The Disneyland Half Marathon is a pretty awesome race. However, I have had better experiences from Disney races previously, which lowered my rating of this one to a B.
Registration is as simple as one can expect from the cluttered RunDisney website. The information given out in advance is handy, but I never received the email from them with my bib information or coral. I had to use a forwarded link from a fellow participant to search mine on their website.
Packet pickup is at the Disneyland Hotel. They separate bib pickup from the expo in a very inconvenient way. Signage is poor, and we wound up walking in circles since the employees there kept giving us wrong directions! The expo is pretty standard, but the best part was the display from Raw Threads – selling “Disney inspired” race wear. This is the ONLY TIME I have ever bought clothing at an expo.
We stayed at the Grand Californian, which is very convenient, but pricey. I would recommend staying at one of the neighbor hotels on Harbor and Katella and walking over. It’s barely a mile.
The course is as easy as one can get a 13.1 mile course down to. Disney asserts that there is a 16 min/mile pace but this is false. The pace requirement is only enforced through mile 10 or so. People finished at nearly 4 hours, which is a 18.5 min/mile pace.
The corals go off pretty quickly and very much on time in the beginning of the race. One pro of the Disney corraling system is that they don’t let first-timers into the earlier corrals. But this is also a problem, as faster first-timers are stuffed in the back with the walkers if they fail to produce a 10k time prior to the race.
One downside is that there seems to be very little organization of runners because I ran a 2:18, and had 1:45’ers in my corral. Meanwhile my 2:07 sister was in A!
Disney partners with the Cliff Bar Pace Teams here and they are pretty awesome. The 2:15 pacer was right on through mile 5, then I lost her 🙂
Big downside? LOTS of people running 3 across, through the narrow park streets with fair wings and other costumes. This is definitely one of those frustrating races where you are dodging around people!
Water stops are closer together at the end, which is great because the sun comes up towards that point. The 5:45AM start is definitely ideal due to the potential Labor Day Sun! The later corrals definitely feel it more. It seemed like some of my friends had participated in an entirely different race due to the heat/timing issues.
Disney and the city of Anaheim also do a great job keeping you entertained on the course. There are high school bands and cheerleaders stationed around the city. Angels Stadium is packed with girl scouts and boy scouts. There are rows of classic cars and mustangs as well.
Post race it’s crowded and we just got out of there as fast as possible.
Not as many charaters on the course as in Disney World either.