Category: Princess Half Marathon Weekend

Princess Half Marathon Weekend By The Numbers

Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend is the second largest race weekend at Walt Disney World with over 37,000 runners taking part in this women-focused event.  In fact, 89% of the participants are women and let me assure you that you will see tutus and tiaras as far as the eye can see!  Here are some other fun facts about the race weekend:

runDisney_Fact_Sheet_Princess copyCan you imagine almost 100,000 glass slippers lined up along the course??  That’s a lot of footwear!

Congratulations to all the participants this weekend!!

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Preview of the 2016 Princess Half Marathon Weekend Merchandise

No trip to the runDisney Health & Fitness Expo is complete without a shopping spree at the official runDisney merchandise booth!  Every year they come out with great new items and Princess Half Marathon Weekend always has some of my favorites.  This year is no exception…let’s check it out!

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It looks like each race has been given their own Princess this year, which can be seen on the super cool Tervis water bottle. And how cute is that “Run Princess Run” tank?!

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The Little Mermaid is the theme for this year’s race, as can be seen in some of the 5K and 10K items.  Look at Sebastian & Flounder on the hat for the Kids’ Races!

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The main event, the Princess Half Marathon, has another cute tank (there are never enough tanks in my opinion!) and what looks to be a new item of a spandex/running short combo.  I really like that they are adding more variety to the usual t-shirts and jackets.

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And for those taking on the Glass Slipper Challenge, there will be a ton of merchandise just for you.  Look at that hoodie…oh man, do I want to get my hands on that!

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And of course, no Princess Weekend would be complete without the ultimate accessory, a Disney Dooney & Bourke purse!  These new designs feature classic images of many of the Disney Princesses.

In January, New Balance released their new runDisney collection, featuring the Ariel Vazee Pace which is PERFECT for this year’s Princess Half Marathon Weekend!

Ariel Vazee Pace

 

The shoes are only available at Health & Fitness Expos during runDisney event weekends. To minimize waiting in line for shoes, New Balance has created a virtual queue to let you know when it’s your turn to be fitted and make your purchase. **Note that the time to sign up for the virtual queue has change to the night before**  Starting on Wednesday, February 17 at 7:00 pm, runners can sign up at NBvirtualqueue.com using their bib number. Non-runners can sign up daily beginning Thursday, February 18th at 7:00 pm, pending inventory.

As a reminder the runDisney Health & Fitness Expo will be held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex and the hours are as follows:

  • Thursday, February 18th, 10:00 am – 8:00 pm
  • Friday, February 19th, 9:00 am – 7:00 pm
  • Saturday, February 20th, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm

Click here for details on the Expo.  If you are an AP holder or DVC member you may be eligible for discounts at the Expo, so don’t forget to bring your cards and always ask!  New Balance shoes generally do not get discounts.

I’ve also put together some tips for Navigating the runDisney Health & Fitness Expo for The Mouse for Less…check it out!

What are you looking forward to getting this year?? 

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Registration for the 2016 Princess Half Marathon Weekend Opens at Noon!

2016-Princess-Registration-logoIt’s that time again Princesses!  Sadly your Fairy Godmother won’t be able to help you today, so make sure your credit cards are ready to register for the 2016 Disney’s Princess Half Marathon today at noon EDT!  This magical race weekend will be taking place February 18 – 21, 2016 and will include the Princess 5K, Enchanted 10K, Princess Half Marathon and the Glass Slipper Challenge.  Over 25,000 runners will be taking to the streets of Walt Disney World during this magical race weekend to earn the sparkliest bling in the land.

