Hey y’all! I can’t believe how close Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend 2019 is getting. Not gonna lie, it has really snuck up on me this year. I always get countless questions regarding Princess Weekend. This will be my 4th weekend to date. While I am no expert and things definitely change year-to-year, I have a pretty good idea of how things go. Today I wanted to share with you some tips on how to have the most productive and smooth Princess Half Weekend possible. Let’s get into it!
Get To The Expo As Early As Possible
I know that when you get to the Expo depends on a lot of things; whether you’re local and work, what day you arrive to Disney, etc. But honestly no one really knows what to expect from the Expo until the day of. In past years there has been changes in locations, merchandise selling out quickly, and just pure madness. You truly don’t know what to expect until you get there. If you are able and willing I recommend going to the Expo the first day and arriving before opening. Race bib pick-up begins at 10am this year. Last year I hit up the merch first (because certain items and sizes tend to sell out quickly), then went to bib pick-up, then finally the expo center. In 2018 they implemented a lot of changes to the Expo, which ended up working out very well. I believe I arrived at around 8:30am last year and was placed in a line (indoors) to the merch. I believe they let us in a little early, around 9:45, I got what I wanted then headed to bib pick-up, which was in another building. There are plenty of signs and Cast Members around to answer your questions about where to go, and it’s not too hard to navigate. Everything is subject to change, so take all of this info with a grain of salt.
Print Your Waiver BEFORE Going To The Expo
I can’t even believe I have to say this, but sooooo many people don’t do it. The last thing you want to do is go to the bib pick-up (which can potentially have a line), get let in, then have to stand in ANOTHER line just to print out your waiver. HERE is the link to print out your waiver! Every racer must have one, including kid racers! Also make sure it is signed appropriately. Remember to pick up your bib and packet BEFORE going into the expo building. The expo is typically where t-shirt pick-up is, so you don’t want to have to back track. If you are flying to WDW for this race, I encourage you to keep this paperwork in your carry on!
The Morning Of, Be EARLY
I cannot stress this enough, the earlier you are, the better! How early we have to wake up as racers really sucks, but it’s worth it and I promise if you’re early it’ll be less stressful. I personally prefer staying on property during race weekends; I have never NOT stayed on property. There are buses offered for free to and from the expo and the races each day from WDW resorts. If my memories serves me right the first bus is at 3AM – yes, 3AM. STRIVE TO BE ON THAT FIRST BUS. The later you wait to get on the bus the worse traffic will be, and the worse security to get into the race will be. As for those of you driving that morning, I say the earlier the better. Every year I look out the bus window and see hundreds, maybe THOUSANDS of cars waiting to get into the parking lot. One year on a bus it even took us almost an hour to get from Wilderness Lodge to the Epcot parking lot because of traffic. What a lot of first timers don’t realize is that the start line for the Half Marathon is almost a 15 minute walk from the meeting place you’re originally corralled to. So no matter how you slice it, YOU DON’T WANT TO BE LATE.
Florida weather can be pretty unpredictable. I recommend keeping an eye on the weather for the week beforehand. Chances are it’ll be a little bit chilly in the “morning” (middle of the night lol) so you’ll want to bring a jacket. I personally like wearing race jackets I purchase from the expo; they’re the perfect weight and I’ve ran with them tied around my waist enough to know it won’t slip. It’s common for people to purchase old sweatshirts or sweat suits from thrift stores, or a cheap one from Walmart and throw it to the side once it warms up. From my understanding they grab anything thrown to the side and donate it to charity, which is awesome. Last year there was an INTENSE heat wave toward the end of the half. It was probably 85 degrees (everyone was roasting), so keep an eye out for scenarios like that as well. I recommend a hat, visor, and/or sunglasses because once the sun starts to rise it will get in your eyes and that isn’t fun. There are plenty of great places to shop at the Expo for accessories like that!
Listen To Your Body, But Believe In Yourself!
I kid you not, there’s probably been a time in each of my half marathons where I’ve said to myself, “I can’t do this… I gotta get to the nearest medical tent and have them pick me up.” Now I wasn’t actually hurt or hurting, just exhausted and overwhelmed and each race I have made it to the end. But there are runners that have to “give up” because something is seriously wrong. If that happens to you during any of the races, that’s okay. You have to listen to your body! Just know the line of where your head is being dramatic, and where you truly need medical attention. Medical tents and water stops are scattered throughout the race, USE THEM. They typically have more than enough volunteers at the medical tents that they even stand along the race path and have GIANT bottles of Icy Hot ready to pump into your hand, anti-inflammatories, water, ice, you name it. They are there to help you so let them if need be, even if you’re stopping for 30 seconds for some Icy Hot. NEVER skip a water station, even if you “aren’t thirsty.” Some water stations offer Powerade as well, I tend to alternate between water and Powerade to keep my electrolytes up. If you really are struggling don’t be afraid to step to the side for a little, stretch, catch your breath – plenty of people do it! At the end of the race, take advantage of everything offered to you. I normally stop at the medical tent to get my knees wrapped with ice and apply Icy Hot. As you walk to medal pick-up they’ll offer heat blankets and bottles of water and Powerade, TAKE IT ALL. Get your money’s worth!
I could literally go on and on y’all, but for now I’m going to stop there. Stay tuned for other blog posts and YouTube videos coming soon that will help you get prepared for Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend 2019. And as always, leave any questions you have down below, I’d love to answer them!
Thanks for reading!