Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Guest Post: Attending the Princess Half Marathon as a Spectator

The 2013 Disney Princess Half Marathon was my first long distance race, and my wonderful husband, Robert, came along to cheer me on of course! With this incredible race weekend coming up in just a few short weeks, I asked him to put together his experience and recommendations to help others make the most out of this race as a spectator!

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! May I have the attention of every ‘Prince Charming’ planning to cheer for his ‘Cinderella’ at the 2014 runDisney Princess Half Marathon for the first time. With this proclamation, I present to you some first-hand advice on how to make your spectator experience magical.

Pre-Race AreaDSC02610

Spectators play an integral part in the success of their runners through motivation during training and actually being there to cheer during their race. The runDisney ChEAR Squad offers several packages that provide you with the best opportunities to achieve this. The packages provide a range of options from which to choose; everything from reserved viewing areas to VIP treatment in the Race Retreat. Below you will find a quick overview on what each package has to offer:

Bronze Package - No Charge
E-newsletter detailing the weekend events

Silver Package - $39
Bronze package plus…
Waterproof stadium blanket
Mickey clappers
ChEAR Squad T-shirt

Gold Package- $65
Silver package plus…
Reserved ChEAR Squad Zone viewing along course
Entry to Finish Line ChEAR Zone
  Grandstand seating
  Hot/cold beverages
  Private restrooms

Platinum Package - $120
Gold package plus…
Entry to Race Retreat
  Character greetings
  Brunch with hot/cold beverages
  Temperature controlled tent with lounges
  Internet access to follow live results
  Private restrooms
  Live video feed from finish line
  Kiddie Corner

My Recommendation would be to purchase either the Gold or Platinum package. Both give you access to the reserved ChEAR squad Zones. While there are several areas from which you can see your runner, these zones provide the best opportunities.

View of the runners from the MonorailDSC02661

Heading to the Magic Kingdom ChEAR Squad ZoneDSC02619

With the 2013 Princess Half Marathon being our first runDisney experience, I wanted it to be something we would both remember for a long time. I made the decision to purchase the platinum package so I could experience everything that runDisney could offer me as a spectator.

The Race Retreat was definitely a nice bonus because I was able to get some breakfast after being up in the wee hours of the morning to join my wife at the pre-race area. However, as nice as this opportunity for breakfast and relaxation was, my main focus was finding a great place along the course where I could help motivate and support my wife in her adventure.

After she left to be staged in her corral, I approached the information tent and asked how I could get a better view of the start to take some pictures. The gentleman I spoke with informed me that the starting line was not very easy to get to, and wasn’t even the best place to go (especially since I had the platinum package). He told me that the best place to go was the ChEAR Squad Zone at Magic Kingdom, and he was not wrong. For those of you that purchased the gold and platinum packages, I strongly urge you to make your way to this location as soon as your runner leaves for the corrals.

View from the Magic Kingdom ChEAR Squad ZoneDSC02635

Here are the directions to get to the Magic Kingdom zone:

1. Walk from the Race Retreat to the monorail station at Epcot.

2. Take the monorail to Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC).

3. Exit the first monorail and then board the monorail to Magic Kingdom.

4. Once you arrive at Magic Kingdom make you way onto Main Street (there are spectator areas along the sidewalk).

5. Make your way to the ChEAR Squad Zone in front of Cinderella’s Castle.

6. Try and find a spot at the front left-hand side of the zone (you will be able to see your runner exit the castle from here).

7. There is a professional photo-op in front of the castle for the runners. This is your best chance to catch your runner’s attention and give them some motivation (bright colors or a sign is ideal here).

8. Once your runner has passed, make your way back to the monorail or your next desired viewing location (I chose the finish line and headed back to EPCOT to catch her crowning achievement of crossing the finish).

DSC02754

A few of the other viewing locations along the course are:

  • The starting line
  • TTC (mile 4.2)
  • Along Floridian Way (mile 8.1)

Lastly, Disney has provided a helpful online spectator tool to help gauge where you can see your runner based on their estimated finish time or pace. You can access that tool by clicking HERE.

QOTD: Are you running or cheering at the Princess Half Marathon in a few weeks?

10 comments

  1. This is great! I'll be sure to show my boyfriend who's going to watch me =)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hopefully it helps him out so he can spot you easier!

      Delete
  2. The first time I ever became a spectator at this event ( I didn't know much about the chEAR packages) but I did sign up for the free one. I thought it was a big deal cus I had to go to a special booth at the expo and sign a waiver. Turns out it was absolutely nothing! I didn't get a map, nor an e-mail, nothing. (I know it was the free version, but honestly I don't even know what the purpose of it was. It was just a waste of paper I signed..haha). Anyway, so glad Robert enjoyed his experience. I guess "paying" for chEAR squad is definitely the way too go!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, with Disney you definitely need to pay to get the perks lol! The gold package is probably the best value, especially if you plan on being out on the course cheering the runners on rather than spending a bunch of time in the race retreat.

      Delete
  3. OK... first of all, big applause for your sweet heart that went through all the fun of getting to different locations & supporting you!
    Second - Disney sells packages for SPECTATORS?!?!?!? I had no idea! This was totally interesting!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, he has always been one of my best supporters of my running goals, and now I love that he joins me in the races and is able to enjoy the course too!

      Haha yup, Disney really thinks of everything, and they definitely know how to make spectators comfortable during the race!

      Delete
  4. My dad always chEARs my mom and I at the Disney races but I think he would laugh in our faces if we told him to spend even more money to simply watch us run. He prefers to figure out his own places to view, but this caused him to miss me finishing at the 2013 Princess Half... ohhh padre. Robert is so nice to do this for you, how supportive! I love all of the people in the chEAR squad they are so motivating and just what I need to keep me going.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is so cool that your parents join you for the Disney races! I am hoping to get my parents down to Florida for a race weekend sometime - I know they would have so much fun!

      I totally agree, the ChEAR squad members are so motivating during the races!

      Delete
  5. This is fabulous, what a great post! These are awesome tips -- will definitely be sharing with my personal "ChEAR Squad." :-D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Jennifer! I hope it helps your cheEAR squad out for future Disney races :)

      Delete