband, and we hope to, we hope to meet up with you at a race that would be great.

Speaker 2:

I'm expecting for you to say they sat on three, two, one. Go to talk to you, riley. He's large, but he's but he's very gentle and he wants your stories, folks.

Speaker 1:

He wants to hear your stories.

Speaker 2:

Bring it to him. America, down with the patriarchy. Riley Claremont, you run Disney. Athletes are truly amazing and we want to share your stories because I think the inspiration that they provide only serves to strengthen the community and hopefully Bring new athletes over to joining run Disney and and getting moving in that right direction. So if you have any stories, you can share them on Instagram at three two, one go podcast or email them to us at three, two, one Go podcast at gmailcom. And hey, let's jump back into John Pelkey and I's interview with run Disney show director Mark Ferrera.

Speaker 4:

It's time for the goods. Let's get on to the interview.

Speaker 1:

All right, let me ask you this question what's the most challenging thing on race day, and why is it dealing with my fragile ego?

Speaker 4:

well, the most challenging thing has nothing to do with the sports, those because you, you folks, are just so season, so facile, so good. Fragile egos though, and and you know how it is what they say a director is 80% of a director's job. 85% of a director's job is casting, and we have a great cast. The the biggest challenge is the course itself getting it set up in time, because, to Chris's point, sometimes they can't even start until 4 am Because that's when the roads close. They can't even start setting up 26 miles of scenic and video and DJ surrounds and audio chains Until that time. So that's very, very challenging. The other challenging part on race day is the staffing, because people call in sick and if and and so the DCE people, the character people are so busy in their out of caught office, their break the area they call base for all the characters To make sure everything is staffed and to fit and to creatively figure out how to make it work. If some people weren't so coming out of COVID, that was even a bigger challenge, because those few races for coming out of COVID at the end of 22, at the end of 21, actually was the first one, and then throughout 22 was a big challenge and then of course, and then of course, and really at that point in time everything else should be Running smoothly. In terms of the start line, you know the pyros going to be new, obviously, every day. It's going to be more on sunday than it was on friday and saturday or thursday, if it's the, uh, it's the marathon, but everything else probably will have been relatively well rehearsed and and and shouldn't be ready to go. So I would say the biggest thing is between like 3 am and start. Time On the course is the most challenging part of race day and you are dealing with our fragile egos then, because you're like please come rehearse, please.

Speaker 2:

Can you please just come out of the trailer, put down your coffee? Can you please just rehearse this, please? It's important and we're just giving you all kinds of slack and we no. No, I mean, it's one thing to give you a lot of you know wonderful credit for how you perform on stage.

Speaker 4:

I have yet to talk about what y'all are like backstage, so we'll get to that. We'd love. People want to know.

Speaker 2:

I will say this race directors have cursed at me on race day because I do kind of have some.

Speaker 1:

I I was in the right on that one, but I do. I do have some meltdowns from time to time. Uh, how about this one? And and I love this, how do you see the race on race day? And I know this question and I worry about you every time For the obvious reasons that a man like you should be taking part in that physical activity. I bike the courses. But here's, here's the good news. It will relax everyone.

Speaker 4:

I have an e-bike, oh, okay, after pedal, but each, each time you pedal, you know you can have Much more strength in it than you would if you were just doing it Acoustically or whatever it is. Whatever you want, I like that, I like acoustically. I have an e-bike and it really really Clearly helps, but that's how I go through it and I will tell you that. You know it's. It's a wonderful, wonderful experience. It's my favorite part of it because I I'm ahead of everyone. I have mistakenly tried to go back again Through the teaming masses, yeah, and have literally fallen over Half dozen times most race directors, unfortunately, if you're listening this have fallen off the bikes at the time and I've injured myself and because of my advanced age. Those injuries don't, you know, heal as quickly. I worry about your hip mark. I worry about a hip. We're about a hip fracture. Oh, but I bike through it and it's a lot of fun and it's there's a lot of learning you get from that really are key learnings that's another Corporate phrase that we use and and it's really interesting and fun to be in the audience's position, essentially as what they experienced not quite exactly what they experienced, but pretty close and and that's just so illuminating and I enjoy that part so much because then you have all that energy Going into the next race about what you can adjust and how you can do that. I love that. I love that you take the time to. You know I we talk a lot about in this podcast like looking around Appreciating.

