Posts Tagged by Magic Kingdom

A Prince’s Perspective on Princess Half Marathon Weekend

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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Something other races that go through Epcot do not have is pink lighting to all the pavilions. Pretty cool.

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The Princess 5k was a fun run for us, so we decided to run from character to character. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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The Enchanted 10k was started by the Fairy Godmother magically counting down and of course, fireworks.

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Anna and Elsa said hello from their overpass. Typical race pullover.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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A very cliché picture, but a one I love.

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Captain Hook is my favorite and it was a refreshing sight.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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’!

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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).

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:

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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!! 🙂

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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!

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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

$RX179I9

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.

2015 Princess Half Marathon Weekend Info

2015-princess-half-marathon-logo

Disney’s Princess Half Marathon is only a few days away!!  Do you have your tutus and tiaras ready??  This is such a fun race weekend and since it was my first half marathon it is my favorite!  But sadly for the first time in 3 years I will not be participating in the festivities.  🙁

Because I won’t be in WDW this week I’m calling on YOU!!  If you are interested in writing about any part of Princess Half Marathon Weekend, send me an email to sarah@runningatdisney.com and I’ll send you some additional details.  I would love to have you!!

PHM Contributors

Now let’s dive into some of the details about the weekend!  The theme of the races this year is the oh so popular Frozen!  Not only has the 5K been renamed the Frozen 5K, but all of ribbons now have the addition of beautiful snowflakes.  I just love these designs!

2015-Princess-Half-Marathon-Medals

Fit for a Princess Expo

The weekend starts with the Fit for a Princess Expo at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. The hours are as follows:

  • Thursday, February 19th: 10:00 am – 8:00 pm
  • Friday, February 20th: 9:00 am – 7:00 pm
  • Saturday, February 21st: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm

All race participants  MUST attend the expo to turn in signed waivers (click here to print your waiver) and pick-up race packets, which include your race bib with B-Tag timing devices, race shirt, and gEAR bag.  The gEAR bag also doubles as the bag to use for bag check during the race.  This is also where you will receive any commemorative items you may have purchased during registration.  Transportation will be provided to and from all Walt Disney World Resort Hotels 30 minutes prior to the Expo opening and 30 minutes after closing.

When you arrive at the expo, your first stop will be the HP Field House for Packet Pick Up.  Remember that you can no longer have someone pick up your race packet for you.  Everyone MUST turn in a waiver, show ID and pick up their own packet. (Thanks to Julie for the reminder!!)

This race weekend has really grown in size and because of that, packet pick-up is spread out over the two levels of the HP Field House.  On the Entry Level you will find: Kids Races, 5K, Glass Slipper Challenge and Runner Relations.

Entry Level

2015-Princess-Half-Marathon-Packet-PickUp-01

 

On the Lower Level you will find: 10K, Half Marathon, Castaway Cay 5K, Marathon, ChEAR Squad, Race Retreat, and Family Reunion Breakfast Pick Up. The Lower Level is also where shirt pick-up is for Glass Slipper Challenge participants and where great backgrounds are for some fun photo ops!

Lower Level

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After visiting the HP Field House, head over to the Jostens Center to visit with vendors and pick up your race shirts, visit with the vendors, listen to the speaker series and pick up all that great runDisney merchandise!

2015-Princess-Half-Marathon-Expo

Resort Transportation

All Walt Disney World resorts, including Shades of Green and Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort, will have transportation available to bring participants to and from ALL events during Disney’s Princess Half Marathon Weekend.

Bus service to the Expo will run during the following times:

  • Thursday, February 19th: 9:30 am – 7:30 pm (last bus will leave for the resorts at 8:30 pm)
  • Friday, February 20th: 8:30 am – 6:30 pm (last bus will leave for the resorts at 7:30 pm)
  • Saturday, February 21st: 8:30 am – 4:30 pm (last bus will leave for the resorts at 5:30 pm)

On February 19-21, bus transportation will be provided for runners and spectators to and from the races at Epcot.  For those staying at a Magic Kingdom resort on the monorail line (Contemporary, Polynesian and Grand Floridian), the monorail will begin running at the same time as the buses each day to take guests to and from Epcot.  Here are the times the busses will run:

  • 5K & Kids Races, February 20th: 4:15 am – 5:00 am & 7:00 am – 11:00 am (runners must be on a bus by 5:00 am for the 5K, 8:00 am for the 1-miler and 8:30 am for the Kids Dashes)
  • 10K, February 21st: 3:30 am – 5:00 am & 7:00 am – 10:00 am (runners must be on a bus by 4:00 am)
  • Half Marathon, January 10th: 3:00 am – 5:00 am & 7:00 am – 10:30 am (runners must be on a bus by 4:00 am)

Shuttle service will be suspended between 5:00 am and 7:00 am because of road closures, but will recommence for spectators after 7:00 am.  Traffic into the Epcot parking lot will also be suspended at this time and all cars will be routed to the Magic Kingdom Parking lot where spectators can take the monorail to Epcot.  After the race, buses will be set by resort in the Family Reunion Area to take all participants back to their resorts.

