My mom and I traveled to Orlando on Thursday, February 24 for the 2022 runDisney Princess race weekend. While I have been doing runDisney races since 2017, this was my first time doing Princess Weekend which is held every February. It is a four day event that includes:
While I had fun and am glad I went, I absolutely prefer Marathon Weekend. My last visit was in 2020 when I did the Dopey Challenge. When I have money to spend on this luxury, Marathon Weekend will be my go-to. I would like to do Wine and Dine one day, but I wouldn’t be surprised if my first Princess weekend was my last.
My usual hotel is Pop Century, which I think is a really great hotel. There are nice rooms and a cafeteria with more affordable food options. It is on a lake with walking paths, the Skyliner to Epcot and Hollywood Studios, and another hotel called The Art of Animation.
The Art of Animation is so cool. I always go there to walk around because there are areas themed in Cars, Nemo, Lion King, and The Little Mermaid. It is more expensive than Pop, so I haven’t stayed there previously. My mom was up for it, so what a better weekend to stay in a Little Mermaid room! The rooms were so cool, and it was neat to walk around the themes everyday.
Overall, I will stay at Pop again in the future. I liked staying here, but (and I know how bad this sounds) but it was full of children and crazy. The cafeteria was overwhelming. I’m not sure if it’s a function of the weekend in February or the hotel. One of the reasons I didn’t enjoy Princess Weekend was there were a lot of “normal people” whereas Marathon Weekend is all runners or their supporters. Whenever I talked to anyone in line or on a bus, they were there just to visit Disney World. I rarely spoke to someone there for the race. On Marathon Weekend, everyone is there for the races.
The Princess Weekend Expo
After flying and taking the Mears bus to the hotel (a new process), we took a Disney bus to ESPN Center to get our bibs and see the merchandise at the Expo. It was so busy! Everyone was really excited to be there. Essentially, there are 3 buildings/stops. The first and furthest back was where you got your bib. Instead of printing your waiver form, it was done digitally now. Then you go to your group’s check in. Since the 5K is not part of the challenge, I had to check in at both the Cinderella 5K with my mom and then again at the challenge booth. Here you get your bibs and shirts. I really liked these shirts! they were short sleeves and soft. The 2020 Dopey shirts were really scratchy, and Marathon weekend shirts are always long sleeve.
Next it was time to visit the expo with external vendors. This always overwhelms me because there is so much, and I’m not sure what to make of it. We didn’t spend a lot of time here, but it is great to see so much business support of this event and the sport. I’m sure there are many things to help make running better. The 2017 Marathon Weekend is where my friend told me about Features socks, which I now swear by.
Our final stop was the Princess Weekend merchandise. I’m not a big shopper, but a lot of people there are. People go crazy! Some even get there hours early so they have first choice of things. It’s crazy. Being that I am not that person, I go to browse and maybe pick out one thing.
Pricing was really high, and I didn’t see a lot that I liked, but my mom did encourage me to get this pretty blue challenge zip up with Moana. It has been a good purchase, and I wear it almost everyday.
The big reason to go to the Expo is all of the photo opportunities. There are all kinds of fun signs and stops to take pictures with your bib.
After the Expo, we went to Disney Springs, by way of the hotel. My mom hadn’t been there before, so I wanted her to see it; plus, I made us a dinner reservation at Raglan Road, the Irish restaurant. It was really good and fun, but we called it an early night because of our early wakeup call.
Today was our first event where we were gong to do a 5K around Epcot. You can read a full race recap here, but we had a lot of fun!
This was definitely my favorite park day. My mom enjoys cooking and different foods, so I made a lunch reservation at Tutto Italia in Italy and a dinner reservation at Chefs de France in France. I really enjoyed the food at both places.
We did several rides and attractions. This was the first time I did some of the attractions around the world like the movie in Canada and the singalong in France. We were going to try to see the evening show, but were exhausted after waiting in the Ratatouille ride for over 2 hours. It was a cool ride, but I was tired and had an early morning the next day.
2:30 am came quickly, but I was ready for the 10K. It was a lot of fun! For a full race report, visit here.
Our big highlight in Animal Kingdom was Flight of Passages. This is one of the coolest rides I have ever done. My mom really enjoyed it, but we waited in line forever! Disney usually does a good job with their estimated wait predictions, but between this and Ratatouille, they were way off. This wait was ridiculous!
There isn’t always a lot in Animal Kingdom, but we did Bugs Life and the Lion King before heading back to the hotel for dinner and bed.
The final event! A half marathon from Epcot to Magic Kingdom and back. I was able to do several character stops and still finish in a decent time. For more highlights read here.
It is always fun to celebrate in the Magic Kingdom! We brought all of our medals so we could take pictures in front of the castle – it is the most magical place in all of WDW. I made two dining reservations: lunch at Be Our Guest and dinner at Tony’s Italian Restaurant. These are two of my favorites, and I think my mom liked them, too. Last time I went to Be Our Guest, it was a quick service place with not great food. Not this time! It’s a formal dining experience, and I was surprised how good the food is. Make sure to try the gray stuff…it is delicious!
We spent a lot of time in Fantasy Land. It is probably my favorite area, and there are so many fun rides. There is a new Genie Pass option at Disney World. I didn’t buy it for the other parks because it is expensive, and I didn’t understand exactly what it was. I did buy it for our last day, and it really did make a difference in getting on more rides in the Magic Kingdom. I’m not sure I would do it for my whole trip, but to have it in Magic Kingdom was definitely worth the money. We weren’t able to get on the Mine Ride or other roller coasters, but it did get us on Peter Pan, Small World, and a few others without such a long weight.
Because of pricing, we had a later flight out which gave us time to relax and walk around the hotel. It was a nice, leisurely morning where we took the Skyliner to the Boardwalk for lunch. Overall, it was a very nice trip. I’m glad I was able to experience Princess Weekend and also had a trip to Disney World with my mom.
Not to mention I earned 4 more awesome medals! I’m looking forward to coming back in January 2023 to earn 6 more in the Dopey Challenge.