Disney Princess Half Marathon Recap
Are you ready to race in the Happiest Place on Earth? No really are you?
So let me preface: I ran this race 2 weeks before my wedding, so I was an emotional basket case. Everything was amazing, or beautiful and I think I was on the verge of happy tears all 3 days my friend Christine and I were there for.
Christine’s sister was part of the Disney intern program so we got all these amazing perks, like free 2 day park hoppers and a half-priced hotel room! AMAZING! Disney is not a cheap race. But let me say now, it’s worth it. I have never been to a more prepared or well laid out race with as much support.
The Disney Princess Half Marathon is a female-oriented race. There is a lot pink, sparkles, and tutus. If that is not your thing, this is not your race. In my book, pink, sparkles, and glitter are all amazing. Christine convinced me to wear a tutu (which I made – it’s probably obvious…). But this is the last time I wear a tutu in a race. they are itchy and fly everywhere.
Christine and I made a huge error the day before. After the expo, we walked for hours and hours through the parks. I mean really how could we not… it’s Disney. Back to the expo… the only downside. It was packed! Unfortunately by the time we got to the merchandise tent around 10am on Saturday most of the really cool race items were gone or there were extremely limited sizing available. So we each picked up a finisher shirt & picked up some arm and calf sleeves by Zensah ( my favorite). I needed hot pink to go with my Sleeping Beauty theme.
Rise and Shine! It’s time for a Race!
Disney races are run before the parks open. Therefore, you need to be at the start at 5am. Buses pick you up from Disney hotels at 4am. Using my calculations, if you go in reverse I believe we woke up at 3am. Since humans don’t function at 3am I don’t really remember this. But Christine assures me I woke up and was at the bus with my CoCo Latte at 4am.
When we finally arrived at the starting region outside Epcot, we did the usual race prep… find a bathroom. From there we headed to our Corral. I had read online that the start was quite a hike from the buses, and they were right. It was a good 15 min walk to get to the start. But once we were there is was beautifully organized. All the Corrals were clearly marked and large jumbo-trons showed inspirational speakers, RunDisney videos, and played music. This was a great distraction while we stretched for the next 45 minutes.
Here’s where Disney outdoes themselves. During the first Corral’s departure the “Fairy Godmother” says “bippity boppity boo” with lots of fan fare and a HUGE fireworks display. My was I delightfully surprised when it happened for every start! Granted we didn’t get to watch too many because we were Corral C.
After stretching more than I have in my whole life in the Corral and leaving the hotel 2 hours before we ran, naturally Christine and I had to use the restroom… again. So we essentially sprinted to the first one located less than a mile from the start (see Disney knows how to set up a race)!
This race course begins at Epcot goes through Magic Kingdom and finishes again at Epcot, all before the parks even open. The highlights are running through the parks but in between there was plenty of visuals and photos ops.
This race was mostly smooth sailing but lots of lateral movement around walkers. Do not expect to PR during this race, but expect to have a fantastic time.
The course had these neat banners with characters, unique signs at each mile markers, some kind of human kite hybrids, and lots of other great distractions. My favorite were the photo ops with all kinds of characters. We did not stop for any photos with characters due to craaazy long lines.
At mile 5 you begin to approach the BEST part of the race. Magic Kingdom!!
At this point everyone is excited. You can see the castle in the distance and the half way point is quickly approaching. Course support is giving out water & sports drinks. To my surprise they were also giving away Vaseline and BioFreeze, which is awesome. I grabbed the BioFreeze 2 times to use on my knee.
Running up Main Street in Magic Kingdom is one of the greatest experiences I have ever had as a runner. You are accomplishing a half marathon, while running through Disney World. It’s an exhilarating feeling and makes for great photo ops.
It’s all downhill after Magic Kingdom. There is still the same great course support, but now the sun is coming up, more people are walking, and it’s just a race to the finish. Around mile 8 I began to seriously question my life choices about why I do this. Christine was prepared, she busted out her phone that had a special Disney playlist and began to play that song from Mulan. You know the song…
After my mini-melt down, I moved on. Thanks entirely to this song. I began to focus on just having some fun. Christine and I took more walk breaks and started to fantasize about the amazing Mickey Mouse waffles we’d get after the race. As we headed towards the end of the course we stopped at the power station, but I was prepared after Miami and stuck to my Espresso Love GU! There is only one semi-hill toward the end and it’s more of an overpass.
This overall was a fantastic experience and Christine’s 1st Half Marathon! I would absolutely do another Disney race again! We did notice that we raced 13.6 miles according to my super accurate Garmin. Our assumption is that the lateral movement from jogging around walkers caused the additional half mile.
We finished in 3:29:53. It wasn’t fast but we had a great time! (see what I did there) Ha!
Oh and the Mickey Mouse Waffles were amazing!! What was less amazing was Christine dragging me around Magic Kingdom all afternoon. In the end, I have to thank Christine I woke up the next morning with almost no pain or stiffness and was able to easily drink back down to Miami.