I’m very excited to welcome Heather to Running at Disney! I’ve known Heather for quite some time in the Disney community and it has great to grow together as Disney runners over the years. Today she has a great recap of the Fit for a Princess Expo with a lot of really fun photo ops! Enjoy 🙂
Princess Half Marathon Weekend was my fourth runDisney race weekend. I ran the 5k and 10k, so this was my 4th and 5th race! The corresponding expo seems to run smoother each race weekend. Last year’s Disney Fit for a Princess Expo was held at the Coronado Springs resort, which was a nightmare. The lines were insane, even for the buses to get into the resort! This year, it was thankfully back at ESPN Wide World of Sports, and I didn’t encounter any long lines or other issues. I attended the first day of the expo on Thursday.
Staying at a host resort (which was every resort on property this weekend) makes getting to the expo easy. runDisney is really good with having signs up in the resorts and at the bus stops (even having signs directing you TO the correct bus stop), so you can’t miss it. The sign also has the times the expo takes place and the times when the first bus will run for both the expo and the races.
There’s also a volunteer at the bus stop if you have other questions. The same volunteer at Pop was there EVERY time I passed by, no matter the day or time. When I got on the bus for the 10k, I joked with her, asking if they ever let her sleep…and she was there when I got off the bus after the race too. A reminder to always thank the great volunteers during race weekends!
The buses seem to run pretty smoothly, and there’s usually not much of a wait for the next bus. The buses are all labeled with a number and the resorts it stops at, so you can’t miss it!
Soon enough, you’ll pull up to ESPN Wide World of Sports.
I love all the signs that runDisney has up for the different races ESPN Wide World of Sports. Everyone likes to take a picture with the sign for the race they will be running! And if you’re at the expo alone, don’t be shy in asking someone to take that picture for you! Everyone is just as excited as you are. 🙂
There’s also general signs up, with the schedule for the weekend.
They split up where you pick up your bibs and race shirts, so first I headed to the HP Field House to pick up my bibs.
I love the silhouettes on this screen when entering the building.
The overview of the floor. Pretty empty, other than the long line (which thankfully moves quickly enough) for official runDisney merchandise.
Picking up your packet is easy. Just have your signed waiver and ID, and find the correct line based on your bib number. In January, I left my printed waiver in the room (of course I remembered the second the bus started pulling away), but they have computers there to print your waiver. So no worries!
Around the official merchandise area, they have large panels with the race courses. I should have taken a picture with this one!
On one wall, they have a banner with all the runDisney WDW races throughout the year.
And there’s lots of other fun backdrops to take pictures in front of.
Two princesses were meeting in a corner of the floor, in front of cute backdrops. You meet both after standing in just one line. For a character hunter like me, the line wasn’t too bad. On the day I went, Jasmine and Belle switched out with Snow White and Mulan. On the other days, a really cute Princess Minnie was in the rotation (I almost went back to the expo on Saturday just to meet her!) I had a fun interaction with both princesses, and I was glad to see they weren’t rushing you!
Then it was time to go to the Jostens Center to get the race shirts and check out the vendors.
One of Cinderella’s Coachmen was by the entrance (other times during the weekend, you could meet 2!) In the past, the coachmen met in front of Cinderella’s Coach, and it was a great photo spot. Since last year’s expo was at Coronado, they met inside in front of a fake castle backdrop that was a little cheesy. I was hoping the coach would be back this year, but sadly no. I still never turn down a chance at meeting a fun character. 🙂
After walking on a red carpet, you go downstairs to pick up your race shirt. Usually the 5k shirts aren’t that great, but I loved the one this year! It’s probably the best design of any of the runDisney shirts I own. The 10k shirt was a tech shirt, but it is white, so it’s kind of see through. This was also the first time I exchanged a shirt for size at the expo, and it was a really easy process. I just brought it over to a practically empty stand, and they exchanged it for me. And if that still wasn’t the right size, they said I could keep exchanging. So no more worries about entering the wrong size when registering for a race!
I then checked out the official runDisney merchandise. Both buildings have a runDisney official merchandise area, and the one at the HP Field House is usually less crowded than the one on the main floor at the Jostens Center. Some merchandise, including the “I did it!” shirts, is only at the Jostens Center, though. Of course I didn’t realize this included some pins I wanted, so after buying a few things at the HP Field House, I got to stand in a runDisney official merchandise checkout line twice. I think that deserves a medal itself! 😉
Here’s all my runDisney goodies, including the 5k and 10k shirts I mentioned. I ended up only getting a few pins and the cute medal for the runDisney vinyl I bought in January. I’m looking forward to adding several more medals to that vinyl by the end of the year!
