Monthly Archives: March 2013

Running…at Disney

On my recent trip to Walt Disney World, I knew I’d be busy but thanks to some prior planning, I was able to get in my scheduled run!

Since we were staying at Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa (SSR), I had some prior experience/knowledge of the general layout of the grounds. For the Wine and Dine Half Marathon in 2012, I had done a few miles after the Jingle Jungle 5K and before the half that night, so I based my mileage estimate on that.

My plan that early Monday morning was to hit the pavement a little after 6 AM, log about 4 miles (what was on my schedule) and also participate in the #runchathunt. I knew there were a few things I could capture on my run and that it’d be a blast to memorialize my run with some fun images.

When my alarm went off that morning, I literally jumped out of bed, got dressed and headed out, making sure to tuck away my room key in my back pocket. Opening the door, I was pleasantly surprised by the mild temperature, despite the darkness…I definitely wasn’t in VA anymore!

Bridge from SSR to DTD.

Bridge from SSR to DTD.

Setting out on the course, I headed down the sidewalk (we were staying in the Congress Park Section of SSR) and off to the path that leads to Downtown Disney (DTD). I hadn’t packed my running belt or Garmin, so I just held my phone in my hand and ran the Nike+ app – it was a pretty easy set up, and each time I saw something I could use in my #runchathunt, I stopped the app, snapped the pic, then started back up.

Water.

Water.

Once I reached the ‘West Side’ of DTD , I kept near the waterfront, which was well-lit and clear. The main walkway was being power washed  and I ran past a sign that told me to use exterior sidewalks. It was quiet, and still…definitely a huge contrast from the liveliness of DTD in the evening!

After passing by the Characters in Flight Balloon and Planet Hollywood, I rounded out to the sidewalk that runs alongside the sprawling parking lot. There were signs of activity – deliveries being made, landscape being attended to…it was like a small city waking up…

Soon, I was past the Pleasure Island section and passing the Marketplace. I waved good morning to each person I saw and they waved back – Disney magic – and then took the sidewalk around the bus stop back toward the resort.

Glancing down at my iPhone, I noticed I was nearing four miles at that point, but I was feeling like I could sneak in a little more. So after I made it back to my starting point, I headed back down the path I had came and decided to run the sidewalks of Hotel Blvd to the “Welcome to Walt Disney World” sign.

Welcome!

Welcome!

One thing I really loved about this run was despite the fact that it was still dark out, I never felt scared or ‘in the dark.’ Sidewalks were well-lit and due to the hour of the day, there were very low traffic. The humidity was beginning to increase, but a mild breeze was also present, which kept the run very comfortable.

Trail/Mile Marker...ahem...furlong marker.

Trail/Mile Marker…ahem…furlong marker.

After I reached the sign, it was back to SSR and that evened out an exact five miles. That run reminded me how much I love running outdoors (after a winter cooped up on the treadmill – while I do still love that training tool, nothing beats being outside!) and really energized me for the LONG day we had ahead of us!

Have you ever run on your Disney Parks vacation (other than at a race, as seen below)?

What’s your favorite place to log some miles?

Favorite place to run!

Favorite place to run! Tink Half 2013. Definitely had to sneak in this pic 😉

P.S.

Planning a trip to WDW but want to avoid the treadmill? Check out THIS link for maps of designated jogging trails 🙂

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Princess Week 2013 (Surprise + Giveaway)!

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CONGRATULATIONS, LAUREN! YOUR PRIZE WILL BE SHIPPED OUT ASAP!

Hi everyone and Happy St Paddy’s Day! I hope you enjoyed Princess Week just as much as I did…I know that yesterday was planned as the finale, but I had to add just one more Disney day – and share something FUN with all of you!

You see, as you read this post, I will be en route to a whirlwind 44-hour impromptu trip to Walt Disney World with my pal and Princess Week Contributor Morgan. While I wish I could have brought you ALL along for the trip with me, I thought of the NEXT BEST thing: a fun giveaway!

Now, this giveaway is not your ordinary giveaway…it’s a scavenger hunt – both through words and pictures – from the contents of this week’s Princess Week and your PRIZE will be customized FOR YOU! There will only be one winner so read closely and here…we….go!

