Dates: February 18-21, 2016
The constant growth and popularity of Run Disney events has spawned several races throughout the year. In late February, Walt Disney World hosts the Disney Princess Half Marathon which, like the Disney World Marathon, is surrounded by a full weekend of races and activities.
Disney Princess Half Marathon
The Disney Princess Half Marathon is a 13.1 mile race through Walt Disney World. It occurs each February with the 2016 edition taking place on Sunday, February 21. What makes this event special is that it is themed specifically towards women. Although members of both sexes are welcome to participate, men are not eligible for winners awards, but they do still get a finisher medal.
The route for the half marathon starts and finishes in Epcot, winding north through the Magic Kingdom in between. As the runners wind through both parks, several characters, including some rarely seen ones, make themselves available for impromptu meets.
One important item is the cost, which is significant. Like all runDisney events, the Princess Half Marathon have a three tiered pricing structure dependent on when you register. If you registered prior to August 4, 2015 the cost was $175 per runner, registering between August 5 and August 25, 2015 meant you would have paid $190 per runner, and any time after August 25 was $205. There is also the option to run as part of a team, which adds $10 to the cost of each individual (it is also important to note that it is not a relay team, each person must run the full race).
As you are probably hoping, all of that money is not simply for the thrill of the race and the availability of some characters, there is also a goodie bag for each runner. These gifts include a Champion short sleeve tech shirt, a mesh bag, a newly designed finisher medal, a one year subscription to Redbook, an iGiftbag, a personalized bib, and on-course and post-race refreshments. Running as part of a 2 person team adds a commemorative sash and a team photo to the above haul.
Disney Princess Enchanted 10k
The Disney Enchanted 10k returns in 2016 and will be held on Saturday, the day before the Half Marthon, and the 6.2 mile course will lead runners through Epcot and the Epcot Resort area. Like the Half Marathon, the 10k featured characters and on-course entertainment.
Much like the Princess Half Marathon, participation comes at a price. In 2016 for the 10k, registration no later than August 4, 2015 cost $110 per runner, between August 5 and August 25, 2015 was $125, and August 26 and after would run you $140. The extra goodies for the Enchanted 10k are also the same as the Princess Half Marathon, although the finisher medal is different.
Disney Glass Slipper Challenge
If you read the above and thought that a half marathon sounded too darn easy, the brand new Glass Slipper challenge might be more to your liking. This combines both of the above races into a 19.3 mile, two day joy of jogging.
If you manage to finish inside of the pacing requirements for both the Enchanted 10k and the Princess Half Marathon, you will be awarded with the Glass Slipper medal in addition to your two shiny new Princess and Enchanted finisher medals. Please note that to be eligible runners need to pre-register specifically for the Disney Glass Slipper Challenge.
2016 prices, if you had registered by August 4, 2015 it would have cost $305, between August 5 and August 25 set you back $340, and after August 25 was $365. This registration fee includes all the swag and extras that the other races enjoy, although you may notice that the Glass Slipper registration costs a few dollars more than the other two races combined. Oh well, someone has to pay for those Glass Slipper finisher medals.
Just like the Princess Half Marathon, teams are allowed to compete in the Glass Slipper Challenge. As above, the team fee is $10 on top of the registration fees of each individual runner. Once again, this is not a relay race, both team members must finish all 19.3 miles.
Cinderella Royal Family 5k
A relatively short race that everyone can participate in, the Cinderella Royal Family 5k is a 3.1 mile jaunt around Epcot. This event is for princesses of all ages and their families and takes place the Friday of the Princess Half Marathon weekend, which, in 2015, is February 20.
The 5k cost is $65 per participant if you register prior to August 25, 2015 and $75 thereafter. It also included characters and on-course entertainment. Runners receive a t-shirt, finisher medallion, iGiftBag, and personalized bib.
runDisney Kids Races
Just in case the young ones feel left out during this fabulous weekend, runDisney has designed a pair of special events in Epcot just for those under age 13.
The Kids Dashes are all short sprints with varying distances depending on the child’s age: The Diaper Dash is specifically for crawlers under 1 year old. There is also a 100 meter dash for the 1-3 year olds, a 200 meter for the 4-6 crowd, and a 400 meter for the 7-8 year olds. All participants receive a t-shirt and finisher medallion in return for the $15 registration fee ($20 after August 25, 2015).
