While living in Orlando for 3 years, I received a lot of comments that I needed to do a Run Disney race…but I admit I never did!
I couldn’t quite convince myself to pay the high fees, when I only race a few times per year. But I’m quite sure a girls racecation in the future will have me lined up looking like Tinkerbell or Sleeping Beauty…gosh just the costume options already have my head spinning!
With that in mind, I chatted up runners that LOVE themselves some Disney and have tons of great Run Disney race tips to offer.
runDisney events are becoming more and more popular, which means they are selling out faster and faster. If you want to run a certain event, put a reminder in your calendar for when registration opens to secure your spot!
A lot of runners will tell you this is far more stressful than the training or race morning…be prepared to type fast and plan well with friends if running together.
Why It’s Worth the Mania?
Not everyone understands the mania that runDisney inspires. I get it. It sounds silly. And there are a million races to choose from, so why bother with the insanity that comes with trying to secure a bib for these races?
Run Disney races are EVENTS. A destination race and a vacation, all in one. A Disney race is a fun, motivating goal that keeps you training, but celebrates the experience and joy of running. You can’t get too serious about yourself when running in a tiara.
Get tons of recaps and info on kids races from 2 Princess on the Run
Pick The Right Theme Race
They really do stay true to the theme of the race.
The Princess Half Marathon may share the same course as, say, the Walt Disney World Half Marathon…but, to me, the experience feels completely different. It starts from the moment you walk into the “Fit for a Princess” expo and see nothing but rows and rows of sparkly skirts and headbands and jewelry and all sorts of other girly things. Then there’s the middle of the race, when you see countless mothers and daughters, sisters, and friends running together, many in matching sparkly costumes.
Find more race recaps and info on The Final Forty
Want the Special Race Gear? Plan Ahead
Some of the specialized pieces for the race go extremely quick at the expo. In fact, going with pre-order is your best bet to avoid this “They said it was a madhouse in their section. Pushing, crowding, and crazy princesses snatching items, depleting shelves faster than the poor cast members could keep up. Taking multiples of items. “
Get psyched up and get some great tips with Disney focused podcasts like the Micky Miles Podcast. They discuss ALL the runDisney races in detail from the expos, to the course to the prices, etc. If you want to runDisney this is a great place to learn, ask questions and get advice!
Benefits of A Disneyland Race
- Lots of locals come out to cheer you on!
- There’s plenty of non-Disney entertainment – during the Disneyland half marathon I saw lots of dance groups, cheerleaders, lines of antique cars, and got to run through Angels Stadium.
- Apparently last year the 501st Legion had characters out in Anaheim during the Star Wars half so you could get non-Disney character photos (with shorter wait times!).
- The city of Anaheim is pretty flat so it will be an easier half marathon.
- Everything is close together so if you’re staying in Anaheim you can often walk to the starting line in Disneyland, rather than dealing with all of the transportation like at Disney World.
Read more of the Cons on Disney In Your Day
What’s Different From Run Disney World to Run Disneyland?
Perhaps the biggest difference you should prepare for is the fact that unlike Walt Disney World Resort (approximately 25,000 acres) property, 13.1 miles cannot be run entirely on Disneyland Resort (approximately 500 acres) property.
For some West Coast races, you may in fact only spend 2 or so miles running through a Disney Park! As you can surely guess, Disney characters will not be available when you leave Disneyland Park or Disneyland California Adventure Park. While you may not get the chance to pose with Tinker Bell on the surrounding streets of Anaheim, you will be treated to crowds of cheering, performing, candy-dispensing fans that you do not normally see lining a runDisney race course.
If you loathe the long, tedious stretches of roads between the Walt Disney World parks (including the dreaded overpasses), then you will be delighted by the local chEARleaders, bands, and Disneyland neighbors motivating you throughout the mostly flat courses.
Find out more about what to expect from Babes in Disneyland blog
You Still Need Park Tickets
The races never start inside a park and the race registration is not a park ticket. If you plan to spend time in the park before or after you race YOU WILL NEED TO BUY A PARK TICKET. The night races do have after parties, but the park is technically closed and only open for racers and friends and family that buy party tickets ahead of time.
