Top 10 runDisney Princess Half Marathon Tips

The runDisney princess half marathon is one of my favorite races. It’s a fun girls weekend where you get some new bling at the end. What could be better? That being said, being prepared can make or break your experience, so I am here to offer some of my best tips for running this race. Good luck!

runDisney princess half tips


1. Know the course. If you plan properly, you will know where the hilly overpasses are, where you can use a “real” bathroom on the course, and where the aid stations and med tents are located. Knowing this information can help you plan your fueling and pace for the event, and make you feel more at ease on race morning. I always try to wait to use the bathroom in the Magic Kingdom, and time my fuel around the free gel station that is on the back half of the course. Know what flavors are offered (I always opt for the vanilla, it tastes like frosting!) and make sure ahead of time that it won’t upset your stomach. The overpasses that will hurt are on the back half, once being a big loop around that can be killer on your IT bands, so take it slow. There are also a couple of hills as you come into EPCOT so make sure you have enough steam left to get up them!


2. Arrive early. Not only will you have to wait for a bus or wait in traffic in your own car, but you will have to walk a long ways to get to the starting line, and then wait some more to use the bathroom before the race. I know as it is you have to wake up at an ungodly hour just to be there on time, but plan for some extra cushion just in case. No one wants to be stressed out and rushing! Buses stop running at 4:00 am (ugh I know right?) But I always plan to be on a bus somewhere around 3:45. Sometimes there will be long lines depending on if one just left your resort or not, so don’t expect to just walk right on. When you are dropped off, you will have to walk a ways to get to the family reunion area, then you may have to stand in line to check your bag. Tip on the bathrooms: If there are long lines at the family reunions area, wait until you walk to your corral. There will be more of them outside of the corral area, and the lines usually aren’t as long. (Also better to go at the last minute instead of an hour before the start if you ask me!)

photo (6)

3. Wear a costume, and wear it on a practice run. I have worn tutu’s and running skirts for all of the Princess weekend races I have participated in, and it was a BLAST. Other people recognizing your costume or cheering for your “character” is a lot of fun. However, I was careful to run around the house beforehand to see if there were any chafing issues, rubbing spots or uncomfortable things about my costume. (Fun mental picture eh?) You don’t want to be miserable for 13.1 miles in a costume that isn’t agreeing with you. TIP for tutus: Wear a running skirt underneath as opposed to shorts. that way, strands from the tutu won’t get caught in between your legs for 13.1 miles. TIP for tiaras: Get the kind with a comb attached and wear a running headband over the top of the comb to “secure” it to your head. Works like a charm!

runDisney princess tips

Tip: Did you know you can buy a runDisney magic band? I love this pink one!


4. Bring your camera or cell phone for pictures. There are a ton of photo opportunities before, during, and after the race, so don’t miss out! Some people put their phone in an armband or fuel belt, but I just carry mine the whole race so I can quickly snap a photo whenever I want. I have even been known to tweet and Instagram mid race! TIP: If you purchase Disney’s memory maker or are an annual passholder, you can get photos taken by photopass photographers for FREE when you download them from your My Disney experience app. Keep in mind not all characters have a professional photographer at them though, which is when your phone/camera can come in handy.


5. Enter the correct proof of time. runDisney is cracking down on proof of time. You won’t be able to change it at the expo, and it will be checked against your race results to ensure you are in the correct corral. This is for everyone’s safety and enjoyment, and to help with overcrowding. If your time is found to be incorrect on your proof, you may be put in a back corral. Don’t risk it and lie about your time! Sign up fro a race in enough time before the cutoff for submission to get your time down to what you want. Also don’t think you will be able to just jump into another corral. Disney had volunteers at the front of every corral checking bibs and they will turn you away. I have seen people try to jump over the gates and injure themselves just to get into a better corral (For reals. Like blood and everything). Not worth it!


6. Plan for the finish. If you have family waiting for you, tell them not to crowd the finish line area where runners exit, (it’s really hard for an exhausted runner to move through crowds of people. We just want to sit down, so please give us some space and we will love you for it!) but to meet you in the family reunion area at one of the signs with a letter on it. There are a LOT of people in a small area after the race and sometimes cell phones won’t work due to the hoards of people, so have a meeting spot planned ahead of time.


7.) Be careful with your packing: I always pack my complete race outfit in my carry on bag, and organize things with labeled ziploc bags if needed. I never check my race day outfit on the plane, and just wear my running shoes so I know I at least have those. I also lay out everything the night before including breakfast, room key, gels, etc. so I am not fumbling around looking for a tiara or socks at 3 AM on race day. That wake up time is early, so every minute is precious! (TIP: download my FREE Princess packing list printable to make sure you don’t forget anything important!)