Speaker 2:

You know what you get to do in the course, so I love that for you. We're going to transition to the question we get asked the most. That is, who decides on the costuming? Ultimately, it's me.

Speaker 4:

I'm the person that makes those decisions. We've had you, son of a bitch. We have meetings.

Speaker 1:

now We've had PAs in the past.

Speaker 4:

Who new no Disney IP like no one else.

Speaker 1:

Literally explain what IP is to those people who may not know, and by those people I mean myself.

Speaker 4:

Intellectual property. Thank you. I think that Disney's ever done essentially creatively and and produced so every movie out there, every show they've ever been associated with, every character they're in. You know, deep cut after deep cut, that this person had knowledge. So that person would help me a lot. She's not with us this year, she's still with us overall. Oh, good lord.

Speaker 1:

She's still. She's still with us overall.

Speaker 4:

She got up, she got a promotion, I think actually she got promoted.

Speaker 1:

Is that? The guess got up, she got a promotion. Sad news out of Lake Buena Vista. Come on, I know I mean I know it was murderous. Yeah, I mean, I know it was merchant ivory for a while, but now it's turned into like a horrible slash revilers only.

Speaker 4:

She's fine, she's just in a different role have those meetings and then the people that really make a great difference is that are all of our costuming people who are in those meetings and you know they're more, they're more like me. They have a solid knowledge of of all the disney characters and what they've done, but they don't, you know, sometimes we've had some really rare characters represented with the sports host. At any rate, they come up with such creative ideas. They are so, uh, good at what they do, in terms of not only the, the creation of it in their minds and the design of it, but in the execution of it and what they use and how. And they know the host so well at this point that they know what really pops on them and what can really enhance the look for them. And so that that's what they've done. And in the last couple of years They've really stepped their game up. And to our production teams credit. We've. We've put some dollars that way, you know, and, of course, because that's what everything depends on, uh, and I know people don't understand that, because it's all one big company and it's like what, what every division has to meet their nut, if you will, and we all have a certain amount of money to work with, and but they've put more money into the costuming budgets, as we've asked for. Uh, there were a couple years we had major cosmetology, um.

Speaker 3:

These two, the blue wigs.

Speaker 4:

Wigs and lots of makeup and that wasn't looking. Look, that was looked down on a little bit by some of the folks in the production team. But this year we're gonna have our share of wigs On job and our costumes are gonna be a lot of fun and I can't wait to see what y'all look like. But yeah, it's the creative team in the production department at Disney Live Entertainment and we get to make those decisions, working with our costuming partners. It's a blast.

Speaker 2:

And I do want to shout out before John gets to his next question Seneca has been one of the customers that sits with us in the trailer. Imagine sitting in a trailer with us the entire. She's there before.

Speaker 1:

Ever frankly.

Speaker 2:

That's out of our costumes, can't leave till we change out of our costumes. And she's fantastic. Like we literally have to have handlers, but she is there. They're all fantastic, but especially Seneca who has to sit and deal with us for hours.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and she has to deal with like any sort of race thing.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, she doesn't get to ride the bike course she has to bring her hair. She's do a lot of things.

Speaker 1:

And any race day problems. Like she schleps all those costumes herself, she does.

Speaker 2:

She makes it.

Speaker 1:

She does, and generally has to let out the waistband on my costume, but that's a story for another day. All right, here's one. And again all these questions that I don't know that I've never asked you because I'm generally not that interested in your opinion. What do you have a favorite race weekend?

Speaker 4:

Oh, generally, or what I've done thus far.

Speaker 1:

Well, no, I mean, I don't mean like, but I mean like the four races in the series. Do you? We always, I mean I think a lot of us say, princess, because we're well into the, into the swing of things. Then it's coming off of a marathon weekend, which is a much longer weekend. Even though it's only an additional day, it seems much longer. In princess, we seem to be really, you know, on our game, knowing what we're, what we're dealing with. Is there one that's a favorite for you? Because of how you get to staff the entertainment or just whatever?

