“Who wants to join me for a weekend of fun and run Disney’s Princess Half Marathon in February?”
That is what started it all in July of 2014, and twelve ladies said yes. None of us had ever participated in a RunDisney event, so we were thinking it would be like all the other races. We quickly found out that was not so.
Registration opened July 15. We had read that the race closes fast, so we were all online ready to register right at 11am. The site crashed, and some of us got to the last registration page and then it froze or knocked us out. It was a nightmare, but somehow we all got a confirmation number which meant we were “in”!
We wanted an on-property resort that had a dedicated bus to and from the race as well as to the other parks. We researched and found Port Orleans Riverside to be a good resort for our needs. We followed the RunDisney Princess Half Marathon Facebook page where other runners asked questions and got support and tips. In fact, this was THE place to learn about the race as RunDisney does not send regular emails to keep you posted. For example, we read to go to the Expo first to avoid crowds and buy any fun merchandise. They were correct. We arrived on Thursday and went straight there about 4pm.
The location where you pick up your race bib was not busy, but the building where you pick up your shirt and check bag were packed since that is where the vendors are located. We grabbed a few RunDisney items and even met Jeff Galloway. For the next few days, we visited parks and Downtown Disney. The morning of the race we were told to be on the buses by 4am; we walked out of the resort at 3:30am and were on a bus by 3:40am. There were plenty of buses coming to pick us up–another great advantage of staying on property at Port Orleans Riverside! When we were dropped off at the start of the race, there were plenty of volunteers but they needed more signs up high so that others could see around the crowds of people. There were over 24,000 runners!! It was a long walk to get to our corrals, and some of our group were in corral B. They made it with 5 minutes to spare before they started their run! There were ample port-o–potties but again, no one could see them behind a large tent so a tall sign would have been great!
On the course, we saw many characters and several with long lines, but we just kept running. When we made it into Magic Kingdom, the race became \”magical.\” This is where we started taking pictures. There were several runners Facetiming their families at home as they went through the castle! It was fantastic to be inside of the park when no one else was.
On the way back to Epcot, many of the same characters were present again, and we stopped to get pictures from a few then because the lines were shorter. The highway ramp to the bridge was a bit more challenging than the rest of the course because of the slow slope up as well as the uneven road. Once we entered Epcot, the crowds of spectators increased, and it was motivating to finish. Disney does allow spectators in certain areas of the course. At the finish line, you see a few more characters, and then you cross that line!!!
We all made it! We got our sprinkle with fairy dust to turn us into princesses, and then the earned medal was hung proudly around our necks! They take pictures of you with your medal as you are exiting the finish area. We devoured the water and other beverages and the yummy food box while we were waiting for the rest of our ladies to finish. Then we hopped on one of the many buses and headed back to Port Orleans Riverside without waiting for a minute! We had a fabulous weekend, and the race was what brought us all together and the memories will last forever!
I bet this won’t be the last Run Disney event many of us will do. It was magical! Guest Blogger Kasey Diep is a Disney travel planner with Wishdrawals Travel. She spends her time with her husband and twin boys, visiting Disney World when she can, and planning great trips for her clients! Contact Kasey to book your next vacation.