The Disneyland 5K is the kick-off event for Disneyland Half-Marathon Weekend. This year's race was themed to Alice in Wonderland.
If you're curious about Disney races, you want to try a 5K for the first time or you simply love Disneyland, there isn't a better option than the Disneyland 5K. It's billed as a "fun run," is untimed, and is very low-key. When:
August 31, 2013. The race started at 5:30 am. Where:
The Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, Orange County. Why:
Well...I didn't see any beneficiaries listed on the RunDisney website for this race. Course Access:
There's a lot of mass transit to Disneyland (the OCTA bus 43, Metro 460, etc.) but unfortunately none of it is going to get you to Disneyland at 5:30 am (and runners were asked to be in the corral by 5). The only way to work this was to drive or to come in the night before and stay over.
The packet pickup was at the Expo at the Disneyland hotel. Unfortunately, you had to do this on Friday, since there was no day-of packet pickup.
The Expo was a bit of a diaster this year. About 10,000 runners from the 5K , 10K and Kids' Races needed to pick up their bibs and t-shirts on Friday, and by some reports, lines were as long as three hours. In addition, there was disappointment when race-related Disney merchandise sold out by the end of the day on Friday - only to appear promptly on eBay. It appears that many eBayers and other secondary market sellers hit up the Expo and got to the merch before the runners did.
The pre-race festivities on race morning included a DJ and commentary from the White Rabbit. It was a very hot day and Disney ensured that water was available before the run. Course:
The course began near the Mickey and Friends parking structure, went backstge and then onstage at Disney California Adventure, crossed the esplanade, went down Main Street and near the Castle in Disneyland, wove through Disneyland and Downtown Disney, and made its way to the Disneyland Hotel.
The course itself was almost entirely flat, but had a lot of corners and winding paths. There were announcements made over the PA to warn runners any time the course changed directions or narrowed.
What made the course special this year were the spectators at Downtown Disney (including the famous and beloved Peggy, who shows up to every race on both coasts to cheer on the runners!), the cast members who lined the course to cheer the runners on, and the large number of character photo ops. Runners:
At a Disney 5K you will find runners who run the gamut from serious athletes (some use the 5K as a warmup for the half-marathon) to first-time participants. Some wore costumes; some didn't. The course was so crowded that it was more of a power walk than a race, but almost everyone was polite. After the serious runners broke away at the beginning of the first wave, most people just meandered along.Chip Timing:
None. This was strictly a fun run.Technically, a 16-minute mile pace was required, whether you were running or walking. However, given the huge numbers of people at the race, given that the pace requirement didn't start until the last runner had crossed the start line, and given that the last wave started almost a half hour after the first, I think that one would have needed to fall way, way behind to get swept. I wouldn't have pushed it, though...getting swept from a race at the Happiest Place on Earth would have been a bummer, to say the very least.Shirt:
A lovely baby-blue t-shirt with an Alice in Wonderland theme. Swag:
Everyone received a gorgeous finisher medal: a full color vinyl medallion made to look like a pocket watch on a blue satin ribbon with the race name and date. Some people complained because the Disney 5K races get these vinyl "medallions" instead of medals made out of metal, but I was not in that camp. I thought the medallion was beautiful, well crafted and a wonderful finishing prize.
Disney unfortunately uses those useless "virtual gift bags" so the only thing in the gear check sack was a Clif bar. Post-Race:
The post-race process was very organized - I wouldn't expect less from Disney. Runners were given water, Powerade, bananas and a cardboard lunch box filled with a variety of snacks. Some people kvetched about the boxes; I personally liked them. Would I Do This Race Again: