New Thoughts on RunDisney Races

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RunDisney is what got me into running races. The 2014 Inaugural Avengers Half Marathon was my first race, followed by the 2015 Dumbo Double Dare, and the 2016 Princess 5k.

I was all set and registered to run the 2016 Inaugural Lumiere’s Challenge – however the presence of Zika in the state of Florida/my pregnancy made me back out (Disney was kind enough to offer a one-time refund due to the circumstances of both things (Zika+pregnancy)).

Earlier in 2016 – RunDisney stopped their deferment option for races – so if one is not able to attend their planned race, he/she will lose out on their money and will not be able to transfer their funds to another race. RunDisney’s new policy is not uncommon. Most races are non-refundable, however most races (especially half marathons and marathons) are not over $150. Add in a challenge and you are talking about a $300+ expense.

In addition to no deferments, RunDisney has now moved up their registration dates. Registration for the 2017 Wine and Dine Half Marathon, which takes place in November, is going on sale this week. It is common for races to sell out within hours, one would have to decide close to 11 months in advance if they are in for these events.

Of course there are other options besides registering directly though RunDisney, so you might be able to postpone your registration date- you could run with a charity, which would require you to raise a certain amount of money to participate. Running for charity seems like it would be a fulfilling way to participate – however fundraising can be challenging. It’s difficult to ask friends and family for donations. I do know many people who hold events like giveaways which gives an incentive for someone to donate.

Another option is to book a race package through a travel agent. Travel agents have access to race registrations and you can sometimes wait a little longer before you purchase them. Most of the time, a room reservation and theme park admission is required for you to purchase as well. Most of the time, this would make sense since you need a hotel room to stay in and most people do plan in spending some time in the theme parks. This option might not be good for someone who lives locally and/or someone who would prefer to choose their own hotel. Some travel agents offer trip insurance which can protect you if you are not able to make your trip.

Back in my young, wild, and free days (about a year ago) I could register for a race around 8 months in advance and be able to attend. With a baby on the way, life is going to get more unpredictable. I would LOVE to participate in a RunDisney event this year, however I just don’t think it’s likely.

When I do decide to jump back in the RunDisney game – I think I am planning to book through a travel agent – since I am an out-of-stater, a hotel room is necessary. I also know I will be visiting the theme parks.

Until then…I will suffer the major FOMO and live vicariously through the numerous RunDisney fanatics who I follow on social media.

How do you register for a RunDisney Race? Do you register through RunDisney, a charity, or do you book through a travel agent?

2016 Disney Princess 5k Recap Part 2

Part 1 here

After the expo, we chilled out at the hotel for the remainder of the day – the red eye flight from the night before started to take it’s toll on me and I was fast asleep by 8pm.

Which brings me to 1:30 am the following morning – both my mom and I were up around this time and after laying around for a half hour we started to get ready. Since we were walking a 5k – I decided to primp myself up a little bit more than I would if I were “running” – i.e – I wore makeup and “styled” my hair. By styled I mean I wore my hair down in pigtails and we had matching Ariel headband/tiara thingies that we got from Party City.

We also wore matching Disney tops – which we bought at Macy’s on clearance back in September (I told you we’ve been preparing for this race)

We hopped on the first bus which left the hotel at 3:45 am – we were at the start area by 4am.

One thing I loved about Disney World RunDisney was that they sold concessions at the start area. Our hotel wasn’t selling any food or drinks that early (FYI – Disney host resorts do sell breakfast items before the 10ks and above) – but the start area for the 5k did have coffee, granola bars, breakfast sandwiches, and a few other things. Thank GOODNESS – I need coffee in the morning.

We had about two hours to kill before lining up for the corrals – there was a DJ playing typical pop/party music – so my mom and I killed time and warmed up by dancing and people watching.

Soon enough – we lined up in our corrals – waited another 25 minutes – and we were off.

My mom’s goal was to finish as fast as she could walk – she did not want to stop for any reason – no water, character photos, or even a selfie.

The first mile was in the parking lot/backstage of Epcot, and the remaining 2.1 were in the park.

Once inside the park, the course felt very familiar, as it is essentially a walk around World Showcase and Future World – because we have done this path so many times before – it went by very quickly – however it was so much fun!

Based on looking at the clock when we started and finished – it took us about 56 minutes to walk the 5k – a pace of around 18 per mile.

My mom finished strong – and felt great. I was SO proud of her. She really caught the RunDisney bug and wants to do a 10k next! She feels with training she could get her pace to under 16 minutes – and I plan to help her get there.

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We spent the rest of the day at Magic Kingdom – and proudly wore our 5k medals.

This race was so much fun! I thought I would feel like I was “missing out” because I wasn’t participating in the longer races – but I didn’t feel it that much. In fact, it felt pretty good to wake up early only once and relax the rest of the weekend.

Sure, a 5k might be the shortest “long distance” race out there – but it was memorable – 1.) because the majority of it was in the parks  and 2.) because it was my mom’s first RunDisney race

 

2016 Disney Princess 5k Recap Part 1

Yes – this race experience warrants more than 1 post.

It surprises me that a 5k could mean so much to me. This particular one has as much emotional weight as my first race.

I have been blabbing about RunDisney to my mom ever since I ran that first race, the Avengers Half Marathon. My mom would always ask me: can I walk those events? And I would tell her yes, but you had to keep a 16 minute per mile pace (which is a brisk walk). A 16 mm pace for an extended distance can be challenging.

After doing some research about the RunDisney 5k distances – I found out that RunDisney seldom sweeps for those races. While they still do enforce the 16mm rule on the website – because the 5k’s are mostly all in the parks, and also because they are targeted towards families with children – they are very generous and as long as you keep moving, you should be fine. I asked my mom if she wanted to get her RunDisney feet wet with the Princess 5k – and she enthusiastically said yes.

In July of this past year, registration for the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend opened up. The 5k was a definite for me and my mom – I was considering doing the Glass Slipper Challenge or at least the half – but I decided not to.

Why? A few reasons:

The primary reason for this weekend was to spend time with my mom – I didn’t want to enforce early evening bedtimes and lose a big chunk of the mornings more than one time- especially if I was doing the rest of the weekend’s races alone.

This was also my first time doing a RunDisney race in Walt Disney World – sure I’ve had two early morning wake ups in a row for the Dumbo Double Dare, but I could arrive at the race 30-45 minutes before the start – here I had to be on the resort shuttle AT least 1 hour and 15 minutes before the start. I wanted to test the waters out with one race per Florida weekend.

So it was what it was – we were “JUST” doing the 5k.

As the months passed by – I was getting excited and my mom was REALLY pumped. We had been visiting Disney World together many times over the past 25 (eek! where does the time go!) years. This was a brand new experience – a new twist to our typical vacation.

I took a red eye in from SF that landed in Orlando the morning before the race. On both of my flights over to FL – I made conversation with a lot of people who were also participating in the race weekend.

When I landed in MCO – I took Disney’s Magical Express to our resort – where I would meet my mom who was driving in (she lives in Southwest Florida). The line to get on the bus was a bit long – but once I boarded the bus- it took about 45 minutes to be dropped off at the hotel.

Once we were all checked in – we drove over to the expo to pick up our stuff.

The “world” expo experience, was different than the “land” experience. It was a lot more crowded, and the communication on where to pick everything up wasn’t very strong – it was challenging to locate where to pick up your t-shirt and gear bag once you received your bib.

After we got our necessary items – we perused the official merchandise area. I didn’t find anything worth buying. Between the crowds and lack of interest in anything else at the expo – my mom and I went back to our hotel.

Part 2 to come…