Friday, July 18, 2014

Are the Disney Princess Races the Right Races for You?


This weeks theme for the Friday five is "Friday Favorites".  So of course we will talk about our favorite race which is the Disney Princess weekend of races!  However, we know that not all our runner friends like Disney and some of them wouldn't be caught dead at a Disney race, and that's okay, to each his own. But something that we find to be very odd are some of the negative feelings about Disney races that other runners have expressed, runners that have never experienced a Disney race before.  Some have confessed that they will not "Drink the Kool Aid" that is Run Disney!

If you've come and run a Disney race and you find that it's not your thing, it's okay but please don't bash a Disney race before you've tried it.

Here are some of the common comments we've seen mentioned about Disney races and our responses to them.


1. It's Way too Expensive: Yes, Disney races are very expensive. If you are use to only running local road races, you may loose your breath for a moment when you see the cost of the 10K or Half Marathon. My first race ever was a Disney 5K at $50. I had no idea that local 5K's were only $25, so therefore I had nothing to compare it to at the time and by golly I thought that $50 was a bargain for being able to run around Epcot when the park was closed. I also received a Disney T-shirt (which saved me $29.95, if I would have bought a souvenir shirt at the gift shop anyway).   Add to this race registration fee, your transportation, hotel stay, park tickets, food, and don't think you'll get through that expo without a new t-shirt, sweaty band, or race magnet, and you could end up spending 2 months worth of mortgages in one weekend.  The costs for everything that encompasses this weekend seems to increase from year to year. Do we complain about the cost? Yes. Do we keep going back? Yes. So I guess in essence you could say that we are contributing to the problem. If people are willing to pay, Disney will keep charging and charging.  We are just Disney fans at heart and we know that the joy we get from being there always gives back two fold to what we pay!

2. I'm Not Prancing Around the Park in a Tutu and Tiara: Pleas know that it's not dumb to dress up at a Disney race and wearing a tutu does not make you any less of a runner.  Dressing up at a Disney race is not required but it certainly adds to the fun.  I love  coming up with ideas and preparing outfits for Disney races. Truth be told, I think about that most of the year.

3. The Course is Way too Crowded: It IS crowded! To help control the masses of runners, Disney will corral you based on your expected finish time. Last year I believe the corrals ranged from "A" through "P". My sister Lacey was in corral "A" and didn't experience much crowding at all. In fact, she said there were no lines for any of the characters when she passed through. I, on the other hand was in corral "D".  My corral was moving at a pretty good pace until we hit Magic Kingdom.  After we exited Magic Kingdom ( about mile 6), things really started to bottle neck for a little while. After that, I never really thought that I didn't have enough personal space to run.

4. Disney is Not a Course to PR at: Well, this one could go either way.  Of course you want to enjoy the race and have fun, get a picture or two but PRing is not out of the question. We know plenty of people who PRed and a few who won age group awards.  This course is mostly flat so if you want to try to PR for this race, go for it!

5. Disney Races aren't for Serious Runners: Just because the race is at Disney doesn't make the distance you are running any less. 13.1 miles is still 13.1 whether you are running a Rock N Roll series race or you are running a Disney race.  It's true that Disney races are great for first timers because of the fun atmosphere, the distractions along the course, and the generous time limits, but all this is great for advance runners as well.

We will be embarking on our 5th year of Disney Princess races. If you'd like to see pictures or read recaps of the last 4 years, you can see them HERE.

Have you ever ended up enjoying a race that others talked negatively about?

*Don't forget about the GIVEAWAY that is going on. It ends this weekend.

             

38 comments:

  1. I LOVE the PHM and none of the above keep me away. I've been a Disney fan my whole life so I kind of knew what to expect with the race (in terms of price and how crowded it would be, etc.). It goes along with the experience. I'm so sad I won't be there this year! :(
    Karen @karenlovestorun

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    1. I think life long Disney lovers understand all this and it doesn't bother them! :)

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  2. I just signed up for Princess GSC and this will be my first Disney race. I'm super excited to run through Disney! I even convinced my husband to run the 10K with me (his first ever) so there must be some magic to Disney because he doesn't run. I hope it will be a lot of fun. I just have to figure out our costumes! Have a great weekend!

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    1. We are super excited for you to experience your first Disney race!

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  3. Well said! I would add "you get what you pay for". I have run many a local races prior to my 1st runDisney race and while it was a good to great race, it was just that a run, no big deal. The races for runDisney are truly an event, it is a combination rare combination of race, concert, show, magic, fantasy, characters ... and you get to run through the theme parks!!!! I find it to be worth every penny and then some the memories are priceless!!!

