The 2014 Disney Princess Half Marathon weekend is in the books!
The morning of the race, I woke up at 3 a.m. since you have to be on the bus or monorail by 4 a.m. to ensure you get to your corral on time. I boarded my bus along with a lot of sparkly ladies. The most princessy thing I had on was a silver Sweaty Band headband, but luckily my busmates let me on despite my lack of tiara, tutu, or makeup.
As we got to the start area (which was in a parking lot near Epcot), I was pretty amped. There were 25,000+ princesses streaming into the gates. After a long walk to my corral (we’re talking about a mile), I was impressed by the giant screens they had set up for pre-race entertainment. We were off and running shortly after 5:30 a.m. One of my favorite parts of this race was that each start wave began after a countdown by the Fairy Godmother and fireworks.
The course is mostly access roads with a trip through Magic Kingdom a little less than halfway through and a short jaunt through Epcot near the very end. Along the way there are characters, bands, and DJs. While I did not stop to take pictures with characters along the course, I did hang out with Cinderella, Belle, and Ariel after I crossed the finish line. They were polite princesses, seeing has how they stood in close proximity to stinky runners without any complaints.
Overall, I did okay – but the heat, humidity, and fog slowed me down towards the end. I finished in 2:05:40. I placed 1,079 out of 19,294 finishers – and 895th for my gender.
- Having the Fairy Godmother and fireworks start your race may be the happiest send off you could ever hope to receive.
- Running through the Magic Kingdom was so fun. It made me smile to just be there.
- Best moment of the race: the trumpets sounding as you exit Cinderella’s castle.
- For those who would want to stop and take pictures along the way, the lines seemed pretty short. However, keep in mind that I was in one of the earlier start waves, so others may disagree with this perception.
- This would be a great race for beginners – it’s a low-stress event with a fun twist. Plus, if you stop and take pictures it will give you a little break between the miles.
- The weather! Between the heat, humidity, and fog, this one was a tough one for me. I went back and looked at the low for that morning – it was 63 degrees with high humidity. Yuck!
- Pre-race signage. When you have 25,000+ runners, you need to have great signage directing them to bathrooms and water. Sure, there was a map provided at the expo, but who really memorizes that or brings it along?
- The end of the course was very odd. We’re talking a tight 180 right before mile 12 coming off of a ramp, followed by a weird snaking track as you finish at Epcot.
I am so glad I did this race as it was fun and had special meaning for me (see my last blog post if you haven’t already). Truthfully, this will likely be my only Disney race but if you like the Mouse, it’s a must-do! Next up: Publix Georgia Half Marathon on March 23! Let me know what’s next on your race schedule – comment or send me a tweet @AtlRnnr.