Princess Half Marathon Race Day
It was finally the Princess Half Marathon Race Day!
My 13 year old daughter and I returned last week from Disney World where we ran the Princess Half Marathon. When you turn 13 at our house, you can pick a 13 mile race to do, and where better than the happiest place on earth? So that’s where Naomi chose and that’s where we were headed. Several races take place throughout the year organized by runDisney and Disney Races are a ton of fun so we couldn’t wait to run the the thousands of other princesses!
Disney Princess Half Marathon Early Wake Up
The alarm I set and Stitch’s wake up call both came at 2:10 AM. That is crazy early but we were so excited we didn’t feel tired. I was just happy to feel healthy since I felt awful during the Princess Half in 2011 with my oldest daughter Sophie. During that trip I was later diagnosed with Pneumonia. I’ll be honest, that was horrible and it’s an experience I won’t forget. This time I felt great! Yay for working lungs!! We quickly ate our pre-race breakfast of Clif bars and bananas and started to get ready.
Many princesses and princes dress up for the race but Naomi and I just wore running shorts and tanks and put princess ribbon in our braids with Mickey Mouse headbands. I gave her a 13.1 temporary tattoo to put on too. We had been talking about this trip all the time for the past year and we were so excited that the day was finally here!!
We left our room and stopped at the food court for coffee. I was so glad the food court had set up coffee so early! I NEED my caffeine! So I grabbed a cup to go and went to get in line for the bus. Even at 3:10 there was already a long line for the runDisney bus to shuttle us to the start of the race. The excitement in the air was infectious and we were almost giddy! Several buses pulled up together and pretty soon we were on our way to Epcot. There was a ton of excitement among all the runners as we pulled in to the lot. It was already packed with people heading to their assigned corrals. It was pretty cool to see the empty parking lot with Spaceship Earth in the background.
Disney Princess Half Marathon Race Day Start Corral
We headed off towards the roadway to the starting corrals. Runners are assigned corrals based on submitted race times from previous races. Naomi and I ran the Thanksgiving Day Race in Cincinnati this year so submitted our times and were assigned to Corral C. The walk to the corrals took about 15 minutes and we passed countless port a potties along the way so no one had to sneak off to the woods! Everyone was excited and there was so much enthusiasm in the air. Race organizers said that we all needed to be in our corrals by 4 AM but this was not really enforced as far as I could tell as people were milling about until the starting fireworks. We got in place and just sat around talking to other racers while we waited for the start. Disney had music blaring and interviews and videos playing on large screens to keep us excited and help pass the time.
The time passed quickly with all the excitement and before we knew it was our time to start. Corrals started 7 minutes apart and the Fairy Godmother started each group off with a countdown and fireworks. It was so awesome I even got tears in my eyes!
Disney Princess Half Marathon Race Day Character Stops
And we were off! Naomi and I had decided that we could run any race in the world for time, but this was the only race we could meet Mickey and other characters so we would stop for every picture we wanted and worry about PRs another time. Because the crowd of runners was huge this year (over 25,000!) we knew there would be long lines with some characters but we decided to be patient and just have fun. The miles passed quickly as there were lots of characters along the way and also some pretty cute costumes worn by runners. There were many in sparkle skirts and tutus and some in full princess get up. We even saw many guys in princess dress. The one I most remember was a tall hairy guy dressed as Tinkerbell in a little dress. He was running with a girl dressed as Peter Pan. It was hilarious but I forgot to get a picture. Sorry!
The sun was up at this point. It was warm and humid for us midwestern girls but not too bad. I think it was in the low 70’s with high humidity (in the 90s!) for most of the race. Having grown up in Florida, I much prefer heat to cold so I didn’t mind the temperature. Disney does a great job of entertaining you along the way and there seemed to always be something to look at with characters, music, DJs and signs lining the coarse. There were also several medical stations along the coarse and as well as port a potties all along the way. They also are fantastic with water and poweraid stops staffed with large numbers of volunteers. It seemed like every mile was a fluid station which was great for the sweaty conditions.
Magic Kingdom is about half way through the race and I can not explain how exciting it was to enter the park! Not only are there tons of characters, they let spectators in the park to line the streets and cheer. It is beyond exciting. I honestly choked up when we started the stretch down Main Street with the castle in view and people cheering along the path. Trying not to descend into ugly cry mode I tried to soak it all in. You have to go for yourself to feel it!
Once you head up Main Street you take a right and head into Tomorrowland. I mentioned earlier that Magic Kingdom had many character photo stops. There were so many we decided to stop for and the lines were so long, it took almost an hour to get through this one mile and we even skipped some photo ops. We had a blast though talking to other running princes and princess and taking pictures. There is so much more camaraderie in this race than any other race I’ve ever run.
We then ran through the Cinderella’s Castle and back out to the roads to head towards the finish in Epcot. We continued to take lots of pictures along the way. This is a long flat stretch so thankfully Disney puts lots of entertainment out on the course and we stopped for tons of photo ops!
Sarge from Toy Story was hilarious and was shouting out orders about running strong and getting over the coming hill. I wish he could go on every run with me! By the way, it wasn’t much of a hill to us Cincinnati girls- it was just a highway overpass. At this point we were getting close to the finish so we decided to stop waiting in lines to take pictures and just keep running until the end. When you enter into Epcot, there are lots of people cheering you to the finish line along with a gospel choir and the Fairy Godmother waving you in. Naomi and I crossed the finish together. Ar 13 years old she had completed her first half marathon!
By stopping for so many pictures it took us about 3 hours and 20 minutes to finish. We had so much fun and are already planning other races to do together which was my main goal for us running together. I don’t think we could have had more fun and I definitely plan to do this race as well as other runDisney races again. 10 year old Maya and Garrett are already planning their first half marathons at Disney!
Read about the rest of our Disney Trip Here:
Have you run the Disney Princess Half Marathon? I’d love to hear about it!