In part 1 of the Beginner’s Guide to Run Disney, I covered some of the basics about pre-race stuff, like the hotels, expo, registration, and more. Because there are so many questions about running and the races themselves, I decided to put it into a separate post!
Should I wear a costume?
You don’t have to, of course, but a lot of people do! If you choose to wear a costume, just keep in mind that you are going to be running, so you probably don’t want anything that might get in the way. There are lots of websites and Etsy shops that sell running costumes if you don’t know where to begin. Even just a subtle nod to a Disney character is something fun to do! If you do choose to wear a costume, make sure you wear it on one of your practice runs to test it out. You might think you look silly, but you’ll be very grateful if you find a part of your costume to be annoying! I’ve heard of the tulle from tutus getting between people’s legs and irritating them, a self-designed costume that broke a strap during a run, and more. You want to make sure you’re comfortable!
What are the pace requirements?
Disney requires you to keep a pace of 16 minutes/mile.
What happens if I’m behind pace on race day?
If you are behind pace during the race, there is a chance that you will get swept. What does that mean? Well, it means that they will pick you up from the course and transport you to the finish line, so you won’t be able to finish the race. However, there are some things to keep in mind about this. There will be people with balloons (referred to as the “balloon ladies”) who will be walking the 16 min/mile pace. Stay in front of them and you’ll be fine. The balloon ladies start when the last corral starts. So if you’re in an earlier corral, you get a little bit of leeway time there because you start earlier.
Is it okay to run/walk or walk?
Absolutely! In fact, if you are using a Jeff Galloway training plan he recommends doing a run/walk method. You can definitely walk the entire thing as well. All that matters is that you keep that 16 min/mile pace, so as long as you do that you’re good. Just be courteous of other runners if you’re walking. Stay to the side to let faster people pass you, and if you are going from running to walking don’t stop abruptly, but head for the side and gradually slow your pace down.
How many characters are there?
It can vary, and Disney never officially announces in advance which characters will be there. However, some blogs have put together a list of which characters have been around in past races. According to this blog post on Run, Walk, Fastpass, Repeat, the Princess Half Marathon had over 20 character stops available! And the Enchanted 10k had 8. There are usually 1-2 character stops per mile. In my recap of the Tower of Terror 10 miler, I listed all the characters I saw – there were 11 there.
How much time will stopping for characters take?
That all depends on how long the line is. I will say that everyone there is very good about getting the photos done as quickly as possible. There are two cast members there, and as the person in front of you is going the second cast member takes your camera or phone so they’re ready to go as soon as that person is finished. Each interaction probably takes somewhere between 15-30 seconds, so just keep that in mind. If you’re worried about finishing on time you probably don’t want to stop: but if you have the time to spare I highly recommend it, as it’s one of the things that makes Disney races so special!
After the Race
Where do I get my medal?
Don’t worry, Disney will make sure you get your medal! There are lots of volunteers right after the finish line, just waiting to hand your medal to you. You can’t miss it!
Do I get anything else after the race?
Yes, Disney makes sure to replenish you after the run. You’ll find stations afterward with water bottles, bananas, and snack packs, which include all sorts of little goodies like chips, granola bars, and that sort of thing. If you’re worried about any sort of injuries or you’re feeling any pain, there is also a first aid area where they can help you out and get you ice packs or whatever it is you need.
Where do I pick up my bag?
There will be signs and people pointing you in the direction of bag claim – it’s a different location depending on the race.
How do I find my friends and family after the race?
There is a spot that is designated for meeting up with people after the race: there will be large, lit up signs with letters on them, so if your last name starts with “G,” you can plan to meet up at the “G” location. Of course, if you carry a cell phone with you when you run that’s the easiest way to stay in touch! Depending on the race, your family may or may not be allowed near the finish line, but they’ll always have access to the meeting spots designated by Disney.
What should I wear to the post race party?
If you’re at a race that has as post race party, you might want to strongly consider bringing a change of clothes so you can enjoy the after party and not be in your sweaty and gross running clothing. Another thing to consider about this is the weather. The after parties in the evening are in the fall, when the weather can get very cool at night. That might not bother you while you are running, but afterward when you are outside trying to enjoy the party for a couple of hours you may wish you had a sweatshirt or something – I certainly wished I had brought one to the Villains bash last year!
Does every race have an after party?
Only the evening races, Tower of Terror 10 miler and the Wine and Dine half marathon, have had after parties. The 10 miler is in Hollywood Studios and the Wine and Dine is in Epcot. Morning races don’t have them because they have to open the parks for day guests.