Princess Half Marathon weekend – Orlando, Florida – 10k

Day two of our exciting race weekend kicks off with another ridiculously early wake-up call. Fortunately, we managed to get to sleep much earlier last night, thanks to being up at 3:45 for the 5k.

This morning, at around 3:15 a.m., Sis and I quietly slip out of our room, put on our makeup, eat a quick bite to eat, and don our tutus.

Not long after we get up, the rest of the crew slowly – and a bit agonizingly if you ask me – rolls out of bed. Other grandma isn’t exactly thrilled to be up this early two days in a row. I promise her this is really a vacation because, at this point, she’s sure questioning that.

Sis and I are the only ones running today, but the rest of our crew drives with us to the race start. We tried to do as much research as possible about whether we could go to the race site first and they could sleep in a bit, arriving just in time to watch us cross the finish line. But unfortunately, because of road closures, this just won’t work.

We arrive at Epcot with a little bit of time to spare. The crowd had definitely picked up for this race. I notice a lot of race bibs that match ours, indicating runners taking part in the glass slipper challenge – which is running both the 10k and the half marathon. Word to the wise – take care of this race bib if you do both legs. You only get one race bib for both of these races.

As always, we spend a little bit of time taking pictures. After some great photo ops, we head off to our corral, waving goodbye to both grandmas and little P.

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Once the race kicks off, sis and I fall into pace with the others. We absolutely love this route. You start out of the Imagination parking lot and work your around the back of Epcot. At about mile 3, you finally reach the back entrance of Epcot where you proceed to run around the entire lake. As you run past the countries, you continue through the park until you run through the Boat and Yacht Club. You continue through Epcot, running past the famous Epcot ball, and finally come to a finish in the parking lot, not very far from the start.

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Once we collect our medals and goodie bags, we slowly make our way to the car. We decide our best plan of action for this day is to relax as much as possible. Luckily, our hotel has a lazy river and the weather promises to be beautiful. So once we make it back to the condo, we truly take advantage of this perfect day. We spend most of the afternoon relaxing by the pool, having fun going around the lazy river, and eating delicious ice cream sundaes by the pool.

By the time 7:00 rolls around, we are beat. Two mornings of waking up long before 4 a.m. has done us in. Everyone happily and gladly headed off to bed not long after 7:00. We needed as much rest as we could get. Sunday morning was an even earlier wake-up call at a grueling 2:30 a.m. But we were ready.

So, I stuffed down the excited butterflies in my stomach, closed my eyes, and drifted off into sleep, only dreaming about the upcoming race once or twice that night.

 

10k Race tips

Parking. Surprisingly, parking for this race wasn’t as bad as I was expecting. It definitely drummed up some more cars than the 5k, but we didn’t have any enormous lines in order to make it to corral on time. However, if you want a stress-free ride to the race, I would suggest taking Disney transportation if it’s offered at your hotel.

Patience. I probably should put this race tip at the very top of the list for each of these legs of the race. Please, remember everyone is here to have a great time. Be patient and be kind to each other. I promise, everyone will make it to the finish line.

Character pics. If you just have to get your pic taken with a character along the route, my suggestion would be to pick one or two. The lines are INCREDIBLY LONG. Disney does an amazing job of keeping it flowing, but this will certainly cut into your finish time – if that’s something that’s important to you.

Have fun! Because isn’t that what Disney is all about?!

 

Hotels near the race site

Disney sponsored hotels: Okay, there is much to be said for this so I will break this up into a few different sections.

Luckily, for this particular race, all Disney hotels are now available with Disney race transportation! There is so much to say for staying on Disney property and the race transportation is a definite plus, especially when you’re talking about a 4:30 a.m. drive-time.

You will also see tons of other participants who are eagerly awaiting the races. This is a definite energy that you need this early in the morning. But….this also means longer lines to use Disney transportation. The more budget-friendly the hotel, the more crowded the lines can be.

You can decorate your hotel room window. This is so much fun! We got a little crazy creative here, but that’s half the fun. It’s a blast to check out how many other runners are staying right alongside you.

When we have stayed on Disney property, we usually choose the budget-friendly hotels. Warning – so do a lot of other runners. These budget hotels fill up fast! So don’t wait too long to make your reservation.

 

Staying off Disney property. If you decide to rent a condo, especially with a large group, this is the way to go. We have used VRBO and Trip Advisor to rent at the Wyndham Bonnet Creek Resort – which is technically on Disney property, but not a Disney sponsored hotel. This is a fabulous resort, just a couple miles from the Disney entrance. However, if you stay here, you will have to drive yourself on race day.

There are also multiple relatively inexpensive hotels in the area. Most of these hotels do offer shuttles to Disney AFTER the race. I have heard rumor that some even offer transportation on race day to the corrals. Make sure to verify this with your particular hotel, though.

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