Disney Star Wars Half Recap Part 1

Well, I’ve been back in Toronto for almost 2 weeks now and slowly processing everything I experienced during my 5 days in Southern California. Seriously, this dream trip did not disappoint and I keep daydreaming about when I will go back again. But, instead of rambling on about that, I’m going to give you a little recap of the Disney Star Wars Half Marathon – the main reason I finally went on this trip in the first place.

Some of you may remember when I registered for the Star Wars Half over 6 months ago and I wrote about how I was stepping outside of my comfort zone. Well, I am glad that I did. I was a little anxious before the trip, but once I settled into California I got over my nerves really quick! As per suggestions, I arrived the Thursday before the race to give myself a little time to adjust to the time zone change and where I was staying, and of course to tour around the area.

At the Expo

At the Expo

Race Expo

I went to the Expo on the Friday morning (2nd day) before the race, which I thought would be a good time to go. For bib and shirt pick up it definitely was a good time because there weren’t that many people there yet. For merchandise, I was already too late. There was some official runDisney merchandise left, but all of the really good stuff was gone (which you can now see on ebay for extremely high prices). The Expo was a little smaller than I was expecting, but there was a good amount of vendors there (FlipBelt, Clif Bar, Pro Compression, Sparkle Athletic, etc.). A particular fave of mine was Raw Threads, they had lots of colourful and fun gear so I ended up making a purchase from them.

While I was at the Expo, I made sure to get some information about the morning shuttle (Anaheim Resort Transit (ART)). My hotel was only about a 10 minute walk away, but I wanted to have the information handy in case I didn’t feel like walking in the early hours. Also, there were presentations and interviews going on during the Expo, but I didn’t really partake in any of those because I wanted to get outside into the sunshine as fast as I could!

After the Expo I went outside to wander around Downtown Disney, checking out shops and people watching. It was fun to see people still dressed up and wearing their medals from the morning’s 5K race. One thing I really noticed was how friendly and happy everyone was in this area. Ok, I know they are visiting Disney, but it was refreshing to experience good customer service and chat with strangers about running, Star Wars, etc. I grabbed a coffee at one of the nicest Starbucks I’ve ever been in and spent some time just taking it all in under the sun while watching the people go by. Seriously, if you have time, I recommend this as part of the experience. I also met Pluto by the Disneyland Hotel, which was a hilarious highlight of my trip!

Best ever!!

Best ever!!

Pre-Race

For these Disney races you have to get up EARLY. The half marathon starts at 5:30 am, so depending on where you are staying you may have to get up between 2:30 – 3:30 am to make it on time. I was quite worried about this leading up to the race, but the wake up call actually wasn’t that bad. Of course, when you are super excited about your morning, it makes it easier to get out of bed! I tried to go to bed really early the night before, but ended up crashing around 9:30 pm and I felt fine. I’m actually amazed that I slept, but I am grateful that I did. I stayed at the Motel 6 near Disneyland and took the shuttle to the race, so I was able to wake up at 3:30 am. I had plenty of time to eat, chill out, and get my gear/costume on. I was by myself, so it was pretty easy to get ready. But, if you have more people with you, I imagine that you would need more time to get everyone organized. The ART shuttle I hopped on only made 2 stops and then quickly zipped to Disneyland, so that was pleasantly painless.

Once at Disneyland, it was just a quick walk through Downtown Disney to find the area with the main stage, bag check, and porta potties. Bag check was a breeze and the porta potties were not very busy at all in this area. Of course, the area was a little bit chaotic with people running around late and such, but overall this process before the race was easy. Walking to the start line was a little unclear once I got closer (it was dark), but I figured out where they were holding extra Corral B people before the A’s ran off and then everything was fine from there. Once I was waiting in my corral, that’s when I started to get really pumped up. There was an electric buzz of excitement all around and everyone was in a great mood and ready to run. So many fun costumes, everyone encouraging each other and laughing – I took it all in since regular races are usually so serious before the start. It’s hard to be nervous when you are standing there with thousands of other people dressed up in Star Wars themed costumes next to Disneyland. Of course, I took a lot of pictures in the dark that my cell phone camera couldn’t handle, but it’s all part of the experience, right?! πŸ™‚

 

There's a Wookie behind me!

There’s a Wookie behind me!

To be continued…

{Check back (or follow me on Twitter!) for the 2nd half of this post and to see how my race went!}

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6 thoughts on “Disney Star Wars Half Recap Part 1

  1. see why they call it the happiest place on earth??? πŸ˜€ Are ya hooked yet? Maybe you’ll sign up for #DopeyChallenege with me in Jan 2016??? lol. Great recapp! looking or forward to part 2!

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