The Disney World Princess Half Marathon Weekend is just around the corner so it’s time to start breaking out the checklist to make sure that you are ready for the series. I’ve run every Disney race in the U.S. and this series is unique in several different ways.
Prepare yourself for……
I’ve got to say the expos are so weird. Disneyland is very consistent with their expos and will usually add a small tweak every series to make the overall experience better. Disney World on the other hand, is very inconsistent. Marathon weekend? Organized all though it can be stressful because of how many people are going through. Star Wars? Organized. Wine and Dine? Nuts. Part Hunger Games and part Game of Thrones.
The ultimate…..Princess Expo. The expo itself is fine, it’s the merch where you feel like maybe it’s a good idea to brush up on your hand to hand combat. Think about what you are getting in to. 95% women, so there are more shoppers. Re-sellers trying to make their bank, stress and a feeling of a Black Friday sale at Walmart. I have seen punching , shoving, taking items from other people and packed shoulder to shoulder. Here are my tips to survive:
1. Go early and get in line. Sometimes they open earlier than posted.
2. Know what you want before you go. They will usually throw a preview out a few days before and even more the day before.
3. Prioritize what you want. Don’t waste time looking at the shirts first, if you want the pins. Someone may be buying them by the handfuls (no lie!) straight out of the boxes.
4. Decide how important it is. If it’s a “like to have” go later in the day. If it’s a “gotta have” get there early. Typically the jackets, wine glasses and pins sell out the quickest.
5. If you want some cool RunDisney gear and don’t have to have the Princess branded items. Hit the little shop after the bib pickup. Most people don’t go in there and it’s a much better experience. They also usually have some exclusives there as well.
6. If you are interested in the RunDisney shoes, check to see if there is a virtual que. Sometimes New Balance does it and sometimes they will let you walk up.
7. I always hit the expo in this order: Main merch, check in with Jeff and Barb, get bibs, hit small merch area, return to expo.
8. If I weren’t going after merch I’d hit it in this order: Bib pickup, small merch, expo (Make sure to say hello to the Galloways!), check big merch area on wait time.
BONUS: Find the Expo picture stop. It’s typically in the Bib pickup area right before you go downstairs to the waiver printoff area. They always have a cool overlay. They’ve recently even changed it from photos (like the one below) to short videos.
Here is another reason why this series is unique. It holds both my favorite race and least favorite race in all the US Disney races.
Get there early and get the character stops that are at the stage area. They usually have some good rare ones there. They will also stick around for awhile after the race if you don’t get all of them ahead of time.
My least favorite Disney race by far. My experience was that it felt unusually crowded, the lines were much longer than normal at characters and there were about a billion more selfies taken at this race. I was in line at one stop last year and the girl in front of me sent out over a dozen selfie snap chats at 6am. Who is snap chatting at 6am?!? You can read about the whole race HERE.
If you want to run, get out front. If you don’t, just prepare for a longer time to get through.
Very much like any other 10k they have on the east coast. The course rarely changes. (Thats not a bad thing. The course is fun!) You can read the recap for it HERE
I get asked often about which is my favorite race. I have to laugh and set it up when I tell them it’s the Princess Half Marathon. Think about this: The weather is perfect. It’s typically cooler to a little warm. It seems to miss the crazy swings in weather that the marathon weekend gets. The vibe is great. This race actually seems a little less crowded than others on the East Coast. You get to go through the castle!
You should also get some character stops that are exclusive for this race. They typically have a Prince stop, and wedding party and other rare characters that are only out for this race.
You can checkout the recap for that race HERE
For the guys:
1) Thinking you’ll be unique and funny by wearing a tutu? So did 300 other guys. Wearing a tutu with shorty-shorts and no shirt? Now that’s unique.
2) The best placement you’ll get in the half is B corral. I call it the first dudes allowed coral.
3)If you are a fast running guy, you’ll have a better shot at awards. The typical ratio is about 45% guys, here it will be between 8-15%
Shoes: If you can bring extra pair, do so. When I East Coast, I wear a different pair to every race and a pair in the parks. I at minimum I would bring 2 pair.
Race outfits: Plan ahead of time and pack in gallon size ziplock bags (labeled) You won’t stress out about where your stuff is and you just lay it out the night before the race.
Other race items: I pack two other gallon bags: medical and food. My medical has the tape I use to tape my feet on long runs, band aids, chaffing sticks, cremes and nail clippers. My food bag is run food plus extras from snack boxes and races that are a good, quick pick me up.
Massage Tent: It’s typically after the half and worth every penny. Bring cash. It’s $1 per minute up to 20 minutes.
Read how to get those good race pictures HERE
Comment below and I will answer all the questions that I can!
Have fun out there!