Speaker 2:

Let me answer the question. John Don't put words in his mouth, Sorry.

Speaker 1:

Riley Claremont the context there.

Speaker 4:

John so Riley.

Speaker 1:

Claremont. Like question there.

Speaker 4:

No, I wasn't going to say a name, but that's OK, I know.

Speaker 1:

Well, you bet you were thinking it. Let me qualify this entire question so that the answer means nothing. Sorry.

Speaker 4:

I love springtime because it's so new and it's different every time. I love the races that have yoga, which are now princess and springtime. I loved last year's springtime yoga, which was for the first time in the studios, which was great and and did very, very well. People loved it. They love that race too. The Pixar race was a huge hit Again, taking candy from a baby, but I also really love one and dying, because it's the first one. And it's the fall, which is my favorite season of of the year. I enjoy fall so much when I lived in New York, I don't know two or three centuries ago, fall in autumn, autumn in New York there's nothing like it. So I love that. And it's the first race, so we're all excited. Yeah, we're going to. They're going to be a lot of bumps and you know it's the first one out of the gate, so you never know how it's going to be, like game one in the in the NFL. You never know what's going to happen. But that's part of the excitement. So I really, I'm really happy right now working on this one. The marathon is so daunting because every other race the marathon is more than twice the amount of entertainment than every other race, just the last race itself is more than the other three combined. As we all know, we've done the math and that's always daunting and it's always a little worrisome about the weather. It can be super cold, super super cold, as everyone knows. So that one is. I need to gird for that one, but the others are great. I really have a great time doing this stuff.

Speaker 2:

So when you mean gird, you don't mean like the acid reflux version of gird you. The marathon lead to gird.

Speaker 4:

No, gird, it's a phrase that I didn't want to put on people, but you know, the old fashioned phrase is gird my, you know. Yeah, ok, thought that was going to be about the guts or the.

Speaker 2:

Got it. Yep, no, not acid reflux. All right, moving on a little bit, but thank you. Yeah, early mornings you mentioned you come in at midnight. You know we get picked at the one. We say it all the time. Have you ever overslept?

Speaker 4:

One time. One time, and I was. It was the second show director. I was the second show director and I literally got a call from Riley Claremont saying you're coming.

Speaker 2:

And I want to say something about both of you guys. You guys are funny and sarcastic, but like you genuinely care. So if it happened to John or it happened to you, like you feel horrible, like you just your face read you just felt awful that you over some obviously wasn't intentional, but you felt terrible.

Speaker 4:

Oh, oh it was. I was mortified, Absolutely mortified, and just rolled out of bed, threw something on and got there as fast as I could and you know, luckily I still had time to. It was on ECD, so I think it was the last, I think it was the last day of the marathon for crying out loud and I parked, you know, right next to the stage, essentially, and got out there in plenty of time for the show. I don't even know, I don't know if I made it for rehearsal or not. I don't think I did. Maybe I maybe I made it for rehearsal because I was supposed to be there about one and so by the time you all get there, one, 30 or so, I'm not there, or no one's, you know. So Riley may have called me a quarter to two, something like that, and I got there before our. You know, I think we had a three o'clock rehearsal back then, but I don't know. But that was, that was the only time that's ever happened.

Speaker 2:

Well, hopefully it never happens again. Let's talk blue sky, if you could. You can pick the theme, you can pick the course, you can pick the race, you can pick it all. What is the Mark Ferrera Run Disney experience?

Speaker 4:

