Today the registration opened for the 2019 Princess Half Marathon in Walt Disney World! Did you sign up?! If you did, or are thinking about joining in on the most magical race ever for the first time, I’m here to let you know it is a whole lot of fun! Sure, you have to run 13.1 miles (or 19.3, if you registered for the Fairytale Challenge!), but the character stops, photo ops, and creative costumes are all well worth the sweat and tears! In honor of today’s registration, I thought it was only appropriate to write a blog post about Princess Half Marathon Weekend. Having been down for this fantastic race every last weekend in February since 2011, I think I have a few tips and tricks to share!
Even if you are a seasoned runner, running in a Disney race can be different than any old street race. There are a few things to keep in mind while running on this weekend, because you’re not just running a race – you are at Disney World! This means you’ll be spending a lot of time at the parks, on your feet, and waking up WAY earlier than you normally would (I’m talking 3 AM, friends!!). This weekend shouldn’t be about getting a new PR, it’s about celebrating a very fun weekend with your favorite princesses and princes in your life!
For me and my mom, this is the perfect mother-daughter weekend where we get to spend time doing what we love – running and spending time at Disney World. We plan our outfits for race days, try new dining experiences, and maybe even a special tour. It’s our favorite long weekend, and it is always magical! Being that we have been so many times over this weekend, there are a lot of things we have learned to make sure that we have the best experiences possible.
Plan dining reservations 180 days out
This weekend always draws in the crowds due to the race’s popularity. There are also some states that are on February Break from school over this time, so you can count on even more crowds than usual. If you want that special dining experience at places like Be Our Guest or Cinderella’s Royal Table, make sure to set your alarms for 180 days out from your trip! This is when you can log on to My Disney Experience and book all the dining reservations your heart desires.
Not only can you book your Fast Passes 60 days out rather than 30 when staying off-property, it is beneficial to stay on Walt Disney World property during race weekend mostly because of the convenient transportation. RunDisney supplies charter buses from all of the Disney resorts to the Race Expos and the Start & Finish lines. As someone who has seen the long lines of individual cars trying to find parking at the Wide World of Sports for the expo and then the start line on race day, I can say that it is not worth the wait! runDisney’s transportation gives you ease of mind that you will get there with enough time to spare, and you don’t have to worry about parking! I can’t imagine adding the extra stress when we already have to get up by 3 or 4 AM to make the race.
Stay Hydrated During your Stay
It is easy to get dehydrated when walking around in the parks under the hot Florida sun all weekend. This can be detrimental during a half marathon! Make sure to drink plenty of water the days ahead of your race. I’ll bring a plastic water bottle in to the parks with me and refill it throughout the day at water fountains. Remember that you can get free ice-water at any quick service location as well!
Be Smart About Your Time in the Parks
As I’ve already said throughout this post, your wake-up call on race days can be as early as 3 AM. The last bus on the morning of the Half runs at 4 pm from the resorts, so if you are in the parks until closing the night before, you are in for a few hours of nap time rather than a decent night’s sleep! It is tempting to stay in the parks to catch the nighttime spectaculars, but I highly recommend skipping out and leaving around 6 or 7 pm to head back to the resort to head to bed. Try to plan a few extra days onto your Race Weekend so that you can enjoy all Disney World has to offer and not worry about what time you have to be up the next morning!
One Word: COSTUMES
The Princess Half Marathon is every little girl’s favorite activity: playing dress up. There is not another race at Disney where you will see more creative costumes! Having been down for other Disney races, this is the one race weekend where absolutely EVERYONE is dressed up! My mom and I have brainstormed ideas for costumes months in advance for this weekend, always incorporating our Sparkle Skirts as a part of our ensembles. You can be as creative as you want, however, we always strive to get those oohs and ahhs from our fellow runners during the race!
Not only are you guaranteed to have fun over race weekend, but it is a great excuse to head down to Walt Disney World! Princess Half Marathon Weekend provides runners with a great value of character spots along the course, fantastic views that you wouldn’t see anywhere else, and a beautiful medal to commemorate your achievements. Whether it is your first half or your 50th, it will sure to be one to remember!