Tuesday, February 12, 2013

runDisney Princess Half Marathon Question and Answer

With the runDisney Princess Half Marathon quickly approaching, lots of readers, Facebook friends and Twitter followers have been asking me lots of questions about the race.  I thought I would write a post with all the questions I have been asked and share them with everyone!  

Any good Expo Tips?
  • This questions seems to be asked all the time. My answer for this one would depend on what you are expecting of the expo. Are you looking for the least crowded time to hit the expo?  Then I would say to go late Friday morning.  That is when it will be the least crowded.  Are you looking for the hot item of the year? (the Dooney and Burke purse last year, the New Balance shoes this year).  If you are after one of the hot items, then get there early!  People start lining up super early.   The expo can get crowded on Saturday, especially in the afternoon. Most importantly--have fun, enjoy the expo, and get some cool free stuff! 

How much do you estimate the entire trip costs?
  • I am a good person to ask this question to--I am a Disney Travel agent!  A specific number is tough to say, but there are lots of ways to make it possible on almost any budget. The trip can cost an arm and a leg, or not all the much.  My number one tip to cut costs is to go with friends and share the cost of a room.  Disney offers onsite rooms as low as $150 per night.  Divide that by four and that's pretty cheap!  My friends and I like to go deluxe when we go to runDisney events together.  We stay at the nicest, most expensive hotels.  Because 4 of us split the cost, we can easily afford a nice resort.  Another tip to save money would be to stalk the airline websites.  It is not uncommon for a $200+ swing in the cost of round trip flights from one day to the next.  What about paying yourself per mile you run?  If you set aside $1 for each training mile you run, you could have a nice stash by the time training is over.  You could also ask for Disney gift cards for your birthday/holidays and use them for the trip.  
How early should I get there?  I have heard people leave their resort at 3 am? 
  • Disney races start early!  They have to close the roads and parks for runners, and then have them open again on time for park guests.  Because of this, runDisney runs the resort buses picking up runners from 3-4 am.  They ask runners to get to the race by 4 am so they have time to close the roads.  It sounds terrible to have to be at the start so early, but it is actually really fun.  You can meet up with friends, take pictures, meet new friends, dance, warm up, get excited, and take the all important bathroom trip before you head to your corral.  My advice would be to get on the resort bus early.  A line forms and it can get crowded.  Waiting at the start is so much more fun than waiting in line at your resort.  So to answer, yes you do really have to leave your resort at 3 am. 

I am wondering when I have to leave the staging area for the walk to corrals. How long is this walk?
  • Don't worry--if you are at the staging area in time, you will not miss when you should walk to your corral.  There will be a DJ there pumping up the crowd, along with characters and lots of port-a potties.  The DJ will tell you when to get moving to your corral.  The walk to the corrals feels like forever, but its really not that far.  It walk is really slow though, making it feel much farther than it really is.  
How long do the lines take to get pictures with characters? I have heard "they go fast" but like 5/10 min fast?
  • This one really depends on the character.  Last year, the most crowded characters were Minnie just outside the castle, Belle and Beast and Sleeping Beauty with her Princess and the good fairies. I would say I waited about 7-8 minutes each for those pictures.  Less popular characters can take 2-3 minutes. One picture tip I would give would be that on the highway leading to and from the Magic Kingdom, wait to hit the picture stops till the way back.  You will have a better judgement of your time, plus they will be less crowded on the way back.  Be sure to stop for a picture outside the castle, even if you stop for no others.  You will regret it is you don't.  
Where/when should I stop at the bathrooms?
  • My advice on this one is easy and simple.  I hate port-a potties!  I go in the staging area, and then I wait until the second set of bathrooms in the Magic Kingdom.  By now, lots of people know to wait till the Magic Kingdom.  Nothing beat a real, flushing bathroom.  The first set of bathrooms will be very crowded.  Pass it and go to the second set.  The line will be shorter, plus no port-a potties! 

My main concern is getting swept off the course. I've been training at an average 15 minute miles for my longer runs but still am terrified I will get taken off. Especially if I try and stop for photos.  Advice?
  • My biggest piece of advice would be to trust in your training, and trust in yourself.  By now you should know what corral you are in.  Being in an earlier corral will give you a time cushion for pictures.  Either wear a running watch, or know the clock time when you cross the start.  At each mile you can do the math and know how fast you are going.  If you stay at about a 16 minute mile, you have nothing to be worried about.  If you are concerned about sweepers, don't worry--you will have plenty of warning if you are in jeopardy of being swept.  The infamous "balloon ladies" will pass you, giving you warning that you are behind the time limit.  This means its time to speed up!  If you are still behind them at the next check point, you will be taken off the course.  Don't let the threat of being swept ruin the experience for you. You will cross the finish line and receive your medal!  Trust. 
Any good places for runners to meet family/friends after the race?
  • After you cross the finish line, there will be tons of volunteers moving you through the finisher chute. First, and most importantly, you will get your medal!  You will then get water, Power Aide, snacks, your Coast to Coast if applicable, and your official finisher photo. This will leave you to pick up your back from bag check.  You will them be at the family reunion area.  There will be big letter about ten feet in the air.  Meet at a specific letter--maybe the first letter of your last name.  This makes it easy to find friends or family after the race. 
Do you have any more questions to add?  Post them as a comment and I will add them with an edit. Have a great race everyone!

A dream is a wish...



  1. This is a great post, Amy! I can't wait until I'm on my way to the Princess Half next year!

  2. Is it worth doing the Race Retreat Package? I wasn't sure if there was snack, drinks after the race.

  3. This was great, thank you! I'm running it for the first time this year, and it's my first half. I have a couple questions for you - 1. I was supposed to run with a friend but she hurt her knee so can't. Did you run alone? Does everyone run in groups or pairs? I'm getting a little freaked out to run it alone! And 2. I mixed up the dates to submit proof of pace and thought it was a week later than it was so am unfortunately out of luck. I was estimating that I'd be an 11 min mile, and now will have to start in a slower corral than that. Am I going to be super bummed and stuck in a crowd too big to actually get to a running pace?

    1. @Jessica- I think all of my friends and I will prob end up in different corrals so I will be alone too. I think it will still be fun!