Posts Tagged by Disney Running
|March 8, 2016||Posted by Running at Disney under runDisney Medals, Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend - The Dark Side|
The highly anticipated Inaugural Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend – The Dark Side is only a few short weeks away and runDisney has released a look at the amazing medals. I think these might be the coolest ones yet!
Let’s look at the detail…
Star Wars Half Marathon – The Dark Side
Super cool spinner featuring Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine.
Star Wars 10K
Dark Side Challenge
Received for completing the 10K & Half Marathon.
Kessel Run Challenge
Received for those who completed this race and the Star Wars Half Marathon – The Light Side in Disneyland back in January.
Star Wars 5K
Star Wars Kids Races
Dare I say that I am siding with The Empire and prefer these medals to the The Light Side Weekend?? And can you believe the GIANT Millennium Falcon you will receive for the Kessel Run Challenge?! That is definitely a goal of mine for the future…how about you?
Which medals do you prefer, The Dark Side or The Light Side??
|March 7, 2016||Posted by Running at Disney under Guest Posts, Princess Half Marathon Weekend, Race Recaps|
I was so excited when Brian reached out to do a review of his experience during Princess Half Marathon Weekend. With only 11% of the participants male, this race weekend definitely caters to the ladies and it is interesting to get the male perspective…the good, bad and the ugly. I hope you enjoy his journey from the Expo and through all the races as much as I did!
Glitter, tiaras fit for royalty, light blues, pinks in every shade and every kind of tutu imaginable, including my devilishly proper yellow tutu, I knew this was going to be a fun weekend. I wasn’t off the plane an hour before some of my clothing had glitter on it, Princess Weekend at Walt Disney World was about to begin with style. My wife Jenny and I were running our first runDisney Princess Weekend. My wife had wanted to run these races for the longest time, and I was along for the ride. But what I was in for, I had no idea. Through all the estrogen and pixie dust, this guy had a grand time.
We have learned to arrive at the runDisney expos extra early to avoid the massive crowds that tend to develop around 11am. Our mission was get to the ESPN Wide World of Sports (WWoS) about two hours early. Officially the expo was scheduled to open Thursday at 10am, however, recent expos have unofficially opened the doors to the Jostens Center around 9:30am. At 8:30am we were greeted by a royal red carpet and were about 100 or so back from the main doors. We have done this strategy three times now and haven’t been disappointed yet. In fact, we saw some of the same people in line at this expo that we had at previous expos. The one topic that kept coming up: ‘how busy this expo is compared to the others’.
By 9:20am the line was around zig zagged through the red carpet and around the corner.
The doors opened early at 9:30am letting the swarm of princesses into the Jostens Center where most of the official runDisney Race merchandise is showcased and sold. For the most part, people were calm walking at a brisk pace past most of the expo dealers on the way to the main merchandise area, although some actually ran past us.
We arrived in the madness of the merchandise area, full of people swarming around, grabbing, pulling things off of racks, and even taking entire shelves, I had never seen this kind of sheer madness outside of black Friday. I met another prince running that weekend, and he was on a mission for his wife to find a certain wine glass. We both noticed the same thing, we were in a sea of women who were on missions that dumbfounded us men. I saw Jeff Galloway standing all alone at his booth watching the madness, and I quickly escaped, to head over and meet him. Mr. Galloway has been an exceptional motivator for me on my quest to start longer runs. He is one of the nicest people I have ever met, and he truly cares about your successes in running and health.
Entering back into the madness of the merchandise area, it was even more chaotic and frantic, with a couple people just grabbing things to trade amongst the other princesses. I actually felt bad for Steven and Ray, both cast members at WWoS complex who were pinned in the corner getting yelled at for certain sizes of the pink ‘Princess Up’ jacket.
