Posts Tagged by princess half

2016 Princess Half Marathon Race Retreat

This year I was lucky enough to have not one but TWO contributors attending the Race Retreat over Princess Half Marathon Weekend!  Today Deborah is sharing why she loves Race Retreat and all of the benefits you receive.

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2016 Princess Half Marathon Race-Retreat

Why I Love Disney’s Race Retreat

My name is Deborah and I love running Disney races.  My most recent races were the 5k and Glass Slipper Challenge during the Princess Race Weekend 2016.  While I had many great experiences during this trip to Walt Disney World, this blog will focus on the race retreat at the half marathon.  This is the second time that I have used the race retreat and it cemented for me my love of race retreat.

First, the facts:

  • What: Race Retreat is an additional purchase option during some runDisney events where you have access to a large, heated tent along with a number of amenities before and after the race
  • Purchase: Through the runDisney website
  • Cost: $120US plus processing fee
  • Includes:
    • Bagels, fruit, beverages before the race and a breakfast buffet (eggs, sausage, etc.) after the race
    • Tent with chairs and tables, private port-a-potties and bag check
    • First aid station after the race
    • A character meet and greet
    • Internet and computer stations to check results
    • Massage for purchase
    • Big screen with live video of the finish line
  • Controlled access: You pick up a wrist band at the Expo

Expo Floorplan

 

The morning of the 2016 Princess half marathon was chilly, not cold like in 2015, but certainly fresh.  After getting off the bus before 4:00 am on the morning of the race, I could see other runners heading to the corrals or waiting in the staging area; many were huddled together or clutching their runDisney Mylar blankets from the 10k the previous morning.  I, however, walked with purpose, following the signs to the race retreat.

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After showing the race retreat guards (really, just a couple of nice Disney cast members) my wrist band, I was allowed to enter the race retreat.  The warm tent was a delight after the long, cold, dark trek from the buses.

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There were round tables with chairs sprinkled around with tables of food in the centre, and stations for gear check, the character meet, and other services were lined around the outside of the tent.   My first task was finding a table to serve as base camp for all of the different tasks and activities that went on for the next hour.

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These included eating (a bagel, cream cheese, jelly) drinking (hot chocolate and water), visiting the port-a-potties, and getting a character photo.  Had I brought a bag, I could have left it at the gear check in the tent.

 

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Shortly after 5:00 am, announcements were made asking all runners to head to the corrals.  It was tough leaving the warm tent, but sitting in a proper chair for the hour before the race was so much better than sitting on the cold ground.

After the race, I headed back to the tent.  This is where my first of two criticisms of the race retreat comes into play:  you have to find the tent!  Looking at the map, it seems very clear.  However, the signage after the race was seriously lacking and it took some time to find the tent amongst all of the people.

 

Map

The race retreat wrist band was required to re-enter the tent.  Once inside, there were again a number of things to do.  My first priority was to find something to drink and there were lots of choices, both hot and cold: Powerade, Coke products, water coffee, and hot chocolate.   I made two trips to the buffet for eggs, surprisingly delicious potatoes, yogurt, fruit and sausage patties.

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The First Aid station was handing out Tylenol, ice, bandages and staff were there to help anyone who needed assistance.  The characters were back and were meeting with the runners, and the gear check staff were handing out Princess towels.  There was also an area where runners could pay for a short massage.

 

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If you are going to the race with a group of family and friends but not running together, the race retreat is an excellent place to meet after.  Those who finish earlier have a warm, comfortable place with chairs and tables, and they don’t have to wait to enjoy a good, hot meal.

Family and friends can purchase access to the Race Retreat tent for after the race, to meet up with their runners.  An area with bean bag chairs and a television playing Disney movies was set up for the children.

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I mentioned above that I have two criticisms of race retreat, the first being the difficulty finding the tent after the finish.  The second is the expense.  At $120US, it is undoubtedly expensive.  I, however, find that it is money well spent and I will continue to purchase Race Retreat whenever it is available.

 

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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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2015 Princess Half Marathon Weekend Info

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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!

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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

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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

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Princess Half Marathon

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Kids Races

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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!

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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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2015 Princess Weekend Merchandise & runDisney New Balance Shoes

Probably the best part about runDisney race weekends is all of the exclusive merchandise available at the Health & Fitness Expo.  There’s nothing like having some great commemorative items to take home with you to remember your big accomplishment!

Princess Half Marathon Weekend is right around the corner and there are some great new items you’ll be able to pick up.  Let’s check them out!

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Frozen has taken over as the main theme of the weekend and you can find snowflakes and characters on many of the items.  There is also the addition of a pink runDisney Magic Band to go with the blue design that was introduced over Marathon weekend.

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This is the 2nd year for the Glass Slipper Challenge and they have knocked it out of the park with these turquoise and black designs.  I just LOVE that wine glass!

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Ahhh BondiBands…my running must have!  Look at all of designs you’ll have to choose from!

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Another new addition to the race merchandise are these fun phone cases…looks like they can be customized too!

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And of course, no Princess Weekend would be complete without the ultimate accessory, a Disney Dooney & Bourke purse!  These new Princess designs are whimsical and fun…perfect for this royal event.

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Earlier today, New Balance released NEW design in their runDisney collection that will be release over Princess Half Marathon weekend.  Over Marathon Weekend the new Steamboat Willie inspired 990v3 shoes and now they are introducing 860v5’s in similar designs and capturing the spirit of the Sorcerer Mickey and Pink Polka Dot Minnie designs from the 2014 collection.

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The shoes will only be available at Health and Fitness Expos during the runDisney event weekend. 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. Starting on Thursday, February 19, starting at 6 a.m. runners can sign up at NBvirtualqueue.com using their bib number. Non-runners can sign up daily, pending inventory.

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Are you excited about the new designs or are they leaving you feeling a little grey??

As a reminder the Fit for a Princess Expo will be held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex and 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

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.

What are you looking forward to getting this year?? 

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Heat Advisory for Disney’s Princess Half Marathon

runDisney has issued a Heat Advisory for tomorrow’s Princess Half Marathon.  Make sure that you are hydrating TODAY and throughout the race tomorrow.  Utilize all of the water stops on the race and make sure to mix water and Powerade (or your sports drink of choice) to help refuel your electrolytes.

runDisney Water Stop

runDisney Water Stop

The only thing that may be working in our favor is the chance of rain.  Even if it doesn’t rain, it will hopefully be cloudy and block out the sun, but that humidity is still going to be a serious issue.

Princess Weather

Take it easy out there and don’t try for a PR this time.  Have fun, enjoy the atmosphere and take photos with characters.  Don’t try to over exert yourself in the heat, it’s just not worth the risk.  You’re going to get the same awesome medal whether you go fast or take it easy 🙂

5th Anniversary Princess Medal

5th Anniversary Princess Medal

Good luck out there Princesses & Princes and stay safe…I’ll see you on the course!!

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