Get 7 more tips from Half Crazy Mama
Tour Post Race
Lay low the day prior/day of the race. It’s tempting to walk around the parks, however the morning races require an early wake up call and the night races include a late race and after party. Expect to walk a couple of miles at the expo between parking and making your way through everything. After that, relax and make sure your legs are well rested!Everything you could possibly need to know for a great #rundisney experience! Click To Tweet
Plan your itinerary so that your race is within the first day or two.
This allows your family to arrive at the destination, go to the race expo, stock up on any race/food supplies you may need that you haven’t brought with you, and have a low key day or two to keep you in the training mode while not expending too much of your energy on the vacation mode.
Get more Racecation tips from Powered by Bling
Stay on Disney property!
When you stay at a host resort, Disney provides all race transportation as well as transportation to the parks, etc. If you’ve ever watched social media, even those on property are waking up in the 3AM time range…of property yikes.
There are tons of different meet ups and it’s a great chance to meet fellow Disney fans or even just other runners you’ve connected with over the years on social media! I’m partial to the #WeRunSocial crew, so you can check them out, but lots of others exist. Look at the #rundisney on Twitter to find them.
Expo Is a Place for Answers
Come to the expo to the informational session about the race. There can be a lot of logistics and questions. This will make sure you know where to be and when, so you can focus on the race. Also great for spectators to know how to cheer you on.
Carissa a RunDisney Announcer
You MUST Pick Up Your Packet
According to the official website rundisney.com YOU must pick up your bibs for all races starting with the Disneyland Half Weekend. You will no longer be allowed to sign waivers and allow a friend or family member to pick up your race items.Don’t Fib –
Corrals/proof of time
You are put into a corral based on your proof of time from a 10k race or longer. If you have no proof of time, you will be put towards the back. Be sure to put an accurate proof of time, runDisney checks them and puts you into a corral accordingly. There IS a cut off date for proof of time! The volunteers DO check corrals and have flashlights to read your bib to make sure you are going into the right ones.
Get your Spectators Ready
Spectators at the Tinker Bell Half Marathon 2016 Weekend can also join the ChEAR Squad with a range of packages to choose from, ranging from the free Bronze package to VIP treatment in the Platinum ChEAR Zone with continental breakfast, complimentary parking, reserved ChEAR Zone viewing locations along the course, Finish Line ChEAR Squad grandstand seating, access to the VIP area and more.
Stay up to date on all race announcements with Run Karla Run
Know the Costume Rules
Run Disney just re-enforced new costume rules at the 2016 WDW Marathon Weekend. If a costume doesn’t follow guidelines, you may be asked to change or not run. It’s best to read the costume rules prior to the race weekend. Also, selfie sticks are strictly prohibited.
Fit Disney Mom: Read more 8 Rookie Run Disney mistakes
Disneyland races are much easier, as most runners tend to stay within walking distance of the starting line. If not, you will need to arrange to drive yourself or take a cab or Uber, just be sure to plan sufficient time as street closures will lead to backups. The same goes for those staying off property at Walt Disney World races.
If you stay on property for Florida events, be sure to stay at a host resort. These are the designated resorts to and from which runDisney will provide free race day transportation. Just be sure to arrive in your resort’s departure area in plenty of time as lines will get long. One last tip.
If you plan on going to a Walt Disney World park after the expo and you are staying on property, you do not have to take the shuttle for your resort. You can choose one that goes to a resort located closer to the park that you want to visit and just walk or take Disney transportation from there, which may save you valuable touring time.
Get more key tips from Casual Runner
Carlee is the queen of amazing costumes, including such a simple but genius tip like using KT Tape to cover your shoes and make them a specific color! Checkout tons of her costumes (with tips on making them)
Plan time for security
Once we parked our car, I saw a line that extended all the way to the middle median of Epcot (where you drive up and see the ball). There were thousands of people in line to go through security.
