runDisney Princess Half

All You Need to Know to runDisney

January is coming quickly to a close, and for many of us this is the time when we have either abandoned those resolutions we made for the new year or started to see some progress in our new endeavors.  For some, including our very own MousekeMom Juliana, this the culmination of months of training for one of runDisney’s four race weekends. Have you ever thought about giving a runDisney race a try. We’ve got all you need to know to runDinsey.

runDisney is currently composed of four race weekends; the Wine and Dine Half Marathon weekend in November, the Walt Disney World Marathon weekend in January, the Princess Half Marathon weekend in February, and the Springtime Surprise race weekend at the end of April.  

As an avid runner who has completed several local races in North Carolina and Chicagoland, I couldn’t resist combining two of my loves by running at Walt Disney World.  I just completed my first runDisney races this year.  I ran my sixth and eighth half marathons at the Wine and Dine Half Marathon and the Walt Disney World Half Marathon.

runDisney marathon medals

From start to finish, the race weekends were such an incredible production.  From the start of the expo to the finish line and beyond, these race weekends were a well-oiled machine.  The expos for all of these races take place at the ESPN Wide World of Sports located on the Walt Disney World property.  Transportation to and from the expo is provided via motorcoach from all the resorts on property.  At a park on one of the expo days?  No problem!  I easily hopped on the monorail from Magic Kingdom to the Contemporary Resort and took a bus from there.  The expo is where you pick up your race bib, finisher shirt, and shop for any last-minute items you may have forgotten, such as energy gels, sunglasses, KT tape, and more.  In the merchandise building, you can find specialty items such as themed shirts, magnets, coffee mugs, trading pins, and much more.  

On race morning, transportation to the staging area is provided again by motorcoach, with busses running anywhere from 2:30am-4am.  runDisney strongly recommends being on a bus at 3am at the latest, as the course may run in part on the road you’ll need to take from your resort.  At the staging area you’ll go through security, check your belongings that you may want after the race at Gear Check, and head to your starting group.  If you arrive early enough, you’ll be able to enjoy some breakfast (I always eat a bagel with peanut butter and a banana pre-race and drink my pre-run fuel of choice for breakfast), enjoy the DJ (who doesn’t want to hear Cotton-Eyed Joe and the Cha-Cha Slide at 3am?), make a final trip to the porta-potty, and get in your starting group.  There is plenty of entertainment while you wait for the start of the race, with the hosts of the weekend on stage providing some light banter and interviewing inspiring runners taking on the races.  

 

The motto “Every Mile is Magic” really holds true.  Characters are placed every mile or so, with photopass photographers in place to get those pictures, and typically there is another cast member there as well who will take a photo with your phone.  Fun musical themes lead the way as you approach these characters, with big screens playing compilations of inspirational Disney movie scenes.  It’s a very well-supported course, with water and Powerade stops every mile or so, and other fuel stations such as Honey Stinger gels, chews, and other food items depending on the length of the race.  The course runs through as many as all 4 parks, depending on the race, and it really was magical to run through Cinderella’s Castle before the park opened, or to have the keepers at Animal Kingdom bring out a donkey to cheer us on.  

The finish line was a very welcomed sight after 13.1 miles, and with characters like Mickey at the finish line for the Wine and Dine half and Donald and Daisy at the finish of the WDW half, I’m not sure I’ve ever smiled so much crossing the line.  

Have I mentioned the costumes yet?  There is something really unusual and quite comical about running a half marathon while seeing a fellow runner pass you dressed as the Bowler-Hat guy, or to see several runners dressed as Yzma and Kronk.  It’s a great distraction as you are pounding out those miles on the course.  My wonderful sister-in-law and I dressed up as Anastasia and Drizella at the Wine and Dine half marathon, and my incredible friend Kristin and I dressed up as Minnie Mouse and Daisy Duck for the Walt Disney World half.  

As with basically anything Disney-related, the experience was well-produced, well-supported, and provided wonderful memories for my family and me.  You’ll see me out there on the course again, with a lofty goal of completing next year’s Walt Disney World marathon (my first!) in my sights for 2023. Now that you’ve learned all you need to know to runDisney, will we see you there?  If you’ve ever considered running or walking a 5k or longer distance, might I suggest making Walt Disney World the destination for such an accomplishment?  

Katie Gabbard
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Katie is a runDisney enthusiast and travel agent with Kingdom and Cruise Travel. Whether you are planning to runDisney or planning a magical vacation to see the wonder through the eyes of your children, she’d love to help you maximize your time and budget in the parks and in the amazing amenities of the WDW resort properties!

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