In all honesty, I have really mixed emotions about my Disney Princess Half Marathon experience. Overall, it was positive but I think I built the event up in my head so much, that I was a bit let down. In my imagination, I was running through the parks with Belle, Ariel, Elsa, Jasmine and the other princesses cheering me on throughout the race. Minnie was there. Everything was pink. There was glitter. Everywhere. I may have even dreamed of gifting Mickey with a high-five as I passed by and he was a cheering me on. Looking back, I realize with these expectations that I was only allowing myself to be disappointed ... a bit. But, it's Disney and supposed to be magical so I think my expectations were justified.
The start. The pro was that Fairy Godmother was there (I would still have preferred Minnie) to announce each coral and sang a little bippity bop pity boo before a series of fireworks went off. Definitely, a plus. The con, the race was at 5:30 AM and we had to leave our hotel by 3:45 to catch the monorail, then walk for 45 minutes to the starting line. The starting line was in a back field of Disney which was a bit disappointing but at least they had plenty of fireworks.
The run. You don't really realize just how small the parks are, until you are running through them completely empty. We spent very little time in the actual parks and most of the time on the Disney highway. They had a few characters set up along the way (plus) but you had to wait in line to take pictures with them (negative.) The characters they did have were the Villains (umm, no thanks) Woody and Buzz (who I like, but not on a princess run) and they were posing for pictures, not cheering you on like I had envisioned. I think the Toy Story army men were the only characters who were doing any cheering and as we had just climbed an on ramp at the highway, I wasn't particularly thrilled for a life sized toy solider to be yelling at me.
We made it to Magic Kingdom!
This was my favorite moment of the race. On the back side of the castle, Elsa and Ana were on a balcony cheering us on (exactly as I imagined) and when they saw me and my Olaf running through they cheered and said "keep going Olaf! Warm hugs at the finish line!" I was on a high. Elsa and Ana had just cheered for us. (I'm five, I know.)
The only picture we stopped mid race to pose for. Just outside of the castle, they and multiple stations so I think it was worth adding the extra time. Sad that it was still so early you couldn't see the castle too well.
Everyone LOVED Olaf. Spectators would be cheering with normal levels of enthusiasm and then someone would spot Olaf and the crowds would erupt. GO OLAF! LOOK OLAF! YOU CAN DO IT OLAF! Meanwhile, Olaf was really into her playlist and missed some of the cheers but she had no problem posing for a picture!
The finish line. I was pretty thrilled to be crossing the finish line because it meant the end to the race (yay) and they had quite the crowd (all tickets you had to buy so sadly Papa Leach was not there to cheer us on.) Again, no characters. I was hoping Minnie would be there to give me a hug or Belle would give me my medal but I was disappointed. They did have fairies there to sprinkle pixie dust on you after you got your medal and that, I loved.
After finishing, mom and I were a bit let down because all of the post race treats (massages, champagne, snacks- all things that I've had offered for free at former races) were at a cost and we did not bring money with us to the race. I think the girl from Brave was there posing for pictures, but again no Belle, Ariel, or Jasmine. Apparently Jasmine was at the pre-race pasta meal (you had to buy an additional ticket to) and Belle was at the post race retreat (something else you had to buy an additional ticket too.)
Overall, it was fun and I did enjoy the race and running with my Olaf (who hit her best time yet by the way) but from Disney, I would have expected a bit more.
This weekend, we are off to New York for the NYC Half and this year, it's projected to be about 15 - 20 degrees warmer than last year. This girl is beyond thrilled.
Looking for the perfect race tutu? I recommend this Etsy shop. She was wonderful (even followed up on my shipping!) I ordered the tutu pretty late in the game and she accommodated my request by adding snowflakes to my tutu and had a quick turn around on the shipment. If ever I need a tutu again, I will be contacting her.