Star Wars 5k Run Disney questions

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.
My questions:

  1. 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?
  2. 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?
  3. Any suggestions for lights? Should I just google lights for runners?
  4. Is there anything else I need to know or consider?
    Thank you for your help!
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DS and I have done the SW 5k the past few years. I honestly can’t remember how many characters were on the course (I think about 4-5). We have meet characters after the race. There are M&Gs set up in the parking lot.

You pick your bib up at the ESPN center–there are specific hours (for the 5k you’re only choice is Thursday 4/4 between 10 am and 8 pm). Ideally you should have your race waiver printed and signed before you get there (it can be done there but it takes a bit longer). We haven’t seen characters at the expo but there some photo ops.

They actually don’t a pacing requirement for the 5k (despite what the website might say). You will have time to the meet the characters if you want and still finish.

And I think you said you were staying offsite. Driving to the race is not a problem (despite what Disney might say). We have always found plenty of parking. We also don’t show up nearly as early as Disney suggests because if you do you just end up standing around.

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Thanks, @Dreamer! I appreciate all the info. I completely forgot about parking. Do we park in the regular Epcot lot? Is there handicap parking for the race? Does the race begin & end at the same place or do you have to shuttle back to the parking lot?

The 5k begins and ends in the Epcot parking lot.
I am not sure about handicap parking but I would imagine there would have to be. Regular race parking is in the Epcot lot but toward the back right which is fine because the race area is the back left area of the parking lot.
Do you arrive Thursday?

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We arrive Sunday night. Thanks for all your help!
What time is the race officially over? Would we be able to make breakfast at HS?

You should be able to make breakfast at HS.
I looked back at photos from last year and we completed the 5k before 7. And we in the second to last corral and walked it. I don’t know about an official ending time. We were still meeting characters at 8.

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