Tips To Walking Disney After Running A Half Marathon
First, run, then play.
The best way to celebrate finishing a Disney half marathon like the Disney Princess Half or Star Wars Half Marathon is by spending the day walking around one of the four theme parks (or two waterparks) afterward.
As if it weren’t the happiest place on Earth already, there is just so much joy after this major accomplishment. Get ready for rides, laughter and all those tasty treats at Disney World.
This runner was able to complete the half, then head over to Hollywood Studios for the late morning until afternoon, and then walk Epcot for the remaining of the afternoon into the evening night. Some might think this is impossible or that your feet will be killing you, but I lived to tell the tale. Just think there are people who do the Fairy Tale Challenge that includes the 10k the day before. Yes, there are plenty of people who survived a day at Disney with all the walking after running for 13.1 miles.
Not only did the runner probably not get that much sleep, but they also just ran 13.1 miles. Then they plan to go to one or more Disney theme parks. This means a day filled with walking. Expect to be tired, but this usually doesn’t hit until later in the evening.
You begin to just run on adrenaline and are having such a good time that little aches and soreness isn’t even a major concern. But there are a few tips to make the rest of the day enjoyable.
Here are the best to tips to being able to run a Disney half marathon then enjoy the day after in the theme park.
Bring The Family The Disney Post Race
The biggest piece of advice is to bring family and friends along. This is especially so if bringing your children. It means more arms to hold the young ones when they don’t want to stand in line. It also provides more people to take on event planner tasks like getting fast passes and deciding what rides to do next.
Plus it makes for a more memorable day because you get to celebrate with the ones you love in the happiest place in the world.
A good strategy is to have family and friends park at Epcot. This is where the race finishes and a great meet up spot. From there, take the monorail or buses to one of the other parks or stay at Epcot. The downside to this is that later in the night, everyone needs to get back to Epcot to get their car. This isn’t a big deal, but if the park closes then expect long lines for transportation back.
Also, expect the Epcot parking lot to be a mess. Racers are trying to exit and families and non-race related families are trying to park for their day at Disney. This means waiting 30 minutes in some cases just to leave the parking lot.
Change Your Clothes
While your family is parking the car, this is the perfect time to get out of those sweaty clothes. Run Disney events do have gear check bags. Use the clear plastic bags ONLY given at the race expo to store a change of clothes. These get stored in trucks near the bathrooms and are retrieved after the race at the same spot.
Those who parked their car can keep a spare outfit and change post-race.
It might be a good idea to change socks and sneakers. Some even change into flip flops, but this runner suggests sneakers for the amount of walking. I decided not to change pairs, and besides my feet being a little sore, I was fine once we started to walk around the parks.
Depending on the time of year, bring shorts. This runner ran in running leggings but changed into shorts for the day to keep cool.
I also wished I packed some icy hot or something to soothe achy muscles. A knee brace of KT tape is great for those who have sensitive knees. Compression socks are also great, but in the heat can feel too suffocating.
Stay Hydrated And Eat
Continue to stay hydrated the rest of the day. This is especially true when being in the sun after sweating so much during the race.If celebrating with drinks around the world in Epcot, drink water in between.
Have a nice big meal after, and treat yo’ self with the delicious Disney snacks. It’s a good idea to book reservations one of the parks’ restaurants like Belle’s Castle in the Magic Kingdom or San Angel Inn in Mexico at Epcot. Reservations book up way in advance, so get on this early. If a more relaxed day at the park is more your speed, eat whatever of the countless eateries looks good throughout the day.
Because it is morning when the race finishes it can be hard to settle on food options. That’s because the runner might be starved for a big meal while it’s still breakfast and family might’ve eaten already. A good option is to munch on the post-race food given to racers, grabbing a snack and then having a big lunch with family after a ride or two.
Get Fast Passes
Fast passes are a game changer in Disney. These are free and are given to park goers on the Disney app or at kiosks in the park. Pick from a list of rides and the time in which the person can ride the ride. Each person in the party needs to get a fast pass for the ride. Once given the time, like The Adventures of Pooh at 1 p.m., the park goers have an hour to get in line. That means there is enough time to finish the current ride they are on, or time to walk to whichever side of the park. It’s a good idea to space out the fast passes throughout the day while going around the park. This way the runner isn’t walking back and forth. This also allows for “down” time to sit and relax with a snack in between ride waits.
Some lines are short and don’t require a fast pass. Check wait times on the app and get to those rides first.
Take Character Pictures
If the runner purchases the unlimited photo pass, continue to take pictures all day long. These are included in the photo package. This means stopping in front of the Castle at the Magic Kingdom and visiting Pooh and Tiger. Mickey and Minnie are usually at Hollywood Studios as well as the Disney Junior characters and those from Toy Story.
Which Disney Parks To Go To After The Half
If the runner is going to the Magic Kingdom after the Disney Princess Half, this is an all-day park. Stay there and do as much as possible. This is best for those with younger kids and for those looking to do lots of rides. Keep in mind that this park requires lots of walking. And then there is the standing in line waiting.
Hollywood Studios and the Animal Kingdom are great half day options depending on lines. Spend the morning and afternoon there, then head on over to Epcot for more food and drinks and rides. This is if the runner has park hopper passes. The Animal Kingdom can also be lots of walking, so opt for just a few things to see and experience then call it a day or park hop. Epcot has the most amount of walking, but there are rides that feel longer than those at the Magic Kingdom. There are also plenty of places in the countries to sit with a drink or coffee and snack and just people watch. Epcot is the best for food for those who worked up an appetite because of the specialties of each country.
Hollywood Studios is the least amount of walking with lots of shows. This is a great option for those who want a breather and to just relax in Disney. There aren’t that many rides, but the best for thriller seekers thanks to Hollywood Tower of Terror and Rock n Roller Coaster. Check showtimes on a park map upon arrival and plan to attend as many as possible. There is still time to also do the new Toy Story Land if just spending the afternoon in this park. Check ride times to see the best time for Toy Story rides.
Those who can’t afford a day in Disney can go to Disney Springs, formerly known as Downtown Disney or the Marketplace. This does include quite a bit of walking but expects to see a lot of people wearing their race bling. There are plenty of restaurants to eat that victory meal at, as well as Disney and non-Disney stores for all your shopping needs. There is usually live music and dancers, as well as a movie theater, bowling alley and small train ride for the kids.
Take A Day Off After The Disney Half
Don’t feel the need to stay all day in the park if the runner starts to get tired. Listen to how you feel. The next day, take the day off to just relax. If doing Disney more than one day, it’s a good idea to use the following day as a rest day before heading back to another theme park. This gives the body the break it needs so feel free to get a massage or lay poolside.