Hi, everyone! I’m looking for some information about the Star Wars 5k event so I can prepare. It will be the first ever 5k for me & my son. My son, Patrick, is 20 and has autism. We have AP and have been to Disney about a dozen times, but never participated in any run event except for Special Olympics on a local level. Patrick is very fast so I’m not worried about pace (except maybe for me keeping up, but he is good about making sure he can see me if he gets ahead). We’ve been going to the gym 5 days a week for the past year, running 30 minutes on the treadmill. Patrick is resistant to changing his gym routine so I can’t increase his treadmill time. Patrick’s goal is to meet as many Star Wars characters as possible & that is the reason he wants to do the race.
He is sensitive to crowds & noise so we usually RD & leave the park after lunch. He uses earphones for noise. We never do fireworks, but we have been to MNSSHP & MVMCP so he will wait in line for a character he wants to see. He is okay if people fill up behind us, but has trouble being in the middle or back of a crowd. We have had to leave a park (AK) when the walkways are too crowded.
I’ve contacted Run Disney & they said we can hang out in a special tent for athletes with disabilities prior to the start & they can put us in a less crowded corral to start. They suggested that we wear something with lights so we can see each other in the dark. They can assign us a guide if I think Patrick will get too far ahead of me, but I think we will be ok with that. They also said they can always transport us to the finish line if Patrick becomes overwhelmed at any point during the race.
I usually show Patrick videos to prepare him for new experiences. I’ve found some on YouTube from last year. So we will watch them a couple weeks before we go.
- Please tell me about meeting the characters. How many characters do they usually have on the race? Are they spaced out a certain way, like every half mile? Are there characters at the start & finish as well?
- Can anyone tell me specifically about getting our bibs? Do we just show up at the ESPN center? Are there characters to meet there also?
- Any suggestions for lights? Should I just google lights for runners?
- Is there anything else I need to know or consider?
Thank you for your help!