Ah, Disney Princess Half Marathon weekend… [she sighed wistfully...]
I can hardly believe it’s over. I’m going to recap the Expo today, and then post my Enchanted 10K and Princess Half Marathon recaps separately. Why recap an Expo, you might be wondering? Well, before races I eat this stuff up, and I have questions – I want info on the Expo, race start, can you exchange your shirt size (answer below!), you get the point. So I took pics of every step.
The whole race weekend experience was just fabulous, and I’m glad I soaked up every minute of it [because I don't know that I can afford to do another Disney vacation/racecation again soon!].
My daughter and I drove over to Disneyworld after our visit to Tampa on the afternoon of Thursday, February 20.
I used to be jaded from living in Florida, and because my husband is from Orlando (even did his “tour of duty” working Splash Mountain at Magic Kingdom!), but we got pretty excited as we approached our exit…
and saw the signs welcoming us to Disneyworld:
We quickly checked into our hotel, got our Magic Bands sorted out, and headed to our room.
The Expo was at Wide World of Sports and I had the option to take the Disney shuttle bus or to drive, since I wasn’t returning my car until the next morning. I decided to drive and it was a short trip from the Pop Century Hotel where we were staying.
Parking was pretty easy – we had to deal with a sluggish line of cars waiting to park, but it was only because they were directing so thoroughly – it takes a few minutes to direct cars to their spaces. We weren’t parked far, though – I think a lot of people were leaving the Expo.
Okay, so maybe I was excited like a little kid when I saw Princess Half Marathon signs… Who me?
And there was no way to resist taking this pic!
After some initial excitement at the posters, where there was also a yogurt trucking giving away freebies (but I didn’t want to carry cold yogurt around all night), we walked towards the Expo area.
There was a lot of excitement about the Disney New Balance shoes. I had seen information about a “Virtual Queue” to get your shoe, but I wasn’t interested in buying them.
Signage was pretty clear – packet pickup for the Glass Slipper Challenge was in the HP Field House.
They had a very organized merchandise area in the middle, with packet pickup on the edges.
There were stations set up to sign up for runner tracking, and also places to print your waiver forms, if you hadn’t done that before you arrived.
This is where I got a little confused – obviously I knew there were tons of vendors, and I saw this sign telling me so, but I had been so focused on going to pick up my packet, I didn’t know where the vendors were.
They only had a store with official Disney merchandise in this building. Oh well, I thought, I’ll find that stuff AFTER I get my packet!
For the packet pickup, it was very organized, stations divided by bib number – with no lines.
They had the Glass Slipper packet pickup separate from the Princess Half Marathon, Enchnated 10K, and 5K packet pickups.
You just get your packet and then go pick up your shirt, according to the size you selected when you register.
Since I’m several sizes smaller than when I registered in June (yay, weight loss!), I was so happy that I could exchange my three Glass Slipper Challenge shirts for a size small! It was quick and easy.
And if you aren’t obsessive like me and hadn’t seen the corral assignments, they were posted on a huge sign:
So, packet in hand, shirts exchanged – now it was time for the vendors!
Those were in another building.
The signage was slightly confusing since it was directing you to the New Balance shoes. I didn’t want the shoes, and it wasn’t 100% evident that everyone should go down the red carpet towards the side of the building to go to the main part of the Expo, even if you didn’t want the special shoes.
But they made up for it with a character photo at the entrance.
So we went in and… um… wow. Tons of things to buy.
Now I was wishing I had allowed more time for the Expo, although I didn’t have a lot of money to spend. I had a mission and I wanted to stick to it!
Visiting the New Balance store was not in my mission, but I couldn’t help but ogle the cute stuff.
I made this graphic for the Army Ten Miler, but I thought of it as I walked around the Disney Expo.
We stuck to the plan – bought a couple of small things and didn’t go crazy.
We did encounter these awesome headphones called Snuggbuds - look for a review soon!
So basically, the Disney Princess Half/Glass Slipper Challenge Expo was very organized, with tons of vendors. There was good signage for the most part, although we had one moment of confusion about whether we should go down the red carpet to the Expo since we thought the sign indicated it was only for the new shoes. Tons of volunteers everywhere.
We had one misdirection from someone working there, because I was picking up a friend’s 5K packet and they directed me to the other Expo building - but that’s where you get the shirts and not the bib, which was back in the Glass Slipper building in a room I hadn’t seen. I really should have read the signs better, but I was distracted with doing my own Glass Slipper pickup. And the person might have misunderstood me – the fact that the bibs were in one place and the shirts in another for the 5K seemed slightly inefficient, since we had to walk the entire length of the vendor Expo building, crowded with vendors and people, to get the 5K shirt.
But all in all – a success. I love Expos!
Do you like race Expos or are you a get-in-get-out person? What’s been your favorite race Expo?