Happy Tuesday! Continuing with our Disneyland Half Marathon recaps that Laura started with the Expo, the two of us recently completed the Disneyland Country Bears 5k and I have to say: This is one of my ALL-TIME favorite runDisney races and I’m so excited to share my experience!
I’ve only done one other Disney 5k in Walt Disney World as part of Marathon Weekend‘s Dopey Challenge in 2016, but this one was so much better. At first, I had no intention of signing up until I heard it was a Country Bears theme … which was sort of surprising given the Country Bears Jamboree attraction has been closed for many years. But I was super excited about this theme. I love the Country Bears and I knew RunDisney would be getting more money from me!
Fellow joyful miler, Laura and I decided to run this race together. She is much faster than I am, but being a 5k, we thought we’d have fun taking our time and doing as a pair. We figured Laura would have to drop back a corral or two to be with me and we’re both so ecstatic when we saw we both had A corral! This was a first did me.
We decided to dress up as Jessie from Toy Story since its somewhat of a country theme and I think these costumes turned out great. Simple, inexpensive and look so colorful in pics. We woke around 3:45 and headed to the race around 4:15. When we got to the race area, we noticed they had line dancing, music, and the Country Bears dancing on stage. How awesome is that??? They did stop this prerace entertainment around 4:30 and told us to head to corrals.A recap of the awesome #Disneyland5k -so much fun! @runDisney #werunsocial #runchat #CountryBears5k Click To Tweet
Since we were in A, we scooted up toward the front which was a great place to catch the announcers and see more of the Country Bears on stage. One really cute touch was they had the National Anthem played on a banjo. Have I said how much I loved this theming yet?
Finally the race began with a confetti blast and we took off. Later, we saw this great picture posted from RunDisney and you can see Laura and I beginning our race.
So recently there has been some complaints being made about lack of characters for Disney runs. I will say this was NOT the case for this race. Maybe Rundisney is listening, or maybe Disneyland races are different. We had so many character stop and great photo opportunities. Even the mile markers were so darn cute.
So our first character stop was my favorite!! Liver Lips and Shaker. Liver Lips is so sweet and cute, and he loves me. Shaker seems a bit bashful of Laura.
Next stop we met Koda and Kenai. From Brother Bear. They were put in perfect area near Grizzly River Run. Everything really was feeling cohesive!
As we rounded the bend toward Hollywood Boulevard we had to take a photo op with the trolley. We had some fun with this, and if you look close so did the cast member.
We then passed Tower of Terror and saw this really awesome character stop. It was a selfie stop with no cast members taking photos but we just asked the people behind in line to trade cameras. This one was a rare one. Lotso in the dump truck!!!!
At this point, we exited California Adventure and made our way into Disneyland. I will say at this point character stop lines haven’t been too long. I’m really liking this starting in earlier corral. (Incentive to get betting proof of time)
So we enter Disneyland and we see another Country Bear “Big Al”.
After quickly trying to remove the sword from the stone, (never happens to me,) I saw this beautiful sight, Sleeping Beauty’s castle. And for first time ever, I could actually run through rather than being held up with congestion! Typically, it’s very crowded. Look at this big cheesy grin I got going on.
Laura and I stop for some castle pics (how could you not?)
A recap of the awesome #Disneyland5k -so much fun! @runDisney #werunsocial #runchat #CountryBears5k Click To Tweet
Then another amazing rare character stop, Brer Bear!
We then headed up Main Street where we saw the guy that played the Banjo during the anthem. He was kind enough to take a picture with us. Note: if Disney races are lacking characters or lines are too long don’t forget to take advantage of other great photo opportunity just using the scenery or props located through the parks.
And we headed down mainstreet the Disney photographers got one of my all time favorite race photos. I love the look of happiness in our faces
As we were about to leave the parks, our final character was a complete surprise and I was thrilled to see Duffy the Bear. Duffy was retired from meet and greets last year so this was a big deal. He was at a selfie station and I somehow lost the picture – but super cool final character.
Finally we made our way towards the finish to receive our medals. This was the first year the 5k race for a metal medal. And it sure was pretty.
I can’t say enough about this race. Almost completely in parks. Great characters, medals, theming. I felt it was really thought about how to do it right. I hope others enjoyed as much.
QOTD: Please share your thoughts on this race. Did you feel the way I did? I’d love to hear about.
Thanks for reading my race recap about the 2016 Disneyland Country Bears 5k. Coming up tomorrow, Rob will be chatting about the Disneyland 10k so be sure to subscribe for post updates. Also, we have lots of conversation about the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend on our Joyful Miles YouTube channel with race recaps and Jammin’ On The Run chats. Check them out here!