The other event for all those 13 and under racers is the One Mile Run, which is pretty self-explanatory. Just as in the Dash races, all participants receive a t-shirt and finisher medallion although the One Mile costs $30 per entrant if you register on or before August 25, 2015 and $35 after that.
The Princess Half Marathon Weekend is not just races, there are plenty of other events for runners, their families, friends, and assorted hangers-on.
Pasta in the Park Party
Everyone knows you need to carbo-load before a big race, or perhaps before a big day of touring the parks. Luckily, the amazingly alliterative Pasta in the Park Party is available. Including a buffet dinner in Epcot and a viewing of Illuminations: Reflections of Earth, this event is a good way to start your event weekend.
The cost for the Pasta in the Park Party in 2016 is $54 for those age 10 and over and $30 for anyone ages 3-9. It includes admission into Epcot after 7:00 pm, food, character meet and greets, entertainment, and a reserved viewing location for the fireworks spectacular.
It is the most important meal of the day, and we’re not talking about that microwave burrito at 2 in the morning. To kick off the Half Marathon weekend, the Disney Princesses host a breakfast immediately following the Cinderella Royal Family 5k. Guests receive a breakfast buffet and Disney character meet and greets.
Disney’s Fit for a Princess Expo
Billed by runDisney as “Your one stop headquarters for everything a Princess needs,” the Expo is a multi-day event held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex. The most important part is that all runners MUST attend the Expo in order to pick up their race packet and number.
In addition, attendees can check out much of the latest in fitness equipment, clothing, and footwear as well as the official Princess Half Marathon merchandise. There are also frequent presentations by runners and fitness experts.
On Saturday and Sunday morning of Princess Half Marathon weekend the Epcot Wonder parking lot becomes the Race Retreat area. Pre-race this area features light food and drinks, a temperature-controlled tent, and a padded stretching area. Following a race the area contains changing tents, a self-treatment station, and a 10 minute massage for $10.
To take part in these extras will set you back $120 for those participating in the Princess Half Marathon. Sadly, it is not available for the tykes in the Diaper Dash.
Happily Ever After Party at Disney Springs
On Sunday of the Princess Half Marathon weekend, Downtown Disney becomes the site of the official after party. At this event runners, family, friends, and the general public can eat and shop all through Downtown Disney…much like you can anytime.
This one is strictly for the non-runners. The ChEAR Squad is a way for spectators to be a part of the event weekend and it comes in four levels:
Bronze is free of charge and includes an E-newsletter with details about all the events you can find detailed above.
Silver costs $39 and adds a waterproof stadium blanket, Mickey clappers, and a ChEAR Squad t-shirt.
Gold costs $65 and adds reserved viewing along the course and entry into the finish line ChEAR zone which includes reserved grandstand seating, beverages, and private restrooms.
Platinum costs $120 and adds entry into the Race Retreat (see above) during and after the race.
Special bus transportation is provided from on-site Disney resort hotels to all Princess Half Marathon weekend races and events.
Just kidding, speed isn’t the only thing to shoot for with a race, especially a runDisney event. Most of all you want to enjoy yourself as much as you can. Here are a handful of things to keep in mind about Disney’s races:
Sign up early. Disney races sell out very far in advance, so find out when the race you are interested in opens registration and sign up. The Princess Half Marathon usually opens registration in early June, 8 full months in advance.
The races DO NOT include admission to a park. While you will run through parks, you will not be allowed to stay. If you would like to visit one or more of the parks after you finish the race, you will need to have an admission ticket.
The finish area is very busy. If you are meeting people at the end, pick a spot that is not near the finish line.
Dress in layers that you don’t want. Standing around and waiting for the race to begin in February can get chilly, so it is good to wear layers, but why one’s you don’t want? All clothing discarded during the race are donated to charity so shedding those layers doubles as a good deed.
Like all Disney races, the Princess Half Marathon brings a significant amount of people to the resort, but doesn’t necessarily increase the wait times on any of the attractions. Being in the parks during this event weekend you may notice more people wandering the pathways, many of them with brand new, shiny finisher medals. You will not notice much of an impact to your touring strategy, especially if you use a proper Touring Plan.
To find out exactly how busy each park will be so you can determine when and where to visit, make sure you explore our Crowd Calendar.
Last updated by Brian McNichols on December 4, 2015