Disney heightened their security a month ago and this obviously went into effect for the race. I am all for the added security, this is for our protection – but they needed to have more people checking bags and scanning people. Once we went through that, we literally had to run the 20 minutes to get to our corral.
Megan of IRunForWine has tons of race recaps!
1 Million % Humidity
Be prepared for every bit of you to sweat in Orlando and put phone, music or other items you’ll be carrying in a plastic baggie to prevent them from being soaked through. You can stuff wet shoes with newspaper or travel brochures later to help them dry out faster.
Ditch the PR
Just Enjoy the whole experience. Don’t plan on a PR, have lots of patience, stop and take pictures with some of the characters. Smile tons and have all the fun possible! It truly is a great experience to do a RunDisney race. Some of my best memories ever.
All Weather Gear
While living in Florida, I watched a number of travelers arrive to run in Orlando with nothing but a short and tank top….to find it suddenly was in the 40’s at the start and one year even snowy, many times rainy! Be prepared with a variety of clothing options.
Jen of Pink Cupcake Girl
How to get Photo
Probably if you want to avoid photo lines, then get in as early of a corral as you can and run like hell between photo spots.
Meghann of Meals and Miles
Know the Course for Photos
Check out the course map so you know when you’ll be running through the theme parks. You usually only run through them for a short time so you want to be aware to take in the sights and take pictures!
Monica of RunEatRepeat – 10 Tips for Disneyland Races
Music Tip: No Streaming
Due to the high volume of people in the corrals and all the cell phone activity, many have found streaming services are unreliable during the race. Load the music you want to your device.
Don’t Clog the Path as a Group
I love running with the DisBroads and other friends! In fact, it’s often more fun to run with friends. We laugh, we sweat, we run, we walk together. We do not run more than two across though. That would just be plain mean. And I don’t want anyone singing Taylor Swift’s “Mean” to any of us. Because that would mean we were liars, and pathetic and no one wants that.
Lola Lambchops: Read more Disney Princess Etiquette Tips
I cannot tell you how much my runDisney life has changed because of all of the new friends that I have made along the way. Some people I see at every runDisney event, some people only have certain events that they attend. I absolutely LOVE running into friends all over the place. We meet up. We go to dinner. We play in the parks. We run together. You name it.
If you are feeling a little weird about this. Don’t. There are TONS of Facebook groups, running groups, charities and other ways to meet people. And hey, don’t forget about actually meeting people face to face. That’s my favorite way. Striking up a conversation while you are running, in line to meet a character, or waiting in your corral.
You never know where it will lead you. Maybe nowhere or you may become the best of friends.
Think about it. You already have a few things in common. You obviously like Disney. You obviously like to run. Shake off the nerves and go for it! And then go follow each other on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter… you know you’re gonna take a pic together and then post it.
Bama Girl Runs is a Disney Lovin’ fool, you can follow all her fun here
Doing a Challenge – Focus on Back to Back Runs
The key component to the runDisney challenges is that you are running two or four days in a row, doubling your mileage each day. Therefore, it is extremely important that you train your legs and body for this!
Make sure that your training includes multiple back-to-back training runs. These can be two days of run/walk or straight running, or you can walk the first day, then run/walk or run the second day. The most important part is to get your legs used to running
Plan Your Gear
I bring 1 pair of shoes per race. This is especially important for the Half Marathon and Full Marathons. Remember to bring addition footwear options for park touring. Remember it’s Florida and it can rain at any time.
I layout my race attire in drawers, on hangers, on the floor for all 4 races so I don’t need to think about it as the days progress and the mornings come earlier and earlier. I stack my clothes backwards with the last item I’m going to put on, on the bottom. I also lay my sunblock, deodorant and Glide next to my race attire so I don’t forget to use it in the morning
Kimberly has done over 100 Disney races and has lots of tips
Ok sure these might not be a training requirement, but if you can eat the same thing you might have available on race day and make your training more fun…why not! The Disney Chef provides the exact recipe.
Have you done a RunDisney race?
Why…or why not??
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