runDisney Princess Half Marathon 2019 Tips

Hello All! This will be my 1st runDisney / WDW vacation!! So excited!! But because of this I was just wondering what people usually do on their arrival day & also on their departure day? My husband & I will be arriving on Saturday in which we have to go to the Expo to pick up my race packet 1st. But after that is done, and with the Half Marathon being the very next morning, I was just looking for some pointers/tips as to what to do after the expo, what you usually eat at WDW that would be “good” for dinner but not too heavy & then what you would usually do the morning of the race, i.e what/where to eat breakfast, what to bring during the half marathon, etc. Also my husband will not be running with me so can he still come & cheer me and the others on or even be near the finish line without purchasing a “cheer” package? Then for departure day, what would be recommended? Do you normally not go to any parks on the last day of vacation, or just use that day to do most of the shopping? Trying to get a head start on all the planning since I’m a newbie all around lol. But thanks ahead of time for any info, it’s greatly appreciated!!

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This will be my first race-cation too!!! :slight_smile: this trip we’ve flying in really early and out really late but on previous trips that’s not been the case and we usually do a dinner and breakfast at a different resort. You just have to allow time for transportation if using Disney transportation. Also, on that note: if you use the monorail there’s a separate resort side that’s quicker than having to go to TTC. I’m not a foodie in the sense of picking a place because the foods off the charts good- I have a young daughter and having fun is more important right now. We seem to always come back to 1900 for dinner and really enjoyed O’hana for breakfast.

I’m interested to see more responses too.


I will be there too! It’s my first race so I don’t have advice for race day. I’ve listened to some podcasts about run Disney events that were helpful. I just googled run Disney podcasts and found them. They detailed the courses themselves and what to expect along the way.

My friend and I are only running the 5K since it’s our first race. Hopefully we will be back to run the 10k or half! But ADR day has already arrived! We made ours yesterday for our extended weekend trip. There was a lot of availability. We booked CRT, BOG dinner, CG Sunday brunch! Sooo excited!

We arrive Thurs late morning. We will check in at expo and then head to HS. We plan to eat dinner there at 50sPT. Then to bed since we run Fri morning.

I think departure day has tons of options. If you are thinking shopping then DS would be the way to go. But it probably depends on where you are staying for what is nearby and what kind of park passes you have.


For your arrival day, you could go to DS and find tons of food options there. Or California Grill at CR is a nice restaurant with views of MK fireworks if you think you will be up that late. Otherwise Ohana at the Poly? Sometimes eating where you are staying to just relax and avoid travel is best. But definitely make your ADRs because is today your pretrip 180 day? If you are staying on site you can book the length of stay for your trip.

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I did the Goofy Challenge (marathon and half-marathon back to back) in 2010. I’m not a “real” runner but I did run eight marathons around that time so take what you may of my comments.

  1. Take it easy the night before. Carb loading is fake news and an excuse to pig out so if this is your first race ever don’t have for dinner anything that you are not used to. A regular meal and a good night’s sleep is all you need.
  2. Get there EARLY. There is a lot of people and the starting point can be remarkably far for either the parking lot or the bus drop off.
  3. Unless you are a serious runner, HAVE FUN. My finish time suffered tremendously but my best pictures ever are from when I ran the race. Even if you think the same as @ryan1 the character photo ops during the race are super cool. I have a group photo with Captain Hook, Wendy, Peter Pan, and Smee that is nearly impossible to get under regular circumstances. Same goes with some Princess/Prince photo ops which are super rare. Stop and take pictures, photos while running are nice but nothing beats a photo in fun running gear with the castle in the background.
  4. Check the weather and plan accordingly. Sometimes it can get colder than you would expect.
  5. Prepare to be bored out of your mind. The parks are remarkable small when you run through them and the back roads are not that interesting. You will spend 99.5% of your time out of the parks and in some empty road.
  6. Bring your medals to the parks afterwards! The ambiance is super nice with everyone bragging about their accomplishment and the photo ops wearing your medals are also nice.

I am currently one of “those people” who have racked up a total of 60+ runDisney medals in my display, including 5 Coast-to-Coast medals. Here are some thoughts for you.

First, let me echo that @SneakyPete is right on with the suggestions. Take it easy the night before, don’t skimp on starting line arrival, have fun, prepare for the weather, know that there is a boredom factor (that Disney tries to reduce, but will never be perfect), and be ready to celebrate with your shiny new finisher medals.

Some other practical thoughts: When you plan your evening meal, go for something that’s a mostly known quantity. If you know that seafood doesn’t stick with you the next morning into a race, skip Flying Fish. (Yes, I said that!) I tend towards Trattoria al Forno for the night before my longest race of a weekend (I do the Dopey a lot, ok?), but go with something familiar.

Get to bed early-ish. Starting time comes early (5:30 AM!) and getting there comes earlier still. YOu should plan to be out the door absolutely no later than the 3:30-3:45 range if you’re taking a race bus. Earlier is better, because sometimes buses do get delayed on the way to the start (I had this happen last January on Marathon day - arrived <10 mins before the national anthem - no fun).

Check the forecast the week of the race, and as close to departure as you can. Still, it’s florida, so weather can change. I recommend at least one set of cold-weather tights and one hot-weather skirt/shorts and tank, because you need to make a final choice on race morning.

be prepared for congestion. There are a few spots on the race course that anyone running a >2hr half marathon are likely to get bottlenecked. Don’t get upset, just find what is available for space. That may mean walking.

