Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend

Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend

Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend

( 12 reviews )
100% of reviewers recommend this race
  • Anaheim,
    United States
  • February
  • 3 miles/5K, 6 miles/10K, 13.1 miles/Half Marathon
  • Road Race
  • Event Website


Chicago, Illinois, United States
6 5
"1742 mile journey from Chicago to Disneyland"
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Race Management
Dianna 's thoughts:

You traveled how far for a race?

1742 miles!

Did you win prize money? Nope!

Then, why would someone travel that far to “just” run in a race? Easy! For the unbelievable, magical experience to run thru Disneyland. It’s where dreams come true. It’s where you can be a kid again.

And, you truly can.

The Tinkerbell Half Marathon at Disneyland was my 1st of 3 Disney races that I am running in 2014. As this was also my 1st Disney race, I wasn’t sure what to expect. In speaking to runner friends who have ran Disney races in the past, I heard nothing but high praise.

I was not disappointed.

In general, Disney races begin very early in the morning. My guess is to give the runners the full experience of their parks without competing with the fellow park goers. As a Disney runner, you are able to run throughout the park on a beautiful course past rides and have the opportunity to stop and take pictures with the characters. I had heard that I would have the opportunity for photo ops, but quite honestly, the competitive part of me could not imagine wanting to stop and snap a quick pic.

With the Tinkerbell Half Marathon beginning bright and early at 5am, I had set several alarms to make sure I would pop out of bed bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. OK, hmmm….let’s just say, with sleep still clouding my eyes, I did luckily roll out of bed at 2:30am. Given this was my 3rd destination race, I have learned that despite the very early hour, I need to make sure I give my body the proper fuel. There is nothing worse than running a race knowing you might just have a PR and your body totally running out of fuel in the last quarter of the race. Oatmeal and peanut butter at 3am…YUM! (not really!!)

By 4:15am, I was out the door ready to walk over to the start line. Yikes, it’s really dark!

But despite this early hour, many other runners were doing the same and the walk to Disneyland was a nice warm-up.

With the arrival at Disneyland, the park was buzzing with excitement, crowds along the route were forming and the runners were getting to their corrals. With this mass amount of people, one would think that they were visiting during normal park hours, not 4:30am! In general, most runners were dressed in some type of outfit to commemorate the race. Costumes & tutu’s galore! Not to be outdone, there were many, many men running in tutu’s as well!

As I had submitted a prior race time, I had the good fortune to begin in Corral A! Holy cow, what the heck? Are they sure they didn’t make a mistake? I don’t think of myself as particularly fast, so, Shhhh! Starting at the front of the pack as opposed to waiting for your turn many, many, many minutes later is great!!!!

To begin the race in true Disney style, FIREWORKS!!! (cue in Katy Perry’s song)

Then the runners were off to begin their magical journey with smiles on their faces, pixie dust carried along their sides and the belief that the Tinkerbell Half Marathon adventure would make memories to last a lifetime.

For some of you, you may be curious what a runner should do when running the race long before sunrise. Must you bring a head lamp? No, you do not. Disney does a great job of making sure the course is well lit and very well marked.

For the Tinkerbell Half Marathon, the journey began close to the resorts where we proceeded to run along the area hotels before winding back through to the California Adventure Park.

As I ran past the Tower of Terror, I had my 1st encounter with the Disney characters being available to the runners for photo ops.

What to do? What to do?

Here were the characters from The Incredibles! Such indecision! However, as I ran past them, I found myself stopping along the side and took a quick pic.

Stopping for no other reason than to capture the moment was all it took for me to do as they say, “When in Rome…..” From then on, I was hooked! This is fun! This is really, really fun! And, that is why I traveled 1742 miles from Chicago to Disneyland. For the fun!

Sure, I could have dug deep, ran “like the wind Bullseye from Toy Story” and captured a PR from this very flat, fast course. But, then I would have missed out on running up to the characters, getting my picture taken or chatting with another runner while we ran side by side.

It is definitely the type of race that you would run with family or friends. However, even if you run it alone, there is much joy and camaraderie to be shared with the runners around you. The running community has such a big heart. In the various races that I have ran, runners will help each other out no matter their personal goals.

Huge thanks goes out to the Ariel who realized I was running alone and stopped mid race to offer her help in taking my picture. What a treasured memory!

As we wound our way through the California Adventure Park and then through the original Disneyland Park, the miles went by quite quickly. Before we realized it, 6 miles had been completed. As we were leaving the Park, 3 blocks of ladies from the Red Hat Society were lined up along the course encouraging us all to go, go, go! Little did I realize at the time, but these 416 Hatters had arrived at the 6 mile mark as early 2:45 a.m. to secure their spots and cheer us on.

As the race continued on through the neighborhoods surrounding Disneyland, signs were posted reminding us of the sleeping neighbors. Unlike Disneyworld, this park which dates back to 1955 is nestled within the Anaheim community.

Along the routes, if you found yourself in need, there was an abundance of port-a-potties. (Thanks, Disney!!) The water/Gatorade stops were well spaced and the volunteers were helpful, smiling and always encouraging. I cannot express enough gratitude to the volunteers that take their personal time to help.

As I was running into downtown Anaheim, I witnessed a beautiful California sunrise. Stunning! Big thanks to the folks around Mile 9 who had orange slices ready. #Love! It was just what I needed.

Throughout the course, high school bands played and cheerleaders cheered. These kids were awesome!

As with most races, you tend to develop a rhythm when running in step with those around you. I paced a majority of the race with a lovely runner dressed up as Pocahontas. It must have been something about that feather that grabbed my attention and propelled me along my run.

As Mile 12 came in sight, you once again found yourself entering the California Adventure Park. But, this time, instead of heading into the park, you run along the outer perimeter on your way to the finish line. After a few twists and turns, there it is! A huge amount of people were lined up along the course screaming and cheering every runner that ran by.

And before I knew it, my Disney adventure was complete. I crossed the Finish Line.

With a huge smile on my face, I was given the Tinkerbell Half Marathon medal.

Simply awesome!

But the fun did not end there.

Disney was not done providing a wonderful experience. Top notch nutrition was handed out.

And best of all, the post race band was incredible. It was a military band that was belting out No Doubt songs and I could have sworn it was Gwen Stefani singing…yes, they were that good!

As I reflect back, a week has past. I left Disneyland with a smile on my face, a sense of accomplishment and memories that will indeed last a lifetime. I flew home that same day. A 4 hour flight with muscles beginning to stiffen up may not be ideal, but it brought me home sooner to my family. While I wished with all my heart they could have been there in those crowds cheering me on, I knew that they were thinking of me during the race and waiting to receive my text with “DONE!”

If you have ever thought about running a Disney race, do it. It is one of the most wonderful running experiences I have had.

For those of you who love an extra challenge like me, keep this in mind, Disney offers a Coast to Coast Challenge. If you run at least a Half Marathon on each coast within 1 year, you receive a special medal to congratulate you on your performance. For those of us that run, it is so hard to pass up a challenge!

Guess that’s why you will see me at DisneyWorld in February 2014 running the 10K followed by the Princess Half Marathon (aka Glass Slipper Challenge).

Can’t wait!

(To see my complete review with pictures, please visit http://diannaseda.wordpress.com/2014/01/28/tinkerbell-half-marathon-2014/)

Loading Comments...

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

Latest reviews

Loading Reviews...