Friday, February 25 through Sunday, February 27, 2011 is Walt Disney World’s Princess Half Marathon Weekend. There are events and races being held over the course of the three days, culminating in the women’s focused Princess Half Marathon on Sunday morning. Those choosing to visit Disney World during this weekend who are not planning on running will want to be aware of the events so that they can be prepared.
Beauty and the Beast Royal Family 5K
The Royal Family 5K is being held on Saturday, February 26, 2011 at 7:00am in Epcot. While this event is before park opening, bear in mind that many families may choose to visit Epcot that day, since they will already be parked there and in the area. Guests that have early breakfast reservations in Epcot, or the Epcot area resorts may notice heavier crowds than usual. Make sure to allow plenty of time for travel in and around the Epcot resort area that morning.
Princess Half Marathon
The Princess Half Marathon begins at 5:45am on Sunday morning and takes place along a 13.1 mile course through Epcot, Magic Kingdom, and the surrounding roadways. Expect some congestion in the morning, especially in Epcot at the finish line and in the parking lot. Several roads around the Walt Disney World Resort will be closed for the race. They begin closures as early as 11:00pm the evening before. Guests travelling around property, like those leaving Magic Kingdom (the park is scheduled to close at 11:00pm at the time of this writing) should be prepared for delays and detours.
Roads used for the course will remain closed until the race is completed on Sunday morning. When travelling Sunday morning, once again, be prepared for significant delays and allow plenty of time, especially for Advanced Dining Reservations or airline departures.
Half Marathon Spectators
Those with friends or family running the race who would like to cheer them on can do so from several locations. A great chart for viewing locations can be found here. Also, there are several other resources like Runner Tracking and a Spectator Tool (that allows spectators to calculate where the runner the are watching will be at which locations). Anyone who wants to view their runners from Epcot should plan on arriving by 4:00am on Sunday morning. The main Epcot entrance from World Drive will be closed from 5:00am to 7:00am. Guests will be directed to the Ticket and Transportation Center parking lot where they will take the monorail to Epcot.
Half Marathon Participants
Runners intending to participate in the half-marathon can find some great information on the ESPN Wide World of Sports website, the WDWToday Podcast, or by reading posts by Caroline Baggerly about last year’s Princess Half Marathon, and her other races.
Are you going to be at Disney World during the races? What is your strategy for dealing with traffic and crowds?