Race Recap: 2016 Disney Princess Half Marathon

I was so excited for this race! I went in really wanting a PR, but unsure if it would happen because of the crowds I had heard about, my shin splints, and frostbitten toes. I read a lot of race reviews and so many people (even in some of the first few corrals), said that the crowds didn’t thin out as the race went on. So that definitely made me a little worried. BUT, the good news is that I only felt like I was going to trip over people twice during the race. I really was expecting that throughout the entire course. And what’s even better, my shins felt fine and my toes felt totally normal the entire time I was in Florida. WOHOOo!

Let’s dig right into it….

Expo/Packet Pick-up:

I went to the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex to pick-up my race packet after half a day in Magic Kingdom on Friday. I also was excited to shop the expo (which, as expected, there was not much merchandise left by the time I arrived). I intended on going after dinner on Thursday, and even then I was worried there wouldn’t be much left. Dinner at Cinderella’s castle took much longer than expected, so we didn’t make it over there Thursday.

I did find a headband I liked and it was the only one like it around, so I bought it.

I do like the race shirt too! 

Pre-race:

I set my alarm for 2:00AM and woke up a few minutes before, so I turned it off so I wouldn’t wake up my husband and daughter. I got ready and headed to the bus around 2:40AM.

The bus left at about 3:00AM for Epcot. When I arrived I took advantage of the princess photo opportunities, knowing I didn’t want to stop along the course for photos.

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This picture above made me laugh when I saw it! Just chatting it up with Rapunzel ;).

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Mulan!

After photos I headed to gear check where I dropped off my bag with my bottle of Nuun + a GF protein bar, and then headed toward the corrals…which was quite a little hike. I wish I would have looked at my watch, but I’m pretty sure it took over 20 minutes get to the corrals. I was in corral E (they went from A-P).

The race:

They set off fireworks for every corral start, which was kind of cool!

As far as the course goes….I knew this going into it, but you are not in the parks for very long. Most of the route is on the roads between the parks. While I knew this, these parts seemed a lot longer than they were. There were characters along the route, a hot air balloon, and a band among other things but I didn’t stop for them. And honestly, I don’t know if stopping would have made me enjoy the race any more. I feel bad even saying that! I love Disney, but I think I’m one of the few that were just kind of ‘Egh’ about the race.

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The time in Magic Kingdom just flew by! This section really was a lot of fun.

It was still pretty dark out when we got there, so it was cool seeing everything all lit up. There was some good crowd support there too, which always boosts the enjoyment factor! 

After going through the castle you had the option to go to the left and get a photo in front of the castle, or to continue on the route by staying right.

The only time I stopped to take a photo was at mile 9. I mean how could I not? I was dressed as Anna! Only bummer was that I didn’t notice the lens was all fogged up, so it turned out like this… 😦 

I honestly don’t remember a lot of the race. It’s like I completely blocked it out. I don’t remember the section in Epcot at all…except approaching the finish line and giving a character (Donald Duck??) a high five. 🙂

Post-Race:

After crossing the finish line, you get your medal and then you walk to some lines to get your photo taken in front of the RunDisney backdrop. Smile for PR’s!!!! 🙂

After the photo, you get your food boxes + a banana and a bottle of water.

I was able to meet fellow runner and blogger, Tanya, after the race. So cool to meet others with the same passion for running and health! 💕 Check out that awesome costume 😍. I give her serious props for running a half marathon while pregnant! 

Results:I sure liked my pace on my watch better, but I also wasn’t super efficient in running the tangents on the course as I covered .14 miles over the 13.1. My official time was: 2:16:12 (10:24 pace). Just a note, men CAN participate in this race. I did see a handful of guys out there. You can actually see a guy behind me in the pic of me going through Magic Kingdom. I looked it up and there were 2,036 men in the race….they were just a little out numbered! 😉

I am happy I got a new half marathon PR! I was still hoping to do better, but I guess I’m just taking baby steps to get there and that’s ok especially considering the time I had to take off for injury.

Have you ever ran a RunDisney race? Which one? What did you think?

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11 thoughts on “Race Recap: 2016 Disney Princess Half Marathon

  1. Hi this is Jessica (Jessbug1122) from IG. I’m thinking about doing this next year and taking my oldest son as a surprise, with my husband too. We haven’t taken him to disney yet and with the gap in our kids ages my Mom said we should just take him and she would watch our little one who would be hard at his age at Disney. Anyway, from someone that did this and with your husband and child…did you go to all the parks too and how did you schedule it out? Did you stay at a resort? Did they see you run any of it? So many questions lol 🙂

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    • Hi Jess! Yes, we absolutely made it a family vacation and did the parks and disney springs…it was by far my favorite family vacation! We did stay at a disney resort. We took advantage of the ‘Play, Stay, & Dine’ offer that was going at the time — side note: when I booked, there were no discounts available but I called Disney after the promo was released and was able to get credited back. Since the race started so early, I just told my husband to let our daughter sleep in and we would go have fun at the pool when I got back. I will shoot you a DM on IG with some more info. I obsessively planned the trip for several months haha. 🙂

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  2. Hey Bianca! This is Blair from the bus back to the resort! I didn’t mention it to you when we met, but I also have a blog (seldom updated or worked on though – trying to change that- haha)
    Anyways- Congrats on the PR! – it was a pleasure meeting you and your family and thanks so much for the Momentum Jewelry bracelet. Best of luck on the Nashville half

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  3. I’m still stuck on your last post about wanting them to get rid of It’s a small world! BROKE MY HEART!!! It’s such a classic!

    and now I’m heart broken that you didn’t absolutely love your Run Disney race 😦 lol!

    I’m kind of wondering if all the races are just kinda Egh except for the Marathon weekend? Because I felt Egh about the Avengers race.
    I’ve done Marathon weekend twice and LOVED it both times (and I don’t stop for pictures) I plan to do Wine & Dine this year so I guess we will see..

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    • Haha sorry to break your heart! I thought it’s a small world was a little creepy haha. Pretty sure I thought that as a kid too 😂. I know marathon weekend in January is the big draw, so maybe it is better there? I didn’t look at the course map though.

      Hopefully you have a great time at the wine and dine run! I bet you will!

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  4. Huge congrats on your PR, especially at Disney. Those races are PACKED and there are tons of inexperienced runners who don’t know basic etiquette and can make it a pain to get around them. With all the dodging and weaving, it’s no surprise the courses usually measure a little long.

    I know the races take you between parks, so a lot of distance is covered on roads that aren’t as exciting or fun as in the parks. I’m actually kind of glad to see you say you felt “ergh” about the race because, while I like Disney, sometimes the obsession level of Disney runners drives me NUTS.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha yes there a lot of obsessed Disney runners, but I totally get it! I think if I was running with a friend, it would have made it more fun (to get through the boring spots where there were no crowd support). The parts in Magic Kingdom were a lot of fun, it was just the rest of it that was disappointing.

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