Running: It's actually more expensive than therapy
In honor of Princess Half Marathon weekend coming up I wanted to write a post about runDisney and give some tips so you have have a magical weekend.
Currently Disney World has 4 race weekends. Sadly Disney Land has cancelled their events as of 2018. Disney World Paris has their marathon weekend in September.
These events are extremely popular and do sell out. Make sure to register early and also make your travel arrangements when you do.
You can volunteer
Traveling with a group of non-runners? They can be part of the experience by volunteering. Volunteers are needed for things like packet pickup, handing out medals and food, water stop help, and more. Volunteering with get you a park pass also so that is a huge bonus. These spots fill up quickly though so register as soon as possible.
Be prepared to spend money
These races are expensive. The 5ks are around $85, 10ks about $125, the half marathons and full is close to $200, the Dopey Challenge for next year is $590. This only includes the races remember you still need lodging, food, transportation, park tickets if interested (runDisney registration does not include park tickets), and of course merchandise from the expo.
Everything is spread out
Disney is a huge property as you know so nothing is close together. The expos isn't close and usually there's a long walk to the starting line. I would probably recommend staying on property to take advantage of the shuttles. This can alleviate some stress out of your morning.
The expo/packet pickup
The expo is huge and wonderful. There is so much merchandise runDisney related and just running related in general. Make sure to give yourself ample time to enjoy all of it. Packet pickup must be done at the expo there is nothing on race morning. Also, you must pickup your own bib no one can pick it up for you and show proof of ID. Most races are more relaxed about this but not runDisney. It protects you from race bandits.
The early wake up call
Start times usually are at 5:30 am for these runs because they want runners out before the park opens to guests. They also recommend coming to your corral over an hour before at 4:30 am because they are crowded. With this, you're looking at waking up around 3:00 am! That's crazy early so make sure you do what you need to get enough sleep the night before.
If you expect to run in a beginning corral for the half or full, you need to submit proof of time before the deadline. If you fail to do that, you will be placed in the last corral which can be a bummer if you are a faster runner because it is crowded.
Disney warns you that you must keep a 16:00 minute mile pace or you will be swept and will not be able to finish the race. They do this for safety reasons and not to scare you but consider this before signing up.
Costumes are welcomed at this race. In fact, most people will be dressed is some sort of themed outfit. If you love dressing up for a race, you will not feel alone here.
Character stops may have long lines
Taking a picture with your favorite character can be the best part of a race, but keep in mind some of these have long waiting times so have a game plan going in.
The weather in Florida in the winter/fall can be tricky to say the least. It can be hot/humid, or in the low 50s. It also can change from one day to the next so you never really know until a few days out. Check the weather before you leave and bring plenty of backup clothes just in case things change. Be advised that they can cancel the race due to cases of extreme weather and not issue refunds, but this is extremely rare and most races have the same policy.
You get a beautiful finisher medal for each race you finish and a bonus challenge medal if you participated. The shirts are also very nice and high quality. They usually mail age group awards out to you after which are usually nice plaques.
The courses may be a let down if you are not prepared. You actually do a lot of highway running before making your way into the parks.
Most of all take some time to experience the magic of the races and the weekend. You earned it!