HERE’S THE IMPORTANT STUFF:

Responses must be submitted via email to khiguchi at gmail dot com and timestamped by MIDNIGHT TONIGHT, SUNDAY MARCH 17th – winner will be chosen at random via random.org and email notification will be sent to winner shortly thereafter. Responses left in blog comments will NOT be counted!!

Up for the challenge? Just answer these 5 questions:

  1. What time was Lisa’s alarm set for on Princess Half Marathon morning?
  2. At what park did the Family 5K take place?
  3. What celebrity did Lauren meet at the ‘Fit for a Princess’ expo?
  4. What Princesses did Rachel meet at the runDisney Meetup?
  5. Which runDisney event will Janet’s son take part in this fall?

Easy enough, right?! I cannot wait to see your  – and YES, Princess contributors…you are welcome to take part, too 🙂

Princess Half Marathon: The Ultimate Recap

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I can hardly believe it, but we’ve reached the end of the line here on Princess Week! Over the past six days, we’ve attended the runDisney meetup, popped over to the ‘Fit for a Princess’ Expo, checked out the Royal Family 5K, experienced luxury in the Race Retreat and finally, ran 13.1 miles! I want to give a special THANK YOU to all five of my Practically Perfect Princesses that contributed their incredible content – it really made ME feel like I was along for the ride!

Morgan and a fellow Princess celebrating 13.1 miles!

Morgan and a fellow Princess celebrating 13.1 miles!

I asked each Princess to provide some feedback on the overall experience of the weekend…here’s what they said:

Your favorite moment from the weekend 

Running down Main Street toward the castle! This was the moment I often visualized when having a difficult training run, and finally doing it in person was even better than I imagined. – Rachel

When my little punk met Jeff Galloway and proceeded to tell him he will see him in October when he comes back to run the ToT since he will be 12 and it will be the first race over 5K he can run.  My Galloway was very gracious and told him he cant wait to see him there. – Janet

My favorite moment of the weekend was the entire race! It was hot and I was worried whether or not this Canadian girl was going to melt. I took my time, and allowed myself to soak it all in including dozens of photo ops and meeting new people along the way! – Lisa

I really wish that I could just pick one moment from the weekend that was my favorite!!  If you’re really going to force me, I’d pick running across the finish line with one of my best friends in the entire universe, Princess Katinka.  Not only was it Katinka’s first runDisney race, and her first half marathon,  it was her FIRST. RACE. EVER.  Grabbing her hand and getting across that beautiful purple finish line was pretty major.  I was so proud of her and so happy and honored to be part of her journey. – Lauren

A favorite photo from the weekend 

Rachel rocking Main Street USA!

Rachel rocking Main Street USA!

Just past Main Street, I saw a volunteer taking pictures for people. At first I was going to run by, but then I thought to myself, I didn’t come all the way to Florida to not take a picture here! I’m so glad I did. – Rachel

JGallowayJJ

Janet’s son with Jeff Galloway! See Janet’s favorite moment above!

Lisa with the Villains!

Lisa with the Villains!

My favorite photo from the weekend speaks for itself! (Cruella herself said she was impressed I could get back up so quickly) – Lisa

Lauren and her Princess Posse!

Lauren and her Princess Posse!

My favorite photo of the weekend is Team Princess 1983 with those MEDALS.  We all worked so hard in completely different training environments and we came together and totally CRUSHED it.  We were all so happy and excited.  This pic truly shows it. – Lauren

Something that could have been better about the weekend and how you would suggest improving it: 

The crowds for the whole weekend. The expo was claustrophobically crowded in places, which made it hard to peruse and shop. As I understand, the expo is usually held at the Wide World of Sports, so hopefully they will not hold it at Coronado Springs Resort in the future, or use more of the convention space available. Also, the course felt very crowded in certain places where the roads were narrower. I think the number of participants should be lowered to prevent such heavy congestion. – Rachel

The transportation to and from the Expo was atrocious.  Too much waiting time.  But let’s face it – no one does lines better than Disney. For the record I love Disney.  I had my Disneymoon there, I am a DVC member.  I just think runDisney was not prepared for the growth – Janet

The only critique of the entire weekend was the Fit for a Princess Expo. I have been at a Disney Expo (Tinkerbell) before and I appreciate the hustle and bustle of excited runDisney enthusiasts. This expo was incredibly busy and was missing a bit of the Disney organizational magic. I understand that there was a change in venue this year, and it was most likely just growing pains, but I missed quite a few vendors that I would have really like to attend because it was over crowded. – Lisa

I don’t mean to be overly positive patty, but the only thing that would have changed about the weekend was making it longer.  I dipped in on Saturday morning and peaced out Monday morning (early!).  Everything, as usual was so well run by runDisney that the race weekend was effortless and so fun. – Lauren

Your advice to someone that is interesting in participating in a future
Princess Half Marathon Weekend (or any other runDisney event).

