Calling all Princesses!! That magical moment is almost here!
OK, I’ll be completely honest. Between the Dopey afterglow, the exhillaration of Disneyland registration and the utter triumph of securing a Space 220 reservation for my daughter’s birthday, I haven’t put a ton of brainpower into Princess Weekend. That doesn’t mean I’m not excited, I’ve just been focused on other things.
But realigning my focus… OH MY GOODNESS Princess is just two weeks away!!! Reality is necessitating a slightly different approach for me this time, but I will be there, and I am just as excited as always. This time I’ll be running only the 10K and sprinting to the airport from the finish line. I’m not running the 5K, but I’ll be spectating (a very lucky first for me!), and I get to share the whole experience with a dear friend from the Walt Disney World College Program just 30 (cough, cough) short years ago. I’m also hoping to connect with another dear runDisney friend at the race…and you. Yes, you. More than ever I know that the runDisney family is my family. You get it, you get me. Please say hello if you spot me! I’ll be Belle. That makes it easy, right?
Full disclosure, this is my first Princess weekend. It’s probably the most expensive week of the year to travel from my cold little corner of the country to Orlando. I’ve heard many wonderful dreamy things about Princess weekend. I have also heard ugly, snarky things about Princess Weekend. I figured that the only way to know for sure is to try it out for myself. So, I stalked airline pages for months (no joke) trying to find an airfare that would also alow me to fulfill my obligation to the utilities companies, and finally found a fare that was not completely unreasonable. Truth be told I would have stayed for the half marathon, but prices jump hundreds of dollars between Saturday and Sunday departures. So, if this runDisney lifestyle is to be mine, living where I do, some sacrifices must be made. Maybe I’ll finish the Fairytal Challenge another time.
But you’re not here to hear me whining about spring break airfare. You want the maps. I get it. Spoiler Alert: Nothing new to see here. Courses are identical / super close to other courses we’ve seen this season.
As usual, we start at the back of the Epcot parking lot and skirt around the edge and through some industrial / cast parking lot stuff for the first mile. It’s OK. You’re so pumped and so busy trying not to get stepped on or step on someone else, it doesn’t matter that there’s not too much to look at.
We enter Epcot between Mexico and Norway (with a lovely whiff of garbage just before park entrance). I predict there will be a character stop with and epic line right at the entrance.
Straight ahead, the lagoon will present endless photo ops, and hopefully lit for the occasion. (We know that the “water tacos” are being retired at the end of Harmonious’ run, but I think they should still be there for Princess.)
From there it’s a lap around the World Showcase Lagoon. Expect another character stop in France (Belle???? Just a prediction, no inside intel there).
Most likely another character stop between UK and Canada, and then back into Future World. There’s a nice photo op with Spaceship Earth as you cross the bridge.
Swing around the future Journey of Water, run past the Jammitors (maybe?) and a quick jaunt backstage behind Cosmic Rewind until you see the choir, the finish line, and salvation.
There’s a whole lot of road at the start of this race, but I’d rather get that out of the way early, TBH.
From the same start line, we turn left instead of right and get really intimate with the Reedy Creek (for now) highway system very quickly.
It’s not till somewhere after mile 3 that we can even start to smell the parks. The first park is Hollywood Studios. If you’re looking for an immersive experience, this won’t be it. It’s more of a taste of the park than a full bite. We run up Sunset Boulevard, past Tower of Terror and abruptly take a left on Hollywood Boulevard and leave. Full stop.
The next part of the course is one that many dread. The path to the Boardwalk is narrow, and if you’re not in the lead pack, probably won’t be running. There are many walkers here. Trying to run might actually be dangerous. Keep your eyes open and adjust to course conditions.
Once we get past this half-mile bottleneck, we navigate the Boardwalk and then enter Epcot through the International Gateway.
Finishing up around the past UK and Canada, it’s back into the Future World for the same finsih as yesterday.
Princess Half Marathon
Let’s be real a second, (Hamilton) this is the race everyone is waiting for. Everyone dreams of running through the castle in a gown. OK… maybe 75% of the world’s population does. This might be your opportunity. If you’re in corral A or B.
Magic Kingdom is the first “big event” during the half marathon, at just 4 miles in. I’m going to be 100% honest with you. Four miles from the start is not enough time for the pack to thin out. This is basically the same course that was run during Marathon Weekend, and through the castle, the pack slowed to a dead walk. Dead. I’m sorry, but unless something is dramatically different for this race, I think the same thing will happen.
So… my advice… for whatever it’s worth, slow down, enjoy the walk. Take pictures. Make friends. This might be your once-in-a-lifetime.
Once you pass the castle, you can duck out to the left quickly for a PhotoPass photo. Do it. Jump.
After the castle euphoria, it’s a slip through Liberty Square & Frontierland. And then many, many, highway (road) miles to return to Epcot. There will be some stuff to see, some friends to make, and one of those “death circles” (highway ramps).
But finally you’re back in the Epcot vicinity. It looks like we’ll be entering the park somewhere near Journey into Imagination. Then we skirt the pit (maybe a glimpse of Te Fiti?) and pass (possibly) Jeff Galloway and (possibly) the Jammitors towards (definitely) the siren song of the golden-robed choir, and that blessed finish line. Then you get that fantasy medal. Or medals. It’s all totally worth it,
I am super pumped to finally be part of Princess Half Marathon Weekend, even if in a small capacity. I hope everyone has wonderful, magical runs. Drop a comment to tell me what you’re looking forward to the most!