It was something you would witness at the stock exchange. For the most part it was pretty civil except for a few shoving sessions. I was so fascinated with this chaos, I had to become apart of it, so I went straight into the hoard of people yelling for these jackets. Ladies were yelling sizes out as the two cast members pulled them out of boxes as quickly as they could. “SMALL”, “TWO MEDIUMS” sizes were being yelled out, so I thought I’d insert a joke, I yelled “Xtra Xtra Large for ME”, which received quite a few laughs. Cast member Steven received a new box, it was a medium, a very popular size request, he knew I needed one for my wife, and I had been pushed to the side by some ladies, he quickly handed me one, and said “only dude crazy enough to battle this.” Thanks I think.
Being a prince surrounded by princesses I was personally looking for something to commemorate my race weekend too. I found a cast member, and asked him if they had anything for the gents. He quickly said “No, we tried that in years past, but it failed miserably.” (RAD Note: This is VERY disappointing on the part of runDisney. Even just one shirt for the guys would be nice.) I was a little disappointed since the race tech shirts were teal and fuchsia, not exactly manly colors. It was then I decided to escape to the checkouts.
The line looked bad, but it progressed along nicely. Just an FYI, we were down in November for the runDisney Wine and Dine Half (half ;-)) and I had my sweatshirt given mistakenly to someone else in all the commotion. Make sure you watch your items go inside your bag at the cash wrap area, things can get very hectic and items can be easily missed. I was lucky the cast members at my resort were nice enough to rectify the situation for me.
One word for the fellas – Don’t look at the receipts, please.
So we decided that since we had to come back to the Jostens Center to pick up our race tech shirts anyway, we would just head over to main registration across the way (HP Field House). We walked out into a situation we have never seen at any runDisney expo.
The line for the HP Field House was way back in the parking lot, which we had to walk from the exit of the Jostens to the parking lot in order to enter the line back to HP. We were not happy about this, but oh well.
Usually at expos there are ample cast members there to guide you, I personally found there to be a lack of them at this one. Within twenty minutes time we made our way back to the main courtyard ofWWoS where Jostens and HP are centrally located.
Finally we snaked around (Mine Train style) to the entrance of HP Field House were you pick up your race bibs.
We entered and found a nice treat, my wife Jenny and I both loved being greeted by the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique ladies already to glitterize you for the upcoming weekend. These ladies were the same that made me a princess with glitter on Sunday, but more on that later.
We noticed how quite and civil race bib pickup was, this past January at the Marathon Weekend had been much busier and chaotic compared to this one. We actually forgot our freshly printed out waivers at the resort, no problem, it took less than 90 seconds to print out all of ours.
Glass Slipper Challenge pick up was a breeze for Jenny, they even gave the tech shirts at this location.
The rest of us (5k, 10k, Half Bibs) had to go to the Jostens Center to pick up. It took 25 mins to grab (different lines) the 5k, 10k, and the Half bibs. We stopped to take a few personal photos, Jenny was disappointed the Glass Slipper Gentlemen from years past were not at the expo for pictures (they were found at mile marker 12 in Epcot during the half).
We started to make our way back outside to head over to Jostens. We entered into complete chaos in the central courtyard of WWoS. You had people trying to enter HP Field House, you had people trying to get to Jostens from 3 separate lines, those three lines were combined by one cast member, utter chaos. Once combined the line lead down stairs and out to the track and field area, a far distance away were thousands of people were lined up to enter Jostens.
My wife and I kept a positive outlook, since it was 73 degrees and gorgeous, while back in Boston it was 21 degrees.
The line actually moved quickly despite its its length.
Most people thought this would take 4 hours, it took all of 40 mins.
Heading back up to the main court yard.
Back in the Courtyard – Cast members wait to lead you to the red carpet line in front of the Jostens.
Zig Zagging the line. Very Civil.
The Expo was swarming with race goers. My wife had to pick up shirts she ordered online at the Raw Threads booth, great idea and it was painless.
The New Balance area was insane as always, and felt even busier than it has for previous expos.
No flippers needed with these.
Finally exiting the expo. Jenny did exceptionally well with merchandise, while I did not.
