Disneyland Half Marathon 2017 Review

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We did it! Colton and I completed our first half marathon together (and my second Disney half marathon)! It’s been three weeks since Colton and I participated in the half marathon at Disneyland. I signed up for this race in early January, and Colton did shortly thereafter, so we had been counting down to this event for months. I participated in runDisney’s Princess Half Marathon Weekend in February and you can check out both parts of my review here and here. It has taken me a while to get to writing this post because to be completely honest, I was a bit disappointed with the Disneyland half marathon. We’ll get to that later, but first let’s talk about the Expo.

runDisney Expo

The Expo for Disneyland Half Marathon took place in the convention center of the Disneyland Hotel. The Expo is where you pick up your bib(s), runDisney race shirts, pre-purchased merchandise, and any new merchandise from vendors located at the Expo.

We visited the Expo on Friday afternoon and arrived shortly before they opened the doors at 12PM. They had us line up in a parking garage and promptly at 12PM, we were able to enter the Expo.

We picked up our bibs, our pre-purchased pin, and our t-shirts with our gEAR bag, then headed upstairs to check out the vendors. I love the color and with Toy Story being one of our favorite Disney movies, we love the design of this t-shirt.

We actually had to come back to the Expo on Saturday, because I realized that I had not received my Coast to Coast challenge wristband, which is required to get the medal. I had a small panic attack when I realized I didn’t have it, because I was afraid the Expo was already closed for that day, but we got there in time to grab it. So for any of you who plan to complete a Coast to Coast or Castle to Chateau challenge, make sure when you pick up your bib that you ask about the wristband, because they didn’t even mention it to me when I first picked up my bib.

There were fewer vendors here than there were for the Princess Half Marathon in Disney World, but there were still plenty of items available. We browsed through the available vendors, but shortly made our way to the runDisney area in the back.

I purchased a Coast to Coast Challenge t-shirt, two car magnets, and a half marathon ornament. There wasn’t a huge crowd, so we didn’t have to wait very long for any lines. After the Expo, we dropped our items off at the hotel and headed to the parks.

Half Marathon

We spent the rest of the day on Friday in the parks, soaking up our time since we weren’t participating in the 10k on Saturday. On Saturday we spent most of the day in the parks, but headed back to the hotel early to be ready for our 3AM alarm on Sunday. Since I had participated in the Princess Run in Disney World, I was aware how much time there was spent just standing around if you arrived to your corral too early. For the Princess Run, I arrived VERY early and enjoyed being in the front of the line, but I will say it really isn’t worth it. I enjoy sleep much more than being at the front of the corral.

On Saturday, we visited Downtown Disney and since we knew we would be heading that way for race day, we timed the walk from our hotel. It was about a 10 minute walk there, then an additional 5-10 minutes to get to our corral. On race day, we left our hotel around 4:30AM and arrived at our corral shortly after 4:45. We didn’t check a bag, but if you plan to check your gEAR bag, factor in additional time.

The first corral was released at 5AM, and since we were in corral I, we released around 5:45AM. Then we were off! The first three miles were GREAT. The race starts on Disneyland Drive, just outside of the Disneyland Hotel, and takes you through California Adventure and then through the Disneyland Park.

In California Adventure, there were characters such as Flick, Mater, Lightning McQueen, and Roz. Since we didn’t stop for any of them I don’t have any pictures that aren’t blurry or have other runners in them. Sorry!

In the Disneyland Park, we saw Jesse and Bullseye from Toy Story and Carl, Russell, and Dug from Up. Also, Mickey and Minnie were there but they were not dressed in their running gear, so we skipped them.

There were quite a few characters on floats that you could snap a photo with, such as Joy from Inside Out.

