I can’t believe we are already two weeks out from the runDisney Princess Half Marathon Weekend! I’m so envious of everyone who gets to go run in the magic, I hope you have the best time!
One way to make sure you have a better time is to be prepared, so let’s prepare together. Here’s a link to the digital expo guide to follow along: https://www.rundisney-expo.run/
On Thursday bright and early, Princesses will gather to do a friendly, all-levels yoga session in front of Cinderella Castle. It sounds like a dream!
You will need to either park or take Disney transportation (see below for important info) to the Ticket and Transportation Center (TTC aka the Magic Kingdom parking lot) to check in. The parking lot will open at 3:45am, check in and security checks will start at 4am, and the ferry boats will take yogis to the Magic Kingdom (MK). If you are staying at a MK resort, you will not be allowed to walk over, you must check-in at the TTC and take the ferry boats over. Afterwards, I’m assuming you’ll be able to walk to the Contemporary but guests staying at the Polynesian and the Grand Floridian will need to take the transportation due to the pathway between the MK and the Grand Floridian closing due to construction on Feb 13th (https://blogmickey.com/2023/02/grand-floridian-walkway-to-magic-kingdom-closing-soon-due-to-construction/). In the event guide it notes, “Resort Transportation will be available after the event from the Magic Kingdom Park bus loop *No need to use the Ferry Boat to get on your Resort bus!”
You must be checked in by 5am to make the 5:30am yoga start, you will be provided with water and a mat so just show up with your digital waiver signed, your ID for check-in, and comfy clothes!
If you are staying at a Disney resort there are defined pickup times for your transportation. Most are picking up “Outside of Porte-Cochere” aka outside the overhang where cars pull up to the hotel entrance. Below is from the digital event guide: https://www.rundisney-expo.run/disney-princess-yoga
Limited Event Weekend Transportation will be available from Walt Disney World Resorts. There will be 1 pick up time at each Resort pre-event. Please see pick up times below:
- Resort Route 1 – Pick Up Location(s) – All Star Resorts
- Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort – Outside of Porte-Cochere 3:30am
- Disney’s All-Star Music Resort – Outside of Porte-Cochere 3:30am
- Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort – Outside of Porte-Cochere 3:30am
- Resort Route 2 – Pick Up Location(s) Animal Kingdom Resorts
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – Outside of Jambo Porte-Cochere 3:30am
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Jambo House – Outside of Jambo Porte-Cochere 3:30am
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani Village – Outside of Kidani Porte-Cochere 3:35am
- Resort Route 3 – Pick Up Location – Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort – All Bus Stops 3:30am
- Resort Route 4 – Pick Up Location(s) Polynesian, Shades of Green, Grand Floridian
- Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort – Outside of Polynesian Porte-Cochere 3:30am
- Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows – Outside of Polynesian Porte-Cochere 3:30am
- Shades of Green on Walt Disney World Resort at the Resort Main Entrance 3:35am
- The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa – Outside of the Convention Center 3:30am
- Resort Route 5 – Pick Up Location(s) Fort Wilderness, Wilderness Lodge, Contemporary
- The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort at the Outpost Bus stop 3:30am
- The Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort at the Outpost Bus stop 3:30am
- Disney’s Wilderness Lodge – Outside of Wilderness Lodge Porte-Cochere 3:40am
- Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge – Outside of Wilderness Lodge Porte-Cochere 3:40am
- Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge – Outside of Wilderness Lodge Porte-Cochere 3:40am
- Disney’s Contemporary Resort on the West side of the Convention Center – 3:30am
- Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort on the West side of the Convention Center – 3:30am
- Resort Route 6 – Pick Up Location(s) Port Orleans Resorts
- Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter All Bus Stops 3:30am
- Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside All Bus Stops 3:30am
- Resort Route 7 – Pick Up Location(s) Old Key West, Saratoga Springs
- Disney’s Old Key West Resort at the Hospitality House 3:30am
- Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa – The Springs 3:30am Resort
- Route 8 – Pick Up Location(s) Caribbean Beach Resort, Riviera Resort
- Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort All Bus Stops except the Custom House 3:30am
- Disney’s Riviera Resort at the Disney Bus Stop 3:30am
- Resort Route 9 – Pick Up Location(s) Swan and Dolphin
- Walt Disney World® Swan Hotel at the Convention Center 3:30am
- Walt Disney World® Dolphin Hotel Between Main Entrance and Convention Center 3:35am
- Walt Disney World® Swan Reserve at the Side Stairs 3:40am
- Resort Route 10 – Pick Up Location(s) Yacht, Beach Club, BoardWalk
- Disney’s Yacht Club Resort at the Convention Center 3:30am
- Disney’s Beach Club Resort at the Disney Bus Stop (Beach Club) 3:35am
- Disney’s Beach Club Villas at the Disney Bus Stop (Beach Club) 3:35am
- Disney’s BoardWalk Inn Conference Center 3:40am
- Disney’s BoardWalk Villas Conference Center 3:40am
- Resort Route 11 – Pick Up Location(s) Pop, Art of Animation
- Disney’s Pop Century Resort at the ESPN WWOS Bus Stop 3:30am
- Disney’s Art of Animation Resort at the Last Disney Transportation Bus Stop 3:30am
Don’t miss your bus and if you do make sure your ride takes you to the TTC!