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As with all runDisney races events, we see another price increase for this year of 3-8% depending on the race.  Here’s the pricing:

Disney Princess Half Marathon
Sunday, February 21, 2016

  • $175 by August 4, 2015
  • $190 between August 5 – 25, 2015
  • $205 on or after August 26, 2015

Disney Enchanted 10K 
Saturday, February 20, 2016

  • $110 by August 4, 2015
  • $125 between August 5 – 25, 2015
  • $140 on or after October 22, 2014

Glass Slipper Challenge 
Saturday & Sunday, February 20-21, 2016 

  • $305 by August 4, 2015
  • $340 between August 5 – 25, 2015
  • $365 on or after August 26, 2015

Disney Princess 5K 
Friday, February 19, 2016

  • $65 per participant by August 25, 2015
  • $75 per participant on or after August 26, 2015

runDisneyKids Races – Dashes
Friday & Saturday, February 19-20, 2016

  • $15 per participant by August 25, 2015
  • $20 per participant on or after August 26, 2015

runDisneyKids Races – 1-Mile Run
Friday & Saturday, February 19-20, 2016

  • $30 per participant by August 25, 2015
  • $35 per participant on or after August 26, 2015

It looks like official team registrations are no longer an option, however you can purchase commemorative team bibs for family and friends.  You can order any quantity you would like, which is an interesting new twist.  These will be available in the Commemorative Items section of the registration.

As with all runDisney events, participants must stop by the runDisney Health and Fitness Expo to pick up their race bib, t-shirt and spend all your cash on runDisney gear!  The expo runs from February 18 – 20 and will be at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

Welcome

If you’re looking for the ultimate VIP experience over Princess Weekend, then the Race Retreat may be for you!  For an extra fee ($120 in 2015), you will have access to various pre and post-race amenities, such as a temperature controlled tent, snacks, private bathrooms, changing tents, character meet & greets a commemorative item, massages and more.

There are also various dining events over the weekend that you can attend.  The first event is Breakfast with the Princesses immediately following the 5K on February 19th and the 10K on February 20th.  Here you can enjoy a breakfast buffet with items such as quiche, breakfast burritos, french toast and more, as well as special character meet and greets and photo ops.

Returning for 2 nights again (February 19th & 20th) is the Pasta in the Park Party.  This family oriented event takes place in the World Showplace Pavilion inside Epcot and includes a buffet dinner of pasta (duh!), character meet and greets, and a reserved viewing area for Illuminations.  Pricing for both of these events has not been published yet, but here is the pricing from 2015 to give you and idea:

Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend Breakfast
Friday & Saturday, February 19-20, 2016 from 6:30 – 8:30 am

  • $39 for Adults (10 and up)
  • $26 for Children (ages 3 – 9)

Pasta in the Park Party
Friday & Saturday, February 19-20, 2016 from 7:00 – 8:30 pm, Illuminations at 9:00 pm

  • $54 for Adults (10 and up)
  • $30 for Children (ages 3 – 9)
  • Children under 3 are free

And let’s not forget the most important part of any race, the spectators!  Generally, there are 4 different ChEAR Squad package levels available and range from a newsletter at no cost to the platinum package that includes entry into the race retreat.  Pricing and package details have not been published yet, but here is the pricing from 2015:

ChEAR Squad

  • Bronze – No Charge per package
  • Silver – $39 per package
  • Gold – $65 per package
  • Platinum – $120 per package

Make sure to visit the runDisney event page for more information on all of the events taking place that weekend including details on the travel packages, transportation information, park tickets and more.

Pre-sales for the Glass Slipper Challenge sold out in about 30 minutes two weeks ago, so I’m sure the event itself will sell out very quickly.  Here are some great tips from runDisney about how to register for this race weekend efficiently:

2016-Princess-Registration-Tips

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ll know that I LOVE Princess Half Marathon Weekend.  I had to defer my 2015 race registration, which means I am already signed up and ready to go for 2016.  This will be my first big event after having a baby this fall.  I think it will be the perfect motivation to get me up and keep me active!

I’ve ran Princess 3 times and each year has been a different experience for me with it’s own set of challenges.  You can read all of the details here:

2014

2013

2012: My FIRST Half Marathon!

