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Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend

I had the chance to take part in the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend a month ago. Why the Princess Half Marathon Weekend? Okay, because that’s just what it is. It’s a running weekend, a real event. With the ready for a princess expo open throughout the weekend, a 5 km on Friday, a 10 km on Saturday, and a half marathon on Sunday, Run Disney makes sure that every princess feels as special as they enjoy their fitness throughout the weekend. What better to celebrate than to play with another 25,000 princesses?

The Fit For A Princess Expo

You will pick up your race bibs from the Princess Half Marathon; race t-shirts (supplied by each team) and the coveted merchandise from the Run Disney.  The show opened on Thursday at noon, so naturally, I arrived at 11:00, pushed my family into the merchant line of RunDisney (a line that leads to a huge arena because that’s how much merchandise there is) and picked up my way. I had hoped the exhibition would open at 11:30 a.m. at the latest. (Early), so I could quickly get my race bib before re-uniting in The Hunger Games with my family. I had printed my wavier at home so I could walk in slowly; spot Corral A numbers, grab my bib, photograph and get out. On my way to the shop building where my family was waiting to buy the 2018 Princess Half Marathon Weekend swag, I braced myself.

Cinderella’s carriage was at the merch building, a prop made available for photo ops. Due to the ever-growing line, I decided to skip this photo stop. I went into the building and spied the’ pre-ordered merchandise ‘ sign. I figured I could get this right now while my family kept waiting in line for the “hunger games” to begin.

I call it hunger games because at the half-marathon weekend of Wine and Dine, I once observed competitors firing literally at volunteers and staff to get their hands on any merchandise… of any size! With my family, I couldn’t even create a human hand chain because people were pushing so hard.

When I realized it was in the merchant’s house, I was led to the pre-order pick-up area, like beyond the row. I asked the worker if I walked to the shop after picking up my stuff… she said no, I searched again, there wasn’t a separate area.  I grabbed my pins and jacket and walked straight to the line of Pandora.

I’m so grateful that I went straight to the Pandora line because the Pandora, Alex, and Ani bracelets and Dooney and Bourke merchandise warriors were all in the same line! It’s been an administrative disaster!  The demand for these products was so high that every 5 minutes’ delay in getting into that line added half an hour or more waiting time to get your goods. I hope they fix this because I saw my first nervous shopping breakdown of the day in that line.  I met my parents, picked up my preferred merchandise, and with Alex and Ani bracelets in hand (they were so beautiful) I went on to shop for another hour picking up every piece of Disney Princess Half Marathon merchandise I might have liked. I handed over my haul to my father, who was so fortunate to have the chance to wait in the 1-hour long cash line, while Mom and I went to the Princess Expo Wear. I don’t even joke, he’s been waiting for an hour to make the purchases. The Built for a Princess Expo is intended for a 3 team.

In the meantime, we walked casually over to the Fit for an expo of Princess runners where D.J greeted us. Charming Boy. This venue provided all that a runner might need (or want) and anything.  Sure, there was everything you could imagine.  From stylish running clothes, running shoes, gels of road, sparkle tops, to socks of compression. You might find it here if you forgot to pack anything. I had already packed what I needed to be an experienced runner so I enjoyed the atmosphere and got my nails done with princesses on them while we were waiting for my father to meet us. I was ready to go after buying my race shirts at a corner booth, complete with fresh nails. I stopped at some of the picture spots on my way out and went to Tony’s early dinner in The Magic Kingdom. Stage 1 complete.

Disney Princess Half Marathon weekend, a ceremony of colors and costumes

Disney Princess Half Marathon weekend, a ceremony of colors and costumes

The Enchanted 10km Race

The race needs entrants to arrive at 5:30 a.m. in their corrals. As for RunDisney races, I like to get up earlier, relax, drive to the start of the race and wait for the start of the race in my car. We left the house and arrived at Epcot. I decided that it was time to make the great journey to the toilet after sitting in the car for 40 minutes. Grant yourself a good 40 minutes to get into the toilets because the queues are long and you don’t want to miss the start of the race because you’ve got to pee. We walked up to the entrance to the runners where I took pictures and went into my corral.

It was crazy to get to Corral A’s side! Some men pulled themselves literally to the front. I could even see a mom moving her 10-year-old to the start line. Personally disagree with this for several reasons, the first was that the poor kid was going to be trampled by the implacable corral A riders. The second that some people are trying to compete, so I think they should be in front of them. Nonetheless, what I saw was people pushing their way to a corral that was already packed.

With Fairy Godmother, the race started. We turned the fireworks off and sprung into the night. Upon clearing the crowd, I could see Mulan in the distance. I couldn’t resist it. I pulled over with her to take a picture and then went on the run. I saw Mushu in the distance as I left! Dang, he’s been too late for me at the party. We raced under the sign of the Epcot entrance and up the bridge to Epcot Center Drive and the delight of my soul, there was Mr. Stitch and his date Lilo. I had to pause again.

Moving on to Epcot Center Walk, I could see the flashes of images showing another character upfront…. Pocahontas and Miko. The next part of the run appeared pretty free from imagination with just a few lights set up and playing the occasional movie screen… you guessed it, Disney videos. We also passed a water station and a toilet stop.

When we hit the halfway point, we turned the corner from the Epcot Center Drive and headed into the park between the Chinese and Norwegian pavilions. In the World Showcase, all the lights were on and the fires lit around the lagoon. All the buildings shone but with a pink undertone, and Epcot’s music played in the background. It’s a sight to see in the dark that’s a blank Epcot. I took a few extra magical pictures.

Princess Half Marathon, Run with the lovely Disney characters

Princess Half Marathon, Run with the lovely Disney characters

 

Once there was a crowd of fans in the Boardwalk area, some showing funny signs, to keep up the runners ‘ spirit. We turned behind the new Skyliner building around the Boardwalk, past the Yacht Club Resort and beyond the Beach Club Resort, raced backstage and came out on the other side of England. Think about a world-wide journey. With about 1 mile left, we raced towards the entrance to Epcot, where we eventually crossed the finish line. I’ve just sprinted in with one last stop, Pluto’s visit. Streaming into the finish line, I picked up my trophy and my snack box at 23rd in my age group (with all the pics), chugged like 3 Powerades and joined my friends. I mean, I stopped with Princess Minnie and Jasmine for a video, of course, but I mean… obviously.

Since spending a few moments watching some of the other runners arrive at the finish line, we headed home for a well-deserved rest, followed by some carb loading at Tutto Italia and once climbing around the world.

During the run or when finished, benefit the chance to take photos with Mickey and Minnie

During the run or when finished, benefit the chance to take photos with Mickey and Minnie

Overall

It’s like no other activities running Disney. There is an explanation for why thousands of people dedicate their holidays and weekends to one of these activities every year. It’s amazing how it feels to be with princesses all committed to getting fun and fitness help. These races ‘ entertainment value was unmatched. Organizing a major, incredible event like that. RunDisney keeps me searching for more. The courses are spectacular and it makes all the difference the spirit and vibes of the other runners who all have a blast. The fact that this race feels like an inclusive celebration experience is making RunDisney weekends worthwhile again. The Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend is one of my best experiences.

Reference:

The Little Black Book of Walt Disney World, 2013 Edition, By Rona Gindin

The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World 2017, By Bob Sehlinger, Len Testa

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