Princess1Rocking a tiara, sporting a tutu and running through Cinderella’s castle are a few of the signature highlights of running Disney’s Princess Half Marathon. The event, one of runDisney’s standout races takes place February 26, 2012 as part of the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend. This will be my third time taking the 13.1 mile trek through Walt Disney World Resort – it’s one of my favorite races of the year. As you pack your bags and prepare for this popular destination race, here are a few tips to make sure you perform like a princess:

Enjoy the Expo. It’s a good one. They definitely call it Disney’s Fit for a Princess Expo for a reason. Located in the Jostens Center at Espn Wide World of Sports Complex, it’s packed with plenty of vendors, shopping, photo opps and they have a speakers series, too.
Plan to arrive in Orlando with enough time to take it all in; and you might want to leave some extra room in your bags for any royal goodies you may pick up.

Princessexpo2Be Prepared for the Early Start. Early is the key word here. The race STARTS at 5:45 a.m. at Epcot which means you need to consider your pre-run food, traveling to the start, traffic, bag check, portapotty lines and any other pre-race rituals you might have. If you’re staying on the resort transportation starts at 3 a.m. The official race day information says to board the buses by 4 a.m. to make it to the start by 5 a.m. – their cutoff time to enter the corrals. The final race day instructions also include details for those arriving by car.

Warm Up Walk to the Start. You will get a pre-race warm up as the walk to the corrals take about 20 minutes. Yes, it’s a hike but you’ll joined by nearly 20,000 other princesses all buzzing with excitement. Oh, and you’ll forget about the walk when the fireworks go off!

Test Your Tutu. A big part of the fun of this race is dressing up. You’ll see princesses of all kinds and other characters, too. Make sure you run in your outfit before you pack it. Last year I rocked a poofy pink tutu which was comfortable to wear except when I started running. It scratched my arms as they naturally moved back and forth with my stride. I had to grease my forearms with Vaseline and survived, but the tutu almost hit the side of the road by mile 2. Also, when planning your outfit consider the cold nighttime temps – it will be four in the morning when you head out – and the warmer temps if the sun shows up by the time you hit mile seven.

Plan on Pictures. There’s lots to stop and snap – you and your crew; other princesses, the characters and entertainment along the course; and of course the famous castle shot. Take into account there might be some lines, yes lines, to get your picture taken with Ariel, Captain Jack and the other characters. I don’t even think about time when I run the Princess. Even though its a pretty flat course there’s too many fun distractions.

PrincesscharactersHmm, is that a Hill? Yes, I just shared the course is basically flat – you’re running on the road way between the parks – but there is a hill toward the end of the race. Nothing to fear – just be aware.

Rock your Medal at the Parks. The race starts early which means you’ll finish early and have the whole day to enjoy. Don’t be shy about rocking that medal – you’ll see Princesses all throughout the property showing off their new bling. Wear it with pride!

For more details about the Princess Half Marathon Weekend, visit runDisney.com.

You can follow my adventures at www.RunWifeyRun.com and on Twitter @AskWifey. Until next time, I’m off and running.