Disney always does it right – and always leaves you wanting more. 2019 Disney Marathon Weekend was no exception. This is was my sixth half marathon and first time running it at Disney because of the rainout in 2017. As a whole, this was a great experience – the community, the characters, the accomplishment. I fell in love when I did the full marathon last year.
To be very frank and honest, I have to say I wasn’t a huge fan of the course. In total, it’s a lot of highway running. I guess I knew this, but I didn’t realize it until I got there. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t do it again; it’s just that the highlights through the Magic Kingdom and Epcot were short. Running through Epcot was very, very limited. I think this was because of construction, and hopefully, will be changed in 2020.
Even though this race was one of my slower times, I had a lot of fun. Anyone who knows me knows I don’t run for time; I run to get the miles. There are character stops at least at every mile. I still haven’t stopped to wait in line because I’m scared I won’t be able to run
Another tip is to make sure to run a race beforehand so you can submit your “proof of time.” My friend didn’t have a recent race time, so she was placed in heat H, which was the last one. I wanted to run with her, so I had to start late because Disney is very strict about letting you move up. Our start was more than an hour after the official start! You start a long time before that IF you have a race time. It doesn’t even have to be a good time. For the half marathon, you have to have a finish time for a 10K or longer and a half marathon time for the marathon.
As always, we finished the day at Epcot. We had dinner with Disney Princesses and then watched Illuminations: Reflections of Earth. It is a nice routine that I’m glad I got roped into with my friend. It’s a pretty show, and you can walk around Epcot with an adult beverage, so it is very relaxed. Many race finishers come out to show off their medals at Epcot after the race. Since we did the half,
- Flew to Orlando and to the Magic Express (for free!) to our hotel
- Went to lunch at Disney Springs before making our way to the race Expo at Wide World of Sports
- Met our friend at the Expo and walked around to look at everything Friday
- Had an early dinner at the hotel cafeteria. This has turned into an annual routine before race day since they serve spaghetti, and it’s less expensive than other things on the property.
- Early bedtime because 2:30 am comes quickly!
- Wake up early for race day! Take the shuttle to the starting line.
- The half marathon starts at 5:30. We didn’t start until well after 6:30 and finished before 9:30 am.
- We hung out around the finish line for a while before heading back to take showers.
- The next stop was Animal Kingdom to go on rides before heading to Epcot for dinner.
- We had dinner in Norway with Disney Princesses Belle, Aurora, and Cinderella. They never break character – even for a group of 30-somethings with no children!
- Watched Illuminations for the last time since it would retire the decade running show in a few weeks.
- After getting ready, we headed to Hollywood Studios to cheer the marathon runners! It was insanely hot that day, so they needed motivation. We watched some shows and rode a few rides.
- We then walked to Epcot to continue watching the marathoners. They were looking so good! We then took the monorail to the Magic Kingdom where we talked to a Dopey who said it was a great experience, and he was still glad he did it.
- We visited MK for a while, had a quick dinner, and then got ice cream before watching the “Happily Ever After” show.
- One of my friends left very early in the morning. My other friend and I took a walk around the hotel property to see everything.
- Then we went window shopping at Disney Springs before lunch.
- Finally, we left to board the Magic Express to take us back to the airport.