For those of you who are just starting to run; sign up! Don’t dream about it or tell yourself you’ll do it someday, sign up and commit to training. I’m definitely one of those people who never thought they’d do a half marathon, and now I’ve done two and crossed the finish line smiling both times. For those of you who already have some experience; sign up too! I have enjoyed every runDisney experience I’ve had. And finally, for everyone, have fun! Take pictures, take advantage of the photo stops, and dress up! What other race do you get to take your picture in front of a castle? So sign up, have fun, and I’ll see you there! – Rachel

Do it, but be of the mindset to enjoy the event, just like Disney itself it is overwhelming at first but totally worth it.  It is crowded and there are LOADS of people, just relax and don’t take it all too seriously, like I did in the beginning and then realized too late. – Janet 

My advice is DO IT, you will not regret it! Running has become an important part of my life because of runDisney and I am so thankful I have had the opportunity to participate in these events with so many amazing and diverse individuals. I have been moved to tears during both the Tinker Bell & Princess ½ Marathons because of the inspirational people participating- everyone has a story! – Lisa

The best advice I can give for 2014 princesses and any other runDisney participants is to HAVE FUN!  When we ran through the castle there was a LOT of princesses complaining about how people were stopping to take pictures in or around the castle.  There was also a lot of online complaining about how crowded the course was, etc.  If you want to PR or you don’t want to take pictures, please try to get into Corral A or B.  Otherwise, let go and have so so so much fun.  When you run Disney you should do it to feel like a magical athlete and you owe it to yourself and your other runDisney teammates to have a good attitude. – Lauren

Finally, I think Morgan really summed it up with this statement:

“The Princess Half was a truly awesome weekend for me and I can’t say enough about what participating can do for your health and self-esteem. I found out though that the fun I had with the women I traveled and ran with were so much more valuable than anything I could have imagined that I wouldn’t wait a heartbeat to recommend this race to first-timers. Though the race itself got a little congested with so many runners, it all evened out in the end.”

I don’t think I could have said it any better myself, ladies! Thanks for joining along this Princess Week – I certainly had fun vicariously living through each of these princesses recaps of the weekend – and while I would definitely love to participate in every runDisney event there is, unfortunately time and budget don’t always allow, so I am glad to have these opportunities to follow along and share!

Did you enjoy this week’s coverage of events? Is there anything you’d like to see more of? Are you interested in submitting some of your content? I’d love to continue these recaps in the future so please leave your comments on how we can make these the BEST features ever!

Princess Week 2013: Princess Half Marathon

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On Sunday, Feb 24 at 5:35 AM, more than 20 thousand participants were lined up in their corrals ready to participate in the fifth running of the runDisney Princess Half Marathon. Among the throngs of tutus and sparkle was Janet – ready to rock her first Princess Half! Here’s her account:

The truth is my husband goes to great lengths to make me happy, and running a women’s themed race because he knew it would make me happy is further proof.  Oh what a King does to make his Queen happy, running the Disney Princess Half Marathon made this Queen VERY happy.

When we ran the Wine and Dine back in November, I knew we were hooked on Disney themed races. What seemed like yet another Disney race, turned into something I was not prepared for at all; or maybe rather I set my expectations too high.

I am a runner.  I love to run.  I am not the fastest, I am not the most graceful, but what I lack in agility I more than make up for in heart.  I was set to run Princess and even PR.  I was not prepared for the sheer number of people let alone the walkers who took part.  I am not belittling walkers, as a runner, I follow a 5:1 ratio.  For every 5 minutes of running I walk for 1 minute. I mainly do this for longer distances, anything over 5 miles.

Getting up at 3am was not a big challenge for hubby and I, we are the members of the 4am gym goers. When the alarm went off, I was out of bed, in the shower, and ready to go. I was so jazzed about this race.  I wasn’t nervous, I was actually excited.  I wanted to get in this and get going.  I was ready to RUN!! Early on the bus, we headed off to the event.