Will YOU be a Disney Princess in 2016?!?  Hope to see you there 🙂

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A Look at the 2015 Glass Slipper Challenge

With registration for the 2016 Princess Half Marathon Weekend opening today for DVC Members and Annual Passholders, I thought it would be a good time to take a look back at some of the festivities from this past year.  Kristina is a runDisney veteran…you may remember her from the great tips she provided on conquering the Dopey Challenge.   However, this year was her first experience with Princess Half Marathon Weekend and she decided to take on the Glass Slipper Challenge.  Hopefully you can keep up with her recap…she’s a speedy runner!! 🙂

***

Thank you so much to Sarah for letting me detail my experience as a first time participant in the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend! But this wasn’t my first runDisney race. I ran in the Marathon Weekend in 2012, 2013 and 2014!

As the registration date for the 2015 Marathon weekend came and went without me signing up, I started to strongly consider the Princess Half weekend. Two of my best friends AND my parents and sister were also heavily interested in running one of the races, so we all registered. My one dear friend and I decided to kick some glass slipper in the Glass Slipper Challenge, while my parents, sister and other friend were enchanted by the Enchanted 10k.

Glass Slipper Challenge and the Little Mermaid!

Glass Slipper Challenge and the Little Mermaid!

Me and my friend Libbie with the Coachmen

Me and my friend Libbie with the Coachmen

Enough of the back story, let’s get to the recap!

There’s nothing quite like hearing an alarm sound at 3 a.m., especially when you’re in Florida with a less than seasonal outside temperature. But the pure excitement of doing a race in DISNEY where my parents, sister and friends are also participating lessened the pain of being awake so early.

Prepared race outfit.

Prepared race outfit

Ok, the early wakeup call is one thing, but the 39 degree outside temperature was a completely different beast. I am kind of a wimp when it comes to the cold, even though I live in Ohio. I decided to wear two long sleeve shirts, capri running tights and gloves. I was very happy to have all those layers!

Ready to run!

Ready to run!

My sister and I left for the monorail at 4:00 a.m., a little before my parents, since we were both in Corral A. We made it to the EPCOT parking lot by 4:40, with just enough time for a bathroom break.

Me and my sister Alexa getting ready to head to the Corrals!

Me and my sister Alexa getting ready to head to the Corrals!

Pretty soon, we were waiting for the fireworks to signal the start of the race. For the 10K there are fewer corrals. I believe just A through E. My sister and I were a little late getting into Corral A, so we were toward the back. In order to save energy and not weave through people, I ran in the grass once I crossed the start line. There is no doubt in my mind that I looked silly, but in less than a quarter of a mile I was out of the largest crowd.

The first two miles of the race take you out of the EPCOT parking lot and onto the highway. We were greeted with Elsa and her snow, which added excitement to what could be a boring portion of the course. The course continues on roadways until a little after the 5K mark. This is where you enter the EPCOT countries by Norway! Oh what a beautiful sight to see! The countries are illuminated and there’s music playing! It gives a second life to my feet. You run past France, up the little hill, turn left down the hill toward the back exit, then make your way to the Boardwalk. Running on the Boardwalk makes me nervous since it could be slippery, but I didn’t experience any issues during this race. I also didn’t hear from my parents, sister or friends that they had trouble on the Boardwalk.

The course takes you up the hill by Swan and Dolphin and past the Yacht and Beach Club. A general observation: it’s so nice to see resort guests out there cheering for the runners!

By mile 5, you enter back into EPCOT, through the countries, making your way to the finish line. That last mile went by in a blur since I was tired and cold. However, I was overjoyed to see the clock read 43:xx! My true finish time was 42:36. I finished 21st overall, 8th out of women and 3rd in my age group! But, the most exciting part was getting to see my sister finish shortly after and then my parents crossing the finish line hand in hand!

