This recap is LONG, but instead of splitting it in parts, I figured why not just give you the full novella. I know when I was researching Run Disney races I enjoyed reading all the details. I hope this helps you newbies and those of you curious about doing a Run Disney event in the future.
|Royal greeting at the Princess Expo!|
For my non-Run Disney readers, the Princess Half Marathon Weekend is a women’s focused event that takes place in Walt Disney World every February. The weekend hosts a 5K, 10K, and half marathon race as well as kid’s races. While men can participate, the weekend is all about the ladies! It’s the only women’s focused running event I’ve ever done, and I absolutely LOVE it. So many ladies use the weekend as a chance to do their first ever race(s). I love watching people make a commitment to fitness. Overall, it’s a really great run weekend for newbies as well as seasoned runners. It also makes for a great girl’s trip, which has become a tradition for me and my BRFs.
I started going to Princess Weekend as a girl’s trip in 2014, when I completed the inaugural Glass Slipper Challenge (the Enchanted 10K plus the Princess Half Marathon). I returned in 2015 and completed the Princess Frozen 5K as well as the Enchanted 10K. This year we changed it up again and decided to primarily focus on the Enchanted 10K. Magical miles aren’t exactly cheap, and we all agreed that we’d like to start the weekend with our race and enjoy our park days after. We found that the past two years our legs were tired for the races due to more park time before. Also, with the 10K being my favorite running distance in general and the Enchanted 10K being my favorite current Run Disney course (I miss you Tower of Terror 10-Miler), this seemed like a perfect Princess Weekend plan.
With the race scheduled for Saturday, I began my Princess Weekend journey Thursday evening. I normally fly to Disney early in the morning so how I was able to contain my excitement at work all day is still a pixie dust mystery to me! I arrived in Orlando and instead of finding the Magical Express as I’m accustomed to, I met my parents. My parents are Florida snow birds and recently had a new house built there, which is approximately 15 minutes from Disney. I am completely jealous of them, but they worked hard for years and have earned this treat! It was nice spending some time with them and getting spoiled with my favorite dinner ever, mom’s homemade chicken pot pie!
|Best welcome sign ever!|
The more relaxed expo meant I could actually take time to shop and enjoy walking around. I adore race expos, and Run Disney does a top notch job. I had no park plans Friday, so I took my time. I ended up getting several cute things, including a Run Disney mug at last (they’ve been sold out every other time I’ve been) and the adorable Inside Out Disgust tech shirt that I’ve had my eye on since Run Disney posted pictures of that collection in January. I also purchased my 2016 Run Disney Vinylmation Mickey as per tradition as well as a Run Disney Princess Weekend travel coffee cup. I picked up a Dr. Cool Wrap as well, which has already come in handy due to some crappy knee pain (more on that later).
|Royal Room at POR!|
After the Expo I met my BRF Cailyn at our awesome Royal Guest Room at Port Orleans Riverside. Other than the room’s loud air conditioner (more on that later) this room was AMAZING and perfect for Princess Weekend. I ended up going back to the expo with her, which I totally didn’t mind and eventually all of my BRF’s were re-united once again! We hit up Disney Springs for dinner and then off to bed we went so we could “nap” before waking up at the bright and cheery time of 2:30 a.m.
So about that nap. I am not even joking when I say I got maybe 30 minutes of sleep AT MOST. For the first time in forever my room at Disney had a noisy air conditioning unit that was incredibly disruptive every time it kicked on. I was actually awake before my alarm went off at 2:30 since, well, I never really even went to sleep! I thought I was maybe a bit over sensitive to the loud AC, but it turns out Cailyn didn't sleep at all either.
Excitement over our awesome costumes helped us get ready despite our lack of sleep though. Costumes are the best part of Run Disney and this year ours were pretty incredible. Non-Disney nerds might be confused, but my Disney family I know y’all get me. Yes, we were the Dapper Dans! But instead of pants we paired our vests with Sparkle Skirts to give the costumes that special princess touch.
|Dapper Dans ready to run!|
After a semi-long wait for the bus, we finally arrived at Epcot for the race. As usual, Run Disney had the jams going and the energy was awesome. Our weather was great too! Not horribly hot and humid like 2014 and not overly cold like last year. Soon enough I heard a “last call for corral A” while I was in the porta-potty, yeah that was fun LOL, so I bolted, said a quick goodbye to my fellow Dapper Dans and ran to my corral. I had a brief PTSD flashback of nearly missing “final call” from my track days, but all was well and I was relaxed to see we still had plenty of time!
