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runDisney’s Princess Half Marathon: Everything you need to know!

runDisney's Princess Half Marathon: Everything you need to know!

Well, maybe not everything, but after doing runDisney’s Princess Half Marathon for six years, I have shared lots of tips here on the blog, our YouTube channel and podcast! So in today’s post, I’m linking past content by category as well as offering new tips and answering FAQ. Hope you enjoy and have an AMAZING time at the Princess Half Marathon Weekend!

runDisney's Princess Half Marathon: Everything You Need to Know!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: When is registration for the 2020 Princess Half Marathon?

Registration opens June 4, 2019. (I will add the exact time when it’s available as well as early registration dates for Disney World Annual Passholders and DVC Members that’s usually one to two weeks prior.)

Q: How do I register?

First, make sure you have a Disney account at My Disney Experience.

Next, go to the PHM event page on rundisney.com. Under the Events tab, you’ll see each race listed as well as the Fairy Tale Challenge, (which is the Princess 10k and Half Marathon.) Click on the event you want to register for and it will lead you to a Disney log-in. The rest is easy! (For ways to save money, visit my Budgeting post.)

Q: Will the 2020 races sell out right away?

Oh boy, us runDisney veterans can remember a time when PHM sold out within hours and registering required nimble fingers and nerves of steel! This is no longer the case although the 5k and 10k do tend to sell out faster. Regardless, here’s my thoughts: If you really want to do this race, then register right away because you never know what will happen!

Q: Is proof of time required for the 5k and 10k?

No, just the half marathon and those doing the Fairy Tale Challenge.

Q: Is Proof of Time important for the half marathon?

Let’s start off with what runDisney says on their website:

If you believe you will finish the Half Marathon in 2 hours and 45 minutes (2:45) or less, proof of time is required for start corral placement. If you believe you will finish the Half Marathon in over 2:45, proof of time is not required. Proof of time must be provided from an officially timed race reflecting results after February 1, 2017* and must be one of the below listed distances. Runners will be placed in the last corral if the appropriate race distance is not submitted for Proof of Time.

Half Marathon Proof of Time – Results for a 10K, 12K, 15K, 10-Mile, Half Marathon or Marathon.

*The February 1, 2017 is for those who have registered for the 2019 race. This may change for those registering for 2020’s.

So if you have a proof of time that shows you’ll finish within 02:45 hours or sooner, then definitely enter this as POT to get a higher corral placement.

As for those with a POT longer than 2:45 … opinions vary. Some folks say it’s better to not enter it, but Jackey and I believe it’s still good to enter in case it bumps you ahead of those who provided no proof of time. This way, instead of being in the last corral, you might be in the second to last.

Q: When are the event guides, course maps, bib numbers, waivers, corral placements, medals, and race shirts available?

On average, the event guide with course maps are released about a month prior, followed by waivers and corral placement charts.

Dates also vary for when runDisney releases photos of race medals. For the 2019 race, we got to see them on November 27, 2018. As for race shirts, runDisney likes to torture us by releasing photos of race shirts on days prior. Don’t they understand our need to coordinate when packing?? 😉

Q: Where can I find the digital event guide?

When available, you can find the event guide on the runDisney website under weekend overview/latest updates or by going here. Here’s where you can find course maps, transportation details, race times and much more! Read it cover to cover and screenshot information you might want later.

Q: How do I find out what my bib number and corral placement is?

You first need to download your waiver by going here. You’ll see your bib number printed at the bottom. (And while you’re there, print it out and sign to take to expo.) Compared that number to the following charts for either the half marathon or Fairy Tale Challenge*.

*If you are doing the 5k and/or 10k, you won’t find out your corral placement until you get your actual bib at the expo.

Q: What if my corral placement doesn’t match my entered POT?

If you believe you should be in a higher corral based off your POT, then bring a printed copy of both your registration and POT results to the runner relations booth at the expo. Now. Gotta be honest. The likelihood of getting it changed is slim but you won’t know unless you try.

Q: What are waves and how many are in each corral?

In an effort to alleviate course congestion, runDisney volunteers will form mini-waves within each corral by separating runners with a long rope banner held at each end.

The total number of waves within each corral varies between 2 to 4 or even more for larger back corrals. Typically the first wave gets the largest firework send-off with the following waves fireworks being smaller. A good tip is to get to your corral early to be in the first wave.

Q: Do I have to keep the minimum 16mm pace if I’m not in the last corral?