Disney Princess 5k – Day One of Three
We have found that Disney’s Pop Century Resort is an optimal location for the races. It is located next to ESPN Wide World of Sports and very close to Epcot (where most races start and end). We woke up at 3:15am and made our way to the buses at 4:00am for the 5k start time of 6:00am. We got to the bus area in front of the resort to find a large line, 2 hours before the first corral would go off, pretty early for a runDisney race. The bus situation at Pop Century was exceptional, and even though the line was long, it moved amazingly fast.
At the Start line, everyone was in high spirits, and before I knew it Rudy announced “30 seconds” and then we were off in typical runDisney style, with magical fireworks.
My wife hand made three epic tutus that were amazing compared to the store bought ones, like the amazon special I got. I decided to wear it so I would match my wife, since it was her weekend, and I was just a sidekick along for the ride. I received tons of complements, followed by “I wish my husband or boyfriend would of done that for me!” Most of the ladies out there on the course would of loved their fellow prince to have joined them it seemed.
Something other races that go through Epcot do not have is pink lighting to all the pavilions. Pretty cool.
The Princess 5k was a fun run for us, so we decided to run from character to character.
Sunrise was just coming up as we made our way towards the finish line. It was a special race as I got to run next to my loving princess.
We received our medals, and headed over to get our pictures taken with Ariel and Sebastian. What a great way to wrap up the race.
Disney Enchanted 10k – Day Two of Three
Saturday Morning we woke up at 2:45am to ensure we had ample time to arrive at the race with time to position our selves in our corrals with better placement. Again Pop Century Resort provide exceptional bus service with buses arriving ever couple mins, we were ushered off to the race with ease A very cold morning, but at least there was no rain like we had during the Walt Disney World 10K in January.
The Enchanted 10k was started by the Fairy Godmother magically counting down and of course, fireworks.
Anna and Elsa said hello from their overpass. Typical race pullover.
One thing that I was pretty negative about – was the amount of people in this race that dumped their race heat wraps or old warm clothing on the ground and didn’t toss it off the course as a courtesy for fellow runners. Also, people just stopped for Anna and Elsa and mile marker photo ops, which caused several collisions.
I love the 10k course and always have found it to be rewarding without being too challenging. The guys stuck together in little packs, mostly to pass clumps of people walking 5 across. With being less than 10% of the course, guys would pound fists and high five each other in support, and we were all part of a special fraternity of prince’s. I did find this 10k to be a little light on the support side from crowds in both Boardwalk and Yacht and Beach Club Resorts compared to the other races I have participated in.
After completing the 10K, we did some park touring. What better way to celebrate your race, than to go to your park of choice.
Disney Princess Half Marathon – Day Three of Three
Sunday Morning we woke up at 2:40am and we headed out of the room at 3:30am to meet a larger line for the buses then we did the previous morning. Once again, Pop Century was prepared and executed perfectly, we were very impressed.
We arrived at the race around 4:00am which was good, since my nerves were on edge. This was my first attempt at a half marathon since January 2014 Marathon Weekend were I was so sick, I disqualified myself at mile 8. So I was NERVOUS and had to force myself to eat, and I drank water like a fish.
We started to make our way to the corrals, that 3/4 mile walk down the same path the 5k goes, seemed cold to me. Jenny was on cloud 9, she looked like nothing could hinder her path to completing her 5th Half Marathon in the last two years. Her first Half was in 2014, the same one I was too sick to finish. She had her cousin Jamie there who is a seasoned runner, and she calmed her pre race nerves. That morning, Jenny was my soothing blanket, she was great. Every step down to the corral split, my heart raced faster and my grip on her hand got tighter. I knew eventually I would have to let go. The split came, and I started to tear up, my nerves on complete edge. I desperately held on for additional seconds, Jenny told me “you got this, you trained for it, enjoy it” She smiled and we hugged and gave a good bye kiss, and she and I headed to our separate corrals.
I made it to my corral with about an 45 minutes before the start. I counted 5 men in my corral. In previous races, both Marathon Weekend and Wine and Dine, inside the corrals people usually start to chit chat, and make small talk. This corral was all business, no talking, no nothing, felt very cold compared to the others. Luckily I was texting my wife for last minute advice.
