I'm always looking for time-saving tips, especially if they are related to healthy eating. So…
Looking for Last Minute Tips for the Disney Princess Half Marathon or any other Run Disney race? I’ve compiled my personal tips from my Princess Half Marathon experience. It includes how to avoid expo crowds, how to easily keep your pace (ie: tech not involved), where to eat dinner, and much more!
Participating in a Run Disney race is an absolute magical experience.
You’re surrounded by magical landmarks, happy runners in adorable costumes, and you get to take super fun pictures with beloved Disney characters throughout the race.
But, why am I telling you this?
If you’re reading this, you probably already know that and are excited to hit the ground running.
<ha! See what I did there?>
But seriously, if you’re anything like me, you might be a littler nervous about your upcoming RunDisney Half Marathon experience.
I know I certainly was.
Getting over the nerves
Last February, I participated in the Princess Half Marathon.
It had been a good 10 years since I ran any Half Marathon let alone an uber exciting Disney Half Marathon so I was more than a little nervous.
(I did my first Run Disney Half Marathon back in 2008. It was an amazing experience. But then I took a break from half marathons).
My BIGGEST FEAR was not keeping my pace and getting picked off by the dreaded “balloon ladies.”
Who are the Balloon ladies?
The Balloon Ladies bring up the end of the race. If you’re straggling and run the risk of not finishing by the time the race is over, they will scoop you up and escort you back to the finish line.
This is done because Disney World has to reopen all the roads and parks as soon as the race is over.
This may be the happiest place on earth but it’s certainly not the slowest!
Time limit for the race is 3:30. The per mile pace to reach this goal is 16 min/mile (which is ~3.75 mph).
But SERIOUSLY DON’T WORRY!
Just REMEMBER: The Balloon Ladies start with the very last wave and keep a consistent pace of 16 min/mile so as long as you keep an average pace of 16 min mile (or higher) AND start before the last wave, you’ll be fine! (Again, scroll down to Tip 5 and 6 ).
You’ve got this.
And keep scrolling to Tip #5 and #6 if you’re looking for more solid pacing advice.
I’ve got you covered!
If this is your first RunDisney Half Marathon or maybe your first time in a while, the MOST important thing to remember is to NOT WORRY and to just have fun.Click To Tweet
The secret RunDisney tips I shared with all my girlfriends.
I’ve compiled my top tips that go beyond the typical Race Day Tips.
These are the personal tips that I shared with all my girlfriends when I got back home.
And these are the tips that will ensure you have a WORRY-FREE and Magical Race Weekend Experience!
Tip #1: Wait to pickup your race number bib
The expo opens Thursday because the 5 k is Friday, the 10 K is Saturday so if you most ppl go Thursday and Friday. I waited until Saturday and they still had plenty of t-shirts and memorabilia. Of course, if there’s something special you really want, get there early but I just wanted an “I finished” shirt and they had tons of them.
Tip #2: Prepare for all kinds of weather
You NEVER know what the weather will be like in January /February in Florida.
It could be 80 degrees one day, and the next day a front could come in and the temperature might drop to the 40’s. But don’t worry, if the weather changes, you can always pick up new gear at the Expo. (I did this myself last year).
Tip #3: Wear sunglasses and a cute Visor
Visors are essential for the race because they block the sun and still let your head breathe.
I I tried on lots of different visors and ended up with this super comfy one from Run Sparkle. You can get it on Amazon or at the Expo.
By the Way, if you’re looking for more running gear ideas, check out my Amazon Influencer shop.
Tip # 4: While at the Expo, pick up any extra race gear you might need.
You can get energy chews, body glide, and of course cute race skirts, visors, or costume paraphernalia.
Tip #5: While you’re at the Expo, Get info on the Pace Setters
TheJeff Galloway Training Program has Official Run Disney Pace setters that run paces for every finishing time. This is really helpful because if you get caught up taking pictures with the characters or are just worried you’re not going as fast you’d like, you can keep your eye out for the pace setters (who carry a flag with their respective pace) and then you can easily know if you need to adjust your time.
