I did it, why yes, I did! I ran my second half marathon, the Disney Princess Half Marathon! I can say without a doubt it was a very positive experience and definitely worth all my training and even those ice baths. It has been a week and i’ve started my training for my next half marathon but I couldn’t not give a Disney Princess Half Marathon recap for anyone who is interested in running this race in the future.
The Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend actually started on Thursday but I wasn’t able to make my way down to Disney World until Friday. I rented a car, drove threw severe thunderstorms in South Carolina and stopped to pee more times I would like to share (good hydration starts way before the race!) but I finally made it to Florida and Disney World. Childhood happiness and giddiness came over me when I saw the Disney World sign.
I found my way to my resort on Disney property. I stayed at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. There was a sign for the Princess Half Marathon as soon as I entered the door. I got my self checked and off to my room I went.
After driving around and finding Trinidad South I found my room and saw that I had been upgraded to the Pirates room. This made me wish my family was with me. My youngest son loves Pirates of the Caribbean and would have loved this room.
The fridge was hidden in the barrel. No microwave in the room though but those who need their coffee in the morning there was a coffee maker (with coffee of course but no tea).
The details even continued into the bathroom and the bathtub. Flying Dutchman bathtub anyone?
There of course were also Mickey soaps that smelled like citrus.
Overall the Caribbean Beach Resort was a pretty nice place to stay!
Saturday morning I woke up and the first thing I did was head over to the Disney Princess Half Marathon Expo at the ESPN Wide World of Sports.
Packet Pickup was quick and easy. I had brought my waiver but for those who didn’t they had computers set up so you could do it there. After picking up your bib you were sent across the street to the expo.
Walking into the expo it was pretty impressive.
Most anything running related could be found at the expo. Chiquita banana’a were there giving away banana’s, KT tape was there taping people up for free,you could try different types of luna bars and a local hospital was doing body composition analysis along with many other free things. You could find Sparkle skirts, Sweaty bands, Bondi bands, running GPs’s from Garmin to Polar, Gu’s to Cliff shots, hydration belts, running shirts and more. There was also official Run Disney merchandise but unfortunately every single thing I had hoped to pick up from Run Disney was sold out.
At the expo I saw Jeff Galloway and could have said Hi and had my picture taken with him but since I was by myself I didn’t… should have but didn’t. Instead I picked up my bag and browsed and left picking up some free Dannon Oikos greek yogurt on my way out.
Not without finding my name first.
Curious about what you get when you run. Look no further! You are given a clear bag for race day bag pick up, a champion tech race shirt, race “bible”, some Craisins and…
a mini Luna Bar. I gave mine away on the bus. Darn Coconut and Soy.
After the expo Icaught a bus and walked around Downtown Disney for a bit. I loved seeing how so many things were the same from 11 years ago when I lived in Orlando and all of the new things.
After a bit of shopping I made my way back to the buses and back to the resort. Stopping in at at the Resort’s Old Port Royale Food Court. There were several food options. Pizza, Pasta, Hamburgers and more. I stuck to some of the and more and had roast chicken rice and broccoli for my pre-race dinner. Breaking my gluten free diet and getting some pizza or pasta sounded good but I was good.
After dinner and a rain shower I went for a easy 2 mile run/walk around the resort.
Under the bridge these guys made me smile!
After my run I had bought a special dessert for after dinner. A cupcake from Babycakes at Downtown Disney. Their cupcakes are Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free, Egg Free, Vegan and made without refined sugar. So needless to say I was excited to finally have a treat I could eat.
I took a bite and decided to look and see what they were made of and I became instantly sad. This Gluten and Soy Free girl is allergic to coconut and I found the allergy warning on their website. The cupcakes had coconut in them. My throat got a scratchy and a few hives popped up. I just hoped for the best. It was to sad to think of coming so far to be sidelined by having a bite of cupcake. Off to shower drink more water (and a bottle of Skratch) and to bed I went hoping for the best.
Of course setting my alarms. I am not a morning person and going to bed before 9pm was HARD!
I didn’t sleep that well but I was rested and excited for the day, at 2:30am. I still had a couple hives but otherwise I felt ok. I got myself dressed and gathered up everything I needed and ate a quick breakfast. I brought my own breakfast. I didn’t want to be left trying to find something at grab and go or running out to a store. I ate my usual rice cake with peanut butter with maybe a tablespoon of marshmallow fluff on top. It is my gluten free version of a fluffenutter. I then left for the bus stop. I walked up to the bus stop as a bus was leaving at 3am but that was ok because there were 4 buses behind it. They even let the next bus pass and I got on the next one and off to Epcot we went.
We get off the bus and we are left to walk. I thought this was the 20 minute walk that Disney tells you about but I was wrong. Spaceship Earth looked great at 3am- ish.
Couldn’t help but take a selfie like so many others were doing. Really when else do you get this opportunity?
Then it was back to walking to the race area with all of the other runners.
In this area they had a DJ playing music to get us going, they had a couple areas to take pictures but I didn’t see any characters. This is also the same area you go for Race Retreat if you had bought that option. I didn’t and didn’t have any issues without it. It was warm, I had my water and I had no issues sitting on the ground. There were lounge chairs you could grab and take a nap on. I did some light stretching and drank the rest of my water while in the pre race section. Around 3:45 I made my way over to the porta potties and then left for what I thought was the corrals. Just a note the porta potties are dark… I used the flashlight on my phone for light.