Before the blink of an eye, Rudy and the Fairy Godmother were letting Corral A off. In true Disney fashion the fireworks were magical. Odd thing, the new digital start line was absent at these races. Wine and Dine along with Marathon Weekend both utilized it, hopefully it comes back.
We were ushered up the start line, and let loose to 13.1 miles. I didn’t get too excited at the start, I stuck to my training pace and pressed on like a trooper.
This hot air balloon was fantastic and photo doesn’t do it justice.
A very cliché picture, but a one I love.
Captain Hook is my favorite and it was a refreshing sight.
Entering the Magic Kingdom was so motivating and it can’t really be described. The support from the cheer squad and cast members was amazing, Thanks to all who supported us.
Fast forward to mile 7, I started to choke up, my sunglasses started to fog, and tears started to form, I knew mile 8 was coming up, this mile had haunted my thoughts for two years. There it is, Mile 8 maker, along with three “parade buses” (these are the buses that sweep people up if they fall behind pace). I stopped for a picture, and away I went – Strong.
Just like in the 10K, the guys would fist bump each other in support for the 9% of us on the course. One thing I didn’t like on the course, that really made me mad, was a fellow guy ran far off the course to relieve himself in the woods. Women passing started to boo, which surprised me as this is typical in other races and usually not an issue, guess that’s not the case for this race. I made it to a port-o-pottie for quick stop, however, I was cut off twice, which made me feel like a second class citizen to fellow princess racers. Other than that, the race was extremely pleasant and up lifting.
Between water volunteers, volunteers in general, random cheerers and my texts from my wife, I was able to make it to Epcot with ease.
Epcot was kind of a joke since you barely skip through it. Finish Line time, I thought I’d tear up, but I powered through like a pro.
Finally got a Half Marathon medal, and the funny thing is I want more of them. Addicted!
After the race we went to 1900 Park Fare for breakfast. Lady Tremaine wanted my bling for herself and I smiled and handed them off with no dismay. I didn’t need a medal to show my worth, I had proven to myself that I could do it, and for that I am so grateful for this weekend. On to the Star Wars ‘Dark Side Challenge’!
Visit Brian Meljac’s personal blog, Dark Side Challenger, where a true star wars geek takes on 22.4 miles of Star Wars Races in April 2016. You can also follow Brian on Periscope (@LiveatDisney).
|March 6, 2016||Posted by Running at Disney under Guest Posts, Princess Half Marathon Weekend, Race Recaps|
Now in it’s 3rd year, the Enchanted 10K is a staple of Princess Half Marathon Weekend and the first part of the Glass Slipper Challenge. This year my friend Pam ran this race for the 3rd time as part of her Glass Slipper legacy and I’m so happy to have her here today to share her experience and how the race has changed since its start.
The Princess Half Marathon weekend included the Glass Slipper Challenge which is a 10K on Saturday and the half marathon on Sunday. I participated in my third Glass Slipper Challenge during the race weekend. For me this meant an early wake up call to arrive to the 10K for the 5:30 a.m. start. The weather for this year’s race was perfect. It was 50 degrees in the morning with no chances for rain. The race start for the 10K began in the Epcot parking lot. If you had participated in the Walt Disney World Marathon weekend races (5K and 10K), they began in the same location as those races.
I was in Corral C and they were releasing corrals every 8 minutes. The plan with my friends for this race was to get as many pictures as we could during the 10K so that for the half marathon we would only stop for characters that were unique or that we hadn’t taken pictures of before at any of our previous runDisney races. To be honest, this was one of my least favorite runDisney races. The reason for that is because we have to run on a stretch of road for three miles with very little entertainment on the road. Well, that changed this year.
The following characters were out on the 10K course. Right after the start, we run under an overpass and Elsa and Ana are on the bridge with fake snow flying down onto the runners. At the curve for the hairpin turn to head back towards Epcot is the Evil Queen as the witch from Snow White. After we run up the hill there was a character stop with Tinkerbell, Silvermist, Rosetta, and Clarence.
