2013 @runDisney Disneyland Half Maraton Weekend Sanity Tips

084This post is one of a few I have planned as we go into the final days leading up to the 2013 @runDisney Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend.  Here are some general packing, flight, hotel, expo, 5K, 10K and Half Marathon race Tips. 


As a Disney family we have been traveling since our children were small.  We are the Markey’s and we are darn efficient at traveling.  This weekend was supposed to be a 2-week “Jack Death Tour” (“vacation” to the layman) of our US National Parks, but since I got cancer and ruined our summer (joke people) we have now turned our vacation into a weekend trip.

This is our second weekend trip to Disneyland as a family of 4 (for Half Marathon Weekend).  Here’s what I’ve learned in my travels and are some of my tips for making the weekend as efficient, stress-free & fun as possible!Picture 201


Do Not Pack any Race Needed Items in Checked Bags:  This includes waivers, shoes, race belts, race clothes.  The same goes for gel’s, electrolyte tablets and any medication or ID as well.

Everyone Carries Their Own Weight:  We are not checking bags for this quick visit (even golf clubs for Torrey Pines – HORROR!) – Therefore everyone will get one rolling suitcase and one backpack to bring with them on the plane.  Everyone must be able to carry their own luggage (my kids are 7 and 10 – however, we’ll cut the 7-yr old some slack).


Efficiency:  I use Packing Cubes to pack my families clothes.  This makes screening by the TSA a little easier when repacking your suitcase!  Everyone gets their own gallon bag of personal items (hairbrush, toothbrush, hair ties) and their quart bag of toiletries!

Use a Packing List:  My favorite list still remains http://www.mousesavers.com/walt-disney-world-vacation-discounts-and-deals/time-is-money-at-walt-disney-world/#packing


Some Extra Notable items:  Power strip, extra battery for iPhone, extra zip lock bags, flashlight, The Stick!

Making a Plane Flight Enjoyable with the Grade-schoolers: 

Hydrate & Fuel:  Bring water/snacks/gum on board for every member of your entourage

Get Comfy:  Bring neck pillows, blankets, ear plugs & eye shades (for red-eye home)

Picture 016

Charge Your Electronics:  Nothing is more frustrating than low battery power.  Make sure your electronics are charged and you have enough ear phones per member of your entourage.  Then pack two more because someone will lose something alone the way.  I like to Sharpie everything (puts quick stop to accusations).

Bring it All:  Bring the Kindle, the iPad, the iPod, the iPod touch, the DS – bring it all.  They won’t play with it or even watch anything you spent hours downloading, because they will want to watch the inflight TV/movie, but god forbid there’s a problem……

Runner Specific Needs:  If running Disney’s Dumbo Double Dare (19.4 miles) with or without the additional Disneyland Family Fun Run 5K (22.5 miles) – I suggest wearing a pair of compression socks or sleeves on the plane (both to the race & back home).  Also bring The Stick – you never know when you are going to need roll a knot or cramp and use BioFreeze.

Picture 510

Hotel Check-in:

Divide and conquer:  This is assuming you have two adults in your party.  One person handles the valet/luggage/car the other gets into line for resort check-in.  The person who is checking into the hotel should have all the hotel confirmations readily available.  This person should also be in charge of the children.  All Disney hotels have a wonderful TV/Disney cartoon seating area for children right next to check-in!

Picture 136

Special Needs:  If you have any special needs – like pregnancy or a recent surgery, please contact your hotel (or have your travel agent contact the hotel on your behalf) prior to arriving.  I know when I was 8 months pregnant with my 2nd child on a work trip to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge; I was hooked up with a hotel room right off the lobby to lessen my time on my feet.

Picture 193Park Plans:

Plan Ahead:  Prior to arriving purchase your park tickets, your Photopass+ and make your tour and dining reservations.  Disneyland is different from Walt Disney World and dining reservations can be made only 60-days to arrival versus 180 days.  Remember to take special care with your prerace & post-race celebratory meals so there aren’t any unpleasant port-a-potty experiences!!!  We are eating at PF Changs pre Half Marathon & at Napa Rose post-race!

Create a “Must-do’s” list:  As a family put your plan together.  Decide what are your “must-do’s” for attractions, restaurants, snacks, characters, photo stops, etc!