Driving Directions

If not staying at a host resort, participants will need to provide their own transportation to all events.  As usual, Disney says to EXPECT SIGNIFICANT DELAYS so make sure you leave yourself enough time.  Road closures will begin at as early as 11:00 pm the night before! Be sure to arrive at Epcot and be parked by 4:30 am since it is about a 20 minute walk to the starting corrals for the Half Marathon from the parking lot and you must be in there by 5:00 am.

Costumes

It’s so fun to see the creativity of all the runners for these races!!  Since this is Princess Weekend, you are guaranteed to see more tutus and sparkle then you’ve ever seen before!!  Please note that runners are NOT allowed to wear a face mask of any kind and will be removed from the course if this is violated.  Who are you dressing up as?

Bag Check

Participants MUST use the clear bag provided at the expo to check any belongings during the race and affix the label with their bib number on the outside.  The bag check tents are located in the Family Reunion Area in the Epcot parking lot.  All bags must be checked prior to walking over to the start corrals. 

Tip for you: Put a small, lightweight backpack or duffle bag inside your clear gEAR bag to transfer everything into after the race.  The strings on the gEAR bags make them horribly uncomfortable to carry around.

Staging Area & Start Corrals

When you arrive at the Epcot parking lot, you will be directed to a large staging area before the corrals open.  This is where you will find bag check, water stations, photo ops and most importantly Port-a-Potties.  The corrals for the 5K & 10K will be located in the Explore Lot (see map below) and you will need to be in those corrals 30 minutes prior to the race.

2015-Princess-Half-Marathon-Staging-Area

The start corrals for the half marathon are located on Epcot Center Drive.  It takes about 20 minutes to walk to the half marathon starting corrals from the holding area, so you will want to head over there no later than 4:30 am.  Your corral will be listed on your race bib and you will only be granted access to that corral or one behind you.   You can find your corral placement by printing your waiver and finding the corresponding corral for your bib number.

2015-Princess-Half-Marathon-Corrals

2015-Princess-Half-Marathon-Corral-Assignments

 

2015-Princess-Half-Marathon-GSC-Corral-Assignments

If you are participating in the Glass Slipper Challenge, you will have two letter on your race bib.  One for the 10K and one for the Half Marathon.  Here’s a look at last year:

2014-Princess-Half-Medals

Race Bibs 

Bibs must be centered on the front of your shirt.  Safety pins will be provided in your race packet at the expo.  Do not bend our fold your bib, as the ChronoTrack B-tag will be affixed to the back of the bib which will be used to track your time.  If your bib is not properly centered, damaged or covered, your time may not be recorded properly.  Your bib will also be used for the on course photographers, so make sure the number is clearly visible and smile for that camera 🙂

If you are participating in the Glass Slipper Challenge, you will be given one bib for both races.  Take good care of that bib throughout the weekend!

Pacing Requirements

Remember, you must keep a minimum of 16-minutes per mile throughout the race or you will run the risk of being picked up and brought to the finish line.  Keep this in mind if you a planning to stop for character photos.  Those lines can get long and it’s easy to lose track of time.  Pace cyclists will be on the course to let you know if you have fallen behind.

Aid Stations

There will be 2 water stops along the 5K course and 3 water stops along the 10K course.  No PowerAde or fuel will be provided for either of these races.

For the Half Marathon, there will be 9 PowerAde and water stops along the course and there will be one food station at mile 8.7 that will have Clif Shots available.  Aid stations will be located approximately 1.5 miles apart from each other.  The PowerAde flavor is lemon-lime, so if that isn’t your thing you should carry your own.  Same goes for the fuel stop…don’t rely on those if you have trained with other products.

Coast to Coast Race Challenge

Participants in the challenge will be given a wristband at the expo that must be worn during the race.  After completion, proceed to the Coast to Coast tent to claim your super awesome medal!  If you ran the Tinker Bell Half Marathon in January, you will be able to get the exclusive PINK Coast to Coast medal!

Course Maps

Frozen 5K & Enchanted 10K

2015-Princess-Half-Marathon-10K-5K-Map

Princess Half Marathon

2015-Princess-Half-Marathon-Map

Kids Races

2015-Princess-Half-Marathon-Kids Races

I LOVE how the Kids Races are in Epcot.  What an exciting 1-Mile Run for the kiddos to go through Future World!

Other events for the weekend include the Pasta in the Park Party and the Happily Ever After Party at Downtown Disney on Sunday night!  More information is available over on the runDisney website including the Official Program for the weekend. Also, check out my packing tips as you get ready for travel…sadly we don’t all have a Fairy Godmother to do that for us.

And make sure to check out my experience from the last 3 years at Princess Half Marathon Weekend…it’s a BLAST!

2014

2013

2012

Make sure to tag me in your photos from the weekend and I will make sure to share them!  You can follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to get all the latest info from the race weekend.  Have a magical time!!

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