The bag check was flawless, as expected.  The DJ was there spinning some tunes, there were plenty of Princesses making their way through the crowds, and you could feel the heartbeats all around.  We decided to head off to our Corral, having been forewarned the distanced from the pre-party to the corrals, we thought it best to get over there and settle in for some light stretches. Hubby and I were in Corral F, having a modest expected finishing time of 3 hours, secretly hoping for 2:45. 

JanetPrincess1

JanetPrincess2

JanetPrincess3

Our Corral moved about 6:13, about 3 minutes later than expected.  And off we went.  Hubby went ahead of me, as we planned, and we would meet up after the race (that was a whole ‘nother FIASCO).  The first mile was about setting my pace, the problem was getting around the four to six across walkers who for the most part were not very kind to some of the runners. I so wished this could have been the exception, sadly for most of the race my “passing left” was met with either a snide remark, or inconsiderate individuals who could not be bothered to walk single file in order for me to have a clean pass.  Somewhere around mile 4 or 5, I was met with someone who thought it was necessary to yell obscenities in my direction, to which I could only reply in my head as a true Princess should “Nice potty mouth Princess, I now understand why the Queen tried to off you.”

The characters were definitely a highlight to the event.  They made the long stretches of road a pleasant visual experience.  Once again the overwhelming number of people for this race, to stand in line for a photo would have been detrimental to my already diminishing pace.  I was sad about this, especially when it came to the villains posted just outside the stretch to our entrance to the Magic Kingdom.

Running down Main Street was breath taking.  It was the moment that brought me back to another moment in time, Christmas 2009.  I was awe struck by the sight of the castle.  The cheering crowds lining the streets gave me chills.  Since we didn’t have family or friends there to cheer us on, the strangers simply yelling encouragement to all the runners as they passed by was heartwarming.  Cast members leaning over for high 5’s, children reaching out to fist bump, these are the moments you look back on and remember.  Running through the castle was a little bit of a letdown for me.  It wasn’t as spectacular as I was hoping for.  I wanted to feel as if I was free flowing through it, charging like Cinderella when she flees the ball.  Instead it felt more like an ordinary moment walking through it to get to the other side.  Again the sheer number of runners/walkers and then getting bottle necked just made it less than perfect.

Leaving the Magic Kingdom and making our way back to Epcot, there was some on and off breathing room.  Around mile 8 was the nutrition, Cliff GU (for the record the Mocha is INSANLY CRAZY GOOD).  I kind of wish they had moved it about 100-200 yards further, the road opened up and there would have been more room to grab and go.

There were plenty of water and PowerAde stations and medical tents.  I heard one woman was hit by a car; she had crossed the cones to get around some walkers.  Not saying she was right or wrong, but again the sheer number of people in this event and there were times when the road was ONE LANE.  You were either forced to slow your pace and walk, which can be frustrating if you are not accustomed to walking or you were forced to run in the grass, I guess she finally got impatient enough to cross the cones and was struck by a car.  I did hear she was not hurt too badly, thank goodness.  There were plenty of stories of people being swept at mile 8 for not keeping pace.  Considering Disney has one of the most liberal pace times, they should consider rethinking this race.

I finished in 3:04:47.  MUCH slower than my last race.  I think that is where I need to rethink the Disney Princess Race.  It really isn’t a race at all.  Unless you are an elite runner and can be placed in the earlier corrals, it is far better to just enjoy the event for what it is.  There was no PR for me at this event. 

I will definitely consider doing this event again, but with a different mindset next time.  I have no intention of missing out on the characters next time.  And maybe hubby will join me.

Janet & proud family medal sharing!

Janet & proud family medal sharing!

Although Janet’s experience wasn’t quite what she expected, I definitely appreciated her honesty! Large events like these (that grew even larger this year) prove the popularity of runDisney endurance races and suggest that some changes might be suggested to enhance the experience for a larger majority of runners. Despite the challenges however, Janet persevered and earned her medal and is even considering another Princess weekend – with a different outlook. Thank you, Janet for your story!!

Have you ever run the Princess Half Marathon? What was your experience like?