Tip #6: Where to find the Pace Setters on Race Day
When you get to the running coral, keep walking until you see the Jeff Galloway Pace Setter holding your desired finishing time. For example, I basically run a 12 min mile and I was in Coral G with runners with a similar pace. So I looked for the 3 Hr Finishing Time Flag which was at the front of my coral.
Jeff Galloway method uses a run/walk strategy. You can either participate with them or just run along-side them.
Remember–Keep your Eye out for the Pace Flag
The pace group does NOT stop including when you enter the Magic Kingdom!
Most people stop to take pictures in front of the castle, but the Flag holder keeps running.
So you can stop, take a picture and catch up immediately…
Or enjoy the moment, take a few more pics with characters in the Magic Kingdom and then catch up with the next pace group later on. I opted for this method and caught up with the next pace group (3:15 finishing time) somewhere after the Magic Kingdom.
Tip #7: Don’t be shy -ask a stranger for a picture in front of the castle.
One of the nice things about a RunDisney race is that you’ll meet a lot of great people who are just as excited to be participating as you are.
Everyone running shares a love of Disney, so NO ONE will think you’re weird and NO ONE will be annoyed if you ask them to take your picture.
EVERYONE expects to lose a few minutes (or more) taking pictures and that’s just one of the things that makes this run so great. It’s not a serious race like the Boston Marathon or NY Marathon. No one will be offended or act put off if you ask to them to take your pic. I took pictures of a bunch of folks and then they took mine.
As you can see from my photos below–EVERYONE stops to take pictures when you get to the castle.
But definitely don’t try to take a Castle Selfie by yourself. It’s such a tall structure, you can’t do it justice.
Tip #8: Be sure to make a reservation for dinner the night before your race
Of course, it’s always best to plan ahead.
The night before the big race you want to relax, have a nice carb-heavy dinner and go to bed early.
However, we all know things come up and sometimes your plans change or you couldn’t get the reservation you wanted….
Tip #9: If you don’t have dinner reservations—head on over to Disney’s Boardwalk
As much as I love DisneySprings, I’d recommend staying away from there at dinner time race night. It tends to get very crowded and if you’re nervous about the race, it’s just extra stress you don’t want to have to deal with.
Instead, go to Disney’s Boardwalk. Put your name down at one of the restaurants there and you can watch the boardwalk entertainment.
The day before the race, our plans ended up changing and suddenly we found ourselves at dinner time with no place to eat!
We ended up heading down to Disney’s Boardwalk and grabbed dinner at the ESPN Zone. It wasn’t my first choice but it actually ended up being PERFECT! I was able to get a great noodle bowl dish packed with veggies and protein and it was just what I needed.
Tip #10: MAKE SURE You check with the front desk or hotel concierge the day before the race on all “race day” details.
- Make sure you know EXACTLY where the bus will pick you up and what to meet it.
- Make sure you know exactly what time the bus will leave.
- Schedule a wake-up call in case something happens with your cell phone alarm.
- If the hotel says they are providing breakfast snack, make sure you know where to get it. (Mine said they would be available in the lobby, but then there weren’t any to be found anywhere!) which bring me to Tip #10…
Tip #11: Bring your own light breakfast.
I brought my favorite strawberry almond butter breakfast cookies. I made them at home and kept them in the mini fridge at the hotel until race day. I had a couple in the hotel, and then took some in a baggy with me and ate the rest while I was waiting for the race to start. You’ll have plenty of time because the hotel bus drops you off super early, and they don’t coral you until an hour later.
Tip #12: Make a great playlist
I NEED good music to run. So I spent a lot of time and energy picking out songs that would keep me going. I also used it to help pace myself. And I put certain songs at certain mile markers to help guide me and keep me motivated.
Tip #13: Celebrate!
After the race, you may want to head back to the hotel and take a nap. After all, you’ll probably have been up since 3 in the morning and you just ran 13.1 miles!!! Woohoo!!!
Then, hit the parks and have fun! You earned it!
If you have any questions or comments related to the Disney Princess Half Marathon, leave me a comment below. I’d love to hear from you.
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HI! I’m a Shana, self-proclaimed Media Mixologist, wife, and mom to two little girls. I love to mix up cocktails of crafts, recipes, wellness, family and business with just the right amount of sparkle to help you shine everyday. So, grab a glass, and let’s celebrate the cocktail of life!