Sunday, March 5, 2017

2017 Disney Princess Half Marathon Expo

I'm back from my favorite weekend of the whole year - Disney's Princess Half Marathon weekend.  I cannot believe it's over; it was amazing and wonderful and magical and I wish I could have slowed it down just a little bit.  Because there is so much to unpack about this weekend, I'm going to break this post up into a number of smaller posts to keep things manageable.  Let's start with the expo!
We arrived on Thursday, which is a day earlier than I've ever gone before, because this year I was running the 5k.  That also means I got to go to the expo a day earlier than usual! We dropped our bags at the hotel and boarded a bus headed straight for ESPN Wide World of Sports.  The stories have been rampant about how insane the expo is on the first day.  While I would say that's true, I feel like it's also pretty insane on the rest of the days.
My main priority was getting my packet - Glass Slipper Challenge and 5k runner packet pickup was in one building, and Half Marathon and 10k packet pickup was in another, larger building.  I got my bibs and shirts - volunteers at both stations cheered for me when they realized I am a perfect princess (totally made my day).
Then we headed to the official merchandise areas, where I found a few things I just couldn't live without.  For a number of years, I've heard about the wine glasses that have flown off the shelves and I've never been able to get one, but this year I managed to snag one! Woo!  What was less fun was waiting in the enormous line to pay for my treasures.
Once we finally got through that line, we headed over to the main expo, which includes a larger official merchandise area and the rest of the vendors.  This was a complete mad house.

Thankfully, there wasn't much I wanted, so we just walked up and down the aisles checking out the insanity.  I will give it to Disney, they are really trying to make this a fun experience including princess cocktails and stations to get your nails done.  I did scoop up a pair of Ariel Havaianas, but saved a lot of time not waiting for the New Balance Shoes.  In case you missed it, this year they themed the shoes around rides (instead of characters), which I didn't feel like I needed.  We headed back to the hotel for some time off our feet before the 5k the next day!
If you're planning to runDisney, just know the expo will be a zoo. So here's a few of my strategies for not letting it get to you:

1. Take care of your "must haves" first so that you don't have to worry about it (I stress about logistics) - meaning your bib.
2. The Disney Parks Blog shows the race merchandise a few days prior to the expo - go in having a view of what you might want.
3. RunDisney now relies solely on electronic race guides, which means you can check out the vendors ahead of time - know what really matters and what doesn't.
4. If you want New Balance shoes, check out their site for details on how to most efficiently get them - typically they will do a virtual queue that you can sign up for in advance.
5. Remember this is supposed to be fun! If you really want something, get it. This is a celebration of you and your training; the race(s) is the victory lap. Enjoy it, take a deep breath, and you'll survive!

What are your tips for runDisney expos?
What is the best thing you've ever purchased?

4 comments:

  1. I use to be all about the expos but now I just want to get in and get out because one expo is like every other..haha. I do like to check out the official merchandise though. I usually make sure to get a magnet and sweatyband from each race. Looking forward to your race recaps!

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    1. I'm with you there! I've been getting into the magnets, but seems every time I do, the race changes ... Dumbo Double Dare and now I got the Glass Slipper Challenge ... rumor is that one is changing next year, too! Gah! Hope you ladies come back and runDisney soon!

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  2. After last year's insane fiasco, we went later in the afternoon on Thursday and it was much more pleasant! I always get a wine glass, pins, and magnets, but this time, I also bought a half marathon I Did It shirt even though I will hardly wear it. #weakmoment I'm loving my new Roo Sports pouch though! Great for holding my phone while housecleaning.

    Great recap and congrats for the Perfect Princess!! :)

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    1. Thanks so much Laura! I'm loving my wine glass and think it might need to become a "thing." And hey, don't blame you at all for the shirt - you absolutely deserve it! I'm liking where you're going on this using running gear for things other than running ... I may have to start wearing my Roo Sport for more activities! Congrats on your race Princess Laura :)

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