Princess Week 2013: The Race Retreat

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For many Princess Half Marathon participants, the race weekend is a perfect opportunity for a girls getaway. With the female focus at the Expo, to the luxurious options for spa packages and more while staying on Walt Disney World property, there are definitely an abundance of options for participants to customize their weekend.

One such race add-on is the popular Race Retreat package – a $99 option available for both runners and spectators. Open before, during and after the race, the retreat offers an abundance of amenities, including refreshment, a temperature-controlled environment, a padded stretching area, private restrooms and bag check, changing tents, Internet access to check live race results, commemorative giveaway items, Disney character greetings and more…but don’t take my word for it…here’s Lisa with her take on this plush ‘plus’!

What more could a princess possibly want beyond running with 26, 000 of her closest friends? A weekend full of world class shopping? The opportunity to run through Cinderella’s castle in the quest for some gorgeous bling? Maybe another way of feeling just a little bit more like royalty? – The Race Retreat.

LISA2PRINCES

Since this was my first race at Walt Disney World, and I was running on my own I decided while registering for the Princess ½ Marathon to splurge and purchase the Race Retreat. The cost of this “VIP treatment” was $99 and in my opinion worth every penny.

Princess_alarm

Waking up at 2:15 is no easy task.  However my nerves were quickly settled by knowing that some of those oh so early hours were going to be spent in a warm (or cool as it applied to our very hot weekend) space, where I could sit, relax and have a few light refreshments before I embarked on my big adventure. So I got my ears on, and off I went.

LISAMINNIE

PERLA

 One of the main reasons I runDisney, besides the amazing energy & fantastic bling, is the character photo ops! The Race Retreat did not disappoint!  Before the race I was able to get a quick pic with a childhood favorite, Perla the mouse from Cinderella. (I mean who would not want a personal mouse/seamstress?)

VIEWING AREA

 After the race, I got my beautiful 5th anniversary bling and returned to the Race Retreat.  I was greeted with a glass of champagne, Princess Flip Flops, a Princess towel –which is perfect for my race bag, and a few AMAZING samples from H2O+.

FLORA,FAUNA, MERRYWEATHER

 I was eager to return to take a few minutes to relax, call my family, watch the other runners cross the finish line on the big screen T.V.’s in the viewing area and soak it all in. I was very pleased to see that the Three Good Fairies from Sleeping Beauty had returned- and better yet there was NO line!

 My overall impression of the Race Retreat was there were some major PRO’s including:

  • A convenient Bag Check- it only took me one minute to check my bag upon arrival and even less time after I was done the race
  • Having private port o potties was a blessing. It is basic math, with 26,000 runners it simply is a better ratio 🙂
  • Both before and after the race there was food and refreshments. I personally do not eat much before an early race like this, but I saw many people enjoying a bagel and peanut butter, bananas and water. After the race there was a nice buffet of breakfast foods including bacon, eggs, muffins, oatmeal, fruit, tea and coffee.
  • Having a place to meet someone after the race, I was racing alone but was able to connect with some of the great online running community I have met over the past few years.
  • There was a padded stretching area, as well for $10 you could get a massage

 Would I purchase the Race Retreat again? I think the circumstances would determine this. If I were running in Disneyland* I would probably save the money and spend even more at the Expo (I LOVE Expos). If I was running in Walt Disney World, I would buy it in a magic minute- knowing that I had a comfortable place to wait and recover before and after the race truly helped me have the most fun I have ever had during a race. A BIG thanks to runDisney for treating me like a Princess! 

Thanks for your take on this fabulous race amenity, Lisa! I am sure lots of prospective runDisney participants are appreciative of your candid review 🙂

Would you consider adding the Race Retreat to your next race weekend?

* At time of posting (March 2013) the Race Retreat packages are only available at the Walt Disney World Resort during Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend and Princess Half Marathon Weekend.

Princess Week 2013: The Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse Royal Family 5K

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Although Disney’s Princess Half Marathon Wee kend focuses on Sunday’s 13.1 mile race, there is a another opportunity for those looking to get involved in the excitement on Saturday – the family 5K!

Whether participants are using the 3.1 miles as their first race, a family event or their warm up for the half marathon, every runDisney 5K is sure to pack magic into every mile! I’ve personally participated in two different 5K events: the Jingle Jungle 5K (as part of the Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend) and the Neverland 5K (component of Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend) and so I was stoked to learn that one of my pals Morgan would be running in the Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse Royal Family 5K during the Princess Half Marathon Weekend, so here’s her take on that special morning:

I’ve not been a member of the runDisney community for long, so when Outrunning the Monorail asked me to cover the Princess Half Marathon Royal Family 5k, I was ecstatic. The opportunity to spectate a race was a fun one for me, and it really charged me up for the Princess Half the next day. In my opinion, there’s nothing like a runDisney race atmosphere and the 5k didn’t fall short of expectations. So many kids out so early! Smiling even! The usual runDisney DJ was there too, with some amped up music. Because there’s nothing like a pre-dawn Thriller Flash Mob to start your day off right. 

Early morning 5K crowd.

Early morning 5K crowd.

The course for the Royal Family 5k is a fun one, a 3.1 mile loop through Epcot and the park’s World Showcase. It’s a wide path that takes you past some of the world’s most gorgeous “countries” and I’m betting it’s pretty fantastic in the morning. Because of the distance and the setting, this is the perfect race to start running Disney with if you haven’t before, and a great sort of “coming home” race to warm up for events later in a race weekend if you’re a veteran. With character photo stops about every half mile, it’s a sprint between pictures for some, but it was really inspiring to see young kids running with their families to really be runners. 

5K course.

5K course.

The 5k is an untimed fun run, which really seems to bump the happy atmosphere. I did notice  that a lot of the spectators weren’t cheering on all the runners and hope that takes a turn toward lots of cheering in the future. It’s so motivating to be cheered on! With Mickey and Minnie at the finish line and a super-fun mouse “medal” for finishing, the Royal Family 5k is a great race that I myself might sign up for next time around. Whether you’re just starting out or lacing up your shoes for the ten-thousandth time, I hope to see you there!

Wow, doesn’t that sound like a blast? Whenever your travel plans allow, I would definitely recommend adding a 5K fun run into your runDisney racecation! Thanks, Morgan!

Are there any runDisney 5K’s on your future racing schedules?

TIP: Each ‘big’ runDisney event has an associated 5K – although the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend‘s 5K is already sold out, you can register today for Tower of Terror 10 Miler Weekend‘s Disney Happy Haunted 5K Trail Run in October or the Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend‘s Jingle Jungle 5K in November…and don’t forget the Expedition Everest 5K (sold out for 2013, but held in early May).

 

Princess Week 2013: Disney’s ‘Fit for a Princess’ Expo

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This year’s Princess Half Marathon was special for a number of reasons – for one, it was the 5th anniversary, which meant special recognition for those ‘Perfect Princesses’ that had run the race each year since its inaugural event, two – it was the BIGGEST of any Princess race and three – it was the first race expo since the inception of the runDisney brand that was held outside of the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, instead moving to Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort and Convention Center.

Our Outrunning the Monorail reporter on the ground for this leg of the journey was Lauren with a recap on the magic and mayhem…so let’s get on the bus and go!

Lauren on the first part of her expo journey...

The Expo journey begins…posing courtesy Princess AKP!

Hello, Outrunning the Monorail readers! I’m Lauren from 30 run 30, but you can call me LNRB.   I’m so excited to be sharing my Fit for a Princess expo experience during the Princess Half Marathon weekend with all you princes and princesses.  So, let’s get down to it!

I was lucky enough to run the Princess Half Marathon with my 3 favorite princesses.  Half my team arrived on Friday and hit the expo before I got there.  They bemoaned the long lines to even get into the expo and apparently the lines didn’t get any better  to grab the bibs and THEN grab the t-shirts.  They also warned, just like Twitter, the lines to get into the official merchandise area might not be worth it.  Yikes!  This is was not the start I had envisioned for our weekend, but with 26,000 runners, I knew that it would be a few lines.  When Princess AKP and I landed in at the Caribbean Beach, we hustled right over to the expo. 

Walking into Coronado Springs

After a short bus ride to Coronado Springs, we hopped off and were escorted directly into the expo.

Expo Banner

Expo Banner

After having braced myself for an hour wait I fell out of my Sperrys when we were whisked right through the door and directly to the bib pick up by the beautiful volunteers. 

I mean a man with a pink t-shirt, an orange vest and a Sorcerer Mickey hat? Cue “Someday My Prince Will Come”!

I mean a man with a pink t-shirt, an orange vest and a Sorcerer Mickey hat? Cue “Someday My Prince Will Come”!