8.) Get some sleep: As mentioned before, that wake up time is brutal. Start preparing your body a few days in advance by trying to go to bed 15-30 minutes early every night for a few nights prior to race day. I try to be in bed by 7:00 the night before at least winding down, and asleep by 8. I know that’s tough because you want to do all the Disney things, but your body will thank you for it the next day! Not just for the early wake up, but for hanging out in the parks after the race. It’s so much fun to wear your medal around, and you don’t want to miss it because you had to take a four hour nap!

RELATED: I use this medal hanger for my medals!

9.) Enjoy the Epxo: The expo can get a little wild and crazy, but it’s a lot of fun so be sure to stick around! Make sure you bring a copy of your signed waiver (yes they have printers there where you can get one printed out, but to save time just go ahead and bring it) and a photo ID so you can get your bib. REMINDER: you must pick up your own bib. Go get your bib first, then your shirt, then spend some time enjoying the expo. There are some great vendors, freebies, photo ops, and merchandise. runDisney merchandise will sell out, so if you have your heart set on something in particular, get there early. If you don’t care to buy anything, I suggest NOT going first thing in the morning. If you let the initial rush/crowds die down, you won’t have to fight through as many people.


10: Have fun! I know this seems like a given, but be sure to not let the logistics of the race, any fear of the unknown, or stress about your time stop you from having fun. Remember that by even toeing the starting line, you are doing something the vast majority of the population will never do, so celebrate and enjoy! You deserve it! Congrats on getting to the runDisney Princess half weekend!

If you are interested in tracking your fitness or any health goals, be sure to get check out my free printable to help you achieve your goals!

QOTD: Did you or will you be signing up for the runDisney Princess half? What princess would you run as if you were to participate?

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  1. Amy - Mom's Magical Miles says

    I’m in! Just waiting on registration to open up with Give Kids The World so I can start fundraising for them AND run the Glass Slipper Challenge! Win-Win!

  2. I registered for GSC too! But now I’m debating also registering for the 5K! So many races and medals!!

    I think I may have to try out running & holding my phone, because taking it out every five seconds will be a pain!

  3. This race was my first half and I had a blast. I did not wear a costume because I wasn’t brave enough, but I chose Belle for my bib.

    Which Princess bib did you go with for next year?

  4. Awesome tips!

  5. Ahhh I can’t wait to do this race again! Princess is SO much fun.

  6. Meranda@fairytalesandfitness says

    I am registered for the GSC. I am so hoping that my sister can get through today to register as well. This will be the first PHM where I am a runner and not a spectator!

  7. I’m registered for the 5k with my family and I’ll be running the Half as well!! GSC is on my radar for 2015 🙂

  8. I want to do this race so badly, but I am going to stick to my original plan and do Tinkerbell Half and Wine & Dine for 2014!

  9. Anyone have any great sources for costume options? I’m set on Belle but finding yellow (that isn’t neon!) is a challenge! I know Heather said her Belle costume items came from Running Skirts but it doesn’t look like they sell the sleeves anymore. Right now I’m kind of leaning towards a gold skirt from Sparkle Skirts with their sleeves and a yellow tank. I’ve found some cute skirts on Amazon but they aren’t available with the matching tank!

  10. Susan Heidenrich says

    Makes me wish I was a runner!

  11. Love this race! Unfortunately I’m probably not going to be able to run it this year. Since we are going to Disney this summer and marathon weekend in January, my budget just isn’t going to allow for Princess this year. I hate it because I signed up for the 10K and Half for marathon weekend…which is basically the glass slipper challenge! Only I won’t get an extra medal for it! Oh well! 😉

  12. I LOVED being Jasmine this past year – with me winding down from races I’m not sure I’ll make it out to race in 2014 but will be there in spirit!

  13. Raine Blunk says

    Hi Heather,

    For the first time, my youngest sister will be joining this race. It’s her dream to run wearing a princess costume. Actually, she’s already preparing her Sleeping Beauty costume. BTW, thanks for the tips! I will share it to her 🙂

  14. Sadly I won’t be registering this year 🙁 We have a different family trip planned for the same time period, so even if it turns out that they don’t overlap, financially it would hurt too much, travelling from Canada. I hope they keep the Glass Slipper Challenge though, as I would love to do it another year. You guys are all making me so jealous today with all your “I’m in!”s!!
    ~Princess Lindsey @ Prairie Princess Runners

  15. I’m signing up for the GSC as well as debating the 5k-can’t wait to do this race again!

  16. You know this race is on my bucket list!!! Thanks for the tips.

  17. I’m all ready to take on the GSC!!! SO excited!! Oh, and I am sure there will also be a 5k registration in my future! 🙂

  18. I’m IN! GSC here I come. First Disney race! Not gonna lie – I cried with joy to register. This is going to be so exciting!