Nothing new on Race Day. This extends for everything from any costume you may have planned to your shoes and sports bra. chafing and injuries happen from violating this rule of thumb far too often.

CHEARing. Your ChEAR team can be in many places around the resort without purchasing any viewing package. Popular places include the TTC, Main Street USA, the road in front of the Poly, the bus loop at EPCOT, and right before the finish line. There are no-cost places to stand in all of these locations, though for most runners your ChEAR squad will not be fast enough to make it to see you at all of them. I recommend either TTC + Poly OR Main Street, but not to try to hit all three. Doing TTC + Poly is doable even to see a relatively fast runner. They can then catch the monorail to EPCOT for whatever their final spot is going to be.

Seeing your ChEAR squad/runner. It is often easier for the runner to see the ChEAR squad than the ChEAR quad to spot the runner. Know what each other are wearing, and the plan for where they will be cheering - that makes it easier to find them. Don’t be afraid to wave your arms like a goon when you see them.

In my experience, there’s very little like the excitement of a runDisney race. I know I’ve made friends who’ve lasted years there. Have a great time.


Wow! that is some serious effort (and money). If I may ask, which is your favorite race? I’m interested in running one of the Star Wars races but I don’t know if it makes any difference the race you choose.

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I gravitate back to marathon weekend every year, with the half on Saturday being my favorite race of the bunch - though there’s no feeling like entering World Showcase 47.4 miles into the Dopey Challenge and feeling all of your emotions well up in anticipation of that finish line.

Realistically, go for whatever race meets your time-of-year needs and theme desires. Ultimately, they’re a lot of fun.

My next “new to me” runDisney race is the one in Paris this year… watch for a TR in <a month!


Isn’t that what we might call an oxymoron?!?



I’m slower that ketchup running down a bottle. I’m not a runner and I certainly don’t have 60 medals. I just wanted to make it clear that I am not any kind of expert, just some random internet guy.


I can relate to a point. Of course, while I run a couple 5Ks a year now to keep in shape, I did one half marathon and vowed I’d never do that again. So when you said you’re not a real runner, but you actually did another a marathon SEVEN TIMES after that first one, I had to LOL!


A few things in addition to MouseGirl42s excellent advice…You may want to have a “throw-away” sweatshirt and/or sweatpants to wear in the corrals and then ditch as you warm up during the race as it can be quiet cold at 5:00am.
What I do on arrival day and departure day for me always depend on when my flights are. I usually fly into MCO early enough for me to hit the expo, check in and them spend a few hours in the park.
I wouldn’t do much that first day since you are running very early the next morning. Maybe hit the expo and then spend some time in DS, have an early dinner (nothing adventurous) and then get to bed early.
For 1/2’s I don’t bring anything more than what I am wearing and my phone (for character pics). For the Marathon I will also wear a run belt with a gel or two, my smallest rechargeable battery, body glide, and a small bottle of powerade.
Morning of the race I will just have a coffee,bagel and banana. I bring food to put in my room but check at resort to see if food court will have anything early race morning.
Also, pack your running gear in your carry-on just in case your luggage doesn’t find you.


So glad I caught this thread! I’m running my first Disney run (the half marathon in Jan) and my biggest questions are:

  1. What do you need to carry for the race? ID? Can I just come with phone and Magic Band?

  2. What/where do you eat before the race? I cannot run with an empty stomach. Should I plan to bring food with me for my room? I’m driving so it’s not a big deal.


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Congrats on your first RunDisney event! I will be running in Jan as well, doing my first Dopey.

First, those questions can vary individual to individual…with that being said;
For the 1/2, I will probably have only my phone and Magic Band. I might have some gels or gummies for fuel possibly bodyglide depending on how my body is after the two prior day races. RunDisney has plenty of water/powerade stops and med tents along the course. But I definitely will have a dry change of clothes in my checked bag, and will probably wear something warmer that I can peel off and toss as I heat up.

I also don’t like to run on an empty stomach and need my caffeine fix. I will probably buy bananas, a bag of bagels and some peanut butter to keep in my room should nothing be available in the food courts that early in the morning. When I did my first full at WDW in 2015, Pop’s food court was open and I had some waffles before I jumped on the bus.

Enjoy your first run in WDW, I’m sure there will be more as they can be very addicting!

You can show up with just your race number on, if you like. Anything else is up to you.

Personally, I’ll run the races that week with my Magic Band and my mid-race nutrition. I’ll also bring a bag in order to check a coat at bag check if it’s super cold.

I plan my wake up schedule to make coffee in my room before I go, and take a Luna Bar with me to eat in the corrals. I don’t like to run empty, but can’t be overloaded, either. You can either bring your stuff, or purchase your race-type nutrition at the expo, and many of the resorts offer a “runners bag” for you to purchase as a breakfast the day before.

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Awesome thank you!

Awesome! I’m actually staying at Pop :slight_smile:

We are at Pop as well. I’ll be there from weds-tues running all the races, DW coming on fri and is doing the 1/2.
Kids are not happy about us going to WDW w/o them again (we went for an adults trip to run the Dark Side last year). We are taking them next summer so they can get a chance to go…and I get two trips :grin:

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