I’m sure you’ve likely heard tales of the craziness of a runDisney race expo. Some may be enhanced or fabricated, but I am here to tell you that many are true! Merchandise sells out quickly. People are not always magical. There will be non runners there buying merchandise. All those things happen, but don’t let that detract from your experience or ruin it, because a runDisney race expo is also a lot of fun!
We arrived on Wednesday afternoon so that we could be at the race expo Princess Half Marathon weekend when it opened bright and early Thursday morning at 10am. Thanks to the personal experience of my running buddy at Wine & Dine and the runDsiney grapevine we knew that they would likely open the expo about a half hour early at 9:30. However, race weekend transportation had the first buses scheduled to depart resorts at 9:30. We didn’t think that would cut it so we used Uber and Jennifer, our driver, quickly got us to the race expo around 8:30. After walking up to the Jostens center, and a quick discussion with a misinformed cast member about how we were going to get merchandise before our packets, we were in line around 8:40. And we clearly weren’t the only ones with that idea, as there was a decent line in front of us.
As expected they began letting guests into the Jostens center around 9:30. We hightailed it to the back where the official race merchandise was located. It was a total madhouse! We had seen the blog preview by Stephen of the Disney Parks Blog and had a list of what we wanted, but once inside the craziness got to us. We grabbed the “Run Princess Run” racerback tanks, and while looking for the right size for my running buddy someone tried to grab a shirt out of my hand! What???? That was not very magical! All in all though we were able to quickly grab the items we needed without too much trouble, get in line and check out. I forgot one item, but it wasn’t worth going back through the madness for me to get.
When we walked out of the official merchandise booth Jeff Galloway was standing right there at his booth! I am so appreciative to Galloway for providing me with the tools to be a successful runner, when I couldn’t run a mile in high school, that I had to stop since the line was short to say hi and take a picture!
Then we walked by the KT booth and the line was relatively short to be taped so we got in line. I had them tape both of my knees as they had been bothering me after my long runs, especially my left one. It reallly helped. They were really only sore going up and down stairs after the half.
We had some time to go until my appointment with New Balance to get shoes so we stopped by a few other booths we wanted to check out. I picked up the “Red Hair, Don’t Care” shirt I’d ordered from Raw Threads and had shipped to the expo. (Super convenient!) Then we went by the Sparkle Skirts booth where we both picked up the new Fairytale skirt. We were a little on the fence on it, however we kept seeing people wearing it over the weekend and decided that we now really love it! I also picked up a mermaid headband at Sparkly Soul.
Once most of our browsing was done we went to the New Balance booth and got in a very long line. (I’ll write a review of the queue process and our experience at the booth soon.) I tried on a few sizes of the Ariel shoes, stuck with my regular running shoe size, and checked out wtih complimentary sea shells to go on the shoes! These shoes are so cute! I absolutely love them!
We still had to get our bibs and shirts, as well as pick up our preorer items so we headed over to the Field House. Once there we went and picked up our pre-order items. I got my crossbody Princess Dooney which was bigger than I expected. The size was perfect for the parks though as it held a bottle of water and everything else I needed. Then we picked up our 5K bibs. After that, we picked up our GSC bibs, took our challenge photos and then went to get our GSC shirts.
Once we picked these items up we still had to go back to the Jostens Center to pick up our 5K shirts. (This was poor planning in my opinion and they should have been in the same building as the bibs.) However the line to get into the Jostens center at this point, probably around 11:30ish was horribly long, and we were tired and hungry, so we went into the ESPN Wide World of Sports Grill for a quick lunch. When we got out the line had subsided and we walked right up to the Josten’s center entrance where we took a picture with the royal footmen before going back in to the Josten’s Center for our shirts.
Once our shirts were in hand we took a deep breath, gathered up our packages and headed back to the buses. We found the bus to Port Orleans Riverside and got on. We were afraid we need to cut ourselves off from any more shopping! Our goal was to rest up a bit before heading to Magic Kingdom for FastPasses and dinner.
All in all we had a positive experience at the Princess Half Marathon Expo. We got all the items of official race merchandise we had wanted and survived the madness that the official booth was. Despite one bad experience we found most other runners to be polite, friendly and courteous. We just recommend arriving early, getting merchandise first and having a plan of attack for any runDisney expo.