The shirt they sold for the WDW 10k in January was much cuter than the Enchanted 10k shirt. I bought the WDW 10k shirt without a second thought, but passed up on the Enchanted 10k one. And I’m not one to pass on something like that! The “I did it” shirts for the half and glass slipper were both cute.
I really liked all the Glass Slipper Challenge merchandise. Good thing I wasn’t doing the challenge. I would have wanted too much of the merchandise, so I saved a lot of money! I’m in trouble if I do the challenge next year, though!
Now that all the “official” stuff was out of the way, it was time to check out all the vendors!
The first thing I did when I got to the expo was to try to sign up to buy the runDisney New Balance shoes. I had tried to sign up online at 6am, but it kept giving me an error and then said it was sold out after 3 minutes. So I went to their booth to ask if there were still spots available, and was told yes, and to go outside and sign up.
Of course once I got there, they told me the line had just closed (this was around 10:30a.) I chatted with them a bit, trying to decide if it would be worth trying to go back to the expo immediately after the 5k or 10k over the next few days. Did I really need the shoes that badly? (Silly question, they are Disney AND they are pink!) It seemed like too close of a call so I figured I probably would be trying for them at a later runDisney race expo. But while roaming around the vendor booths, a friend asked if I still wanted the shoes. Uh, of course! She had a friend that wasn’t going to make it, so she was able to give me her confirmation number. I was so excited…until I saw on the board that they didn’t have my size in the Minnie shoes. I signed in anyway, just in case, and was taken to a super cute bench inside the New Balance area.
The New Balance worker was very nice, and double checked in both the store and on the truck, but they didn’t have my size. But then he said a kids size 4.5 or 5 is comparable to a womens size 7, and asked if I wanted to try. I asked if there was any difference between the adult and kids shoes, and he said the kids version just had more pink on it (bonus!!) I figured I had nothing to lose…and they fit! He was very patient when I couldn’t decide between the two sizes, and let me walk around the expo floor for a bit trying them out. When I finally decided on which size to get, I got a second bonus…the kids shoes were $50 cheaper than the adult shoes! So YAY for them not having my size! I can’t wait until we finally are rid of snow and ice so I can wear them (I’m not about to wear them through the slush to mess them up!)
The area by the registers has more fun photo spots, though I think Cindy should be wearing her running shoes here!
Though these glass slipper sneakers probably aren’t as comfortable as my favorite pair of running shoes.
After acquiring my beloved pink Minnie shoes (after everything, carrying around the New Balance bag felt like a badge of honor!), I headed over to the Sparkle Athletic booth to get a sparkle skirt for the 5k. Kelly was so helpful when I was trying to decide on my first sparkle skirt at the expo on January, I decided to ask for a picture this time. I have to laugh at the girl’s face behind me though!
I always seem to miss the Chiquita Banana lady at the expo, but I caught her this time! They were also giving out free bananas or apple slices after getting your picture. Since I hadn’t eaten all day, the apple slices tasted delicious!
I’ve never taken a picture with my bib before the race, so I finally did that in front of a nice photo spot of the castle.
It’s always fun to check out the runDisney booth. In January, this is where I got a picture with Jeff Galloway and talked with him for a while. It was a huge boost to someone like me who has just started running. I also love how they have the medals for past races. I will be doing my first half marathon at Wine & Dine, and just seeing this medal made it all the more real!
You can see in that picture the new buttons runDisney had this year. One said “my first 1/2 marathon” and another said “I’m celebrating.” Hopefully they’ll have these at every expo, because I didn’t even think to pick up the “first half marathon” one for the future!
I’m hoping to get all these medals next year (yes, I haven’t even done my first half, and I’m already looking towards my 2nd and 3rd! runDisney is some addiction.)
I’m holding off buying a fun rack for my medals until after I finish my first half. I can’t wait!
One more fun picture before leaving the expo. They provided the tiara and wand. 🙂
And runDisney wishing all runners good luck on the way out.
It was kind of funny to hear some people complaining about the long walk back to the buses after the expo. You’re going to be walking or running at least 3 miles during the weekend…this is nothing! 😉
I always end up spending a lot longer at the expo than I expect. There’s so much to see, take pictures of, and buy! I’m already looking forward to my next race weekend and expo in August at Disneyland!
Heather is an annual passholder that loves coming up with excuses to take a trip to the World. She started doing runDisney races for the characters, but then found out she actually loved running. Visit her website, I Love Characters, to see pictures of the over 200 characters she’s met at Disney World and Disneyland. Follow her adventures at Disney on twitter and instagram.