Then we had a surprise with Pocahontas and Meeko the raccoon. As we entered Epcot there were the characters on stilts. Then we entered Epcot where there was Pinocchio and Jiminy Cricket outside of Germany.
And the last character stop that we really wanted to get was with Lumiere and Cogsworth right in front of France!
My friend and I stopped for all of these character stops which meant we were in line for quite some time for some of them (especially Tink and Pinocchio). Once we got to Lumiere and Cogsworth people were yelling out that the balloon ladies were just about a minute behind them. Then the balloon ladies passed us while we were in line. I wasn’t concerned because I knew we could run and get past them; but the race sweepers on bikes were now showing up and warning us of being swept. Since this was my third glass slipper and I am trying to maintain a perfect Glass Slipper legacy status, we decided that we had to abandon our spot in line and get running. We were hoping that others were going to be afraid and do the same thing and then we could quick get our picture and run; but that wasn’t the case.
We ran over the International Gateway, through the exit of Epcot and over the bridge towards the Boardwalk. The balloon ladies were just ahead of us at that point and the bikers were behind us. We could not stop for any other characters though, especially if they had longer lines. At ESPN we saw vacation Genie. We continued to run through the Boardwalk and took pictures of the balloon ladies on the bridge heading towards the Yacht and Beach Club.
We continued to keep a faster pace going through there and heading back towards Epcot in case we wanted to stop for any characters as we head back to the back stage of Epcot. We saw the last character stop there and it was for Sofia the First.
We ran through the back stage area of Epcot and came out near the Land and ran towards Finding Nemo. There were people dressed as coral from the sea on stilts there but there was a line so we continued to run towards Spaceship Earth and then backstage again to the finish line.
It was fun chasing the balloon ladies; but it wasn’t fun when the bikes were chasing us out of the park! I will say that runDisney stepped up this race for us. We finally had more characters along the course, especially during the three miles on the road leading to Epcot. It seemed like there were a lot more runners during this race. We spent a lot of time in lines for characters, longer than I am used to and we started from a closer corral. According to the runDisney site, there were 11,341 finishers for the 10K this year, 11,003 runners in 2015 and 8,969 runners in 2014.
This is still a fun race and a nice part of the Glass Slipper Challenge during the Princess Half Marathon weekend because you are finished with the race by 8:00 a.m. and then have the entire day to spend wherever you wish.
When Pam was about to turn 40 she set a goal to do a 5K run before the big day. Little did she know she would be bit by the running bug and have since run numerous 5Ks, half marathons, 7 full marathons and 2 runDisney Dopey challenges to date.
She is a wife and mother of two kids who are very supportive of her sport/habit/addiction. She is a proud member of Team Chocolate milk and Team Oiselle! In May of 2015, she was selected by the Walt Disney Company from a carefully vetted group of 1,300 social media moms to attend a special conference. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity that she has been working hard for the past four years to become a part of. The event was life changing and she thinks about it just about every day!
|March 1, 2016||Posted by Running at Disney under Guest Posts, Pasta in the Park Party, Princess Half Marathon Weekend|
The Pasta in the Park Party is an event that takes place during most runDisney race weekends. It’s a great way to fuel up for the big race while enjoying the Disney magic. At Walt Disney World, the event is held at Epcot and includes a private viewing area for Illuminations! Today Bianca is taking us inside the Pasta in the Park Party over Princess Half Marathon Weekend…let’s take a look!
Last year, I made a goal for myself to participate in my first ever runDisney event. After some research, I chose the Princess Half Marathon weekend. I decided since this was my first runDisney event (let alone my first race in years), I would seize every opportunity to make the experience as memorable as possible. Many “firsts” occurred for me over the weekend, including the Pasta in the Park Party.
Held in Epcot’s World Showplace Pavilion, the party took place the Friday and Saturday evenings of race weekend. You don’t have to have a separate park ticket to attend the event, which is pretty nice for someone who doesn’t have an annual pass. You get to enter Epcot as early as 6pm, even though the party doesn’t start until 7 (a nice perk in and of itself). The party featured a full buffet, rare character appearances (more on this later), live music, and the best part, reserved viewing for the IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth fireworks!
