Thursday, January 12, 2012

A Spectator's View of WDW Half Marathon

It was a BIG weekend at Disney World with the 5K, half marathon and marathon all taking place.  Unlike that last two years I was not attending as a participant, but rather as a cheerleader and spectator.  My sister came in from Atlanta to run the half marathon on Saturday.  This would be her second half and after never wanting to run a half again after the first one, I wanted this to be a better experience for her.

I think Disney puts on a good race.  They pay attention to the details and offer so many personal touches that really make the event magical for everyone.  Friday night when we were at the Expo, my niece and nephew had a chance to create posters and buttons for their mom. I so appreciated that there was something fun for the kids to do and it was a way they could get excited about tomorrow's race.  

This would be the first big race they had attended and they weren't necessarily thrilled about going, but their cool Aunt Kelley (that's me) told them how much fun it would be, plus they had no choice because this is what families do for each other and we were going to cheer on their mom.  

While at the expo, I also got a chance to see all the Disney race medals for this year.  I loved both the Tinkerbell and the Coast to Coast and can't wait to earn them! The little Tinkerbell on the medal even spins! How cool is that?

Coast to Coast

So the fun started at 3:45am the next day when we got everyone up and in the car to go to Disney.  I packed a bag with drinks, snacks, books, iPods, etc....  and we all had gloves and jackets to keep warm. I wanted to be prepared to keep them entertained. 

After we got Wendy off to the corrals we hung out in the family reunion section to watch the start on the big screen and this year thanks to the local food trucks we got to eat a cookies and cream cupcake from the Yum Yum Truck at 5:30 in the morning! 

From there we caught a ride on the monorail to the Ticket and Transportation Center(TTC) to find a spot at the 4.2 mile section.  We ended up with a front row location and spent the next 45 minutes cheering on the runners.  The kids cheered like it was their job and loved all the crazy costumes. Some runners came by and got high fives, and some even threw their shirts at us.  There was a lot going on.  

 Using the Running Tracker I was able to track my sister's run via texts as she crossed the 5, 10 and 15 mile markers. This made it so much easier to know where she was going to be and when.  That along with the spectator viewing tool, made it possible for me to plan out all the times and places we could see her run by. As you can imagine when there are 27,000 runners its nice to be able to locate the one you're looking for. 

Finally our runner came by and she was looking strong!

After seeing their mom, the kids were ready for a break. We made the short walk to the Polynesian where we had reservations for breakfast at 'Ohana's. We live very close to Disney, but rarely go there  so this was a treat for the us as well as the children.  

The food is served family style and it was tasty. We got juice, eggs, bacon, sausage, biscuits, potato wedges and delicious mickey mouse waffles, as much as we could eat!  But that's not all - this was a character breakfast so our table had a few visitors too.  

Lilo, Mickey, Stitch and Pluto
By the time we were done eating we had just enough time to jump on the monorail and get to the finish line to watch Wendy finish the race.  The timing for the day couldn't have been better.  I took a chance scheduling breakfast, but it was the perfect break to eat, get warm and rest before making it to the finish and it all worked out great. I never even needed all the stuff in the backpack.  The only poor timing we had was getting stuck in the traffic leaving the parking lot.

My sister had a great race and doesn't hate half marathons anymore, in fact, she said she would run another.  Despite all the fun I had as a spectator, I think I will have to run, because it was hard to watch all that running and not be a part of it.  I have to admit I am feeling a little goofy because I am actually considering doing the goofy next year.  We'll see what happens...


  1. This weekend was a BLAST!!! I loved being up at 2am all the time and getting on a bus at 3:30am. Only Disney races can make me delusional enough to find that fun!

    Goofy 2013 .... I say do it. I hear it will be THE place to be! *wink* *wink*

  2. so cool! Looks like you had a lot of fun at breakfast and spectating.
    Way to go Wendy! :)

    and you should totally do the Goofy Challenge - you can do it!


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