Wow! Everything in my mind is just on “wow” mode right now. As I type this I’m on a train to Strasbourg en route to Munich (edited and posted after I returned home :sadface:) as we leave Disneyland Paris and the inaugural half marathon. Wow! I feel so incredibly lucky to be sitting in the train seat and watch the French countryside whizz by. (They have fields of corn here too!)
So let’s talk about everything that got me to this point. How did I register for the Disneyland Paris Half Marathon? What was the process ahead of the race? What hurdles did I have?
So time to hop in the way back machine… doodly doo, doodly doo, doodly doo…
In mid-September runDisney first announced the Inaugural Disneyland Paris Half Marathon after years of rumors. The vacation package with registration fee was fast to follow and I needed to make a decision, do I jump in to my first European trip? How would I buy the plane ticket? Where else will I got in Europe since I’m going all that way?
I knew 2 things. First, I wanted to go to Europe. Second, I wanted to go to Disneyland Paris and love runDisney. This meant that using this race as the catalyst for making these things happen perfection. I was in! I’d figure out the other details in the 11 months between registration and traveling across the ocean.
I was on the phone on October 6 and opted to go through the runDisney Paris package, I had tried calling a travel agent but they ran out of packages quickly and they were on hold getting more. 3 phones calls later with the Disneyland Paris reservation people (called via Skype, highly recommend this for international calls if you make them infrequently) I was booked at the Hotel Santa Fe and had 3 race registration 1 for the Half Marathon and 2 for the 5k for my boyfriend (the Wookie) and I.
So that was October 2015. So. Long. Before.
It was then just a waiting game and getting some of the additional items taken care of. These all needed to be uploaded the runDisney registration that the Paris team set up. Once you get a package they sent me an email with a link to get this all set up.
- Send Castle to Chateau information for verification after running the Dopey Challenge in January 2016. This was uploaded to the registration page for the race.
- Get my medical verification filled out, this is a standard form that is more common in Europe (from what I gathered) that requires you get a medical professional sign off on you being healthy enough to run. This was uploaded to the registration page for the race.
These needed to be submitted by June 1, 2016 but they then extended the deadline to the end of July. They also accepted them at the expo. Both of mine were submitted ahead of the original deadline and once the Paris team confirmed it, I received an email saying I was squared away and ready for Paris!
Next step, deciding where we wanted to go while we were there. We had decided a week and a half trip and originally were considering going to Scottland but for the sake of time we decided instead to go to France and Germany. Specifically we settled on Paris, Disneyland Paris, Munich, Leipzig (we have friends there) and Berlin.
Now we knew where and when we would go so time for flights. We kept watching the flights starting in the spring, they stayed pretty expensive and then all of a sudden the price dropped in July and we locked in a pretty great deal through Vayama (an international flight search site). The general rule of thumb for flights (domestic and international), once you find a price point you are comfortable with, lock it in. If you spend time looking around or waiting for a better price you might miss out. So set a price point and use you’re resources. Usually you can continue to look for flights and cancel or rebook (check the cancellation info when you buy your first ticket!) under a better deal so lock in the rate you are comfortable with but keep researching.
Okay so I was verified for the race, airfare booked and now it was to plan the rest of the trip around it.
We were on a budget so we were doing things quickly. We were spending one day in Paris (arrive in the morning and leave the following afternoon) in Paris before heading to Disneyland Paris. After the race it was off to Germany, specifically Munich, Leipzig (friends live there) and Berlin. It was going to be jam packed!
We waited a long time (probably too long) to book hotels and other things but it all worked out well, it helps that late September is the off season for most travelers. We booked both cheap hotel rooms through hotels.com looking at tripadvisor reviews and also used some hostels to keep expenses down.