Well, the Mark Ferrera Run Disney experience, knowing that we have no choice but to have a lot of road racing outside the park racing Cause right now. My philosophy is and everyone has bought off on it is that let's put all of our dollars, as many as we can, out on the road, Because the park, the parks, are entertainment in and of themselves. Basically, they're lit up, they're gorgeous. If you have a few character locations in there, great, it adds, it's like icing. But you don't really have to spend too many dollars there. It's much easier. You don't have to worry about break rooms, you don't have to worry. There's so many things you don't have to worry about in the parks. But my ideal, ideal situation would be to have a bunch of money so that maybe every quarter mile there's something totally cool. I do about every third mile right now that there's gotta be some sort of element, whether it's an audio chain, a video wall, a DJ or a character. There's gotta be something. Every like three times a mile there's gotta be something that the guests see and experience that's different from what it would be otherwise, but maybe even make it better than that, Even every four times a mile. Have that and then be able to get like the coolest things in the world and to bring equity actors in and do, for instance, the Dia de los Muertos ancestors with the white makeup and everything else for the cocoa. We tried to do that but we said no, we can't, because we need these permissions, this, that and the other. You don't wanna ask that question of me because I would like to have. I mean, you were there in a meeting when I was told we can't have Carissa look like this character because we will get sued. So we cannot say so. We had to throw it up the chain and we had to get the creative director to weigh in on this thing and we had to make adjustments. Well, I wouldn't make any of those adjustments. It would be just cool characters after cool characters, equity face characters, sculpted characters, cool music the whole way through, and it would be just packed and loaded. That's my ideal thing. And the other thing too, as we've talked about this, is that there's technology now where, if you want to just listen to our because we have a soundtrack for the course essentially, we have a soundtrack for every race, we have a soundtrack for every park, and if you could have that, go directly to your headphones and where we would also have our warnings, speed bumps and sharp turns and everything else. There is that technology out there. I'm interested in that as well, Just because most people have their earbuds or shock or whatever they use. So anyway, there's lots of things I would do. I would lean into portals bringing people. I loved the idea. You love portals. You have a thing so that they're transformed. They're transformed into a story. That's different.

Speaker 2:

Isn't that what we want at Disney? That's why we love Disney, Because we want to be transformed. We want to feel that kid like live in the story.

Speaker 4:

Yes, yes. So I'm all about that. I would do that every single race.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, no, and I mean we've talked about that before. You would love to add more. There was always more stuff that you would love to add, and my suggestion would be do what Rush did on their final tour and I don't know if you ever did the band Rush, and so we're gonna lose some listeners here that on their final tour they did a retrospective of their career, but they did it in reverse, so they started out with this great new stage and then it moved to their older stagings Until the final. The first gig they ever played was in a high school gymnasium, and so the backdrop was a high school gymnasium and they did that. So I think it would be great to start with the Disney entertainment of today and end with Oswald the Rabbit is the final thing and to just do a backwards for, like, an anniversary race or something. So feel free to steal that and not give me any sort of credit for it, which would be within character for you.

Speaker 4:

So that's just there might be something very similar to that for the marathon. Not sure if it's necessarily backwards, but there might be-.

Speaker 1:

You know that's the story of my career, mark. I have a lot of great ideas, but someone else had them first, so you know I love that.

Speaker 4:

I love that. I love the idea of like just having eras an era tour for Run Disney.

Speaker 1:

That's. I think that would be great.

Speaker 4:

Why not bank off of the most successful live event in the history of time?

Speaker 2:

I thought we were gonna go on episode without talking about Taylor Swift, but we didn't.

Speaker 4:

See, there you go, and me too you know, me too Born, you know, two or three centuries ago, yep.

Speaker 1:

Thank you for your Korean more.

Speaker 4:

No, I do love that, like more using more video, love using video with you folks. I would do more look live type stuff. I would do all the things that I love to do and throw it up there and I think we'd have a blast.

Speaker 1:

But luckily-. And counting and somewhere in accounting in Anaheim they're like you could put Bunting up Maybe, maybe I don't know an Oompa Band every 11 miles and you know, wrap it up. All right, listen, because we don't wanna keep you for the entire day. I'm sure you got a whole series of meetings and I got a nap in my future, so I just you did mention that we're starting all the races from the same place, which is really really cool from this, but is there anything else For wine and dine you wanna-.

Speaker 4:

I don't know how many confidential things I've shared today, so-.

Speaker 1:

Sorry this, no one listens anyway. Anything for wine and dine. You wanna share anything that you can share? That might be tea, something cool, what Johnny's wearing? Maybe, I don't know something.

Speaker 4:

You can imagine, our first race is Alice and her tea party.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 4:

You can imagine who Tweedledee and Tweedledum will probably be. I'll throw that out there. Okay, I will also say this you can imagine who the Anjanoo character of most of these stories are as well. Okay, perhaps not the last one. Perhaps not the last one, all right, so what else do I wanna give away? Let's see.

