One week from today, I’m heading to the Happiest Place on Earth!
That’s right, in seven short days, I’ll be reunited with several good friends in Orlando as we celebrate Princess Half weekend at Walt Disney World. I’ll be honest, I need this respite from rough wintry weather. As I write this, it’s 4 degrees below zero outside.
And I haven’t even factored in the wind chill (-15, for the record.) But enough about the weather. Let’s talk about all things girly and warm!
Princess Half Marathon and Tangled 5K were my first runDisney race in February 2012 as Brooke and I ran with Meri as she tackled her first-ever 13.1. We all loved the experience, but learned a few things in the process.
SO! Here are a few tips for a successful Princess weekend:
How and where do I get my race packet (and shirts)?
Each runner is required to retrieve her (or his) bib and race packet from the “Fit for a Princess” expo, held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex. There, you’ll also get a race shirt (or shirts, if you’re running several races!)
And of course, there’s LOTS of temping shopping inside the Jostens Center ranging from official runDisney merchandise, New Balance sneakers, Sweaty Bands head bands and other apparel, like Champion, Raw Threads and Sparkle Athletic. (These are also great spots in case you need a last-minute costume too!)
The expo also features a Speaker Series that includes seminars on training, racing, how to deal with Florida’s heat and humidity and nutrition. This is pretty fantastic and filled with LOTS of great info.
The expo runs for three straight days:
- 10 am to 8 pm on Thursday, Feb. 20
- 9 am to 7 pm on Friday, Feb. 21
- 9 am to 5 pm on Saturday, Feb. 22
Some times will be busier than others at the expo. If you want a Dooney and Bourke Princess themed purse, go Thursday morning as these babies will sell out quickly.
If you want to avoid as much shopping temptation as possible, go on Saturday afternoon as a lot of items will be sold out by then.
How do I get to the expo?
If you are staying at a WDW “race weekend” resort, follow posted signs to the resort bus stop and look for the appropriate bus. There’s usually someone on hand at the bus stop to direct you. (and the buses are usually well-labeled.)
Don’t see a sign? Ask a cast member or ask at the front desk and they will direct you to the appropriate location.
If you are driving to the expo, parking is free at the Wide World of Sports.
Can I change my corral at the expo?
Sadly no. Until 2013, runners could switch corrals if they provided proper proof of time.
Race morning: What’s the drill?
My motto here is “better to be early than sprinting to the start.”
Personally, I get up insanely early to hop the first-possible bus out of my resort. It’s absolutely worth rising a few minutes ahead of an already nutso wake-up call, to arrive early at the starting area. This gives you enough time check your bag, hit the bathroom and walk 20 minutes (in a crowd) to the starting corrals.
Then, be prepared to wait. Depending on how early you get to the starting corrals, you may have a wait until the 5:30 am race start.
Also, it’s a good idea to know WHERE you are going to be catching the bus. I tend to the bus stop to check it out the day before the race.
What should I bring race morning?
Bring a garbage bag (to sit on) or an old mylar blanket from a previous race. If the forecast calls for a chilly race morning, bring a throwaway shirt or sweatshirt and if its cold enough, gloves. You can toss all of these items over the corral fence and to the side once you start running.
And obviously, bring your pre-race fuel, such as a banana, bagel or packaged treat.
I also always bring a package of tissues….just in case I head into a portable toilet without any toilet paper or need to make a pit-stop in the woods.
And you’re off!
Once you start running your 5k, 10k, or half-marathon, enjoy your experience! Snap lots of photos as he run and please be courteous to your fellow runners!
Til next week, I’ll be packing and hydrating….and repeatedly checking the forecast. Have a great Princess weekend everyone!
Do you have any burning questions about Princess weekend, races, the expo? Send them our way! Are you running this weekend? What corral are you in? (We will look for you!)