Latest reviews by Erin

(2016)
"This magical 5K really is a walk (or run) in the park! "
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The 5K is the starting race for the weekend, and the starting event for the Dopey Challenge. This is one of the larger runDisney 5K's given the Dopey Challenge but it definitely still has that family friendly feel to it!

Expo: The WDW Marathon Weekend Expo is much bigger than anything you'll find at Disneyland, given they have much more space. Exhibitors take up two different locations at Wide World of Sports, and packet pickup/gear pickup is spread between three locations depending on your events. Dopey Challenge participants were able to pick up their bibs and gear in the same building. Once again, challenge runners need to get their picture taken at pickup so they're able to cross reference at the end of the final event.

Swag: You'll get the cotton race s/s shirt, gear bag and a mini Clif Bar. There's plenty of product samples from painkillers to Clif products to bananas from the exhibitors on the floor.

Course: This course is heads straight into Epcot where you'll be popping out into the World Showcase around Norway just over the 1 mile mark. Following the World Showcase around, you'll then head backstage behind United Kingdom then back out in front of Canada, up through to Future World and then around the Imagination/The Land and The Seas with Nemo attractions. Finally it's onto the home straight past Spaceship Earth and to the finish line!

Aid Stations: There were two water stops and one medical tent along the course.
There were plenty of portaloos before the corrals and all restrooms are open in the park.

Atmosphere: There was music being played through the park's speaker system (playing the best of Disney of course) and characters were spread throughout the course.

Post-race: Disney are great for herding runners through the finish line area. Challenge runners do have to go through seperate tents once they've picked up their medal. Food-wise you do get a runner's box full of goodies plus a water (and Powerade if you please).

The Family Reunion area is large, so organise a meet-up before you run (especially if you're international like me and messaging is a crazy amount). The buses to resorts leave from the end of the reunion area, lines were pretty manageable.

This is the first non-Disneyland runDisney 5K that I had experienced. It is definitely a different feel than running down Main Street and around the Castle, but it's still a magical experience. While this event isn't timed, it is still assumed for the 16 minute mile but it's really geared towards families, allowing the younger kids the chance to run a 5K and get an awesome medal!

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(2016)
"This is the 5K you've been looking for!! "
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T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

Disneyland races are always enjoyable in that you'll always get that experience of running in the Happiest Place on Earth! The 5K is no exception. While you don't get that magical "castle run" you do get to run past it, and all the other awesome attractions that both Disneyland and California Adventure have to offer.

Expo: Significantly smaller than WDW, you'll find all the major exhibitors here without the walking! Packet pickup is located underneath the Disneyland Hotel Convention Centre, with gear pick up located in the main expo room (along with the Speaker stage and the general race merchandise). All race bib, pre-ordered commemorative items, park tickets are charity tables are in one place which is extremely convenient, however can become crowded.

Swag: You'll get the cotton s/s race shirt for the 5K (unisex sizing), gear bag and a mini Clif Bar. There's plenty of product samples from painkillers to Clif products to bananas from the exhibitors on the floor.

Course: This weekend's events all start the opposite way from the Disneyland Half & Tinkerbell Half start - heading up Disneyland Drive rather down towards Katella Ave. There's some slight road running before you turn off backstage past the Disneyland Admin buildings and coming out 1 mile in beside It's a Small World. From here you continue through Fantasyland, down past Big Thunder Mtn and Frontierland across the front of the castle and through Tomorrowland before heading over to California Adventure for the 2 mile mark.

Once in California Adventure you'll be running past the Tower of Terror ride, through Bugs Land and Cars Land, looping back up past Grizzly River Run and onto Downtown Disney and to the finish line near the Disneyland Hotel!

NOTE: This course is pre-Star Wars land construction.

Aid Stations: There were two water stops and one medical tent along the course.
There were plenty of portaloos before the corrals and all restrooms are open in the park.

Atmosphere: There was atmospheric sounds being played through the park's speaker system (Star Wars themed of course) and a selected amount of characters were spread throughout the course (some static like R2D2 & BB8). These character stops were incredibly popular and the lines were closed earlier to ensure all runners weren't going to be swept. There was also Star Wars themed projections on buildings which added to the overall theming of the event.

