It’s Princess Half Weekend 10k time! The 10k is such a great distance, long enough to make all the hoopla that goes into getting to and from a runDisney race worth it but not so long that you are totally dead and can’t enjoy the day.
As always, make sure to bookmark the event guide so you have it at your fingertips: https://www.rundisney-expo.run/
Princess Half Marathon Weekend Expo
First, if you are running the Princess Half Weekend 10k you will need to go to the expo on Thursday or Friday to get your bib. You can not have a family member pick it up for you.
The expo is open 10a-8p on Thursday Feb 23rd and from 10a-7p on Friday Feb 24th. 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 Feb 23rd, 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://magicofrunning.com/princess-half-weekend-5k-course-review/#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 hosting the bib pickup, perfect gift distribution for half and challenge perfects, 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.
2023 Princess Half Weekend 10k
I am so excited you all get to run this 10k course (and that it wasn’t retired by runDisney)! This was the route that we got to run at the 2022 WDW Marathon Weekend 10k and it’s one of my favorites.
Reasons it’s pretty awesome:
- Time in 2 parks
- Really open path in the beginning miles meaning less of a bottleneck
- Great finishing miles when you need it most
- Not just a repeat of the 5k
When I was listening to the No Guilt Disney podcast, they talked about how Disneyland races are mullets, party (aka park time) in the front and business in the back (aka miles on regular roads), this route is the reverse. It’s business up front and then all party in the back.
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 information says to arrive to the Epcot parking lot no later than 4am. For those staying in a Disney hotel, please make sure to read the information they will have in the 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 go to the front of the theme park to go through the standard 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.
For those in corral A and B, remember that they may close your corral before the official start time at 5am. For corral A, you will likely want to be in your corral about 30-45 minutes before race start and for corral B be in the corral no later than 15-20 min before.
runDisney stages the corrals and then moves the corrals to the start line, so they will move corral A to the start chute ahead of the start time and will close the corral to move corral B in behind A. Corral B will start moving towards the start line before the first waves of runner, but they usually can’t move all the runners in this corral up and out of the staging area so they will not usually close the corral for runners to enter before the race starts.
Also, this is a timed race, so be sure to sign up for or tell friends and family to sign up for runner tracking. This is available through the live results link that will be active a day or two before the race.
The high-level overview of the course is that runners start in the Epcot parking lot before heading out to World Dr on their way to Hollywood Studios. Both of the clover entrance/exit ramps will have some incline. When you make it to Hollywood Studios, you’ll enter near Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster then run down Sunset and Hollywood Blvd before exiting to the Crescent Lake path. You’ll run along the Boardwalk side and then enter Epcot backstage behind the Skyliner station. Enter “on stage” near World Showplace before running by Canada, through Future World, exit to backstage behind Test Track, and finish in the parking lot.
Now let’s get into the details:
- Princesses start in the Epcot parking lot and then run out through the Epcot toll plaza (Caution Runners Bumps Ahead!). You then take the overpass over World Dr and take the ramp to World Dr. If you are used to driving to Epcot, runners are running against how traffic normally flows here. There will likely be a character photo stop before the toll plaza on the right side of the course.
- You then run along World Dr for about a mile until you run up the ramp to the E Buena Vista overpass taking you to Hollywood Studios. During this mile, take advantage of the extra space and just try to get into a comfortable running pace. runDisney will hopefully have at least 1 character stop and probably some “screen entertainment” during this part of the course.
- Runners then enter backstage Hollywood Studios and there is usually a character set up just past the water station. You then enter the park via the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster plaza area. You’ll take a few turns and then run all the way down Sunset Blvd! Smile big and snap a great Photopass pic! I don’t remember many characters in Hollywood Studios but if I were to guess some likely photo spots:
- Outside of Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster on the right side of the running path,
- In front of Tower of Terror on the left of the running path,
- On the right side of the running path as you make the turn onto Hollywood Blvd.
- You then turn left onto Hollywood Blvd and keep that smile big because the paparazzi will be out (aka lots of Photopass photographers). Princesses take another left and sneak backstage instead of going through the traditional turnstiles. You’ll run past the Skyliner station and get on the Crescent Lake path along the water.
- It can get a little congested along the path since it’s only about 4 people across but hopefully at this point you are running with others of a similar pace. You’ll then run in front of the Boardwalk and be sure to watch your step because the wood boards can be a little slippery. I would bet they will put a character outside of Jellyrolls just as you enter the Boardwalk. You then head to the International Gateway/back entrance of Epcot.
- You run through backstage Epcot, hit the last water stop, and then enter World Showcase and run in front of Canada. Runners then make their way to Future World along the middle pathway, run around Creations Shop, and run towards Mission Space. I would say at least 2 or 3 characters in Epcot so keep you eyes peeled, best guesses 1) outside Canada, 2) on the right side of the running path before you turn left onto Future World middle path (~mile 5.5), and 3) in front of Mission Space.
- Finally, you’ll exit to backstage by Test Track and run the final half mile backstage and then head into the parking lot for the finish line! Congrats 10k finisher! Smile, throw those arms up, and celebrate!
You’ll then grab YOUR medal, grab water and your choice of Powerade (yellow, red, or blue), and grab a snack box before meeting up with friends and family.
You can unwind in the finish area or make your way back on the bus and grab some celebratory mickey waffles, you deserve it!
What are you most excited for?