Tinker Bell marked half marathon #6 for me: 2 Tinks, 2 Rock-n-Rolls, 1 San Diego Wild Animal Park, and 1 Surf City.
Expo: As others have already stated, the expo is a little disappointing. Lots of skirts & other girly stuff, not a lot of standard race vendors – and surprisingly small. Last year we were able to buy Gu onsite, I didn’t notice them there this year. Course talks/race prep lectures were taking place, but we didn’t really get a chance to check them out because the one talk we were actually interested in (nutrition) was only taking place midday. In fact, each topic was only covered once – if I recall correctly, larger races will cover certain topics more than once during the course of packet pick-up so that more people have a chance to listen.
Race Day: Despite only living about 15 miles from Disneyland, my friends & I opted to stay in a hotel the night before the race since we needed to be at the start line by 4:30a!! I fully understand that they are planning to open the parks at the normal time, but since we did all of our on-stage course running in the first 10k of the race why did we need to start a full 30 minutes earlier than last year?! The start time was little rough, but once you were onto Disney property the energy level was high from both fellow racers and folks who were up so very early to support us.
The course was great. I liked that they changed it up from last year so that we were able to spend more time inside the parks. The first half of the race was almost entirely inside the parks with the majority of that being on-stage. The course through downtown Anaheim was nice too – I especially appreciated that the rising sun was almost never in my face.
My only dislike on the course was that as we entered into the parking lot/finishing area the finish line banners were straight ahead in clear view (yey, I’m almost there, so close, maybe I can sprint) – and then we had to do an attraction/ride style zig-zag line to get there (boo).
Volunteers, Bands, Cheerleaders, Dance Teams, Red Hat Ladies: So great! I especially love the Red Hat Ladies – they were out there getting set up as we were heading to the start line. Lots of words of encouragement from them – and of course they all look fabulous in their fancy hats.
Post-Race: I liked the little race-goodie boxes/bags that they were handing out. Normally I find myself juggling everything, but this made it much easier. I just dropped the water & PowerAide bottles into the reusable Peter Pan bag and hobbled my way to the Disneyland hotel for breakfast.
The Medal: Disney makes amazing medals, no doubt. As a race-bling junkie, I like collecting them & I like it when they look different year to year. That being the case, I should stop running Disney and stick with Surf City. The 2013 Tink medal was pretty much identical to the 2012 medal minus the date & the word inaugural – and the ribbon was a different color.
Overall: I’ll most likely be back next year – and I want to do the Coast-to-Coast challenge … and I’m thinking about doing the Dumbo Double Dare, so for me the little faults that I do see in the race overall are fixed by all of the things that they do right.