Friday, May 24, 2013

Running at Disneyland--a Guest Blog

Since I am preparing for my first trip to Disneyland in almost 20 years for my next runDisney event, I am doing what I usually do; I am reading everything I can and trying to make sure I know EXACTLY what is going to happen when I get there. This is slightly complicated because while the Disneyland Half Marathon is not new, the 10K on Saturday and the Dumbo Double Dare Challenge (10K on Saturday and 1/2 Marathon on Sunday) are brand new events to the runDisney line up.

So I turned to a friend and fellow runner to fill me in. Here is what Rosie has to share about running at Disneyland.

The Expo: The expo is at DL Hotel in the main ballroom area, it is easy to get to if you are on property you can just walk right over.  If you are staying off property there are you can park at DTD for the expo, there is free parking for 3 hours (up to 5 hours with validation from participating locations).  If you have an AP you can park for free in the Mickey and friends parking structure.  If you are staying on Katella Ave, you are most likely within walking distance, other good neighbor hotels some have a shuttle to the weekend’s events.

The expo itself is split up into 2 different areas the main floor is where all the vendors, to include run Disney merchandise, and the speakers are located.  There is an area outside the main ballroom where you can register for any available Run Disney races (at Tinker Bell they had pre-registration for DL ½).  There is another area where you can print up your bib and waiver information if needed near packet pickup.   

The second area is downstairs in the parking garage 1st floor.  You must exit out of the building and head towards the ramp that leads downstairs (there are volunteers and signs everywhere to help you).  Once down there the setup is spaciously laid out and you pick up your packet, any pre-purchased park tickets, cheer squad, breakfast and commemorative items.  You do not pick up your t-shirts in this area, although I think Run Disney should reconsider this as the area is amply big enough to accommodate the pickup.

The Tinkerbell picture display
With your bib in your hand and any other stuff you may have picked up, you need to head back upstairs to pick up your bag and t-shirt (see the flaw design, better hope you don’t lose your bib on the way, we kept everything in a folder we brought with us).  Upstairs the ballroom is set up with a wide variety of vendors.  Unlike the recent Princess ½ marathon expo this one is smaller and the vendors are spaced out more.  I would plan at least 2-3 hours if you want to view all the vendors at the expo, longer if you plan to hear one of the speakers.  For Tinker Bell, if you forgot your wings Studio 365 is on hand with some for sale as well as to give you a new hairdo for the event.

Once you are done at the expo, take some time and walk through DTD.  It is set up different and is not a large as DTD WDW but has some wonderful shops and restaurants.  From DL Hotel heading towards DTD there is the AMC movie theater which is followed by the area with mostly restaurants and then a large shopping area.  Some highlights I would check out are:

·       Rainforest Café- this is a 2-story restaurant near the AMC theater
·       Jazz Kitchen- check this place out if you want Beignets
·       Napolini/ Naples Ristorante- a good pre-race meal on property
·       La Brea Bakery Café- at the other end near Disneyland entrance

Now this is completely different and is going to be quite the experience. We will be staying at Paradise Pier so we will be really close to all the events for the weekend. All I know is I hope the expo has more physical space then at Princess Half Marathon

Getting to the race:
  • On property- walk over towards the Paradise Pier hotel, bag check is in the parking lot at the end of DL Hotel and Paradise Pier Hotel.
  • Off property- if you are staying on Katella Ave it is within walking distance, some other hotels are also within walking distance.
  • Off property shuttles- from Run Disney:  Shuttles will depart from select Disneyland® Resort Good Neighbor Hotels to the Disneyland® Resort Esplanade Shuttle Drop-Off area every 20 minutes continuously through the weekend.  You will receive a pass from your driver the first time you board the shuttle. Please save this pass for use over the entire Half Marathon Weekend.  Additional information is available in the e-program sent out 2 weeks prior to the race.
Parking on race day- parking is available in the Mickey and Friends parking lot, please see the race program for information on which ramps will be closed and the best entrance into the garage, after a certain time in the morning (normally around 6:30) if you enter the garage they will begin charging a fee.

It seems from looking at the maps from the 2012 Disneyland Half and 2013 Tinkerbell, the start area is in the same place even though the race itself does not follow the same course.

Bag Check is located in the parking lot near the end of the DL Hotel and Paradise Pier.  It is set up the same as WDW races by the first letter of your last name.  You will receive a sticker with your information (letter and bib #) that you put on the large clear plastic bag.  There is also a significant amount of porta potties along the side of Paradise Pier behind the stage.  There are a few more close to the corrals for last minute needs.  Tip: make sure to look all the way down the row at the far end from where baggage check is there are more PoPs and are often less of a line at the far end.

From bag check to the corrals is no more than 200 yards.  It won’t take more than 5 or so mins to get there, depending on your corral.  I was in corral C which is the 1st entrance to a corral as you walk away from bag check.  Unless you want to be at the super front of your corral there is no need to rush out of the staging area, but they will try to get people to move out of there about ½ an hour before the race begins.  At this time they move the entertainment to the beginning of the race, there are big TVs on the DTD bridge so you can see what’s going on.  There are normally only 5 corrals in the race and you are lined up on the road between DL Hotel and Grand Californian heading away from Katella Ave.  There will be people at the entrance to each corral ensuring you do not get in the wrong one.  There are signs everywhere and plenty of volunteers to assist you in finding the entrance to your corral.

Pre-race entertainment consists of people beginning interviewed and lots of talk about Run Disney.  There might be a video or 2 they show and normally they recap the 5K the day before.  At DL I can only remember the fireworks going off once at the beginning, which makes sense since you are in the middle of a town. 

Again, after the 2 mile walk to the corrals at Disneyworld races, this will be awesome. Add to that with the time change it will be like an 8:30am start and I am going to be one happy camper. 

Look for the next guest post that will cover running at Disneyland.

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