  19. Will you post pictures of the 2014 medals???

  20. I read this post right before I registered for Princess at noon… well actually 11:56 because registration seemed to open a few minutes early 😉 I can’t wait! I’ve known that Princess would be my first half marathon forever … I’ve been dreaming about the day I would finally be signed up for it. I was already planning for Princess before I even ran my first 5K. February can’t come soon enough … though I definitely need the months in between to finish getting ready for it! haha 🙂

  21. hawaiiansweety says

    I couldn’t sleep last night waiting for registration to open!! My daughter and I are signed up for both the GSC and Tinkerbell half!! I just had to have the pink Coast to Coast medal!! Thanks for all of your encouraging posts, this will be our second year running the Princess half and will be better prepared this year for the heat and humidity!! Happy running everyone!!

  22. Thanks for posting this!! Very helpful! I am running my first ever half in November in St Augustine, but I am thinking I am going to register for this one, too. I love Disney – so even if I don’t do this one, I know the day will come! Love the tips, especially about trying running with the costume beforehand.

  23. Who are you going to be for this next race? Alice, to go along with your new domain name???

  24. I just signed up for the Glass Slipper Challenge and I’m really looking forward to it! I loved PHM when I did it in 2009, so I can’t wait to do it again. Great tips 🙂

  25. I signed up for Glass Slipper as well, were did you get your cute yellow Belle costume…skirt I am starting to plan…and wondering were you got those any suggestions your be great.

  26. So excited to do the PHM! It will be my first 1/2 and where better than to do it at Disney!!!!

  27. Going to be running the glass slipper challenge and the 5 km with my Team in Training gals from Canada! Also running my FIRST full marathon at Disney with Team in Training in January 2014. So stoked!!!!

  28. I ran the PHM last year- It was my first half ever…. so much fun!
    This year I signed up for the Glass Slipper Challenge and Im super excited! I am running for the Girl Power 2 Cure charity which benefits girls who are affected by Rett Syndrome, which my daughter has.

  29. i just signed up — this will be my first half marathon and my amazing fiance just switched our entire family vacation to february so i could run this race as it is my dream race!!!

    love the tips and blog!

  30. Pam Olcese says

    My daughter talked me into running myour first half marathon and we are registered. I would like the contact information for your seamstress. Thanks!

  31. I’m running Princess again in 2014 (I did it in 2011 and 2012). I was hoping to do a different rundisney race this time around, but my family wanted to come with this time and February worked best for them.. If I would have known I was doing this race right when registration opened I would have done this glass slipper challenge as well! It will be fun to be back though although I am a little disappointed they aren’t offering room/park discounts anymore.

    • yes it is a bummer but last year discounts came out later for the general public, that’s what i got for my clients!

  32. Margaret says

    Thank you for posting this…I signed up for the GSC, and it will be my FIRST half marathon. I’m nervous, but so excited. I’m even more pumped to be raising money for St. Jude’s Childrens Research Hospital. February will be here before we know it 🙂

  33. Trying to wrangle some friends to do this in 2015. Want to soooooooooo bad! It would be a whole ordeal, being in Houston, but totally worth it!

  34. Jennifer Liddy says

    I am running in the princess half marathon… this will be my first… I am working on training now and I am up to 4 miles within an hour. I am extremely excited about this run…this will be the most I have ever done. Thank you for all of the tips. I saw you said there is a practice run when is that?

  35. A friend of mine just sent me this article on Pinterest. One of the tips that you gave was to know the course. This is my first time doing the DPH. I’ve been to WDW many times. However, how do you get to know the course, and where everything is? We don’t rent a car, so we can’t really drive it. Any hints would be great. Also, do you have any pictures of the reunion area? Just curious. Thank you for any help.

    • the course has been the same for years, you should be able to find a course map online to familiarize yourself with it.
      I may have a couple pics of family reunion area in my race recaps, but if not then I don’t have any 🙁

  36. Laure Simms says

    I’m in for the Glass Slipper. Can’t wait. Hope life does not get in the way

  37. I just registered for the 2014 Princess Half Marathon! My first! One of your tips was to get to know the
    Course. How do you do that? Thanks so much!

    • the course has been the same for years, and they put it in the event guide so if you google it many people have scanned the map and you should be able to find copies of it online on various websites etc.

  38. I am traveling out of town for the princess half in orlando and I want to know any tips for travel, where to stay, what to do, ect. but I have not been able to find much on that. Can you point me in the right direction?

  39. Love the tips! This was my first half marathon and I remember being so nervous about it. The best part was definitely dressing up like a princess! I chose Ariel and had a lot of fun with my costume.

  40. This is my first year running the Princess!!! I am beyond excited!!! I was originally going as Ariel, but then decided to do Belle when they showed the bling. Bucket list item ☑️

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