Me and Alexa after the 10k

Me and Alexa after the 10k

Loving that mylar blanket

Loving that mylar blanket

The rest of the day was spent relaxing, spending time with my friends and eating a hearty dinner of pasta and chicken to prepare for the half.

Picture courtesy of my friend Libbie

Picture courtesy of my friend Libbie

Picture courtesy of my friend Libbie

Picture courtesy of my friend Libbie

Sunday morning I woke with a sore throat and runny nose. I went back and forth trying to decide whether I should run this race “hard” or take it easy. The answer came to me after hearing all the wonderful women discussing children with Rett’s Syndrome. They cannot walk let alone run, so no minor sore throat could keep me from giving this race my all. There was some exciting news that morning, too. Disney announced a half marathon weekend at Disneyland Paris for September 23-25, 2016!

After the half marathon with Merida, one tough princess

After the half marathon with Merida, one tough princess

Before I knew it, the countdown was on for Corral A. Those fireworks at the start line never cease to amaze me! They provide additional adrenaline for the 13.1 miles ahead! Off we were to Magic Kingdom; the miles to the entrance ticked by. We ran through the Transportation and Ticket Center and made our way past the Contemporary. Reaching that area always brings Disney Magic to my feet because I know that Main Street in Magic Kingdom is quickly approaching. No joke I did a princess wave the entire way down Main Street. I was overcome with happiness and couldn’t hold back those princess-y feelings!

Tomorrowland and Fanstasyland are fun, too, as they lead to running under Cinderella’s Castle. I treasure those moments in Magic Kingdom. Even though this was my sixth time experiencing Magic Kingdom in a race setting, I promise each time is just as, if not more, magical than the time before it.

After Magic Kingdom, it’s back to some roadway running. You pass by the Grand Floridian and the Polynesian, as well as one of the golf courses on Disney property. Just past mile 8, you get back on the road to head to EPCOT. You’re able to see runners heading into Magic Kingdom at this point. It’s fun to offer each other mutual support.

The temperature the morning of the half was much nicer than the 10K, but I needed to put my gloves on running back toward EPCOT; a cool breeze gave me the chills.

Major focusing on putting one foot in front of the other occurred during miles 10 through 12. This is the “hilliest” part of the course. Luckily, they’re rolling hills and with determination they are manageable. For the final mile you make it back into EPCOT. During the half marathon, runners don’t visit the countries. Rather, cones are set up to create a path. Like the 10k, the last mile of this race was a blur for me. I focused entirely on breathing, pumping my arms and moving my feet one in front of the other.

Approaching the finish line I heard the announcers shout my name, “Kristina Drnjevich from O-H-“ and I responded “I-O”! I finished in 1:34:25, 33rd overall, 23rd out of women and 9th in my age group. I was greeted by my mom who was kind enough to wake up early to meet me at the finish line! The Princess Half Marathon Weekend was my favorite runDisney event so far. Every step was filled with Magic and Disney makes sure you feel like a Princess, or Prince ☺

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Pictures courtesy of my mom, capturing the finish line.

Additional observations: There are fewer runners during the Princess half, so the expo and, in my opinion, the transportation are less crowed. The character stops for the 10K seemed to be slim, but for the half marathon there were a number of stops. Even the princes came out! I did not stop during either race for pictures with the characters, but I noticed the half had a significant number. Also, there were plenty of water stops during both races and plenty of port-a-potties. It was a blast of a race weekend that I will easily recommend to anyone looking to run a Disney race!

*****

Hi there! I’m Kristina Drnjevich, an assistant prosecuting attorney in Northeast Ohio. A longtime Disney and running lover, it has been a joy experiencing races in Disney. The Glass Slipper Challenge was my fourth time participating in a runDisney race weekend. This April, I ran in my first Boston Marathon, and a mere six days later, I headed to California to complete the Big Sur Marathon for the Boston to Big Sur Challenge. You can follow me on Twitter and Instagram at @KDrnjevich!