I participated in the 5k (Friday morning) and the 10k (Saturday morning). I opted for the Saturday party, which turned out to be the right choice. It gave me plenty of time after the 10k to go back to my resort, take a nap, and get ready to head to Epcot in the evening. My son and I arrived at Epcot right at 6pm and got our wristbands for the party. We had an hour to kill before it started, so we got in line to meet Baymax at the Character Spot (number one on our list of character appearances at Epcot this weekend), and went to the party shortly after.
The World Showplace Pavilion is nestled between Canada and the United Kingdom, and it’s huge! I’ve never noticed it before, but it’s a bit recessed, so it doesn’t really interfere with the World Showcase scenery. Once inside we found ourselves seating, and before I could even check out the spread, I was shocked to see Pain and Panic from Hercules doing a character meet! I was totally “fangirling”. Remember I said there were rare character appearances? Well, if there’s one thing this girl loves, it’s meeting “rare” characters. I immediately dragged my eight-year-old with me and got in line for a photo and signatures.
Once we were finished with our first meet of the evening, we went to make ourselves a plate of food. The spread was fairly robust. There were several types of pasta dishes, salad, vegetables, and of course, breadsticks. If you’re participating in the half marathon the following morning, this is the perfect way to carb up. Water and lemonade in large pitchers were provided and a selection of sodas, beer and wine were available for purchase.
The food was delicious! My favorite was the green beans and assorted peppers mix. They also had Mickey-shaped ice cream bars and sandwiches for dessert which my son couldn’t get enough of. I think he grabbed a second one while my back was turned! After we were done stuffing our faces, we got in line for a few more character meets. We met Megara and Hercules together, and then one of my favorite Disney Villains, Hades. After meeting characters we got on the dance floor. They had a host for the evening and a live DJ who did a really great job of playing old and new music, as well as some pretty cool Disney mash-ups.
Around 8:30 they started to wrap up the party, so we went outside for the fireworks. If you are attending the party Saturday and have to be up extra early for the half marathon, you may want to consider skipping this part. I, however, never miss IllumiNations, and would rather run on fumes than skip it. But I understand not everyone works that way, so to each their own. Our spot for the fireworks was between the two gift shops (Disney Traders and Port of Entry) at the entrance to World Showcase from Future World.
It was an amazing spot for the show, and separate from guests who had used FastPass+ for their viewing area. We found a spot right in front, sat the whole time without obstruction and enjoyed the show. IllumiNations is, in my opinion, the most beautiful nighttime spectacular (though Wishes is a close second). So if you skip the party, make sure you carve out some time during your trip to see it.
All in all, I think the Pasta in the Park Party was very well done. I was kind of surprised when I saw three empty tables near the back of the party, assuming it would have been a sold-out event. But hey, that just means more pasta for me! I would purchase these tickets again and recommend it to anyone who may be on the fence about it. Between the food, the music, the family-friendly atmosphere, the awesome character meets, and preferred seating for IllumiNations, this just might be one of the best-kept secrets for race weekend!
Bianca is a Disney mom of one, residing in Cincinnati, Ohio. She runs a Facebook group for local Disney enthusiasts, Cincinnati Disney Junkies. A running newbie, Princess Half Marathon Weekend was her first runDisney experience and certainly not her last! With a little bit of faith, trust and pixie dust. Follow her on Instagram for all things Disney related as well as personal photos.
|February 29, 2016||Posted by Running at Disney under Guest Posts, Princess Half Marathon Weekend, Race Recaps|
Another first timer at this year’s Princess Half Marathon! Adrienne is here today to share her experience as a first time runDisney runner at the Disney Princess Half Marathon, as well as some very valuable lessons learned while there. Get ready to take notes!
The crystals of sugar lingering on your lips after biting into a warm Disney churro.
The chill of a smooth scoop of Dole Whips on a hot day.
Nostalgia taking over when you board one of Disneyland’s originals like Peter Pan, ridden by Walt Disney himself.
