I’ve been wanting to race in a Disney Half for a long time but I wondered if it was worth the ticket price. The cost of the 2020 WDW half marathon was $188 and included a long-sleeved tech shirt, finisher medal, and “access to a Family Reunion area with live entertainment and characters.”
I had never run a half marathon at Disney. In 2011, a friend and I were supposed to run the Disney Half Marathon but when we got to Disney, we both were so sick. We forfeited the medal and stayed in the room instead of running the half marathon.
A few years later, we ran the Tower of Terror 10 Miler, a night time Run Disney event. It was an incredible experience but the race discontinued. We ran it once but that was only 10 miles, not a half marathon.
Then there was the princess half. I signed up for that with two running partners, Didi and Colleen. It turned out, I was unable to do that one also because I broke my toe. So, I was striking out.
I signed up for the 2020 WDW Half Marathon because it gave me an excuse to see my son, who recently relocated to Orlando, Florida.
After splitting a hotel room with one of my running friends who had done the 10K race that Friday, I went to bed at 7 pm and got up at 2:30 am Saturday morning. I got dressed, ate a little snack and was on my way out the door to get the bus to the Epcot Center.
Although the bus driver got lost en route to the drop off center, we got there with plenty of time to spare. There was a significant walk from the drop off site to the corral start lines. It was approximately a mile walk.
Bag Check and Security
Both the bag check and security went smoothly. There were no lines and I let the security guard look into my bag and my race belt. The bag check was well-done. A woman behind a table wrote my number on the clear oversized string backpack. When I went to check the bag, I was given a sticker with a number that went on the back of my bib and on my bag.
After the race, again, there was no line. I quickly got my checked items with no issues.
There were corrals that went through the letter “I.” I was in “F.” There were thousands of people in my corral. According to the Orlando Sun-Sentinel, there were 65,000 people registered for the races but only 22,000 ran the half marathon.
I got to the corral early and had about 45 minutes prior to the race to try to get a spot close to the front. It was difficult so I stood where I landed.
The Run Disney races have a fantastic start. Donald Duck shouted 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and then fireworks went off. We ran through the gate. It was exciting. Everyone had a smile on their face.
Most of the race takes place on the roadway and back lots on the Disney property. You go over bridges and run under bridges. Along the way, there are many characters. It seemed like almost every Disney character was on the road in various spots along the way. You could stop and take a photo if you wanted to wait on line.
The other unique thing RunDisney had was movies. They had a big screen set up in at least two spots along the route with Disney cartoons and movies.
What I didn’t like
The roads were particularly narrow in many spots along the path. There were thousands of people running and you felt it. It was hard to run at times and I felt like I was constantly getting bottlenecked. It was frustrating and I wonder how the RunDisney folks could have handled differently, maybe accepting fewer people? Spreading people out more? Whatever the case, I think you need to be prepared that if you sign up for a RunDisney race, you will not PR that race.
If you don’t mind getting bottlenecked, then I would say YES. If you are looking for a PR, go somewhere else. But if you want to have “F” for fun, then come to Disney and check out one of their races!