I was wrong though alike some others who were off to the corrals at the same time. We thought the letters outside related to our corrals. What they really were for was for gear check. I fully blame my blonde hair.
It was after going through gear check that the 20 minute walk that Disney tells you about begins. We walked and we walked. There were marathonfoto photographers along the way and volunteers helping tell us which direction to go. I found my corral and ended up in about the middle of it.
Then as time grew closer we had a few people from RunDisney emcee’ing, Miss America spoke and there was a special birthday message to a lucky military spouse. Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother came and started the races. Each corral was counted down and had their own fireworks. Sadly though the Fairy Godmother only counted down the first few corrals and then she had to go.
Before I knew it my corral was off. I started off running and had issues with my water belt so I made my way to the right after being annoyed long enough. I walked and adjusted it and that is when I fell into a group of walkers and those running intervals. I then ran when I could and otherwise walked, weaving and going around others. Even going into the grass but training on muddy trails I was ok with that. I first came across kites from Mary Poppins and was in love. Next up was Jack Sparrow, there was a long line and it was still dark so I skipped him and decided to stop on my way back to Epcot. I continued running and even more excitement came over me as I entered the Magic Kingdom.
The character stops continued as we went on. On our way into the Magic Kingdom there were the Heroes, a couple race car drivers and cars and Villains such as Malificent. As much as I wanted to stop I had already decided what characters I wanted to stop for if I could. I had a huge fear of the balloon ladies despite my being positioned in a decent corral to start. I took pictures as I ran. Some weren’t the best though. Like this one was running downhill under the bridge to enter the Magic Kingdom from a backstage area I haven’t seen since I was in High School and preformed with my high school choir at Candlelight Processional each Christmas season. On top of the bridge was a DJ with giant Mickey hands.
One of my favorite moments was running down Main Street USA. One of my must get pictures was of myself in front of the castle and after waiting my turn a cast member took my pic for me. Then off to Tomorrow Land I went and off to storm the castle!
This was probably my next favorite part of the half marathon. It was a little slow moving but awesome!
The trumpeters were out and playing as we approached and went through the castle. It was also at this point my phone crashed as I entered the castle. Thankfully I got it up and running again.
I continued on through Frontierland and exiting to another back stage area I had again not seen since I was in high school. In this area was Princess Aurora and Prince Phillip and a bit later the 10K check point. We continued on seeing the Train that goes around the Magic Kingdom and more character stops. I can’t forget to mention we heard our “power song” Let it Go.
I kept on going more walking than running but a lot of weaving. I looked at my time and saw that I was on my way to a PR so I just kept going. Up and over an overpass was next. My first half marathon was up and over the Franklin Mountains and my training had been on hilly trails so this was not that bad for me. I especially loved the green soldier. He was a mean drill sergeant who was making us laugh as we went up. Once we got up to the top and I saw over the overpass and how many people were still behind me the fear of the balloon ladies completely went away. I didn’t slow down my pace though. Although Disney races are typically more for fun and not PR’s, I was going to PR.
Next thing I knew there it was, Spaceship Earth and the last mile. There were so many people out cheering and clapping. Every Starbucks cast member was standing and clapping as well as many other Epcot cast members. I ran past the Fairy Godmother and Sophia the First. Then a Gospel Choir right before the last stretch. I ran (dropping my phone and having to go back) and gave Mickey a high five and finished triumphantly with my hands held high.
I did it, again. Thirteen point freaking one in 100% humidity and I PR’ed.
Those photos’s I had wanted. I missed Mickey and Minnie. I’m still holding hope that Marathonfoto got a pic of me high giving Mickey at the finish. Jack Sparrow well he decided to take a break as I was approaching the pirate ship. It’s all good though after the race I got a pic with my favorite princess, Cinderella.
I wandered around after for a bit. I checked out the Run Disney tent but it was the same merchandise as the Expo. There was a massage tent that I would have loved but it was cash only. There were various food trucks and champagne for sale at the finish also. I ended up going back to my bus line which moved quickly and back to my room with my post race goodies.
We were first given cooling towels after finishing the race and then our medals. Mine was put around my neck where other people had theirs handed to them. Next we were sprinkled with Pixie dust. We were given our mesh bags drinks and food boxes. Finisher photos were in there somewhere too.
The boxes were all pretty much the same. Pop chips, hummus, chocolate covered blueberries, a piece of toffee, more craisins and a Luna bar.
After rolling my legs with my foam roller and a hot shower. I got myself ready and headed for the bus to head to Downtown Disney for the Happily Ever After Party. I made it there just in time for the start of the free socks giveaway at little mismatched and then I went over and spun the wheel at fit2run’s booth and won a great Brooks tech shirt. I am all about Finding Your Happy Pace!
Overall the Disney Princess Half Marathon is a good race! I would love to do it again but I have to say it is a race that you do with friends. It’s not nearly as fun to run it by yourself. I hope to run it again someday!
I think I have found a new love for RunDisney races!