2015 Princess Half Marathon Race Recap

This was the first time in 3 years that I haven’t run the Princess Half Marathon.  It was definitely tough to follow along from home, but when I read these wonderful race recaps, it’s like I was there!  Robin’s story is not just a wonderful overview of the race, but it is incredibly inspiring to see how far she came in one year!

***

This time last year, if you had told me I would be participating in a half marathon at Disney World, I would have asked where the hidden camera was! At the time, I was a 55 year old couch potato with a little-used treadmill sitting in the basement gathering dust. But, my daughter, Taryn, wanted to get in shape and had a marathon on her bucket list, so she asked if I would do one with her. I told her that maybe we should aim for a little less mileage the first time out and we agreed to complete a half marathon together. But, which one?

Her friend had just run the 2014 Disney Princess Half Marathon and told her how much fun it was. I’m a dental hygienist and, coincidentally, I’d just had a favorite patient come in and entertain me with stories of what a great time she’d just had at the same race. So, we got really excited about doing the Disney Princess Half together! Then, my son-in-law, Geoff, decided to run in it (although he was emphatically against wearing a tutu which we thought would have been hilarious). And, my niece, Arielle (guess which Princess she was in the race?), heard about our plans and wanted to go with us, so our quest quickly became a family affair.

Fast forward to the half marathon weekend… It started out by meeting Taryn and Geoff at the race expo at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. We headed straight to the Josten’s Center building (per the runDisney website) to pick up our race packets, only, it turned out we were supposed to get them at the HP Field House instead. Minor detail! So, off we went to the Field House and, thankfully, it was pretty empty.

Packet Pick Up

After grabbing the race packets, we headed back to Josten’s to get our race shirts and other goodies and to check out all the cool items designed to make a runner feel like a Princess. This is where the crowds are!

Expo

We spent some time looking at the merchandise (we had sparkle skirts, sweatbands, and tiaras on our list), and then snapped a pre-race photo before going off to enjoy the theme parks.

Let's do this!

The night before the race, I was too excited to sleep very well even though I was tired because we’d spent all day in the Magic Kingdom. I went to bed at 10:00 p.m. but kept waking up throughout the night until my alarm finally went off at 2:15 a.m. Since I had laid out everything just four hours before, I was able to get dressed quickly, kiss my sleeping hubby good-bye, and meet the rest of my family outside the hotel in record time.

We were on the very first bus from the Shades of Green Military Resort where we were staying because we had heard about the nightmare traffic and didn’t want to be late. By 3:30 a.m. we were dropped off at Epcot and we headed to the pre-race area to wait until it was time to go to the corrals.

Morning Epcot

There was a fun DJ to entertain us and he got everyone dancing to warm us up since it was a slightly chilly morning (happily, though, there were no freeze warnings like there had been for the 5k just two days before!).

DJ

Some of the Princesses were posing for pre-race pictures with the runners who were waiting in really longgg lines to see them.

REALLY long lines to get pictures taken with the Princesses!

We felt very lucky to get a picture with Princess Merida from Brave.

Princess Merida

Even though we were there so early, the time flew by and soon the DJ was directing us to go to the start corrals. I’d heard it was a very long walk to get to them, and it’s true. Plus, the corral line is huge and takes up both sides of the street. So, once you get there, you still have to actually find your corral (we were in Corral N) and then get past the cast members who are very serious about being sure you are in the correct one.

Corral N

Finally, the fireworks went off and the race was under way! It took just under an hour for our corral to move up and cross the start line but it was fun to watch the other corrals go, each accompanied by their own fireworks. And, at last, it was our turn.

And, we're off!

Start Line

We were off and running! Taryn I wanted to experience the race together, but Geoff and Arielle had decided to run for time so they took off through the crowd. At that point, though, no one could run very well because there were so many walkers on the narrow road. We had to run on the grass to get around them which was difficult in the darkness.

