Happy Wednesday, friends! I hope you all are having a great week so far! Today is the official start of the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival and I am so excited to be headed there in just a few weeks. But today I wanted to give you guys a quick review of my experience at this year's Princess Half Marathon Weekend that happened this past weekend. My family and I were lucky enough to stay at Disney's BoardWalk, and you can check out all about that from Monday's post!
We arrived at Walt Disney World Thursday afternoon and checked-in to our resort and headed off to the expo at ESPN Wide World of Sports. Honestly, I hate going to the expo and I would pay an extra $20 for all of my race gear and any pre-purchased items to be able to be picked up at my resort when I checked in, but that's not an option yet. The first place we went was to get our bibs. My parents and I did the 5K and I did the 10K. Bib pick-up is always super easy and very organized! That was the last thing at the expo that was easy for us Thursday. As we went to get our race t-shirts that came with our registration the expo floor was full of people, and I always think they have this in an area that's much to small for the amount of exhibitors and people the allow in. Then we went to check out the merchandise, which was in the new flex field space. I have never seen a line so long for some pins and some wine glasses. The line just to get into see the merchandise was almost three hours, then another 45 minutes to an hour to check out once you got what you wanted. So we didn't get anything Thursday and left empty-handed.
Here's a few things I think Disney could do better at when it comes to the expo. (Note: I have a sports management degree from college and I understand how absolutely difficult it is to put on these major events, but some of the ideas implemented this race weekend probably won't be around long.) Thursday the expo didn't open until noon, when it used to open at 9 or 10 am for previous race weekends. This caused a major back-up in many lines, and even just getting into ESPN Wide World of Sports was hard due to heavier than normal traffic. Race specific merchandise should be spread throughout the expo, or available other places at Walt Disney World- like Disney Springs, or resorts, but only to be able to be purchased by people who can show proof of running like a bib or signed waiver. There needs to be limits on how many of one item someone can buy. No one need 10 small race jackets just to up-sell them on E-Bay.
We also heard a lot of "I don't knows" with little help to find an answer from Cast Members when we asked where certain things at the expo were, from merchandise to just simple questions like what time the buses start from resorts to the start line each morning. Disney really could do better at educating Cast Members on race weekend, especially those who are going to be working all three winter/spring races. We did go back first thing Friday morning when the expo opened at 10:00 and get the merchandise we wanted, but we shouldn't have had to when we were already there once.
The Princess 5K went off Friday morning and my family and I were in corral C, like Cinderella! And we were all dressed like Cinderella characters. My mom was Cinderella, and my dad and I were Anastasia and Drizella. This was my mom's first 5K and it was so fun to see how proud she was to cross the finish line and to see the joy on her face! The course was really good, as always and Disney really pulled out all the stops for the characters and entertainment along the course, including Abu from Aladdin and Sebastian from The Little Mermaid!
The Enchanted 10K was Saturday morning, and it was my fourth time running this race and it gets more magical each time. Running through Epcot with all of the torches lit and Disney music playing loudly is something I never want to stop doing. It was also really special because my parents were able to come down from our room at Disney's Boardwalk and watch me go by!
If you're ever thinking about doing a runDisney event, Princess Half Marathon Weekend might be for you! There is a race for everyone at every skill level, and they are all so much fun! As for me, my next race is in April for Star Wars- Dark Side Half Marathon Weekend where I'll be doing the 5K with my dad and my second half marathon!
Well friends, that's all for this week. Let me know in the comments if you're thinking about doing a runDisney event soon! Also, be sure to follow me on Instagram to keep up with all of my Disney adventures!
Be Magical Today!