Who doesn’t love Disney?
I will shout it from the rooftops that there is no better place to do your first race than the Happiest Place on Earth! Training for a half-marathon was the perfect thing to get me back in shape after having a baby and gave me a boost of self-confidence.
Knowing that I have the propensity to – let’s just be real here for a moment… chicken out – I decided to register for an out of town race with a higher price tag. This may sound counter-intuitive to some of you, but I knew that if I had invested the money in airfare, hotel, etcetera, I wouldn’t back out. When I came across the runDisney Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend, I knew I had found my happily-ever-after. Every year, thousands of women (and a few good men!) flock to Orlando in tutus and tiaras. There is a strong mix of newbies and experienced runners. Princess Weekend is HUGE. In the Women’s Half Marathon open division alone, there were 18,090 finishers with clock times between 1:22 and 3:30.
After hearing the horror and chaos of what is known as day one of the Expo, I decided to arrive on Saturday when the crowds had died down (This strategy will work if you’re ONLY running the half marathon; however, if you or your family are participating in the Kid’s Race, 5K, or 10K, you’ll need to get to the expo the day prior to your race: either Thursday or Friday).
I flew into Orlando International Airport where Disney Cast Members await your arrival and direct you to your courtesy shuttle. After dropping off my bags at my Disney resort, I hopped on the shuttle to ESPN Wide World of Sports for the Expo (again- a free shuttle! Can you tell I am a fan of staying at the resort?). The Expo is a shopper’s paradise and a critical pre-race stop not only for your bib and free race t-shirt, but any last minute items or memorabilia you may need. There are vendors with the expected tutus and headbands, but they had everything from photo stations to electric foam rollers. My favorite quote of the weekend from my husband: Princess Expo: Because who doesn’t want to win a box of instant rice? It’s just crazy nonsense, but was fun nonetheless!
Between the resort restaurants and food courts, the parks, and Disney Springs, there are plenty of places help you carb load before your big race. I chose to eat a late lunch/early dinner to ensure I got the carbs and protein necessary without waking up feeling bloated the next morning. Remember, this isn’t your typical 8:00 am race; the fireworks go off at 5:30 am and you want to give your body time to breakdown those carbs. Nobody wants to have to go to the bathroom during a race. Porta-potties. Enough said.
With my costume pressed and my bib attached, I went to bed around 7:30 and finally fell asleep around 8:30. I woke up every hour thinking I was late. Alas, my alarm went off at 2:15 and it was time to get ready. Yes- you read that correctly. 2:15 am.
Don’t princesses need their beauty sleep?
The busses ran from 3:30-5:00 (there’s that free shuttle again!), but with the race starting promptly at 5:30, I wouldn’t risk taking anything later than 4:00 am. When you get to Epcot where the race begins, the lines start at security and continue for just about everything. Photo ops. Bathrooms. Medical. Corrals. Everything. I will say that I’ve never seen that many porta-potties in my entire lifetime let alone in one place, but it still wasn’t enough. I was doing the dance waiting for my turn in line after what felt like an hour. This is a massive race, so I expected myself to get lost in a sea of princesses. While it felt as if we were being rounded up like a herd of cattle to enter our corrals at 5:00 and some corrals not starting until after 6:30, I quickly gained leg room once the race began.
You may see on Facebook or some blogs about the massive amount of people and let others get in your head about the balloon ladies, but don’t let that dissuade you…the Race. Was. Amazing.
Adorable costumes. Beautiful friendships. Determined women. Everyone was encouraging one another! The first female finisher was coming back on the other side as my corral was around the 2 mile mark and we all cheered and whistled for the princess flying on the other side of the median. I didn’t realize the majority of the race is outside of the park, but it still felt Disney! Every mile or so, there was a different character on the side of the course available for photos. While I stopped for a few of my favorites, I had the mentality that as fun as this race is, it’s still a race, so I couldn’t afford to stop for longer lines (I opted for the oh-so-classy “sweaty selfie” for those I just couldn’t completely skip over).