The minimum 16mm pace tracking doesn’t start until the last runner crosses the starting line, always the wonderful Balloon Ladies. So if you’re in earlier corrals, you do have some bumper room to stop for character photos, take bathroom breaks, etc. Just don’t get carried away! If runDisney staff on bikes pass you, (they will be after the Balloon Ladies,) you will be swept.

Q: Oh boy, those Balloon Ladies. Are they mean? And is it okay to track them?

The Balloon Ladies are ABSOLUTELY LOVELY and offer such a wonderful service by warning those who are getting behind! And guess what … we taped a podcast episode with Sue that will be posted on February 15th, woo-HOO!! (I’ll add link here when available.)

Until then, we asked Sue if they mind being tracked. She said they do understand how this can be helpful for runners so they do not mind. However, take note that runDisney does occasionally block access to their bib number on the tracking site.

Q: If I can’t maintain the 16mm pace minimum, when am I safe from being swept?

In the past, I’ve often said you’re pretty much safe once you enter Epcot since there are no “parade buses,” aka, a bus for non-finishers, within the parks. But Sue offered this advice: “You are not safe until you cross the finish line.” And she’s right … if you dilly-dally too long in the parks, there is a chance you can be picked up in a golf cart.

Q: This makes me even more nervous. What can I do to keep from being swept?

Totally understand your fear. And compared to other runDisney races, Princess does tend to have more congestion on the course. It’s still an amazing race that you’re going to absolutely love, though! To ease your fears, here’s some tips:

  • Get to the race early … and by early, I mean be at your resort’s bus stop at least fifteen minutes prior to when transportation starts and even sooner if you’re taking an Uber. (Keep in mind there will be long walk for those being dropped off by car services.)
  • If you’re with a friend, have one of you take care of gEar check while the other heads to a character line. (There’s a separate entrance for those with no bags. Also, Jackey and I sometimes share one bag to make our security check quicker.)
  • If there’s a line for photos by the PHM banner, skip it for now since you can get it after the race. Instead, hustle to a character photo line. In the past, it’s been Royal Minnie and three other lines for princesses who rotate. (For example, one line could be for Jasmine and Belle who switch off.) Either pick your favorite or hop in the shortest line.
  • Take care of your gEar bag check and then get to your corral early in hopes of being in the first wave of your corral which will bank you precious minutes. How early? That varies, but for the recent WDW Marathon, they opened corrals at approximately 4:15 with runners in line as early as thirty minutes prior.
  • Make sure your Garmin or other tracking device is set to not pause whenever you stop so you’ll have an accurate sense of time.
  • Skip the first few characters since lines will be long and photo quality isn’t always wonderful in the dark. Besides, the half marathon course will loop around so you’ll have a second chance in the last few miles of the race.
  • Consider stopping for mile marker photos! Lines are rarely long and there’s a good chance you’ll find another runner who will switch cameras with you. Or do something fun like our silly mile marker rhymes tradition!
  • Once you’re on Main Street definitely soak it in and safely make your way to the sidewalk on the right for a photo or selfie in front of the castle!
  • After running into Tomorrowland, take a peek to the right when the course hooks to the left. Sometimes Buzz is out with a very short line since some runners don’t notice him.
  • After going through the castle, keep smiling for that first Photopass opportunity and then glance over to see how long lines are in front of the castle! Photographers there do not take pictures with individual phones so they do tend to move quickly. (Go to the farthest one since they’re usually shorter.)
  • While in the parks, be on the lookout for other fun selfie opportunities where there’s no line. Or try to snag an over-the-shoulder selfie with a character behind you! (Keep reading this post for more character photo tips.)
  • Spectators with awesome signs also make for great photos! Triple that for guys wearing tutus on their heads.
  • Once you’re in Epcot, stop for a photo in front of Spaceship Earth if lines aren’t too crazy!
  • After you finish, (which you will,) then all bets are off! Get a photo in front of the finish banners, (head to the farthest one in hopes of a shorter line,) grab a beer and then hop in a character line. Or if you’re not feeling too grungy, head to the parks! I did this after walking the 2017 Princess Half Marathon due to injury because I was determined to get a photo with Gaston! Did I get odd looks? Yep. Did I care? Nope!
Mission accomplished!
  • But most of all, don’t let your fear overshadow this wonderful experience. Yes, you do have to be careful but you can still have an AMAZING time! Breathe deep, take it all in, and enjoy!

Q: Where are the best bathrooms?

LOL, as an older woman with a bladder the size of a walnut, of course I have to include this!

Pre-Race: For the 5k and 10k when the corrals are to the left of the main stage, use the port-o-pots on the opposite side of gEar bag check where there are practically no lines! For the half, if you see a short line, hop in it. Or wait until you’re at the corrals … at the 2019 half and full marathon, there were a TON of port-o-pots there!

