It’s Princess Half Weekend half marathon time, princesses! It’s time to make the journey from Epcot to Magic Kingdom and our theme is Moana so I thought I’d provide some music in case you want to get in the spirit. I love the music in this movie but this one always gets my legs moving and my heart smiling. Hau la ke ta o!
As always, make sure to bookmark the event guide so you have it at your fingertips: https://www.rundisney-expo.run/
2023 Springtime Surprise Expo
First, if you are running the Springtime Surprise Toy Story 10-miler you will need to go to the expo on Thursday, Friday, or Saturday to get your bib. You can not have a family member pick it up for you.
The expo is open 10a-7p on Thursday April 13th,12p-6p on Friday April 14th, and 11a-3p on Saturday April 15th. Make sure to sign the digital waiver ahead of time by logging into your runDisney account (the one you created when you registered): https://manage.rundisney.com/login
Virtual Queue – If you want to get runDisney official merchandise on Thursday April 13th, you MUST register for the virtual queue. You (and up to 5 additional people) can signup to join at 8:30 ET via the My Disney Experience app (the Walt Disney World app where you manage all your other Disney vacation fun). Check out my 5k post for more of my thoughts/feelings about the virtual queue if you plan on going Thursday: https://www.magicofrunning.com/2023-springtime-surprise-5k-course-review/#sts23-expo
The expo is spread out over the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex (WWoS) with:
- AdventHealth Arena (A) hosting the official runDinsey merchandise, character meet and greets, and the Club runDisney Platinum HQ (2nd Level)
- Athletic Center (B) hosting the gEAR Bag Pick up, shirt exchange, and vendor expo
- State Farm® Field House (C) hosting the bib pickup and runner relations
At a minimum all runners need to go to the State Farm® Field House (C on the map) to get their bib and the Athletic Center (B on the map) to get their gEAR bag and shirts. Give yourself at least an hour to get everything you need.
DIsney PIxar Toy STory 10-Miler
You want to make sure you give yourself plenty of time to drive or catch the bus from your hotel to the Epcot parking lot. The event entrance opens at 3am and the event information says to arrive to the Epcot parking lot no later than 4:00am. Corrals will open at 3:45am and corral A will close 20 min prior to the 5am start and corral B will close 10 min prior to the start.
For those staying in a Disney hotel, please make sure to read the information in the hotel lobby or near the race weekend transportation pickup. Pro-tip: snap a picture of this information so you can review it later!
Once you arrive at Epcot, you will walk to the front of the theme park to go through standard theme park security. You then walk to the back corner of the parking lot to the race staging area. It will likely take 15-20 min to do the slow morning shuffle to the start areas from the buses/parking.
Based on my (less than great) experience at WDW Marathon Weekend, if you are dropping off a checked bag give this step a full half hour, if it goes fast, great! If it doesn’t, you have a buffer.
So if you are in corral A, you should be dropping your bag no later than 4am. If you want to be at the front of the corral, any corral, you should do bag check probably no later than 3:30 so you can be ready when the corrals open at 3:45am. Don’t forget a pre-race snack, I like to pack some fruit snacks, Starbursts, or energy chews for some simple carbs just before the start!
So now, you are ready, you are in your corral, and it’s time for playtime. Always remember that the race is the celebration of all the training you have done, so don’t sacrifice the joy and magic of running!
High-Level Course Overview
For those that ran the Springtime Surprise Tower of Terror 10-Miler last year, this is the exact same course. You start in the Epcot parking lot before running backstage to the Epcot cast member parking lot. This is the same first 1.5 miles as Friday’s 5k. You enter World Showcase by Mexico before running around World Showcase lagoon with a quick backstage run around Morocco and France. Runners will run through the UK before turning left to go backstage and head towards the Crescent Lake area.
Runners go around Crescent Lake on the BoardWalk side and then take the path to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. You will enter to the right of the park entrance and then run up Hollywood Blvd, around Gertie’s lagoon/Echo Lake, through Galaxy’s Edge, Toy Story Land, and then up Sunset Blvd.
Runners exit to backstage to the right of Tower of Terror before heading out to the roads. If you ran the 10k, you will run the same route in reverse on World Dr before taking the ramp to Epcot Center Dr. Then you run to Epcot, around Future World, and then run backstage before heading to the finish line in the Epcot parking lot.
Course Details and Potential Character Spots
Now that you have the overview, let’s dive in to the details!