Right around the first mile marker, cheers started going up from the runners ahead of us. Suddenly, we could see the first elite runner coming down the other side of the course on her way to the finish line. It was amazing to think that we were just starting out and she was already almost at the end of the race! I read later that she’d broken a hip just a year ago, so her win was even more impressive!

12.1 to go!

 

Morning Runners

Mile 2

Not long after, we saw The Black Pearl alongside the road. Captain Jack Sparrow was posing for pictures, but the line was so long, we just took pictures as we ran by. (We ended up doing this throughout the whole race).

Black Pearl

A little farther down the road, the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC) came into view. Awesome! That meant the Magic Kingdom wasn’t too far away.

TTC

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After we ran through the TTC and across a huge Magic Kingdom parking lot, we saw the Queen of Hearts and Cruella deVille posing for pictures. Queen of Hearts and Cruella deVille

And then, we were running past the Contemporary Resort and into the Magic Kingdom!

MK Entrance

The MK streets are pretty narrow and they were lined with people cheering us on.

MK Street

We looked down Main Street and saw the castle up ahead. Knowing we were going to be running through it in just a few minutes was pretty emotional for me. I kept thinking of how hard I had worked to get here, of all the soreness (and some physical therapy after problems with my IT band while training), and how it was all coming down to this moment.

So crowded!

Castle_Robin and Taryn

When we got around to the rear of the castle, the princesses from Frozen were on the balcony talking to the runners.

We're about to shuffle through the castle

Elsa and Anna

At this point, it was impossible to get any farther. People were crowding in to see them and take pictures and we literally couldn’t walk through the castle walkway. We were barely shuffling along in the congestion.

After a few minutes, we finally made it through to the other side and we took off through Frontierland, pausing only to get a picture in front of the Mile 6 marker with Elsa and Anna on it (since I was dressed as Elsa).

Mile 6 with Anna and Elsa

After that, the course went through the back lot of the theme park. I’d always wondered if the back lot was as “magical” as what guests see, but it’s just warehouses and parking lots. There was some magic there for the race, though – we turned a corner and there was Snow White posing for pictures with her Prince and her castle.

Snow White and her Prince

We passed them, heading out of the back lot and down the road toward Epcot. Within a half mile, there was a stage set up and the DJ was telling us we had reached the half way mark! Yay!

Further along, we passed the Grand Floridian Resort and the Polynesian Resort. At this point, I was busy scanning the crowd of spectators, looking for my husband and our friends who were on the sidelines cheering for us (found them!). Our friend, Richard, got a picture of us, lost in the crowd of runners.

Robin_Taryn in the Crowd

After that, miles 8, 9, and 10 just clicked on by. We saw the Disney Heroes (handsome!!) and had another view of Capt. Jack Sparrow and his pirate ship as we doubled back on the course.

The handsome Heroes

Capt. Jack Sparrow and Capt. Barbosa

Then, we got to the dreaded overpass that I’d heard so much about. Sure enough, there was the soldier from Toy Story, telling us to get moving up that hill (“No walking or I’ll make you do pushups!”).

The first overpass

Soooo many runners!

I thought that was the only overpass, but then we found out there were two more to go…acckkk! Thankfully, they weren’t too bad and soon we could see Epcot in the distance.

Epcot in the distance - almost there!

The Fairy Godmother was in Epcot to sprinkle us with some fairy dust and help us finish the remaining mile.

The Fairy Godmother helping us out

Just one tenth of a mile to go!

Mile 13

All too quickly, the Finish Line was just in front of us and our adventure was over.

Almost there!

Our reward? Bling! (And some PowerAde and a snack box of goodies)…not to mention an overwhelming sense of pride and lots of great memories. We did it!

It's all about the bling!

*****

Devoted mom and non-runner Robin Schiltz took up the sport just to be able to run the Disney Princess Half Marathon with her daughter, Taryn. Since then, she’s been bitten by the running bug so much that she is now co-owner of Triumph Virtual Racing with her daughter and son-in-law. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

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