Speaker 1:

I mean, that's, that's pretty good.

Speaker 4:

I age will factor in for the second race. For you, john Pelkey age, your age, your white hair.

Speaker 3:

Oh, I know, I know.

Speaker 4:

All right.

Speaker 2:

And again, I think Barkey wouldn't know that, but yeah, okay.

Speaker 4:

All right, I don't even know what a meme is, so there and the last one is yeah, the last one's going to be say you will be extremely happy with day three, with Sunday Extreme.

Speaker 1:

You want to be quiet about it, though I don't want to know, I don't want to know until I show up get the costume.

Speaker 4:

So that was a hit Carissa Okay.

Speaker 1:

All right, all right, let's move on from that, because then we're going to. You know, we could just sit here all day and and guess, play a game.

Speaker 2:

And I think people don't realize this too. Sometimes they'll be like why was so and so from this movie? And so it was from this movie, because you guys try to incorporate the challenge as well as the hero characters. We always a family on stage from one.

Speaker 4:

No, and again, this whole race is about family and friends sort of breaking bread together. The banquet bash is what it is, and so we're going to have, you know, some set pieces where people are, you know, engaged, whether it's their families from the story or their friends from the story, and they're engaged in sharing that which is very thematic for food and wine, obviously, and thematic for banquet bash, and that's throughout the entire weekend. And then, of course, the challenge. Everyone knows this figment is the challenge, and normally we don't, normally we don't have any challenge characters until the last day, because that, especially for you know, the three day races, that's, that's when the challenge is, when the challenge is completed, if you will, and so you can imagine who that is on on day three, you can just imagine?

Speaker 2:

I think everybody, yes, everybody is very yeah, so I did both.

Speaker 4:

Both and Riley are going to be extremely happy day three yes. All right the costumes. I hope the guests are and I certainly hope. I mean really my hope is that the hosts are as happy as the guests Like one and one a, because if they're not happy, if the host is not happy, then no one's happy, then I don't know. Happy it's like, happy life, happy wife, happy life, it's the same.

Speaker 2:

Happy host, happy most.

Speaker 4:

Yes, exactly.

Speaker 2:

All right, we're going to play rapid fire. Mark, yeah, rapid fire. You got one more question than you're free. Are you ready? Johnny gets to play two.

Speaker 4:

I'll try Sweet.

Speaker 2:

Now, don't you, I don't, I. Just this is, you know, quick, first thing on your mind, mark, favorite race, character you've put on the course, or favorite character you put on the course Favorite race character.

Speaker 4:

That's a tough one, I know. Goofy, the Spurren Spats and the 30s costume, the the sort of the the 30s, 40s goofy look Loved it.

Speaker 2:

All right, John, character Mark should put on the course. And you cannot say Thomas O'Malley.

Speaker 1:

Rollo.

Speaker 4:

Roll, so you can say Not loud, not loud.

Speaker 1:

Seriously we're not loud.

Speaker 2:

Now we know, now, we know All right Mark, greatest sports team of all time, say that again. Greatest sports team of all time.

Speaker 4:

San Francisco 49ers.

Speaker 2:

Do a specific year 1984. All right John, same question 1991 Washington football team. Mark best race announcer.

Speaker 4:

Best race announcer is you mean outside of Mark Ferrara?

Speaker 2:

Yes, yes, you can pick yourself, you can pick your.

Speaker 4:

Best one Is this this isn't right or fair. I mean it's. It's a collective, it's a team, it is a team.

Speaker 2:

John, same question.

Speaker 4:

You're not done.

Speaker 2:

Mark, Mark, Mark has more.

Speaker 4:

Chris, are my favorite run Disney hosts to do a video, because we've always done all those post race videos and everything else and everyone adores them and they're banter. They're banter is great. But then Riley and John I've seen their banter and it's amazing as well. And then Tracy, who was the newbie, relatively speaking, is, you know, is right there, is right there, giving it as good as she gets it, and so I couldn't be happier with our team. We're going to expand it a little bit this year, bringing in some, some additional talent. That I think will make everyone's life happier and better and no one will feel threatened.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, we got to help out.