During the 5k and 10k: There will be real bathrooms once you make it to Epcot’s World Showcase! There’s a bathroom in each country … if you can, skip the first one as it tends to be more crowded.

During the Half: There are usually port-o-pots near each water stations but if you can make it to Magic Kingdom, (around 5.25 miles,) there’s real bathrooms. Just skip the one at Tomorrowland Terrace/Noodle Station as it will most likely be crowded. Try either the bathrooms near Space Mountain or to the left before the teacups. I also hit the bathrooms in Epcot before finishing. The best way to find any bathroom in the parks is to ask a CM!

If there a FAQ that I missed? If so, please share it in the comments below!

Before moving on, here’s a quick reminder of our Joyful Miles Meet Up!

Jennalyn and I will be at Disney’s Boardwalk at the large tree between the wedding pavilion and ESPN Grill on Saturday, February 23rd from 12:00 to 1:30pm! Hope to see you there! And now, on with the…

General Tips

100 Tips for runDisney’s Princess Half Marathon!

Oh yes. 100 tips. So refill your coffee cup before visiting this big momma of a post!

LIVE SHOW: runDisney’s Princess Half Marathon Tips!

This live show might have ended in disaster from my husband’s phone conversation linking in, but before that, I go over my 100 tips plus answer questions left by those in the chat room!

How to Make the Most of your runDisney Race Experience!

Jackey and I chat about ways you can truly enjoy your runDisney trip
in this video and I’ve also listed them in this blog post.

Our runDisney Must Do List

Here’s a run podcast Jackey and I did about our runDisney must do’s, things we do to make our race weekends even more magical!

Budgeting Tips

Budgeting Tips: How to Save money for runDisney

Let’s face it. runDisney trips are expensive, especially if you’re like me, someone who does multiple race weekends a year! So I wrote a blog post about Budgeting Tips: How to Save Money for runDisney Races plus we discussed this topic in greater detail in this Joyful Miles podcast episode.

Running Costumes

Costumes! Wow, we’ve discussed this many times and it’s not too late to put one together for this year’s Princess Half Marathon! You can still make one super quick using these tips:

Blog Posts:

Costume Tutorials:

(I plan on doing more tutorials in 2019, so if there’s a costume you’d love to see, let me know in the comments below!)

Videos and Podcasts:

How to Make Minnie Ears

We love wearing Minnie Ears in races but purchasing new ones from Disney or Etsy sellers can be expensive! (Plus we wouldn’t want to sweat in them.) So I make our own and shared how in the following tutorials:

DIY Medal Holder

I also like to make inexpensive, no-sew medal holders out of fleece as well! (If you can sew and would like to make something fancier, be sure to check out Heather Jergensen’s video!)


Oh boy. Seeing as how I’m quite obsessive with how I pack, I’ve done a lot of packing related posts! My biggest tips? Start a packing list weeks prior to your race, (or print out mine,) so you can add items when you think of them and pack EARLY! Don’t wait until the day prior!

General Tips

How to Organize your room:

As someone who often shares a room with other gals with minimum storage space, staying organized is a must! I’ve shared tips in this
Organizing your Hotel Room for a runDisney Race blog post as well as in the following video which includes tools that make packing easier!

Running Belts and more

I’ve pretty much stopped wearing running belts for runDisney races, except for the full marathon. Instead, I wear Happy Puppy Athleticwear 5″ Penny shorts that have the most delicious pockets, (Jackey loves the Mandy shorts,) and a FitKicks Wrist Wallet, (affiliate link.)

But if you’re interested in what we use for training and non-Disney races, go to my Favorite Running Belts blog post or watch my video!


runDisney Weather Tips

As far as weather goes for runDisney races, the only thing you can count on is the unexpected! So I’ve written a monster-long blog post recently that covers tips for cold weather, hot weather, rain, wind, and everything in between.

And seeing as how Jackey and I do not like cold weather, Christopher Savio joined us in Podcast Episode 78 to discuss cold weather running:

We have also discussed tips for the rain in this runDisney in the Rain podcast episode, blog post, and video!

I’ve also chatted about training in the heat in a Summer Running Tips Blog Post and this Summer Running Tips video!