Expo signage.

Expo signage.

Princess AKP and I pranced RIGHT UP TO THE booths.

Lines?  What lines?

Lines? What lines?

After waiting for about 10 seconds, my friend, bespectactled and pink shirted suited me up with my bibs {since we ran as a team, we got an extra bib so everyone knew how awesome we were}

Bib pickup.

Bib pickup.

Bibs!

Bibs!

After the bibbing, we were escorted to the t-shirt pick up area, which was on the other side of the vendor booths.  This was the only place where we experienced any lines.  And the only line to that point was to pick up your medium sized t-shirt. 

T-shirt line.

T-shirt line.

Princess AKP and I caught up with each other and the race’s final instructions while I patiently waited for my medium sized shirt.

Waiting in line.

Waiting in line.

Reading Race Program.

Reading Race Program.

Finally with my purple race shirt in hand, we waited in line to get a peek at the official race merch. 

runDisney Merchandise area.

runDisney Merchandise area.

Fun 'Sorry Charming' motif.

Fun ‘Sorry Charming’ motif.

After a few short minutes in line, we got to see the runDisney merchandise.  There wasn’t a ton of it but what was there was adorable!  Most everything had the “Sorry Charming” motif.  I grabbed myself the runner Mickey Vinalymation with the Princess Half Marathon medal. 

How cute is he?  I’m in love!

How cute is he? I’m in love!

After we checked out with runner Mickey in tow, we headed out to check the rest of the expo.

Expo floor.

Expo floor.

One of the first stops was listening to my running Sherpa (tie with Bart Yasso), Jeff Galloway!

Jeff Galloway at PHM 2013 Expo.

Jeff Galloway at PHM 2013 Expo.

I’m pretty sure he was telling us to hydrate, since it was supposed to be record high temps on the course the next day.  But I was so giddy I can’t really remember. 

Next we headed over to the Lady Footlocker booth to see their awesome running clothes and have our pics taken with the fairy wings and the enormous crown.

Princesses!

Princesses!

And of course who doesn’t want to visit the enormous runDisney booth so I could peruse the other races that I’ll be running this year (love you Tower Ten Miler and Wine and Dine Half Marathon!)

runDisney booth!

runDisney booth

 About this time we were itching to lay out our race-day gear and maybe even hit the pool.  As we snaked our way out of the booths I saw her.  Ali Vincent.

Let me try this again – ALI VINCENT!!

Hugging Ali Vincent.

Hugging Ali Vincent.

I’m not a big reality TV buff but I was so into Ali being the first female biggest loser and the fact that she’s gorgeous and fabulous and she runs Disney.  Please commence the super awkward attack of Ali Vincent by LNRB.

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Ali – I super love you.  Thanks for entertaining my spaz.  She gave me her autograph and a grab bracelet.  You’re supposed to wear it to be conscious of your actions.  I love the idea, but of course I lost the bracelet in the race shuffle. 

What’s a Fit for a Princess expo without a shot of some princes?  There were plenty of opportunities for character posing:  Aurora, Cinderella – they were everywhere.  We were a little impatient and didn’t want to wait in line, which weren’t long.  Actually now that I think about it none of the lines were.  Anywhere. 

Royal characters.

Royal characters.

As we walked out, we couldn’t help but congratulate ourselves on a job well done!  Short lines, merchandise and all my favorite expo people!  For anyone getting to the expo a little late, don’t fret.  I would actually recommend it. We breezed in and out and didn’t feel rushed or cramped.  Like every runDisney event, the expo was really well organized with tons of happy, helpful volunteers.  And even water stations to fill up our bottles so we could stay hydrated.  We were very happy princesses!

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Sporting the official Princess Half Marathon race shirt.

Don’t mind if we do!

Don’t mind if we do!

Thanks, Lauren for your fabulous recap of the 2013 Princess Half Marathon ‘Fit for a Princess’ Expo! I really enjoyed virtually visiting and hope this gave some insight to others that may have never attended a runDisney expo before. Here’s a fun fact…you don’t even need to racing in the event to visit – yup, it’s a free event so if you’re looking for a place to shop, gain some inspiration with the speaker series or maybe sign up for a future runDisney event, don’t hesitate to check it out!

Have you ever attended a runDisney race expo? What was your favorite part? Do you have tips on the best time to visit?