When it comes to Disney World and the half marathon I am no stranger. This would be my third. I ran the half on it’s own in in January 2013, then as part of the Dopey Challenge in 2014. So why not run it as part of the Glass Slipper Challenge. #allthraces. 5k recap. 10k Recap. BibRave Reviews.
Missing from my other race recaps is information about the expo. Sure it’s at the same place every year, with few minor changes, just make sure you know where you’re going or just ask, it’s a busy place. I wrote a post about the expo in 2014. The biggest change for this expo was the red carpet entrance, fit for a Princess!
Ok on to the race- Sunday February 22, 2015. 60 at the start, 80 at the finish. Sunny. Orlando, FL.
I decided to run on my own, I was dressed as a pink princess, nothing fancy. Also decided to run with the Go Pro – Check out my video recap.
Parking / Transportation: Free parking available at Epcot in lot near start. Alarm set for 2:15 am to get a decent spot. I might have arrived too early, but I was in the lot chilling with my coffee and honey Stinger Waffle. If you were staying on Disney property a shuttle bus was available. After parking, needed to go through security to get in. Just checking bags.
The pre-race set up was different from the 5k/10k as they needed to shuttle more runners. Bag check was open, and then encouraged to “hurry up & wait” in a holding area. Then with about an hour or so, we were allowed to make the trek to our corrals. Near the corrals were lots of port-a-potties. The music playing from the DJ was heard all over the starting area.
Start: Corral start, lettered A through P. Assigned bibs based on submitted times. I was in Corral C. (thank you sub 2 half time) Could start in your assigned corral or a lower letter. Many TV screens set up, so runners in the back could see the announcements coming from the starting stage. However the screens were few and far between, hard to see from my corral. After the National Anthem, some encouraging words from the Fairy God Mother, the first corral was off, on time, with a fireworks salute. My corral was about 5 minutes later.
Course: The sun had yet to rise, so it was still dark, but the course was never difficult to navigate. (Only place to bring a light would be to use a port-a-pottie) This race was crowded, even though the corrals helped split up people it was still a slow start. When the sun came up it was warm, I was sweating after a mile.
The course started on the back roads around Disney. Eventually leading us to the Magic Kingdom. The best part of the race is the right turn on Main St in MK, after mile 5. There are thousands of spectators lining the course, the buildings are lined in lights and the castle is a glow in the distance. After leaving the high from running through the MK and under the castle, there is a lot of running on the back roads, the over passes provided the only hills. There were DJ’s, fire trucks, characters, golf courses, more spectators, in these areas. Eventually the course brought us to Epcot, and around Spaceship Earth to pass the choir and then finish. This race is mostly complete before the parks open.
There were plenty of water and lemon-lime Powerade stops, always in paper cups and each drink was in a different patterned cup. Volunteers made sure you knew which beverage they had. No food stops, except Clif gels. One of the hazards was caused from the cup debris, the others were the speed bumps, tight turns and narrow paths (allowing for bumping into others). All paved surfaces, no pot holes or cracks in the pavement to trip over. Did have to run in the grass areas where it was crowded. (actually found myself running on the grass more, as it was soft) Always felt safe. Each mile was marked with a character banner and a clock.
Spectators were plenty in the areas they could access. Lots of bands with dancers and cheerleaders. High fives or fours, for everyone.
Character stops: I was most excited about my corral placement, as I knew stopping for every character was possible. There were plenty available for photos. Did not encounter any problems with a character taking a break. The lines got shorter the further they were stationed on the course. In reality, a long wait could have been 5 minutes. The worst part about the lines were the group photos, which caused budging in line, then each one needed an individual photo. The character handlers were all friendly and happy to take a photo with my phone.
Characters/stops in order: Barbosa & Captain Jack, 6 princes, Race car, Wreck it Ralph, villians, Buzz Lightyear, Tweedle Dee & Tweddle Dum, Frozen characters on castle, Woody, Snow White with prince, Mary Poppins & Bert, Glass Slipper guys, Genie, Clif Bar, toy soldier (he wasting stopping for photos) Princess Sofia, Ivana Dream, the choir, and Prince Mickey at the finish. Oh I even stopped for a real bathroom in Epcot, cuz I didn’t want to use a porto and I didn’t want it to be over. Shout out to the spectator with pretzels rods!
Finish clearly marked with a banner and clock. Medals placed around your neck. Table for bottled water and Powerade. Proceeded to get finishers photo, then as a Glass Slipper Challenger, we had to walk through a separate tent for some verification, then got our medals and another photo, then on to post race banana & snack box. (corn chips, processed cheese dip, applesauce, drink mix, Krave cereal, luna bar and dried fruit)
Once I had finished, I walked back to the car to get my other medals, then waited near the finish chute to see Kelly finish, but I missed her. She had to get to her flight, so I caught up with her in line to her bus, she was ecstatic and is ready to do it all over again.
There were post race character photos, Cinderella, Rapunzel, Pochontas, & Merida. The Run Disney official merchandise tent was open. Concessions available, beer & champagne. The DJ was still pumping music. I met up with BibRave Pro Heather and her awesome mom Marjorie, and we took some photos.
Overall: relatively flat course, crowded, lots of fun!
Personal: If I could I would run all the Disney races, because they make you feel like a kid and are so much fun, no pressure to run fast or push hard. Despite the lack of sleep, I will keep coming back, plus the medals are great. However I am in the midst of training for my first 50k, so I was ready for these back to back races, but it really wasn’t was on the training plan.