Here comes one of the reasons for my disappointment that I mentioned earlier. As with the Princess run, I had made a shortlist of the characters I hoped to meet, with Woody being at the top of the list. This was Toy Story themed, so I figured it was a given he would be there. Well, needless to say, he wasn’t. Or maybe I just missed him, but it’s doubtful since I was looking for him. Jessie and Bullseye were on the course, but they were on a balcony and you couldn’t get a picture with them. Buzz was there, but his line was rather long, probably because he was the first Toy Story themed character available for a photo.

The biggest disappointment for me was that all the characters I mentioned above were the only ones on the course and they were only in the first 4 miles. These are all characters that I like, but not any that I really wanted to wait in line for. Looking back on it, I wish that I had. Most of their lines were relatively short, and had I known they would be the only characters on the course, I would have stopped for every single one.

After the first 4 miles on Disney property, we took to the streets of Anaheim. At first it was nice to see the city, but after about 5 or so miles of nothing but streets, and with no more characters, it started getting a little tiresome and HOT.

We did get to run through Angel Stadium, which was neat and they had music playing and an announcer getting you pumped up. This part of the race slowed us down quite a bit though, because you could not run through this section of the course. There was little space with all of the people in the stadium, so we had to walk.

At this point, you’re in mile 9 and you’re either hitting your second wind or your low point. I hit my second wind around mile 8, but walking through Angel Stadium definitely slowed it down.

After Angel Stadium, it was more roads and more empty parking lots.

As we came into the end of the race on Disney property, there were still no characters cheering us on, being the complete opposite of the runDisney Princess Race that I had participated in in February. The last 2 miles of the Princess Race had at least 2 characters available for photo ops, with additional characters at the end.

For the majority of the race, we kept about a 13 minute mile pace. We were pretty proud of this, especially since we had trained at around 11 minute miles and on race day, it was about 15 degrees warmer than what we had been training in. We walked the last few miles, but we pushed ourselves and ran the last half mile through the finish line. Upon crossing the finish line, we picked up our half marathon medal and I headed to the special medals line to pick up my Coast to Coast Challenge medal.

Colton stopped at the medical tent to get some ice, we did a photo-op, and then we made our way to get our snack boxes. We sat down to rest and eat, and then we made our way to Disneyland.

I wanted to get pictures of us with our medals before we headed back to the hotel, so we visited Disneyland Park. We were at the park early and there were tons of characters out and about. I managed to meet Peter Pan and Captain Jack Sparrow.

After riding Splash Mountain, doing a lap around the park, and getting some pictures, we headed back to our hotel where we took a shower and a short nap. After a much needed rest, we made our way back to the parks for our last day at Disneyland.

Overall Thoughts

Overall, the race was just okay. It wasn’t spectacular and didn’t make me feel as excited or happy as the Enchanted 10k or Princess half marathon did. I believe the reason I was most upset about this race was because I had participated in such an awesome race in February for Princess Weekend. With this being another runDisney event, I had the same expectations, and they fell pretty short. Furthermore, with this half marathon being Colton’s first runDisney event, I hoped it would be as exciting for him as my first runDisney race felt for me, and I’m not so sure it was.

Also, for those of you who have participated in a runDisney event, you know the price tag is pretty steep. With the Princess runs, I felt like the price was worth it, whereas for this one, I didn’t. If you have not participated in a runDisney event and are choosing between the Disneyland Half Marathon or the Princess runs, choose the Princess run at Disney World. I can’t speak for the other runDisney races that are available, because we have yet to participate in those, but I thoroughly enjoyed both the Enchanted 10k and the Half Marathon more than I did the Disneyland Half Marathon. At least we got some nice Disney bling to show off!

I don’t want to sound too pessimistic because it was a fun weekend overall. I love Disneyland, but I will not be participating in the Disneyland Half Marathon again in the near future.

That’s it for my Disneyland Half Marathon Review! I hope this review can help you prepare or answer questions that you may have about Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend. I am super proud to have completed my second half marathon, and to have done it with my favorite partner, Colton!

Congratulations to all of the other runners who completed races as well, you guys are awesome!

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