2014 Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend Recap
I spent five days in Disneyland participating in the half marathon weekend activities and it was amazing. When I first got into Anaheim I went from getting my brand new annual pass straight to the expo. Last year, if you had participated in the event you will remember the expo was horrible. You had people fighting for merchandise and huge three hour lines to get the merchandise and pay. I had this in my head when I went and while I wanted the merchandise I decided to go for the packet pickup first. The packet pickup line for the 5k was nonexistent for me however the lines for Dumbo and the pre-purchased items were much longer, but before I knew it I was on my way to stand in line for the merchandise. The event merchandise was located in the same spot, but was run much better. There was an organized line to get in and then the volunteers were only letting so many people at a time into the area. I was able to buy everything I needed and get out of there with my 20% Disneyland Annual Pass discount. After this you get to tour the expo and see if there is anything you wanted to buy, as usual the Raw Threads booth was probably the most popular after KT Tape.
When you go to Disneyland alone it is a different experience, you can do whatever you want but you really have no one to share it with. As my wife loves Disney and so do a lot of my friends I share the pictures and experiences on Facebook. I would take funny selfies and just enjoy myself. Disneyland is also a much different, and to me better, experience than Disney World. You have two parks right next to each other as well as Downtown Disney.
Here park hopping really is different than in Disney World as everything is in walking distance. I found it interesting how at Disneyland churro carts are literally everywhere and both popcorn and ice cream are much more spaced out than at Disney World. Also, you have many great counter service places to eat and the table service places are much less in demand. You can tell this really is a locals park as you get your annual pass discount at counter service dining spots.
The morning of the 5k was surreal to me. When I picked up my bib I saw something so surprising it shocked me to my core. I was in corral A… now I don’t feel fast in any sense of the world, but this was corral A. I arrived early and was near the front and talk about a different experience. Just watching the announcers up close, seeing the national anthem, and just having fun with it. Then we were off. I was running through the dropping confetti… I couldn’t believe it and the adrenaline was pumping. This was not a timed course but I still ran my butt off. I would stop and take pictures and when there were characters there was no lines whatsoever. I could just run up to the character, give the staff my camera and the picture was done! There were even times where I was running through the park by myself in the morning, who else gets to do this? Going through water stops were strange as everyone on both sides had their hands out to hand me water, but I couldn’t stop due to the experience. I finished in one of my best times ever and had the best time. It makes me think I need to get faster so I can experience more of the same. After this I went back to my room, showered and changed and spent the whole day riding rides and having fun. This is Disneyland after all!
The morning of the 10k I was ready. I went to bed early so I got my eight hours and I remembered my 5k time. I was in corral B for this and was ready to go. I was never running by myself but I also experienced no character lines, oddly there were few characters on the course. With the selfies and character pictures I broke my timed 10k time and finished. It was also a great experience to be topped off with a day at the parks. I got to spend the day eating snacks I shouldn’t have from Dole Whip’s to Churro’s to Ice Cream, and more. It was going to make for an interesting half marathon as a friend said.
Disneyland Half Marathon
The half marathon I was further back in the corrals and it was a hurry up and wait situation where the corrals were smaller so they merged mine with the one in front of it and before we knew it we were off and running. As I have spent days snacking with lots and lots of sugar and had spent it all walking around the parks I wanted to have a fun race, but wanted it over as one of my best friends was coming down. This course to me is great in the beginning as you are running through both Disneyland Park and Disney’s California Adventure but you spend less time in them than you do in the 10k. I really wish they would take the 10k and just expand it for the half marathon. I was concerned on how I would do as by mile 1 I was already feeling sore calves and feet. I was concerned I would not finish well. So, I set myself a goal to try to stay under 10 minutes a mile. My legs were sore from the races and the walking for the days prior and had been since mile 1, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me. I think in a way I am better at math now that I am a runner as I am constantly calculating how many more minutes I have running at the pace I am at. Every mile I would check my watch to make sure I was getting under 10 miles per minute pace and then do the math as to how much longer I had to go. I had 2 miles where I went above my goal, once was for a bathroom stop and the other I just got slow and this slow mile 10 pushed me to skip walking during the water stops. I may get Powerade up my nose but my time was batter for the last 3.1 miles and my last mile was my fastest. Finishing was awesome as I got my 3 medals and I finally got to stop running. I ended up finishing my half marathon in 2:06, my fastest time ever.
