Disney Princess Half Marathon recap

disney princess half marathon early morning epcot

Epcot at 4AM!!! we are very excited!

Now I want to write about the logistics of the Disney Princess Half Marathon weekend. I love love love Disney World, but the actual event was not as fun as I expected this time around.

There weren’t enough honest posts about how everything works as a participant, so I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into. Next year we’re doing things differently, but I want to share what we learned.

Submitting a Proof of Time

Everyone says this is a good starter race – but I kind of disagree. If you’re in the back of the race, you are walking with thousands of people. It is impossible to run at all.

If you plan on running even slowly, find a 10k or Half Marathon somewhere and run it so you can submit a proof of time and get started earlier. The bathrooms will be less crowded, the lines to take pics with characters will be empty, and you won’t be running in the sun.

Because we were in the back of the line (next to last group), we didn’t start running until an hour after the race officially started. Weirdest feeling ever. My body was so confused by waking up at 3am, walking a mile to the start line by 5am, and then not running until 6:30.

Trying to dodge all the walkers meant that we were really running zig-zag instead of straight…. which added a few miles to our distance.

What to Wear

  • Cheap sweatshirts: It’s cold in the morning. So glad I read a post that suggested buying a cheap sweatshirt from goodwill to discard during the race.  And since we weren’t moving around for the first 1.5 hours, we definitely needed to stay warm.
  • Tutu or Sparkle Skirt!! Don’t be a hardcore runner that doesn’t wear a tutu – it’s so fun. And I think the SparkleAthletic skirts are adorable and sporty.
  • Long pants: Again, it’s cold in the morning. Unless you’re in one of the first corrals, you will be freezing! It doesn’t warm up enough to wear shorts!

Staying On Disney vs. Disney Resort Area

There is not enough written about this!
This time around we stayed at the Hilton Orlando Buena Vista, because a comparable Disney hotel would be pretty expensive. But any Disney resort would be better than staying off Disney for this event. The rundisney buses only ran from Disney resort HOTELS, not the parks.
Even if the hotel is cheaper, you will probably make up the cost difference in taxis/uber charges (not to mention those resort fees tagged on at the end of your stay… Ugh).
  • ESPN Wide World of Sports is not accessible from any of the parks – you can only take a bus from one of the Disney hotels. We went from our hotel, to epcot, to the Art of Animation hotel, and finally arrived at ESPN for the expo. We just took a cab back to our hotel after the expo, because all of that was too complicated (which cost $20).
    • if we had stayed at a Disney hotel, we would have just walked outside and hopped on the Expo bus running every 20 minutes
  • cost of taxis: I could not find any posts online about the cost of taxis to Epcot on race morning…. which made me nervous. I didn’t want to risk finding an uber at 3:30am, so we requested a taxi from our hotel valet. Fortunately, it was only $18.
    I was literally having nightmares that we would be stuck in traffic for over an hour, pay $100+, and be late for the race…. but that didn’t happen 🙂 It’s all good.
  • Hotel buses are not really every half hour: For example, they had 1 bus that went to Epcot / Hollywood Studios at 1pm, and then the Magic Kingdom/ Animal Kingdom bus came at 1:30…. so really it was an hour between buses to the different parks.
    • Disney buses pickup/dropoff regularly every 20 minutes to each park
Pros to staying off-Disney:
  • not as many kids at the pool
  • you don’t need a park ticket for the day of the race: trust me you’re not walking around parks after running 13.1 miles
  • I would probably stay outside of Disney if I were visiting during the normal year. You can definitely get a better hotel for cheaper outside of the parks, and if you’re not trying to get somewhere at 3:30AM the hotel transportation is fine.
    • Renting a car, parking at Disney, and even hotel parking is expensive – so just take the buses

Next Year

I know I sounded super negative in this post – but I just want everyone to learn what I learned!

We are SO EXCITED to go back next year. We’re going to do the Glass Slipper challenge and win 3 Medals (because it’s ALL ABOUT the medals. Really. why else would you run 13 miles??).

My dad and our friend, Alexa, will be running with us. My mom and my husband will be cheering us, and I can’t wait to hang out in Disney with all of them

Who knows… maybe I will be selling some Disney Race products in my etsy shop next year? CAN’T WAIT TO GO BACK!

I just want to live in Disney World.

Ok, I’m done. Happy Friday, and have a great weekend!!



  1. Julie Perez
    May 24, 2016 / 2:27 pm

    Thank you for sharing your experience and suggestions. I live 10 minutes from Disney and I’m a annual pass holder. Some of my coworkers and I plan to do the Princess run February 2017. We are newbies, so we will start with the 5K. This is all new to us and feel lost but want To make sure we maximize all the benefits. I sure will share your experience with my coworkers. Thanks Julie

    • Danielle
      May 25, 2016 / 10:24 pm

      So jealous that you’re an annual pass holder!
      The 5k should be a little easier, because they don’t need to close as many roads. You’ll probably still need to get to the park pretty early in the morning because of the crowds.

      Have fun preparing, and thanks for commenting!

  2. May 26, 2016 / 9:47 pm

    How much did the race cost? I’ve been searching on their website but I can’t find it. Thank you!

    • Danielle
      May 28, 2016 / 11:58 pm

      Hi! It looks like they haven’t posted the price for the 2017 race yet, but I think it was around $175 last year.
      Thanks for visiting!