- The start is in the Epcot parking lot before running along the parking lot to the backstage area where Epcot cast members park. You will then continue running backstage until you enter World Showcase at the character meet and greet location by Mexico. There is usually a character stop near mile marker 1 backstage. Sticking with the Pixar theme I’m going to guess Princess Atta/Flik.
- You will run around World Showcase past Japan before turning left and going backstage around Morocco and France to catch a glimpse of the Remy area. Along this part of World Showcase I’m going to guess there will be 2-3 characters. My guess would be Toy Story characters in front of the American Adventure, Remy/Emil in the France Remy area, and then my pie in the sky dream would be to have Miguel from Coco in Mexico.
- You then run through the UK, before exiting backstage, run around the Skyliner station, and enter the Crescent Lake area. You run along the BoardWalk (watch your step the wood boards can be slick in the morning) before continuing along the path to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. My character guesses would be a character by the Atlantic Dance Hall, maybe they will have Mickey or some Toy Story characters. My guess is that they are going to want to have the “star” Toy Story characters in Toy Story Land but a Lotso or some green army men here could work.
- Runners take the path along the water to DHS, run past the Skyliner station, and towards the park entrance where you will head right.
- Let’s breakdown the amazing run through DHS (I’m seriously jealous I’m not running this):
- You enter the park to the right of the entrance through backstage before turning right to run up Hollywood Blvd, this is your Main St USA moment. Enjoy the beauty and the neon as you smile big for some Photopass pictures!
- You then go left towards Gertie the Dinosaur (fun history lesson if you don’t know who Gertie is) run past Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular and towards Galaxy’s Edge.
- You run through Galaxy’s Edge and into Toy Story Land. Toy Story Land better be hopping. I’m going to guess they will have the drumming Green Army men out and hopefully 2 character photo ops, one with Woody/Bo Peep and the other with Jessie/Buzz, Bullseye might also be out meeting. Also, keep an eye out for Photopass Photographers they are sure to snap some great pics!
- You exit the area and then turn left running a bit through Animation Courtyard before exiting through the giant arch (smile pretty because Photopass will likely be getting pics here).
- You then take another left and turn onto Sunset Blvd towards the Tower of Terror where you will exit to the right of the tower. Smile pretty for the Photopass photographers along Sunset!
- Runners go through the Fantasmic theater area before heading backstage and exiting onto Buena Vista Dr. There will likely be a character before exiting to the road. You’ll also be half way done when you exit DHS!
- Now you’ll have 3 miles to just cruise. You’ll take two on/off ramps which will have inclines but this section will be a great opportunity to just get into the running groove and pick up the pace a little if you want to put some space between you and the balloon ladies. There will likely be at least some screens up showing different Toy Story clips to keep you entertained. I would also hope they would have some green army men out to help motivate, I don’t think this course could have too many green army men in my opinion.
- Here the ramp will take you up and over World Dr so be prepared for the incline plus the grade/tilt the road will have. If you are feeling tired this might be a great opportunity to take a walk break before hitting the last 2 miles.
- Here you will have down slope as you make your way back to Epcot.
- This is a very sharp turn at the bottom of the incline before heading back up another ramp, this is my least favorite feature of these types of runDisney courses that enter Epcot.
- There is another overpass ramp here so get ready to power up another hill before you glide down the hill into the Epcot resort bus drop off area.
- You then run backstage behind The Seas and The Land before entering Future World around Imagination.
- You’ll make a quick loop up to World Showcase Lagoon to say one last goodbye to the tacos… er the Harmonious Barges. You then run down the center path back to Future World and get a good view of that beautiful, glittering Spaceship Earth. Runners will go around Creations Shop and then through the breezeway to Mission Space. Honestly, I’m usually very focused on just finishing but there may be 2 more characters in Epcot. One I would guess would be on runner’s right along World Showcase Lagoon and another might be near Mission Space or Test Track.
- Runners then take the exit behind Test Track to run the final half mile backstage before finishing in the Epcot parking lot. Throw those hands up, give a wave to whatever character is at the finish, and put a big smile on, you did it!
You did it! Congratulations! You can grab YOUR medal and then grab a water and/or Powerade (red, blue, or yellow). If you are running the Springtime Surprise Challenge, you will then get your challenge medal and then all runners will grab a snack box.
If you checked a bag, grab that and then head out to meet your family and friends. After taking a minute to celebrate, stretch, sit, drink some water, or whatever you need, you can then grab your bus back or head to your car. I hope you have a special breakfast planned!
I’m so excited for you all and hope you all have the best race. What are you looking forward to most?