As I mentioned in an earlier post we went to Disney recently to watch my sister run in the Disney Princess Half Marathon in February. The race route was 13.1 miles that started in Epcot, looped around the Magic Kingdom and finished in Epcot. The race was on a Sunday morning and my mom and I decided we would cheer everyone on at the finish line. The night before the race Sam and our friends decided they would meet at 3:45am at the monorail to head to the race. They had to be there early since the first group of runners started at 5:30am. What I like to call the die-hard runners. I was all set to wake up around 6:30am and meet my mom at the monorail by 7am to head to Epcot. We both knew they would finish around 10am.
The morning of the race I woke up around 4am to what sounded like music playing next door. It was a loud base type noise. It sounded like it does when you drive up next to someone at an intersection and their playing music so loud you hear the bass. I, of course, called my mom who told me that it was music for the race. She had opened the window in her room to make sure she wasn’t hearing things. They were already playing music for the race to get the runners excited for what they were about to endure. Only at Disney would they be blasting music at 4am. Luckily I was able to fall back to sleep.
I met my mom at 7am and we took the monorail to the transportation center where we switched to the Epcot monorail. By then the race was in full swing and as we were riding towards Epcot we could see the runners. At one overpass in the highway there was a DJ with huge Mickey hands playing music and pumping up the crowds. All the runners below were raising their hands at him mimicking his movements. I also noticed at various points throughout the race there were places where you could stop and get your picture with Disney characters.
We got to Epcot and walked towards the race finish line. I was tracking Sam with my phone and every 45 minutes we got updates on her progress and her estimated finish time. We were part of the Cheer Squad section, which included getting a free t-shirt, blanket, and clapping hand to use for cheering. It also got us into this tent near the finish line that served breakfast. After eating our breakfast I got my pictures taken with Belle, Chip, and The Beast. We decided to go sit in the grandstand area and watch the runners go through the finish line.
At the finish line they had 2 DJs who were commenting on the various costumes and pumping up the crowd. Not only were they sarcastic, they were hysterical. They would point out the various costumes and talk about them. Everyone in the race wore a costume. We saw people dressed like Olaf, Cinderella and Prince Charming, Cruella de Vil and a Dalmatian, men dressed as princesses and woman who were their princes, Elsa and Anna, Elvis, Waldo, and anything you can think of. At one point a runner went across the finish line dressed as Prince, the singer, with a guitar, black wig and a purple suit. We saw two marriage proposals at the finish line. Thankfully both women said yes. However if I was one of them I probably would’ve said, “It took me finishing a half-marathon for you to finally propose?”
The crowd was filled with many families and friends who were there to cheer their runner or runners on. At one point a father and his three young children were sitting near us cheering for their mom as she went across the finish line. There was also a woman holding a sign that said, “You didn’t die!” Since I was sent the updates on my sister’s progress we were able to figure out when to pay attention for her and our family friends to cross the finish line. We spotted them and cheered as they finished, although I highly doubt they heard us. However, in the video I took you can clearly hear me cheering for them.
We met up with them after they crossed the finish line and everyone was happy to receive their medals. They got goody bags filled with various foods to eat to help restore their bodies after walking/running 13.1 miles. We stayed until the last person crossed the finish line. As she was limping towards the finish line Mickey and Minnie looped their arms through hers and walked with her over the finish line as confetti cannons went off. How many races are there that are you able to see that happen?
My sister told us during the race that she got her picture taken in front of the castle at the Magic Kingdom. She said she ran through the castle while Elsa and Anna were waving to everyone. At various miles they could stop and get their pictures taken with the Disney characters but they said the lines were long and they didn’t want to get stuck behind the people who were pacing the race. Apparently if you weren’t up to speed and got behind the pacers at the next mile marker you had to board a bus and were taken to the finish line. At the last mile she told us there was a gospel choir singing to the runners to help get them through the last part of the race.
In the end they all had fun in the race. I think the 13.1 miles part was not fun but they had entertainment along the way to help get them to the next mile. I hope they do the race again next year so I can get to go back to Disney. It was a well-organized race and fun for everyone who attended it. I know we had fun watching the various runners go across the finish line. I would highly recommend anyone who loves to run to do one of Disney’s race events. One of our family friends said she ran in another half marathon in the fall and it wasn’t nearly as entertaining as this one. Now for me, the only way I would participate in a half-marathon would be if someone else were pushing me in a wheelchair.