Post-race: Disney are great for herding runners through the finish line area. Once you pickup your medal you're encouraged to continue through to photos, medical and food. Food-wise you do get a runner's box full of goodies plus a water (and Powerade if you please).

Since the race area is central to the overall resort area there's no transportation required to get back.

This 5K is entirely focused on bringing the family together for a fun run around Disneyland and California Adventure. It's generally one that challenge runners enter for character pics without worrying about time, and in this case the characters were the same throughout the three runs. This race had a great theming atmosphere and it was fun to run with so many costumed runners!

2016 additional notes: runDisney has changed the process in getting to the corrals at Disneyland and all runners must clear through bag check prior to entering the corrals. Where previously you could just walk straight to the corral, you must now enter through Downtown Disney and loop back down Disneyland Drive.

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(2016)
"The BEST 10K you could ask for! "
Overall
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I'll cut straight to it. If you're looking for a 10K to run while enjoying the runDisney experience then hands down, this race is for you. I've done the Disneyland Half 10K twice and this course was far more enjoyable as it was entirely in the park (save for a few moments at the beginning).

Expo: Significantly smaller than WDW, you'll find all the major exhibitors here without the walking! Packet pickup is located underneath the Disneyland Hotel Convention Centre, with gear pick up located in the main expo room (along with the Speaker stage and the general race merchandise). All race bib, pre-ordered commemorative items, park tickets are charity tables are in one place which is extremely convenient, however can become crowded. As per runDisney guidelines, challenge runners need to get their picture taken at pickup so they're able to cross reference at the end of the final event.

Swag: You'll get the technical race shirt for the 10K (Challenge runners will get 3 shirts overall), gear bag and a mini Clif Bar. There's plenty of product samples from painkillers to Clif products to bananas from the exhibitors on the floor.

Course: This weekend's events all start the opposite way from the Disneyland Half & Tinkerbell Half start - heading up Disneyland Drive rather down towards Katella Ave. There's some slight road running before you turn off backstage past the Disneyland Admin buildings, down the side of Disneyland Park (look to your left and you'll see Harbor Blvd!) and coming out around the Tower of Terror before heading back into Disneyland Park. You'll run through the gates and then head backstage to appear in Tomorrowland and BAM! you've hit the 2 mile mark! It's a run through the castle up into Fantasyland, looping around the Matterhorn and through the "Darth Vader" tunnel (it's pretty cool) to Big Thunder Mountain. Once you get through Frontierland you've made it 3 miles, and you've still got California Adventure to go!

Running down Main Street is a completely different experience to running up it as you head out to the supporters lining the space between the two parks. Once inside California Adventure you'll head back towards Hollywood Land and out running a loop up through the tram turnaround points. 4 miles down and you're running behind Cars Land to come out beside Radiator Springs Racers. The colours of the pseudo mountains look amazing when the sun is rising, so definitely take it all in at this point!

After the mile 5 marker you're running around Paradise Bay (all lit up) back up past Grizzly River Run and onto Downtown Disney and to the finish line near the Disneyland Hotel.

NOTE: This course is pre-Star Wars land construction.

Aid Stations: There were three water stops and one medical tent along the course.
There were plenty of portaloos before the corrals and all restrooms are open in the park.

Atmosphere: There was atmospheric sounds being played through the park's speaker system (Star Wars themed of course) and a selected amount of characters were spread throughout the course (some static like R2D2 & BB8). These character stops were incredibly popular and the lines were closed earlier to ensure all runners weren't going to be swept. Additional to the character stops were prop scenes where you could put yourself in the movie - these had shorter lines.
There was also Star Wars themed projections on buildings which added to the overall theming of the event.

Post-race: Disney are great for herding runners through the finish line area. Once you pickup your medal you're encouraged to continue through to photos, medical and food. Food-wise you do get a runner's box full of goodies plus a water (and Powerade if you please).

Since the race area is central to the overall resort area there's no transportation required to get back.

This was a fun and fast course around both parks. I definitely think that this is the best configuration that they can possibly do to keep the kilometres within the property. While they'll change the course once Star Wars land is completed, if they keep the foundation; it will easily be the best course on the runDisney 10K roster!

2016 additional notes: runDisney has changed the process in getting to the corrals at Disneyland and all runners must clear through bag check prior to entering the corrals. Where previously you could just walk straight to the corral, you must now enter through Downtown Disney and loop back down Disneyland Drive.