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    1. Yes, it is truly an event, not just a race with a banana afterwards!

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  4. Haha- this just made me even more excited to eventually run the Princess Half! In fact, the tutus and tiaras are part of what I'm excited about! :)

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  5. This made me want to do a Disney race even more! Serious runners can totally rock the tiara and tutu!

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    1. Yes they can. I've seen them being worn in races other than Disney too!

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  6. I'd love to do this race one day with some girl friends. It sounds like the perfect girls weekend away. And I love the idea of costumes at the race. It sounds like so much fun to be able to just take in the atmosphere and see what everyone's wearing.

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    1. Yes, watching the costumes is definitely part of the fun!

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  7. What you say is true. Disney races can be all of the above mentioned, but it's also a magical experience. I'll never forget my first half marathon, Wine & Dine HM. I didn't stop at any character stations or take any pictures along the course, but the spectators and the on-course support made my experience so special. I wouldn't have received that same support at a smaller race. The finish line party was pretty spectacular too! I can't wait to do Princess one day.

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    1. Glad that you loved Wine n Dine! We hope to see you at PHM one day too!

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  8. My first runDisney event was the 2012 Wine and Dine. It will forever be my favorite and even though I bitch about the ever increasing prices as much as the next person, this is one race I will always find the $$ for. I have met so many amazing people thanks to our common loves of running and Disney and will be forever grateful for it!!

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    1. Well said Kimberley! We all complain about the increasing prices but we find that it is worth it!

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  9. It's still the same distance no matter what. Yes, I'm running through parks and seeing characters and costume spotting, but it's still 13.1 miles. I'm still sore afterwards no matter what. I've mastered the post-half walk.

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    1. Yup, no one can argue the distance. 13.1 is 13.1 no mater where you run it!

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  10. I think extremely highly of Disney races, but I am amongst those who is not willing to plan and pay for a trip there around running a race. The one Disney race I ran was the Tower of Terror race back when it was a 13K, not a 10-miler, and that was because I discovered it was taking place on the last night of a trip our family had already planned to Disney. So I paid to enter the race and it was a lot of fun. I guess that was back in the day that Disney races didn't sell out on the first day they opened for registration because I was able to get entry months later. I primarily run my races closer to home. If I lived closer to WDW, I'd definitely enter more races there. Then again, I'd also be able to just visit the parks more often so I wouldn't feel like I was losing park time to a race!

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    1. I wish we lived closer to WDW world, but in the meantime we just enjoy traveling there and making our vacations around the races!

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  11. I'm certainly doing fewer Disney races than I used to. I've been doing them long enough to really see the decline in quality. To me, the rising cost combined with the rising problems are destroying what used to be a good experience. I feel like many people who claim these races are worth the money haven't truly done enough races outside Disney to get a valid comparison. There is some truth to saying that they're for fun, so dress up, don't be focused on time, etc. There is also some truth to the characterization that participants are only out there for photo opportunities. Not every participant, but I've had to dodge enough people who stop right in front of me that I will agree that the point is a valid one. I'm very torn on Disney lately.

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  12. When I ran my Disney race in 2005, I had no idea that people wore costumes in races (so I didn't) their weren't a whole lot dressed in them that I saw, but a few and I thought it looked fun. If I ever do one again, I think I would strongly consider a costume just for the fun of it!
    I have noticed Disney has gotten so much better at their races since I ran mine too! They used to run out of water, and the time I did it they had the marathon and half marathon merge into a one lane road in Epcot about a mile into the race, and you had to run elbows out just to survive the crunch. Now they only do one race at a time (I hear) they have finally gotten great race directors and water hasn't been an issue for any of their races in years. They put on awesome races, and I totally see why people keep coming back to them! I wish I lived closer, I think I would take advantage of running them more!

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  13. i definitely want to do a disney race and make a whole vacation out of it! :)

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  14. Disney races are so much fun, I wish people would just give them a chance! Love your responses to all of the negative comments!

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  15. PHM rocks, and if people want to complain, I say let them. Higher chances of getting into the races for us!! :0) lol

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  16. I've only run during one runDisney race weekend (Marathon weekend this year), but I'm already hooked. I was also there in 2013 when my hubby ran his first marathon. I wish we could afford to register more often than once (or what is now likely turning into one every other) year, but I'm hopeful that not being able to go as often as we'd like to will also help to maintain the magic of the races for us.

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  17. Great FAQ on Disney races! I'm from Florida (finally moved away at age 25 lol) but have never ran one...in fact, I only ever went to Disney World once in my life when I was 5! I hear they're a lot of fun, though, and have friends that have ran them. Thanks for posting!