Disneyland Half Marathon Expo:  Picture 147

Get There Early:  The name of the game is earlier the better – especially for the special runDisney merchandise.  I missed out on a Coast to Coast shirt in both 2011 and 2012 at the Disneyland Expo.  This year, I purchased my C2C race shirt at the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Expo.  Also, runDisney never seems to order enough Women’s XS and Women’s Small – it’s very frustrating.  So figure out what you want.  Study the floor plan and write a list and prioritize.


Waivers & Bib pickup:  Bib pick up is located on the Lower Exhibit Hall and then you will be funneled upstairs to Upper Exhibit all for the Race Expo (shopping).  There are 5 separate lines for bib pick up so make sure you know where to stand.  Print out your race waivers prior to arrival.  Sure printers are available, but why waste your time?  Remember to have your photo ID ready as well so you can move through the line efficiently.085

We are running in 4 Different Events – 5K, Kid Race, Dumbo Double Dare & Coast to Coast

I am running the 5K with my family.  So I need to pick up 4 bids in the 5K line.

I then need to pick up 1 Kid’s Race bid for my son.  Therefore I need to stand in the Kids Race line.

Then finally, I need to pick up my Dumbo Double Dare bid (yes, one bib to wear on both days – Saturday for the 10K and Sunday for the Half Marathon).

IMG_0183Then I also need to get my Coast to Coast bracelet to be worn until I finish the Half Marathon on Sunday.

Please note – if running the Dumbo, you will need to get an additional bracelet after completion of the 10K to wear during the Half Marathon!

Shirt & Gear Bags:  Then you get to pick up all your race shirts upstairs on the expo floor!  So for our little family of 4 we will be picking up – 8 shirts!  4 -5K tees, 1 Kids Race tee, 3 – tech tees for Dumbo – which include the 10K tech, the Half tech and then the Dumbo tech!  Let’s hope that the Disneyland Half Marathon short sleeve tech is not ugly black again – please!!!!!!!!!!


Disneyland Family Fun 5K Race Tips:

  1. Remember Both Bibs:  If running both the 5K & 10K remember to wear both bibs to the 5K race.
  2. Have Fun: This event is NOT TIMED, however, if you are running the 10K you have only 45 minutes until the start of that race to finish the 5K (probably much more, but we won’t know how many corrals will be set up yet)!
  3. IMG_0171Remember to Stop & Pose for Photos!  Enjoy the experience with your family!  This Disneyland Family Fun 5K will be the first time our entire family is running a 5K together so we are so very excited!  (Actually, they are just humoring me and are not excited at all).
  4. Wear ID & Fill Out the Back of Your Bibs:  God forbid there is an accident, wear your Road ID, carry ID and please fill out your Medical Information on the back of your bib.

Disneyland 10K Race Tips:

  1. a910f-546088_4591158947043_845011978_nIt’s Groundhog Day:  This race utilizes the same start & finish of the 5K.
  2. Do Not Dawdle:  This race begins 45 minutes after the start of the 5K.
  3. You Only Get One:  Just like with (new) Goofy bibs, “Dumbo Double Dare participants will receive one race bid which must be worn for both the 10K & Half Marathon.”  Official Instructions  It can get yucky.  Take care of it!
  4. Don’t Forget Your Wristband:  “After completing the 10K, Dumbo Double Dare participants will receive a special wristband. Upon completing the Disneyland Half Marathon, please present your attached wristband at the Dumbo Double Dare Tent located in the Finisher’s Chute. You will trade your wristband in for a Dumbo Double Dare medal”  Official Instructions
  5. Wear ID & Fill Out the Back of Your Bibs:  God forbid there is an accident, wear your Road ID, carry ID and please fill out your Medical Information on the back of your bib.

Picture 542runDisney Kid Race Tips: 

  1. It’s A First:  This will be our first time participating in a runDisney Kids Race! So I’m just so excited to watch my son participate!!!
  2. Parents Can Join the Fun:  Parents that wish to run with their children are encouraged to do so!  However, you will not be earning a medallion.
  3. Child Claim:  There is an Official Parent Claim Process – “Parent Claim Process – Each race bib will include a tear off tag with your child’s race number on it. Remove this tag from your child’s bib prior to their race. Present this tag at the conclusion of the race in order to leave the secure finish area with your child.”

 Disneyland Half Marathon Race Tips: 

  1. Pace yourself:  If running the 5K and 10K prior to this event don’t go crazy the day before, take it easy!
  2. WDW Marathon 400Signal Others when Using Jeff Galloway’s Run/Walk/Run Plan:  When it is time to walk, please raise your hand & move to the left or right side to alert the runners behind you that you are about to walk.  Also, because the Disneyland course is very crowded (especially in the park) when running with others walk single file or maximum two across.
  3. Bring Your Camera:  Don’t focus on time – stop at the character spots!  It’s Disneyland!
  4. Take it slow & enjoy the time in the parks:  The Half Marathon course spends only a few miles in the park, so slow it down & stay alert in the parks.  The course can get congested and it’s not fun when someone suddenly stops short in front of you!  Don’t worry, once you hit the streets of Anaheim you’ll have plenty of room to make up time!
  5. 2012 Disneyland Half Marathon Race RecapTurn & Look at the Jumbo Screen:  Running through Angel Stadium is a treat!  I believe there are 3 cameras and if you turn around and look towards the jumbo screen you can see yourself on that big jumbo screen!  Too cool & beyond magical!
  6. Prepare for the Sun:  Wear sunblock, bring Chapstick (can double as chafing stick in a pinch) & bring shades!Picture 460
  7. Wear ID & Fill Out the Back of Your Bibs:  God forbid there is an accident, wear your Road ID, carry ID and please fill out your Medical Information on the back of your bib.

Spectator Tips: 

  1. Runner Tracking:  Sign up here for runDisney’s Official Runner Tracking.  You can also sign up at the Expo.  This type of tracking can be a little off, so we always plan a back-up!
  2. Picture 231Backup (Extra) Tracking:  We use the app GPS Tracker.  It is super accurate, but you will need to use an extra battery and remember to close all other applications during the start of the Half Marathon to conserve battery power.  I use it during full marathons, so it will definitely last for a Half Marathon without a problem.
  3. Don’t Call – Use Text:  My husband hates to text, but it is way more efficient than trying to answer a phone while running.  The runner will call you back when they can (we might be indisposed).
  4. Picture 469We Are In a Race:  We love you & are so happy to see you, but please don’t expect us to stop & chat – unless you run with us, then we’ll be happy to carry on a conversation!

Best Spectator Viewing Areas:  Remember, these are only my suggestions.  The 5K course has changed & the 10K course is new to everyone!  Plus the 5K & 10K spend a lot of miles in the parks.

5K & 10K:

  • In front of Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa (West Street/Disneyland Drive)
  • In front of Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel (West Street/Disneyland Drive)
  • Right in front of La Brea Bakery and Cafe
  • If you are allowed into the security area between both California Adventure & Disneyland – I would suggest closer to Disneyland’s monorail side
  • It looks as if we are running through Downtown Disney – lining up there might be good as well – remember this is a new course!!
  • For the finish – in back of the Disneyland Hotel (towards the entrance to Downtown Disney)

Picture 479

Half Marathon:

  • In front of Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa (West Street/Disneyland Drive)
  • In front of Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel (West Street/Disneyland Drive)
  • Katella Ave (between Disneyland Drive & Harbor)
  • Right in front of La Brea Bakery and Cafe
  • If you are allowed into the security area between both California Adventure & Disneyland – I would suggest closer to Disneyland’s monorail side
  • Ball Road to Anaheim Drive (we have a lot of support with area school Marching Bands & Cheerleaders)
  • Angel Stadium at both the entrance & exit are great, but are also supported by the local Girl Scout & Boy Scout Troops
  • For the finish – in back of the Disneyland Hotel (towards the entrance to Downtown Disney)

Picture 482Did you have any sanity tips you’d like to share for the 2013 @runDisney Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend?  Next up …. @runDisney costumes!!!!!

6 Comments on “2013 @runDisney Disneyland Half Maraton Weekend Sanity Tips

  1. Pingback: It’s Tuesday. Not Friday. | outrunningthefork

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