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(2016)
"A magical marathon! "
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Where else can you ride a rollercoaster halfway through?
Needless to say that after experiencing runDisney events on the West Coast, I took the plunge and signed up for the Dopey Challenge with the final day being my first full marathon (note: it can be done if you play it smart, completely follow your training and make sure that you have the right support network).

Expo: The WDW Marathon Weekend Expo is much bigger than anything you'll find at Disneyland, given they have much more space. Exhibitors take up two different locations at Wide World of Sports, and packet pickup/gear pickup is spread between three locations depending on your events. I liked that the Dopey & Goofy participants were able to pick up their bibs and gear in the same building. Once again, challenge runners need to get their picture taken at pickup so they're able to cross reference at the end of the final event.

Swag: You'll get the race technical shirt (6 shirts if you're competing in the Dopey Challenge/3 for Goofy Challenge participants), gear bag and a mini Clif Bar. There's plenty of product samples from painkillers to Clif products to bananas from the exhibitors on the floor.

Course: The course starts outside EPCOT, and heads up towards Magic Kingdom. The first 9km or so is on roadway however WDW-owned roads allows character stops along the course. There's approx. 4 photo opportunities before Magic Kingdom however the lines can be long. Once the crowd seemed to sort itself out post-MK you'll find the lines a lot more manageable.
Once in the Magic Kingdom, you'll be running up Main Street, around Tomorrowland and Fantasyland - through the castle - and then around the park and out, heading back towards Animal Kingdom with a quick detour around the waste processing part of the park (no issues with smell when I went past). Now here's where it get's super fun..... at the point where most hit Animal Kingdom the parks are open so rides are in operation and you are able to ride Expedition Everest as it's on the course. I waited 10 mins in the single rider line to board. Also make note that the general public is out and about in the park, so the pedestrian crossover points are in play; it's important to pay attention to what's going on around you (but as if you couldn't!). Along the course there's mile markers and signs highlighting pivotal points in the race (5K, 15K, 21.1K).
Following from Animal Kingdom you run down towards Wide World of Sports which is where you'll see the race backing up and heading off to Hollywood Studios. There's a lot more crowd support around WWoS and the space itself is deceptively quite large. Once you hit Hollywood Studios you're on the home stretch! Through the park and out towards Boardwalk and EPCOT. The atmosphere certainly turns into celebration mode once you hit World Showcase, you'll see people carrying all sorts of beverages! It's a simple run up to the entrance of the park and then onto the finish line!

There are points in the course which are narrow & due to the crowd you may end up running on the grass. It's super important in this scenario to remember etiquette and move over to the right if you're not running (please don't just stop where you are - keep running until it's safe to move over).

Aid Stations: There was plenty of water/Powerade stops along the course, although I carried my own electrolyte drink. For food, there's a couple of banana stations, Clif Gel station and a chocolate/candy station. Medical was well represented on the course, I did have to go and get some pain reliever mid-course where they marked my hand to identify how many were taken (max. 2 for the whole race). One thing to note is that the marking washed off, so perhaps it would be better to mark the bib.

There were plenty of portaloos before the corrals and on the course, plus all restrooms are open in the parks.

Atmosphere: The whole race was amazing and didn't feel like the crazy amount of kilometres that it was! People are out there pushing themselves beyond the comfort zone as well as celebrating other huge achievements in their lives. There is on course entertainment such as performers, music and characters which add to the magic.

Post-race: Disney are great for herding runners through the finish line area. Challenge runners do have to go through seperate tents once they've piked up their marathon medal, the volunteers will check your bib to make sure you've finished all the races (and that it's you walking through) before you can get your additional medals. Food-wise you do get a runner's box full of goodies plus a water (and Powerade if you please) however there was additional food to purchase (which also took Magicband payment).

The Family Reunion area is large, so organise a meet-up before you run (especially if you're international like me and messaging is a crazy amount) but you'll find race merchandise, celebratory flowers and balloons on sale here as well as a livestream of the finish. The buses to resorts leave from the end of the reunion area, lines were pretty manageable.

Overall: It's what we've all come to love about Disney running, just a whole 42.2km of it! I'm glad that my first marathon experience was this one, I recommend anyone to do this however due to overall costs which go beyond race entry (plus dramatic changes in currency) I'm going to be a one and done on the WDW Marathon for a while.

