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.
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
- 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.