Speaker 2:

My gosh, that was that was for us. That wasn't to prepare our egos, john. Same question Pre Kelly.

Speaker 4:

Good, good answer, Mark. What announcer is the best morning person?

Speaker 1:

Oh, that's a great question. I was so hoping you'd say that.

Speaker 2:

Hey, John, who is the worst morning person?

Speaker 1:

You if you don't get coffee.

Speaker 2:

Correct. All right, mark, you can only keep one, john or Riley, who is the?

Speaker 4:

worst. Oh what Well, john's local, so I'll keep John.

Speaker 1:

There's a better chance that I show up because I'm local, so I'll take that. Hey, listen, showing up as a talent unto itself. Mark, you know that as well. 80 percent of life.

Speaker 4:

We all know who said that, but we're not allowed to say his name.

Speaker 2:

All right, John, in less than Forty five seconds. How can Mark be a better director?

Speaker 1:

Stay the hell out of my way. No, mark, mark's a great director. I mean, he's my best audience and you know, again, I don't want to give him any credit, but he does a great job with that. And he does, you know, because I have generally a meltdown about once race season and he generally knows how to handle that?

Speaker 2:

And yeah, we are.

Speaker 1:

And does a great job, so you'd be a better race director by just simply.

Speaker 2:

Just keep going, you're a coffee.

Speaker 1:

Well, yeah, better coffee I could see the trailer is.

Speaker 2:

We know it's terrible.

Speaker 1:

It's. That's. That's where the budget, that's where the budget marks throwing the budget out on the course for people and we're getting the crap coffee without, without international delight creamer, all right, last question, mark, we're going to let you go.

Speaker 2:

We have the best job in the world and a lot of that comes because of the athletes, because this is for them, celebrating them. So what is the most inspiring thing you've seen at a race?

Speaker 4:

Well, there's a lot, but I think I think the athletes that have had the most to deal with and the most overcome are obviously the ones that are most inspiring and that it's a tie between some of our chair athletes who have just done so much work to get to where they are and to compete the way they. They want to and to be part of this. You know, I'm on out on the course biking myself and I'm seen that those crank chairs or any of the chairs going up those hills. It's unbelievable what they have to go through and it's hugely inspiring. But right next to that are the folks that have lost someone relatively recently and they're and they're running for them and they are. You know what they've had to deal with, with their grief and how they can, how they were able to focus that into, into their goals, is always a very inspiring part of this, and what one of my favorite things about doing this and you all are perfect at it, are great at it is that we get a chance to talk to these folks at the start line and to get their stories and to put them on camera and to put them right on those big screens and and and feature them and it's great. And then the third most inspiring thing I've ever seen John Pelkey running the 5K.

Speaker 2:

And I'm not alone in that.

Speaker 4:

I am not alone in that. Am I Carissa?

Speaker 2:

No, it was. It was truly amazing to have John do that. We've talked a little bit about four, and then what was so amazing was that the people that stopped before the finish to tell John how proud they were.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

And it really was running changes lives and it's just such a beautiful gift that we get to see that in the joy like John's, but also talking about and the grief and the sad knowing that people chose to keep living even though they're facing their darkest times. They chose to come out, to keep living and to find those little bits of joy and I think for all of us that's the best we can hope to do in life.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, no, it's really terrific. All right, brother. Thanks. The new song did drop. It's the one with Lady Gaga, and Riley loves it. He sent me a text he might. I think he concluded you in it. So go listen to the new stone song and thanks again for the time. It was a lot of fun.

Speaker 2:

Thank you, say hi to everybody.

Speaker 4:

I will and we'll see you soon. Thanks, man, all right, bye, bye.

Speaker 2:

Down with the Patriarchy. Riley Clariman. All right, you guys, thank you so much. We can't wait to see you at Wine and Dine. We will have an awesome Wine and Dine recap episode after the race weekend. But for now, get out there, get moving and we'll see you next time.

Speaker 1:

Bye, bye everybody.

Mark Ferrera and Listener Story
Disney Athlete Stories and Roller Coaster
Challenges and Logistics of Race Day
Race Weekends at Disney Live Entertainment
Disney Experience
Wine and Dine Race and Event