Eventually corral A fireworks went off in true Run Disney fashion and we were soon running! The first part of the course is the classic Run Disney parking lot tour before you hit up the Disney highway. To keep this part of the course exciting we were quickly entertained with fake snow and encouragement from Anna and Elsa on the above overpass. Seeing the Frozen ladies gave me a needed boost and I continued along holding a pretty good pace. I noticed way more characters on this first 3 mile stretch compared to before, including Tink, The Old Hag from Snow White, and Pocahontas and Meeko. In years past I only remember usually seeing one character prior to entering Epcot. While I was excited to see more characters I stuck to my plan of running until I reached Epcot World Showcase. This plan coupled with the fact that I found my groove made the first half fly by in a flash. I know at some point I stuck my Dapper Dan bowtie in my FlipBelt because it was making me hot and itchy lol, but other than that it was smooth sailing.
The first part of the race seemed so fast that I was surprised to already be entering Epcot World Showcase. It was still dark and the park was lit beautifully. Despite running alongside thousands of my closest friends, I always feel so peaceful during this portion of the Enchanted 10K. World Showcase is always gorgeous but there is something about running through it before sunrise that makes it even more special. I quickly jumped in line for my first character stop, Jiminy Cricket! I’ve only ever had my picture taken with him during the Enchanted 10K and as he is my dad’s favorite, I was pleased to see him again on the course. As soon as I jumped in line they announced Jiminy was taking a quick break, which made me almost consider getting out of line, but seconds later Jiminy was right back out but not alone. He was with PINOCHIO! What an amazing photo op of rare characters! I was ecstatic that I stayed in the line as it ended up not taking much time at all and I got the bonus of two characters.
|Awesome on-course characters!|
That put some spring in my step as I headed out of World Showcase and to the Boardwalk, my favorite part of the Enchanted 10K course. It was there that I legit almost cried when I saw him: The Genie in his “free” look with the Hawaiian shirt and Goofy hat. Aladdin is my all-time favorite Disney movie and while I’ve had a picture with the Genie before, I’ve never had him in his “free” outfit. I knew he was on the Princess 5K course and had actually expressed regret the night before about not doing it since I assumed I missed my chance for that photo opportunity. This is just another part of what makes Run Disney races so magical and special!
After meeting with Genie I continued down the Boardwalk and it was there that I started to feel some major stiffness and definite tightness in my knee, a feeling I had never really felt before until then. I could still run thankfully, but it was apparent that at some point during the race I tweaked it somehow. Instead of dwelling on the pain, I pushed it out of my head and focused on enjoying the sights and sounds of the final portion of the race. As I left the Boardwalk I also snapped a quick picture with Sofia the First as she had no line and I adore that show!
|This deserves a stand-alone picture! Genie, you are free!|
I entered into the Epcot Future World section and was almost sad that the race was over, but I was also looking forward to finishing due to the aforementioned knee issue. I rounded the familiar corner to the finish and for the first time in all my Run Disney races I got a finish line shout out by the announcers, who joyously cheered “here comes a Dapper Dan!” That made me smile and I happily crossed the finish line.
|Post-race medal selfie!|
Overall this year’s Run Disney Enchanted 10K was great. I thought the Expo was better and had more official Run Disney merchandise than other years. And those on-course characters. WELL DONE RUN DISNEY! They really upped their game. More characters and rare ones at that. One of the perks of Run Disney races is seeing characters you don’t often see in the parks, so I am glad they really went above and beyond this year. Complaints? The only negative about this year’s event was the Run Disney snack box. It seemed to have way less and can I just say #bringbackthecheese? But seriously though it was a great race made even better by awesome weather.
|Beautiful bling with a Little Mermaid touch, the theme of this year's Princess Weekend!|
Congratulations to those of you that finished the Princess Enchanted 10K as well as the other races. Share your experience in the comments. It seems far away to think about Princess Weekend 2017, but registration will already be coming up soon in July! So for now I will say see ya real soon princesses!
I will leave you with a few extra pictures from the perfectly, princess weekend:
|I won trivia at the Run Disney Expo!|
|Celebratory Dole Whip!|
|Until we meet again princesses!|