Every mile has a marker and you have the ability to have updates sent to friends and family via text or Facebook with your pace and estimated finish time. There is music at each character and mile marker and there were a few different marching bands that lined the course to lend some encouragement to those of us in need.
Around Mile 3, I crossed under the Magic Kingdom archway that gains you access to Magic Kingdom parking and about 30 minutes later, I was running down Main Street USA towards the castle. Spectators raised banners of encouragement for loved ones and strangers hooted and high-fived. There was a truly magical energy and it was emotional running towards the castle!
After running a loop through Tomorrowland, we ran through the castle and past several characters.
Miles 8-10 were definitely the toughest. They were “dead miles” without much as far as music and runners were stepping off to the side to stretch and catch their breath. Toy Story Soldiers gave a much needed cadence around Mile 10 where all the women around me gave a spirited OORAH! going into the last 3.1 miles.
Between the crowds cheering, the hallelujah choir, and Goofy waiting to high-five me as I ran by, I was on cloud nine! After crossing the finish line, I was sprinkled with pixie dust by a cast member and guided to an area where volunteers handed out drinks, mylar blankets, snack boxes and pointed us towards medical as necessary for things like ice and Advil. My husband met me with roses and a tiara for his Disney Princess and my training partner and I caught up for a toast at the champagne tent.
There are several runDisney events that take place each year at both Disneyland in Anaheim, CA and at Disney World in Orlando, FL. I know Gaston says it’s not good for a woman to read, because “she’ll start getting ideas and thinking,” but I will tell you to read up! Do your research. Each race has a different theme and each park (Disneyland and Disney World) has different accommodations and perks.
Here are a few things I learned for my next runDisney event and some tips I thought would be helpful for yours:
Keep the End in Mind: Remember to have comfy shoes waiting for you at the end. I’m definitely investing in a pair of Oofos before my next half! Stay somewhere with a hot tub! This would have been amazing after my race. I am glad Disney World has affordable on-site options for the budget-conscious (check out the All Star Hotels here), but be sure to choose somewhere with the amenities that suit your needs. On the subject of pools, don’t stay near the pool. I am so glad we got a room in the back of the hotel, because the pool area was loud and busy from sun up til after 10:00 at night! Super fun, but way too loud for those trying to get to sleep by 8:00 for a pre-sunrise race.
Stay on Site: Disney World provides a free shuttle to and from the airport and each park in addition to a luxury liner bus to get you to and from the race. Several roads are closed and traffic is horrible on race day, so eliminating the stress of travel is priceless. Disneyland has a few good neighbor hotels within walking distance, but let’s be real, who wants to walk further than they have to before a race?
Save Some, Spend Some: ChEAR Squad isn’t a necessity. My husband was able to see me at 1.78 miles and was in the bleachers a couple hours later, watching me crossing the finish line. There was also free spectator viewing around 5.3 miles inside the Magic Kingdom. ChEAR squad is fun, but not necessary. Save your money for the churros and Dole Whips.
Dress the Part: Have fun and dress up! Where else can you get away with dressing like Belle? With that being said, be reasonable with your costume. I didn’t have any issues at all, but I did see several costume malfunctions that resulted in tutus and t-shirts sprinkled along the path.
Rules of the Road (Read up on Running Etiquette): Other than long bathroom lines, the only thing that annoyed me was walkers on the left. It didn’t even frustrate me for the first 10 miles of the race, but at the end when I knew if I stopped I would have a hard time getting going again, I needed to keep going, but it was difficult if someone started walking on the left in front of me.
Mentality: It’s easy to get frustrated with walkers on the left or anxious about the crowds, but if you’re excited and happy, it will be a great race! Furthermore, believe in yourself!
You don’t have time to be timid. You must be bold. Daring! –Lumiere, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast
You, too, can complete your first runDisney event! After all, “all you need is faith, trust, and a little pixie dust!”
Adrienne R. lives in Indianapolis, IN with her husband, baby boy, and two dogs. She is motivated by her faith, family, and friends to be the best she can be and is already dreaming of her next runDisney race!
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