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2016 Disney Never Land 5k Race Recap

Yo ho ho ho a pirate’s life … is so not for me. I’m way too prissy and in need of running water, toiletries, plenty of coffee, and a Target within at least ten miles. But on May 6th, it was fun playing amongst the pirate at the 2016 runDisney Never Land 5k!

This was my very first Disneyland West Coast event. Did I enjoy it? Well, I’ll let you all know at the end of my post.

[Hint: I ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT!!!!!!]

2016 Disney Never Land 5k Race Recap

Since the theme was Never Land, Sara, Robyn and I decided to dress as Peter Pan, Wendy, and Tink – not exactly original, but lots of fun and for me, easy to put together! For my outfit, I wore my favorite Fila shirt in green, black Saucony Bullet Capri pants, a green Sparkle Athletic skirt and a visor borrowed from Sara. Easy peezy.

What wasn’t easy, though, was believing Robyn when she said we didn’t have to leave the resort until around 4:15am. Huh??? Only 45 minutes before the race starts at 5:00?? No, this East Coast gal is used to leaving at least 2.5 hours prior, giving enough bumper time for transportation issues,  pre-race photos, and dancing. Plus, I have anxiety issues–especially at races I haven’t done before, so leaving late = jittery nerves for me. But okay, she was the one with Disneyland experience, so we left at around 4:20am.

2016 Disney Never Land 5k

Turns out, she was right, we arrived in plenty of time to be at the start of Corral B.

See, here’s the biggest difference with the Never Land 5k and East Coast 5k’s: Since the race begins in the park, there are no assigned corrals, so corrals fill up based upon arrival. For the Disneyland 5k coming up in September, I’ll know to leave earlier if I want to be in A, but the good thing about being in the front of B is we had a great view of the stage and the castle.

2016 Disney Never Land 5k

After the DJ got the crowd good and pumped up, Carissa and Andrea got the pre-show started with some rounds of Yo Ho Ho Ho, and a visit from Peter Pan. Some ornery pirates seeking Captain Hook’s treasure also crashed the party. We were then treated to a gorgeous, gorgeous singing of the National Anthem by a pirate … man, I wish I could find his name … that gave me goose bumps! Be sure to check out our video recap to find out why:

Then if things weren’t magical enough as it is, Tinkerbell flew in around the castle to wish us happy running! I’m telling you. The race hadn’t even begun yet and I was already in love with it.

Soon, Corral A was sent off with best wishes and confetti from Carissa … all of which I didn’t videotape because of being too lost in the moment. Eh, some times you gotta take off your vlogger hat and just enjoy the experience.

We then walked forward to the right of the castle for our own streamer confetti-filled send off!

Our plan was for me to sprint ahead and get in line for the first character stop, which happened to be Captain Hook and Smee. Oh wow. Talk about a massive line … probably the longest one I’ve ever seen in my 24-some runDisney races! But come on. It was Captain Hook and Smee, of course we had to wait!

2016 Disney Never Land 5k

Afterwards, we separated again with me running head to secure a place in the next character line. Speaking of which, there were quite the long lines at each mile marker! My longest waits yet … and I’ve gotten pictures with each mile marker at each of my runDisney races.

But hey … these adorable signs were well-worth it.

2016 Disney Never Land 5k

2016 Disney Never Land 5k

No line for this guy!

2016 Disney Never Land 5k

I ended up not seeing Sara and Robyn until later, bummer, but wow oh wow … it was AMAZING running through Disneyland! Sure, there could have been more characters out, but I still had fun stopping for nearly every pirate I could find.

Arrr, matey!

Oh, and a bonus of running the Tink Half this year – it’s Disneyland’s 60th Anniversary! Or as the case may be in Bug’s Land, the ANT-iversary!

2016 Disney Never Land 5k

Then what should come next? CARS LAND in California Adventure. Oh my gosh. I love the movie Cars. And after finally getting to see Cars Land the day prior, I have to say that it is my FAVORITE land in both Disney World and Disneyland. Yeah. I loved it that much and running through it was magical!

2016 Disney Never Land 5k

2016 Disney Never Land 5k

Another long mile marker line but again, so worth it!

2016 Disney Never Land 5k

Have I firmly established just how much I love Cars Land yet? Yes? Good.

2016 Disney Never Land 5k

See that baby? I have a funny story to share about that in my 10k recap. Remind me, okay?

2016 Disney Never Land 5k

The course then hooked around the Paradise Pier area, where the footing didn’t seem all that stable during a slight downhill stretch. So I slowed down and took everything in, feeling so excited about finally riding Mickey’s Wheel of Fun, (or as Sara calls it – Wheel of Death,) and California Screamin’ later on.

And look! The Lost Boys were at the carousel, inviting runners over for selfies. A selfie? Why, yes, please!

Turns out, Sara and Robyn were right behind me, calling out my name as I grabbed some video. Too bad I didn’t hear them!

2016 Disney Never Land 5k

But yay, they soon joined me in line for Wendy and Peter Pan, our absolute MUST-GET photo of the race!

2016 Disney Never Land 5k

Don’t ask what I’m doing with my right hand, though, because I seriously don’t know. Upside down Lost Boys gangsta sign, perhaps?

2016 Disney Never Land 5k

Our 5k adventure through Never Land soon came to an end, but not before another long wait for the Mile 3 marker. And what a marker it was!

2016 Disney Never Land 5k

2016 Disney Never Land 5k

We then gathered our adorable medallions and goodie boxes before wandering to the family gathering area for one last selfie before heading back to Grand Californian.

2016 Disney Never Land 5k

Afterward, we spent the rest of the day touring California Adventure in the pouring rain (thank goodness the sun came out for Cars Land,) taking a long, luxurious nap, and hanging out in Disneyland in the evening before getting ready the 10k!

2016 Disney Never Land 5k

So, by now you’ve figured out how much I truly adored this race. I mean, come on – starting in Disneyland instead of a parking lot? Running entirely through parks? Not have to wake up at 2:30? Yeah. This all leads to one awesome race experience.

There were some things I didn’t love, though. Like how there were no pre-race festivities with character photos, dancing, and a fun sense of community that makes East Coast races more of a social event. And it was rather lackluster in the family gathering area afterwards, with a little “okay, got my medallion … um, okay, bye,” feeling, something Jackey and I will cover more in our 10k and half recaps.

Still awesome, though. And my new favorite runDisney 5k!

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to subscribe if you’d like more post updates! And if you ran the Never Land 5k, then this is for you:

QOTD: What was your favorite part of the Never Land 5k?

About the author: Laura is a writer, runner, reader, runDisney addict, blogger, vlogger, mom of two college boys, excellent chili maker, and obsessive list keeper. She still thinks Spice World was an awesome movie and feels no shame about that.

{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Dan Franklin August 1, 2016, 6:21 pm

    Thank you for the kind words and posting some of the National anthem. I’ve looked high and low for some video of it! I’m glad you enjoyed it 😉

    • Laura Bowers August 2, 2016, 6:42 am

      Oh wow, that was you! Your performance was fantastic, my fav runDisney National Anthem version! I can email you a longer clip if you’d like. Just send me your email address to joyfulmiles1@gmail.com. 😃

  • Helen May 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

    Thanks for the preview! We’re doing this as a family on Friday.

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