Princess Half Marathon Weekend Expo
First, if you are running the Princess Half Weekend 5k you will need to go to the expo on Thursday 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. 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). More details here: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/guest-services/virtual-queue/#drawer-card-runDisneyPrincess
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 if you are planning to go on Thursday.
Honestly, if the expo has the same vibe that the WDW Marathon expo had, I would probably not join the virtual queue and just go later in the day (4pm or later) when things have calmed down to just grab my bib and gEAR. During marathon weekend I arrived around 12:30 and it was… a lot. By the time I made it into the official merch around 1:30 nothing was really catching my eye. Honestly, most of the runDisney merch doesn’t hit the quality to price ratio that I really want from my gear. Also, things were a little crazy in the official merch tent which I can assume will only be amplified during Princess Weekend which is notorious for merchandise craziness (looking at you wine glass fight video).
You’ve gotten your bib and shirt and now it’s time for a magic carpet ride… err… run through Epcot!
2023 Princess 5k
If you liked the route for the 5k during WDW Marathon Weekend, your in luck, it’s the exact same! This is the classic 5k course around Epcot. You’ll run a mile in the parking lot/backstage roads of Epcot, enter World Showcase (WS) at the Donald’s Mexico meet and greet location, run around WS to the International Gateway, leave and run backstage for a little bit before finishing the WS loop, and wiggling across Future World and finishing in the Epcot parking lot. Let’s dive into the details!
Getting to the Race
If you are staying at a Disney resort, I highly recommend taking the provided bus transportation. I know there are always horror stories about the buses but, honestly, these are very much the exception. Read the information in your hotel’s lobby to make sure you get on the bus on time. The race information says to arrive in the parking log by 4am for all racers.
You can see that from the map above that all runners go through the Epcot park security before making the trek to the back of the Epcot parking lot. This walk usually takes me about 15-20 min at a slow morning walk pace.
Corrals and Staging
If you are in corral A or B and you want to run in that corral and not be forced to drop back, make sure to enter your corral early. For corral A, you should head to your corral probably 45 min ahead of the start (4:15am). Corral A gets into position in the staging area but then gets walked to the start early and they will close the corral early. Corral B then follows from the staging area to line up behind A corral ahead of the 5am start so Corral B-ers aim to be in your corral at least 20-30 min ahead of the race start time.
The race is now ready to begin. Cycle athletes will start first and then the runners will follow. runDisney will break the corrals into “mini” releases to stagger the start even more. Each corral will likely have about 5-6 waves of runners, fireworks for every start so don’t worry!
Running the Princess 5k
And now we are running, let’s take a closer look at the route! (And I’m sorry for those that are visually impaired, that purple color for the route path is terrible!)
- The start happens in the Epcot parking lot, you then run along the outside of the parking lot before heading along a backstage road. There is sometimes a character along the back road.
- You are now very much backstage! The parking lot is the cast member parking, the large buildings are both the bast member costuming, locker room, and other cast member services and the other is the performance practice facility. You will run by the guard shack and under Test Track. There is usually a character stop near mile 1.
- You then enter World Showcase (WS) via the entrance by the Mexico Donald Meet and Greet location. WS will have the torches blazing, fun graphics on the Harmonious barges, and Disney music playing! There will likely be 2-3 characters around this portion of WS. Also, the American Adventure is raised slightly, so there is minor uphill as you go from Italy to the USA. Also, the bridges between France and the UK offer a change in elevation.
- After running around most of WS, you’ll exit through the International Gateway, run around the Skyliner station, run backstage, and then enter WS on the Canada side of the UK pavilion. Likely a character in Canada!
- After finishing the loop around WS lagoon, you’ll then run down the main path connecting WS and Future World, smile pretty for a pic! You’ll then run around the Creations Shop before heading towards Mission Space. There may be a character or entertainment near Mission Space.
- You’ll then exit behind Test Track, run backstage (the worst, please open up more of Epcot again!), and then exit to the parking lot finish line. Smile big, throws those hands up, and enjoy the victory!
Once you finish, you’ll grab YOUR medal, a water and/or Powerade (blue, red, or yellow), and get your snack box. If you finish before the final runners have passed the bus pickup area you will have to wait for the course to clear. During Marathon Weekend, buses were able to start getting runners around 6:30 so if you want/need to get out of Epcot sooner you may want to plan to grab a rideshare or other pickup instead.
So that’s it, who’s excited to kick off Princess Weekend?