With the new RunDisney dates and themes out for 2023 I wanted to take a moment to share my experience at the most recent Disney Princess Half Marathon. Here is some valuable advice for any aspiring racers!
The latest arrival possible would put you into Orlando just in time for the final bib pickup before the race expo closes. For the Princess Half, that was 3pm on the Saturday before the race. To avoid feeling rushed, we arrived on the Friday before. This extra time allowed us to get better sleep throughout the weekend and feel settled in for the big event.
We were able to attend the expo on Saturday morning, walk through the different vendor booths and rest by the pool during the the day. Arriving early also gave us plenty of time to eat an early dinner and get in bed at a decent time on Saturday night.
Stay on property
Speaking of getting to bed early, be sure to book a room on property. Although we are a huge fan of the nearby resorts in Bonnet Creek, a DisneyWorld resort hotel guarantees you access to race info, runners lounges, and transportation.
Prep for an Early Start
Busses to the start line start running EARLY. With a start time of 5:30 am, all participants are asked to be at the corrals by 4 am. This means catching a bus by 3ish, so plan to wake up in the 2 o’clock hour! Just another reason to stay on property!
My husband was able to pick me up a “runners box” from the the night before the race. It consisted of a mini bagel, granola bar and banana which was perfect to snack on before I got onto the bus.
The Race Course
The course itself starts near the Epcot parking lot and takes you through the back roads of the resort. It then circles you into Magic Kingdom, through the castle and past all of Magic Kingdoms main attractions. You’ll then loop back through the roads to finish the race at Epcot. There are character photo ops along the way as well as portable restrooms. Expect long lines for both!
Overall I enjoyed the flat course and running through the parks but most of the route is on the roads, so temper your expectations; running through the parks is a highlight, not the majority of the course.
Enjoying the Experience
Be sure to book some extra time at the parks and resorts after the race is over! Walking around the parks will ensure your legs can get some gentle exercise without stiffening up. The parks are pretty crowded following the race, especially Magic Kingdom and Epcot, so we recommend park reservations for Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom instead.
Don’t forget to eat plenty of food and hydrate while you walk around!
What To Pack
For an enjoyable race weekend dont forget:
- your running gear and shoes
- comfortable change of clothes
- protein powder (must be removed from bag through TSA)
- pre & post race snacks
- magic bands or Apple Watch
Best of luck!