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  18. Great info! I would love love love to run a Disney race some day. Hopefully I can find someone to run it with me and make a vacation out of it! :)

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  19. I agree completely--to each, her own! You clearly love Disney races, so don't let negative comments stop you from enjoying them! Awesome that you're starting your fifth year of doing them.

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  20. I LOVE Disney! And I am running the Princess Half as my first half marathon next year! I'm so excited- I've already started thinking about what I will dress up in. And I just had my tutu made for the Tower of Terror 10 miler this year so I can't wait for that to get here. However, I understand that they are expensive races and it's not financially feasible for a lot of people. I may take a break after the two races I'm registered for to recoup what I know I will spend there. But I think they are totally worth it and would love a chance to run all the Disney races someday!

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  21. I did Disney Princess in 2013 and I agree it was *so* crowded. I was in the A corral and I found myself shuffling my feet a number of times. I'm glad I did it once, but I'm not sure I'd do it again mostly because of cost and the fact that you have to get up SO early in the morning! That being said, it was *super* fun dressing up in my sparkly tutu and wearing my tiara for a race!

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  22. The expense blows my mind.... but I still want to do it.

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  23. Well, I don't talk negatively about the races, but I'm just not a Disney person...yet. We have taken my boys to California Adventure next to Disney in CA. Perhaps after I experience it again with my kids I will have a different attitude.

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  24. I love Disney races and would love to do them all, but agreed that it is an expensive trip. I think you might have to recognize that and be okay with it. From there, it's all good :)

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  25. I'm not a huge disney fan so I'll probably never do one of their races but I can definitely see how it'll be a draw for disney fans out there despite the expense

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  26. I will admit that I am not a huge Disney fan. I have friends who absolutely adore Disney and could talk about it all day long. When I first heard of Disney races I thought that they were just for people who truly love Disney and couldn't picture myself doing one. As I have gotten into the running scene a little more, I may do one in the next couple of years! It sounds like a good time!
    I'm actually shocked that people would say that running Disney isn't serious. All races are serious, regardless. I like that Disney makes themed races - it makes it more fun for people who are hesitant about running a half marathon. Some people enjoy running for all the fun aspects and not for times!

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  27. I LOVE Disney races...yes, they are pricey, but I think they are so worth it! I live in colorado so I have extra travel expenses...including typically arriving a day earlier in case a blizzard messes up my flights, but even with that there are ways to keep the costs down. As much as I'd like to stay in a deluxe resort. I usually stay at a value plus resort with a friend. We shop for snacks and breakfast and lunch stufd so our main meal out is dinner cutting food costs considerably. I use a Disney visa throughput the year so the points usually either completely pay for our hotel and park tickets or come very close. The course is flat and fast, if you train and have a good qualifying time and run in an early corral, there is not much crowding. I've run in A and B, and more recently C when they expanded their corrals and only had one small 1/4 mile bottleneck at the turn to head toward Magic kingdom. In that bottleneck I was still running a 9 minute mile, so it's not like I was slowed down to a walk! I LOVE seeing all the costumes. I am not a detailed costume runner, but I'd love to run in more of a costume someday! Neither costumes or regular running gear are out of place here, and seriously, when you are tired at mile 22, seeing a guy run in a prince charming costume just makes you smile! I LOVE how positive everyone is and how supportive. I live that even though there may be 18,000 people, they have enough volunteers that you never wait in a long line. My biggest complaint is about the merchandise or lack thereof in the expo. Run disney needs to get a handle on preventing people who are not even runners from get ring in there on the first day and grabbing every thing to resell in ebay. It's pretty disappointing to get to the expo first thing when it opens on the second day and have most things sold out :( the only alternative seems to be to get there the first day the expo opens even if you are not running all the races on a weekend make sure that you are able to have a good selection of stuff...I'll budget for Disney races as long as I can still run :)

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  28. To each their own I say. Sure, they can be expensive. However, for me that's a good thing I think. If these races were within myaffordability all the time, I would just go all the time to everything. Not only spending way more money than I do on them now, but also killing the element of wonder. So, let themm charge away I say! lol

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Fairytales and Fitness is a personal blog authored and edited by us, Meranda and Lacey. The thoughts expressed here represent only our own and are not meant to be taken as professional advice. Please note that our thoughts and opinions change from time to time. We consider this a necessary consequence of having an open mind in an ever changing society. Any thoughts and opinions expressed within our out-of-date posts may not be the same, nor even similar, to those we may express today.