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(2016)
"Another fun half on a flat, fast course"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management
Thumb p1010574

Expo: Significantly smaller than WDW, you'll find all the major exhibitors here without the walking! Packet pickup is located underneath the Disneyland Hotel Convention Centre, with gear pick up located in the main expo room (along with the Speaker stage and the general race merchandise). All race bib, pre-ordered commemorative items, park tickets are charity tables are in one place which is extremely convenient, however can become crowded. As per runDisney guidelines, challenge runners need to get their picture taken at pickup so they're able to cross reference at the end of the final event.

Swag: You'll get the technical race shirt for the half (Challenge runners will get 3 shirts overall), gear bag and a mini Clif Bar. There's plenty of product samples from painkillers to Clif products to bananas from the exhibitors on the floor.

Course: This weekend's events all start the opposite way from the Disneyland Half & Tinkerbell Half start - heading up Disneyland Drive rather down towards Katella Ave. There's some slight road running before you turn off backstage past the Disneyland Admin buildings, down the side of Disneyland Park (look to your left and you'll see Harbor Blvd!) and coming out in Tomorrowland. It's a run through through Fantasyland and the "Darth Vader" tunnel (for the second time if you're a challenge runner) down to Big Thunder Mountain. You'll run up through the castle, around the Matterhorn and back down through Main Street.

Then onto California Adventure! Crossing into the second park you'll run past Grizzly River Run, around Paradise Pier and up towards Tower of Terror. This is the final park kilometres before heading out to Harbor Blvd and completing the rest of the course on the streets of Anaheim.

When you hit Katella Ave, you'll notice that the course is an out and back type - the race leaders are making their return on your right. You keep on Harbour until you get to Garden Grove, where you complete a loop including making your way down a different kind of Main St (it's really cute) and then back along Euclid Ave, Chapman Ave and finally back onto Harbor Blvd for the remaining 2.1 miles. I do prefer this entry to the finish line from Disneyland Drive and through Downtown Drive than the Disneyland Half course that takes you through the Simba car park.

NOTE: This course is pre-Star Wars land construction.

Aid Stations: There were nine water/Powerade stops and one Clif Shot Gel stop at mile 8. There are 4 medical stops.
There were plenty of portaloos before the corrals, on the course near the water stops and all restrooms are open in the park.

Atmosphere: There was atmospheric sounds being played through the park's speaker system (Star Wars themed of course) and a selected amount of characters were spread throughout the course (some static like R2D2 & BB8). These character stops were incredibly popular and the lines were closed earlier to ensure all runners weren't going to be swept. Additional to the character stops were prop scenes where you could put yourself in the movie - these had shorter lines.
There was also Star Wars themed projections on buildings which added to the overall theming of the event.

Once out on the streets there were high-school dancers & bands however there were a lot less than what you experience at the Disneyland Half. I don't know if the residential area that you're running through has anything to do with it.

Around mile 9 the 501st Legion lines the streets in costume, so if you don't get your chance in the park you'll be certain to get a pic here. In fact, there's volunteers on hand to take your pic for you!

Crowd support is awesome as per usual at a Disneyland event, you'll find that people have set up stations on the later part of the course handing out mini-pretzels, red vines and oranges for runners.

Post-race: Disney are great for herding runners through the finish line area. Once you pickup your medal you're encouraged to continue through to photos, medical and food. Challenge runners (and those getting their Coast-to-Coast medal) need to go through the appropriate tents to pick up their additional medals once all requirements have been checked. Food-wise you do get a runner's box full of goodies plus a water (and Powerade if you please).

Since the race area is central to the overall resort area there's no transportation required to get back.

This is a flat and fast course. If you are looking to PR a half marathon at a Disney race this is definitely the one to do it at. At no point did the course feel narrow, or overcrowded and once onto the road you had all the room in the world. One thing I did notice upon getting my results was that this course - perhaps due to the theme - does seem to attract the 3hr+ half runner.

2016 additional notes: runDisney has changed the process in getting to the corrals at Disneyland and all runners must clear through bag check prior to entering the corrals. Where previously you could just walk straight to the corral, you must now enter through Downtown Disney and loop back down Disneyland Drive.

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