Friday, September 2, 2016

5 Tips for the Disneyland Half Marathon Expo

Yesterday, I arrived in California for the Disneyland Half Marathon weekend!  One of the first stops was getting to the expo, and anyone who has been to a runDisney event before knows that these are a pretty major event.  So, here are my top tips for navigating the Expo!
1. Go get your official merchandise first.  I know this sounds crazy, but just imagine a bunch of princesses on Black Friday all with the objective of buying the one glass slipper in existence.  This is often what it feels like trying to find the right souvenir to commemorate your runDisney achievement.  There is a reason they have tape lines on the ground outside of the official merchandise area - only a certain number of people can be in there at once and this stuff flies off the shelves.  Some of the first to go?  Wine glasses, Dooney and Bourke purses, and jackets.  If you're after some of these sought-after items, go there first and get to the expo early.
2.  Next, get to packet pickup and make sure everything is right with the world.  It's okay if you don't print your waiver in advance - there are computers and printers there so you can do that.  However, you will need photo ID and don't even think about trying to sweet talk them into letting you pick up for someone else.  RunDisney is strict about this in part because there are problems from time to time with people trying to steal/buy bibs.  Just take a deep breath and know this going in.  If there is something wrong with your corral placement, you can see the nice folks at runner relations, but it's really important to get your proof of time entered according to the prescribed deadline.  Also, if you're doing a challenge, they will take your picture because when you finish the half marathon, they will check your picture to ensure you're the same person who picked up your packet.  No match - no medal.
3.  Drooling over the Disney New Balance shoes?  So is everyone else!  And they are limited edition! There has been a lot of talk about these shoes and who should be able to buy them (meaning if you're not running, should you be able to buy them).  There is a virtual queue that you can sign up for to get a spot in line to purchase shoes, but you can only get one spot per event.  For everyone here this weekend running the Dumbo Double Dare, you can get 30% off the Dumbo Vazee Pace shoes with your bib or valid waiver.  Check their site for complete FAQs, but if you really have your heart set on a certain pair, definitely prioritize this during your expo visit.  Not feeling these designs?  They change every year, so come back in 2017!

The full 2016 lineup - Dumbo, Mickey, Minnie, Ariel.
4. Visit your favorite booths!  Two of mine are Raw Threads and Sweaty Bands.  Both of these exhibitors do Disney-themed merchandise and usually are running great specials!  Forget something at home?  All of those race necessities - from shoes to nutrition to apparel - can be found here.  RunDisney really does put on one of the best expos out there, so enjoy it and find some of your new favorite things!  If this is going to be a big event for you, there are also lots of options for displaying your medals that you can see in person.

5. Find the fun free things to do!  Some exhibitors will give away fun giveaways and one of my favorites of this expo was around the Honda Pace Car where you can spin a wheel for a Disney-themed prize (everyone wins).  I always go by the runDisney booth to check out the medals and get inspired.  Yes, medals are absolutely a motivation for me!  RunDisney is about the whole experience so remember to enjoy it and get in the spirit!

Bonus: stay hydrated!  There are plenty of places to get glasses of water, make sure you visit them.  Traveling can cause dehydration, so work throughout each day to get enough water.  That's especially true if you want to enjoy some margaritas at Tortilla Joe's at dinner!
Are you running a Disney race in 2016/2017?
What are you must-dos at the expo?


  1. I never seen that car at any Disney expo. Going to the Disney official merchandise is always the first thing I do as well. Everything sells out super quick.

    1. I'd never seen the car before either! The official merchandise is a little crazy and I've seen a lot of broken hearts over specific items no longer being available.

  2. Replies
    1. Completely agree! Missed you and your influence at this one!

  3. This is really helpful! My sister and I are doing the Princess weekend in February for the first time. I'm usually not crazy about expos but this looks like an intense experience!

    1. Oh my gosh you're going to love it! I'll be there in February as well so hopefully I'll see you! Let me know if there is anything I can do to help you and your sister. You're right though, Princess is perhaps most intense of all - grown women take their princesses very seriously :)