Just renewed my subscription to TP for my trip for the Disney Princess Half in Feb! I have been so busy with life that I have sadly neglected my planning (shame faced.) Is there anyone that has done this race and has a few helpful hints? We booked through a runDisney agent and will be arriving Thursday 19th and leaving Monday morning the 23rd. Fortunately dining reservations have already been made
I ran the half last year. This year I’m running 10K and DD6 DS4 are running kids races. Do you have specific questions? Is this your first Disney race?
This is my first Disney race! I’m pretty familiar with WDW, but I have no clue how this race weekend is supposed to work. I guess I’m mostly “concerned” with the bus situation before the race and if there’s anything I can do to make the whole race process go smoothly and the expo situation. Its just my sister-in-law and myself, and we’re both running, so no family to have to worry about accommodating.
I’ll be doing the 10K for Princess weekend. It’ll be the first time doing races for that weekend, but between my husband and I, I think we’ve done every other time of year for races except for Everest (which we’re doing this year as well). Here’s my experience from this weekend.
I think I heard that all hotels are going to be official race hotels for Princess, but you’ll absolutely want to confirm on that. If that’s the case, they will have bus service from your hotel to the Expo, which is at Wide World of Sports. Bring your race waivers with you (although they do have printers there if you forget), and bring your photo ID. You’ll arrive, go to one location to get your bib and turn in your waiver and then go to another location to get your shirt. Then you can wander around and shop, do the Expo-related things, or just head back to your resort. You’ll get an e-mail ahead of time that gives you the time for the Expo.
Backing up a sec, remember to check the weather forecast before you come down. The winter months in Florida can be unpredictable–it could be in the 40s or it could be in the 70s for the race, and you’ll want to have the best gear for the temps. If you are making a costume for it, make sure it is something you can run in. Yesterday during the 10K I saw a woman with an ankle-length cape. It was really cool looking, but by mile 2 she was having problems with it slipping to the side and getting in her way. If the weather is going to be cold, bring “disposable clothes” – yesterday it was so bitterly cold that I layered up and then had an extra sweatshirt on top. By mile 1.5, I had warmed up enough that I didn’t need the sweatshirt. If that happens, you just take it off and toss it on the side of the road. Disney collects all of those articles of clothing and donates them to help the needy (after they give 'em a good washing, of course!).
You’ll want to lay out your items for the race the night before you go to bed. This really helps you figure out what you have and if you are missing anything. On the back of your bib, you can fill out contact information for emergency contacts. I also suggest carrying a photo ID with you, just so you have it. Aside from that, it is the usual–phone/headphones (and yes, they say not to bring headphones, but for anything longer than the 5K, you’ll want them), body glide, lip balm, fuel belt, fluids, hat, sunglasses, etc. I always bring extra safety pins with me. They give you some when you pick up your gear back, but having an extra set of four is good if you are paranoid like me.
For your gear bag, you’ll get a clear plastic bag with a sticker in it that has your bib number. You can use this to check gear on race day, but truthfully, if you can avoid checking gear, it will make your life a LOT easier. Just get up in the morning, get dressed, and head down for the bus.
With the bus, earlier is better than later – there was one year where a major snafu meant that they ran out of busses for the people who lined up to try and catch the last bus. Because it is your first Disney race, the pre-race experience is its own amazingness. The announcer, Rudy, is one of the most awesome people you can meet. There’s lots of music and dancing. There will be some character meet and greets going on when you arrive. There will be places to purchase food/coffee, and there are places to get water. And then it is all about the most important port-a-potty stop. Like I tell my daughter, even if you don’t think you have to go, make sure you try, because you’re going to have a mile or so walk out to the corrals, and then you’ll be waiting there for quite some time. For the 10K yesterday, I got in my corral around 4:45 AM and didn’t launch until after 6 AM – and it is longer for the half, depending where you are in the corrals.
If for some reason you and your sister-in-law are assigned different corrals, you can (unofficially) move down with the lower corral person.
So…into the corrals, experience claustrophobia and the joy of being herded. (Hey, they call 'em corrals for a reason!) And when the race starts, get out there and have fun owning the course! There will be entertainment on course, which is pretty neat, but the first 3 miles are a bit dull. If you can make up some speed there, by all means do it – and then slow down a bit when you are in MK, because you’ll want to take it all in. After you leave MK, it becomes very, very long. This is where you’ll really want headphones. According to my husband who has done this course several times, the worst part of it is just after you get past mile 10. You’ll be going up an on-ramp and overpass. It is steeper than the rest of the course, it is banked, and you’ll be tired at that point. Just keep with it!
Make sure you sign up for text alerts for your pace – because your gun time and chip time can vary by an hour or more, having your pace texted to you at 5K, 10K, and 15K lets you know if those balloon ladies are right behind you or not. (The balloon ladies run with a balloon tied to their back and they are the official pacers for the race. If you see them pass you, that means you are doing less than a 16-minute mile from the start time of the last corral. At that point, you may be swept at any time.) The good news is that if you’re in a higher corral, you have some wiggle room in time.
So, that’s about all I can think of right now. Almost time to watch the start of the marathon weekend half. Above all, have fun and just read your race booklet when you get it at the expo. It will answer a LOT of questions about how things work on that day.
Wow good recap. I’d say get to the expo early. Last year I went on sat afternoon after going to HS for the morning. It was a bit crowded. If there is something you’re looking to buy it may be sold out. This year year I plan to go Thursday or Friday.
For the run I wish I had a credit card on me for a massage after the race.
I always trained with headphones but there was so much to take on the course that I didn’t use them on race day.
thank you so much for all the info! that makes me feel more prepared for sure!