I spent the afternoon getting lunch, riding rides, and snacking more. Probably less now that I was done with my runs oddly enough. My friend Drew came down from Studio City and we had a great afternoon riding rides and just having fun. We ended up going to dinner at Lucielle’s which is off property and the food was amazing. I love their barbecue and finished very full. Next is where it got interesting. We ended up going to World of Color as we got fastpasses earlier that day and ended up sitting next to a Disney Programmer. Where we had an interesting conversation and here are some points from it.
- Disney was testing when it came to ride pictures. They know that many will just use their camera to take a picture of the ride photo. With this you send a text to a number and you are set up to buy it. Splash Mountain had it for $0.99 and California Screaming had it for free. I told him I used the free one but still took a picture of the Splash Mountain picture.
- Disney Parks believed Guardians of the Galaxy was going to fail and slashed budgets especially for advertising and were shocked when it was the hit of the summer. He said he believes Disney rushes scripts to production and Marvel does an amazing job with the planning them out and making sure there is good writing.
- We talked a bit about how I joking put in a few area’s that I knew about a Disney east coast race and that they were making a Guardian’s of the Galaxy ride with the image of the preview experience at the parks. He wondered if I posted that that on Mice Chat. We talked a bit about how they will post stuff there and other places to get feedback on plans they are considering.
- One of the things they have posted was on expanding the Monorail system. I told him I would love that.
- We also talked about there are a few ways of thinking when it comes to the forum posting. The big wig’s like when they test info but there are other leaks that come out, the big wig’s want them shut down but some think they don’t hurt and give more positive info on the plans.
- Avatar was originally purchased to try to trade to Universal for the Marvel brand, when Universal didn’t want it they wanted to make use of it. It doesn’t sound like everyone understand putting Avatar in when it is untested with the sequels coming out. Disney really want’s the Marvel brand in Disney World and it sounds like they are working on it with Universal.
- Fastpass plus and Magic Bands will be going to California, the problem is it is a locals park and they don’t want to do anything to jeopardize it.
- Ever since there has been a social media team some don’t feel like that is going as well marketing wise. There is feel it can be better.
- During WOC a drone was pointed out to me as something they were testing. They want to make sure there is no local interference. This will be for show elements in the future.
With him was another guy and we talked a bit about the new technology like the drone. We talked about how if the country was like Disney and would try to innovate and think out of the box the country could get back to its former glory. We also talked about Warren Buffet’s Burger King purchase of Horton’s and how the corporate tax rate in America is too high. How it is driving the corporations out of the country as they can’t focus on just the population of the US. After this I went to the hotel and it took me a bit to get to sleep. It was an interesting evening and I love talking Disney plans.
The next day I was flying out. I was all pack but as I wasn’t being picked up to go to the airport until 11am I had some time. I went to Disneyland and just walked into shops and wanted to look around. I was wearing a new Run Disney tee and in one of the shops one of the people started a conversation asking how I liked the event and asking me questions on my experiences as ran all of the races. We talked about the future plans. He just worked on the Disneyland side and said he knew 2 races were going to be announced soon. The first was Disney Paris which everyone knows about, and I at first assumed the second was an east coast Star Wars race for an Empire Challenge. He said that was not it but another Disneyland Half Marathon. He would not go into details. My speculation with the timing if they announced soon would be in the September through December time period and the biggest property I could think of that would make an amazing race would be the Nightmare before Christmas. This to be a perfect time to me due to the Haunted Mansion overlay and the holiday theme. After this I flew home to take in some rest and see my family and give them all their Disney presents.
Now, when it comes to these conversations I don’t know how true they are, for all I know they could have been messing with me so take everything with a grain of salt. I can say it was very interesting talking with them.