Race Review: Disneyland Half Marathon

Disneyland Half Marathon

“Contrariwise, if it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be;
but as it isn’t, it ain’t. That’s logic.”

– Tweedledee, Through the Looking Glass

This Tweedledee had a rompin’ good time at the Disneyland Half Marathon this past weekend. This is definitely the largest race we’ve ever done; both in runners and production and we have a lot to say about this race so we’ll just dive right in…

The Disneyland Health & Fitness Expo was awesome. I’d be lying if I said that we were excited to drive the hour plus to Anaheim the day before the race to pick up packets (basically taking up an entire Saturday afternoon), but after a quick stop for a Coco Cafe, parking 2 miles away so we didn’t have to pay, walking to the wrong place, then walking to the right place all in 87 degree heat, we finally made it to the expo (and still had big smiles on our faces…sad how much we love this sh*t):

Disneyland Half Marathon Review

Once we were there, packet pickup was pretty easy and we got to spend over an hour exploring the expo, which was awesome! I almost feel like it deserves it’s own post. I don’t want to make this one too long so I’ll share the highlights: Nice big plastic runDisney bags to hold all our stuff, chatting with the two buff guys from the Divas Half Marathon series (which you’ll most likely see us at), free samples of Jelly Belly Sport Beans, snagging a cute pair of shorts from Running Skirts, ice cold water available throughout the expo, KT tape getting people taped up, photo ops and a lot more!

Disneyland Half Marathon Review

Needless to say we felt a little spoiled after this race, but I wouldn’t expect less from a $180 registration fee (which did NOT include admission to the park).

We headed home where, with good intentions, we tried to eat some unusually unappetizing pre-made garlic bread from Ralph’s. Globs of butter later, we tossed it and each made a salad. Since we’ve been doing much longer training runs, we find we don’t need to carb-load as much as we think we do. Unfortunately, I broke my own rule of
avoiding fiber 12 hours+ before a long race, which came back to bite me in the ass.

Disneyland Half Marathon Review

Alarms off at 3:30am, on the road by 4am, arrived at Disneyland around 4:45am. We parked, downed some GU Energy Chomps and Jelly Belly Sport Beans, fixed up our costumes and scooted our way to the back of the pack where we realized our efforts to get to the right corral were futile. SO. MANY. PEOPLE.

While we weren’t truly trying to PR in this race, even if we wanted to I don’t know that we could have (at least not from our position in the corral). The sheer amount of people, even with the waves each being 5 minutes apart, along with the novelty of this race created an unavoidable funnel that you had to lodge yourself into at certain narrow points along the course.

The hot weather made this a difficult run. When Lauren and I reconnected at the finish line, we both agreed that the heat made this very taxing…we’re STILL re-hydrating. (Side note: Kinda ready for summer to be over….ready for cooler running weather!!)

Pros of the Disneyland Half Marathon:

  • Course Entertainment – After the fireworks and Joey Fatone kicking us off at the start line, we were cheered on by Anaheim high school cheerleaders, marching bands, dance troupes, Disney characters and live music! We were never far from some on-course support, which was awesome. 
  • Angel Stadium – At mile 9, we got to run through Angel Stadium which was filled with people cheering for us, an announcer saying our names as we ran past the timing mats and a jumbo-tron! Sick, brah. 
  • Medals – It wouldn’t be a proper race review without talking about the medals. These are definitely quality medals, heavy and gold in the shape of a “D” with a nice thick ribbon 🙂
  • Post-Race Recovery Box – It’s one thing to get a half a banana and a water at the end of a race, it’s quite another to stumble across the finish line and be handed a box full of snacks, a full, cold bottle of Dasani water and a damp cool towel to wrap around your hot neck. A+, Disneyland.
  • Lots of Bathrooms and Water Stations – ‘Nuff said.

 Disneyland Half Marathon Review - Angel Stadium

Cons of the Disneyland Half Marathon:

  • It was EXTREMELY crowded
  • LOTS of walkers (should this be a con?), people stopping to take pictures with the characters definitely ended up causing a few accidents  and traffic jams, especially through the park. 
  • Waiting in the corrals for an HOUR before being allowed to start is a little ridiculous. Seeing the backlogs, we understand why they had to let each corral out five minutes apart, however we could have saved ourselves 45 minutes of sleep or preparation. Instead we were standing, for an hour, crammed next to a thousand other people downwind of the porta-potties. Not cool, Disneyland.
  • We understand that weather is always a variable and this is clearly in no way a reflection of Disneyland, but the heat was really rough. If you ever do a Disney race, Anaheim is definitely warmer than a coastal city so we were expecting it, but I don’t think we’ve run that long in that kind of heat before.
  • Don’t try and PR on this race. Given everything mentioned above, and unless you’re in corral A, it may not be the race you choose to dominate. 
  • It’s the most expensive race we’ve ever done. Even Ragnar, which was a 36 hour experience, only had a $115 registration per person. And no admission to the park? THUMBS DOWN.

Got the costumes on Amazon:


Have you ever done a Disney run? If not, would you want to do one?

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