Character and Photopass Photos

If you’ve watched any of our video recaps, then you know we LOVE stopping for character photos and getting great Photopass pics! So of course I had to chat about it in the following two blog posts and video:

Cheering & Spectator Tips

Hmm, this is a topic we’re lacking on since neither Jackey nor myself have ever cheered for a PHM race. We have cheered for the 2018 Wine & Dine 10k, though, plus our friend, Stephen, wrote an amazing post about Tips for Cheering at runDisney’s WDW Marathon that offers some generic suggestions. Some things I would add are:

  • If you plan on staying at one spot, get there early enough to see the fastest runners leading the pack. They’re just amazing!
  • Bring plenty of water and snacks to keep you hydrated and fed.
  • Note that if you’re cheering on the Boardwalk, you’re not allowed to hand out snacks to runners. (You can, however, give something to those you know personally.)
  • Stay for the final runners because this is when you’re going to see some true grit and determination, plus they can really use your motivation!

Recovery Tips

We’ve chatted about ways to recover in previous content, but since it’s important, I’m going to share some tips here. After all, recovery is so important in order to have energy to hit the parks afterward!

  • Pack flip flops or other recovery sandals in your gEar bag to wear after the race! Your swollen tootsies will thank you. My favorite are Oofos Flip Flops … pure heaven! (I love these Black/Latte Oofos for in the park, both affiliate links. For more of recovery flip flop and sandal options, visit this post.)
  • After your race, make sure to get in some protein within thirty minutes. I always pack a protein bar in my gEar check back because there’s rarely a source of protein in the runDisney snack boxes!
  • Yes, it’s tempting to just hit the beer stand, (for me, at least,) but be sure to stretch! I will also pack my Addaday Pro Massager (affiliate link) in my suitcase to use later.
  • DANCE! The best thing to do if you feel your legs stiffening up is to hit the DJ area and dance! Not only is it fun, but you’ll also shake out the lactic acid in your legs.
  • Once I’m back in our room, I always take an ice bath using ice I’ve stored in the freezer the day before. A cold water bath also works wonders on tired, inflammed legs!
  • If your resort has a hot tub, pay that a visit as well!
  • Feeling super tired? A short nap will do wonders as well and give you the energy to hit those parks. Oh, and while you’re there….
  • WEAR YOUR BLING! You earned that bad boy. Don’t hesitate to show it off!

Podcast Episodes and Recaps

We have several to choose from plus an interview with Kristin aka Bama Girl RUNS!

Video Recaps

If you have subscribed to our YouTube channel, then you’ll notice how I’m FINALLY getting caught up with my 2018 video recaps! (It’s been tough keeping up.) You can watch all of my Princess Half Marathon video recaps by clicking on this Princess Half Marathon Weekend Playlist link!

Blog Recaps

Still behind with blog recaps as well, but links to completed ones can be found here:

Okay, so there you have it, a collection of our runDisney Princess Half Marathon tips, recaps, videos, and blog posts! I hope this helps make your race experience truly magical and that you have an amazing time. Be sure to use the hashtag #joyfulmilestones with any bling pictures so we can see them as well as #joyfuljumpshots for those awesome jumpshots!

Thanks so much for reading and please share this post with anyone who might find it helpful! Take care and have a joyful day!

About the author: Laura is a writer, runner, reader, runDisney addict, blogger, vlogger, wife to an amazing guy for 26 years, mom of two wonderful boys, excellent chili maker, and obsessive list keeper. She still thinks Spice World was an awesome movie and feels no shame about that plus she can quote most lines from Talladega Nights. Shake and bake!

{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Kerri DeLano July 27, 2019, 2:29 pm

    I am running my first half princess next year, is there a place to store my gEar bag before the race? I am going solo so I won’t have anyone to hold it.

    • Laura Bowers August 1, 2019, 5:55 am

      Oh yes, they have a great gEar check system! It will be very easy to store your things although I do recommend not putting anything of great value in your bags.

  • Danielle February 25, 2020, 9:50 pm

    Hi! I just ran my first Disney Princess Half Marathon on Sunday. Unfortunately I missed out on most of the expo shopping. Do you know if there’s any other way for me to still get any Disney Princess Half Marathon gear before I leave?

    • Laura Bowers February 25, 2020, 10:04 pm

      Major congrats for finishing your first Princess Half, that’s awesome! When are you leaving? There was still some merchandise at the MCO Disney store … from what I remember, there was some half marathon tanks, 5k and 10k jackets, pins, PHM hats, runDisney visors, the Minnie figurines and some other goodies. Another option is they sometime will sell items at the Disney outlet store but it might take a couple of weeks for it to arrive there. If you know a Disney cast member by any chance, they also often sell some gear at the cast member store at a discount.

      There’s also a runDisney Market Place Facebook group where you can post some In Search Of notices, in case someone has stuff they want to sell. Worse care scenario, you can find some things on eBay! Good luck and I hope you find something nice!

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